Google phases out IE6 support.

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Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby scouse geek » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:03 am UTC

Google phases out IE6 support.

Google phases out support for IE6
IE Logo
Microsoft say support for IE6 will continue for the next four years

Google has begun to phase out support for Internet Explorer 6, the browser identified as the weak link in a cyber attack on the search engine.

The firm said from 1 March some of its services, such as Google Docs, would not work "properly" with the browser.

It recommended individuals and firms upgrade "as soon as possible".

Google threatened to withdraw from the Chinese market following the "sophisticated and targeted" attacks, which it said originated in China.

Hackers used a flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) browser to target the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

'Key functionality'

Following Google's revelations, the French and German governments advised their citizens to switch to a different browser until the hole had been closed.

Microsoft reacted by quickly updating the browser, nearly three weeks ahead of its regular security update.

However, Google has now said it is going to phase out support for the browser "starting with Google Docs and Google Sites".

It said that as a result, some "key functionality" of the applications would not work when used with IE6.

Google Docs is the firm's answer to products such as Microsoft Office, whilst Google Sites allows people to create web pages.

"The web has evolved in the last ten years, from simple text pages to rich, interactive applications including video and voice," wrote Google's Rajen Sheth in a blog post.

"Unfortunately, very old browsers cannot run many of these new features effectively."

Threat downplayed

Around 20% of web users still use the nine-year old browser, including many UK government departments.

But many developers want to see the browser phased out as soon as possible.

The online campaign ie6nomore, supported by more than 70 web firms, says that because the browser does not support modern web standards it restricts what developers can do and is "holding the web back".

Microsoft has said that it will support the browser until 2014.

Microsoft has released a fix for Internet Explorer and recommended that customers install the update as soon as possible or update to the latest version of the web browser for "improved security".

Microsoft normally issues patches monthly but the high-profile nature of the attacks led it to act more quickly.

Market share

The UK government downplayed the threat and said there was "no evidence that moving from the latest fully patched versions of Internet Explorer to other browsers will make users more secure".

However, Microsoft took the unusual step of patching the hole nearly three weeks ahead of its regular security update.

The new patch is available via the Microsoft Update site and will also be fed out to those who have their machines set to update automatically. All versions of Internet Explorer will receive the update.

Microsoft has admitted that it has known about the vulnerability "since early September" 2009 and had planned to patch it in February.

The bad publicity has allowed rivals such as Firefox to gain market share.

According to web analytics company StatCounter, Firefox is now a close second to Internet Explorer (IE) in Europe, with 40% of the market compared to Microsoft's 45% share.

In some markets, including Germany and Austria, Firefox has overtaken IE, the firm said.

Mozilla, the foundation behind Firefox, has just released the latest version (3.6) of the open-source browser.


This is interesting, is google hoping to force the issue so other major sites drop support for it.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:15 am UTC

The more Google do the more I love them.

IE6, we shared some good times, but it's time for you to retire: we've found someone younger and, well, better. Some day, we'll remember you fondly, despite your now-apparent faults and limitations, but in the meantime you need to die.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Hawknc » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:41 pm UTC

I can only hope this forces the hand of the remaining holdouts that use IE6. I work at a Fortune 500 company and IE6 is mandatory on all PCs with no indication that they plan to move away from it (and unfortunately they're so deep in bed with Microsoft that most of our internal pages don't work properly with Firefox). I think it will be a slow battle to remove it from the web entirely.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Lewton » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:49 pm UTC

I think it's great and all, but I can't help but think "4 years? That's where you should be phasing out IE7!"

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Josephine » Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:08 am UTC

Lewton wrote:I think it's great and all, but I can't help but think "4 years? That's where you should be phasing out IE7!"

Or 8. What's the current version now? I don't want to open IE on this computer.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Vaniver » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:40 am UTC

The current version is IE8.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Endless Mike » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:06 am UTC

My office just got IE7. :(

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby MrGee » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:53 am UTC

I...I'm having trouble imagining why people would keep an outdated browser when the new one is available for free.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Link » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:27 am UTC

Does anyone actually still use IE6 voluntarily? IE6 is so 2001!

Actually, I don't really see why anyone would voluntarily use any version of Internet Explorer, with so many more powerful and free (as in beer and as in speech) browsers out there.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby ianf » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:47 am UTC

Link wrote:Does anyone actually still use IE6 voluntarily? IE6 is so 2001!

Actually, I don't really see why anyone would voluntarily use any version of Internet Explorer, with so many more powerful and free (as in beer and as in speech) browsers out there.
MrGee wrote:I...I'm having trouble imagining why people would keep an outdated browser when the new one is available for free.


Two basic reasons ... inertia and prior investment.

Inertia - lots of people are still running the same software that came with their computer. People who are a bit scared of breaking the computer (like older people, for example) don't want to update in case they break something.

Prior investment - a lot of big companies spent a lot of money building ActiveX plug-ins for IE6, to support their business processes. Particularly on intranet systems. This has effectively locked them into IE6. Although a new browser is free, the development work to allow the business to use that browser could be a significant cost.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby scikidus » Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:25 pm UTC

Here's what I don't understand.

IE6 is buggy, bitchy, and a security nightmare. It requires a rediculous amount of backwards compatibility, it's bad publicity for Microsoft, and it's costing them market share.

On the other hand, people are afraid of IE7/8, because it'll be new/scary/whatever.

So here's an idea: Microsoft releases a critical security update where it updates IE6 to IE8, saving users' bookmarks/home pages/whatever. However, it then offers the users a choice: enjoy the look and feel of IE8 or adapt an IE6 skin which will keep the look and feel that the users are already used to. That eliminates the concerns of old people not being able to find their online Mah Jong games, no?
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby ianf » Sun Jan 31, 2010 5:07 pm UTC

scikidus wrote:So here's an idea: Microsoft releases a critical security update where it updates IE6 to IE8, saving users' bookmarks/home pages/whatever. However, it then offers the users a choice: enjoy the look and feel of IE8 or adapt an IE6 skin which will keep the look and feel that the users are already used to. That eliminates the concerns of old people not being able to find their online Mah Jong games, no?


That's fine for that set of people, but it's the Fortune 500 companies which are the big problem. People who are hanging on to their original software, will eventually upgrade when they buy a new computer (and they will stick at that set of software). It's the big companies who are deliberately sticking at IE6 who are the real problem here. The company won't pay the costs of moving away from IE6 (because it is not perceived as being necessary by the board), Microsoft won't pay (because it will be a massive bill for them). So, I can see IE6 being around for a long time - it will effectively be a legacy system, like all the Cobol systems that are still around because they work and there is no business case for rewriting them.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby MoghLiechty2 » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:32 pm UTC

Incidentally, the move by Google need not necessarily be solely seen as a 'nice-guy' deliberate push toward newer and better browsers being used pervasively by the public and the Fortune 500 companies as mentioned. Quite simply, website upkeep for an older and noncompliant browser is less than desirable for a software team trying to maintain slim profit margins. Of course though, the fact that they will be seen as moving the browser industry forward certainly factored into their decision.

Although, I doubt the Fortune 500 companies in question see them that way. A decline in extranet support for Google will certainly be for those companies a reason they didn't previously have to increase their future time-valued costs by spending development resources supporting newer browsers on their intranet pages. You could argue that this would be better for them in the long run, but isn't the long run what they were already worried about?

If anything, Microsoft are the good guys here for continuing (for four more years, no less) to support a browser that they certainly no longer would like to associate themselves with.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Arancaytar » Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:58 pm UTC

Lewton wrote:I think it's great and all, but I can't help but think "4 years? That's where you should be phasing out IE7!"


They should be getting ready to phase out IE9, to stay ahead of the game. :P
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Comic JK » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:45 pm UTC

ianf wrote:That's fine for that set of people, but it's the Fortune 500 companies which are the big problem.


With that kind of inertia, we may sincerely hope that they won't be Fortune 500 companies much longer.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Origo Labs » Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:57 pm UTC

Indeed. Perhaps soon they will become the unFortunate 500 companies due to an inability to access the internet.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Hawknc » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:08 pm UTC

They won't until their hand is forced, because surfing the web isn't the primary function of the company in most cases. As long as IE6 functions adequately there's no compelling financial reason to upgrade. Heck, we're still using critical bill of material and purchasing systems that were designed in the 70s.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby duckshirt » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:25 pm UTC

Crappy browser means few working html / css / javascript capabilities, which means web applications aren't as powerful and widespread as they could be, which means people will keep using desktop client applications, which means they'll need Windows. That's why, after Microsoft "won" the browser war in the late 90's / early 2000's, they didn't update it for many, many years. Once other browsers (mainly Firefox) were starting to take over the market (very slowly), they obviously had to release IE 7 and 8 to stay in the game, but Microsoft will still do what they can to slow down the advancement of web applications.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby netcrusher88 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 7:42 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:Heck, we're still using critical bill of material and purchasing systems that were designed in the 70s.

If it ain't broke... I used to do on-site desktop support for a regional investment/insurance firm and it kind of amazed me how much of their critical infrastructure was built around big iron that literally hadn't been truly off in well over a decade (if not decades), just running a bunch of in-house stuff written in some unholy combination of PL/I, Cobol, RPG, and god knows what else - and it's still actively developed. But it's effective, and as long as you can work with it why scrap it?

What sucks for companies (and I'm bringing this back around, stick with me) is newer stuff. The in-house ActiveX garbage. The crap written in ancient VBScript for Office 2000 and Crystal Reports that takes months or years and tens of thousands of dollars to port to a newer version of .NET, Office 2k3, and Windows XP. And there's a bunch of pre-.NET VB runtime stuff that inexplicably expects full local administrative access (probably some incompetent way of using ODBC, I was never sure) so just forget about Vista or 7. And the internal sites that only work with IE6's particular brand of braindamaged JavaScript, CSS, and HTML engine. Even IE7 or 8 in compatibility mode won't cut it.

So, yeah. Good move for google, sucks for people who are forced to use IE6 at work.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby phillipsjk » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:51 pm UTC

duckshirt wrote:Crappy browser means few working html / css / javascript capabilities, which means web applications aren't as powerful and widespread as they could be, which means people will keep using desktop client applications, which means they'll need Windows.


I don't understand why "web applications" are a goal anyway: they are neat hacks, but the Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol was never designed for that. For the most part pages are static (ignoring "Web 2.0") and web-servers don't store state (resulting in lower overhead, ignoring cookies). Bolting "Rich content" on top makes for memory hungry, slow, and insecure applications. There is no good reason your should let random websites run untrusted code on your machines. Sometimes the "hacks" (like Google Maps) are interesting or useful, but that is not an excuse for trying to move everything to "Web 2.0" (Aka: The back button doesn't work).

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby juststrange » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:41 am UTC

I personally like IE6. The buttons and the menus are easy to find, etc. IE7 pissed me off because the bar that has "File, Edit, Help" keeps going away. And all the buttons that were nice and neat and ordered are all over the place, and have been replaced by pictures like its the register at McDonalds. If you want to make people happy, make a patch that makes IE8 look and interface with the user the same way IE6 does, make it reverse compatible with the old ActiveX stuff, and just swap them out when noone is looking. If you can find a way to keep the tabs and not make it look stupid, Im all for it.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby The Reaper » Mon Mar 08, 2010 3:52 am UTC

juststrange wrote:I personally like IE6. The buttons and the menus are easy to find, etc. IE7 pissed me off because the bar that has "File, Edit, Help" keeps going away. And all the buttons that were nice and neat and ordered are all over the place, and have been replaced by pictures like its the register at McDonalds. If you want to make people happy, make a patch that makes IE8 look and interface with the user the same way IE6 does, make it reverse compatible with the old ActiveX stuff, and just swap them out when noone is looking. If you can find a way to keep the tabs and not make it look stupid, Im all for it.

The "so userfriendly I can't find shit" look is why I switched to firefox, and why I dislike office 07. :\

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby netcrusher88 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:03 am UTC

Yeah, uh... you can make the menu bar permanent in IE7. Right click on an empty bit of the tab bar and check Menu Bar. You can also make it pop out by tapping Alt.Also, most of the options are available through default buttons on the tab bar in IE7.

The IE7/8 UI feels a bit like Chrome to me, except not as well done. I certainly have no problem with reducing the amount of browser chrome, and removing the menu bar is not a bad way to do that as long as the options are still available - which they are. I'd kind of like it if Firefox had a similar option, to hide the menu bar until you re-enabled it or summoned it with Alt.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby polymer » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:23 am UTC

I believe there are extensions in Firefox that allow one to hide the menu bar.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby netcrusher88 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:38 am UTC

polymer wrote:I believe there are extensions in Firefox that allow one to hide the menu bar.

I should have thought of that.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby LuNatic » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:27 am UTC

Hooray, good riddance, the sooner it's killed off the better.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby feedme » Mon Mar 08, 2010 4:18 pm UTC

I never really understood the complaints so many people say about IE. I run IE8 just out of habit, but when I switch to something like Firefox, I don't see any noticable difference that convinces me it's significantly superior. IE8 runs the things I want to run without issue for the most part, so why do people bash it so often?

That being said I'm sure IE6 is horribly outdated these days.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby phillipsjk » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:02 pm UTC

I suspect is has a lot to do with history. Back in 1998, Microsoft tried to shape the world wide web in their own image. They tried to pull "Embrace, Extend, Extinguish" and it back-fired. Back then websites tended to be targeted at the latest wiz-bang features of the two major browsers: Internet Explorer and Netscape. Often (In my opinion) the results looked better when rendered by Lynx (a text-only browser).

Internet Explorer's response to Netscape's JavaScript was an incompatible scripting language called JScript. I believe it was Internet Explorer 4 (the Windows 98 version) that introduced ActiveX (Wikipedia says IE 3). The idea is that you can run signed binaries (software) automatically. To prevent abuse, Microsoft can revoke the certificate. It has always struck me as a bad idea, and IMO history proven me correct: there have been problems with every step of the process over the years. One good thing Internet Explorer introduced was Access Keys that are now implemented by competing browsers.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby fjafjan » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:11 pm UTC

Is there anywhere near the same customability? The things I want in a browser are (besides speed and safety, which are foremost) Javascript blocker (which is a big part of security), ad blocker (adblocker plus on firefox is very hard to beat) and ripping videos from places like youtube. All of which firefox provides handily and easily, not by default, but after maybe teb minutes of gadgeneering.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby feedme » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:22 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:Is there anywhere near the same customability? The things I want in a browser are (besides speed and safety, which are foremost) Javascript blocker (which is a big part of security), ad blocker (adblocker plus on firefox is very hard to beat) and ripping videos from places like youtube. All of which firefox provides handily and easily, not by default, but after maybe teb minutes of gadgeneering.


I never have problems with popups in IE. I wasn't even aware you could rip videos from youtube.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby fjafjan » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:20 pm UTC

feedme wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Is there anywhere near the same customability? The things I want in a browser are (besides speed and safety, which are foremost) Javascript blocker (which is a big part of security), ad blocker (adblocker plus on firefox is very hard to beat) and ripping videos from places like youtube. All of which firefox provides handily and easily, not by default, but after maybe teb minutes of gadgeneering.


I never have problems with popups in IE. I wasn't even aware you could rip videos from youtube.

Not just popups, ADS. So when there is an annoying flashing thing telling you to .. whatever, I make that go away because it's fucking annoying. And ripping videos from youtube is very easy with firefox, there are at least a dozen different add-ons for that specific purpose.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Cynical Idealist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:23 am UTC

feedme wrote:I never have problems with popups in IE. I wasn't even aware you could rip videos from youtube.

Get Firefox
Get AdBlock Plus
Get NoScript (for added security)
Get Remove It Permanently

Experiment a bit. Here's a set of screenshots.

Fark.com on Chrome:
Spoiler:
Image

Note the ads. I don't like large banner ads.

Fark.com on Firefox, with ABP (obtained with the Screengrab addon, which lets you take pictures of an entire page at once)
Spoiler:
Image

The ads are gone. Better, but I don't like those "news" items in the bottom-right corner. Lets get rid of that with RIP:
Spoiler:
Image

Much nicer! I could actually clean that up some more, but I think that's enough for a quick demo.

I actually usually just use Chrome, because I like the feel of it, but I use firefox for visiting ad-infested places or sites where I want some extra security. I also use it when I'm practicing my Japanese, as I have a handy little furigana inserter (inserts furigana above kanji), and Rikaichan to help with words I don't know.
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Xeio » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:46 am UTC

Cynical Idealist wrote:Fark.com on Chrome:
Note the ads. I don't like large banner ads.
Bit outdated? Chrome has add-ons now, you can get an ad blocker...

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:02 pm UTC

I must be the only person who doesn't care about banner ads. Oh no, an ad at the top of the screen the same height as the site name that I can scroll past. However will I resist clicking on it? Side ads and popover are different since they can reduce screen width or generally make viewing the site a pain in the ass.

Also, I didn't even know Fark still existed. I'd have thought that with sites like Digg and Reddit it would be irrelevant.

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby duckshirt » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:06 pm UTC

Endless Mike wrote:I must be the only person who doesn't care about banner ads. Oh no, an ad at the top of the screen the same height as the site name that I can scroll past. However will I resist clicking on it? Side ads and popover are different since they can reduce screen width or generally make viewing the site a pain in the ass.

Regular banner ads aren't so bad, and by clicking on them occasionally you do support the website. Those websites would probably go out of business if everybody blocked every ad. However, I do still use AdBlock to block the annoying ads that take up too much space, blink, or cause headaches in general. If they're going to fight that hard to get ads in my face, then I'm going to fight back.

phillipsjk wrote:I don't understand why "web applications" are a goal anyway: they are neat hacks, but the Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol was never designed for that. For the most part pages are static (ignoring "Web 2.0") and web-servers don't store state (resulting in lower overhead, ignoring cookies). Bolting "Rich content" on top makes for memory hungry, slow, and insecure applications. There is no good reason your should let random websites run untrusted code on your machines. Sometimes the "hacks" (like Google Maps) are interesting or useful, but that is not an excuse for trying to move everything to "Web 2.0" (Aka: The back button doesn't work).

VT52,100,and 220 (text terminal) emulation works over a modem link. ssh with the "-XC" options allows you to use X11R6 (X Window System) programs over an ADSL link. There is more to the Internet than the World Wide Web (things running on port 80). Things like e-mail, FTP, games, Usenet and Bittorrent come to mind. I think web-forums (like this one) are just a bad Usenet replacement, but they can also implement features Usenet doesn't have like user avatars.
Well yeah, I don't doubt that web applications suck now, but they get better as browsers get better. And the better they get, the more we can do on the web, and the less we need Windows. It would make more sense to do things the same way as Usenet and email apps, but people are finding it less fun and more of a pain to program desktop client applications than web ones, so things have still moved in that direction.
lol everything matters
-Ed

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Jessica
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Jessica » Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:27 pm UTC

I wish my company would phase out IE6 support.
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Endless Mike
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Endless Mike » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:I wish my company would phase out IE6 support.

Mine finally did late last year.

Now I wish they would phase out IE7 support.

Although we may be talking different things here.

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Jorpho
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby Jorpho » Fri Mar 12, 2010 8:02 pm UTC

duckshirt wrote:That's why, after Microsoft "won" the browser war in the late 90's / early 2000's, they didn't update it for many, many years. Once other browsers (mainly Firefox) were starting to take over the market (very slowly), they obviously had to release IE 7 and 8 to stay in the game, but Microsoft will still do what they can to slow down the advancement of web applications.
Their excuse used to be something along the lines that the IE codebase had grown so bloated and complex (much like Netscape's) that they weren't going to release new versions except with new versions of the OS.

Speaking of which, I wonder how many of those companies are locked in to IE6 simply because they haven't upgraded to Windows XP or later yet? (IE6 SP2 isn't supported under Win2K or earlier.)

fjafjan wrote:And ripping videos from youtube is very easy with firefox, there are at least a dozen different add-ons for that specific purpose.
Oddly enough, I used to find IE useful because you can rip videos without any plugins at all - you just have to dig the downloaded .flv or .mp4 out of the browser cache, a technique that is for some reason more difficult with Firefox. Of course, it's been a long time since I've found something DownloadHelper can't handle.

Endless Mike wrote:I must be the only person who doesn't care about banner ads. Oh no, an ad at the top of the screen the same height as the site name that I can scroll past. However will I resist clicking on it?
I used to tolerate ads until those ugly acai berry scams became ubiquitous. (The grammatical assault of "1 tip of a flat belly" is bad enough on its own.)

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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby lunchtime.samurai » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:30 am UTC

My school still uses IE5. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Portable Firefox...
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Re: Google phases out IE6 support.

Postby lunchtime.samurai » Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:57 am UTC

[math][/math]
lunchtime.samurai wrote:My school still uses IE5. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Portable Firefox...

BREAKING NEWS: Today they updated to IE8. I'm still going to use Firefox, though...
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