Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

IE and Windows XP Service Pack 3… still IE 6

Category: Browsers, IE

Whenever I see a post on the IE Blog that has a title like IE and XP SP 3 I hope to see “oh, and IE 6 users will be upgraded”. How much pain would be relieved when IE 6 usage is minimal?

Unfortunately, I was disappointed again:

XPSP3 will continue to ship with IE6 and contains a roll-up of the latest security updates for IE6. If you are still running Internet Explorer 6, then XPSP3 will be offered to you via Windows Update as a high priority update. You can safely install XPSP3 and will have an updated version of IE6 with all your personal preferences, such as home pages and favorites, still intact.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 12:40 am
17 Comments

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3.6 rating from 27 votes

17 Comments »

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There is other ways of flushing out an old browser like we did in the past in the previous browser war. Just tell them hey your browser is no longer supported. If all major sites where to go together in a joint effort it could be done. Then companies would be forced to upgrade since the internet would be a very boring place. Some argue that this can’t be done for big companies where they have long update cycles. I still think it can be done IE 6 has to many security issues anyway so they should upgrade just to avoid them. We are all to frightened to upset our user base but sometimes we need to push the technology forward much like how it’s currently done with PHP 4 over to PHP 5.

Comment by Spocke — May 6, 2008

So Microsoft gets applauded if they would push the latest IE release, but Apple gets bashed for it?

I think Spoke’s idea would be better.

Comment by Jeria — May 6, 2008

Spocke: I agree with you. It’s time a group of sites form a pact to end of life IE6. If a few of the big ones said that they would stop supporting IE6 by such and such date, the migration would happen. Otherwise you’re going to have a class of companies that won’t upgrade IE6 until microsoft stops supporting it, which will probably be when they EOL XP, which will take several years at the very least. I don’t want to be supporting IE6 in 2010.

Comment by Joeri — May 6, 2008

Spocke, I agree, someone register goIE7.org ;-)

Comment by balupton — May 6, 2008

It’s probably less about consumer websites and more about corporations that keeps it IE6. A lot of corporations have built applications on IE6 and require it to run their business applications. If the service packed switched to IE7 all these applications would need to be retested and fixed and deployed. A costly event for accepting a service pack and unlikely to happen so the service pack wouldn’t be accepted, and critical updates would not be deployed. It would be IE6 either way.

Comment by digitalIchi — May 6, 2008

I for one think its the right decision to not force IE7 on people.

I, and I know I’m no alone, pretty much hate the UI in IE7 (and Vista).
The useless, botched, liquid-layout-killing, baby-seal-clubbing POS page zoom function that has replaced the old easy-access font size control, is reason alone for me to stay with IE6.

I use ctrl+mousewheel all the time to control font size, and I see no reason why I should have to give it up.

They could have given the crappy zoom function any other shortcut, but they had to hijack the one for the font zoom, thereby breaking a rule that all software designers should have branded into their skin:
NEVER yank functionality out of the users hands without permission.

I’m sure the machinery underneath, with security fixes etc, is just great, but why on earth did they bolt it together with an UI that is even WORSE than the old one?
Honestly, who hardwires things together like that still in 2008?
They should have separated the UI from the rest, and offered an option to go on using the old XP-style UI.

The add-on “IE7pro” seems to mop up a lot of the junk in the IE7 UI, but sadly I doesn’t seem to be able to restore the crtl+wheel functionalty.
So for now, I’m forced to stay with IE6 (and XP ) if I don’t want a vista-style UI.
And I don’t.

Comment by MatsSvensson — May 6, 2008

Mats, ever heard about a browser called Firefox?

:)

Comment by Jeria — May 6, 2008

@Jeria: Clint Eastwood is awesome.

Comment by Jordan1 — May 6, 2008

My boss says that I have to support IE6 until it’s below 10% market share. It’s very painful.

Comment by pkenoyer — May 6, 2008

Thank god I’m not the only one. It feels like it here at the office where there are a lot of server side Java programmers who think JavaScript is a lesser form of programming. I posted up on our whiteboard last week, “Deprecate IE6!” and interestingly enough it’s still there. I know I won’t be able to change any minds on the current site focus, but there is talk around of a site revamp, which I’m pushing to make more client focused than the current site. With that update I’ll likely be asked to continue to support IE6, but I will do so in a lesser capacity. Unfortunately our users aren’t the most advanced out there, so we need to try not to alienate all of them.

Comment by SeanBlader — May 6, 2008

There’s a middle ground between explicitly dropping support for a browser and expending enormous effort to make sure users of that browser have a completely optimal experience. If you correctly follow principles of progressive enhancement, you can ensure that your basic site functionality works for IE6 while still holding back advanced DHTML and Ajax functionality for more advanced browsers. Instead of a big “browser not supported” message, you could serve IE6 users a once-per-session modal popup that spells out exactly what features they’re missing by using an outdated browser.

Comment by Brian Dillard — May 6, 2008

I agree with Brian. It’s just not practical to kick the user off your website if they use IE6. You will lose a lot of your visitors. People tried to do this with Firefox because they were too lazy to fix their broken pages, and look how that turned out. Web development sucks, deal with it.

Comment by musicfreak — May 6, 2008

@Brian: nice idea, but the current IE6 users are mostly corporate. The web application I build is sold to these corporations, so every piece of functionality in there must work on the browser they have now, which means I need to deliver a fully featured experience on IE6. I suspect most of the developers stuck supporting IE6 are in a comparable situation.

Comment by Joeri — May 7, 2008

@Jeria
 [Rant alert]

Yepp i know about other FF and other browsers.
I have wasted an enormous amount of time trying to migrate to FF flock opera etc, from my current setup (maxton on top of IE6)
But I have always been forced to give it up since I loose way to much functionality that I am accustomed to having.
 I simply don’t have time to spent days, weeks and months  trying out badly documented plugins and wading trough the rancid RTFM-swamp that surrounds those browsers.
How do I get all my fancy customized context menus working in another browser?
How do I get images to resize when I mouse over them and use the scroll wheel?
How do I drag around the toolbars so they don’t occupy so much space?
….and so on, times 1000.
A days googling, tweeking and testing and one is solved, only 999 to go.
There just isn’t enough coffee in the world.
I just want the functionality I have right now PLUS the new stuff, not INSTEAD of..
I want milk in my tea, but the future only offers milk instead of my tea.
How depressing =(
I think the best thing would be if you could kind of install a new browser as a plug in for your current, with a neatly documented checklist were you could choose witch features you wanted to add or swap out.
Id even pay for that! =))

Comment by MatsSvensson — May 7, 2008

I think any effort by popular websites to stop supporting IE6 would have the opposite effect. 1) you chase away eye-balls and that just isn’t smart when a bunch of people shop and surf from work. 2) The corporations would love it too since now the worker drones have less web sites they can goof off at.

I guess its contrary here, but my silly opinion is Microsoft can’t force updates by their own fault. If IE had some compliance with W3C standards in the first place it would probably be easier to remain backwards compatibility. Instead every version of IE implements CSS, HTML and Javascript differently, thereby forcing longer upgrade cycles on corporate internet applications. (God I wish corporations would grow a brain and move to a much more stable browser platform.)

Comment by Stupider — May 8, 2008

ie6 needs to be killed off, seriously. if it took ie7 five years to be created that automatically makes ie6 pretty darn old. would you want to use a 5 year old computer?, no, then don’t use five year-old software.

please Mr Ballmer, make it so?

xx hug hug ;-)

Comment by indiehead — May 9, 2008

Comments with respect to MicroKRUD writing industry COMPLIANT software instead of dreaming up their own clusterF of crap that isn’t even compatible to it’s own prior versions are pretty much on the mark. Commercial quality software that is now dependent on IE6, can’t run on newer microKRUD because the twerps in management and incompetent developers don’t make any reasonable attempt at backwards compatibility.

Then you have installation packages such as with XP / SP3 that some complete jackass decided to disable uninstall of ie7 or 8 IF those instances were installed prior to installing SP3. And according to one note found at microsludge, “it is by design” While at the same time blathering that IF you start with IE6, install Sp3, then one can install v 7 or 8 and uninstall it…. Just a continuing litany of absolute STUPIDITY and gross slapping of completely avoidable inconveniences on users of windows operating systems..

And web designers who only write to InternetExploder versions are simply too ignorant to understand good code and standards; none of which exist at microsoft.

Thank goodness for the new breed of browsers that are faster, better and in every way superior to the junk from redmond. Now if only Linux can make a few more strides and have truly effective utilities/shells that allow ANY windows application (such as that from adobe, corel, games) to be installed and execute… Then we’ll all be able to start singing praises of microsoft’s death to the tune of the witch is dead from oz.

Comment by ecarr — May 10, 2008

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