Despite the rise of open source within the federal government, Mozilla's Firefox has yet to gain an official nod from the Department of State, at least according to a recent question-and-answer session that Secretary Hillary Clinton and Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy hosted last week, with an ironic back-and-forth on Firefox kicked off by government employee Jim Finkle:Finkle: Can you please let the staff use an alternative Web browser called Firefox? I just--(applause)--I just moved to the State Department from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and was surprised that State doesn't use this browser. It was … Read more
As I type this, Firefox 3.5 is blazing past 5.6 million downloads, having been released just a day and a half ago. While such uptake for Mozilla's upgraded browser is impressive, the bigger story is how Firefox 3.5 is upgrading the Web with its extensive support for HTML 5. Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) 8 has brought the company's browser back into the 21st century, but its sluggish (and perhaps perverse) response to emerging Web standards threatens to leave it in Web 1.0 Blunderland.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer continues to hemorrhage market share to Mozilla's open-source Firefox browser. But Microsoft is set to surpass Mozilla in one area: adoption of its open-source Microsoft Public License (MS-PL), according to research from Black Duck Software.
The MS-PL is now used by 1.02 percent of open-source projects. This is impressive given that it was only approved by the Open Source Initiative some two years ago. The Mozilla Public License (MPL), by contrast, has been around for many more years and is used by 1.25 percent of open-source projects, ranking ninth in terms of popularity. … Read more
The European Commission on Thursday responded with a mixed assessment of Microsoft's move to strip Internet Explorer out of European versions of Windows 7.
As first reported by CNET News, Microsoft has been telling PC makers of its plan to offer Windows 7 in Europe with the browser removed. PC makers and consumers would have to add in a browser. That would be simple--and potentially profitable-- for PC makers, but could prove quite a hassle for those trying to upgrade an existing PC to Windows 7.
In a statement, regulators said that the move seems a step backward in … Read more
The chief complainant in the European browser case against Microsoft says that the move to strip Internet Explorer out of Windows 7 in Europe is an insufficient step that won't lead to better competition in the browser market.
In an interview, Opera Chief Technology Officer Hakon Wium Lie said that with regulators threatening action, Microsoft was under pressure to do something, but said that its choice wasn't what Opera was looking for. Lie told CNET that Opera wants people to have access to more browsers, not fewer.
"I don't believe this is going to restore competition … Read more
Microsoft's move to offer Windows 7 in Europe without a browser may help rivals, but it could make life more difficult for European consumers, particularly those who want to upgrade their existing machines.
As first reported earlier on Thursday by CNET News, Microsoft plans to ship Windows 7 to both PC makers and retail stores with Internet Explorer removed.
Now, most people will get Windows 7 on a new PC. Presumably, in that case, the computer maker will chose to add back Internet Explorer, include one or more rival browsers, or do both.
Indeed, that is what Microsoft itself … Read more
Microsoft plans to remove Internet Explorer from the versions of Windows 7 that it ships in Europe, CNET News has learned.
Reacting to antitrust concerns expressed by European regulators, Microsoft plans to offer a version in Europe that has the browser removed. Computer makers would then have the option to add the browser back in, ship another browser or ship multiple browsers, according to a confidential memo that was sent to PC makers and seen by CNET News.
"To ensure that Microsoft is in compliance with European law, Microsoft will be releasing a separate version of Windows 7 for … Read more
Web of Trust (WOT) for Internet Explorer provides users with a simple meter for gauging a Web site's danger level. With easy to read warnings, this program only leaves one thing to chance with your safety.
The program does not have anything to offer on your computer's desktop because it embeds itself into your Internet Explorer browser for quick access. Depending on the Web site you visit, the program's icon turns red, yellow, or green to illustrate the danger level. Clicking on the icon displays a chart showcasing Trustworthiness, Vendor Reliability, Privacy, and Child Safety. The warnings … Read more
In the interest of broadening my horizons, I promised Microsoft I'd give Internet Explorer 8 a fair shake by trying the browser as my default for a week.
And, boy, am I glad that week is over.
Microsoft's browser rules the roost with about two-thirds of the market, according to Net Applications, which collects a broad set of data on which browsers people use. There's nothing like being built into the dominant operating system for winning a popularity contest. Microsoft takes advantage of that position by building instrumentation into IE that illuminates what a typical Web user is doing.
There's typical, and then there's me. As somebody who spends dozens of hours a week in a Web browser, I'm sorry to say IE 8 is not for me. Although my Web-heavy lifestyle isn't average, I believe the challenges I face on the Web foreshadow what the rest of the world will experience as the Internet inexorably encompasses ever more of our work and personal lives. I prefer browsers that aim toward where the puck is heading, as the tired but useful cliche goes.
IE 8 (download link) catches up to where the puck is today. It's definitely a big improvement over its predecessors, with some commendable features including default support for Web standards. And I do hope people upgrade.
Slooooooow In reality, it was something more mundane that gave me a Pavlovian feeling of dread when I needed to use the browser: its interface is slow.
When it was time for basic interactions such as launching new tabs, switching tabs, closing tabs, commanding IE to open pages, and scrolling through pages, I found myself all too often waiting for the browser to respond to my mouse and keyboard. I did miss some Firefox extensions, even though I'm not a big user of them personally, and I did find Web applications like Gmail and Google Docs a bit slower. But those two gripes paled in comparison to performance.
Here's a sample diary entry from Tuesday, March 24: "31. Accidentally used Firefox for some browsing. What a relief!" I hadn't realized until that moment that I'd been inwardly cringing at IE 8 use.
The sluggishness problem got worse as my Lenovo dual-core laptop's 3GB memory was taxed by running the 10 or 12 programs I need to do my job. Most days, I shut down my Windows XP work machine once a day without thinking much about it. But during IE 8 week, I found myself craving a fresh start by mid-afternoon. IE 8 didn't bear the load as gracefully as rivals, especially as the tabs piled up.
Let me give some credit to Microsoft on the performance front, though. On my home machine, a Windows Vista 64-bit quad-core model with 6GB of memory, IE 8 was much more competitive with Chrome and Firefox, especially when compared with IE 7. … Read more
It's no secret that when judged by several popular Web browser speed tests, Internet Explorer 8 doesn't hold up well. Beta versions of IE 8 have been available to the general public for more than a year, and today's release of the stable build didn't include anything revolutionary.