posted by Thom Holwerda on Mon 27th Jul 2009 07:29 UTC
IconLast week, the European Commission announced that Microsoft is willing to implement a browser ballot screen in Windows so that users can select a browser to install when installing Windows or when setting up their OEM computer. While this makes Opera very happy, Opera would like to see Ubuntu and Apple offer such a ballot screen too.

NetworkWorld interviewed HÄkon Wium Lie, Opera Software's CTO. Lie believes that the browser ballot screen will improve competition among browsers (well, among The Chosen Ones on The List, anyway), and that it will also lead to improved web standards compliance by Internet Explorer, particularly SVG support.

This seems like a rather roundabout way of achieving better standards compliance. I know of a much better way to achieve that, and it doesn't require browser nag screens or more of that nonsense: why doesn't the EC force Microsoft to make IE more standards compliant, instead of forcing them to offer a browser ballot screen? Sure, that's not what Opera wants (they want a free ride), but in the end, that's what we all want, right? You know "we", the consumers? Isn't that what this is supposed to be about?

Lie also believes it would be a good idea if Apple and Ubuntu were to offer a browser ballot box. "The Microsoft case is based on antitrust law, something that only applies to monopolies. Apple and Ubuntu are not monopolies as per the legal definition of a monopoly," Lie writes, "Still, it may be a good idea to offer it; the browser is the most important tool for most of us, and having access to better browsers is a good thing."

I've got some free advice for Opera, courtesy of sbergman27: "Open your code, Lie, and then we can talk about getting you into Debian, Fedora, et. al." Apple is a different story, of course, but I get the vague impression that the Cupertino company isn't really interested in browser ballot screens.

Opera could of course also make a browser that people actually want to install. Just a suggestion.

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