Home > Internet Explorer > Will Microsoft’s Browser Engine Backfire? Will Microsoft’s Browser Engine Backfire? Eugenia Loli 2003-06-30 Internet Explorer 33 Comments Some experts say Microsoft’s plan to integrate Internet Explorer into the operating system may bring “unwelcome side effects” and drive customers into the arms of the competition. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 33 Comments 2003-06-30 4:06 pm Due to some critical bugs in the 0.7.2 release, they have quickly released a new version. 2003-06-30 4:13 pm In other news, KDE’s decision to integrate khtml and Gnome’s decision to integrate gecko/gtkhtml has backfired as it drove cutsomers into the arms of the competition. What a load of bull. Integrating IE simply gave more functionality. It was a good thing as far as usability was concerned. The average user doesn’t care enough for that integration to affect them – Joe Schmoe is hardly bothered about IE being always on in the background or used by Outlook. 2003-06-30 4:28 pm I agree with the article that this might push webdesigners to make code according to W3’s standards. BTW: Where are all the comments? Microsoft+standards+integration should have generated at least 100-150 comments by now? 2003-06-30 4:29 pm Epiphany is sooo nice browser. Reminds me of Net+. Fast, Gtk2, simple. Wonderfull. 2003-06-30 5:15 pm Integrating the browser into the OS like Microsoft does is only to drive windows users into explorer. 2003-06-30 5:19 pm I disagre. There IS advantage. Times are changing. 10 years ago would argue that “putting a networking stack to the OS or kernel is reduntant”. Today, it is a must-have. Same for the browser technologies. This is the Internet Age we live in. If I was creating an OS today, I would decide to do exactly the same. 2003-06-30 5:30 pm Ok Eugenia….there is a point to what you are saying, but as an end user….do you really want to have to buy the upgrade to your OS just to be able to reuse your online banking? Get with the times…gecko and khtml are the future. It’s always been like that. IE still doesn’t support transparent png’s, tabbed browsing, and popup blocking. Now you have to pay for the updates?! Get real….this is exactly what killed Netscape. Microsoft is giving us IE….I have to pay for Netscape? hmmm….this Netscape stuff is a load of bull…ie is free. The tables have turned. IE is now pay for…khtml/gecko are free 2003-06-30 5:33 pm >do you really want to have to buy the upgrade to your OS just to be able to reuse your online banking? I do not see why the online banking will stop working if you use an older version of the OS/browser. And if the banking doesn’t work because you are using a 5-6 years old OS, then yes, it is time to upgrade no matter what. Technology changes fast these days, you have to stay in pace with it unfortunately. There is no one who can stop this crazy pace… 2003-06-30 5:50 pm hmmm…if they would just code to standards this wouldn’t be a problem. OS Lockdown is an even bigger problem and one that Microsoft is a master of. Why try to support Microsoft when they’ve simply alienated their technology from those who don’t feel like paying for forced upgrades? Those still strong behind the Microsoft camp at this point are just lying to themselves if they believe this is an all around good thing. Microsoft should release special service packs with just the explorer and related updates for free. Then this wouldn’t change anything. Anything stupid they pull helps advance linux and oss. So I see this as a very good thing if even one or two web designers decide to go for code standards based on this decision. 2003-06-30 5:51 pm Most technically knowledgeable web users would tell you that MSIE does not have many of the features regarded as necessary ( ad-blocking, pop-up-stopping, tabbed-browsing, multiple-home-pages ” the web has moved beyond HTML. Microsoft is right to provide a browser with its OS ( it is essential that the first-time user can get online and its probably necessary for use of Windowsupdate ) but the days where MS could stand up as a browser-maker and compete are more than 18 months gone. The release of Mozilla 1.0 and Opera 6 put paid to that on Windows and Linux, and now Apple Safari has done it on the Mac. Microsoft is a company I dislike but they make good O/S and Office software. It is wise that they leave the development of serious web browsers to the experts in that field. 2003-06-30 6:16 pm Embed the browser deeply into the OS… Interesting thought. I wonder if that could open more possibilities for virus-creators to cause more serious and lasting damages. Logically it must be more difficult to upgrade the whole OS than one browser-component? 2003-06-30 6:23 pm “IE still doesn’t support transparent png’s” Explorer 5.2 on the Mac does support my transparent PNGs, although my sister can’t see my PNGs even without transparency on Explorer 4.5. 2003-06-30 6:51 pm Some experts say Microsoft’s plan to integrate Internet Explorer into the operating system You guys IE is already intagrated, besides that I don’t realy care. I don’t like IE so I always got Netscape. 2003-06-30 7:34 pm Uh, I’ll switch to a different bank before I’ll buy Longhorn and the hardware required to run it. My current bank’s online application works with over a dozen different browsers running on half as many platforms so I don’t expect to be moving any accounts. This is a signal for some individuals who are “web developers” strictly by nature of self-proclamatiom to go back to their former used car salesman jobs to avoid unemployment. With the impending proliferation of non-Windows wireless devices, the need to adhere to web standards is more important than ever. Only those who are willing to grasp what that means are going to be able to compete. Microsoft thinks they are forcing an “upgrade”. If fact, they are going to outdo SCO in the “hoist by own petard” category. It takes a while for the moronic general public to wake up and smell the coffee but Microsoft is so VHS (the video tape format). Their inability to innovate a better product is about to eat them alive. 2003-06-30 7:51 pm I second that. 2003-06-30 7:53 pm with IE being the 2nd biggest security hole in windows (after outlook/outlook express) embedding it in the OS is just dumb. Virus writers will have a field day, even easier access to your computer. Oh and to the person who said that you’d have to upgrade your os just to use your online bank.. I completely agree.. I run into so many sites that actively block non IE5/6 browsers.. my bank doesn’t it’s based on a java app…. that only works with the Microsoft JVM (not the sun version!!!!) so there’s standards…. and then there’s standards. 2003-06-30 7:59 pm The problem is not with Microsoft but with the companies buying software. For instance, from the article: ‘But Paul Say, head of e-marketing at First Direct, told ZDNet UK he is concerned… …unless users had upgraded to the latest version of IE, they would receive “odd messages” questioning the authenticity of their connection. “This is a tricky one for us because we have no control or influence that we can exert,” said Say.‘ Businesses like Say’s bank have the ultimate control and influence. They buy the product! Just use a different browser as a ‘standard’, or even better use no browser and write to the W3C standards. If your customers get wierd messages, tell them to upgrade from IE to a ‘standards compliant’ browser. Businesses are customers of the software industry. The software industry provides goods and services to industry. Microsoft should be treated by large businesses the same way the company that runs the cafeteria or keeps up the office plants is treated, as a provider of goods and services. large companies need to get back in the drivers seat and start telling Microsoft what they need. They should not worship Bill and Steve like demi-gods. Competition is good for business. 2003-06-30 9:26 pm See (with Mozilla) how mozilla is just plain GREAT : http://robin.sourceforge.net/ Fear… 2003-06-30 9:28 pm Granted, I haven’t used XP, W98se is on my PC, and personally, I find that I have the most stable W98 experience when I DON’T upgrade IE. (Since the browser is so tightly integrated in W98 all it took was one corrupt IE download to trash my system so badly I had to format and re-install.) My default browser on my PC is Opera. Perhaps this will lead Windows users into exploring other browsers and then they will see how dog slow IE is. Safari and Opera are just as stable and both wipe the floor with IE when it comes to page loads. 2003-06-30 9:49 pm More of the same from Microsoft. As for Eugenia’s integration comments, yes, it is a good idea to allow an HTML engine to be integrated into the OS, but only if that’s a modular integration, like a service that supports drop-in replacement and actual HTML Standards. The Microsoft engine runs on Microsoft HTML and, historically, has encouraged the use of non-standard code. I also agree with the above comments about security. Every week I get a notice from the update wizard in W2K telling me that a new security patch has been made available that I should download; almost every time it mentions IE. 2003-06-30 10:29 pm While I perform the surgery manually nowadays, 98lite from http://www.litepc.com works very nicely to help you remove unwanted programs from 98 – ME such as IE. They have a similar program for XP in beta which is designed for W2K as well. 2003-06-30 11:07 pm “Granted, I haven’t used XP, W98se is on my PC, and personally, I find that I have the most stable W98 experience when I DON’T upgrade IE. (Since the browser is so tightly integrated in W98 all it took was one corrupt IE download to trash my system so badly I had to format and re-install.) My default browser on my PC is Opera.” At work we have a lot of old NT4 machines. IE 5.5 (builtin) used to load instantaneously. We upgraded to IE6 and now it takes as long to load as Mozilla. Firebird opens faster, which of course I use as my default browser on both Linux and Windows (all varieties – delivered from my Samba server at work). I do have some problems though with Firebirds rendering which I feel is a step back from Phoenix 0.5 and Mozilla 1.3. I guess they made a few sacrifices for speed. I hope its only temporary 2003-07-01 12:42 am There is no need for this. I don’t know what MS is planning on doing, whether or not they are putting an HTML parser/renderer/whatever into the kernel but I doubt it. This is such a silly thing to do. There’s nothing to gain. Speed? Please. I am on a dual Celeron 500 and I don’t have problems with speed while browsing. In an updated system there is even less problem, and certainly in the future speeds go up, people have more memory etc. HTML isn’t a huge overhead. Flash/Shockwave, Java apps with +100MB footprints, audio, video, and thousands of popups is what slows down your browsing experience. Should these all be in the kernel? We’re past the point where integrating huge pieces of code into the kernel is a good thing. With a TCP/IP stack it makes sense because this is something that is erratic and needs as little overhead as possible. The usage patterns of network traffic and HTML are so different that comparing the two as a justification for HTML in the kernel is ridiculous. Unless MS wants to beat Apple for plain HTML rendering, claiming the ‘fastest HTML renderer in the world’ and demo 400 pages rendered in under a minute so everyone can laugh and say “Wow, who gives a shit?”. Moving code to and fro is not “progress”, and I don’t have to wake up and “get with it”. 2003-07-01 3:21 am That’s all fine and well, but Internet Explorer for Windows (which is the bulk IE usage) doesn’t support those transparent png’s…..Microsoft really just bought out IE and hacked it up to put Netscape out of business. But all of us should have known that already. 2003-07-01 5:30 am I don’t get why IE needs to be made a part of the OS (for technical reasons). As far as I am concerned, the role of the OS is to manage access of multiple applications to the resources of the computer, ie, the network, hard drives, other devices etc. IE is an application. If you are going to integrate IE into the OS “because it is the Internet age”, why stop there? Why not integrate an FTP client into the kernel too? What other applications could be mangled into the kernel as well? I like Windows XP, and plan to use it for the forseeable future, but I don’t like this move. 2003-07-01 5:47 am As for Eugenia’s integration comments, yes, it is a good idea to allow an HTML engine to be integrated into the OS, but only if that’s a modular integration, like a service that supports drop-in replacement and actual HTML Standards. The second part of your statement is irrelevant with regards to integrating an HTML module into the OS. As for the first part, what makes you think the HTML module doesn’t support a drop-in replacement ? 2003-07-01 6:22 am Microsoft is not a stupid company. They know how to lock their customers in, and it isn’t going to be by locking them out of a compatible browser. It’s simply foolish to think that Microsoft will require an entire OS upgrade for each major browser release. They will push upgrades of the “browser component” of the OS through software update. They’ll continue to do this as long as practicable for older iterations of their operating systems, as they’ve always done. Of course, I’m posting this using Safari on my flat-panel iMac. 2003-07-01 6:32 am Microsoft is NOT integrating IE into the operating system in the sense some of you bozos — and I mean that in the kindest sense — are thinking. We’re not talking about IE running as some kind of kernel component. DUH! IE will live entirely in userland, not in the kernel. What MS is saying is that IE will no longer be distributed as a stand-alone application. It will be akin to explorer.exe or even the venerable progman.exe, which are considered fundamental components of the Windows operating system but are hardly part of the kernel. Because they run with every user session, and are distributed with the OS, they are considered a part of the OS. As far as the operating system kernel is considered, however, IE will be just another application. The point MS is trying to make is that they are changing how IE is distributed to customers, not its nature as an application. Now, somebody mentioned HTML rendering in the kernel. As far as I know, it ain’t gonna happen. What you’ve probably heard about is that a portion of IIS6 runs in the kernel as something called HTML.SYS, but this is strictly a server-side thing and has absolutely, positively, and without a shadow of a doubt, NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with IE. I hope that was clear. 2003-07-01 6:47 am The mere fact that IE will no longer be available as a stand-alone redistributable will not make it any more susceptible to viruses than it already is. No matter what they do, IE will remain one more ordinary application in user space, at least as far as the kernel is concerned. Also, unless you enjoy being silly, which I sometimes do, don’t write virii as the plural of virus. It’s just plain wrong. Not all nouns of Latin derivation ending in -us are eligible for a plural in -i, and positively no Latin nouns ending in -us form the plural with -ii. (For -ii to be valid, the noun would have had to end in -ius, e.g., filius.) Latin nouns of the second declension have nominative singular in -us and nominative plural in -i. But virus is a neuter noun of the fourth declension. It is a mass noun meaning something like “poison” and has no plural in Latin whatsoever. Its proper English plural is just “viruses.” 2003-07-01 7:15 am “Times are changing. 10 years ago would argue that “putting a networking stack to the OS or kernel is reduntant”. Today, it is a must-have. ” A network stack is NOT an application so its place in the kernel/OS is justified. If a browser needs to be in the OS, then by the same justification so does a word processor/spreadsheet etc as they are used far more than a browser !!! I do wonder sometimes why people cannot see the difference between an application and a OS component. 2003-07-01 8:31 am >> do you really want to have to buy the upgrade to your OS >> just to be able to reuse your online banking? >I do not see why the online banking will stop working if >you use an older version of the OS/browser. You’d be amazed how poorly designed bank websites are, and how they’re very much geared to a particular flavour of PC+IE, > And if the banking doesn’t work because you are using a 5-> 6 years old OS, then yes, it is time to upgrade no matter > what. I personally am NOT going into debt just to buy a computer to please my bank’s IT service, especially since most banks expect me to pay for the privilege of using their bloody awful website. > Technology changes fast these days, you have to > stay in pace with it unfortunately. There is no one who > can stop this crazy pace… Not quite true. If people don’t buy, the pace slows down. It’s already happening, has been for some time. Consumers as a whole can’t be bullied into buying something they don’t want. Incidentally, didn’t Microsoft lose a court case some years back, something to do with their integrating IE into the OS and so locking out competitors? 2003-07-01 4:05 pm 1. Microsoft is not planning to break compatibility with older versions of IE. If sites are still designed to work with IE 4.0, trust me, they would still work. Unless of course a few years down the line where it doesn’t make any sense to keep compatibility with older versions of IE. 2. To the webmaster/site designer, features like tabbed browsing doesn’t matter. And I doubt transperant PNGs would be an issue sometime into the future. Meanwhile, web designers can still insert code to make PNG transperant. And would still work in later versions of IE. And who knows? Maybe in a future Explorer there would be tabbed browsing, of course this would be going against their SDI philosophy and would be a smack in the face for the Office team moving away from tabs and MDI. 3. While most Windows users are using Windows 98, Windows XP is quickly catching up. I doubt Microsoft would need to play the IE card for upgrades, considering the amount of features Longhorn would have later on. 2003-07-01 5:07 pm I really don’t see why MS would have to “integrate” IE into the OS, considering that like many have said in this thread, it already is integrated. But yea MS is really slow with the whole inovation thing…I’m getting kind of sick of the whole start menu thing.