Monday December 11, 2006

Fuck Microsoft

usage chart -- summary below

I just installed Internet Explorer 7 on my work computer, and it made the bullet points on the CM navbar lists disappear (this after all the hoops I jumped through to make CM look reasonable under IE6). I have no intention of upgrading on my computer at home, so the odds of this getting fixed are pretty slim.

IE users, listen to me — you’re perpetuating bad stuff by not switching to Firefox (on Windows). There’s a reason why the phrase “internet explorer is evil” returns more then a million hits on Google. Switch to Firefox. You’ll be doing right by yourself and by the whole world. Feel free to use the comments section to tell me why you don’t want to.

Let me just dispel one misconception: it’s NOT Firefox that’s messing up websites.

We have these things called standards, which are a consistent set of rules for how a web browser is supposed to work. Smart people from all different places put them together. You’ve heard of a “standards compliant” browser? Firefox is one (it’s not perfect, but it’s 99% right). Safari is one. Opera is one.

With Internet Explorer, Microsoft chooses another way — to do whatever the fuck it wants. Accept some of the rules, ignore others, and implement still others in a way that’s deliberately different. There are ways to make a website look right in all the browsers, but they require workarounds, hacks, and other standards-violating tricks on the part of web developers.

Any internet search on this topic will bring up thousands of rants by people who build web sites about how terrible this is, the “evil” link above is just one extreme example. Putting these workarounds means that building a website that looks good in the major browsers can take twice as long as it otherwise would or more.

So, web developers are unhappy, but regular people don’t need to care, right? We can just use whatever browser’s best for us, right?

No. This hurts everyone, because it raises the bar to putting something on the internet, and keeps information away from all of us. To the extent that it’s difficult to build a good website, it’s largely Microsoft’s fault.

There is a slight learning curve for someone switching to Firefox, but it’s worth it. And not just because you’re supporting the people who are doing the right thing, and snubbing the people who are doing the wrong thing: Firefox is a better browser, too. It’s more secure, and it has better features — as evidenced by the fact that Internet Explorer 7 “borrows” many features from Firefox (and still doesn’t implement them very well).

I would suggest that when Windows asks you to download IE7, you download Firefox 2 instead (use the link above).

Microsoft can get away with this because a lot of people use Internet Explorer, so web developers have to cater to it. But fewer people are using it every day. In the comments, R. links to a usage graph for Europe. Above is a graph for Critical Miami so far in the month of December. I say everyone else should consider getting with the program.

Tags: , , ,

comments powered by Disqus
  1. R,    Mon Dec 11, 10:59 PM #  

    at least someone’s getting it right.

  2. Duran    Mon Dec 11, 11:05 PM #  

    There actually some websites that Firefox messes up as well. But in reality Bill Gates has brainwashed me so well that the idea of getting used to a new browser is just, I dunno, tiresome. Face it, either Firefox will go the way of Netscape or Microsoft will manage to buy it.

  3. People Who Don't Use Firefox    Tue Dec 12, 02:10 AM #  

    Is the person above utterly brainless? A browser is not a complicated thing but it’s very important and it takes two seconds to download FOR FREE. Support firefox, if just for the tabs alone. Support it just to say fuck off to Microsoft, a company (and Windows too) that is as anti-progress and has overstayed its welcome as much as the Bush administration + Miami clubs dickheads combined. That’s not idealism or some coder’s outcry, it’s smart.

  4. bert    Tue Dec 12, 03:25 AM #  

    Firefox just does’nt do it for Naomi and Me.

  5. Mr. Arrow    Tue Dec 12, 06:33 AM #  

    I downloaded Firefox and used it for a while and then switched back to Mircosoft Explorer.
    I don’t know why. Perhaps I’ve been turned into a Websurfing Mircosoft Zombie… can I find out?

  6. alesh    Tue Dec 12, 06:51 AM #  

    Mr. Arrow~

    Probably because when you install Firefox you also have to download and install Flash, Quicktime, etc. It’s little of a pain in the butt, but come on — it’s not THAT bad. You can do it!

    And yes, you are a Microsoft Zombie — the look and feel of IE is like a retarded security blanket if you’re used to it. If you take the plunge whole-hog you’ll be glad you did inside of a couple of weeks.

  7. mkh    Tue Dec 12, 07:23 AM #  

    One of the things I hate most about my day job is that our corporate standard browser is IE. While my team has been slowly converting our intranet site to be standards compliant — more important every day with the increasing availability of extranets and VPN connections — the main corporate tech division insists on using IE-specific code. Adding insult, my team ends up getting the support calls from people who want to know why some parts of the intranet work just fine via VPN on Safari, while others do not.

  8. Franklin    Tue Dec 12, 07:57 AM #  

    MKH, I feel your pain. That blows. There may be some job risk associated with it, but if the IE hacks are so bad that the sites don’t validate, you can tell corporate that they’re putting themselves into violation of 508 and see if they budge.

    IE makes designing for the internet no fun. IE7 was supposed to pay some kind of lip service to standards, but if it’s borking bullet points, I guess we can forget about that.

    Alesh, I scanned your code and CSS and you have something in the latter that says:

    .nobullet {list-style-type: none;}

    That’s attached to the ul around the navigation and might be causing the problem. The default value for list-style-type is disc, of all things, which is a normal bullet. You could try replacing none with disc or commenting out the whole line and see if IE gets with the program.

  9. John    Tue Dec 12, 11:19 AM #  


    Two things:

    1-If the learning curve is slight, can you link to a faq on firefox?

    2-Everytime I try to watch videos (yes, porn) on my firefox, it opens it in quicktime. I’ve tried changing the file associations in media player (what I want to use), quicktime, and firefox, but it still always fucking opens videos in quicktime. What gives?!

  10. alesh    Tue Dec 12, 11:33 AM #  


    Damn. Your troubles make my troubles look like a day in the park. With cotton candy.


    Thanks. I’m sure you noticed that my CSS is a complete abject mess. That’s because it’s a patchwork that I made up as I was learning CSS, originally built on the Txp 1rc3 default (very little of which remains, I’d imagine).

    As for the bullets, I do in fact whack out the default bullets; they’re ugly and way too big for my delicate navbar type. Further down, I replace them with this little graphic. Yes, it took great pains to make this look acceptable in IE6 AND real browsers. I can’t imagine why IE7 would change whatever made it work.

    Thanks for the 508 link. I need to start throwing that around alittle more, especially when Flash comes up.


    As regards #2, I’m not sure. Maybe Firefox is opening the videos in Quicktime because they’re Quicktime videos. There’s probably a way to override it, though. Not sure how offhand, but note that what FF is doing would be the correct default behavior. If IE does something else, it’s the incorrect behavior, even if it happens to be convenient for your porn viewing for whatever reason.

    As regards #1, Firefox FAQ.

  11. R.    Tue Dec 12, 12:11 PM #  

    in case anyone was wondering/curious, I made a post about firefox with a couple of useful links in it not long ago.

    Actually, I have a couple other links saved up that might even be more helpful. But I need to update tho.

  12. Jonathan    Tue Dec 12, 02:24 PM #  

    Plain text rules.

  13. john    Tue Dec 12, 02:36 PM #  

    Uh, definetly not quicktime videos…normal mpegs…like i said, i’ve set both media player and quicktime correctly, and ie picks up on those settings, but not firefox…

  14. alesh    Wed Jan 10, 05:55 PM #  

    As IE7 users will have noticed, the bullet point issue has corrected itself. Everything else still holds, tho.

  15. Steve    Wed Jan 10, 08:44 PM #  

    I miss DOS.

  16. republican toilet    Sun Jan 14, 02:18 AM #  

    -, the next-few-hours, criticalmiami, what is the best?
    Or does that matter as we will do what we want…

  17. defending my cunt-ry    Mon Jan 15, 04:53 AM #  

    My mommy got me a grant. I’m better than all of you.