back to article Internet Explorer LIVES ON, cackle sneaky Microsoft engineers

Microsoft is rumoured to have killed off its nearly 20-year-old Internet Explorer browser – but the firm has told The Register there's life in the old code yet. At the Microsoft Convergence conference in Atlanta, US, on Monday, Microsoft's marketing chief Chris Capossela appeared to suggest the recently announced Project …

  1. Gray Ham
    Childcatcher

    "Spartan is clearly where Microsoft wants to go with browser technology; even the name has been picked to suggest simplicity, speed and hardiness."

    Presumably we shouldn't mention the pederasty, though ...

    1. frank ly

      If Microsoft are doing it, you're buggered either way.

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        "buggered either way"

        Enquiring minds want to know?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Also the death squads for helots is not so politically correct

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Also the death squads for helots is not so politically correct

        There was also a quite sophisticated program of spying on the helots. Some of the most talented Spartans were introduced to the helot population at the end of their military training (in their late teens). And their job was to mark out targets for assassination.

        Please insert your own joke about the NSA...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ""We will continue to make Internet Explorer available with Windows 10 for enterprises and other customers who require legacy browser support.""

      So as long as someone that still needs it wants to pay for it then. Whilst everyone else can choose to use Spartan. Nothing wrong with that.

    4. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: the pederasty

      Good grief, Gray Ham, STOP THINKING OF THE CHILDREN!!!!

  2. Ketlan
    Windows

    Hmm...

    Well I'm stuck with it cos my bloody bank demands that I use it to access its site, dammit. I emailed a couple of times to ask why but - surprise - got no answer. If it wasn't for that, IE would have left my desktop years ago, never to return, in Spartan form or any other.

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: Hmm...

      If my bank insisted on my using a particular browser to access its site, I'd be switching banks in a big hurry. Designing a site only for a particular browser implies non-standard design practices that would inevitably result in serious security vulnerabilities, even leaving aside the element of lack of choice.

      1. PipV

        Re: Hmm...

        For personal banking I'd agree, and most banks support multi browswer. However for busines banking, this is somewhat different. Switching business bank accounts for a large business isn't as easy.

        Microsoft are again thinking with their head in the clouds, whilst banks who's main systems are coded in languages 30 years+ are hardly going to be swift to develop something that curretnly works just becuase the Redmond lads and lasses have have a brainstorming session around a table full of sweets and fizzy pop.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmm...

          Microsoft are again thinking with their head in the clouds, whilst banks who's main systems are coded in languages 30 years+ are hardly going to be swift to develop something that curretnly works just becuase the Redmond lads and lasses have have a brainstorming session around a table full of sweets and fizzy pop.

          Ohh yes, and Internet Explorer was very big 30 years ago.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Hmm...

        @Steven Roper

        It wasn't so long ago that US export regulations prevented browsers being shipped outside the US with strong encryption. The only way for many years to provide strong encryption was to use ActiveX which is why a whole industry grew up around it. Rolling that can kind of stuff back can take a while but most banks should have managed it by now. If I was faced with a bank that required IE for online banking I wouldn't do online banking with it. But that wouldn't be enough to want to change banks.

        Never been the case with any of the banks I work with but then I don't use a browser for online banking anyway as it's setup for the user to carry the risk associated with stolen credentials. HBCI only here.

  3. thomas k.

    Still on XP/IE6 at work

    So most of us use Firefox or Chrome on our workstations for actual web browsing.

  4. Captain DaFt

    OK, I think I've got it...

    The old man is obviously Microsoft Licensing, the chap burdened with him is The IT department advocating FOSS, and the guy with the cart represents Management.

    Just as they think they've disposed of MS Licensing, IE6 gallops by on its VM, closely followed by an overburdened and overworked IT support worker.

    "I'm STILL the KING around here, Baby!", crows IE6.

    Is... is that about right?

    1. Jad

      Re: OK, I think I've got it...

      unfortunately yes :(

    2. Craigness

      Re: OK, I think I've got it...

      How does "not covered in shit" fit into that explanation?

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: OK, I think I've got it...

        "How does "not covered in shit" fit into that explanation?"

        Please don't pick at the metaphor, or it'll leave a nasty scar.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: OK, I think I've got it...

        How does "not covered in shit" fit into that explanation?

        Does that character represent Apple? They seem to have a teflon hide that can do no wrong these days…

  5. Someone Else Silver badge
    WTF?

    Waiddaminnit!

    From what Redmond says, it's reasonable to assume that IE may be something consumer customers are going to have to install if they need it.

    Wait a minute there...Wasn't the Micros~1 line, for years and years, that Insecure Exposer was an integral and inseparable part of the OS, and couldn't be separated? And yet, now it has to be installed...you know, like an option.

    Things that make you go, "Hmmmmm...."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Waiddaminnit!

      Why the down votes people? Whether you like MS or not, this post is clearly true, and claiming IE was an inseperable part of the OS was clearly a lie to help them kill netscape.

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: Waiddaminnit!

        Because what was true then must to be true now, nothing has or could have changed in the last decade?

        The way I understood it, though it was a while ago, it came down to exactly what "IE" was. It was two parts if I remember rightly; the underlying gubbins which Windows itself and apps running on Windows used to do their things and a front-end which created a browser using those underlying gubbins. It was possible to remove the front-end but not the back end, so "IE" could not be fully removed without adverse consequences. It was thus 'integrated' into Windows, removing the big blue "e" wasn't enough to remove it.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Waiddaminnit!

          It was enough to remove it for most people, indeed by Windows 7 IE just became a normal alias on the desktop linked to iexplore.exe and you can get rid of both if you want.

      2. Calleb III

        Re: Waiddaminnit!

        Still stuck in 98? The ability to remove IE has been there since the XP era.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge
          FAIL

          @ Calleb III -- Re: Waiddaminnit!

          Still stuck in Micros~1 marketing bullshit? The only thing about IE that can be "removed" is the front end that fires it up in a browser window that you see. Go try removing the underlying DLLs and see how far you get (but make sure your Windows recovery disks are nearby...).

          1. Kristian Walsh

            Re: @ someone else

            United States vs Microsoft Corporation was settled in 2001, three years after the case was brought. But lets stay in this century, shall we?

            As the events of 2001 are so relevant now, let's run though what other things were news in 2001: well, beleaguered computer manufacturer Apple launched its portable music player "iPod", and the first release of OS X, its BSD-based replacement for MacOS 9, to very mixed reviews. Also the Linux kernel 2.4 was finally released. Windows had no releases that year, so you had "2000", "98" or "Me", as MS-DOS had only just been discontinued (last release in late 2000). Phone giant Nokia also launched the first phone to run their new Cross-platform OS, called Symbian.

            Online, recent tech startup Google was continuing making a name for itself in search, with many predicting that even after just three years it might outdo AltaVista and Lycos in share of searches. Netscape continued its slow self-destruction - we'd still have to wait another two years for Firefox, the only good bit of the horrible Communicator package, to be made available.

            For people who produced the stuff that hadn't yet been labelled "content", you could still get a GeoCities account back in 2001. There were no "blogs" by that name. YouTube's trip to the zoo wouldn't happen for another four years. Facebook was three years away, Twitter five. If you wanted to watch video online, you downloaded RealPlayer first. The Dot-com bust might have been over by then, but some players lingered on: If you lived in the selected metropolitan areas that it served, you could still buy your groceries from WebVan.com until the end of the year. If you were rich, you could get a T1 or ISDN Primary Rate line into your premises and reap 1.5 or 2.0 megabits of throughput. Mobile was GPRS at best, with most of the telcos too broke to roll out 3G after overspending for their operating licences.

            So, lots there that's still relevant to today's computing industry, I'm sure you believe. Well, except that 2001 was also, like every year this century, the year when Linux on the Desktop was going to make it big.

      3. JC_

        Re: Waiddaminnit!

        "Why the down votes people?"

        Trolling with "Micros~1" and "Insecure Exposer" I'd guess. Same as using "Crapple" and similar playground insults, it marks out a time-waster.

        "The only thing about IE that can be "removed" is the front end that fires it up in a browser window that you see."

        How should a developer display HTML in a Windows application, which is a common thing to do? Should they include the source for Chromium instead of using the built-in HTML renderer of the OS?

    2. Sebastian A

      Re: Waiddaminnit!

      "Which is somewhat ambiguous, but it essentially means everyone will get Internet Explorer, except those who install Windows 10 and even then, they can ask for it back."

      Please can this mean we don't HAVE to have Spartan either? I really don't want any pointless software on my lean gaming rig, and if they're finally separating a browser I never used from the supposed core of the OS, I'd really prefer it if they didn't ram another one in the hole.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge
    WTF?

    Less is more, not

    Just last night the good wife needed to do some online training.

    Her company website said: "To log in use Internet Explorer 9 or less"

    Needless to say, but I will anyway, she couldn't proceed as IE 11 was "unsupported".

    I later got her access via Firefox 36x. This seemed to work OK despite a warning to use FF 2x !

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Less is more, not

      "Her company website said: "To log in use Internet Explorer 9 or less""

      To which you responded by deploying your Register Reader's skill set and spoofed the user agent id.

    2. Anonymous IV

      Re: Less is more, not

      > Her company website said: "To log in use Internet Explorer 9 or less"

      I hope you pointed out to their web[master|mistress] that the word should have been "fewer"?

      </dubious-pedantry>

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Less is more, not

        'the word should have been "fewer"?'

        No, "worse".

      2. Winkypop Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Less is more, not

        Yes "fewer" did cross my mind.

        I think I've been here too long.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Less is more, not

      "she couldn't proceed as IE 11 was "unsupported"."

      Next time, just press F12 for developer mode, choose the Emulation tab, and then select what version of IE (or other browser!) you want it to pretend to be.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two for the price of one

    Most people are missing the fact that Microsoft will have TWO browsers. Because its big fee-paying enterprise customers are yet to make any serious inroads into remediating their legacy apps to be standards compliant, the old IE will still be needed by these customers for a very long time. The only difference is that unlike Enterprise Mode in IE11, the legacy browser will now be standalone rather than being part of the same code base as the new one. Thus finally an opportunity for Ms to break with the past and create a decent new browser that can compete with Chrome?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two for the price of one

      "and create a decent new browser that can compete with Chrome?"

      The last 3 major releases of Internet Explorer were all faster than the current shipping version of Chrome at the time (on the Sun Spider test), have all had fewer security vulnerabilities than Chrome since, and all are not spyware by design unlike Chrome. That competes quite well already imo.

      IE also doesn't require any addins / external apps for full advert blocking functionality.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    "even the name has been picked to suggest simplicity, speed and hardiness."

    Perhaps they should also rename IE - so the name reflects ITS features.

    I suggest "Arthritic Sloth"

    1. Anonymous IV

      Re: "even the name has been picked to suggest simplicity, speed and hardiness."

      If Microsoft renamed IE as "Arthritic Sloth" then they would run the risk of people thinking that it was a new, non-alliterative, version of Ubuntu...

    2. Tony Paulazzo

      Re: "even the name has been picked to suggest simplicity, speed and hardiness."

      Arthritic Slower Sloth?

      Windows 7 & 8 users get a free upgrade eh, so Vista users have been given the middle finger. Again!

      1. Bob Dole (tm)

        Re: "even the name has been picked to suggest simplicity, speed and hardiness."

        >>Arthritic Slower Sloth?

        Windows 7 & 8 users get a free upgrade eh, so Vista users have been given the middle finger. Again!

        Vista users were given the finger the day it was released. Honestly if you are still using vista then you shouldn't be on this site.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "even the name has been picked to suggest simplicity, speed and hardiness."

      > Perhaps they should also rename IE - so the name reflects ITS features.

      "Norwegian Blue".

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Perhaps they should also rename IE - so the name reflects ITS features

        I still think Insecure Exposer is the winnah. It reflects its features accurately, is succinct and retains the I.E. initials so when a MS fanboi refers to "IE" we can all nod knowingly...

      2. magickmark
        Coat

        Re: "even the name has been picked to suggest simplicity, speed and hardiness."

        > Perhaps they should also rename IE - so the name reflects ITS features.

        >>"Norwegian Blue".

        'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This browser is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker!

        'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies!

        'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig!

        'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!!

        THIS IS AN EX-BROWSER!

  9. nematoad Silver badge

    I don't know.

    "Windows 7 and 8 users will still have IE, although Microsoft is doing its best to make those operating system builds a dying breed."

    I don't know about Windows 7, I've never used it, but as far as I can see Windows 8 if not actually DOA was brain-dead from birth.

  10. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Browser warts

    Microsoft has to keep IE going because so many enterprise customers still use it, with version six still being run internally for some processes, but it's a pain in the backside for Redmond because there's so much legacy code in there that the browser is sluggish and patching problematic.

    That's what you get for winning the browser war and then sitting on your hands, muttering 'La-la-la! Can't hear you' for too long. I have no sympathy for them -- I'll reserve that for those of us who've had to live with their dull complacency and arrogance.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows, your reign is over ....

    ** Last week In a Reg thread I asked for advice about switching to Linux .... Thanks to all those who responded. Wow! Overall I was blown away. What a shock! Linux installs quickly and simply, its stable, and it can run windows apps after a simple install of Wine! As a user experience talk about a breath of fresh air. For anyone else thinking about taking the plunge, I test-drove the two versions here:

    http://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=171

    http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop

    ** Both versions boot from a DVD without issue! You can even test-drive Linux by booting from a DVD without even doing an install. Brilliant! Fuck you Windows! Some versions can even boot from a USB, but I don't know if these support the test-drive feature... Wine takes just a few moments to install, and I tested Office 2000 and Paint Shop Pro and they both ran fine...

    ** Some caveats: Mint appears to be more to my liking for three reasons. 1. It has a ready made start-bar menu system as opposed to a search bar. #2. You must manually disable Ubuntu's "Web search", otherwise it will spy on you. Thanks to El Reg for the warning. #3. Its necessary to download VLC Player or equivalent for Ubuntu, otherwise simple MP3's won't play! Not sure why!

    ** I'm going to chastise staff at every single PC store in my region for having such little imagination and not selling PC's with Linux ... There's no looking back now! Thank you so much Linux community....

    ** Dear Tech Media... Stop lauding Microsoft's feeble efforts to improve their failing product line, and devote equal time to Linux instead. This is coming from a lifelong M$ developer, but I'm so done with Redmond now! .... Google + Android? .... No thanks spynet! ... Apple?.... I respect them, but I'll always be a PC guy.

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime
      Facepalm

      Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

      All very nice, but what the fuck does that have to do with the death of IE?

      Maybe you posted this in the wrong thread.

    2. Anonymous IV

      Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

      Assuming that the original post is not a wind-up, one might observe that "even more tedious than a Zealot is a Convert".

      Let's hope that the justifiably-Anonymous Coward hasn't also given up alcohol and/or smoking, or suddenly got religion, for he would then be even more insufferable...

    3. Michael Habel

      Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

      VLC Player or equivalent for Ubuntu, otherwise simple MP3's won't play! Not sure why!

      For the same reason why you need to force Linux to relinquish the piss-poor nouveau (nVidia Drivers), because they are non-free IIRC that was the difference in Medibuntu (i.e. Having all the Media CODECs / Players), as opposed to the more Vanilla Ubuntu where you have to go and, install all that stuff on your own. Mint to their credit, have more or less made that much clear on their Downloads Page.

      As to why Shops refuse to sell Linux... It's not the Shops you should be angry with. Its the OEMs, and MicroSoft isn't really giving them a whole lotta choice in this matter.

    4. Neil Charles

      Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

      Give it six months to a year and then see how you feel.

      I still think Mint is great, but I wrote a few very enthusiastic pieces like yours soon after first installing it and it's not long enough to work out where the frustrations are hiding.

      First experiences are that it boots fast, everything works like it should, you can browse and email and all the usual stuff absolutely no problem. For free! Amazing.

      Then at some point you'll want to do something that Wine can't handle, or you'll install software through the Mint Software Manager that doesn't work and end up in a cycle of Googling and typing in command line instructions that you don't understand in an effort to fix things.

      For me, a couple of those were Picasa (which flatly refused to upload pictures) and MySQL (which is all one straightforward package on Windows and on Linux, not).

      Partly it's lack of familiarity with the environment - which isn't Mint's fault - and partly it's that things aren't as simple as on Windows. Whatever slightly more niche thing you want your PC to do - interface with a GPS, run a database, do video editing, whatever... Windows will cope easily and on Linux, you can probably do it but it's harder and your preferred choice of software might never work.

      It actually makes you appreciate how much Windows does well underneath those bloody irritating bits that MS insist on putting on top (Charms Bar anyone?)

      Anyway, all this has got nothing to do with Spartan. I'd like to hope it's a fresh start, but they've put Cortana in it, which doesn't sound very Spartan to me. I'm betting probably better than IE, but not as good as a good browser.

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

        Then at some point you'll want to do something that Wine can't handle, or you'll install software through the Mint Software Manager that doesn't work and end up in a cycle of Googling and typing in command line instructions that you don't understand in an effort to fix things.

        Sadly there's a whole lotta truth in that statement. Especially (and, as a personal example of late), you need to flash a Base (or Stock Recovery), Firmware on a Linux / Android TV Box, and you find that the only Software / Drivers capable of actually doing so... Just happen to be Windows ONLY!

        Not sure if this is 'cause the Chinese, just don't care, or if they'd just assume that everyone's on Windows anyway, so what the Hell?

        Unfortunately its this kinda sh-- that'll keep Windows in business for quite some time yet. Because opinions be damned! You are almost expected to be on some version of Windows at some point.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

      "Windows, your reign is over .... "

      Nope - you still can't run Halo or Titan Fall on Linux....

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

        "Nope - you still can't run Halo or Titan Fall on Linux...."

        Because it's an OS not a games platform with a dodgy office suite?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

          "Because it's an OS not a games platform with a dodgy office suite?"

          There is a version of Linux that's a game platform and runs Open Office?!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

        Ouch!

        The original point asked why does the tech-media over-report every sneeze out of Redmond and rarely report progress of Linux... Who cares if IE is replaced or isn't, aren't Chrome and Firefox releases more important these days....

        @Neil Charles

        All good points thank you! More posts like this please, its far more constructive.

        @To_All_The_Others:

        Its real easy to be snide, but that doesn't change hearts and minds... Why not follow Neil Charles lead, and post more constructive feedback...

      3. Michael Habel

        Re: Windows, your reign is over ....

        "Windows, your reign is over .... "

        Nope - you still can't run Halo or Titan Fall on Linux..

        That's probably 'cause M$ are to stingy to publish their Code over on Steam... Which reminds me I really should log-in again sometime to see if their List of Linux Games has improved any since last Year...

  12. Michael Habel

    IE: Infection Exploiter

    Oddly enough I only find myself ever using this <Deity>-awful Program, about roughly Once a Month... Usually around the Second Wednesday Morning (+1:00UTC) for a spot of Windows Updating. So if MicroSoft are, gonna take away the Internet, how do they expect anyone to be able to update their Machines?

    As for Browsers... There never was, and likely shall never be a more perfect Browser then Firefox 3.x. Then they had to go on and ruin that with 4.x, and its just been going down hill ever faster then that now. At the moment I'm using Pale Moon, and (knocks on Wood!), its doing pretty well at the moment.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IE8. sympathy please

    I am currently reading this on IE8

    :(

    due to "Legacy" apps (badly) written for this very large public body. You know the one.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: IE8. sympathy please

      I know where you're coming from. I have some GM workshop manuals which I have to view inside a VM running XP, and I had to install IE8 to read the damn things. Anything newer wouldn't fly, wasn't compatible.

      Then I discovered that MS has gone out of their way to make it impossible to download the older IE versions from them, so I had to download from one of those installer archives, file hippo or some such stupidly named thing, and hope it wasn't infested with crapware.

      Large private bodies are just as bad for this legacy crap as public ones.

      1. JimmyPage Silver badge

        impossible to download the older IE versions from them

        we do all keep old MSDN packs, don't we ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: IE8. sympathy please

      Oh Yes, - but I bet I'm thinking of yet another large public body One I know just upgraded from IE6 to 8

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IE8. sympathy please

      My company spent over a year testing in-house systems against IE8 before taking the plunge with some IT managers making a huge, noisy fuss about their efforts to help throw off the shackles of IE6.

      These voices, however, were very difficult to hear when it was pointed out at various times along the way that due to a certain choice of default setting all that had actually been achieved was the successful testing of IE8's Compatibility Mode against the in-house apps.

      How royally boned we are now and the difficulties we will face getting anywhere close to a double-digit version is a hilariously tragic IE-logo shaped elephant in the room.

      Anon obviously!

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