Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why are so many people still using Internet Explorer?

As somebody that know a little bit of HTML and Javascript, I appreciate standards very much. Internet Explorer has broken (though they've restrained themselves) and continue to break every single one of them. Luckily I develop for mobile platforms when I have an idea and have time.

Internet Explorer never follows standards, the interfaces they expose are always Microsoft-y, cumbersome, intrincated, unpractical. Multimedia and interaction is assured with the latest developments of the triad HTML/Javascript/CSS3, yet in Explorer it always renders badly. I know programmers who have suffered making two versions of their webpage: one for Explorer and another for the rest. These are just bad guys.

And we have the following compelling reasons, that are beyond pure political reasons (of following standards):
  1. You are safer by avoiding software that bad guys target. Mac users benefited from this for years. Windows users can lower their attack surface (be less vulnerable) by avoiding popular software. Internet Explorer is popular, so bad guys exploit known problems with the browser. No thanks.
  2. Microsoft fixes bugs in Internet Explorer on a fixed schedule. But, bugs are not discovered on a schedule which means IE users remain vulnerable to know bugs until the next scheduled bug fix roll-out. Neither Firefox nor Chrome, my preferred browsers, are locked into a schedule.  
  3. In addition, Microsoft is just slow in fixing Internet Explorer bugs. The last release of IE patches included a fix to a bug that Microsoft had been told about six months ago. The topic of bugs in popular software brings Adobe's Flash Player to mind. Internet Explorer users with Flash enabled in their browser get notified of new versions of Flash using a very flawed system. And, when they are notified, they need to manually install the new version of Flash.
  4. In this day and age, this is not acceptable; Flash is too popular and too buggy. Firefox fails here too. And speaking of Flash, it exists in Internet Explorer as an ActiveX control. The lack of security in ActiveX is what prompted me to jump on the Firefox bandwagon even prior to version 1.0.
  5. ActiveX may be locked down a bit more than it used to be, but how many Internet Explorer users understand the security related prompts about running an ActiveX control, let alone the configuration options for ActiveX? To me, a browser that doesn't support ActiveX is safer. ActiveX was the first approach to extending browsers with extra features and functions. Now, both Firefox and Chrome have a huge number of available extensions. Internet Explorer has only a handful
  6. Buggy browser extensions/plugins are often targeted by bad guys. Both Firefox and Chrome do some checking for outdated extensions. Internet Explorer does none.

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