Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Why Internet Explorer Needs To Go

Written by johnleemk on 9:05:46 am May 6, 2005.

As everyone knows, upstart Mozilla Firefox has been taking on IE in recent times, reigniting the browser wars. Why you should switch from IE to another browser, let alone Firefox, is often in contention, however.

A common reasosn given by fanatics is that IE does not support web standards. The counterpoint often offered by skeptics is, why should Microsoft listen to some geeks who create limits on what HTML/Javascript/CSS/DHTML/whatever can do? Here's why: Because Microsoft is a member of the W3C, which sets the standards.

The problem is, Microsoft does not adhere to these standards. Internet Explorer's rendering engine is seriously screwed when it comes to CSS. Most web designers often provide two different stylesheets when it comes to websites: One for IE, and one for browsers that support the standards Microsoft agreed it would uphold, but didn't.

This creates a lot of pointless extra work for webmasters. As one of them, I do not appreciate this extra effort better spent on other activities. IE also has practically no support for CSS2; it was the first to implement CSS1, but has yet to implement CSS2. Opera already has extensive CSS3 support! Obviously this is holding the advance of technology back very seriously. It's doubtful any major changes will be made to the IE rendering engine any time soon, which means, again, more work for webmasters that could be spent working on other aspects of their website.

In addition to that, IE is not properly secured, and tied to the Microsoft Windows shell. What this means is, if a virus infects Internet Explorer, it infects your whole computer. It has total access to your memory, to your system files, everything. If Firefox gets infected, it may be catastrophic as well, but it's likely not to bring Windows down with it. The problem with Internet Explorer is that it is Windows. To separate the two involves a serious surgical operation, which few have the stomach for doing (you'll have to disable the Active Desktop and mess with the Windows registry, among other things).

Having said all that, I'm not an anti-IE fanatic. As I've said before (much to the chagrin of several retarded Firefox fanidiots), I'd rather take IE over Netscape. IE still has better functionality and less bloat than Netscape. Netscape is sluggish. The security tradeoff isn't that bad because I know of IE's shortcomings and how to avoid running into them. That isn't a risk the average computer user should be taking, however. Switch to another web browser and do yourself a favour. If you visit websites that must have IE, get Firefox and the extension that gives you the option of opening links in IE. If you can't stop your use of IE entirely, at least limit it.

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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

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