I note Rob's forward of the MSIE/Solaris announcement, and the related Microsoft spin-control Web page.
A young fellow (now working at Network Associates in its newly-acquired PGP group) named Matt Hargett, a devout NT groupie, keeps bouncing MS-dogma posts off me to get my reactions. Following is round two, after he had rhetorically asked me if Netscape's source-code release wasn't the last gasp of a desperate company.
From rick Thu Jan 22 18:53:18 1998
Subject: Re: netscape src
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Matt Hargett)
> Other than the obscene memory footprint, of course ;>
Which is bad, but not horrible, and is partly attibutable to staticly-linked X Motif libs. I may make a stab at the dynamic version — except I really have no other use for Motif. In fact, I usually use Navigator 3.04, rather than Communicator 4.04, when I use their browsers at all. On the whole, I'd rather use Chimera.
They also compiled it against an ancient version of libc that uses an inefficient malloc function, and Java isn't happy unless you provide that lib. However, that's not difficult.
> Their main problem is they've spent more time adding
code to the
> existing codebase than optimizing the current one. The second comment
> was from one of the dev people there (who actually runs IE in protest
> of the priority disagreements he has with the dev there).
Interesting. That makes sense, and I appreciate the comment. Communicator does indeed give the impression of frantic featuritis. On its fewer supported platforms, MSIE is smaller, but I find pervasive bad design decisions. Like:
History, cache, cookies, and bookmarks implementations that chew up directory entries with wild abandon, which on FAT and NTFS worsens the problem of slow and fragmentation-prone filesystems.
cookies implementation that's architecturally difficult to bring under user control. With Navigator/Communicator, I can just make its single cookies file read-only, or make it a symlink to /dev/null. MSIE's messy implementation makes this level of user control apparently impossible (to my knowledge).
Installation defaults that are wildly wrong and/or distasteful, starting with the percentage of cache, proceeding to the dangerous security settings, and including those pathetic "friendly" URL displays. Don't even get me started on HTML e-mail with doubled contents and inappropriate MIME headers: Netscape has gone for that drooling idiocy, too, I know.
Uniformative MSIE displays to shield the user from 404 and other (informational) http daemon error messages.
Printing "Microsoft Internet Explorer" at the bottom of every page of HTML printout. That's just plain tacky.
The surreptitious reporting of user activity to Microsoft, if you enable the MSIE "Channels" feature. That's sleazy.
An uninstaller (in 4.x) that's so defective that it often leaves the base OS unusable, thereafter.
Wretched history of creating gratuitous security holes.
Use and advocacy of an unsound applet model (DCOM, or whatever ActiveX has been renamed to, this month). DCOM / ActiveX / Network OLE is a security nightmare.
So, I consider MSIE (including 4.x) a wretched mess, and to include a number of features that insult the intelligence of the user or are just plain sleazoid. Fortunately, there are numerous better alternatives.
Cheers, Everything is gone;
Rick Moen Your life's work has been destroyed.
email@example.com Squeeze trigger (yes/no)?
-- David Carlson (winner, haiku error message contest
See also: Listing of "101 things that the Mozilla browser can do that IE cannot": http://www.xulplanet.com/ndeakin/arts/reasons.html
From: "Benjamin J. Tilly "
Subject: [Iwe] How to properly scare IE users
Date: Wed, 05 Mar 2003 01:45:00 +0500
It is one thing to tell IE users that they are using an insecure piece of shite. It is another to show them...
Note that it only works with IE. The uncharitable might point out that that is because a similar tool aimed at non-IE browsers would have too few vulns to create a splash.