Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No to Internet Explorer

Ever have a tough time trying to convince your friends and family to abandon IE (Internet Explorer)? Well now the French and German government is recommending their citizen to switch to non-IE browser. Apparently IE6 has a major vulnerability in which "Internet Explorer can be caused to allow remote code execution." In fact the same vulnerability exists in IE7 and IE8 too.

If there is a time to switch to other browsers, anytime now would be good. I have been using Firefox for some time now, and have no regrets switching over. I've also tried out the other alternatives like Google Chrome, Opera and Safari. In fact all of them perform much better than IE. In terms of speed of loading a webpage, I find they are much faster by 5 to 10 seconds. And that's a lot of waiting time wasted if you are browsing many web pages.

However majority of the users are still relying on good old IE. Using my analytics on my website, most visitors are still dropping by my website using IE. Figure at about 50-70% of them still use IE for browsing.

Why the resistance? Perhaps resistance to change is the factor. Majority of the people are not really technical savvy and to switch over from say IE to Firefox would be a struggle for them.

Heck, even my dad struggled a lot when he was using Windows 2000, and when he switched over to Windows Vista, it took him a long time to finally settle down with it. And now Windows 7 is out and naturally he is resistant to change the operating system. And my dad is considered not too bad, if it was my dad-in-law, switching on the computer is a struggle for him (he didn't even know he has to switch on both the LCD display and the computer too! And he complained to me that his computer was not working!).

So as far as Internet Explorer goes, it will still dominate the browser market for a long time to come despite its shortcomings and despite the fact that there are better browsers like Firefox, Opera, or Chrome.

Here's something from Sitepoint about "IE must die", heh heh:

Here's a tasty bit of schadenfreude for all of you troopers in the "Internet Explorer Must Die" Army: in the wake of the attacks on Google, the German, French, and Australian governments have all advised us to stop using Internet Explorer. Microsoft's Security Advisory points out that a vulnerability can be found in versions 6, 7, and 8, and recommends that you update to IE8 as soon as you can in order to take advantage of DEP -- Data Execution Protection. On the Microsoft Security Response Center's blog, you'll find videos explaining DEP and how it can help you.

It's important to remember, though, that any browser could be introducing undiscovered bugs and vulnerabilities right now. If you make the switch to another browser, it's important to always keep an eye out for updates, patches, and critical issues that could affect you.

Many of our readers and community members have long wanted an end to IE for good, and you'll find that exact sentiment in the majority of the responses posted about it on our Facebook page. Of course, many of these people had already abandoned Internet Explorer long ago in favor of other browsers, though some of you might be trapped on Internet Explorer at work. If you're in an IE-only workplace, what are your IT staff doing about this concern? We're curious here at SitePoint HQ, and we'd love to know how this issue may be affecting you. Drop us a line!
- Raena Jackson Armitage

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