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Why Do So Many Geeks Hate Internet Explorer?
How-To-Geek ^ | 18 October 2010 | HTG

Posted on 10/20/2010 8:28:50 AM PDT by ShadowAce


It’s common knowledge that almost every single geek hates Internet Explorer with a passion, but have you ever wondered why? Let’s take a fair look at the history and where it all began… for posterity, if nothing else.

Contrary to what you might think, this article is not meant to be a hate-fest on Internet Explorer—in fact, we’re pretty impressed with the hardware acceleration and new features in Internet Explorer 9—but keep reading for the whole story.

In the Beginning There Was IE, and It Was Good?

We’ve all been so used to thinking of Internet Explorer as that slow, buggy browser that is behind the times, but it wasn’t always that way—in fact, way back when, Internet Explorer pioneered many innovations that made the web what it is today.


Here’s a quick tour through the easily forgotten history of the infamous browser:

1996: Internet Explorer 3
This version of the browser, introduced in 1997, was the first browser to implement CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Yes, you’re reading that correctly—in fact, it introduced many new features like Java applets and sadly, ActiveX controls.

1997: Internet Explorer 4
IE4 introduced a blazing fast (at the time) rendering engine as an embeddable component that could be used in other applications—this was a lot more important than people realize. This version also introduced Dynamic HTML, which allows web pages to dynamically change the page using JavaScript, and added Active Desktop integration.

Even more weird? Seems like nobody remembers this anymore, but IE4 was actually cross-platform—you could install it on Mac OS, Solaris, and HP-UX—and by the time IE5 was released, IE4 had reached a 60% market share.

1999: Internet Explorer 5.x
Microsoft invented Ajax. Wait… what? That’s right, it was this version of IE that introduced the XMLHttpRequest feature in JavaScript, which forms the underlying technology behind every web application you’re using today—you know, like Gmail. Of course, the term “Ajax” wasn’t actually coined until years later by somebody other than Microsoft, but this release supported everything required to make it work.

So Yes, Microsoft Innovated
From IE3 until IE6, Microsoft used all their resources to simply out-innovate the competition, releasing new features and better browsers faster than Netscape. In fact, Netscape 3 Gold was a buggy piece of junk that crashed all the time, and Netscape 4 was extremely slow and could barely render tables—much less CSS, which would often cause the browser to crash.

To put it in context: web developers used to complain about Netscape the same way they complain about IE6 now.

What Made It Go So Very Wrong?


The trouble all started when Microsoft integrated IE into Windows as a required component, and made it difficult to uninstall and use an alternate browser. Then there was the whole business with them exploiting their monopoly to try and push Netscape out of the market, and a lot of people started to view Microsoft as the evil empire.

Microsoft Stopped Trying
By the time Microsoft released Internet Explorer 6 in 2001, complete with lots of new features for web developers, since there was no competition and they had a 95% market share, Microsoft just stopped trying—seriously, they did nothing for 5 years even after Firefox was released and geeks started migrating left and right.

Microsoft-Specific Features
The whole problem with Microsoft’s innovation is that much of it was done in ways that didn’t follow the web standards—this wasn’t as big of a problem when Internet Explorer was the only game in town, but once Firefox and Webkit came around and started following the standards correctly, suddenly it became a huge problem for web developers.

Security Holes and Crashing
Since Microsoft decided they didn’t need to try anymore, and they didn’t keep up with the competition from Firefox and other browsers, bugs and security holes just cropped up left and right—really terrible ones, too. For instance, this code is all that is required to crash IE6:

<script>for(x in document.write){document.write(x);}</script>

In fact, the screenshot at the beginning of this section was a live example of testing out this particular bug.

IE7 and IE8 Were Too Little, Too Late
It took 5 years after IE6 for Microsoft to finally get around to releasing IE7, which added tabs and made the browser slightly more tolerable, but for web designers it was still a nightmare to deal with, and only complicated the issue since now you had to make pages render correctly in two lousy browsers instead of just one.

It took another 2.5 years for Microsoft to finally release Internet Explorer 8, which greatly improved CSS support for web developers, and added new features like Private browsing, tab isolation to prevent one bad page from taking down the whole browser, and phishing protection. By this point, most geeks had already moved on to Firefox, and then some of us to Google Chrome.

Here’s the Real Reason Geeks Hate IE


Just because we’re geeks doesn’t mean we hate everything that’s inferior and outdated—in fact, we often love retro computing—that’s why we love Atari, NES, Commodore 64, etc. We take pride in our geek knowledge. So why’s Internet Explorer a different story?

Here’s a couple of reasons that fueled our hatred of the buggy browser, and finally put us all over the edge:

Supporting IE is Like a Fork in the Eye for Web Devs
Here’s a sample of a day in the life of a web designer: You spend hours making sure that your page looks great, and you test it out in Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and even Opera. It looks great, awesome!

Now you open up IE and the page looks like somebody put it into a blender and hit the Whip button. Then you spend double the amount of time trying to fix it to look tolerable in IE6 and IE7, cursing loudly the entire time.

Geeks Forced to Use Internet Explorerimage
And here’s where we come to the real issue—the whole reason that geeks can’t stand Internet Explorer:

Geeks everywhere were forced to use Internet Explorer at work even when there are better browsers, forced to support it for corporate applications, forced to make sure web sites still work in IE, and we couldn’t convince everybody to switch to a better browser.

Geeks don’t hate something that’s inferior—but they do hate it when it’s forced on them.

The Good News: The Future Might Be Brighter

Thankfully it seems like Microsoft has finally learned from their many, many mistakes in the browser world. They are below 50% in the market share wars, and they’ve finally learned to focus on using web standards.

Internet Explorer 9 is about to be released, it’s got a shiny new interface that looks a lot like Google Chrome, blazing fast hardware acceleration, and supports HTML5 surprisingly well—in fact, it’s so much better that 34% of our readers said they will switch to IE9.

Microsoft is billing Internet Explorer 9 as the browser that’s going to change the world, and they aren’t wrong—they just aren’t mentioning that they were the only ones holding the web back with their anemic browsers. And now that mess is finally over.

TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: browser; ie; ilovebillgates; iwanthim; iwanthimbad; microsoft; microsoftfanboys
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1 posted on 10/20/2010 8:28:53 AM PDT by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

2 posted on 10/20/2010 8:29:36 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

IMHO, Geeks don’t cotton to thinking of themselves as borg pawns.

3 posted on 10/20/2010 8:31:24 AM PDT by combat_boots (The Lion of Judah cometh. Hallelujah. Gloria Patri, Filio et Spiritui Sancto.)
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To: ShadowAce

geeks think?

4 posted on 10/20/2010 8:32:24 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (defeat islam.)
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To: the invisib1e hand
geeks think?
5 posted on 10/20/2010 8:33:24 AM PDT by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

Now that FireFox has become such a bloated hog (currently running 201,000k for me right now), I’m more than willing to go to IE9 if they make it good.

Chrome is simple too sparse, but I use it as the default. Opera is too “busy”.

6 posted on 10/20/2010 8:34:21 AM PDT by VanDeKoik (1 million in stimulus dollars paid for this tagline!)
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To: the invisib1e hand

I am using Chrome 7, with IE 9 as back up.

FireFox is distant third.

7 posted on 10/20/2010 8:34:47 AM PDT by FloridaSunrise
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To: ShadowAce

This article misses the big reason geeks hate IE - the “ActiveX” framework that lets someone fritz with your system files via the browser.

8 posted on 10/20/2010 8:34:53 AM PDT by Notary Sojac ("Goldman Sachs" is to "US economy" as "lamprey" is to "lake trout")
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To: the invisib1e hand

>>>geeks think?

Where others emote. :)

9 posted on 10/20/2010 8:35:02 AM PDT by Keith in Iowa (FR Class of 1998 | TV News is an oxymoron. | MSNBC = Moonbats Spouting Nothing But Crap.)
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To: ShadowAce

Firefox is what I have used for several years now. The two reasons: Tabs, which I use CONSTANTLY, and security. Because Firefox is not integrated with windows, even if you fully exploit it there are only so many places a hacker can go. It is like IE has the keys to the building, so once you get him, you have it all. Firefox just doesn’t have as much power. Even if it gives you it’s keys to it’s parts of the building, there is only so much malicious stuff you can do.

10 posted on 10/20/2010 8:36:45 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: ShadowAce; neverdem; SunkenCiv

No spell check in IE. Mozzile/FireFox hights errors automatically in any entry form, the correction is a simple right-click on the underlined word.

11 posted on 10/20/2010 8:38:41 AM PDT by Robert A Cook PE (I can only donate monthly, but socialists' ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: ShadowAce

i’m afraid to click that.

12 posted on 10/20/2010 8:38:51 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (defeat islam.)
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To: ShadowAce

I still stick with Firefox because with the right combo of addons (Adblock, Greasemonkey and NoScript in my case) I can strip down every webpage to just what I want to see, and never have to look at a distracting and bandwidth hogging graphic, ad, or animation unless I -want- to.

13 posted on 10/20/2010 8:39:17 AM PDT by Notary Sojac ("Goldman Sachs" is to "US economy" as "lamprey" is to "lake trout")
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To: combat_boots

I think that is the main thing. It reminds me of the dumb joke in a Firesign Theater album:

Why did the short-hair cross the street? Because someone told him to.

Why did the long-hair cross the street? Because someone told him NOT to.

Actually, you could replace short-hair with Asian or European and replace long-hair with American. It’s why we had a revolution.

It is a long heritage and what makes us uniquely dangerous to despots - eventually.

14 posted on 10/20/2010 8:39:30 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: FloridaSunrise

My big annoyance with firefox is that it just keeps using more and more memory. The good news is that it is no big deal to just close and re-open every couple of days. It saves all your tabs if you want.

15 posted on 10/20/2010 8:41:52 AM PDT by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
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To: RobRoy

Firefox for me, tabs reasons included....the add-ons alone are beyond what IE has to offer. The IDM/video downloader add-on alone, as an example is the best I’ve used.

Will never use any Google product/Chrome. I dont like my IP search queries being recorded.

16 posted on 10/20/2010 8:42:50 AM PDT by max americana (Hoax and Chains, Dopeychangey)
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To: VanDeKoik

FireFox with NoScript and Adblock are the ideal browser. No blinking ads or popups, I love it.

17 posted on 10/20/2010 8:42:52 AM PDT by B4Ranch (Conflict is inevitable; Combat is an option. Train for the fight.)
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To: ShadowAce
I gave up Netscape when it became bloatware with Netscape Navigator and moved to the lean Internet Explorer. I gave up Internet Explorer when it became bloatware and moved to Firefox. So far, Firefox has resisted the temptation to become bloatware.
18 posted on 10/20/2010 8:44:41 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The only stable state is one in which all men are equal before the law." -- Aristotle)
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To: ShadowAce

I don’t have time to read the whole article right now but I just want to chime in with a new reason to hate IE:

IE 8 has some pop-up when you start it (I don’t have it now and I don’t remember exactly what it says) that implies that you should get IE 8 now (even though you already have it!!!) and the only choices are DO IT NOW and REMIND ME LATER.

I mostly use Chrome and Firefox so I run into this infrequently (on other people’s computers) but it is highly, highly, highly irritating, as so much of MS can be.

19 posted on 10/20/2010 8:44:46 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: ShadowAce
I like exploring as long as you keep the sun outta your eyes!

My helper is a handful!

20 posted on 10/20/2010 8:44:47 AM PDT by Young Werther ("Quae cum ita sunt" Since these things are so!)
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