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IE9 team responds to Reddit questions: reddit tl;dr version (reddit.com)
267 points by dochtman on Sept 29, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 196 comments

Mark my words, the decision of not to making IE9 compatible with XP will lead to thousands of hours of developer time and millions of dollars wasted in fixing browser compatibility issues. This will just be another reincarnation of the IE6 effect.

BTW the tl;dr version is an excellent summary. It is a warning to all the marketing people out there that the internet will make a bare truth tl;dr version of any sugarcoated market-speak you publish.

[disclosure: I've just spent the last few hours getting some new stuff working in IE7 and 8. at the moment my level of contempt for all things IE is pretty high :) ]

I have no problems at all with them not supporting XP. It's 10 years old, and if they've decided to make use of features of Vista and 7 not available in XP, then good for them. Seriously.

I'm also inclined to think that any non-enterprise user still running XP and IE isn't going to manually upgrade to IE9 without being forced to. Those that would are also able to install any of the alternatives that do run on XP

Dammit, I still run XP on my laptop. The latest Chrome and Firefox run just fine on it.

Not that I ever run IE anyway, unless something I need to do has been written to require it specifically, but seriously, Microsoft - your marketing team should not be writing the specs.

You really shouldn't run XP if you have the option not to. The security structure in XP is outdated and, frankly, dangerous. Vista and 7 are vast improvements. Every time I see an exploit that targets XP I get a little giddy because I know I won't have to deal with ASLR and I have a much higher chance of getting an Administrator account.

Microsoft is absolutely right to encourage people to switch.

My poor old laptop won't run 7; it has a hard enough time keeping up with XP. And it's behind a careful firewall at my router - well, except when I travel.

My desktop runs 7 and I love it, but it's a much newer machine.

So you're taking a risk -- you should just recognize that and admit to it. I'm not sure why you're qualifying. I may have a laptop from 1997 that can only run Windows 98 comfortably but that doesn't make it secure or a good choice for security in 2010. Sometimes you just have to spend money and upgrade.

By the way, a newish 2.6 Linux kernel with WINE should do most of what you want and approximately the same system requirements. Your mileage may vary if you have an obscure Windows-only program.

I do, in fact, have more than one obscure Windows-only program - the entire translation industry is Windows-only.

I'm not sure why you think I "have" to spend money and upgrade. I can't lose data, and I don't keep sensitive data on a laptop - the worst that can happen is that I have to reinstall the machine if it's beyond rescue.

> I have no problems at all with them not supporting XP.

Keep in mind that many (most?) large businesses (aka "the enterprise") are still running XP so MS is only continuing the pain by not making IE9 XP compatible. This is particularly annoying given that both Firefox and Chrome run perfectly fine on XP.

Less than a year ago, I bought a brand new netbook preloaded with XP. XP might be originally 10 years old but it's still actively being sold.

in the corporate environment it's much easier to tell them "hey! Please upgrade your IE6 to the latest version" than it is telling them "hey! Please install $alternative_browser for which no means of administering it with group policies exists"

You can administer both Firefox and Chrome with group policies. I know because we do, having supplanted IE6 as the corporate standard with Firefox 3.x last year (and testing Chrome 6 right now). It was far easier to install an alternative browser than it was to ensure an IE upgrade wouldn't break some legacy systems no one could support.

<edit> This will be more helpful: http://store.frontmotion.com/FirefoxPackager/ http://www.google.com/chrome/eula.html?msi=true

"hey! Please install a plugin[1]?"


yeah - that what I said today.

And now there's 300 less IE6 to worry about.

But they are supporting XP, until 2014. And they've extended "downgrade rights" to XP Professional until 2020.

The tl;dr summary should also have addressed the forced and cringe-worthy name-dropping of internet memes of the past few years, that is in the beginning of the reply.

It actually comes across as a bit condescending: "Let's show them that we know their community by mentioning the Star Wars Kid and Stephen Colbert."

Agreed, that was awful. It's as if the answers had been rewritten by a committee of marketroids in some lame attempt to connect with the audience.

I recently ended up on some Microsoft guy's blog that was also in this style. Apart from that it was interesting but annoying to read.

I've never taken a marketing course, but it kinda felt like that was part of some general template. The first part is <attempt to relate to audience with inside jokes> followed by the rest of the stuff.

Of course, this backfired spectacularly for them.

>"It is a warning to all the marketing people out there that the internet will make a bare truth tl;dr version of any sugarcoated market-speak you publish."

Absolutely. The way you build rapport with a community like that is to give them something "exclusive". A Developer Q&A promising to address their feedback qualifies. An extra helping of market-speak does not. It's sort of hard to feel special because you got canned PR answers. So they built exactly 0 rapport with reddit and probably even cost themselves.

in response to a question about websockets and friends:

Our approach when deciding what technologies to support starts with data. There are three things we consider: What are developers actually doing on the web today? What do developers want to do in the future? <snip> We started by building a tool to look at the top 7000 sites and what web APIs they used.

Isn't this arse about? Isn't it kind of hard to use new tech if it isn't supported. I'd love to be able to use some of the new HTML5 things, but IE is holding us back

XP is a platform that doesn't allow for the performance characteristics of a modern web experience.

WTF sort of a response is that? There's some good answers in there, but this sort of spin-driven markety rhubarb works so hard to hide it. Why not just say that IE9 makes use of features available in Vista and 7, but not in XP.

Their entire attitude is worrying. I'm afraid that this is going to hinder the web again, it just looks like they want to release the bare minimum they can to get marketshare instead of actually make a good browser.

Opera, with its 5% market share (or so) has been reigning on the tests and innovation for ever, and Microsoft can't get enough employees together to work on a browser?

As far as I'm concerned, nobody should recommend IE for anything, as the risk of Microsoft pulling another IE6 is too high, and not worth the reward.

I wonder if it could be possible to see more and more web apps take advantage of the full standard and state clearly on the front page "this website does not work on any IE version. Please use another browser".

This is indeed a hard choice to do, since it means leaving a lot of potential users out of the plate. Maybe startups can afford such bold moves, I don't know. But I think this could be the only way to force Microsoft change their mentality, eroding their browser market share more and more.

This is debatable. For example, the historious bookmarklet works on all browsers right now, except IE8 which refuses to run the JS. IE users are about 6% of our users, so is it worth spending hours debugging an issue for 6% of the userbase?

We will do it, for the user, not for the browser. I don't want to have to tell someone "this doesn't work, use something else", because it's just not polite to tell him what he can or can't use for a few extra hours of work on our part.

However, if the browser is so broken that it takes considerable work to make it usable, then yes, I'll put up an overlay saying "your browser is too broken, please use another one for the good of the internet and your sanity".

EDIT: Also, I don't want Microsoft to change their mentality. I want them to stop making browsers (and maybe a few other things).

The thing is, this attitude isn't new. MSFT's MO for many, many years has been to put out "just good enough" products.

> Their entire attitude is worrying.

it is most likely the case (as has been discussed in that reddit thread), that these guys are likely sitting around in a room of lawyers and marketers. their responses are filtered and picked carefully

>>XP is a platform that doesn't allow for the performance characteristics of a modern web experience.

>WTF sort of a response is that? There's some good answers in there, but this sort of spin-driven markety rhubarb works so hard to hide it. Why not just say that IE9 makes use of features available in Vista and 7, but not in XP.

I love how every time MS makes a new OS they publicly trash their last one. NT had the greatest uptime of any OS around... Until Windows 2000 came out. Then it suddenly had an average uptime of 9 days.

> Isn't this arse about?

Not entirely, for two reasons.

1. Supporting what's actually out there is at least as important as supporting what isn't out there yet because the browsers don't support it.

2. The very next sentence said: "We also spoke to developers and partners to understand what they were going do in the future and what they couldn't do today."


1. Part of 'what's out there' is still limited by attempts to remain compatible with IE6. Especially looking at the 'top X' sites. Yes, some sites are ignoring IE6 these days, but I bet when they started researching that wasn't the norm (and it's probably still not the norm today).

2. Spoke to developers and partners - yay. Except the majority 'partners' they speak with likely are very MS centric. This isn't a "MS devs are dumb" comment, but I speak with many people across multiple platforms, and there's a shocking lack of understanding (or even caring) about other platforms across the board. Many "mac only" devs don't know much about Windows, for example.

If the majority of people they spoke with were MS partners, they're going to get a very skewed input base. Did they go out of their way to consult with anti-IE devs? Did they talk to Rails/Mac-based shops to see what they're doing? Did the reach out to Opera or user groups (if any exist)?

"What they were going to do in the future" may have been dictated by their understanding of a future MS roadmap.

"2. Spoke to developers and partners - yay. Except the majority 'partners' they speak with likely are very MS centric. This isn't a "MS devs are dumb" comment, but I speak with many people across multiple platforms, and there's a shocking lack of understanding (or even caring) about other platforms across the board. Many "mac only" devs don't know much about Windows, for example."

You really don't think most strong web devs get the problems regardless of what their dev platform is? I'm sure IE's partners include folks from Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and much smaller companies. I really have a hard time believing that they aren't getting pretty good feedback.

They didn't say who the partners were - when I think of MS partners (in their own lingo) I think of MS-oriented developer shops. Those are the devs who are their partners - MSDN subscription shops, etc. When MS people speak of "partners", I'd be hard pressed to fin people who think of Apple, Google, Facebook or Yahoo.

My suspicion is that much of the feedback (however constructive it might be) was from orgs who are primarily supportive of MS and IE, and as such, the feedback may not have been as useful as it could have been getting feedback from people about why they are not developing for IE.

But time will tell on this re: adoption rate, standards compliance and whatever innovative stuff they throw in.

Well I'd expect that Google, Facebook, and Yahoo are MSDN subscribers. Its a lot cheaper to test with MSDN licenses than to buy retail.

Exactly, who do you think the partners are for the IE team? I'd think the most popular webpages. This isn't the ASP.NET team or Silverlight team. For IE their partners are the companies they work with to make sure their sites work well with IE. I'd have to believe Facebook provides lots of feedback and Yahoo. Google probably some, but probably less so as their also a browser competitor. And certainly Fortune 500 enterprise internal sites.

At least that's what I think when I hear the term partner for IE>

I've never seen the term "IE partner" used anywhere, either in that doc or elsewhere. I have seen "MS Partner" used generically quite a lot over the years, meaning almost anyone who has any sort of business relationship (reseller, certified, etc) with MS.

So... I don't think there are any "partners" for the "IE team". I think they reached out to a variety of Microsoft partners across the board. If they'd specifically talked to Google, Facebook, etc., I suspect they'd have dropped those names, either to pass blame or try to show group decisions on certain decisions ("Apple's doing this too!").

Actually the IE team has talked specifically about partners before. See http://windowsteamblog.com/ie/b/ie/archive/2010/09/20/early-...

"our top ten partner sites showcasing some of the new things you can do with IE9 are: Facebook, Agent 008ball, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics, IMDb HD Trailer Gallery, CNN, One Day in Beijing, BeatKeep, Amazon.com, The Shodo, and LA Surprise Flower-o-Scope."

Admittedly some of these sites I'd never heard of (although it doesn't mean they aren't popular). But you certainly can't deny Facebook, Amazon, CNN, and IMDB are legit top-tier sites.

Okay, but if you look, the only (stated) reason they’re now adding SVG, for example, is that “Acid3 is one of the sites that is frequently mentioned in the community.” It’s not like SVG is otherwise used all over the web. (Though it’s starting to be a little bit, and will be much more once IE supports it)

As the browser with dominant usage share, Microsoft has (and had to a much greater extent 5 years ago) great power to hold new technologies back. For them to turn around and say “well, people don’t use those yet, so we decided they didn’t matter” is pretty rich. I think “arse about” is just the right description.

While what you say may be true (that MS held back a technology due to lack of support), but at this point that's water under the bridge. Should MS go and other competing scripting technologies to their browser, including Java, which were marginalized due to their support of Javascript.

I do get your point, but I don't think you can make forward looking technology decisions based on past actions, unless you think for some reason that if MS supported SVG fonts that they would suddently take off. I don't think they would.

What? Water under the bridge? This is relevant for the immediate future of the web.

They should support features like WebSocket, because to not do so will dramatically hold those features back.

I’m glad they are supporting SVG.

Isn't the WebSocket spec still very much in progress? I think word from MS is that it may not be there at launch. But they seem to have taken a different take on this, which is wait for the spec, rather than this is outdated technology.

(In reply to both mgkimsal and jacobolus:)

I'm not defending Microsoft's actions, nor the level of standards-compliance and modernity of IE9 as actually being delivered. I'm just saying that their description of their process -- see what's actually being used out there, and talk to a bunch of web developers about what they'd like to be added -- is perfectly sensible and not at all "arse about". Whether they're being honest in describing the process, and whether they're executing the process well, are completely separate questions.

The thing is, most web developers don’t learn technologies which are not supported yet, authors don’t write books about them, neat abstractions aren’t built on top of them, etc. etc. So there’s this huge chicken-and-egg problem.

For MS to say “we’ll start supporting this technology once you start using it”.... well....

IE9 is supporting virtually everything in the standard, and the standard isn't even finalized yet. It seems like you're the guy complaining that not everyone supports 'export', while ignoring all the rest that is supported.

> Why not just say that IE9 makes use of features available in Vista and 7, but not in XP.

Even better, why not take a leaf out of the books of the four major cross-platform browsers and make opportunistic use of OS features.

You're talking about how IE9 itself could have been improved; cubicle67 was speaking about how the IE9 team's response could have been better.

In this case, while IE9 is still a terrible product, the team's response is so stuffed with fluff it appears this whole Q&A session might have backfired.

Everyone is just looking for a direct, no-bullshit response. We don't want anything that sounds "hip" or loaded with marketing speak.

> You're talking about how IE9 itself could have been improved

No, I'm talking about how deeply in the product dubious marketing ideas (such as creating up-sell opportunities) have been embedded.

The problem is that 'IE9 makes use of features available in Vista and 7' is not a justification and is therefore just as bullshit-ridden.

There are some ugly truths in this tl;dr that push the burden of explanation away from the dev team and onto marketing. When IE8 came out, Chris Wilson answered similar questions, and a lot of his answers amounted to 'shrug Guys I'm on your side here but we had to limit our ambitions because this is Microsoft and there are strategic decisions that we had no control over.' At least this way we get a sense of what those decisions are rather than get a good cop/bad cop act. (Not to say that Wilson isn't a natural good cop.)

> "the team's response is so stuffed with fluff it appears this whole Q&A session might have backfired."

I cannot really imagine how it would have ended any other way. It was obviously going to make MS look incompetent and desperate.

This right here is a very bad attitude toward software development because it prevents you from making the product that proves its worth to users and developers. It seemed in the original article that they justified almost every design decision with "Our marketing team told us to." It almost feels as if they're preemptively trying to blame someone else absolve themselves of blame. I'm not sure to what degree this is influenced by the editing.

i think its just indicative that IE will always be behind the curve. or, to look at it differently, they're a big company willing to let others blaze the trails while they follow behind at a safe distance.

> Why not just say that IE9 makes use of features available in Vista and 7, but not in XP.

Then the knee-jerk reaction becomes "But why did you do that?" and the response still seems unsatisfying.

I think asking for IE9 on XP is like asking for a Python project to be compatible with Python 2.3-3.2. Assuming it could be done for a complex project, is it worth the effort, compared to targeting 2.6+ instead and leaving people on older, long-supported systems behind?

"We couldn't figure out a Microsofty-enough way to do websockets"

why does it suprise you? it's coming from a company whose latest operating system still doesn't offer A PROPER TERMINAL EMULATOR (you know, like putty minus the ssh) on the grounds of lack of demand from its customers.

I read the original thread on reddit and this pretty much sums up what I silently thought to myself.

It was a nice touch to get in front of the reddit crowd, but they completely sidestepped hard questions. It's a bit like a Catholic doing an AMA and then not answering the questions about child abuse, homosexuality and bloodshed and ridiculous things in the bible.

[Responding critically because this comment was posted critically.] I had to re-read the Catholic comment before I found you weren't being intentionally offensive. The analogy would have been better stated if it were a Catholic priest doing an AMA. Asking a Catholic would be like asking an IE user why a Microsoft employee was arrested for embezzling, why Microsoft doesn't support Open Source, or why they arbitrarily refuse to make their browser more cross-platform. An IE user is justified in dodging the question since they don't really control those things, they just use the product.

You said it better than I did. A Catholic priest, who has credible authority talking in detail, would have been better.

If you go in front of a crowd who is outraged by the actions of the organisation you're representing, do expect difficult questions.

It's interesting that you see the relationship between a Catholic and his/her church as analogous to that between a corporation and their "users".

While believers in 'ethical consumption' would say that the moral principles of producers certainly should be a concern for consumers, not everybody agrees. But when choosing a religious creed, the behaviour of the founders and keepers of the faith is surely of paramount importance.

Can you really say that issues of child abuse are not interesting to Catholic followers, because they "just use the product"?

I saw this comment yesterday and didn't take the bait, because I figured, hey, this HN, it'll find the faint grey bottom of the thread soon enough. I'm embarrased by what happened instead.

That last sentence does not belong here.

EDIT: "...completely sidestepped hard questions" is a perfectly understandable sentence that does not require an analogy to explain its meaning. The last sentence does not add any value. Taking it out will only increase the quality of the comment.

It's a little heavy-handed, but a pretty good analogy.

care to elaborate? nothing is sacred to a hacker.

Because unnecessarily offending people is not the best way to win friends.

Is commenting about making friends? Isn't finding the truth more important? Strong analogies are a way (not the only way, but a way) to do that.

I believe making friends (and not making enemies) is simply the most important skill you can have. More important than being clever or hardworking.

And I also don't think that analogies are a very good way to discover truth as they often oversimplify a situation and take things out of context, hence implying the wrong conclusions.

Analogies help understanding. There's a reason math textbooks have worked examples, instead of merely a list of definitions and proofs. Understanding is considerably more difficult in a vacuum.

> "I believe making friends (and not making enemies) is simply the most important skill you can have. More important than being clever or hardworking."

Reminds me of an old boss of mine. He was hiring for the team, and when asked what the main skillset needed was for the new positions, he answered "They must get on well with the team". So, lo and behold, few months later we had a few new employees who were nice people, good fun even, but absolutely incompetent at their jobs.

I don't think he was trying to win friends.

why not?

Anyway, I guess the point was that by adding wording that may be offensive to some readers you are not improving the quality of the message, unless you want _that_ to be the message, which is in fact the (wanted or not) result of the OP.

(nonetheless a decent analogy)

"nothing is sacred to a hacker."

Except, apparently, recursion.

> It's a bit like a Catholic doing an AMA and then not answering the questions about child abuse, homosexuality and bloodshed and ridiculous things in the bible.

Weird, I just read one about an Atheist -> Catholic conversion, and he side-stepped those issues as well. (And I say 'as well', I mean 'also', because he didn't do as good of a job as the Microsoft rep did.)

I can't blame them for side-stepping those issues--I would do the same thing. Anytime someone mentions that they're Catholic on reddit, people automatically assume that (1)you are fully versed in everything about the situation, (2)you agree with how the Church handled it all, (3)you must be contributing to it by staying in the Church, etc. We're all generally angry about this problem. I don't know a single person who approves of the practice of just moving people around, but there are so many complexities to the issue. I can't even begin to discuss the finer points without someone piping up with their random, pointless garbage that taints the conversation. The Catholic Church has done a lot to fix the problems with the child abuse stuff. We've stopped with the Crusades (and apologized for them!). And the Catholic Church's stance on homosexuality and things of that nature are much more nuanced than people realize. Honestly, most of us are just tired of talking about these things. (Except the crazies who get all the press. The news people don't like talking to sensible people--that doesn't make for good TV.)

Really, most of the stuff on reddit about Catholics is vitriol and hate, and there's really no point to answer obvious flame bait questions when there are other perfectly good questions to answer.

What's complicated about moving priests around? It seems to be entirely cynical and self-serving. Had they handled the issues differently, you wouldn't see the vitriol.

I'm sorry, but you can't claim to be a member and defender of an organization that has institutionalized child rape and yet take umbrage at those who suggest your membership in said organization offers monetary and moral support to those practices. If the practice of shuffling priests and shielding them from the law is a complex one, then by all means describe how that's so. It certainly doesn't look complex to the rest of us. It looks evil.

By the same logic you support the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, killing native Americans and taking their land, extraordinary rendition, and borrowing trillions of dollars. It's unfortunate, but sometimes the leaders of an organization do things which its membership does not approve of. Very few people support what was done, but that doesn't mean they should renounce their affiliation. If the dissenters leave, who is left to change things?

What did I say:

    people automatically assume that 
    (1)you are fully versed in everything about the situation, 
    (2)you agree with how the Church handled it all, 
    (3)you must be contributing to it by staying in the
    Church, etc. We're all generally angry about this 
    problem. I don't know a single person who approves of 
    the practice of just moving people around, but there 
    are so many complexities to the issue.
The complexities of the issue isn't that they were moved around. And as I said, nobody I know agrees with that. Do I know the facts of the case? No.

Do I think that they should have been removed from public activity after the accusations? Yes. Should these things have been reported to police? Yes.

I'm tired of talking about this stuff. The problem is that there now seems to be a witch hunt against priests, and really all Catholics. Look around here, on reddit, etc: hardly anybody even gives us a chance. Our Church has made mistakes; it has admitted this, and has changed the policies:

- Every person who works with kids in a Catholic organization in the US has to go through a training class on spotting & preventing abuse.

- The Church now reports all of these instances to police.

There really is more to the issue than just moving priests around. You won't get much argument that simply moving them around was the wrong answer, but you won't get anymore out of me when you say that I monetarily and morally support child abuse.

- 20% of the hospitals in the US are Catholic hospitals, they accept anybody--and have longer than other hospitals have. (Remember segregation? Our hospitals in the South accepted blacks and whites.)

- We probably have the most private schools in the country. They don't get money from the government, so essentially public schools are getting more money per pupil than they should. They also tend to have higher test scores on average. (Oh, and Catholics teach evolution in science class...)

- We run numerous soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters. For an amazing example of this kind of charity, read up about the St. Vincent de Paul Society. ( http://svdpusa.org/ ) It's fantastic.

Anyway, people are by their nature fallible. Our leaders have worked to fix the problems. The coverup is a horrible problem, but the numbers for abusive priests are actually lower than those for the general male population. ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/mar... http://www.usccb.org/nrb/johnjaystudy/ )

I've spent far too long on this, but this stuff bothers me. We don't know all the facts. We know something bad happened. We think we've fixed it. I'm not saying forgive and forget--on the contrary: don't ever forget it lest it happens again--but give us some of that 'tolerance' everybody keeps saying is so great...

edit: formatting

I don't think you can say you've fixed the problem when the man most directly responsible for the problem is now your infallible leader, and was likely chosen as such so as to avoid direct criminal charges.

Regardless, I can appreciate the weariness everyday Catholics feel in fielding these questions. Much of my family is Irish Catholic, and I wouldn't broach the subject with them.

As for the good works the Church does, that really is inconsequential. Hamas runs schools, and Pablo Escobar was a pillar of the community. The good works one does do not absolve one of one's sins. My biggest problem with the Church and its apologists is the rather offhanded manner in which these issues are shrugged off. "Yes, we raped thousands of children, and provided the rapists with access to further children, but we're better now." "Yes, we told millions of uneducated people in AIDS-ridden sub-Saharan Africa that condoms increase their chances of getting AIDS, but the jury's still out on that."

I would have no problem forgiving the church if they offered a genuine mea culpa, turned in every child-raping priest to the authorities, and reversed their policy on condoms in AIDS-ridden and over-populated areas of the world. Far from that, however, Mr. Ratzinger has only further exacerbated these issues. I don't believe that mere membership provides material support to these activities, but every dollar you put in the donation plate does.

As for the "child abuse" issue: My dad was raised in a Catholic neighbourhood, and attended a Catholic school. The nuns would smack him with a ruler if he answered a question wrong. That's child abuse. Putting your penis inside a child is child rape. There is a huge difference between the two, and suggesting that the latter is equivalent to the former smacks of equivocation.

I understand that you are not your church, just as I understand that Israelis are not Israel. Like that example, however, the support that you provide the church, be it direct or otherwise, is at least partially responsible for its actions. Just as Israelis are responsible for the atrocities carried out against Palestinians, just as Americans are responsible for the atrocities inflicted on Iraqis, Hell, just as we Canadians are responsible for the actions of our government, so too are you responsible for the actions of your church.

The pope is not our infallible leader. He's fallible just like everybody else. Popes are only infallible when they are speaking ex cathedra (from the chair). They don't do this very often. Most infallible doctrines have actually been put in place by the college of cardinals. I seriously doubt that Ratzinger was elected pope to avoid criminal charges.

I don't have the time to address these things properly, but here's the short form.

We are better now, at least in the US--and the other countries are starting to get it together as well. If I remember correctly, any case of abuse (not just child rape, I do mean abuse--rape is a terrible form of abuse, but there are other forms as well) is reported to authorities.

The one thing I will say about Africa is that the church teaches abstinence. If you're going to ignore the abstinence teaching, you might as well ignore the condom teaching as well. You can't just pick and choose which parts of Church teaching to follow (but everybody does, and that's why we have problems...)

Of the money I give my church, 10% goes to my diocese. I don't think my diocese has had the same problems that other diocese have--so no, I'm not supporting the practice. Some of the diocese's money then goes to the Vatican (and I think the USCCB, but I'm not sure), but I believe most if not all of that goes to charity work. You can't hold people responsible for actions that they did not know about. And I believe that these things are no longer going on.

If you want to continue this conversation, feel free to email me and I will try to explain more when I get enough time to properly research and answer things. I think that this is getting way OT for HN, so I do not intend to make any further response on here.

Have a good day!

Take it to Reddit, please.

While I may agree with you, this type of meta conversation is getting really old, it seems to be happening more recently on HN. I would honestly rather see the comment stand alone or see a decent rebuttal than half a page of useless chatter about it. If people upvote it, you are free to ignore it. You can take this to Reddit, too.

I like your comments, in general. But this one comes too aggressive against the whole reddit community and it's a disproportionate response. I'd rather say:

Could you please take that kind of topic to the proper forum, perhaps r/atheism, please? HN focus on startups, business and technology only. Think of it as r/technology + r/programming + r/business. Thank you for understanding.

We could talk about what the proportionate response is to being lumped in with child rapists, but we intentionally avoid that on HN because there is no way that conversation ends well. So. Take it to Reddit.

Ironic, because this is the same pc attitude that prompted that marketer to write the pages of bullshit that reddit saw through.

Didn't your pg write an article on this? When a group wants its superstitions given preference over the truth, I'll gladly be the first to leave.

>he doesn't answer the questions about child abuse, homosexuality and bloodshed and ridiculous things in the bible

So you're saying:

child abuse - IE9 has less instances of $problem than in the general browser population

homosexuality - IE9 doesn't allow $action and thinks it shouldn't be allowed elsewhere

bloodshed - IE9 is a browser and it's code has errors too

ridiculous things - I don't like IE9 so IMO MS is full of BS

They tell me not to feed the trolls but here goes anyway.

You have constructed a straw man. He is not saying that one IE9 problem corresponds to one problem with the catholic church - in fact you made that up! Instead the argument is that, when pressed on issues that have unpopular answers, that are difficult to answer, or that have bad press, the team sidestepped them. This is made evident by the tl;dr version but is just as obvious if you read the original thread.

It is impolite to put words (and other ridiculous things) in other people's mouths.

Ha, and here's me thinking it was I that was feeding the trolls, perhaps we're into trollish recursion here. He trolled me, I trolled him back, you're trolling me now. Touché?

In fact what he was trying to do was pass off as truth several controversial and highly volatile statements without proper [on-topic] opportunity for retort wrapped up as an argument against Microsoft's effort to troll Reddit.

>Instead the argument is that, when pressed on issues that have unpopular answers, that are difficult to answer, or that have bad press, the team sidestepped them.

The Catholic church certainly has much to blame with how they've handled the revelation of child abuse amongst it's followers. However, the current situation can not faithfully be described as ignorant. If the head of the IE9 dev team were meeting people in person who'd had been "victim" to the beta, then perhaps there's some comparison. Maybe if it were a metaphor for their past behaviour - but this is the rub, there are huge [unsupported] assumptions required to leap to the point at which this metaphor is even valid. That then isn't addressing whether it's useful.

My post was intended to be inflammatory in interpreting his statements in a way that would clearly (to me) conflict with his views without giving him a genuine avenue for reply. Trollish, perhaps, but there ya go I'd assume that the thread would be downvoted and ignored generally on the basis of the OC content but instead it was being heavily voted up. Perhaps reddit is down?

Standards plays are political and market based, nothing to do with IE being slow or them being stupid. Innovations we can thank IE for that were never 'standard':

* innerHTML

* css applied to chrome

* XMLHttpRequest

* i18n DNS

* double-byte char support (since 96)

* embed (or was it object? one of the two - the first one)

* first video embed (IE2 on Mac)

* hasLayout

* iframe

* marquee (for the lolz)

* contenteditable

* opacity/filter

* favicons

* first implementations of CSS, tables, 128-bit ssl, xml (5) and xstl (5)

It works better when coders who build browsers decide new features, not some guys sitting around a table trying to agree on what an image display should look like.

Exactly what Andreessen did, he just added stuff to Netscape and let the loonies complain about it not being 'proper'. We criticize Microsoft for the same thing.

People don't complain about Intel and AMD with instruction set standards, but they complain about web standards because it is easy to.

Are you saying that IE invented tables, embed, css etc? That is not true. Embed were invented by Netscape. Tables were a IETF proposal that were implemented by Netscape first. Css were a W3C proposal, although IE were the first mainstream browser to implement it.

hasLayout is a workaround for a bug in IE's rendering engine.

I thought IE were the last browser to support i18n domain names.

You may be correct about the rest though, and contentEditable and XMLHttpRequest are great features we can thank IE for.

Sorry I rattled these off, going back and clarifying and adding some references in a moment so that the entire argument doesn't get simply shot down by pointing out a single feature :). Thanks.

Do you have any references for Microsoft's invention of HTML tables, CSS* , SSL2 and 'i18n DNS'?

* Sure, IE may have had CSS support before Netscape but that hardly makes it their innovation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Css#History

hasLayout? (I know what it is, but, seriously?)

CSS applied to chrome: do you mean styling scrollbars?

XMLHttpRequest is a great thing, as is contentEditable. And IE5 was a really good browser for its time. The criticisms at that point were not generally technical but to do with motivation. IE gained market share in the upper 90% range and that, not criticism, is why the following decade of web development was marked by technological stagnation.

I am clarifying the list now, point applies either way - lots of innovation that we appreciate today came out of IE

I was a web dev at the time of 3, and I remember a lot of CSS properties that IE supported and added, I will dig up a list. Thanks.

(btw agree on IE5 being a great browser, I had a lot of work replacing internal intranet desktop apps with IE5 intranets - the enterprise loves ie5)

Do you seriously consider hasLayout or filter to be innovations? hasLayout is at the very best a hack, and at the worst a terrible, opaque feature to let the developer peek into the Trident rendering engine to deal with bugs. 'filter:' is platform specific so I don't think I need to elaborate.

Wrong, SSL was developed by Netscape, including v2



at that moment it was referred to as 0.2 though.

Ye this is what I was talking about - pointing out one of the points not being correct (even though IE implemented 128 bit ssl first) means you call my entire reply wrong. I just rattled these off the top of my head, the point still applies.

I can't say for other entries, I see you have still some open claims, and that you edited the first version of your post where "SSLv2" was presented as a MSFT invention!

Still, SSL as the technology really doesn't deserve to be at the list where MSFT is to be credited. It was fully designed by Netscape and the "less bits" (weaker) crypto was enforced by U.S. Do you know any more details about when and how MS was able to use 128-bits before Netscape? Or was it at the time when Netscape was already "mostly dead"? Can't that be the case with some other entries you give? I happened to know about SSL, that's why I mentioned that -- "wrong" was about your SSL claim, not about others.

You're quite wrong.

HTML5 is innovating. IE is way behind when it comes to innovative features.

And please don't hold up 'innerHTML' as an example of a good thing.

That is my entire point. They are far behind now because we criticized the for so long and they threw in the towel after IE6.

Microsoft did almost zero browser innovation after 6 and until now, whereas previously they innovated. And now they can't win either way.

It just shows that the sentiment the entire time was anti-msft

I disagree. They stopped innovating after they killed all of the competition. They didn't need to any more.

MS certainly don't have a vested interest in the internet - it goes against their core business.

Adding to this, I remember reading an interview with one of the IE6 devs a couple weeks back where he talked about how Microsoft considered browsers finished after IE6, and basically just disbanded the team. Browsers and web innovation wasn't a goal for Microsoft once they had majority marketshare. They just wanted to make sure their product was the standard for the web, as good or as bad as it was.

I think its fair to say that Microsoft don't do complacency

esp. in competitive markets

IE team was torn apart as part of internal politics

That's not fair to say at all. IE6 is a perfect example of complacency in a competitive market from years ago. Their mobile efforts to date are a perfect example of complacency in a competitive market today. They were years late in shipping Vista, years late in trying to meaningfully compete with Google, they've been long complacent with their Mac Office products, and some of their developer tools are atrocious.

You don't get a pass because your internal bureaucracy and politics prevent your engineers from doing their jobs.

Actually you are correct. I think if they had the option to, they would not have been complacent, but all the internal muddling stalled them on Vista (worst project ever) and IE. They only got their teams cleared out in the past 18 months and restructured and there is a lot more to do (Dean Hatchamovitch leads the IE team now, great guy who came in via sysinternals)

So you are right that internal turmoil shouldn't be used as an excuse. I think they know that they can't be complacent though, the Vista slip must have cost a lot of market share to Apple.

At the time of IE6's release it was a fantastic browser. That was Microsoft's problem; it was so much better than Netscape at the time (and had such a bundling advantage) that they totally dominated the market. So Microsoft stopped improving it... and were very slow to realize that they needed to start again after Firefox shook the browser market back up.

There were still people criticizing MS back at the time of IE6's launch, of course. But it was more ideological than practical... the open source zealots, rather than every web developer.

innerHTML is still the fastest way to inject content into a page.

You're correct (In IE), and also the worst.

Security issues, encoding issues, scripting attack issues, inability to work with tables event handlers etc etc. Never use innerHTML for anything serious.

Are there faster ways of getting HTML into a page on other browsers? As far as I know, innerHTML is always the fastest in any browser. I agree its not as safe though.

Just to clarify for those that haven't read the answers, this doesn't look anything like the "IE9 team" responding. It looks like a marketing team responding.

That's why you get BS answers like "XP is a platform that doesn't allow for the performance characteristics of a modern web experience."


but d2d is not available on xp, so they are not actually telling lies, the tl;dr version is correct, they simply don't want to port new apis to old boxes.

Firefox 4 worked around the same problem by accelerating using Direct3D on XP boxes: there’s a small shim that decides which API to use. Seems like the IE team were unwilling to go down this route.

The best part is that Firefox 4 is going to ship with four backends for its layers API: Direct3D 9 for XP, Direct3D 10 for Vista/7, OpenGL for Mac/Linux, and software as a fallback.

That quote is out of context. Yes, GDI on XP is faster than GDI on Vista or 7, but that is irrelevant to any discussion of IE9. Direct2D is a much more expressive API than GDI (think Cairo vs XRender on Linux), so obviously it's going to be a lot faster.

Cheers, not sure why I thought Direct2D was supported on XP.

Deleted my comment for being factually incorrect.

Personally, I prefer that comments don't get deleted; you lose context for the conversation to anyone reading the thread later. Just update it to say it's incorrect, or just leave it as is and corrected by the replies.

I'm just wondering; if they had said "we don't want to have to spend time and money backporting new APIs and we want to encourage you to upgrade Windows", how would we react? Frankly I would have far more respect for an honest answer like that.

Can we kill the IE-should-be-built-on-webkit meme? One of the web's strengths is the wide range of independent and compatible implementations.

Yes, the differences suck when you are dealing with CSS incompatibility problems, but when you look at the big picture it remains vitally important.

While we're at this, please kill IE9-on-non-Windows too.

End users who chose not to use Microsoft OS are unlikely to choose Microsoft browser, especially when they have better, native browsers available out of the box.

Porting IE9 to other platforms is a lot of work for a "nice to have" feature for web developers. Such effort is better spent on making IE suck less on its only platform.

One meme I don't want to kill is, God damn it, Microsoft... release an app that allows web developers to test in IE6-9 on the same machine, without needing lots of VMs.

Spoon.net goes some of the way, but IE9 won't work on my XP box. So I'll need to reinstall Windows 7. Which means Synergy will stop working again. Blah.

Expression Web. Superpreview. Works as advertised through IE8 anyway, including testing via Safari on OSX remotely (in beta).

While I agree with grandparent's take on webkit meme, I don't agree with your take on multi-platform meme. IE-on-other-platforms meme will never die, because this is an important issue for many people.

For major releases, like IE9, they could have taken another approach. Like, for example, abstracted many components (css/html engine, js engine, plugins framework, etc.) from the underlying OS and then port just the bridge between those components and underlying OS. It's not easy and there're always many quirks, but we're talking about Microsoft, after all.

That "many people" is developers needing to test pages in IE, not browser end users. I'm web developer, I feel that pain, but realistically I don't see how could porting be useful:

Just quick'n'dirty abstraction layer would result in horrible experience that end users don't want to use: slow, not integrated with OS well enough. There are still Mac users who stick with Safari, because Firefox isn't native enough! Opera is still substandard on OS X and Linux compared to Windows, and they've been working on portable layer for a decade.

Such poor browser wouldn't even be good solution for developers, as your OS wouldn't get same fonts with same metrics and rendering as Windows. With abstraction layer you wouldn't get representative performance. You could even get different rendering and behaviour caused by differences in real DX vs emulation, different media frameworks/codecs/plugins, etc.

Without whole OS it's just not "bug-compatible" enough, and bugs are the only thing you need IE for.

1) I would like to point out that clear separation of functionality in implementation doesn't imply being slow or bug-ridden. And there are levels of abstraction you can take. No need to go Java swing path and abstract gui components, but you can abstract parsers, layouts, js runtime (at least large portions of those).

2) Firefox & Opera are quite good on all major OSes. Of course Linux/OSX versions may not be on the same level as Windows versions (I really don't know, haven't made any tests recently), but they're still pretty good.

3) I'm not advocating that Microsoft makes feature-by-feature compatible ports (for example, activex comes to my mind), but I would like to see the basic stuff, namely layout and js engine. And that would be much easier if they followed what I've said in 1) paragraph.

4) And no, I don't need IE only to test for bugs. I would happily switch if they made a better browser than Chrome which is my current default browser (Firefox used to be my default browser, but I switched earlier this year).

MS making their browser work on other OS's makes about as much sense as MS making their file system explorer app work on other OS's.

IE was available for Mac and Unix earlier.

IE/Mac had completely different engine, and different UI.

Tasman supported — in it's own buggy way — properties like display:inline-table that Trident didn't support until IE8.

Possibly made sense back in the day of MS-only web technologies. Now, not so much.

Made sense back in the day when they were trying to muscle Netscape out of business.

Hm, no. Internet explorer is used to view content of the publicly available documents. File explorer is nothing of the sort.

I would rather parallel IE to various document viewers (.doc viewer, for example) which Microsoft provides free of charge. And which, sadly, also aren't available for other platforms.

OK: There is no earthly reason why MS would want to add massively to the development effort of IE (test matrices, abstraction layers, etc etc), in ways that would in no way benefit their customers. Their goal is to provide the best browser tailored to the OS that they sell.

And the idea (by extension) that any app that works with standards-based content should be cross-platform is barmy.

I understand there's additional effort needed. What I don't understand is, why you and some others keep repeating that it's such big problem to solve. It really isn't, based on my experience. There's nothing massive about it. If nothing else, they could open-source it, since it's already free and someone else will write a port. Layout engine(css+html) and js engine would suffice for most use-cases.

No, I am arguing that it is a problem which they have absolutely no incentive to solve.

They're trying to sell Windows licenses. They have no reason to sweat to make a hardware accelerated IE work on OSX, I'm baffled that people think it'd make sense for them.

Ok, question for you. Why do other browsers have a reason to make versions for different platforms ? Even Apple releases Safari for Windows and Apple is notorious for their closed ecosystem of hardware+software.

Apple has a strong incentive to make sure that people using OSX have a great experience. To make sure that OSX can browse the web well they need to make sure that Safari is viewed as a mainstream browser, and that it's easy for developers to test websites on it without having to go buy a Mac.

So by releasing it on Windows they can (a) gain marketshare so it's taken more seriously, and (b) make sure developers who use Windows will test with it.

As for why they didn't just use Gecko (Firefox's rendering engine), Apple also wants to be certain that websites look great on the iPhone/iPad. And my understanding is that Gecko is an absolute monster to get working well on mobile devices. Plus by having their own rendering engine they get to be certain that there'll be no problems adding features needed for touch-based apps to it.

>>Apple has a strong incentive to make sure that people using OSX have a great experience. To make sure that OSX can browse the web well they need to make sure that Safari is viewed as a mainstream browser, and that it's easy for developers to test websites on it without having to go buy a Mac.

>>So by releasing it on Windows they can (a) gain marketshare so it's taken more seriously, and (b) make sure developers who use Windows will test with it.

Exactly, and in my opinion, Microsoft should follow this logic for the same reasons.

Except the argument is not applicable to MS due to their large userbase.

No-one is going to say "I'm not setting up a Windows machine just to test a niche browser like IE. Screw that".

Wasn't the historical answer that apple wanted Web Developers to be able to test their sites in a web-kit browser? If Chrome already existed - I wonder if Apple would have bothered.

One of the web's strengths is the wide range of independent and compatible implementations.

What do you mean by this? Am genuinely curious, because I've always raged at the lack of browser standardization.


* Mono-cultures are bad security-wise, it's harder to target multiple platforms with different vulnerabilities then one platform (which is one of the reasons IE had such a bad reputation for a long time)

* It prevent people from coding to specific browser bugs/quirks. When there are a lot of platforms it is easier to code to standards (if they are consistently implemented across browsers) then specific platforms. Theoretically at least..

You should also keep in mind that even WebKit isn't standardized. Webkit rendering is wide and varied.

Multiple implementations:

a) Force specifications to written carefully, and exercise the edge cases. It's important the browser authors do this because otherwise web pages authors are forced to find these edge cases (as happened in the IE6 & early IE7 days, when MS had so little competition that they could afford to be careless)

b) Slow down change the core technologies. This sounds like a stupid "advantage", but I'd argue that it has enabled the core HTML/CSS/Javascript trinity to become so well established that any new platform is forced to support it. Ironically, that also means new platforms become viable simply by supporting the web platform.

c) Allow multiple paths for experimenting on new technologies.

I love reddit, but I place some of the blame in this fiasco on the reddit admins -- raldi & company. They came out a few weeks ago and mentioned explicitly that they were MANAGING the ad campaign for IE9.

Now, the reddit admins are abosulutely excellent at connecting with their audience. When the site goes down for a bit, they put out technical no-BS posts that get upvoted close to 1000 times, and all is forgiven.

The admins should have interjected themselves before this response was posted and warned Microsoft marketing this 'this response won't fly here'.

Reddit is at an important inflection now, and the admins need to step up and become the Don Draper for their world of tech users. If this campaign had succeeded, I could absolutely see many other companies coming to them and paying big bucks for similar campaigns.

There's still an AMA coming up today, so there's a chance to recover, so we'll see how that goes.

>The admins should have interjected themselves before this response was posted and warned Microsoft marketing this 'this response won't fly here'.

How do you know they didn't? Maybe they did and Microsoft ignored their advice.

Regardless, I blame Microsoft for not understanding marketing. The whole point of doing this sort of Q&A thing is to give a community exclusive access to build rapport. That's just basic. And they promised exclusive access and instead delivered marketing tripe where people were expecting exclusive developer commentary.

At some level Microsoft know's they're not ideally cut out for doing this type of dynamic marketing. Which is why they put the reddit team in charge of the campagin in the first place.

The admins should have made it clear in no uncertain terms that this post would be a disaster. If they didn't do that convincingly enough, that's their fault.

> The admins should have made it clear in no uncertain terms that this post would be a disaster

I dunno. If you look at some of the more technical stuff the MS devs post on channel9 (and some of it being really, really good) you could almost imagine that there could have been an interesting and informative exchange of information here.

Honestly, I don't think there could have. Take for example, the question on spell checking. The right response, IMO, would have been. "Given everything else we needed to do and still needs to do, this is pretty far down on the priority list."

I'm sure that would have been disliked just as much as their response, which I actually sort of liked as it went into more detail about how items get prioritized.

But a general tip to the IE team... you can tell customers your decisions, not how you arrived at them. In general the most vocal people will be those that disagree with your decisions, and can then attack how you made the decisions.

>How do you know they didn't? Maybe they did and Microsoft ignored their advice.

I now have reason to believe you're correct.

"In fact, they've taken the unprecedented step of putting the reddit team in charge of this entire campaign. This is a great deal of trust for an advertiser to offer, and we should both take it as a huge compliment.

So, how should we do this? If there's one thing I've learned in my five-plus years at reddit, it's that the direct and open approach works best, so instead of marketspeak..."

I think it's safe to say MS should've been aware that this was probably not the best way to respond to reddits questions.

Do you have a link to where they mentioned they'd manage it? If they did, your points speak volumes.

Here's the link announcing they will be managing the campaign:


Quote from the link: "See, Microsoft is getting ready to release Internet Explorer 9, and they reached out to us because they genuinely want to start a dialog with the reddit community. In fact, they've taken the unprecedented step of putting the reddit team in charge of this entire campaign."

Personally I think Microsoft is trying to emulate the annoying Sony/Playstation 3 actor.

The problem with this is that it is mostly annoying to everyone (including people who might have been on the fence regarding a playstation 3)

It's hard to pull off tongue in cheek humor when the person you're telling the joke to believes you really mean it.

An ideal IE9 would be something that I don't have to spend much time thinking/worrying about. I have a feeling that won't be the case though - as it has never been so.

Here is the AMA that just started. Seems the reddit base is riled up against them from the start.


The actual responses are here:


The comment linked summarizes the IE team's responses in the voice of a M$ strawman, ready to be attacked by Reddit. As a result, it makes for a more entertaining read if you like to hate Microsoft, but it doesn't tell you what they're actually thinking.

I preferred the long version.

the long version doesn't tell you what they were thinking either

[edited to add the following]

Yes, there's a few cases where the longer version contains a bit more detail, but in general the tl;dr version is a pretty concise summary. For example, compare this answer

XP is a platform that doesn't allow for the performance characteristics of a modern web experience. We have a great browser for XP users (IE8) but as the web continues to advance you need a modern operating environment that can take advantage of the underlying hardware through the OS. IE9 requires Direct 2D support which is available in Vista (with SP2) and Windows 7.

to this

Because Microsoft neither wants to backport new APIs to XP, nor do they want to release a version of IE9 that doesn't require the new APIs.

Especially with the answer about visualisation, the summary was spot on. Seriously, what the fuck, Microsoft? Your browser is so precious that you can't release it as a standalone product so the entire world can move on?

I didn't notice any misrepresentation of MS comments. What the commenter has done was to shorten and strip out the BS.

Compare these answers to the "why not build on webkit" question:

Reinterpreted answer: "Our marketing team tells us the best way to get cross-browser compatibility is to reinvent the wheel."

Original answer: "Unfortunately, there are no short cuts to getting to a web with same markup (i.e. write once and renders consistently across browsers). For one perspective around the challenges with various Webkit implementations see this article that recently ran. The way to achieve same markup across various browsers and various implementations of rendering engines is through the W3C with comprehensive standards test. We have a robust engine and platform with IE9 that coupled with our work towards same markup and participation with the W3C is focused on making the life of developers a lot easier."

Sorry, but that's not stripping out the BS. That's inventing BS claiming it was Microsoft's when it's in fact a BS reply of some trolling reddit user to another trolling reddit user's question.

That's because the original answer (despite beginning with “serious answer”) did nothing to answer the question. The tl;dr guy decided to just put snark there instead of guessing at the real answer. Not his fault.

There are probably many reasons they didn’t base IE on Webkit: pride, marketing, control, ease of hooking it in to other operating system services, existing MS developer familiarity with the code base, etc. etc. “[...] our work towards same markup and participation with the W3C is focused on making the life of developers a lot easier” is none of those. Everyone wants markup to work across browsers and a functional W3C process, so this answer is pretty much vacuous. It’s great that MS is engaging now with the HTML WG at the W3C, but all the other browser vendors have been doing that all along.

That's completely disingenious. First, it does answer the question IMO. The idea that competing conforming vendors will accelerate the push to same mark-up seems reasonable to me. I think the problem is that you have preconceived notion of why they aren't using WebKit, so if its not that answer then you don't buy it. If Mozilla or Opera gave that answer, I don't think the snarky summary would have been given.

IMO, the snarky summary, if I were MS, would confirm my suspicion that this group didn't want real answers. They wanted to simply attack. Because the snarky summary wasn't even a clever one that would have caused MS to pause... something like "We want a web with more standards conformance... isn't that obvious? It's what we've always done, and WebKit is all about breaking standards."

> That's completely disingenious.

Explain how? I wrote down some non-exhaustive list of possibilities (I should have said “there might be” instead of “there probably are”; sorry if you misinterpreted my intent). What is my “preconceived notion”, please? ... Unless you’re suggesting the “tl;dr guy“ was being disingenuous? The original answers were 70%+ marketing fluff. If he was overzealous, well, I can’t much say I blame him.

> First, it does answer the question IMO.

How is “The way to achieve same markup across various browsers and various implementations of rendering engines is through the W3C with comprehensive standards test.” an answer to the question: “why not build on webkit?”

The two are at best tangentially related. (Hint: it’s possible to both work with the W3C and make comprehensive tests and build on Webkit. Look, Apple and Google are both doing it. Ergo they had some other reason not to build on Webkit. Ergo they didn’t answer the original question.) If Mozilla or Opera gave that as an answer, they’d also be dodging the question. If the question is stupid, they should just say “we don’t think that’s a relevant question”, instead of making a non-answer.

That sentence in isolation was not MS's response. Let me break it down:

1) MS thinks same markup and standards compliance is imporant.

2) More than one dominant browser is necessary or you end up with defacto standards, which often leads to problems down the road (as we've seen). They reference a blog post that talks about this problem today with Webkit. And frankly the same problem existed with IE in the past. I recall the same issue with gcc on Unix platforms in the past too ("Is that legal C?", "I don't know, try it in gcc").

3) How do you get same markup and prove it, once you've established you need more than one browser? You probably need comprehensive tests and working with W3C is probably the best group to handle this. That is the reference to the sentence you made.

So you think Microsoft’s real answer which should be read into their statement is:

“Microsoft is using our own rendering engine out of a sense of duty to web browser diversity, because we don’t want the web to suffer the problems of monoculture.”

Is that right?

I'd phrase it slightly differently, if you want a one sentence response. Which is "Standards are important and we believe that multiple browsers and rendering engines are necessary for improved standards compliance across the board."

The longer version was less snarky but had a lower signal to noise ratio. There's lots of PR double-speak in there. The short version was also funnier.

For what it’s worth, in the summarizer guy’s words, http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/dkk3l/iama_we_are_memb...

“I agree that there is an element of satire, but I feel the humor makes it a bit more readable, and I don't think it detracts from the quality of the summary. However, if you can provide a better translation to some of those responses, I'd be happy to edit them in.”

The refusal of including auto-update is pretty infuriating to me.

"Will you force users to keep IE up to date so developers don't have to support legacy browsers.

Corporations don't want to have the latest version of a browser."

Alright, I understand that auto-updating could be an issue for IT at large corporations, but why not just make it a feature that is enabled by default? I'm sure IT guys who DO want their users using the latest stable release would be quite happy, and those who don't could easily disable it.

I think that tying IE to operating system is a bad decision. If they can make whole MS Office package available on OSX, then why is browser that special ? Of course I know many of the reasons why _not_ port IE to other oper. systems, but it would make my life easier if I could have all browsers on my machine for development testing.

I'm probably telling you stuff you already know, but from what I can see Office for Mac isn't simply a port but a completely separate codebase developed in parallel (for low values of parallel)

It (Mac Office) also generates a significant amount of income for MS

No, I didn't know that, because it's completely counter-intuitive approach to creating software. You have to abstract most of the stuff and then port just OS-specific stuff. It's beyond me why a company of the great software development tradition like Microsoft would go and maintain two completely separate codebases.

Because then Office would end up like iTunes for Windows. Office for Mac is actually really, really nice. I'm sure they have a lot of shared common libraries between the two, but it isn't a quick and dirty port. They take what they can use, but make sure that the end result is tuned for the OS.

Not to derail the topic from the main issue at hand, but what's so wrong with iTunes on Windows? While it doesn't conform to all of the Windows idioms you'd expect, I still found it to be a better music player than just about everything else. This was a couple years ago, back when I was using Windows, however.

First, there is the issue of those Windows idioms that you expect on Windows. iTunes and Safari both essentially forgo any pretense of adopting Windows standards and instead keep their own way of doing things. It would be as if Office for Mac didn't use the menu bar on Apple, and instead, simply copied what they did on Windows.

It also doesn't work well with the OS. Things you can quickly and easily do in WMP are painful in iTunes.

I'm sure some people found iTunes a pleasant experience, but most people I know only have it installed because they have an iPod or an iPhone, and are forced to use it.

Basically, it works well enough, but it's not a polished application.

Office for the Mac doesn't follow standard Mac OS X idioms either ... for example using its own spell check rather than the system wide one. Printing goes through their own dialog which can cause all kinds of issues. Excel's scrolling is not the same as scrolling in the rest of OS X (they followed the scrolling from Excel on Windows which is horrible).

The worst part is that I like to have various apps open in my dock, then when I click on them or switch to them with Alt + Tab I DON'T want them to open a new empty document that covers the entire screen thereby disrupting my thought process, and even if it did that when I open an existing document it should close the temporary empty document it just created (see TextEdit for a good example of that).

In Excel for example the only way to get the function toolbar to show up is to click the "Formula Builder" in the "Toolbox". As soon as I click away from it to format the text a certain colour the bar disappears.

When I am within a Cell in Excel, I can't use any of the Cmd + key shortcuts to accomplish anything, for example, selecting the entire contents of said cell.

Going back to the text editing part, I can't easily look up a word in the built-in dictionary with ctrl + cmd + d while hovering over a word.

Office for the Mac stands out like a sore thumb.

Fair enough. You do make some good points. =) However, I think it's fair to say the Office for Mac team has done a lot more to make their software for the Mac, rather than just a mere port.

While I'll believe that there are some things that you can do easily in WMP, but not in iTunes, I don't know what they are, and was really looking for examples with my previous question. The idioms, like I said, I'll give you. I remember the confusion of the preferences shortcut key combo. But having moved from WMP to iTunes, I don't remember missing anything terribly from WMP.

I can't do any direct comparisons any more, but one thing I keenly remember was WMP automatically syncing new content I added to my Music folder, whereas iTunes makes discovering new content painful.

WMP also had a play list on the side, and you could easily add to it. I miss that from iTunes, the concept of a play list that I don't have to save. I think there is sort of a way you can do that with the DJ... but it's so confusing.

WMP was like here, have a playlist area. Enjoy!

It's just very, very frustrating. I realize these are all probably personal preferences. I also realize I might be missing certain things, so if you have any suggestions, let me know. =)

In Microsoft's case it comes down to direct experience. Office 6 was a major flop on Mac because it didn't conform to Mac interface standards--ever since, Microsoft's had a separate business unit for their Mac products.

Office for Mac actually came first... and they developed the Windows versions after. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Microsoft_Office

Word up through 5.1 for mac was quite a nice piece of software. See http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/news/2004/06/63848

For version 6, they ported the windows version, which kinda sucked, to the Mac, and advanced the number on both versions to 6. In my opinion it’s been bloated and unpleasant ever since, and I have thankfully now managed to go Word-free for the last 4 or 5 years.

Oh man, this brings back memories.

I actually had a huge argument with my mom about v5.1 vs v6.1.1. I upgraded our machine, and she wanted the old one back, and I put forth the 'newer versions are always better' line of reasoning, and she rebutted with 'yeah but this one sucks.'

Looking back, it was one of the few arguments we had where I think she was right.

If they can make whole MS Office package available on OSX...

Unfortunately that remains a big if: in reality, they can't, or choose not to. Office for Mac lacks major features (VBScript/macros being the biggest) and, in my experience, is even crashier than the Windows version.

Yes, you are correct. But the newest version, Office 2010, is much better and also supports VBA. My coworker that uses the beta version is positively surprised at the quality of the product.

EDIT: It's actually named 'Microsoft Office for Mac 2011' and not 2010 and will be released at the end of October.

I'll give you an upvote for your logic, but I'm also a web developer and know that porting IE to other platforms would only complicate my life, adding additional browser/platform permutations that I would have to test. Porting IE 9 to the Mac isn't going to spare me from running a VM to see how sites look and function on Windows.

Lack of Websockets support so disheartening it almost makes me want to cry.

This one drives me crazy too. At least it can be emulated via Flash or Socket.io to support the same features on IE.

Just read the original, and while I do disagree with Microsoft's approach to answering these questions, I think the reddit community did a disservice to themselves (and possibly the entire hacker community) by transparently disguising attacks in the form of asking a question. For example:

"When will they be releasing a Mac OSX version? I couldn't find the download link on their site. I must be an idiot. But I submitted a question so I'm sure they'll get back to me and tell me where the download link is. I've also got a Linux machine at home. Perhaps I could use that? Has anyone tried the Linux version yet? Does it work OK? I couldn't see the Linux link either, but I wasn't really looking very hard. Some companies don't support Linux, so perhaps it's understandable if they haven't got a Linux version yet. I'm sure it'll be coming along soon. But I can't imagine anyone would release a new browser these days and not have a version that runs on Macs. So it must just be me. Right?:-/"

I'm not saying tough questions shouldn't be asked -- they should, and were -- but this particular kind of question is immature and should have just been ignored. I'm not at all surprised MS decided to respond in PR speak (although I still don't condone it).

Personally, I'd love to see Microsoft reach out to a more mature audience and actually have their engineers answer questions this time.

Perhaps we should invite them to an HN ama?

>As you can imagine a hospital with a multimillion dollar patient tracking web based application doesn't want a silent or automatic upgrade to their browser that could in fact jeopardize their patient's safety.

I doubt I'm the only one, but... I'd be willing to bet the delays in adopting updated browsers is a far worse security hole. I can't count the number of times I've heard of a company getting a virus into the network through some specific version of IE, and which only works on some specific version of XP. Businesses which don't update are a script kiddie's wet dream, because they're such an easy mark to cause trouble to.

And, to the writer of the tl;dr version: wow. That's a billion times more readable than the official responses, and remarkably accurate for the ones I was able to stomach reading. Excellent job.

I saw this and at first I was hopeful that something good would happen. Then I saw the comments and remembered that, for every smart Reddit user there are about 99 blithering idiots.

Most of the comments were troll responses and a circlejerk of Microsoft hate. Very disappointing.

Making a browser gives us more power to control web technologies.

This makes me truly sad. It's clear they've learned nothing from their own browser history and have a terrible attitude towards the progress of the modern web.

It seems they are still fighting for control through the web browser, and its a strategy ingrained into their very core. I would think they would do everything possible to protect their cash cows (office + os) and limiting browser functionality to the least common denominator (IE) is the easier way.

I wonder if we also could have something like "HN questions" here?

My searchyc foo is weak, but I think this was done a few weeks ago.

And also, this is directly part of Microsoft advertising on Reddit. Since HN doesn't have ads...

Not saying they wouldn't ever do it, just that's how it got on Reddit in the first place.

im surprised how honnest they are. sure they control what they say, but it is far from the usual "ie9 is better than all other browsers" diagrams they usual give us

Not the best moment in MS' history but some of those questions are kinda "low" too: people seriously expecting that there will be IE9 for Linux? Come on, get real!

IE is the only (common, useful) browser that doesn't run on Linux. It's not that absurd to hope that future versions might be cross-platform.

IE on Linux would only be used by webdesigners (all 17 of them that actually use Linux) to test if a webpage works good in it, a "normal" Linux user would never use it as his default browser, if only because: a) it's not open-source b) it's from that "evil" Microsoft

So there's no sense for MS to invest money into that sort of adventure.

Microsoft makes gobs of money from ads on Bing searches, just as Google does from Google searches. In the consumer market, Windows share is falling. Google is releasing an OS later this year, Apple's products are obscenely popular. Android is more and more popular every day.

People don't care what OS or browser they're running half the time. The thing is that IE is not an option; it can't be bundled on the most popular smartphones, or the most popular tablets because MS won't let it be.

I'm not suggesting that Gentoo nerds who write web software are going to care; I am suggesting that MS is losing out badly because of their Windows-only attitude. The future is NOT Windows-only software: the future is cross-platform software.

Microsoft is making a big mistake by not allowing anyone to use IE unless they also use Windows.

At no point I wrote that I'm for IE being Windows only. Sure, Mac version would make sense. But a Linux one? Not really.

Linux phones are selling faster than Apple phones. Why doesn't it make sense to support the new, popular mobile OS?

hey! easy on :)

I use Linux, but I have clients (one large corporate one in particular) that use IE6. This means I need to test against IE6, 7, 8 and soon 9, all of which require their own separate OS to run in, and each of those OS require (in theory) a licence to be purchased from MS.

This means that soon I'll require four Windows licences for an OS I don't use, just to test against each version of IE. All because MS can't make them run side-by-side

A lot more than 17 front-end web developers use Linux.

Not that I disagree with your broader point.

Being able to test the browser that is the most "off" when it comes to standards without buying a license of Windows is of course an investment. But the PR would be much better than what happened here.

I don't think anyone seriously expects IE9 to be ported to Linux or even OS X. These questions simply highlight the possibility that Microsoft's strategy of trying to lock users to applications that are locked to the platform could turn out to be a failure. It's another way of saying, "I don't care about Windows, therefore I don't care about IE." This statement seems much more potent today than it was a few years ago.

I hate when i read a lot of "Because Marketing told us so...". I know this is how the world is going, but damn it's harsh.

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