7 06 2010
IE9, Windows XP and 2014?
Today I’ve found an interesting [link](http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2010/06/03/a-gpu-powered-html5-flickr-photo-viewer.aspx) in my RSS reader about IE progress in open-standards niche. Personally I think it’s really good that IE team puts so much effort to make IE a faster browser, a better browser and an HTML5 compatible browser. Finally, we – web developers, will be able to concentrate on web-applications and their functionality, instead of doing different dirty tricks to allow application to work in any browser.
Still I think we should ask our-selfs, when will this happen? When will web-developers be free of “hacking browser specific defacto’s “, when will they be able to have fun with latest web technologies? Actually, it’s a rhetorical question in this note. Despite the happiness of the fact that web-world moved, I have some sad thoughts.
Even if IE9 will be in one line with other open-standard browsers, it will not make it’s debut to all Windows platforms. IE9 does not run on Windows XP and requires at least Windows Vista with SP2. What does this means to us? Well, first of all, it means that, till the time all the Windows users switch to a successor of Windows XP, we will be binded to the good old HTML4. And I’m afraid it will not happen any time soon, at least for some of us. Officially Windows XP [stays](http://blog.marcliron.com/windows-xp/windows-xp-support-ends-in-2009-and-2014) in Extended support for the next four years, till 2014. Sorry for skepticism, but even if most of the users will move on to Windows Vista or Windows 7, there are organizations and people which will not make this jump.
Of course the situation is not dramatic, but it has some hidden and sad story. The percentage of AJAX driven applications growth and will grow even more. Different web-portals, CRM system and other web2.0 related applications are an entry point for thousands of people working in different organizations. As said, some of this organizations will not make a fast jump to Windows Vista/7. Meaning that web-developers will have to continue targeting IE(7,8) audience without HTML5 and other cool, fun things which are already included in IE9.
I know that Microsoft said “modern browser” needs a “modern operating system”, but it is still strange to see that other browser vendors can deal with Windows XP “non-modern operating system”, while Microsoft can’t. Can someone, please, explain?
My point of all this is : It’s all pretty cool and funky with IE9, but without being delivered to XP machines, it does not become new superior open-standard web-browser for me. Why? Cause it’s not a drop-in-replacement for IE family, but simply an extra browser to test in.
And once again Microsoft makes a key decision that will do little more than help impede the progress of web technologies in order to fulfill some shortsighted belief that people will upgrade their OSs just to use their 5-year-overdue browser.
How quickly Microsoft forgot (or the Marketing Department chose not to remember) how both the US antitrust courts AND the European Union courts slapped them for tying their browser too closely to the OS.
So this IE9-requires-Win7 business isn’t more of the same? Firefox 4, Chrome 10, Opera 10, etc. don’t seem to need the features in Win7. A browser is supposed to be an APPLICATION not an extension of the OS.
I believe it’s another way to try to overcome their Vista debacle and get their OS sales numbers back up. (Read how Ballmer is remaking Microsoft and lots of long-time high-level managers are out, including Ray Ozzie, in the trade press.) They’re becoming (more of) a cash-generating machine at the expense of customer satisfaction (so what else is new).
Eastman Kodak Company (still on XP)
Very good and valid points.