One Year to Go on the IE 6 Deathwatch.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 was released on August 27, 2001,

It’s reach end Life: IE 6 is being end life’d (no longer supported or service patched) on 13 July 2010 or approximately 24 months after the last service pack which was Internet Explorer 6 on Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 in June 2008, and generally Microsoft Support Life cycle policy is 10 years of support (5 years Mainstream Support and 5 years Extended Support) at the supported service pack level for Business and Developer products).

Any yet too many pc’s are running it! Currently around 12% of browsers world wide are IE6. (or here for browser stats) Some of these are older hardware and operating systems. Mostly the users are unaware of the problem. We need to stop coddling them and let them know that we don’t stop them and they have (many) choices. Maybe a polite banner telling them that “their browser is unsupported, slow, unsafe and 9+years old; and there a several fine alternatives…”

The bigger problem (?) is corporations that run IE 6 as their organizational browsers. In part is seem to be inertia, and in part applications written so closing to IE6 bugs or non standard features (a non standard feature is a bug, and a bug is a Feature – if you code to its behavior). When those application are critical to the company, they have created their own mini Y2K scenario. They are going to need extra intensives to invest and move off their current obsolete platform. Yes, Microsoft might extend IE6, but for how long?

(see this July 2009 exchange where a US State Dept. workers beg Clinton for Firefox, and this story from the British government isn’t any better: MP asks Why are you still using IE6? : It’s insecure, it’s flaky… it’s government IT policy.)

And why might a organization want to reduce the use of IE 6 within it’s organization :

Security: As of January 10, 2009, Secunia reports 142 vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer 6, 22 of which are unpatched, some of which are rated moderately critical in severity.

Development : Moving off IE6 will also mean significantly less time spent hacking means shorter development/testing costs : developing workaround’s for IE6 issues; testing on IE6 – which cannot be installed on a computer with another version of IE. And there is also new functionality that can be added.

Performance: Windows Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) was released by Microsoft in October 2006 (for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista), and includes noticeable performance increases (twice as fast in some cases), as well a significant security improvements, and minor improvements in the support of CSS, DOM, and HTML standards. IE8 was released on March 19, 2009 for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. (Both 32-bit and 64-bit builds are available.) It contains yet more performance and stability improvements and new features (like “Automatic crash recovery”), and improves rendering of content authored to various web standards (like HTML, CSS and JavaScript). Would you like a 5 times performance boost? (or more if you run FireFox, Safari or Chrome!)

Digg is thinking of stoping (or blocking ) IE6. YouTube is phasing out support. See also The slow death of IE 6 support; YouTube and browser placement

One year to Go (as of July 13 2009)! Let’s give it a push!

Update July 16th : Mashable IE6 Must Die for the Web to Move On, which makes the agruement that IE6 Has Stifled Innovation Long Enough.

July 17th : IE 6 Must Die made it as a trending topic on Twitter.

Update July 23: Tech Crunch reports Woah, People Really Don’t Like IE6 – at least their readership, and on a campaign to shout out “Hey IT” and attempt to persuade IT departments into getting a move on the browser upgrade decision making.

Plus, a tool (javascript) which will help encourage your Internet Explorer 6 visitors to upgrade to a newer version of Internet Explorer but showing a yellow bar will appear at the top of the page, similar to Internet Explorer’s Information Bar. There is also a WP-IE6Update WordPress plugin for WordPress bloggers.

WordPress plugin Block IE6 keeps people from viewing your site if they are using Internet Explorer 6. Gives options to download a variety of newer browsers.

Update July 30 : from Tech Evangelist Joey deVilla (aka Accordion Guy) had this to say at Toronto DemoCamp 21 : if you got a cat when IE 6 came out, it’s dead now.

In related news, I seemed to have made some progress in moving my client (84 + locations world wide) away from IE6. Also one thing that came out was the reason for so many IE6 users : The Vista to XP downgrade made the default browser IE6!

Aug 5: Shawn of devirtuoso has contributed the awesome power of kittens in Contributing to the Death of IE6, via “a lightbox that pops up if you’re using IE6, make the user feel painfully guilty for using IE6, then give them a way to upgrade right then and there.”
ie6 kills kittens
also (via mashable IE6 No More! Popular Web Companies Start Project to Kill IE6 comes word of a high-profile group of startups, most funded by the well-known early stage venture firm Y Combinator, have started their own initiative, IE6 No More which provides a call to action: embed a line of code that will tell your website visitors still using IE6 to switch to a modern browser. I like!!

Update Aug 11 : InfoQ is reporting on the (above) IE6 No More Campaign and CNN has picked up the story Web citizens trying to kill Internet Explorer 6 which reports that “In a statement to CNN, Microsoft said it also wants people to turn away from IE 6.”:

“Microsoft has consistently recommended that consumers upgrade to the latest version of our browser,” the company said. “Internet Explorer 8 offers improvements in speed, security and reliability as well as new features designed for the way people use the Web.”

and there there is information like this, via Dion Almaer’s tweet :

IE6 is not going away for a long time because of corporate nightmares like these (via @HackerNews)

Update Aug 14: via BBC and news that Microsoft said it would support IE6 until 2014 – four years beyond the original deadline:

“Friends do not let friends use IE6,” said Amy Barzdukas, Microsoft’s general manager for Internet Explorer.

Update March 1st 2010 : not dead yet but, IE 6 gets a Funeral Service and at least a few more Nails in it’s coffin.

4 Replies to “One Year to Go on the IE 6 Deathwatch.”

  1. They’re good points, but how do we address the issue of the organisation having dependencies on external applications (i.e. not in-house built that supply/ support mission critical activities) that have IE6 requirements? That equates to a whole raft of concrete shoes that the organisations find comfie.

  2. Pingback: Going beyond the IE6 deathwatch, the WinXp IE8 deathwatch | False Positives

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