Tag Archives | Internet Explorer

Microsoft Nudges Internet Explorer 8 Closer to Release With RC1

Internet ExplorerIt’s been almost eleven months since Microsoft first released a preview edition of Internet Explorer 8. It’s still not shipping in final form, but it looks like we’re getting close: Microsoft has given me a heads’ up that it’s unveiling a Release Candidate 1 version–that is, a nearly-final one–today. Internet Explorer General Manager Dean Hachamovitch tells me that IE 8 will go final when it’s ready, but he doesn’t expect this final stretch before release to be long and arduous.

Here’s the download page for the Windows XP version. Here’s the 32-bit Windows Vista version. And this one’s for 64-bit Vista. So far, there’s no Windows 7 one.

More soon, including some thoughts on the state of Microsoft’s browser…

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Serious IE Flaw Gets Special Patch Treatment

Well, that was quick. The serious flaw in Internet Explorer that we posted about Tuesday has been fixed through an out of cycle security patch. Typically, Microsoft holds its “Patch Tuesday” event on the 1st Tuesday of the month. However, this time it was too serious to wait — and the company probably realized it would be a perfect time for its competitors to pounce.

It’s pretty bad when security experts are telling your customers to switch. These are unbiased (for the most part) folks, and the typical computer user is going to take their advice seriously.

Patch MS08-078 has been rated “critical” by Microsoft. The company is obviously recommending that users apply this patch immediately. Without it, they are obviously keeping themselves open to code execution attacks.

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An IE Security Flaw So Serious, Experts Suggest Switching

Microsoft has admitted that a serious flaw exists in all supported versions of Internet Explorer from IE5 right through the current betas, which could allow hackers to peer into user’s computers. Worse yet it is said some 10,000 websites have already been compromised to take advantage of the flaw, heightening the danger.

Right now hackers only appear to be stealing online gaming information. This could change — SANS Internet Storm Center expects the hackers to begin modifying the code to steal other (more personal) information.

Redmond’s suggestions to protect users include enabling “data execution prevention” (Tools > Internet Options > Advanced), and setting security settings to “high.” This may be a problem for some, as that setting disables active scripting.

Security experts are recommending users go one step further: switch browsers. Neither Opera, Safari, nor Firefox are vulnerable to the issue.

Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler puts in it blunt terms (perhaps with some motive):

“Stop using IE now. You are in serious danger. Even if you don’t like the other browsers, you just cannot afford to be using IE right now with this massive vulnerability being exploited as we speak.”

My suggestion would be the same. Using Microsoft’s suggestions will cripple your online experience. So even if you are an IE fanboy, suck it up, download Firefox, and go back when Microsoft is ready. Don’t be stupid — it’s just a browser.


Mac’s Internet Share Rises, Firefox Above 20%

Internet research firm Net Applications has somewhat stunning news: Windows share of the operating system has fallen below 90 percent according to the company for the first time since the mid 1990s. Furthermore, its share of the browser market has also fallen, now below 70 percent for the first time in nearly a decade.

IE now stands at 69.77 percent, down 1.5 percent or so from the previous month. Contrast this with Firefox, who now has about 20.8 percent of the market, up about .8 percent from the last month.

This has to have Redmond worried. I clearly remember pinging my Microsoft sources back a year or two ago when Mozilla really began to pick up market share. The response was “oh, they only expect them to peak at 15 or 20 percent and that will be it,” or something to that effect.

Well, we’ve now blown through that, and look to be poised for more gains. Firefox is beginning to move from the alternative to the competitor catagory when it comes to browsers. That’s something many — including Microsoft — did not expect.

The bad news doesn’t end there. Apple’s Mac OS is resurgent. It’s share is now up to 8.9 percent, the highest market share ever recorded by the firm for Apple. Contrast this with Microsoft, whos .8 percent drop to 89.6 percent was the biggest drop in over two years.

Vista’s adoption is still awful: only one in five users use it two years after it was released. While it has generally grown by about a percentage point each of the past few months, this shows that the computing public has generally given Microsoft’s latest OS the Windows Me treatment.


Ten Questions About Google Chrome

(UPDATE! I’m conducting a poll about Chrome–please go here to take it, and to get a recap of all of Technologizer’s Chrome coverage.)

Four years ago, I blogged about rumors that Google was working on a Web browser. I found ’em intriguing, as anyone would, but no such browser ever appeared, and Google became an enthusiastic Firefox booster. The blogosphere pretty much stopped pondering the possibility of a Google browser, and so did I.

Today brings news that the rumors were apparently premature, not wrong: Google Blogoscoped has published an amazing comic book by Understanding Comics’ Scott McCloud introducing Chrome, Google’s browser. (UPDATE: I’ve condensed the comic into a highlight reel.) Over at All Things Digital, Kara Swisher says that Chrome may be formally announced as soon as tomorrow. (UPDATE: Kara dropped me a note to say she’s confirmed Chrome will arrive on Tuesday.) (EVEN FURTHER UPDATE: The Google Blog now says that Chrome will be available for download tomorrow; it’s Windows-only at the moment, but Mac and Linux versions are in the works.)

Earlier rumors of a “Gbrowser” had it as being based on Mozilla, as Firefox is, but the comic book says that Chrome is built on top of Webkit, the browser platform that also serves as the basis for Apple’s Safari. Chrome has a highly tab-centric user interface, advanced memory management to prevent the browser from getting bogged down as you open up tabs, a fast JavaScript virtual machine, sandboxing to prevent malware from doing damage to your PC, built-in Gears for offline applications, a framework for plug ins, and more. I’ve never tried to judge a software product by assessing a comic book about it before, but it’s clear that Chrome is an ambitious attempt to launch a truly new Web browser–not a rebranded version of Mozilla or a me-too clone of anything else that’s out there.

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