Every time I have to think about, or work with, Internet Explorer 6 (IE 6) I have a bout of the blurts. It is mostly four letter words that I blurt out. You know, words like f@$!, s@$!, and d@$!. But I may be getting ahead of you. Let me backup. If you do not know the difference between IE 6, 7, 8 or 9, there is not much. From a web developers perspective (mine) each release of IE has only gotten better at not entirely screwing up web standards.
Microsoft’s long domination of the browser came to its pinnacle with a combined IE 5 and IE 6 market share of 85% in 2003.1 Thankfully, the second browser wars freed us form Microsoft’s monopoly. Un-thankfully, many people do not know about the wars and that there are choices when it comes to their browser.
IE 6 was launched in 2001 and for five glacial years Microsoft did not update it. Another five years have come and gone, and in 2011 IE 6 is still supported by Microsoft (depending upon if your OS and service pack are still supported by Microsoft).2 If the overextended support of a ten year old piece of software is not mind-blowing, try this. Microsoft does not force users to upgrade from IE 6 to the latest release of IE.
If you are wondering how the use of IE 6 might affect you, there are all kinds of concerns with a ten year old browser including–but not limited to: security threats, speed related issues, and privacy concerns. If you have a website, there are added web development costs. IE 6 is notorious for not properly implementing web standards, this adds hours—if not days—of additional work when a website template is created or a website is updated.
Thankfully, there are companies that have common sense. In March of 2010, Google stopped supporting IE 6.3 With 3% of the browser market, as of March 2011, it is time for IE6 to die. As it was nicely put by Microsoft’s own general manager for Internet Explorer, “Friends don’t let friends use IE6”.4 So how do we help our friends? If you are a library with a website ask your web developer to add anyone of these pieces of code to your website:
1) Use the Internet Explorer 6 Countdown’s banner code to target IE 6 specific users with a banner informing them of the need to upgrade.
2) Use the ie6-upgrade-warning hosted at Google Code. If your website runs on Joomla, there is a extension for this.
3) Use this code from ie6 no more to target IE 6 specific users with a box centered on the page informing them of the need to upgrade.
Please help make sure your friends and patrons are safe on the internet highway by sending them the IE 9 download link.
P.S. If you missed IE 6’s funeral, check out ie6funeral.com
- Internet Explorer Browser. (n.d.). W3School. Retrieved April 18, 2011, from http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_explorer.asp ↩
- Support for Internet Explorer 6 Continues Following the Release of Internet Explorer 7. (n.d.). Microsoft Support. Retrieved April 18, 2011, from http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifean24 ↩
- Tom Krazit. (2010, January 29). Google Phasing Out Support for Ie6. Cnet News. Retrieved April 18, 2011, from http://news.cnet.com/8301-30684_3-10444574-265.html ↩
- Gregg Keizer. (2009, August 17). Microsoft: “Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Ie6’. Computerworld. Retrieved April 18, 2011, from http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9136739/Microsoft_Friends_don_t_let_friends_use_IE6 ↩