Internet Explorer.Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Team reports on a new IE installer release. They’ve changed a couple of defaults, updated their tutorials… and dropped the requirement for Windows Genuine Advantage validation:

Because Microsoft takes its commitment to help protect the entire Windows ecosystem seriously, we’re updating the IE7 installation experience to make it available as broadly as possible to all Windows users. With today’s “Installation and Availability Update,” Internet Explorer 7 installation will no longer require Windows Genuine Advantage validation and will be available to all Windows XP users.

As much as I prefer alternatives like Firefox and Opera, I’ve been frustrated at the relatively slow uptake of IE7. It’s just insane that 6 years after its release, we’re still stuck designing for IE6 as the world’s most-used browser.

So who’s still running IE6?

  1. People running older versions of Windows that can’t run IE7, and who haven’t switched to something else. (This is a pretty small percentage, judging by OS stats.)
  2. People who don’t know how to upgrade to IE7, or why they should.
  3. People who actually want to stay with IE6 (whether for technical reasons or just stubbornness)
  4. People who would be happy to upgrade to IE7, except they can’t/won’t run WGA (on principle, or because it’s broken on their system, or because their OS is pirated).

I don’t know how big each group is, but Microsoft seems to think it’s worth going after #4.

It’ll be interesting to see whether there’s a jump in IE7’s marketshare relative to IE6. Maybe we’ll reach that next milestone sooner than I expected.

Opera Mini - The free Web browser for nearly any phoneTwo web browsers hit milestones on Net Applications’ stats for September: Safari has passed the 5% mark, hitting 5.07%, and Opera Mini has climbed onto the chart at 0.39%. That might not sound like much, but considering that nearly all web traffic is from desktop computers these days, for a mobile phone–only browser to reach that size is impressive.

A bit closer to home, this site is currently seeing 64.6% IE, 26.2% Firefox, 4.4% Safari, 1.2% Opera (which probably includes both the desktop and mini versions). Splitting IE into versions, we’ve got 35.9% IE6 and 28% IE7. We’re already at the point where IE6 users are a minority (albeit the largest one), and more than 50% of visitors are using something more modern.

I’m looking forward to the next 2 milestones: IE7 overtaking IE6, and Firefox overtaking IE6. Come to think of it, I’d really like to get rid of IE6. Its time has passed, and the web will be better off without it, just as it’s better off without Netscape 4.

Are you still using Firefox 1.5 or Internet Explorer 6? If so, it’s time to start seriously thinking about an upgrade.

Firefox.Firefox 1.5 reached the end of its life today. That means that security and other fixes will only be available for Firefox 2 and later. Firefox 2 will run on all the same systems as the version you have right now, plus it gives you enhancements like spell check, phishing protection, and improvements to the features you already use.

Internet Explorer.Internet Explorer 6 is outmoded. It has limited support for the languages that make up the web (particularly CSS), and often disagrees with every other browser out there, forcing developers to write complicated code so that it will work on IE6. If you’re running Windows XP, you can upgrade to Internet Explorer 7. If you’re running an older version of Windows, you can benefit by switching to an alternative browser such as Firefox
or Opera. Whether you switch or upgrade, I highly recommend moving away from Internet Explorer 6.

Update: Mozilla has extended Firefox 1.5 support through mid-May.

Alternative Browser Alliance - New LogoI’ve been thinking about this for a while, but it’s time to refocus the Alternative Browser Alliance. Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler has referred to Firefox and Internet Explorer as the “mainstream browsers” for more than a year now, and it looks like that’s become true.

The web is no longer an IE monopoly. It’s become an IE/Firefox oligopoly. Firefox is no longer an alternative web browser. It’s sold out, its ads are everywhere, and it even allows people to build Firefox-only code.

So, starting today (April 1, 2007), the Alternative Browser Alliance will no longer promote Firefox.

So what will replace it? I thought about Opera, but most of its install base is on cell phones and PDAs, and we all know the mobile web browser is dead, right? Safari? Well, it turns out that WebKit is shutting down.

So the site will be putting its weight behind iCab. It’s as alternative as they come, and it’s guaranteed to remain that way (since it won’t run on Vista).

Update: Yes, it’s an April Fools joke.