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A message for our dear readers using Internet Explorer

image of broken Internet Explorer logoAccording to our site statistics, nearly 41% of you out there are reading this article on some flavour of Microsoft Windows. In addition, 22% are using various versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser. And it’s to you, our IE users, to whom this message is addressed: use a better browser, preferably an open source one!

It’s been four years since we last addressed you specifically in this fashion (news passim). We recommend you do so for your own safety and security in the light of an article posted today on The Register entitled “Microsoft flings out emergency patch for Iatest gaping IE hole”.

According to El Reg:

Microsoft has announced plans to release an out-of-band patch today tackling a critical zero-day hole in Internet Explorer.

The update will almost certainly tackle an unpatched remote-code execution flaw in earlier versions of IE (detailed in Microsoft Security Advisory 2794220) that has become the target of hacker attacks since late December.

El Reg’s article also recommends that users switch to an alternative browser.

As regards an alternative browser, Bristol Wireless would advise you switch to an open source browser and one that complies with web standards so it renders web pages correctly. Of the many available, we would recommend either Firefox or Chromium in particular. Firefox has a long legacy. The project which became Firefox started as an experimental branch of the Mozilla Suite called m/b (or mozilla/browser), which was in turn based on the codebase for Netscape Navigator. Chromium is the open source web browser project from which Google Chrome draws its source code, but is free of the latter’s Google-specific features.

Once you’ve experienced the joys of using a standards-compliant browser that renders web pages correctly, who knows? You probably won’t ever want to go back to IE.

If you need more convincing, let’s just say this: Internet Explorer forms an integral part of the Windows operating system. You cannot remove it from your system without breaking that system. In fact you cannot remove it at all. The only thing Windows will let you do is disable IE and not show it in your programs menu (according to our resident Windows expert, who’s found out that Windows 7 will let some components of IE be removed, according to this article. Ed. ). This is very bad operating system design. Indeed, one might question whether on this count alone, Windows is ready for use on the desktop yet. 😉