Need for Mozilla/IE compatibility
By John Clingan on Jul 10, 2004
I have customers who need a non-Microsoft browser with IE compatibility. Why? Because they have non-Microsoft platforms (HP-UX/Solaris/Linux) and some ISV's, in their infinite wisdom, write strictly to IE. The pain my customers face is measurable in cold, hard cash.
One solution is for ISV's to not write to one browser. I don't want to tell ISV's what to do, but I do know that they are costing my customers a boatload of money with architectural hacks like Windows Terminal Server with rdesktop or Citrix. That's more money for hardware, more money to those in Redmond, architectural complexity and more people to design and manage the beast. Plus, its a hack, hack, hack. ISVs - listen to your customers. If not just for cost reasons, how about not putting our joint customers at risk with IE security vulnerabilities by supporting alternate browsers.
Next, my customers can't rely on ISV's to do this and they still have to support existing deployments. Another way of attacking this problem is by enabling IE compatability in an open source browser, such as Mozilla/Firefox. For one reason or another, this hasn't happened. If it is because of limited resources, understood. Please place IE compatibility near the top of the priority list, right behind security patches and bug fixes. If the reason is more philosophical such as "write to established standards", well, I request those working on Mozilla to not take this stance. Too many customers are forced to deploy my described hack simply because Mozilla doesn't address IE compatibility. Not having IE compatibility is limiting OSS adoption in general within my customer base. If this compatibility exists somewhere or is already in the works, please comment on it so I can inform my customers.
Finally, I read with concern Tim Bray's blog on Apple Safari Extensions. Tim, thanks for bringing this to light. Apple, please don't cause my customers yet more pain. Please adhere to standards and work desired extensions through established standards processes.