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Government Internet Explorer Microsoft United Kingdom Technology

UK Government Rejects Calls To Upgrade From IE6 233

Posted by Soulskill
from the it-was-good-enough-for-churchill dept.
pcardno writes "The UK government has responded to a petition encouraging government departments to move away from IE6 that had over 6,000 signatories. Their response seems to be that a fully patched IE6 is perfectly safe as long as firewalls and malware scanning tools are in place, and that mandating an upgrade away from IE6 will be too expensive. The second part is fair enough in this age of austerity (I'd rather have my taxes spent on schools and hospitals than software upgrade testing at the moment), but the whole reaction will be a disappointment to the petitioners." Update: 07/31 11:43 GMT by S : Dan Frydman, the man who launched the petition, has posted a response to the government's decision.
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UK Government Rejects Calls To Upgrade From IE6

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  • by Manip (656104) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @01:26AM (#33093440)
    Their response was to the suggestion of changing browsers. Their post sets out very clearly that they're migrating their applications and workstations to IE8.

    Complex software will always have vulnerabilities and motivated adversaries will always work to discover and take advantage of them. There is no evidence that upgrading away from the latest fully patched versions of Internet Explorer to other browsers will make users more secure

    And:

    Upgrading these systems to IE8 can be a very large operation,

    Does make one wonder if the submitter or the editor even read it.

  • Re:Frosty Pizzo? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @01:52AM (#33093534) Journal
    Opera is far more configurable.
    Firefox plugins leave Opera's configurability in the dust.
    Chrome's interface is cleaner and more compact.
    Only mobile and cli browsers score lower on Acid3.
    Everything else runs circles around IE's rendering times.
  • by Gordonjcp (186804) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @02:08AM (#33093596) Homepage

    Assume IE 6 earns them 1 million dollars a day. If they stop using IE6. They start losing 1 million dollars a day. Thats the reality of the situation.

    Except it's nothing like reality. They *only* lose 1 million dollars a day if they stop using IE6 *and then don't use anything else*.

    Here's a car analogy. Using a Mercedes Vito van makes me a certain quantity of thousands of pounds per year (I'm British, we don't disclose ages or wages). So, if I stop using a Merc, I stop earning money, right? Wrong. If I stop using a Mercedes Vito, I start using a Citroën Berlingo, or a Ford Transit, or some similar van.

    It's really a pretty simple idea.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @02:12AM (#33093610) Homepage
    This is something called reality that has to be dealt with. I know this is typically not what petition signers encounter in their daily lives, but endure this explanation. The truth is that critical applications depend on IE6 to function, and upgrading from IE6 would cause work to stop. They shouldn't have built their apps on IE6? Blame Microsoft, their ruthless tactics led to that situation.
  • A fully patched IE6? (Score:5, Informative)

    by nacturation (646836) * <`moc.liamg' `ta' `noitarutcan'> on Saturday July 31, 2010 @02:18AM (#33093624) Journal

    IE8 is the patch to IE6.

  • by kvezach (1199717) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @02:25AM (#33093664)
    Unless you use old ActiveX programs that don't support newer versions of IE, that is.
  • by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @03:19AM (#33093860) Journal

    Their post sets out very clearly that they're migrating their applications and workstations to IE8.

    I wonder if you have read it. Here's the complete paragraph from which you quoted one (partial) sentence (emphasis by me; the first emphasized sentence is the one you quoted):

    It is not straightforward for HMG departments to upgrade IE versions on their systems. Upgrading these systems to IE8 can be a very large operation, taking weeks to test and roll out to all users. To test all the web applications currently used by HMG departments can take months at significant potential cost to the taxpayer. It is therefore more cost effective in many cases to continue to use IE6 and rely on other measures, such as firewalls and malware scanning software, to further protect public sector internet users.

    So it's quite clear that they are not upgrading IE versions.

  • Too expensive? Pah. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Retron (577778) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @03:29AM (#33093900)
    What a load of rubbish that "too expensive" excuse is. I work as a technician in a school with around 700 PCs (several hundred each of laptops and a mix of old/new desktops) and we ditched IE6 ages ago. The cost was near zero for the curriculum PCs, as RM issued an IE7 patch ages ago. Allocating it was as simple as selecting lists of PCs and clicking "allocate". We upgraded teacher laptops on a rolling programme, the same with desktop PCs. We're now redeploying Windows across the whole site - teacher machines now have Windows 7 so it's not an issue, while the curriculum builds of Windows XP have IE8 in the base image.
    The only "expensive" bit was a day of my time fixing issues with some rubbishy Java applet that is used in the library, which isn't very happy with IE8. A day of my time is worth £40, so it wasn't exactly expensive to fix!
    If a school can do it, I'm sure government departments can too.
  • Re:Cleanup (Score:2, Informative)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @03:38AM (#33093926) Journal

    Ratios, by definition, have no units.

    Wrong. Only ratios of quantities of the same type are unit-less. For example, the ratio of distance covered and time needed, also known as speed, very clearly has an unit.

    Of course in this case we have units of the same type (namely mass), so the ratio is, indeed, just a number.

  • Re:Cleanup (Score:4, Informative)

    by phoenix321 (734987) * on Saturday July 31, 2010 @05:37AM (#33094268)

    XPSP2 was not a browser upgrade.

    Either way, no one is forcing the IT department to stay at the bleeding edge. It may be profitable to do so, because usually, newer systems have some perks the older ones did not. But staying half a decade behind on current issues is not prudent, but paranoid.

    That doesn't apply to real-time systems, systems of major criticality and systems with human lives at stake, but for regular office systems, holding back on upgrades forever is not prudent but complacent and possibly paranoid. Some day in the future, even Big Bank, SCADA and mission control systems WILL need to be upgraded. How will paranoid IT departments handle *that* if they never dared to upgrade even a single notebook in the least important offices? How will they gain any experience with the new stuff?

    We all like to rave about prudence and ultra-mission-criticality of our IT, but unless we're working for NASA, NORAD, Big Bank or Big Energy SCADA, it's self-aggrandizing paranoia to think upgrading from IE6 to IE8 will bring the enterprise down, financially or otherwise.

  • by Bogtha (906264) on Saturday July 31, 2010 @06:35AM (#33094470)

    They shouldn't have built their apps on IE6? Blame Microsoft, their ruthless tactics led to that situation.

    No, blame incompetent IT departments. Back when those kinds of apps were being built, the prevailing attitude in these kinds of places was that cross-browser compatibility was unnecessary for intranet applications. People like myself always loudly pointed out that relying on proprietary Internet Explorer 6-only code would lock them into a single vendor and cause problems if Microsoft ever moved further towards standard code. There were only ever two types of response - either "never gonna happen" or "we'll deal with that when it happens". And now they are dealing with it, incurring costs that were entirely avoidable.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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