Microsofts Way or the

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Posted 2005-09-08 Print this article Print

Highway"> Microsoft has long encouraged Web designers to create Web sites that work well—or work at all—with Internet Explorer. This incredibly stupid and shortsighted approach can no longer be permitted. In the wake of the Katrina disaster, weve found that if you want to file a claim with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), you have to use Internet Explorer 6.
Gary Krakow of MSNBC found that you simply cant file the claim if youre using Firefox, Netscape or any of the other major third-party browsers.
You either ask for help very nicely using Microsoft products, or you dont get help at all online, seems to be what FEMA is saying. If your home PC is a Linux PC or a Mac, forget about it. There are ways around these problems so you can run IE 6 on these systems. WINE will do the trick for Linux and Virtual PC 7 will do it for the Mac … Of course, first you have to have those programs. Oh, not to mention that Microsoft is encouraging Web developers to write for the new IE and the fully secured version of IE 7 will only work on Vista. So, what does that mean? Does it mean that if a Katrina happened in, say, 2007, only users running Vista will be able to seek help from government agencies that have kept up to date with Microsoft? It looks that way to me. Listen, this isnt brain surgery. Open formats and standards are the way for everyone to go. Or, at the very least, governments should adopt true open standards. It is, after all, a government by the people and for the people, not just the people who own Microsoft stock. Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has been using and writing about operating systems since the late 80s and thinks he may just have learned something about them along the way. He can be reached at Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor at large for Ziff Davis Enterprise. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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