David Baron's weblog: January 2008

Friends & Colleagues

Thursday 2008-01-24

What should Microsoft do instead? (12:30 -0800)

Daniel Glazman suggested that those of us criticizing Microsoft's <meta> tag plan should offer an alternative. So here's mine.

Microsoft's main compatibility problem isn't on the Web. The success of Firefox and other browsers more standards-compliant than IE have shown that IE's brokenness isn't needed on the Web. Microsoft's compatibility problem is with content hidden behind corporate firewalls (that is, on Intranets). So what Internet Explorer needs is an Intranet mode, where companies deploying Internet Explorer as both a Web browser and an Intranet browser can configure it to browse their Intranets in compatibility mode without hurting the Web.

How would this work? Internet Explorer could be configured with domain-matching or IP-address-matching rules to select which hosts are "Intranet" hosts. (This configuration would generally be done by those doing the company-wide deployment, and there could be an easy way for users to pick up the configuration in their own installation of Internet Explorer.) Then, for an Intranet host, compatibility would work much like Microsoft just proposed. Compatibility would default to IE7 standards mode or quirks mode, but a <meta> tag or other similar solution could be used to opt in to newer standards support. However, on the Web, standards mode and quirks mode should both continue to evolve, become more standards compliant, and support new features, without any special opt-in. Quirks mode should have as few differences from standards mode as possible: only those that are critical for Web-compatibility.

Microsoft shouldn't hold the progress of the whole open Web hostage to the requirements of Intranets.

Tuesday 2008-01-22

<meta> madness (15:58 -0800)

(Title stolen from John Resig's post.)

Microsoft has finally announced their versioning plan for IE8. It's been pretty clear they were going to do something like this for quite a while. It's really mainly the details that are news, although it's now gotten much wider publicity than before.

I'll just link to my prior comments on the idea rather than rewrite them.

Friday 2008-01-18

Video problems really solved (14:09 -0800)

To follow up on my two previous posts (first and second), I'm finally back in a situation where video works the way I like. Starting with Fedora 8, the open-source radeon driver actually can power my laptop dock's DVI port. (And it can even do fun things with xrandr.) So I have the features I want, I'm using open-source software again, and suspend and resume work fine.

The upgrade to Fedora 8 has been much smoother than the upgrade to Fedora 7, once I worked around the installer not wanting to do the upgrade at all. The secure wireless in the office doesn't work anymore, but I can just plug in a cable, and that sacrifice (hopefully temporary) is worth it for the vastly improved video situation.