Government sticks with IE6 for all the wrong reasons


Below, just some of the reaction to the UK government’s response to a petition submitted to Downing Street in February that opposed UK Gov’s continued endorsement of Microsoft’s IE 6.   It shows a complete and absolute misunderstanding of the issue. As the author here says, “…you could quite easily use IE6 for IE6 only sites, and receive the protection of a more modern browser such as IE8, FF and Chrome for everything else”.

Apart from which, it’s not just an issue of cost of replacing IE6, it’s the cost across the whole of the public sector of maintaining websites that must support the IE6 browser. I know we’ve spent at least 25% of the development cost for the local government CoP platform on making every change backward compatible to IE6.

And not forgetting, it’s not just a security issue, it’s a usability and a productivity problem – users can’t access facilities on some sites (e.g. YouTube), and lack of support for plug-ins means you can’t use some of the neat integration facilities that support sharing and collaboration on many social media/social networking websites.

But then again, user productivity doesn’t appear to feature in this decision. Something the government may yet come to regret once someone calculates the true cost of sticking with IE6!

See previous blog on this topic. sticks to IE 6 cos it’s more ‘cost effective’, innit

Computers in Whitehall will largely continue to run Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6, which will make web coders spit out their cheese‘n’pickle sarnies this lunchtime.

“It is not straightforward for HMG departments to upgrade IE versions on their systems. Upgrading these systems to IE 8 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,” it said.

The petition itself was sent to Number 10 earlier this year asking then Prime Minister Gordon Brown to follow German and French governments’ decisions to ditch IE 6.

“Apparently the IT team in Whitehall has yet to realise you could quite easily use IE6 for IE6 only sites, and receive the protection of a more modern browser such as IE8, FF and Chrome for everything else,” Reg reader Mark told us.

“As a senior web application developer, the mention of the positive word ‘standards’ in a document about IE6 makes me die a little on the inside — ‘Public sector organisations are free to identify software that supports their business needs as long as it adheres to appropriate standards’ — I’m not sure which standards they mean… but certainly not the HTML ones.”

Alas, Internet Explorer 6 is here to stay to keep the wheels of central government turning in this big fat society of ours, people.


See this at Amplify

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