Molly speaks up… #20

Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 evaluated…

browser revisited…

Offering ones impression of Internet Explorer 6 in serious writing, isn't the easiest task in the world. Well, I will try anyway, so here we go...

For years it looked as if that old browser was going to hold back the entire world wide web for ever.

Now, finally, there's a shimmer of hope, as IE7 is announced to be released – some day.

Of course, when you read this IE7 has been plaguing the web for quite a while, and the much improved IE8 has entered the scene.
Norwegian web developers would now like to see IE6 numbers fall so they could ignore that old bugger. Thus, a campaign against IE6 has started.

Not that I think IE6 will be replaced in a hurry by those who rely on it for daily surfing, but at least there is a slight hope that we will get rid of it – eventually. What will happen then is anybody's guess.


Internet Explorer 6 is an old browser by any measure. Released in 2001 with a few fixes on top of the old Trident engine from 1997, and few signs of improvements compared to IE5 from back in early 1999. Microsoft also introduced a large number of new bugs (also known as 'unique features'), and made the new 'Strict mode/standard mode' into something that can best be described as “anything but...”.

In short: Microsoft created a disaster and called it “a browser”. If anyone but Microsoft had released such an inferior piece of software, we would hardly have heard about it at all, since no one in their right mind would have used it. As we all know; IE6 is definitely making noises and calamity on numerous installations around the world, and costing millions and millions of dollars in damage each year.

There's a reason why Internet Explorer 6 is used by so many: MSIE6 is an integrated part of windows operating-systems and one can't get rid of it. The result of this integration is that the entire operating-system is wide open to attacks from any criminal-minded person with the most minute computer-knowledge, as soon as IE6 goes on line.

“Browsing is definitely a point of vulnerability,”
― Gates said. [CNET: 2005.02.15]

Thanks for the belated information, Mr. Gates. You knowingly exposed the world to that vulnerability. Why?
Oh, I know. Some will do anything for money... ― Molly

the web surfer…

Most people use graphical browsers for surfing. Plenty of those around, but it usually comes down as in the following lines.

“What browser I use? Internet Explorer 6 of course. What else?”― anonymous surfer

Thought so...― Molly

“What do you mean? Anything wrong with that?”― anonymous surfer

Not really. I hope you are very happy with it. I also hope you are very, very, careful when using it for surfing.― Molly

It doesn't bother me one bit that people use IE6 for surfing – even around this site. Of course, they don't get to see the web the way I do then, but that's not really my problem.

the web developer…

This is a bit beyond me. I'll be back – after these messages...

“What browser I code for? Internet Explorer 6 of course. What else?”― anonymous designer

Ever thought of coding for a real and standard-compliant browser?― Georg

“What's that? Internet Explorer 6 isn't standard-compliant?”― anonymous designer

Not the last time I had a look at it. Not even those who are developing its successor would call IE6 “standard-compliant”.― Georg

Oh, well, it sure helps that my author is pretty well experienced in the inner workings of IE6 – despite the fact that he never, ever, uses IE6 for anything serious on the web. Its use is restricted to local testing only.

watched from all angles…

There are so many who keep an eye on IE6 these days, so let me include some of them.

some bug lists…

The list above could have been made much, much, longer. However, I don't think it matters to the average web surfer, and experienced web developers and designers should be well aware of the mess by now.

some comments…

Sounds like they have said most of what needs to be said already, so what am I doing here? Surfing for information, of course, and there's plenty of information about Internet Explorer 6 on the web. If only some of it had contained something other than notes about old security-updates, weak points and outdated information.

I had a quick look at some 400 pages that Google found on Internet Explorer 6 – out of 6,970,000 that touched on the subject/object. Gosh, there is a lot written about that “thing”, but most of it is repetitions of what's written on other sites, and much of it is as old or even older than IE6 itself. Informational value: close to or below zero.


Internet Explorer 6 may be used by many, but even the name is a standing joke [?] amongst experienced web developers. If something doesn't work as expected, then it's either IE6 that doesn't line up with web standards, or standard-compliant browsers that don't line up with IE6's countless bugs. Go figure...

Less experienced web designers are at a loss no matter what, and are often unable to understand why a widespread browser like IE6 can be so far off target. There's no lack of understanding around here, but the absurdity is near complete when someone wants standard-compliant browsers to imitate IE6 bugs. Of course they can, but that's not the point, is it?

It doesn't matter what MSIE6 can do in addition to web standards. Other browsers have just as many additions and clever functions, and most of these additions and functions are at least as useful as those found in IE6.

What matters is that all browsers are supposed to understand and act correctly when fed standard code – CSS, javascript and all. IE6 doesn't understand half of it, and messes up two-third of what it understands. That's what's holding web developers back, since they can't use what's there without having to work around bugs in IE6 all the time.

Those who code only for IE6 may have an easier task, since they are not developing for the web and rarely know how to use web standards anyway. Must be a pretty boring task though, and many of them will not find much work in the future – unless they start learning how to use web standards instead of coding for browser-bugs.


The future on the web will (hopefully) look a bit brighter when Internet Explorer 6 is gone for good. I think that's about the nicest thing we can say about that old bugger, so I think I'll stop at that.

It is time for me to see what the future may look like, since I already have a way of doing that. “Opera, show me the future – now!”

sincerely  molly 'the cat'

Hageland 26.nov.2005
18.jul.2006 - expanded article.
21.feb.2009 - added comment about IE7 and IE8.
23.feb.2009 - linked in additional page on "war against IE6".
01.apr.2009 - added april fools day link/badge in right column.
last rev: 01.apr.2009

Molly speaks up…

Molly: …I'll miss it.
Opera: …what???
Molly: …just kidding.


  • introduction
  • Table of Content


  • this is PTL web-design
  • CSS sledgehammer
  • Lynx enhanced page
  • Print enhanced page
  • Projection enhanced
  • Small Screen enhanced page
  • validity of xhtml and CSS
  • html tidy
  • Opera and me
  • Firefox vs. IE
the usual
  • the author
  • Copyright
the unusual
  • Molly speaks up
  • more from Molly
the additional
  • Examples
  • Demo pages
additional reading:

external info:

… the author can not be made responsible for any harm done to and by this page and the rendering thereof, should the visitor be ignorant of all the hazards introduced by the use of any and all versions of Internet Explorer…

wish list for IE6
  1. may your demise be a quick one.
  2. dry that silly smile off your face…
    acid2 test-result
    …and get out of here.
  3. may I never meet your countless bugs again.

…the sooner the better.

wish list for IE7...
  1. complete and bug free CSS2.1 support.
  2. bug free <object> support.
  3. bug free '.png' support.

…yes, it was wishful thinking…
Better luck next time.

another wish list for IE7...
  1. may your demise be a quick one.
  2. if this is the best you can do…
    acid2 test-result
    …then your demise can't come quickly enough.

…and I really mean that!


…you haven't seen the web at its best before you have seen it through Opera. get yourself an Opera-browser


happy smiles with Opera
the web-browser

Molly's corner…
…2005 - 2009
last rev: 01.apr.2009