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EU Wants Multiple Browser Bundling On New PCs

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the pushy-paternalism dept.

Windows 464

An anonymous reader writes with a link to Ars Technica's report that "the EU is considering forcing Windows users to choose a browser to download and install before they can first browse the Internet, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required). While the latest Windows 7 builds let you uninstall IE8, 'third-party browser makers like Opera, Mozilla and Google are pushing for tough sanctions against Microsoft. The EU would rather have a "ballot screen" for users to choose which browsers to download and install as well as which one to set as default. The bundling requirement might end up becoming a responsibility for manufacturers.'"

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464 comments

That's not a fucking monopoly. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152283)

You can't force them to support other browsers, hell, they could only support internet explorer if they wanted to.

Re:That's not a fucking monopoly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152449)

Governments can force anyone to do anything. Who cares if it is right or even makes sense?

As long as we have a few government officials who make policy, instead of opening up the process to intelligent participation [metagovernment.org] , we are doomed to rule by the mediocre, the bored, the corrupt, and the stupid.

Heck, even if they are the best intentioned, most intelligent people in the world, they still have less chance of getting it right than would an open group.

Re:That's not a fucking monopoly. (4, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152831)

You can't force them to support other browsers, hell, they could only support internet explorer if they wanted to.

Your choices:

Internet Explorer 8 (Recommended)
AOL Explorer
Lynx

Read much? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152895)

If you were literate, you might understand that no one is requiring Microsoft to support other browsers. Microsoft is being required to make options available. Maybe I'm being unfair, and you really are literate. Could be, in your native language "making available" and "support" are synonymous. Nanu Nanu, dude.

Re:Read much? (2, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153047)

If you were literate, you might understand that no one is requiring Microsoft to support other browsers. Microsoft is being required to make options available.

Why is this Microsoft's problem and not that of the OEMs selling the computers ?

This just cracks me up... (0)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152285)

those other browsers are free so who cares if Windows users are forced to use IE?? It's not like Firefox is a company and they are losing out on revenue.

Re:This just cracks me up... (5, Informative)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152557)

Advertising revenue. Look up how Mozilla Corporation makes money from partnerships with, possibly among others, Google.

Re:This just cracks me up... (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153077)

And so you are killing ONE monopoly(IE) and strengthening another (Google). Does that make any sense? And it wasn't like it was hard to toss IE before. hell every new PC build I do here in the shop composes three steps when I have the desktop up. 1-plug in flash. 2-Install Firefox 3- Toss IE Icon in the trash and replace with Firefox Icon, which i load with ABP and Forecast Fox, which my customers really love.

To me this is just the EU being really fucking dumb, yet again. Anybody remember XP-N? For those that hadn't heard of it, the EU forced MSFT to make an sell a version of XP with no media player called XP-N. I'm sure there is a landfill in Eastern Europe filled with XP-N discs because the retailers said they couldn't give them away and it was more worthless than an AOL CD. And what if you don't have the Internet up yet,hmmm? Most routers require a browser to do the initial config. So if i am in the EU I have the choice of plugging my Windows machine straight into the net(and get boned) or not having the net at all because I can't set my router until i download a browser, which i can't do without setting my router. Gee, I wonder how many other ways this can go wrong? Dumb EU, just dumb.

Re:This just cracks me up... (3, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152577)

those other browsers are free so who cares if Windows users are forced to use IE?

Maybe the makers of browsers which aren't free? It would at least let people know that alternatives exist and that the "blue E" isn't "the internet"
And, as Microsoft is so want to say: Free == bad, so IE must really suck.

Re:This just cracks me up... (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152937)

And, as Microsoft is so want to say: Free == bad, so IE must really suck.

No, MS would say IE was paid for as part of the cost of Windows, so you paid for it.

No different really from those who say their Mac paid for part of the cost of OS X.

Re:This just cracks me up... (5, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152595)

The Mozilla Foundation makes many tens of millions of dollars from Google. If nobody installs Firefox, Google isn't going to be giving them that kind of money anymore.

Re:This just cracks me up... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152705)

The problem here isn't (directly, at least) money, but choice. Most don't even know that they have one. You get a computer, you usually dont have a choice on what operating system it includes, and in that operating system you dont have a choice on browser (at least, no without further work/knowledge/etc). Also, you can consider all free, but that dont make them all equal.

Re:This just cracks me up... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152721)

Well that was insightful.

If firefox wasn't free, it wouldn't have had ANY chance against the monopolistic bundling of IE.
 

Re:This just cracks me up... (5, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152751)

...those other browsers are free so who cares if Windows users are forced to use IE?

I do, because I'd rather be able to develop to standards and I'd rather Web technologies could move forward again instead of being held back by one, dominant, least common denominator browser.

The EU is still beating this dead horse? (1)

Alonzo Meatman (1051308) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152287)

Don't get me wrong - I don't love Microsoft and I don't even use IE. But aren't the browser wars pretty much dead? If you think that MS has an unfair monopoly in the OS world, is this really the most effective way to end that?

Re:The EU is still beating this dead horse? (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152345)

Came here to say this. They're about ten years too late and it won't achieve anything (in fact I think it's a bad idea at this stage).

Re:The EU is still beating this dead horse? (1)

linhares (1241614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152673)

What they should do is go all way down this route. SELECT operating system when you get a new computer. Every store could have a bundle of OSs, and let users decide between $150 Windows or $1 per cd Ubuntu.

That would scary the hell out of mycrimesoft.

Re:The EU is still beating this dead horse? (5, Insightful)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152739)

If you really think that this would change anything, you're naive as fuck and I got a nice bridge to sell you.

Re:The EU is still beating this dead horse? (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153099)

You know what would really be a monopolistic practice? If they made the hardware and then forced you to use their operating system on their hardware. Thank god that doesn't happen.

Re:The EU is still beating this dead horse? (0, Flamebait)

Jamie's Nightmare (1410247) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153139)

Not really. It is a great idea though. Enough people would try Linux and finally that it is shit, then they would appreciate Windows much more, just like I do.

Re:The EU is still beating this dead horse? (2, Informative)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152549)

I agree that the browser wars are dead, and that there are much worse things with MS than their practices with IE. What boils my blood most is how the price of XP dropped off the market for no particular reason once we started seeing OEMs put Linux on netbooks. Why was XP still $100 about 5 years after and all of a sudden it's down to $30? Isn't this far more abusive as a monopoly? It's not even just one corner aspect of the OS, it's the entire thing that they're using to lock you in. I just don't get it.

Re:The EU is still beating this dead horse? (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153133)

Why was XP still $100 about 5 years after and all of a sudden it's down to $30?

You can thank laissez-faire capitalism. Free markets and few regulations will always end up with monopolies with consumers getting the shaft. It's what corporations are designed to do. Like carp, they'll just keep eating and growing.

Re:The EU is still beating this dead horse? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153071)

because it's almost impossible to google "firefox" or "chrome" or "safari" or "opera" and download a new browser.

I don't think I've used IE since about 2001. If Microsoft wants to bundle their browser, I don't see how it hurts anyone. That's not to say Microsoft doesn't engage in monopolistic practices. They do, obviously, or they wouldn't have justice departments (and their equivalents) all over the world busting them all the time. But I've always been a bit puzzled about why the bundling of IE was considered to be among their primary sins.

I still believe, too, that MS should be forced to spin off their consumer electronics division. Same with Apple. Big corporations don't do any of us any good, and usually do a lot of harm.

No fan of MS, but... (1, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152297)

This is beginning to get out of hand.

Re:No fan of MS, but... (2, Insightful)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152607)

Why?

No really - why? It's incredibly simple to implement this. A window with a list of web browsers, some screenshots when you click on one, and a Next button which starts the download.

This is actually what I suggested back when all this antitrust crap started, years and years ago.

Microsoft repeatedly pulls stunts like resetting the default browser back to IE, in addition to not allowing it to be uninstalled. (You can remove the icon) The only way they'll get out from under this antitrust stuff is to over-react now. This is an incredibly easy way to over-react, which shows they're complying and promoting choice.

They should also do it for media players. Eventually people will get annoyed by all the choices, and complain, and then OEMs will just start picking whatever software is most popular - but nobody will be able to pin the blame on them.

Re:No fan of MS, but... (3, Insightful)

seramar (655396) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152839)

Why should Microsoft have to install anyone else's browser on their operating system? It's not like they prevent you from downloading and installing third party browsers. Matter of fact - I'm using one right now!

Re:No fan of MS, but... (0)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153093)

Why should Microsoft have to install anyone else's browser on their operating system?

For the same reason that when I steal your car I should be made to give it back. They stole the browser market using explicitly illegal tactics and with criminal intent. The fact that they then set fire to the car doesn't mean that they are now excused and no longer owe you a car.

This suggestion doesn't, in fact, go nearly far enough. Microsoft should be forced to give a choice of different browsers but IE should not be in the list. IE should only be available as a paid choice on physical CDs until such time as it's market share is less than any of the other major browsers. Offering IE online, pre-installed or bundled should be illegal.

Re:No fan of MS, but... (2, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152855)

in addition to not allowing it to be uninstalled

Because IE IS explorer. You remove IE totally and you don't get your file browsing, you don't get your pretty icons on your desktop, you don't get your taskbar/systray/start menu/etc. Sure, they tell you that you can uninstall it, but believe me, you aren't actually uninstalling. You are just removing the IE monikors for the whole Frankenstein Monster.

Re:No fan of MS, but spreading FUD (4, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153045)

No. IE is not Explorer. I have an Nlited Windows XP, from which IE has been completely removed. Explorer works just fine without IE. Stop spreading FUD, please.

However - Explorer can be removed from XP along with IE, and replaced with some other shell. There are dozens of them available, many for free. The pretty icons, taskbar, systray, and start menus that you cite aren't even "part of the operating system", as you seem to imply.

My #1 favorite file browser is PowerDesk. I generally retain the Explorer shell, because the prettiest and best shells are proprietary, and I'm not willing to pay for them.

Re:No fan of MS, but... (2, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153067)

Microsoft repeatedly pulls stunts like resetting the default browser back to IE, in addition to not allowing it to be uninstalled.

Yes. That's because it would break the thousands of applications that rely on those shared components to function. Breaking existing applications is something Microsoft is extremely reluctant - often to a fault - to do.

Re:No fan of MS, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28153079)

A window with a list of web browsers

Who decides which browsers get on the list, and how? Do I get to sue the EU/Microsoft for providing free advertising for all the other browsers, when mine isn't on there?

Re:No fan of MS, but... (1)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152641)

Nor am I a fan of market regulation, but I don't think that this is getting out of hand. Would you elaborate why do you think so?

I see forcing Microsoft to do this beneficial for everyone else. I also find it an acceptable given their monopoly status. It's the best solution to the problem. Forcing Microsoft to do this might look a bit excessive, but I don't think it is. If you believe so, try to tell us why.

I don't know, but the alternative is to force Microsoft not to include a browser at all, which would certainly hurt the users. So Microsoft are given the alternative to include other browsers instead. Sounds fair to me. The problem is that it doesn't matter how you could remove IE after installing another browser, only people already using an alternative browser would do it, Microsoft would still continue to leverage IE market share by (ab)using their monopoly position just as well, until the users are presented with a direct choice. I'm not sure that this would help either. Microsoft would display the choice in a way that would make users click on IE.

Re:No fan of MS, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152967)

Would the same rules apply to Apple as well?

Safari is seemingly bundled with MacOSX.

Note: I've never purchased a Mac, but I would assume Apple bundles the Safari browser in the systems they ship. If otherwise, please correct me.

Talk about beating dead horses (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153083)

Apple has not yet been convicted in multiple courts of being a monopoly, let alone an abusive monopoly. Personally, I think they ARE monopolistic, but haven't crossed the line into true monopoly land. If/when they are proven a monopoly IN COURT by competent jurists, then I suppose that the same sanctions being put into place against Microsoft might be used against Mac.

Forcing OEMs? (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152307)

The bundling requirement might end up becoming a responsibility for manufacturers.

This is just as stupid as forcing Microsoft to bundle alternative browser binaries with Windows.

The solution to the problem is to force Microsoft to allow OEMs to bundle other browsers with Windows the same way they do anything else. Microsoft's dictating what software can be included with Windows is the real anti-competitive behavior here -- so fix it by removing that behavior. If Dell wants to include Firefox, let them. If Opera wants to sign a deal with HP to include its browser on all their machines, let them.

Don't force all OEMs to include all browsers. That's stupid and impractical.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152359)

No!!!

The amount of crapware they could preinstall with a customized browser is unthinkable.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152389)

Microsoft's rules do not disallow OEMs bundling browsers.

Believe it or not.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (5, Informative)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152437)

Not anymore, but back when Netscape and IE were slugging it out it sure did. MS was threatening to pull Windows out from under any OEM that bundled Netscape with a new PC.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152697)

OK, but now they don't, rendering your point (in relation to our current situation) somewhat moot.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (5, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152997)

Actually, it is those actions PRECISELY why we are in the situation we are in now. The argument is most certainly NOT moot. They used that illegal action to become the defacto browser, and now its time to pay at least lip service to the piper for it.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (2, Insightful)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153011)

OK, but now they don't, rendering your point (in relation to our current situation) somewhat moot.

And you really want to leave that power with them?
We have a fact of them (ab)using that power, why should we, the EU people let them have it. I vote take that power from them!

Re:Forcing OEMs? (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152699)

The solution to the problem is to force Microsoft to allow OEMs to bundle other browsers with Windows the same way they do anything else.

That would once have been a viable solution. That is no longer the case. The remedy for a knife wound is more than removing the knife. The EU needs to repair the damage done to the market, and that means restoring the browser market to a competitive state. OEMs have plenty of incentive to bundle only IE, resulting from the current, broken state of the market, even if they are not forbidden from installing others. If the EU is really looking to restore a competitive free market where innovation is driven by the market they need to go further. Requiring the inclusion of a standards compliant browser prevents IE from blocking the advancement of Web standards and jumpstarts the broken market.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (1)

rliden (1473185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152715)

Agreed. Not only is it impractical but I don't want to have to remove other browsers having them leave behind their registry entries and any other crap they don't want to clean up upon removal.

I like the current model in Windows 7 where I can install any browser I want to, and do, after initial installation. I have the option to disable IE8 in the Windows Features menu, but it still leaves the base engine available for.NET apps and other Windows apps that call and rely on that engine for functionality.

Finally, I don't have a huge level of confidence in OEMs or their partners not configure Windows in a way that makes installing and using another browser a real pain in the ass.

Maybe this is all irrelevant to me because I live in the United States. In any event I'm not very excited about what kind of precedent this could set or direction it could take us.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152903)

Grab a Compaq PC. Circa 1995-97, with one of their Customized Windows 95 OS'es on it. If it boots up and it has a Compaq Logo instead of a Win95 logo Like this guy's [youtube.com] , then you're on the right track.

After you cringe in horror, explain to me again why allowing OEM's to customize the OS to their liking is a great idea.

I'm not saying that OEM's shouldn't be allowed to add software packages, but there is a fine line between useful and performance degrading. If an OEM thinks that they can sell more than the other guys based on the "Added Value" of their craptastic software, then they will do it. Customer experience be dammed.

What needs to happen is a app store like application explorer similar to what you see in Linux and mobile phones. It makes finding, buying, (if it's not free) installing, uninstalling and maintaining software simple and easy, as well as a way to seperate the good apps from the bad. As long as it's well regulated and rules are clearly defined, I don't see how it's hurts competition or users.

Re:Forcing OEMs? (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152961)

Allowing and not forcing them is what led to current situation.
Why? Because, since no one is making MS to allow competition, they feel free to threaten the manufacturers in a nonofficial way. You know, the way they do it now.

Bah Humbug (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152309)

Wont anybody think of the users. I dont want to have to make choices thats why I use Windows in the first place.

Re:Bah Humbug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152419)

Wont anybody think of the users. I dont want to have to make choices thats why I use Windows in the first place.

Because choices require thinking and that's a big scary no-no! I bet Italy under Mussolini removed a lot of choices too, that must have been paradise for the likes of you!

Notepad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152349)

We should have multiple text-editors also! Stop the Notepad monopoly!

This could get (even more) stupid (3, Interesting)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152361)

Which browser do you want?
[ ]IE
[ ]FireFox
[ ]Opera
[ ]Safari

Which image editor do you want?
[ ]MS Paint
[ ]GIMP
[ ]Paint.net

Which text editor do you want?
[ ]Notepad
[ ]Notepad2
[ ]vi
[ ]Emacs

and on and on...

Re:This could get (even more) stupid (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152407)

Except that, really, the Emacs option should be in the "Which Operating System Do You Want?" selection.

Re:This could get (even more) stupid (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152469)

I knew someone was going to say that.

Re:This could get (even more) stupid (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152535)

[ ]Emacs+Linux (kernel only)
[ ]Emacs+Linux (complete)
[ ]Emacs+Windows (kernel only)
[ ]Emacs+Windows (complete)
[ ]Emacs+Darwin
[ ]Emacs+Mac OS X

Re:This could get (even more) stupid (2, Interesting)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152481)

Which would be kinda neat, if your options were be comparable. You can't compare MS Paint with GIMP, or Notepad with vim. Having such a choice for a browser, mail client, etc., would be fine. But making the average Joe choose between Notepad and vim would certainly be a distaster for those that chose vim. Your joke would probably be funny if you were given a choice between IE and Lynx...

Re:This could get (even more) stupid (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152571)

User:It won't type right; it just beeps! (happens to type the letter "i") oh there it goes. Now how do I save?
Tech support:Use gvim.

Vim has a menu bar now (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153089)

But making the average Joe choose between Notepad and vim would certainly be a distaster for those that chose vim.

Why? Modern versions of Vim and Emacs have a traditional Windows-style menu bar (see Vim screenshot [vim.org] ) to let the user copy and paste with less retraining than from Microsoft Office 2003 to Microsoft Office 2007.

Re:This could get (even more) stupid (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152559)

I use ed [gnu.org] , you insensitive clod!

Re:This could get (even more) stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152651)

Which browser do you want?

[ ]IE
[X]FireFox
[ ]Opera
[ ]Safari

Windows: I'm almost certain you selected Internet Explorer.

Re:This could get (even more) stupid (1)

gdshaw (1015745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152749)

If this goes through it will be a specific punishment for a specific misdemeanor (MS using their desktop monopoly to corner the browser market). It would not mean that other types of application need to be treated in the same way. It would not affect other operating systems at all.

Of course, if MS were to extend their unlawful behaviour into other markets then the punishment might need to be extended too — but presumably one of the major objectives here is to deter them from doing that. If Windows installation were to end up as you suggest then Microsoft would have only themselves to blame.

Sounds like Linux (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152829)

Your set of options sounds like doing a Linux install, save for including MS options. :)

In a near future... (2, Interesting)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152373)

Windows will become itself a linux-like distribution, with hundreds of included, tested, and secure packages of several alternative tools for the same purpose. Think like Kubuntu, that comes with the KDE desktop, Konqueror as default browser and several more "by default" applications, but where you can install with a command alternate browsers, office suites, entire desktops, and so on.

Re:In a near future... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28153043)

Which is one reason of the smaller reasons I don't like Linux. I don't want to waste lots of time install all the junk that comes with it. Atleast with the OEM junk, a format and reinstall will clear it. But unbuntu includes it in the cd!

They'll cock it up (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152429)

All that needs to be done is make IE8 removable. Like completely removable, not just a "hide the icon" sort of uninstall and give OEMs the right to put whatever browser they want on their systems.

Why bother fucking about with some sort of software that asks the user? There probably won't be any expectation of this ballot system giving the pros and cons of each browser so they'll just opt for the familiar IE they've always used.

EU proves to be ineffective by being too late on doing something about this problem and picking a poor solution.

Re:They'll cock it up (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152543)

IE is removable in Win7. I know RTFA is not standard practice on Slashdot, but at least read the summary.

And you're right, the user prompt is stupid. 90% of people don't know or don't care what browser they use. Many of them will click on the blue e that they are used to. But, I also see this as drastically increasing Chrome's marketshare, because a lot of people will see 'Google' and click on that instead.

Opera and Firefox on the other hand, will see little love, unless someone really likes red or furry animals.

Re:They'll cock it up (3, Informative)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152591)

Win7 lets you remove iexplore.exe but not Trident's libraries (the rendering engine).

Re:They'll cock it up (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152811)

...And for those who don't know Trident is used a lot in help files so it is kinda necessary

Re:They'll cock it up (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152959)

Speaking of which... what's a good alternative to CHM?

PDF woefully lacks proper indexing, searching, etc. and the file tends to bloat up pretty crazily.
a bunch of loose HTML files doesn't do searching at all unless you host the thing on your server with a server-side search.. and it's a bunch of loose HTML files.

Checking Google, I see lots of alternative viewers and some compilers, but nothing in the way of an alternative format (the search terms may be too generic - who knows). If one exists, I'd love pointers.

Re:They'll cock it up (1)

zoney_ie (740061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152657)

The EU compared to who else...? The old saying "better late than never" comes to mind. I think the US opted for the "never" approach to doing something about IE bundling.

Hm. (3, Interesting)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152443)

Hang on a minute, browser bundling?

The EU would rather have a "ballot screen" for users to choose which browsers to download and install as well as which one to set as default

That's not really bundling now, is it? How do they server this list to the user? Must be a webpage, Shirley?

Also.. who chooses which browsers are included in the list? M$? What's to stop M$ putting theirs at the top of the list? I like the idea but it needs more thinking through. I read TFA (yes, I'm new here, etc.) and it was very light on detail.

I somehow sense this isn't the end of the matter..

Re:Hm. (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152603)

The EU is considering it. This is very early in the game. Don't expect details; they still have to argue about those.

Re:Hm. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152805)

Yeah, If I were Microsoft, I would provide the following options

amaya [w3.org]
Maxthon [maxthon.com]
crazy browser [crazybrowser.com]
grail [sourceforge.net]

Re:Hm. (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152897)

Not all things served over the internet are done through a web browser. Haven't you heard of those heady days before the web, of usenets and IRCs? It'd be trivial to make a simple one-shot installer programme for allowing the user to choose and donwload a browser.

Your point about who chooses the list stands though.

Great....more crapware (1)

spiffydudex (1458363) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152457)

So now I'm going to have to waste another 3 minutes of my life uninstalling more shit, just so my grandma can use her new computer. All hail the mighty crapware.

Re:Great....more crapware (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152585)

I already wasted many hours of my life building nlited XP CDs.
It's the only way to stop all the "non-uninstallable" crap from getting on there in the first place.

Re:Great....more crapware (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152901)

I heard "apt-get remove" is good at that.

Why spend that much time on a proprietary OS just to make it 'work'? Seems that's the manufacturers responsibility of fitness, not the end users. Homepage

I already wasted many hours of my life building nlited XP CDs.
It's the only way to stop all the "non-uninstallable" crap from getting on there in the first place.

Reply to This

Parent

Why stop there? (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152525)

How long until they're forced to offer options of different operating systems at startup?



Are they required to pick popular browsers as alternatives?

Which browser would you like to use? Internet Explorer, Lynx, or xBrowser?

For fuck's sake... (0, Troll)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152635)

Microsoft wasn't doing anything wrong bundling IE in the 90's and they're not doing anything wrong now. Yeah, Microsoft sucks and is anti-competitive, but including basic functionality with their O.S. without including needless redundancy is _NOT_ evil, or even slightly unpleasant.

Re:For fuck's sake... (4, Informative)

75th Trombone (581309) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152767)

The anti-competitive behavior is not the bundling of IE itself, but rather the conditions Microsoft imposed upon OEMs who wished to install/default to other browsers. It has at times entirely disallowed other browsers and at others given a substantial discount for making IE the only/default browser on new systems.

I don't know to what extent this crap is still the case today.

Proper tabloid (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152663)

Timothy, please next time consider the difference between the verb used in the title (EU Wants Multiple Browser Bundling On New PCs) and in TF summary (the EU is considering forcing Windows users to choose).

We don't need you to be a professional editor (even though you probably are paid for the job), but please just try not to work like a moron from a random tabloid.

Dumbasses didn't read Milton Friedman . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152683)

. . . forcing Windows users to choose . . .

How about saying, or believing, "Free to Choose" . . . ?

Re:Dumbasses didn't read Milton Friedman . . . (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152851)

Sorry but reminding of Milton Friedman on these days, it would be the same as advocating for Monarchy right after the American Revolution...

Yes, you may bash me that I am remarking that freedoms may be not so free. And you may keep yourself on Milton Friedman, while the Economy slumps under his theories.

But I do prefer a chance to have some other new and real freedoms tomorrow. And not being fed by the abstract, scholastic and spooky "Free to Choose" under the absolute totalitarian rule of Microsoft. Even if that means some lack of universal pluralism today.

Sigh... please include _my_ pet project too. (2, Insightful)

nwanua (70972) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152719)

Let me preface this tirade with a disclaimer: Yes, I realize Microsoft is a huge company, with enough resources and market share to constitute a monopoly, and is therefore deserving of governments' watchful eyes. I also realize that IE may not be the highest quality browser out there; and that Microsoft has been known to 'embrace and extinguish'. I'm also glad that Microsoft didn't get to design (for instance) the IMAP RFC. Please note I'm not making any _legal_ arguments, just "history-of-OS" type arguments.

HOWEVER, this knee-jerk reaction to the browser-wars is really fundamentally flawed. My argument is what we, the user, perceive as an operating system changes and grows over time. I think it's time we realize that a music jukebox, dvd player, web browser, and text editor have become integral parts of an OS (per my definition). I think it is in the same manner as a command shell, file browser (cd & ls), calendar, chat client, windowing system, network stack, etc. have become what we'd consider part of an OS.

Some companies and organizations are clamoring for inclusion of their pet projects by default... I say "rubbish. You might as well ask the user to choose different versions of the TCP stack, paint program, image libraries, and mouse drivers too." I can't make any analogies to car makers, nor do I care to. We can argue about "stifling innovation and choice" until we're blue in the face, but I still insist that a web browser is integral to the operating system. Go and get alternatives if you like, just as you're free to get another media player, paint program or ftp client.

I don't see noise directed against Apple or Linux or BSD, likely because they are {not monopolies | high enough in market share | something else that I can't grok}. This would suggest that the bundling of Safari on Mac, or Mozilla on Linux is not fundamentally wrong, and is also not wrong on Windows. I'm sure there are good arguments for the EU poking its nose, but since they're so caring, they should also ask nicely that MS provide users with choice of desktop clock widgets so that the poor makers of clock software aren't left out.

Perhaps this is unfair to the hapless (as far as tech goes) politicians, but they seem little more than shills for lobbyists, and don't seem to really understand the dangerous precedent they might be setting. That, I find really irritating.

Re:Sigh... please include _my_ pet project too. (1)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153091)

> "I don't see noise directed against Apple or Linux or BSD, likely because they are {not monopolies | high enough in market share | something else that I can't grok}."

Why you want to see them? Apple is really a monopolistic granitic stubborn deadhead, but which has enough links to Open Source and independent developers to be out of oversight.

Linux? There are no problems here... Where you see a problem? There are tons of projects of every size, form, taste and possible genetic mutation. Even the word "pet" is hard to be used here. Yes, "Welcome to the Jungle". I'm quite happy on it, btw. 11 years on the row.

BSD? There are NO problems there. Absolutely NOT a SINGLE problem. They are not the Jungle. They are The Primordial Matter.

All problems are with one company that clearly and undoubtfully tried to kick every one out of its Empire. And I am not making up things. There are the DoJ and Eurocommission investigations for everyone to see.

Besides, problem is not pet projects. It's hypocrisy to compare OSes to Congressional Pork. Pork is bad because it's budget, real taxpayer money being eaten. However, an OS is something that is supposed to support a miryad of different programs, not matter their purpose, intention and necessity.

If it an OS does not do such a thing, then it is not an OS. It's a gamepad like Gamboy or Playstation. If Microsoft wants to produce gamepads, it shall stop claiming Windows is an Operating System.

Re:Sigh... please include _my_ pet project too. (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153101)

...and that Microsoft has been known to 'embrace and extinguish'.

You do know that phrase originated with MS's internal discussions of illegally destroying Web browsers and Web technologies that might threaten them, right?

HOWEVER, this knee-jerk reaction to the browser-wars is really fundamentally flawed.

What knee jerk reaction. MS undermined the free market in illegal ways. Is maybe that you just don't understand the logical reactions of people to the situation and thus brand them "kneejerk". That seems implied by your later failure to understand the issues of antitrust law.

I think it's time we realize that a music jukebox, dvd player, web browser, and text editor have become integral parts of an OS (per my definition).

Is a telephone an integral part of a telephone network? Sure. That doesn't matter because it is also a separate market from telephone service which is why AT&T can't require you to rent a telephone from them anymore, but must sell them separately from your wired connection. It's also the reason after a decade of stagnation we suddenly jumped forward and got push buttons, speed dial, and answering machines when AT&T's monopoly abuse was stopped.

The browser was and is a separate market and we're quite likely to see the same rapid innovation to the benefit of everyone as soon as MS's antitrust abuse is stopped. The thing most Slashdotters can't seem to wrap their heads around is an economic issue of markets, not a technological issue.

I say "rubbish. You might as well ask the user to choose different versions of the TCP stack, paint program, image libraries, and mouse drivers too."

Please do your research. We're talking about separate, preexisting markets. Of the things you mention, only the paint program applies under the law.

Go and get alternatives if you like, just as you're free to get another media player, paint program or ftp client.

Which does nothing to address the broken market or criminal acts or to improve innovation and lower costs. I have an idea, why don't you learn why antitrust laws exist before declaring them to be wrong?

I don't see noise directed against Apple or Linux or BSD, likely because they are {not monopolies | high enough in market share | something else that I can't grok}.

I'll try to explain with an analogy. Murder is illegal. Firing a gun is legal. Firing a gun at a person in a way that murders them is illegal. Bundling is legal. Bundling in a way that undermines the free market is illegal.

In this analogy, only MS has a gun. Apple and Canonical can bundle browsers and OS's all they want because they don't even have to power undermine the market if they wanted to. Apple, on the other hand, is close to having sufficient power in the portable, digital music player market that the EU has looked into restricting them with regard to bundling things with iPods. Companies in the US and EU regularly consider antitrust issues when they have dominance in markets. The real difference here is not the way laws are applied, but that MS has so blatantly disregarded the laws everyone else obeys.

This would suggest that the bundling of Safari on Mac, or Mozilla on Linux is not fundamentally wrong, and is also not wrong on Windows.

Hopefully from my previous comments you now understand that no one suggests bundling is fundamentally wrong. Undermining the free market is fundamentally wrong. Bundling in particular circumstances in ways that undermine markets is what is illegal and detrimental to society.

Perhaps this is unfair to the hapless (as far as tech goes) politicians, but they seem little more than shills for lobbyists, and don't seem to really understand the dangerous precedent they might be setting.

Yeah, enforcing the same antitrust laws regulators have been enforcing for over a hundred years sure would be setting a precedent. If you don't agree with antitrust laws I suggest you study them, then come and tell us all why they are flawed and why your economic theory is superior.

Hey (1, Insightful)

trifish (826353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152731)

So if I make a spyware-based browser with malicious components, will Microsoft be obliged to offer my browser to the users? Just because I compete with IE?

Yep, I'd be complaining to EU if they didn't include my browser. That would be discrimination and abuse of monopoly.

Can it get any more silly?

YES!!! Please do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152769)

IE is a cheap software platform.

Microsoft controls the OEM's so they won't budge.

Take for instance my real estate friend, she wanted and bought a Mac without realizing Rapatonni is IE only.

Sure she's getting by with Citrix/IE, but it's a hassle and a security problem.

Why does Rappatoni depend on IE?, because it's cheaper than a full blown software package for each platform.

This needs to stop, by leveling the playing field of browsers, will increase other browser market share and force companies to quit depending on IE only.

Be careful what you wish for (2, Funny)

plusser (685253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152771)

I wonder whether as a result of this policy that IE6 becomes one of the many different browser options, just to keep happy those businesses with legacy code that wont work on anything else!

Now that really would cause Microsoft a headache - competing with its own lack of standards...

Not that many web designers will be happy with this though!

the truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28152799)

I think you're right.

If you have a little spare time, play great game here: mybrute.com [mybrute.com] ;-) bet youll like it.

F***ing stupid beyond belief (3, Insightful)

knorthern knight (513660) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152815)

So "all other browsers" can demand to be on the list. What's to prevent "American Adware" and "Built By Boris" (from Russian Business Network) from showing up on the list?

Re:F***ing stupid beyond belief (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152867)

Market share.

Re:F***ing stupid beyond belief (1)

JAlexoi (1085785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153031)

But the most popular would be at the top. Like Firefox, Opera, Safari and Chrome.

This is a pain in the rear for consumers but... (3, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152833)

The last thing a consumer wants to do, when they turn on a computer, is to immediately be asked more questions. It's a pain in the rear. Sorry EU, but how about we start requiring that all cars imported from the EU to the USA have the option of being fitted with American V8s....

oh wait, that sounds like a good a idea.

Never mind.

Doesn't solve the real problem (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152907)

The real problem isn't the IE shell, it's the Microsoft HTML control, and even if you quote-remove-IE-unquote all that removes is the shell.

Re:Doesn't solve the real problem (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153023)

Pisses me off when i make Firefox my default browser, but steam INSISTS on using IE for almost everything in their client.

Re:Doesn't solve the real problem (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153055)

I thought the real problem was about antitrust regulations rather than "complete removal" of IE. Anyways, according to a comment above [http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1250947&cid=28152855], its not possible to remove IE completely.

If i were MS (1, Insightful)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152953)

If I were MS I'd do it for them for free:

Just include a copy of lynx.

Re:If i were MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28153117)

And what normal user would choose lynx over IE?

This is not fair (4, Insightful)

cybereal (621599) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152973)

This whole "browser war" nonsense has gone on long enough. Back when a browser was a novelty, perhaps even sold on the shelf at the store, maybe it made sense to worry about competition. However, now that the browser is essential to everyday computing and part of the platform, the demands being made entirely idiotic. It should not matter if people are given IE8 out of the gate or not. I do agree that they should be able to disable or uninstall it if they feel it's a security problem. However, forcing vendors to include other browsers is only slightly widening the selective controlled distribution and does not address any of the problems IE's dominance has caused in the first place.

Quite simply put, the reason IE is popular is because people do not care about which browser they use. A small percentage does, and it seem this site is popular with that group but at this point, a browser is part of a platform as a steering wheel is part of a car. Occasionally an enthusiast replaces his steering wheel but most people don't care about it.

But what does a steering wheel have in common with browsers besides being a platform staple? They support standards. The steering wheel is a standard interface, and while they do vary from car to car, they all support a common baseline of functionality and features.

So the real solution to this IE problem is not to force a company to support their competition. No I vehemently disagree with that, it's simply wrong to force a company to collude with their competition. Instead, the solution is to enforce IE's support of recognized standards. If you truly wish to neuter Microsoft's control of the WWW, then limit them to implementing standards compliant browsing only, let the community and the market decide what that means, and then let people continue to make their own choices about browsers.

Frankly if you look at all platforms, not just personal computer platforms, you will see that they all include their own browser choice, whether it be a Linux based OS that includes firefox, or a smartphone that includes a webkit based browser like Nokia's S60 platform. Macs include Safari, my Wii came with a free Opera download, my DSi came with a free opera download, and my PS3 includes a browser based on the same tech they use for their feature cell phones.

So targeting microsoft just because this mattered 10 years ago is pretty ridiculous, especially when you're failing to target the real problem in the first place.

I demand multiple radios in my new car (3, Insightful)

spywhere (824072) | more than 5 years ago | (#28152989)

It's not fair that General Motors put only their own radio in my Malibu.

Worse, they tied my Chevy's radio to the operating system: the volume turns up when the car goes faster, and it knows which key fob I used to unlock the doors. This is anticompetitive and monopolist.

I demand that GM install multiple radios -- one each from Ford, Chrysler, Bosch, Blaupunkt, and Kraco, plus an open-source handwired crystal receiver from Heathkit -- and I demand that they print the wiring diagram on the hood (so I can design my own radio anytime I come down off the Percocet).
Every time I start the car, I should be presented with a menu allowing me to choose which will serve as the "default radio."

Please download browser later... (2, Insightful)

creimer (824291) | more than 5 years ago | (#28153127)

The first thing that I want a brand new Windows installation to do is download the latest security patches. Downloading a web browser should come after that.
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