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486 comments

About time (5, Funny)

eneville (745111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062437)

The students finally get an education.

Re:About time (2, Interesting)

OffTheLip (636691) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062489)

College is a time of rebellion against the 'machine' and power to the people. If ever there was a more benign grassroots movement than open source and 'in your face' smackdown to corporate control suitable to todays US times I can't imagine.

Re:About time (3, Interesting)

eneville (745111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062569)

Well I recently finished a BSc (Hons) Computing, after 6 years of computing study (various different computing courses), so I'm in a good position to add coment here.

The college students don't give a hoot as to what they are running, so long as they can screw it up. Remember the GNVQ Computer Studies reboot technicians can do little else than delete files. The Art students don't care if it says "Internet Explorer" or "Mozilla FireFox" at the window title, just so long as they can access hotmail.

The college administrator will not have to worry so often that something has screwed around with the network because the MS product is faulty.

How exactly do you remove IE from Windows without breaking their support agreement?

Re:About time (1, Informative)

Blamemyparents (730461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062598)

The product design kids, like myself, do care, unlike the other art kids. Mainly because we're well aware that IE is a badly designed product. =)

Re:About time (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062647)

Perhaps my comments were not fair. However, you don't have to maintain a network of IE related products. I think IE is one of MS's more stable products, unlike Word and Access, which can have a tendancy to crash more.

I expect they have orderes the snipers to take me out already, they have the money to do things like that you know.

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062438)

FROSTY PISS

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062454)

It seems your piss wasn't very frosty after all.

Nice! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062444)

When I was there, Penn State's IT group was rather inept. Glad they're starting to take security and computing infrastructure seriously. Good job guys!

Re:Nice! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062664)

So now that they hold your opinion, they are no longer inept? Maybe it's your opinion that changed to inept, did you ever think of that? Since you clearly have such a high degree of regard for your intellect (which is interesting since you apparently attended Penn State), you much have a good job? Tell me sir, what is it that you do?

Article text (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062457)

AC karma whore post:

Penn State Tells 80,000 Students To Chuck IE Dec. 10, 2004

A public university with an enrollment of over 80,000 puts the kibosh on Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

A public university with an enrollment of over 80,000 put the kibosh this week on Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and urged its students to switch to alternative browsers such as Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, or Safari.

Penn State University on Wednesday issued an alert to students and staff recommending that they dump IE and use a different browser.

The university's Information Technology Services (ITS) gave the advice "because the threats are real and alternatives exist to mitigate Web browser vulnerabilities," ITS said in a statement. It cited the security problems in IE that have been the focus of both media reports and recommendations from such organizations as the US-CERT, the federally-funded computer response team housed at Carnegie Mellon University.

"The University computing community [should] use standards-based Web browsers other than Internet Explorer to help minimize exposure to attacks that occur through browser vulnerabilities," added ITS.

Penn State's advice is the latest negative news about Microsoft's popular browser. Security problems continue to plague IE -- some patched, some not -- while rivals like Firefox slowly nibble away at its still-dominating market share.

Now the question is... (4, Insightful)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062462)

Will this ITS department support issues with other browsers. Each browser has its quirks, and work arounds for certain things. If they recommend using other browsers, they must be able to support them, especially if they run proxies.

Re:Now the question is... (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062485)

The browser supports the proxy system, a NAT gateway is pretty much safe, if not, a double edge firewall.. the possibilities are endless.

What support does a browser need if the pages are W3C compliant... Hell, they could get the webdesign students to redesign the pages as part of a 'Web awareness' project or something!

Its only a browser, up until FF release 1 no one paid any attention to NS/Moz, now the whole world is shouting "Alternate browser" together.

Re:Now the question is... (-1, Flamebait)

xanadu-xtroot.com (450073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062498)

especially if they run proxies.

So what if they do?

What would running a Proxy have to do with what browser they use? If anything, having web pages (or parts there of) thrown at the machine at 100mBits/sec would be damn fast no matter what browser the client is using.

Oh, "proxy". Right. You probably have no idea what you're talking about... sorry...

Re:Now the question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062524)

well, he might come from a non-tech-company corporate IT background, in which case, rather than squid or mod_proxy, he may be most familiar with "microsoft proxy server", which (of course) only works properly with IE.

Obviously, any university is going to be using squid or mod_proxy, but it's like someone (let's called A) assuming that people in commercial labs use manual pipettes, because it's all that A knows about, even though the people in the labs are using those funky robot pipetting thingys.

Re:Now the question is... (1)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062599)

No, I'm a student at another university. We run novell border manager and you have to get the proxies entered just right for it to work. Sometimes hard to get right the first time.

Re:Now the question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062509)

And, particularly, those issues involve the things that will most infect their computers with spyware!

Now, tell me again how that hurts them!

But it's fixable. (2, Insightful)

ulatekh (775985) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062669)

Will this ITS department support issues with other browsers. Each browser has its quirks, and work arounds for certain things.

But Firefox, being open-source, can be fixed so as to eliminate the need for workarounds. The IT department can coordinate with the project developers and find solutions. Something closed-source doesn't do nearly as well.

As annoyed as I am with Microsoft in general, if they would make the Windows XP source code shared-source, I'd track down and fix bugs I found. I wouldn't mind. I'd be Microsoft's biggest fan if their stuff would just work worth a crap.

Another win for Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062471)

Let's hope they listen.

People still use IE? (2, Insightful)

ghettoboy22 (723339) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062472)

I ditched it as soon as I discovered Camino (fka Chimera).

Re:People still use IE? (2, Insightful)

Phroggy (441) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062497)

I ditched it as soon as I discovered Camino (fka Chimera).

Of course people don't still use IE on Mac OS X, because everyone knows it sucks ass. That has nothing to do with millions of Windows users who DON'T know any better.

Re:People still use IE? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062656)

I agree, homosexuality is the way to go, those millions of Windows users having snu-snu with the opposite sex are so 80's.

Re:People still use IE? (2, Informative)

OmniVector (569062) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062660)

sadly that's not true. pretty much every old school mac os 9 user i know that now uses os x uses IE for mac. STILL. even though microsoft publically said they are stopping all updates (including security)

Re:People still use IE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062666)

Why is this modded as Flamebait? He's stating out the fact that Mac (or any "alternative platform" for that matter) users are, by definition, aware of better alternatives to the manure Microsoft is manufacturing, and that the greatest hurdle in spreading alternative solutions is making typical Windows users realize that they do have a choice.

The presence of expression "sucks ass" does not make parent a flamebait.

The Linux Gay Conspiracy (0)

Shoeboy (16224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062481)

In my case, it was Microsoft that told me to ditch IE. At least I think that was the message they were trying to send when windows update introduced a buggy version that kept me from using IE to read my webmail or check my credit card ballance online. I'm much happier now that I'm using Safari on OS X.

Yours in Christ,
shoeboy

Re:The Linux Gay Conspiracy (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062504)

Thats not the first time they've said that:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2103152/

I suppose now at least you can access www.gnaa.us with Safari.

This is news!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062483)

Educated people have known for some time that IE is shit. Seems the masses are just now starting to slowly realize that.

IST vs ITS (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062484)

That should be ITS in the write-up. IST is the PSU school of Information Sciences and Technology (www.ist.psu.edu).

Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062488)

A destination for my ancient AOL cd's... that enhanced ie browser stuck on there is alot better than plain ie.

Good move! (5, Insightful)

TooMuchEspressoGuy (763203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062495)

I wish more colleges had IT departments that made decisions like this. At the major state university that I go to, the university website and everything in it are designed to be browsed via IE. It's quite annoying when I have to close Firefox and use a slow, buggy, adware- and virus-vulnerable browser just to, say, look at courses when I'm scheduling for the next semester.

Kudos to Penn State for not falling into the "it's built into the OS so we'll use it as a standard!" trap.

Temple not quite that far (2, Interesting)

ntxb229 (542609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062496)

I go to Temple University and while our CS department hasn't gone that far they have installed Firefox on all the computers in the labs

Villinova has done the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062579)

At least in the CompSci/Bio lab, there is no IE icon- only a firefox shortcut. Of course, thats only ONE of the labs..

Any guesses what Microsoft's response will be? (2, Insightful)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062501)

1) They'll pretend it didn't happen

2) They'll sue

3) They'll go on a charm offensive

4) They'll spin the virtues of Longhorn

5) They'll talk about IE's innovative approach to browsing

Others...?

Re:Any guesses what Microsoft's response will be? (2, Funny)

eneville (745111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062519)

> 1) They'll pretend it didn't happen

2) ...

3) Profit

Re:Any guesses what Microsoft's response will be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062591)

They'll wave some funding cash for a new building, a new computer lab, sponsor some software grant, and present their new version of ISA featuring the latest in firewall technology: Baldy Wan Kenobi waving his hand and saying "there are no security vulnerabilities in this Windows-only monoculture."

Faith-based computing at its finest.

Re:Any guesses what Microsoft's response will be? (3, Funny)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062594)

6) Improve Internet Explorer so that it is better and more secure than Firefox.

Well, its possible... right?

Re:Any guesses what Microsoft's response will be? (4, Insightful)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062642)

6) They'll donate to the school - either kiosk computers with just IE, some web system that only works with IE, or enough general funds for new computers or a Steven Ballmer Building so that they'll retract their statement or never do something like that again.

At this point, Microsoft needs to pay for market share and mindshare. IE can't compete at its current price (free/bundled), so they'll lower it.

Alternate browser? (-1, Troll)

mistersooreams (811324) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062512)

Use an alternate browser? Sorry, alternate to what? I know this is Slashdot and so the answer to my question is common knowledge around here, but surely story headlines should be self-contained? Or at least make some sense on their own.

Re:Alternate browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062542)

What are you on about? The headline tells you very clearly that the students are being told to use an alternative to Internet Explorer. How much more information do you need here?

Re:Alternate browser? (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062563)

Use an alternate browser? Sorry, alternate to what?

Oh, I don't know ... maybe alternate to the browser that well over 50% of the people use?

I do have my own complaint about this article, though, in that it is a yet-another-victory-for-firefox, which though nice to hear, would belong in the nothing-to-see-move-along department. I do expect that a disproportionate number of posts will be M$ bashing and boring.

Re:Alternate browser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062583)

Did you skip over the title of the article - it is 'Penn State Tells Students To Ditch IE'. In that context, I think its pretty self explanatory what the 'alternative to what' is.

i got a friend there (1)

Mr Smuggles (816430) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062513)

i got a friend there, he has been converting people to Firefox for about 2 years now, maybe people like him do make the differents?
i think so, therefore i think we should encourage everyone we see fit to use firefox (or what ever non EI browser is your fav) Long live firefox!

With IE (not just in Soviet Union), (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062515)

The internet explores YOU!

80,000 (2, Informative)

Rollie Hawk (831376) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062516)

I believe the 80,000 refers to the students, not the staff.

Re:80,000 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062565)

That depends on whether you want to talk about University Park campus or the entire PSU school system. UP enrollment for fall 2004 was about 41,000. System wide enrollment was about 81,000.

http://live.psu.edu/still_life/2004_10_28_04_enr ol lment/enrollment_fall04.pdf

I go to Penn State (2)

TechnologyX (743745) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062526)

Maybe now I won't have to install Firefox from my personal account every time I use the university computer lab.

Re:I go to Penn State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062571)

It's on all the Mac boxes already

Re:I go to Penn State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062619)

Installing open source software, and freeware gets mentioned at the PSU ITS Student Advisory Committee meetings every semester. Unfortunately, the windows lab people seem to view that as a low priority compared to making sure the latest versions of things like MS Visual Studio are installed :(

Go, Lions!!! (3, Funny)

BorgCopyeditor (590345) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062540)

I say Joe Pa, you say 'terno!
Joe Pa...
...'terno!
Joe Pa...
...'terno!

I say M.O., you say 'zilla!
M.O....
...'zilla!
M.O....
...'zilla!

(pause)

MOZILLA!!!

Brown's been saying this and acting on it (5, Interesting)

c0dedude (587568) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062545)

At Brown [brown.edu] we get a CD with all the latest security patches and a copy of Firefox every year. Prevents trouble, methinks.

Re:Brown's been saying this and acting on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062693)

Congratulations, this is the only possible connection anyone could find between the Ivy Brown and Penn State "University".

Now if only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062547)

more colleges would think seriously about the security of their students' computers, the world would be a better place.

At my school (a fairly "tech"ful place) the Network Operations website doesn't even acknowledge the possibility of students using Macs, let alone free OS's. (I'm the only person in my dorm who isn't running Windows XP.) They make sure everyone installs the latest security patches, they've got site licenses for various anti-virus programs, but they'd never consider telling people to use something other than Microsoft software...

security through obscurity (3, Insightful)

Dink Paisy (823325) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062554)

I consider this article [slashdot.org] to be firm proof that alternate browsers are a form of security through obscurity. Not that that is a bad thing if it works, and in this case it is clear that IE is being targeted more than its alternatives.

But make sure that your alternate browser it is a recent version of Firefox or Mozilla. They have responded very quickly to security issues, and are being proactive about security, much more so than the the people behind Konqueror or Opera. Also, keep your alternate browser patched just as vigilantly as you would Internet Explorer. As the popularity increases you will see more attacks against Mozilla based browsers.

I don't know what the answer to security is. I hope it isn't educating users, because that just plain doesn't work for most people. The problem is that right now there doesn't seem to be any other way.

Re:security through obscurity (3, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062628)

The point isnt to replace an all-MS/IE enviroment with an all-Mozilla environment - the point is for there to be a healthy ecosystem of browsers, so that there will no longer be one homogenous set of systems all vulnerable to the same attacks.

Re:security through obscurity (1)

TheLetterPsy (792255) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062645)

Everything that ^he^ said, plus example: APACHE vs. IIS!! Now tell me about your precious security through obscurity!! I know I know, Score:-1,Redundant.

heh :) (0, Flamebait)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062555)

the university where im at, the lecturer on our web authoring course encourages us to " get a life " if we like windows, or internet explorer.
Problem is, hes a mac fan and encourages us to get one of those instead.
cant have it all i suppose

Re:heh :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062641)

Ah yes, professors with their own agenda to push in an environment that is supposed to be objective and fact-based.

safari? (3, Interesting)

jxyama (821091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062557)

if a student can run safari as an alternative, then he/she must be using a Mac. not to defend IE, but isn't IE for Mac less dangerous than IE for Windows? if he/she has already ditched Windows, does he/she need to ditch IE too?

Re:safari? (2, Interesting)

Blamemyparents (730461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062634)

IE for mac is vulnerable to many of the 'make it crash!' exploits. exploits designed to mess with Windows through IE of course fail. Many mac users use IE because it was the default browser in OS X before Safari came out (Irony, huh?). Safari came with 10.3, but I don't think the system changes the default browser on install.

Re:safari? (1)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062638)

Or, it could be an invitation to ditch windows and get yourself a Mac -- thus (for now) eliminating your virulence.

Re:safari? (1)

kaleco (801384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062654)

I believe IE for the Mac is still on version 5.5. It has not been updated by MS for quite some time to compensate for vulnerabilities.
I am a Mac user myself and find it hard to imagine chosing the clunky IE over Safari. Safari, despite being a little less-featured than Firefox (none of the new RSS tricks) is a very nippy little app that serves my needs. Unlike IE, it doesn't give me CSS rendering issues either.

Re:safari? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062663)

IE for Mac is no longer being developed at all. All current known bugs and exploits, as well as any yet to be found, will never be fixed. No new features will ever be added.

If you still use IE for Mac, switch for god's sake! Safari, Firefox, whatever. Just about any browser you can think of is a better choice, now more than ever.

Security (5, Interesting)

FiReaNGeL (312636) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062562)

Looks like IE get burned by the very same 'feature' that allowed it to get 95% market share : integration with Windows and total access to stuff it shouldn't. Lesson learned, Microsoft?

But even without security, FireFox is just plain better. Tabbed browsing is huge, Bookmark toolbar, extensions, find-as-you-type (HUGE improvement over CTRL+F search)... Now I look at IE (the rare time I need to open it for windowsupdate) and it just feels...dirty.

Funny, I got my account disabled for using Firefox (5, Interesting)

Goosey (654680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062564)

At my college [starkstate.edu] the first thing I did on every computer I touched was to install Firefox. I also put Winamp on a few open lab computers for listening to Internet radio while I worked.

Recently I became unable to login to my student account, with a message "Your account has been disabled, please speak to your network administrator."

Well I went and found my network administrator [mailto] to ask about what was up. Apparently it is against school policy to install programs on their computers. This is totally understandable and reasonable, and I apologized. But he decided I needed to be chewed out and he had a killer fact that he just knew would crush me.

Looking me in the eyes he proceeded to tell me that due to me installing Firefox and Winamp on two of the open lab computers they no longer function and had to be totally reformatted. This man, who is in charge of keeping the school network secure, seriously thinks that Firefox and Winamp could possibly be the root of a computer's DEATH. I did not argue the matter no matter how ridiculous it is; I just wanted my account back.

How is it they let people become the network administrator for an entire technical college, a college that hands out degrees in technical fields, that are just that ignorant. How can any competent network admin possibly think Firefox and Winamp are causing a computer to not boot?

So now under threat of permanently losing my student account I am forced to use IE. It is excruciating, because I am not the only person installing software on the open lab computers, just the only one knowledgeable enough to install useful non adware-infested programs. Just opening Internet Explorer results in about 3 minutes of closing popups.

Re:Funny, I got my account disabled for using Fire (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062610)

So now under threat of permanently losing my student account I am forced to use IE

I've heard of running Firefox/Thunderbird off of USB Jump Drives. Then you get to keep your bookmarks too. You'd have a case that you didn't "install" anything on any lab computer.

Re:Funny, I got my account disabled for using Fire (1)

kaleco (801384) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062668)

This is true, I put Firefox 0.8 onto my uni network space, no installation required. I'm not sure how well this will work for 1.0.

Re:Funny, I got my account disabled for using Fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062611)

I suggest you change colleges and go to a real university that has *real* computer programs, not some backwater one that no one knows about. At my university, our student population keeps our IT department on its toes, they know if they screw up, they're will be hell to pay with the student body.

Re:Funny, I got my account disabled for using Fire (1)

octothorpe (34673) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062661)

Look, I don't see how installing winamp and firefox could kill the OS (although this is windows we're talking about) but you were installing software on someone elses computer, you deserved to get yelled at. On the other hand, why is anyone allowed to install software on a lab machine? We have some WinXP machines in our lab and no one but the lab admin can install anything on them.

Re:Funny, I got my account disabled for using Fire (4, Insightful)

poofyhairguy82 (635386) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062672)

How can any competent network admin possibly think Firefox and Winamp are causing a computer to not boot?

You are dealing with a Windows admin. For many of them, the common reason for everything is that the problem is someone else's fault. That someone else being a combination of Microsoft, Firefox, Winamp, the computer's mood that day, some virus, "an act of God," or hackers that don't really exist. Don't take it personally.

You should educate him about Norton Ghost (1)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062676)

The tech support deparment I worked in for a state uni kept a Ghost image of the student machines so if they became screwed up it was a quick automated task to fix the problem.

"Just opening Internet Explorer results in about 3 minutes of closing popups"

So why were you putting your head in the sand by installing two pieces of software that had nothing to do with the problem? No wonder you got chewed out. You using FireFox and Winamp aren't doing anything to help.

If you want to make yourself useful you should have downloaded AdAware and cleaned up the system for them and then went to Windows Update and patched the system like engineers like to not do. Then, when AdAware is done getting rid of the pop-up problem you uninstall it and no one knows. And, you actually fixed the problem.

Rather than just breaking policy which is there to prevent unneeded crap from being installed and bogging down the system. If you can install your toys so can all the students and now the system is unusable and needs to be reimaged.

Re:Funny, I got my account disabled for using Fire (1)

upsidedown_duck (788782) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062684)


You should ask the admin why he allowed common users to install software in the first place. I bet he doesn't even know how to prevent that.

I recommend not storing any of your personal files on computers he manages, because they'll probably be e-mailed to the world by a worm, soon.

WinAmp and the MBR (0, Troll)

kingkade (584184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062685)

When you install winamp an option to install a component into the machine's MBR may have been chosen in the default full install. This enables a WinAmp [Boot] Agent to load itself before calling the ntldr, thus allowing the machine to be configured to play a MIDI, AU or MP3 stream at the splash while the machine boots. Also, there was a security [winamp.com] advisory [techworld.com] for WinAmp 5.03, if that has anything to do with it.

Cheers, HTH

Re:Funny, I got my account disabled for using Fire (2, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062689)


How is it they let people become the network administrator for an entire technical college, a college that hands out degrees in technical fields, that are just that ignorant.

Because technical colleges are a joke as far as technology degrees are concerned. They also probbably pay jack shit to a network administrator, so they wind up with people who believe in computer voodoo. i.e. "it must have been that mysterious fire-fox and win-amp that those damn kids are all hopped up on these days." Remember, to anyone non-technical it's often hard to tell the difference between a good network administrator and a bad network administrator.

Every ITS Helpdesk should be doing this... (2, Insightful)

bdigit (132070) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062585)

At my university I am a student helpdesk worker and everytime someone calls about spyware problems I always recommend they install firefox. Also on the cd of software we include for all 6000 students on campus we have firefox as well as openoffice. No one objects to using firefox and are actually happy to hear that it will make their spyware issues go away.

Dont let them know..... (1)

BicycloHexane (819192) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062590)

that there are other options out there. I get about $50 a pop to clean spyware and malware that gets installed through IE. How else am I going to feed my family if they start using something else!

Article Misleading (5, Informative)

dampjam (779525) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062592)

Although Penn State has issued this warning, it is far from true. All Penn State Computer Lab Machines have IE set as the default, and group policy is set such that you cannot switch even to the installed version of Firefox. In addition the Firefox user settings are stored in Application Data which has a 20 meg quota. This means whenever a user tries to log out after browsing, it refuses saying there is too much data. IE on the otherhand, gets cleaned of cookies and cache automatically so that when you log out there is never a problem with the quotas. If Penn State wants to actually get people to switch, they should do something about it on their own machines.

Interesting (1)

djh888 (825300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062607)

I go to Penn State and I'm in the school of IST. I know it was ITS that issued the warning from the reading although I never actually recieved an alert. Sort of strange, you think that they would send everyone an email or put it in the college newspaper. I wonder how they actually "alerted" us (the students). Maybe they did put it in the paper and i just missed it... I dunno

Publicity stunt (2, Insightful)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062627)

The college of ed at a major state university where a certain couple famous people recently debated, where I used to work only uses IE on their systems. They also used Windows 98 until recently (now they use XP). During the hay day of blaster and myDoom and whatnot guess which department was the least affected by it all? The College of Ed. Even with all our Win98 boxes being directly on the wire. Even our division of teachers was the least affected. There were a few that turned off automatic update like we told them not to and those were the ones that got it.

Guess who was most affected by the worms? The engineering department which requires logging onto the domain with your student ID and who run Windows 2000.

The College of Ed tech support people actually did their job and that prevented a lot of problems. So the fact that the IT people of Penn State are sending out a warning to 80,000 students just makes me laugh.

Our wonderful IT deparment can't even keep the network running reliably during heavy usage times such as pre-registration week and when grades come out.

IE and Windows aren't the problem.

Sending out a rediculous warning e-mail isn't going to do anything for them or the open source movement. People keep telling me the sky is falling and I've yet to see it actually happen to my systems.

A better solution would be to educate the students on where to get the free VirusScan software from the university and how to keep it up to date along with their Windows system.

It doesn't matter what browser you're using. It needs to be kept up to date.

Hasn't firefox et al reached... (1, Insightful)

eeg3 (785382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062630)

...the level of prosperity where it's not shocking when people or organizations ditch IE for it? Firefox is the obvious better choice, this shouldn't be 'news'.

ditch paterno, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11062635)

Now if they can just get rid of the football coach next.

But... (0)

dhassler (827779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062652)

I may have missed something but my experience is that Windows Update only works with IE. Are they just trading one security risk for another? On the subject of Windows Update only working with IE - How does this fit with Microsoft's supposedly not forcing customers to use IE?

the headline should be "From the Big Frikken (2, Insightful)

EllynGeek (824747) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062653)

Department of Duh." Sheesh. Windoze lusers have to be most impervious people on earth. How many times do their systems have to get compromised before they dimly ponder alternatives? Infinity -1, apparently.

My University did this a month ago. (3, Informative)

fuzzybassoon (728480) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062665)

It's been the onofficial policy for my University's helpdesk to install FireFox on any students' computers, particularly if they've been having Spyware problems. Here's part of an e-mail sent out on Nov. 5 to the entire Yale Community.

To Selected Members of the Yale Community:

We wanted to send you an important reminder about your privacy and
security while browsing the Internet. We are concerned about certain
vulnerabilities inherent in Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE). Even if
you do not use this application as your browser, you should consider a
read through for information about keeping your computer updated.

Due to its popularity, MSIE has increasingly been the target of technical
exploits and sophisticated "phishing" schemes. We strongly encourage you
to take certain precautions for your own security:

1. First and foremost, verify that your computer is updated with current
patches and updates. The best and easiest way to do this is to set your
computer to automatically update its operating system and antivirus
software. If you need assistance doing this, please see below for contact
information.

2. There are known vulnerabilities in MSIE that do not yet have patches.
This has happened in the past and appears likely to happen again in the
future. We recommend that you either:

a) Refrain from visiting unknown websites or providing personal or
financial information while using MSIE, unless you are absolutely certain
you are dealing with a truly reputable website (for example the CDW-G
website in the Yale ePortal).

b) Use an alternative web browser such as Mozilla or Safari. The Yale
Software Library (www.yale.edu/software) provides recommended alternatives
that are easy to install and provide the same basic functionalities as
MSIE. There are some web pages that will only display properly in MSIE
(since it contains certain special proprietary functions), but most web
browsing can be accomplished using the alternatives.

A good start... (3, Insightful)

Mori Chu (737710) | more than 9 years ago | (#11062674)

Most college admins' time is spent dealing with student spyware. IE is a big source of it (though not the only one). Something's got to give. I think it's a great idea to recommend installing Firefox and to lock out machines with spyware run amok. I'd think that mandating Ad-Aware and/or SpyBot would be an even bigger help. I don't know the feasibility, but if they could force any connecting machine to identify itself as having SP2 installed, that by itself would be a huge start. They just don't have the time to deal with unprotected machines.
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