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Hotmail Doesn't Work With Linux Firefox 2.0

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the whoa-there-big-feller dept.

Mozilla 396

An anonymous reader tips a column up at freesoftwaremagazine.com in which the writer discovers that the latest UI enhancements that Hotmail has recently introduced don't work with Firefox 2.0 under Linux. The writer concludes that the webmail interface has been artificially limited by basic user-agent sniffing. The solution is simple enough — spoofing the User Agent that Firefox reports.

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Kind of Misleading (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348152)

Hotmail Doesn't Work With Linux Firefox 2.0
That's a bit misleading. I used Hotmail on my Linux box last night. It was the regular web interface & worked fine.

So there must be some new enhancements that maybe only subscribers get to use? Or perhaps these are more office tools that don't work in Firefox. Ok, well, before I go on, I wish someone somewhere would have pointed out that the Google apps are both free and work in Firefox. So that's sounding more and more like an easy choice/solution for Mitch Meyran's problems.

I would posit, however, that since Google's apps are probably for the most part built using GWT I'd bet that Microsoft's equivalent will be based on Silverlight. I have no idea since I have not used this but I do know that Firefox's Silverlight plugin is in beta [mozillalinks.org] . What does surprise me is that my company allows me to use Outlook Web Interface which 1) works in Linux & 2) works in Firefox 2.0. Most surprisingly it's quite slick!

So if I may state my opinion, you're probably suffering from Microsoft's attempt to assert its dominance by forcing you to use Explorer in Windows. So if they are forcing you into this ultimatum, you can either respond by bending to their will and falling into their Monopolistic strong arm practices or you can look for another solution that meets your needs. It would be an easy choice for me but you're the consumer with the money, it's your choice.

Re:Kind of Misleading (3, Informative)

ewoods (108845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348298)

I have problems with hotmail on windows with FF2. When the enhanced page first loads, it loops in a javascript and hangs the browser. This happens almost every time. And because the FF people apparently don't know how to show the "stop script" dialog and actually pause the script so I can click the button, it usually takes me several minutes to get into my hotmail with continuous clicking of the "stop script" button. It's made hotmail unusable, so I switched to yahoo... And not microsoft has the opportunity to break that, too. Antitrust officials? Bah... They're ignorant or this shit wouldn't happen.

Re:Kind of Misleading (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348420)

Works fine for me, do you have any addons which may be interfering with it?

Thats the problem with the world, without knowing the target environment, simple changes affect the end user experience in unpredictable ways. Now I am not saying go use IE, I personally hate IE and haven't used it in years, but without the plugins which can affect any aspect of the end user experience you can guarantee what your end user will see. But people will bitch all the same about things which are within their control to change.

Re:Kind of Misleading (1, Insightful)

bs7rphb (924322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348426)

I know this is Slashdot, but sometimes it's really worth RingTFA. This is one of those times.

Re:Kind of Misleading (2, Insightful)

MC Negro (780194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348500)

Agreed.

This is a non-story, and these kind of "stories" are making Slashdot feel more and more like digg. Microsoft leveraging their popular products to artificially limit the functionality of Linux users? SRSLY? SOMEONE ALERT THE INTERNETZ!! WE'VE GOT BREAKING NEWS! Hotmail works fine from Linux + FireFox - I too tried it last night. It's got some deprecated functionality, but that's pretty much par for the course with Microsoft-oriented webapps under Linux.

Also, exchanges like the following really do nothing to enhance anyones perception of Linux users -

Hotmail Staff : Mitch, after reviewing the information you provided, I determined that Microsoft Product Support Services Team could best address your issue. They are tasked to provide all the information you need to be able to configure correctly your Windows Live Hotmail through Outlook Express.

Me: Excuse me? I don't want to use Opendoor Virus Extreme - sorry, Outlook Express, I want to use Windows Live Hotmail, Full version, under Mozilla Firefox 2, on any machine and/or OS I have installed! I thought I was being clear, I'm using a BROWSER to access a WEBMAIL INTERFACE that seems to be ARTIFICIALLY LIMITED IN FUNCTIONALITY due to BASIC USER AGENT SNIFFING.

The article doesn't indicate if he has paid for a subscription or not (just says "subscribed"), but responses like the above annoy the piss out of me. Everyone who cares knows that Microsoft does this. Everyone who cares, knows that in an ideal world, standards would prevail and that Microsoft's tactics in the market aren't very ethical. Why we have to continue to broadcast it with some kind of obnoxious, faux-righteous indignation is beyond me - it really only alienates people and strengthens Microsoft's point that Linux is only for pot-smoking, Hobbit-reading, half-commie hippies [theregister.co.uk] . Unless the guy paid for his subscription, his tone is just uncalled for (and even if he did, I think its still obnoxious.)

One day, I'd like to be able to suggest Linux without having to fight these perceptions, and if Mitch (and people like him) would tone it down a little bit, that would make things much easier.

Re:Kind of Misleading (5, Insightful)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348878)

This is a non-story [...] Hotmail works fine from Linux + FireFox - I too tried it last night. It's got some deprecated functionality, but that's pretty much par for the course with Microsoft-oriented webapps under Linux.
Um, what? So you're saying that there is nothing wrong with Microsoft serving limited functionality to Linux users, "that's just how it is"?

This sort of thing is totally unacceptable. First, it might even be illegal as abuse of Microsoft's monopoly (yes, Hotmail 'works' on Linux, but it works better under Microsoft's OS). Second, there is no excuse for this. Last I checked, Gmail and Yahoo mail work perfectly fine, with all functionality, on Windows, OS X and Linux. As Microsoft has more money than both of these rivals, plainly it could support Firefox under Linux. But it prefers to leverage synergy with Windows (I almost choked on the marketspeak there, but you get what I mean).

So no, that this is 'par for the course' with Microsoft does not mean it is ok, and certainly does not mean it is not worthy of a Slashdot story. It is 100% worthy, word needs to get out about this sort of thing.

Opera won a lawsuit about this kind of thing (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348740)

Remember when MS skewed pages being viewed by Opera, but if you told Opera to identify as IE, they'd work just fine? Opera won their lawsuit against MS for that. Perhaps another lawsuit should be in the works.

Yahoo (5, Insightful)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348750)

Makes you wonder what will happen if Microsoft acquires Yahoo.

Re:Kind of Misleading (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348826)

What does surprise me is that my company allows me to use Outlook Web Interface which 1) works in Linux & 2) works in Firefox 2.0. Most surprisingly it's quite slick!

Meh - I use Evolution to do that (with the exchange-connector package). I still have the corp-issued 'doze laptop, but the only use it gets nowadays is the occasional rdesktop session for some ActiveX-based web tools that some items (e.g. one of our NetApp SAN rigs) stupidly insist on.

(Now if I can only rig up Pidgin to replace Communicator, I'd be golden... :) )

/P

Hotmail? (5, Insightful)

rvw (755107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348154)

The solution is simple enough -- spoofing the User Agent that Firefox reports.
Another solution is not to use Hotmail at all.

Re:Hotmail? (5, Insightful)

threeturn (622824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348208)

Exactly

... and don't buy an Iphone and then crack it. If you love open technology don't kludge around products that try to keep you out - find alternatives.

Re:Hotmail? (5, Insightful)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348220)

Another solution is not to use Hotmail at all.
Not the easiest thing to do if you have had Hotmail for many years. Besides, Hotmail is not a bad email client at all. It's definitely not better than Gmail, but still versatile enough.

Re:Hotmail? (1, Informative)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348310)

If you have had Hotmail for years, then you probably were grandfathered in to the Outlook plug in....I read my Hotmail in Outlook and have for YEARS. Of course, that's the Windows version of Outlook, so I don't really have the problem with the web client not working, either. But it makes for a much better interface than either web version.

Layne

Re:Hotmail? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348472)

You've got to be kidding....

Re:Hotmail? (1)

sundarvenkata (1214396) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348460)

Why not try "bluebottle" http://mail.bluebottle.com./ [mail.bluebottle.com] It offers free POP mail with limited storage. Yes I know Gmail also can be accessed through the POP interface but the amount of junk mail is far more limited in my bluebottle account.

Re:Hotmail? (4, Insightful)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348678)

I think this is what Microsoft wants now. There was a time when they wanted plenty of email eyeballs -- so they bought Hotmail. Now I think it is a profitless headache to them and has no upside -- so time to slowly kill it.

Furthering my theory is the fact that the invites YahooGroups lists send to msn.com addresses are bounced as spam. Why would Microsoft do this? There is of course no logical reason, nor any civilized reason. One could pretend this is a competitive thing -- reject the competitor's attempt to grow their user base. More realistically msn.com bouncing perfectly reasonable email will simply cause people with msn.com addresses to abandon those addresses -- success from Microsoft's point of view.

Microsoft doesn't need people who only email. They want to push people "forward", into more "advanced" features like Live -- where they can make some actual cash. Email is passe, so why have hundreds of millions of mailboxes to worry about? Of course, this is why they dispose of user email if said user is unable to access their mailbox for a remarkably short amount of time -- a month, IIRC. I used to set reminders so that this wouldn't happen to my backup hotmail.com accounts but now I just let it happen -- useless hotmail.com mailboxes being toasted by a useless company seems appropriately bizarre.

a simple solution (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348768)

"FROM:hotmail.com DISCARD" in your sendmail access file.
Do you really want to associate with "those" kind of people?

NB It seems to block a bit of spam also.

Re:Hotmail? (2, Insightful)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348872)

Yeah I was wondering is this the best solution? I've never spoofed the User Agent in Firefox but if you spoof it to IE then all those sites (net craft) that determine browser usage would see IE as having more market % than it really does. Am I right or do I not know what I'm talking about?

You geeks... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348168)

Just use IE for Linux like anybody else, ok? You bloody geeks..

Re:You geeks... (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348398)

Damn it Jim I'm a nerd, not a geek! [wikipedia.org]

-mcgrew

It doesn't work with the PS3's browser either (4, Interesting)

Highroller (655558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348172)

It doesn't work with the PlayStation 3's (non-Linux OS mode) browser either.

This seems desperate... (4, Interesting)

Nemilar (173603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348174)

Not only does this wreak of desperation on the part of Microsoft, but I have to wonder how in the world they thought this wasn't going to come out? Or they just didn't care?

"It's our email service, you have to use our browser." Fair enough - you've already driven these users away from your browser, now they're going to go ahead and move their email accounts, too. You're just alienating further those who have already realized that the Microsoft way isn't necessarily the best way.

And hey, Microsoft - people tell their friends about better services. Your competitor's services. How do you think Firefox is spreading so fast? It ain't 'cause of no "Where do you want to go today" commercials. I'm betting Gmail is going to see a nice surge in new accounts because of this.

Re:This seems desperate... (0, Troll)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348236)

I have to wonder how in the world they thought this wasn't going to come out? Or they just didn't care?

It's a tough call: most of their staff are so dumb that they might have thought they could get away with it, but at the same time the management really don't care. Let's say "both" and leave it at that.

TWW

Re:This seems desperate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348404)

You are mistaking "dumb" from "doesn't care about a segment that is 0.1% in size".

Re:This seems desperate... (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348434)

most of their staff are so dumb that they might have thought they could get away with it

Really? That's really what you think about the people that administer a giant network used by millions of people - that they're just dumb? If there IS an oversight here, why are you assuming that it's some amateur attempt to punish Firefox users (who have been using the service happily for years now), when it's more likely just a misconfigured agent sniffer that needs to be fine tuned around the new FF version's specific appearance on a Linux box? If you, personally, are so much smarter than the software and network engineers that maintain that system, and really think that MS would not care about preventing people from using their system and seeing the advertisements there, which generate revenue, then why aren't you doing something more successful than they are? Or, are you just taking time away from whatever your "smarter than most of the staff at Microsoft" talents normally have you doing on a typical Friday? Give it a rest.

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348610)

Microsoft's online services division increased its loss in the last quarter to $245 million, from $118 million a year ago,

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348706)

Microsoft's online services division increased its loss in the last quarter to $245 million, from $118 million a year ago

Thank you. That reinforces my point that they (especially that division) have absolutely no interest in preventing people from seeing the ads that they serve by preventing them from using a mainstream browser while accessing the service they provide. The GP's confidence that this is a deliberate bit of sabotage to punish people not using MS platforms on their desktop is simply absurd, on the face of it.

Re:This seems desperate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348916)

That's really what you think about the people that administer a giant network used by millions of people - that they're just dumb?

You do realise that he wasn't calling all their staff dumb, and that a service as large as Hotmail has different people working as admins and web developers?

it's more likely just a misconfigured agent sniffer that needs to be fine tuned

Sniffing is an incredibly stupid approach in general, regardless of "fine-tuning". There are exceptions, but they are few and far between and that doesn't justify sniffing as a general-purpose strategy.

Re:This seems desperate... (5, Insightful)

gazbo (517111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348302)

Or alternatively they have a browser sniffing script that whitelists known-good browser setups, and FF2/Linux isn't tested and known to work? Or that their FF detection is too strict and so accidentally excludes UA strings that have slight differences?

Why assume it's malicious, when this sort of issue is well known to anyone who's ever tried to support multiple browsers through UA sniffing?

Re:This seems desperate... (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348416)

Why assume it's malicious, when this sort of issue is well known to anyone who's ever tried to support multiple browsers through UA sniffing?
Oh, there you go again, trying to ruin our Microsoft-bashing funfest with stupid things like "logic" and "reason". Sheesh. You must be new here.

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

strangel (110237) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348466)

The parent makes a good point.

Another idea - maybe there's some known issue (or the developers THINK there is), and it's just not readily apparent.

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348776)

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348978)

I fully agree that feature sniffing is superior to browser sniffing in most ways, however it's no panacea. Case in point: I'm currently working on a JS SOAP client that must run on many browsers, including a couple of embedded browsers. Two cases where feature sniffing is insufficient:

  1. All the browsers except old IE support creating XMLHttpRequest by "new XMLHttpRequest()". However, one of the embedded browsers segfaults after doing this a few times, so I have to artificially limit it to one request at a time and reuse the same XMLHttpRequest object in that case.

  2. All the browsers support XMLHttpRequest.responseXML, however one of the embedded browsers just creates an empty document. The solution is to use a DOMParser on XMLHttpRequest.responseText in that case.
So yeah, I mostly agree with you, but in some cases feature sniffing may be impossible (as in 1) or just inefficient and awkward (as in 2).

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348406)

Actually, it just says Firefox under Linux. So MS has lost those users on the OS already, they probably don't care if they lose them on the e-mail. Those running Windows (even if using Firefox) are still a source of revenue. Linux Firefox users are probably the most likely group to be blocking advertisments, so even that revenue stream is pretty dry. Why waste resources trying to get blood from that turnip?

Layne

Re:This seems desperate... (4, Interesting)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348480)

Yes if Microsoft is prepared to to use this deliberate ploy to degrade the usability of Firefox on Hotmail, then it raises the question what is MS likely to do if they manage to acquire Yahoo.

This sort of behaviour could prove to be counter-productive for Microshaft (I normally disapprove of silly joke name calling of MS, but this is a case where they deserve that epithet). If I worked for Google, I would be carefully documenting this anti-competitive behaviour of MS in web services, in order to build up an anti-trust case against MS's takeover of Yahoo.

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

boomka (599257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348656)

No need to build the case, just let MS buy Yahoo, this will be a total financial disaster for MS.
If they really buy Yahoo for the price they offered, they will suddenly become a few years closer to irrelevance.

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348516)

Not only does this wreak of desperation on the part of Microsoft

I don't know anymore. I am starting to think that this just pure incompetence and lack of proper cross-platform testing.

tin foil hat time (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348564)

I know that it sounds like MS is being pointedly stupid, but if you think about it, what circumstances would be necessary for this to make sense?

Well, one set of circumstances that I can think of is this: One way that the NSA/CIA/FBI/NewBrownShirts can spy on your internet usage and email is to put a back door in the browser. If the mail service you use forces you to use that browser they also get to look at your mail. The forced browser mode of operation ensures that the spyware also sees what else you do on the Internet. The basic idea is to try to make sure that you do not use OSS because the spyware only runs on windows.

The NSA has already tried to get permission to use such spyware. Having failed to get permission, the next best thing is to get the OS/Browser manufacturer to put it in for you.

Do I really believe that MS is complicit in such activities? Well, I have no reason to not believe they are, and that is the big rub.

Re:This seems desperate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348624)

"Not only does this wreak of desperation on the part of Microsoft"

Every time some twat on Slashdot says this, it reminds of the geeks who insist that they got laughed at and bullied by all the popular kids because, deep down, the popular kids were jealous and felt threatened. Are you one of these people? Because you sure sound like it.

Anyway, Microsoft isn't continuously shafting Linux because it feels threatened, but because they can, its fun, and its profitable.

Re:This seems desperate... (1)

sundarvenkata (1214396) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348702)

>>Not only does this *reeks* of desperation on the part of Microsoft. There fixed that for ya.

Damn whiners (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348178)

...Another article by another clueless user. He could have just used Internet Explorer for Linux.

Sheesh.

Re:Damn whiners (1, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348256)

...and a big "WHOOOOOSH!" to the fella who modded that "flamebait" within seconds of its posting. I know it's early, fellas, but can't you at least parse the whole post?

Re:Damn whiners (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348414)

I find it funny that you got modded flamebait.

Re:Damn whiners (2, Funny)

mweather (1089505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348392)

You joke, but it does work just fine in IE under wine.

Suck it losers--McCain in 2008 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348186)

Keep sticking with those 2 idiots Hilarry and Osama
"Youth" vote irrelevant in 2008 (as usual)

Hmmmm (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348198)

Shades of Dos ain't done till Lotus won't run.

Spoofing user agent is no solution (5, Insightful)

macsforever2001 (32278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348214)

Spoofing the user agent is no solution, even if it does work. That's what Micro$oft wants you to do so that it appears that more people are using IE than actually are. The numbers game is far more important than the number of users who actually use Firefox.

The best solution is to dump hotmail and move to a better free email client like Gmail or Yahoo.

Re:Spoofing user agent is no solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348344)

The best solution is to dump hotmail and move to a better free email client like Gmail or Yahoo
Well, crap! [computerworld.com]

Re:Spoofing user agent is no solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348666)

>The best solution is to dump hotmail and move to a better
>free email client like Gmail or Yahoo

Hmm... I can give you at least 44 billion reasons why this might be a problem in the future...

Re:Spoofing user agent is no solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348708)

That's what Micro$oft wants you to do so that it appears that more people are using IE than actually are. The numbers game is far more important than the number of users who actually use Firefox.
Then spoof the useragent to IE only when visiting Microsoft websites - problem solved.

Re:Spoofing user agent is no solution (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348766)

Except that the work around wasn't to set the User-Agent to claim to be IE, but to claim to be a different flavour if Firefox.

Re:Spoofing user agent is no solution (1)

Vadim Grinshpun (31) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348842)

note that in TFA, they mentioned the site working just fine if the user agent claims to be Firefox for Windows (and someone in the comments mentions the same with FF/MacOS). So it's not the browser they're "blocking", it's the OS.

Re:Spoofing user agent is no solution (1)

regular_gonzalez (926606) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348924)

At first I thought the $ in 'Micro$oft' was a typo but then I realized it was a cutting, insightful bit of repartee that illuminates the Microsoft Corporation in a way that transcends rhetoric.

Not surprising (4, Informative)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348238)

IIRC, Outlook Web Access has done this for at least the past 5-6 years. Load OWA in Firefox (Windows or Linux), and it looks all choppy with bad frames and images and such. Change the User Agent, and it magically looks almost identical to the same page in IE!

I find it funny that Microsoft goes to these ends... what do you gain by doing that? Do they claim it's because other browers don't work?

Re:Not surprising (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348364)

I find it funny that Microsoft goes to these ends... what do you gain by doing that?

Leveraging your market position in one product "Exchange/OWA" to gain market position in
another "IE"...simple really

 

Re:Not surprising (1)

Oxy the moron (770724) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348546)

Leveraging your market position in one product "Exchange/OWA" to gain market position in
another "IE"...simple really

Back when this OWA issue first came about, Firefox (which wasn't even called Firefox at the time, I don't think) was still mostly relegated to the nerdy group. Most people using Firefox as an alternative to IE actually knew about the User Agent, and were rather apt at changing it so they could still access OWA normally.

Fast-forward to today, and more people are using Firefox, but could probably just as easily get around the OWA issue but asking the guy that's been doing it for 5-6 years. It just seems like a lot of extra work relative to whatever gain they may have achieved.

Nope. (0, Troll)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348490)

I use OWA all the time Firefox and Opera and it renders fine.

I don't honestly know why you people feel the need to lie about this stuff. Microsoft does plenty of stupid shit without you inventing it.

Re:Not surprising (2, Informative)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348506)

>Load OWA in Firefox (Windows or Linux), and it looks all choppy with bad frames and images and such.

Err no. OWA for non-ie browsers is simplified. OWA for IE is pretty much IE-only. You can change the agent string but then its buggy as all hell. Granted, MS could go out of its way to make the non-ie version more robust, but as a corporation they would be helping their competitors.

So theyre not claiming other browsers dont work, but that if you dont use their product youre going to get the simplified page. I dont condone it but its not a bug or bad coding, its obviously a management decision to only provide basic funationality to non-ie clients.

Re:Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348534)

What kind of rocks are you smoking? OWA uses activex and looks like complete crap when you change the user agent.

again with the user agent excludes? (4, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348270)

This sounds very much like the Opera issue on msn.com [theregister.co.uk] a few years ago. Opera suddenly couldn't render the site correctly, so the programmers investigated, spoofed the user agent from "Opera" to the nonexistent browser "Oprah", and suddenly the page rendered perfectly well.

Re:again with the user agent excludes? (5, Funny)

hool5400 (257022) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348454)

If there was a browser called Oprah, i think it would be bloatware.

Re:again with the user agent excludes? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348532)

Even Microsoft knows better than to mess with Oprah!

Re:again with the user agent excludes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348744)

That resulted in a $12 million payout from Microsoft to Opera. Let's hope the Mozilla Foundation do the same thing.

Re:again with the user agent excludes? (1)

jefu (53450) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348804)

Didn't Opera respond to this with something that made all the MSN pages into Swedish Chef talk? It was probably the most popular download Opera ever provided for a few days.

Re:again with the user agent excludes? (1)

danskal (878841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348954)

Even more interesting - spoof the user agent in IE to "Opera" (with a proxy, if necessary) and see if the site becomes broken.

Then you can start talking Antitrust....

What doesn't work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348274)

I just tried it using FF 2.0.0.11 on Ubuntu and it works great with the AJAX interface. Faster than gmail even. If there weren't so much spam I'd be tempted to switch back. I never got the warning he describes.

Re:What doesn't work? (1)

Vlijmen Fileer (120268) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348606)

I have Iceweasel 2.0.0.11 on Debian.
It doesn't even show me the option to change to the full interface.
Just "This is the classic interface; this works best for you."
Yeah, right. What a crap. And I have to use it for my MSDN goodies :(

Re:What doesn't work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348894)

Maybe it was because I had previously switched my preference to the full interface when it first became available. If you use the user agent spoof to get into the full version once, can you get into it again without the spoof? I just logged in from a windows machine too and it looks exactly the same (except with ads). In fact, the initial load is a little slower in IE7.

Nor with Opera (5, Insightful)

Badbone (1159483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348276)

I've found that Hotmail doesn't work too well with Opera either. And a change in the user agent string doesn't help.

The only way to reply to messages is to choose "plain text" instead of rich text. Rich text is the default, but you are not able to type anything. So, choose plain text. Except that when you do that, a random half of the time, Hotmail erases your entire message.

In order to use Hotmail with any ability with Opera, Ive had to develop a several step workaround, just to reply to email. Thats one (more) reason why the upcoming Yahoo/MS merger worries me. If Yahoo mail goes the way of Hotmail, my workaround will move from occasional to every single damn time.

Re:Nor with Opera (1)

josephtd (817237) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348440)

Or you could maybe find a web mail provider that was a bit more browser agnostic?

What about all those "Wal-Mart" computer buyers? (-1, Troll)

goffster (1104287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348278)

This is how you get them to "upgrade" to XP.

Re:What about all those "Wal-Mart" computer buyers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348336)

last time i checked XP doesn't install from disk if there is a previous linux install - at least without a manual partition adjustment.

Hotmail, huh? (3, Funny)

blackbirdwork (821859) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348320)

Who uses hotmail anyway?

Re:Hotmail, huh? (1)

ZenDragon (1205104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348494)

I use hotmail for signing up for stuff that I know is going to garner spam. Keeps my other inboxes clean while increasing load on Microsoft servers. So its only by a .00001% but it makes me feel better making microsoft deal with all that spam! haha

Anti-competitive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348324)

Now that there is real competition in the browser arena, Microsoft goes from lazy to foul again. The fines must go up dramatically or Microsoft must be broken up. It seems nothing else can teach them to behave.

GMail ain't perfect either (0, Offtopic)

FiloEleven (602040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348348)

GMail's interface update a month or so back randomly crashes Firefox 2.0 on Windows whenever you click one of the left-hand links or "Send." The 3.0 beta doesn't have this problem, and you can specify "ui=1" in the URL to use the old interface, but it's worth mentioning.

Re:GMail ain't perfect either (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348558)

GMail's interface update a month or so back randomly crashes Firefox 2.0 on Windows whenever you click one of the left-hand links or "Send." The 3.0 beta doesn't have this problem, and you can specify "ui=1" in the URL to use the old interface, but it's worth mentioning.

I have experienced this too. It does this on the Mac too. Luckily I have Webkit as backup (even if it is a nightly) and at home I just use the IMAP client. They blame it on certain plugins, but these are all disactivated for Google web sites.

I'll be sure to give Firefox 3.0 a go when it hits release candidate.

Just thought I'd point out (1, Troll)

gazbo (517111) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348356)

For the benefit of the person who wrote the article:

Yes, the MS employee responding sounded clueless - almost as if he's some cheap as shit outsourced grunt reeling stock answers from a knowledge base.

You, however, sound like a mildly retarded cunt. Seriously, you sound like an absolute cunt.

Related to last week (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348360)

In the story about Linux having .08% on the desktop I commented that there is no way to determine Linux (or any other OSS software) useage since its license says it can be freely distributed, that my one download of Mandriva is now installed on half dozen friends' computers as well as my own.

It was answered with "User Agent".

I answered that with "spoofing" noting the number of moronically designed web sites that check the user agent and if it isn't IE on Windows tells you to "upgrade to a modern browser".

I was answered with "if you spoof you're part of the problem".

Ha! Take that!

Now, lets take this to its logical conclusion (and I apologise if you're a programmer for Microsoft but you should get a job with a better company if you value your reputation). IE hires web site coders who code stupid web sites stupidly - in this case, Hotmail. It is simplly moronic to exclude ANY potential customers. It isn't a leap of the imagination to say that if their site coders are fucktarded morons, their OS and app programmers probably are as well.

Again, that's not the coders' fault, it's HR's fault. It may be that the coders are competent intelligent people but the PHBs and their moronic policies require stupid code. The end result is that same; bad web sites, bad OSes and bad apps.

I dislike Microsoft becaue I'm forced to use their products at work. I'm using Yahoo mail, where does that leave me if Microsoft is sucessful in buying them out?

-mcgrew

Re:Related to last week (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348430)

No, I doubt very much that it has anything to do with the developers.

It is a simple case of marketing driving the development process.

It is called leveraging your position in one product, in this case hotmail to better
your position in another in this case "IE"....

In case you have not been around the last 10-15 years, they are masters at this.

*sniff*sniff* (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348374)

The writer concludes that the webmail interface has been artificially limited by basic user-agent sniffing.
Why would the server need to sniff the network for data thats being sent directly to that server willingly by the browser?

Yahoo! Trainwreck Coming (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348450)

This exact disaster is exactly why Microsoft cannot be allowed to extend its monopoly to absorb Yahoo. When Yahoo fails the way Hotmail now has with Firefox, the way Hotmail did when MS tried to cut it over to Windows servers, the Internet will take a major hit. Even if it drives consumers to GMail, that just reinforces Google's dominance, without credible competition.

The Internet itself is a hothouse for competition. The global environment for megacorps, though, is precisely the opposite. When the business drives the apps, which it always will at that scale, the Internet's flexibility will become a hothouse for monopolies. Since the entire world depends on the Internet, that Internet monoculture must be stopped. That's why people have governments: to stop the ambitious among them from exploiting advantages that hurt everyone else.

There is every evidence that Microsoft's control of Yahoo would be a disaster, and no evidence that it would be good for anyone but Microsoft (and maybe the Yahoo shareholders they buy off). If the deal goes through, that's the proof that the people need to change our governments to actually protect us, instead of serving these monopolies.

Re:Yahoo! Trainwreck Coming (2, Insightful)

VisualStim (130062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348884)

... Microsoft cannot be allowed to extend its monopoly ...
 
... that just reinforces Google's dominance, without credible competition.

So, um, how do you have dominance over a monopoly?

No... (1)

BigChigger (551094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348458)

the solution is to not use Hotmail. How's them apples?

BC

MISLEADING! Worked this AM for me. (2, Informative)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348474)

Firefox, Ubuntu ... no problem opening it and getting mail. If there were enhancements, I don't care. It's a mail system, not a video game.

Re:MISLEADING! Worked this AM for me. (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348588)

That's what I thought. I call BS!

Re:MISLEADING! Worked this AM for me. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348932)

Besides, a MS product not working on Linux? What else is news?

Re:MISLEADING! Worked this AM for me. (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348590)

Not only that, the POP server works too. I've been using Apple mail (and thunderbird on the other machine) to check my hotmail (msn) accounts for a long while..

Sounds like the article writer should have gotten off his high horse and asked what was involved in getting hotmail to work with Outlook express.

Instead he throws a tantrum like a little child...

What's a Hotmail? (1)

desmodromic (30262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348476)



Sounds vaguely familiar, but I can't quite place it.

Anti competition anybody? (3, Insightful)

myxiplx (906307) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348540)

Sounds like something else that could do with being pointed out to the EU. Using their web presence to artificially tie people to their desktop monopoly. Yes, we all expect this from Microsoft, but it really shouldn't be allowed.

When did this happen? (2, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348562)

My fiancée uses Hotmail and has never complained while checking her account on my Ubuntu 64-bit machine. It even worked with the new design (windows live hotmail). I was always amazed when she did so because I figured my computer would burst into flames if it ever went to a Microsoft site. Did this just happen? Like this week?

For no good reason (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348602)

There is absolutely no web control or feature (other than ActiveX controls) that will work on IE but not on FF. They can not possibly be doing something so advanced that it requires a special javascript call that is only possible in IE.

This is either laziness or maliciousness. They should if nothing else use their user agent sniffing to determine which browser and then send you the appropriate UI... if the BETA UI only works on IE RIGHT NOW but they plan to make it work on FF and others SOON, then this is the only reasonable policy to implement.

Since a policy like this is much easier to implement that making it work on all browsers before beta testing... it's now either maliciousness or complete disregard both of which obviously make them look like @sshats...

Hotmail and Firefox (1)

tristian_was_here (865394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348652)

An anonymous reader tips a column up at freesoftwaremagazine.com in which the writer discovers that the latest UI enhancements that Hotmail has recently introduced don't work with Firefox 2.0 under Linux.
Microsoft are not being biased its just how Hotmail works. C'mon do you actually think Live.com works any better?

It's the 1980's all over again (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348674)

"DOS ain't done till Lotus won't run . . ."

I just checked my hotmail... (1)

amigabill (146897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348686)

Strage seeing this. I had checked my hotmail not 5 minutes ago, using Centos and
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686 (x86_64); en-US; rv:1.8.1.4) Gecko/20070515 Firefox/2.0.0.4
I did switch to the classic hotmail style a few weeks ago as I just didn't like the navigation of their fancier version, I kept back-arrowing thinking it'd take me back to the message list but it dumped me back out of the entire email script and I had to go back in. I don't like the fancy interface, and maybe that's the one that's broke, but the classic style one doesn't seem to have any problems this morning...

Microsoft isn't the only one doing this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22348696)

I honestly think that so-called "web developers" should be banned from ever looking at the user-agent string. Example: My bank's website works on every browser I've tried it with, except Firefox on OpenBSD. (Yes, it works on Firefox on Linux.) This is kind of ridiculous, so I sent in an email about it. I got some ignorant tech support email back clearly not understanding the problem.

Web "developers" are simply dumb. That's all. Yes, this suddenly turns into a huge story because it's Microsoft. But, even in that case, I wouldn't be surprised if this is just somebody they hired in a low level position being ignorant.

Hotmail's for junk only (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348758)

Hotmail renders badly with Firefox for me. The font is too big the first time I log in. Refreshing the page fixes this but it's quite annoying. It only happens on the Linux build too.

The point is moot though since I only use Hotmail when I'm signing up for a forum or a competition. I really don't want my email filled up with fake lottery emails and rubbish written in (what appears to be) Spanish.

Email address portability (1)

justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348854)

There should be a legal mandate for email address portability. This is mandated for mobile phone and landline numbers (incoming calls are checked against a db then forwarded to the new operator), why not for email addresses ? Price of implementation in IT is orders of magnitude lower than prices in telco world.

Using firefox to -fix- hotmail (1)

kitgerrits (1034262) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348906)

The saddest part is that some friends reported problems with Hotmail before and resolved them by switching from IE to FireFox. (closed-down school environment, but not so closed as to break Firefox Portable )

User Agent Switcher (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22348922)

You can get it here: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/59 [mozilla.org] . Under Tools->User Agent Switcher you can choose between several user agents that you want FF to report. Very handy for sites like these.
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