Opera vs Microsoft

Warning This article was written over six months ago, and may contain outdated information.

Well, Opera’s antitrust complaint against Microsoft certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons.

Developers came out on both sides of the issue; Andy Clarke called for the CSS Working Group to be disbanded, which had Daniel Glazman up in arms. David Baron wasn’t a fan of the idea either.

The two reactions which I found most helpful were the future of web standards, in which an overview of standards development is provided, and a piece by Quirksmode’s Peter-Paul Koch which pointed out the dangers in ceding control of standards development to political bodies - the author has since decided to remove this post, however (update: there’s a second version of the post available now).

My own opinion is that I agree that it’s important for the average computer user to know that there are different browsers available, and the pros and cons of using each of them. Most users don’t know or don’t care which browser they’re using; they have no awareness of web standards, and see no reason for changing from whichever browser is installed by default — which is, in most cases, IE. Having an option presented on first connecting to the internet would go some way to correcting this.

I understand Opera’s frustration with Microsoft on this issue, and having seen MS just lose a similar appeal on the issue of media players they must think that this is the best time to move.

On the other hand, I agree with the Quirksmode blog; the call for them to be bound to web standards could set a dangerous precedent which we may end up regretting in years to come (although Håkon Wium Lie thinks it won’t come to that).

Perhaps the best news to come from the whole farrago is today’s announcement by the IE team that IE8 will pass the Acid2 test. As Kevin Yank at Sitepoint has pointed out, this means that at the very least we should have improved <object> support, CSS tables, and generated content. Those changes are far more important than drop shadows and other cosmetic elements (nice though they are).

Of course, as Joost at CSS3.info points out today, the best way to react to a perceived lack of progress in standards is to get involved with progressing them.

1 comment on
“Opera vs Microsoft”

  1. I’m just hoping that IE8 also has automatic updates so us web developers may one day be free of those tedious IE bug fixing sessions.