U.K. Government Refuses to Ditch IE6

By | August 4, 2010 | 19 Comments


U.K. Government Refuses to Ditch IE6Back in February, 2010, the online petition was filled urging British government to dump a 9 year old web browser.

Recently, Her Majesty’s Government has issued an official response stating that they will continue using Internet Explorer 6 and have no plans to upgrade it.

What’s the main reason? They want to save taxpayers money.

It is not straightforward for HMG departments to upgrade IE versions on their systems. Upgrading these systems to IE8 can be a very large operation, taking weeks to test and roll out to all users. To test all the web applications currently used by HMG departments can take months at significant potential cost to the taxpayer. It is therefore more cost effective in many cases to continue to use IE6 and rely on other measures, such as firewalls and malware scanning software, to further protect public sector internet users.

Internet Explorer 6 life officially ends in 2014, as that’s when Microsoft will stop supporting a 9 year old web browser.

Thanks to Jan Frode for the news tip.

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About (Author Profile)


Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

  • Tiago Sá

    One thing is for sure, her majesty doesn’t even know what the internet is, and the cost of upgrading to a new browser (which may not even be IE10) by 2014 will be much greater that it would be now. This shows shortsightedness by the British government.
     
    To be fair, it’s to be expected: they are a government after all. They’re designed to be dumb and stupid.

    • nobody

      what is the size of the payroll of your current company?
      from what you say it is much less than 1000 employees
       
      I work for 100000+ company and i perfectly understand reasons outlined by UK government. ie6 is not only a browser, to be honest browser part of it is the least important part. it is a foundation of most legacy systems – integrated login for 100+ systems at once, purpose-built connectors, parsers, even stupid printer drivers, software for tools that are 15 or 20 years old. this is ENORMOUS. this costs billions to replace, and for the most important part – IT WORKS. because of that, noone is going to give a hoot about it being ‘old’. who cares?
       
      you are not going to even understand the scale before you start to manage you own department or division of a huge corporation.
       
      and government is almost always the biggest company in given country.
       
      btw. new nuclear power plants might use state of the art software, but im certain that software at your local powerplant is older than you. and it works.
       
      dumb and stupid? sir, you are VERY shortsighted

      • http://WOFall.myopenid.com/ WOFall

        All they have to do is install Opera/Firefox/Chrome and leave IE6 as it is.

        • nobody

          please, if your knowledge of enterprise world is zero, do not waste your and ours time commenting. this is something that overwhelms 15 yr old linux and opensource geeks. world is not that simple.

          • http://WOFall.myopenid.com/ WOFall

            I don’t have to work for a company of 100k terminals to state the obvious. If you don’t touch IE6, you won’t break IE6. If this is the case, then you won’t break “integrated login for 100+ systems at once, purpose-built connectors, parsers, even stupid printer drivers, software for tools that are 15 or 20 years old”.
             
            Of course, either you’ll have to “train” people to be able to use the new browser, or just leave it as an option. In either case, people using it might have to switch back to IE for various tasks, until these tools are finally replaced. It’s not a perfect solution, but it does what it aims to do.
             
            I agree that *upgrading* IE6 to IE8 or 9 would be a massive undertaking that would cost thousands to millions, but frankly, I don’t see why you’d be bothered.

          • Ichann

            Chill man.
            We could care less for “Your” company.

          • nobody

            yet you comment and care
             
            as for other commenter, you still dont get it, do you? what is the size of company you work for?

          • Ichann

            I care for your remarks not the company. Did I ask anything about your company?

    • http://www.sumake.eu narzędzia pneumatyczne

      Bravo for UK Government. Its very wise decision those days to actually save taxpayers money. And as nobody said cost of upgrade would be enormous. There is a hope however  that if they save now, they might afford it in 2014.
      Saving money those days, probably before another (or next part of the current one) economic crisis, its definitely not stupid. Well I suppose that if Gordon Brown would still be a Prime Minister they would borrow (creating further debt)  money to make this upgrade – do you think THIS would be smart and responsible???
       

      • http://WOFall.myopenid.com/ WOFall

        They’re not saving money, they’re just spending less. Personally, however, I don’t see why they would want to liberate themselves from IE6, and then immediately shackle themselves back to IE8. They should just phase IE out. (Phase out = replace IE dependent tools bit by bit)

        • http://www.sumake.eu narzędzia pneumatyczne

          Spending less taxpayers money therefore “keeping them” in the budget. They can use those money to cover some of their debts for example.
          About the rest – I think its impossible to phase out (nice phrasal verb, didn’t know that one btw) Internet Explorer. Those bits are too deeply connected (since its all Microsoft) with each other I guess. Like:
          And AFAIK browser which could replace IE for Big Business doesn’t exist.
          Nobody, although he is arrogant asshole, seems to be most informed on this topic, and he covered this subject many times here, on this blog.

          • mabdul

            ok. thius is a bit late but:
            You are able to phrase out the support! every time a new printer or an application is installed they won’t based on IE6 any more or they have an alternative possibility. and after a “few years” the use of IE6 will only base on a few applications drivers or something else!

  • sozos

    So They will upgrade when IE 13 is out?

  • Pingback: Britische Regierung bleibt bei IE6 « Browser Fuchs

  • http://thenewobjective.com TNO

    Two words: hta files

  • Vlada

    It is not money problem, or any problem to upgrade ie6 to ie9! Its very easy, there is nothing to train people, everything is very easy, there is problem that no one wants to change. But thats why obsolete money/profit system will be gone.
    Come check http://www.thevenusproject.com the new idea for people who want to change the world!
     
    And for those who are afraid of flying, don’t worry men already did that;)

    • http://www.sumake.eu narzędzia pneumatyczne

      Oh those sweet utopias ;P
      This venus project would crash after a week (hopefully it will never even start) :D

      • http://www.sumake.eu narzędzia pneumatyczne

        I meant THANKFULLY – cause it wont start. EVER.
        :)

  • Dwight Stegall

    I see no problem with them keeping IE6. If they want crappy looking pages that are coded for modern browsers with half of the functions not working then so be it. They are only hurting themselves. Their stubbornness should subside when they realize nothing is working for them.
    I suggest we don’t make it easy for them by coding pages to work with IE6. Another possibility is to add a javascript or server redirect to a page that tells them to upgrade. There are lots of ways to prevent IE6 from viewing our pages.