Random writings on running, software & product development, business and anything else

Tag: ie6

Time to drop IE6?

A major challenge of web development is that a particular OS and browser of the end user is not guaranteed, and so many must be catered for. This is not as bad as it used to be, now that Netscape 4, and Internet Explorer 5 and earlier have been consigned to history. This leave IE6, 7 and soon 8, Firefox, Safari and Opera. That is still plenty of scope for variation, and the general problem is IE6. So the decision by 37Signals to discontinue support for IE6 in mid August is an interesting development. It is also a bold move, but that is the way 37 Signals so things, by not catering to the entire world.
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This is web testing

Thought I would give a quick screenshot. Safari and IE6 browsers on Windows XP. All running with QEMU on Kubuntu Linux.

IE6 and Safari web browsers on Windows in Kubuntu Linux with QEMU

I should have shown Konqueror as well.

Windows within Kubuntu with qemu

The major hassle of doing web development on Kubuntu (or any non Windows system) is the inevitable hassles with the browser which still has the majority of users (IE6). Options to deal with this include:

  • Dual booting with Windows
  • Using services such as browsershot and browsercam
  • Multiple PCs in a network with different OS
  • Let IE users be dammed

All these options have disadvantages in terms of cost and/or time. Having tried most of them, I decided now was the time to try another option – virtualisation or running an OS inside another.
In this case I have started to run Win XP with Kubuntu. Again their are a couple of options, but I went with qemu. There are a number of good resources for this on the net including:

Here are the list of instructions I used for Win XP on Kubuntu Fiesty Fawn.
em1:~$ mkdir virtual_os
em1:~$ cd virtual_os
em1:~/virtual_os$ qemu-img create winxp.img 3500M[Suggested size seems to be at least 3 Gig.]
em1:~/virtual_os$ qemu -boot d -hda winxp.img -cdrom /dev/hdc -m 256 -localtime[The /dev/hdc will be specific to your setup. /dev/cdrom did not work for me. This will start the install from CDROM, and expect the process to take time]
em1:~/virtual_os$ qemu -boot c -hda winxp.img -m 256 -localtime[Once installed this is my command to run the guest OS. The number after -m is the amount of memory to allow the guest OS. If you have plenty give it more.]
And that was it. Internet connection was working straight off. Things are a little slower but using only IE it was workable. I just need to get used to Ctrl-Alt to break out of the guest OS back to my native desktop.

Things still to do:

  1. Have the guest OS interact with the host
  2. Try Win 98 as it should be less system intensive.
  3. Have Win XP with IE7 and 98 with IE6.

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