Re:Re:Re:I think you are missing (part of) the point
The biggest problem we have is that IE was created by Microsoft. Not just that it most likely stole the technology from Netscape to make a shoddy copy of Netscape, but because Microsoft does not fully document its Windows api component capabilities. That and the fact that all Windows api components appear capable of sending and receiving "messages" without any way for the user to know what is going on. The possibility exists that the folks at Microsoft may decide to just bore into any computer connected to the Internet to view or change things for any reason.
This happened to me when XP was initially--released: within a week, my Windows 98 computer started behaving like 2000/XP. My previous wallpaper setting began to appear during the boot process (a markedly Windows 2000/XP behavior). This is because any non-XP computer that a Windows XP server encountered was altered by the XP server. This activity was documented on some websites at the time with the excuse that XP needed to be able to interface with previous versions of Windows. But I was not warned about what Windows was doing, nor given the option to decline the alterations an XP server made to my system. XP changed my operating system, and to what ends I still do not know. But it made the change unbeknownst to me--and more importantly--without my permission.
Those of you techs afraid to speak against Microsoft lest you lose your certification are the only ones I ever see who publically miminize this problem--and are usually the only ones who heatedly support Microsoft's claims against its detractors. But if you cannot see the danger to yourselves and your companies with this predilection of Microsoft to up and alter non-Microsoft computer systems at will and with no regard for asking the end-user's permission, then you have no place in any reasonable discussion on Microsoft products--at least in my mind. It would be different, of course, if Microsoft wasn't so draconian in its certification policies, nor embroiled in so many technology theft disputes (lawsuits), and if it was more interested in compatibility as a means to better computing environments and as a means to greater company profits. Sadly, there are certain realities to consider here.
The real danger of using IE is that it could be the point of centralization for Windows (api) messaging (at least, related to api component messaging to and from other Windows systems connected to the Internet). After all, IE components are not fully documented--Microsoft never actually complied with the judges order to completely document Windows api functions, so who really knows whether or not IE doesn't fulfill this role?
Which means that Microsoft, or any other company that knows how to exploit even some of the undocumented api functions of IE could use IE to obtain information from your computer without your ever knowing about it. Do you really want your competitors to see the new software you are engineering, or read your corporate network security plans--do you rally want to support a product that may be the main reason your computers are sabotaged by internet viruses? Stand-alone browsers such as Netscape offer an additional and important level of protection, because they are stand-alone products which are not designed to be specially integrated with Windows. But also because non-Microsoft products are often better, more stable and secure products anyway.
But even if it is not a likelihood, it would be safer to use a stand-alone browser and not IE because IE is vulnerable to attack from without (no sane person can argue against this point): remember, its api components are NOT fully documented or made available by Microsoft. This may be a good reason for the PC industry to shift to Linux operating systems, since Linux-based programs' sourcecode are usually readily available (the benefit of being based on an "Open Source" theory of development which Microsoft will most likely never really embrace).
Failing that, there is a company that removes or separates middlewear like IE from the different versions of Windows (LitePC.com). This may offer some protection against the problems of IE, but not all of them. IE is a shoddy product, and its api components were developed by Microsoft to be integrated closely (too closely?) with Windows. It is probably best to separate IE from Windows and use another browser instead. This is what I did with Windows 98 (which immediately became faster and more stable) and I will do it again someday with Windows XP.
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