Two Reasons Internet Explorer 6 Is Not A Bad Browser

I've had to use IE 6 for a long time. Spending over 6 years working for a large corporation where everyone used it and now working to build websites that need to function and look good in it. After spending all this time working with and using IE 6 I've come to realize that it's not a bad browser and I can prove it.

It is Old

Internet Explorer 6 was release back in 2001. Do you remember what web technology like back then? I worked for an Internet service provider at the time and remember quite well. You had Netscape 6 and Opera 5 at the same time. This was before the days of webkit or even the Mozilla foundation.

IE 6 is 8 years old. What other pieces of software are people using that's 8 years old? IE 6 is an aged piece of software that's been vastly eclipsed by new software and versions. That doesn't make it bad. It makes it old.

It Works

There are a lot of people who use IE 6 on a daily basis to do business and they get a lot done. Millions and millions of people. It may not embrace the newest technology. It is by no means fast. Since it's users are able to get their jobs done with it, IE 6 works for them.

How To Make A Change

Like every other developer with a sane mind I want to see IE 6 pass off into memory as a browser from the past. Ideally, I'd like to see IE 7 there as well. If we want to help guide the last major group of IE 6 users onto better browsers complaining that is sucks isn't going to change their minds about it. For many of them it works.

On top of that, most of the IE 6 users are people who don't have a choice. They are people who work for a company or government that locks down their systems. Suggesting they update is asking them to do something they have no control over.

We need a different approach. If we want the updates to happen off of IE 6 and to help IE 7 have a short life we need to educate the decision makers. This is some manager in middle of a corporation or government who is oblivious to the whole debate. Most of this persons time is spent dealing with issues not related to the web and caught up in business processes. This person doesn't have the time nor inclination to listen to the people who produce websites complain. A sales pitch on advantages of upgrading, that's an entirely different story. That might actually get them to upgrade.