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Bloggers bristle at government browser ban idea

Word is spreading in the blogosphere about a proposal that would require electronic submissions to pre-register with the U.S. Copyright Office be done in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. And guess what? The techno blogger crowd is falling over themselves to pan the idea.

Bloggers are quick to note that Microsoft's browser is far from being the center of the Web universe. Alternative browsers are catching one (Firefox, for one, just passed the 80 million download mark) and many people -- all of whom, apparently, work outside the Copyright Office -- actually use an operating system other than Windows.

The Free Software Foundation has gotten into the act and is collecting comments (due August 18). It notes that even though support for other browsers is eventually planned, the proposal cannot stand because "this is an issue of freedom."

And for those of you hoping to weigh in, note that email won't get your voice heard. Comments, due by August 22, are required on paper, in quadruplicate.

Blog community response:

"So the Copyright Office wants to mandate a non-standards-compliant browser which is implicated in most of the browser security issues that plague the corporate world, ensure that none of Sun's products can be used to file advance copyright claims and ensure Sun's customers are compelled to use competing products. Y'know, that doesn't sound good for a government agency, especially one that's used internationally as well - surely they need to be opening up, not closing down?"
--Simon Phipps

"I can't understand why the U.S. Government, as well as commercial e-business developers, doesn't use open-source development tools that are designed to be browser independent, such as PHP and MySQL? Come on folks, let's build websites that work well, under as many conditions as possibleÂ…Wasn't it the U.S. Government that sued Microsoft over antitrust issues? It seems as if the government and Microsoft have patched their relationship."
--Geek News Central

"I should take this opportunity to register my disappointment with your proposed rulemaking. Such a proposal can only be attributed either to ignorance or to contempt. In the best case it is ignorance since the proposer is unaware of the fact that there are millions of computer owners who simply do not use MSIE (is, furthermore, the proposer (is) incompetent to seek such basic information that is readily available on the internet, or is the proposer using MSIE that perhaps blocks access to such information?). In the worst case the proposer opts to show his or her contempt (at the expense of taxpayers) for the millions of computer owners who do not use MSIE."
--Leo Irakliotis