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Opera CTO: IE8 standard support a good start

Hakon Wium Lie says Microsoft's plans for standards support in the upcoming release of Internet Explorer 8 is "good for the Web". Some work remains, however.

Opera Software's Hakum Wium Lie says Microsoft's plans to improve Internet Explorer's support for Web standards is a step in the right direction.

But, adds Wium Lie, the chief technology officer at Opera, more work is needed. Lie told CNET on Wednesday that Microsoft's move addresses only one of several concerns that the browser maker had raised with the European Commission.

"Microsoft's announcement is good news for the web. Microsoft is now back in line with other browsers. It means that IE8 will do less damage for standards on the web than we feared earlier. It can still do damage -- it seems that Microsoft will implement their misguided "version targeting" scheme where pages can request to be rendered by a certain IE rendering engine," Wium Lie wrote in an email response.

Opera CTO Hakon Wium Lie

With IE 8, Microsoft plans to have three rendering modes: the new standards-compliant mode, the IE7 rendering engine, as well as an option for displaying older Web sites. Because of the default shift, Web sites that want IE 8 to use its IE7 engine will have to add a tag to their site's code.

Wium Lie said Microsoft's standards support in IE 8 "partially addresses" concerns that Opera voiced to the European Commission.

Opera had also called upon Microsoft to support browser interoperability tests, known as Acid2 and Acid3. "IE8 also has the opportunity to do good things for the web," Wium Lie wrote. "For example, it may pass the Acid2 test by default and the IE team may have started working on Acid3. We don't know yet if this is the case. It seems that Microsoft doesn't use the word "pass" and "Acid2" in the same sentence."

"We have seen several interesting announcements lately, " Wium Lie said, referring to the IE 8 standards pledge. "However, they have a long record of saying the right things while doing something different. It remains to be seen what their products look like when they ship."

Microsoft last month also pledged better interoperability with open-source software, just days before the EU slapped the company with a $1.35 billion fine for making interoperability information too expense and difficult to access.