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teet
July 18th, 2006, 08:18 PM
My email message to a US Department of Education website:



To Whom it May Concern,

I have just completed the process needed to sign my MPN online. During the
process I was told that I needed to use Internet Explorer 6 or Netscape
Navigator 4.x if I was using Windows. After doing a bit of research, I found that the last version of Netscape Navigator 4.x was version 4.5 and was released in October of 1998. That is nearly 8 years ago!

I am writing to ask you to please make your site compatible with Mozilla Firefox or at least with an updated version of Netscape. I do not like to use Internet Explorer for security reasons and would uninstall it completely from my computer if it was feasible.

Based on what I have read lately, around 10% of people in the world use Mozilla Firefox for their internet browser--a number that shouldn't be ignored. Also, many people do not use the Windows or Macintosh operating system. Firefox is available as a free download for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and pretty much any other GUI-based operating system. Thus, by supporting Firefox on your website, you would be taking care of all of the computer users that fall into the "other" category (i.e. those who do not use Windows of Apple).

Thank you.


Their response:



Dear Applicant,

This message is in response to your e-mail regarding your loan and/or MPN. The United States Department of Education has chose Netscape and Internet Explorer as their primary web browser's. The likelihood of any immediate changes in the near future is not a possibility. We apologize if this has caused you any inconvenience. If you have further questions please call 1-800-XXX-XXXX to speak to a Representative, Monday-Friday 8:00am-8:00pm EST.

Sincerely,
Applicant Services


Sigh...

Does anybody else have a similar tale? I thought my request was reasonable, especially seeing as how many state governments have started to "see the light" so to speak and have begun the move away from proprietary formats/software.

What really bothered me about the whole thing was that the website ONLY supported Windows and Macintosh. Linux, BSD, Solaris, or users of other operating systems are out of luck.

-teet

fadumpt
July 18th, 2006, 08:38 PM
Yeah, your average major business or organization does not want to spend the time and money to make their web site usable on newer software. For them, it cost so many thousands of dollars 5 years ago to make it compatible with IE 5 and Netscape 4.x, that they figure they should at least get maybe ten years out of their compatibility investment.

You have to understand that most of these places are still run by older people that don't understand how fast new technology can change and how easy it is for your $3,000 web design investment to become obsolete within a year or two if you don't keep up with it.

You just have to keep writing and calling and maybe they'll figure it out.

Brunellus
July 18th, 2006, 08:39 PM
Nothing short of an Executive Order and/or an act of Congress could blast the feds from their habits.

Federal procurement is a nightmare. It tends to exacerbate the natural tendency of large bureaucracies towards inertia.

This would be a nice thing to take up with your congressman and senators, though. Look at it from a greater perspective--what about those of their constituents who can't access computers, or who don't use Microsoft software?

Unlikely to go anywhere, but a good place to start as any.

amunimanghi
July 18th, 2006, 08:40 PM
Yeah, yesterday the same thing happened to me. I wanted to see a music video my friend requested for me in yahoo music. When I wanted to see them, it said
We regret that Yahoo! Music videos are not currently supported for Macintosh. We are exploring ways to offer video on additional platforms, and hope you'll check back as we make enhancements to the service.
For more information on Yahoo! Music Video system requirements, visit to the Music Video section of Yahoo! Music Help. =-= I'm using linux and it said I was using Mac. So I was pissed and emailed them. Here was my email (you had to go through a form.)
Original Message Follows:
-------------------------

Mail-Id: 1153199570-9031
Yahoo! Music ID dont have one

OS: Other

Version: WMP 9.0 I had to choose one no matter what...

What firewall software do you currently have installed?
router

Subject: Music Videos

Type your feedback here:
What about linux?
and their responce
Hello,

Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Music.

Unfortunately LAUNCHcast is not currently compatible with the OSX system
or the Mozilla, Firefox, Safari and Netscape 6-7 browsers. At this time
there is no estimated date as to when this service may be available
using these applications.

LAUNCHcast requires the following in order to properly stream media
content:

PC

* Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0, 2000 Professional, XP Home, or
Professional
* Pentium II, 233MHz or faster
* at least 64MB RAM
* Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher
* Windows Media Player 6.4 or higher
* Macromedia Flash 4.0 or higher

Macintosh

* Mac OS 8.5 or higher
* 200MHz PowerPC (iMac OK)
* at least 64MB RAM
* Netscape 4.5 - 4.79
* Windows Media Player 7.01 or higher
* Macromedia Flash 4.0 or higher

Please note, Netscape for the PC is not currently compatible with our
streaming media selections. We recommend our Mac users use Netscape
4.79 to access content on LAUNCHcast.

Reinstalling your web browser with the latest version should fix your
problem. You can download a free copy of Internet Explorer at:

Windows:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.htm

Note: IE 7 browser is a beta version and is currently not supported by
Yahoo!.

Macintosh (Netscape):

http://browser.netscape.com/ns8/download/archive.jsp

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care.

Regards,

Bart

Yahoo! Customer Care
40374477

New and Improved Yahoo! Mail - better than ever! I say Linux, and he says Mac OSX. I wasn't suprised about needing Windows, but was truley amazed by their lack of web browers. Even so, Firefox is so much better and safer than Internet Explorer. This might change in the Vista release though.

aysiu
July 18th, 2006, 08:45 PM
Ignoring Firefox at this point is just plain stupid (from a business standpoint) for Yahoo! Music. Once a browser gets over 10% marketshare, that's a significant population for businesses to target.

Now, the Department of Education, on the other hand, has nothing to lose money-wise from Firefox users not being able to use their website. They should switch over from Netscape old.old, but it's not likely to happen any time soon.

kripkenstein
July 18th, 2006, 09:01 PM
Well, good for you for trying. If more people did, perhaps things would improve faster.

RAV TUX
July 18th, 2006, 09:17 PM
I feel all of you!

Now knowing that changes aren't going to be made anytime soon, I decided to fix this problem the logical linux way, with Wine.

My wife has a launchcast account that she has been using for about 6 years so it is set greatly with her music taste, now on windows we have a program called "Replay Music" which captures streaming music.(I just read in "Ubuntu Hacks" how to do this in Ubuntu, but any tips here would be cool.)

As we both desire to leave windows all together permanantly getting launchcast to work for us is a priority for the happiness of wife. (she doesn't like last.fm nor do I.)

So I got IE6 working on Ubuntu with wine, and the launchcast site loads and the audio player tries to connect, but as I understand it we need WMP also, this is my next project.

This is not much different then getting our traditional windows games working also...America McGee's Alice, Diablo, Emperor.(which I have yet to do)

If anyone her can post help on getting WMP working on Ubuntu that would be great.

btw launchcast works fine for me in Firefox on windows just use IETab, and set it to open launchcast in IEtab and then you can listen to launchcast in Firefox.

I am not sure if IETab works on Firefox in Ubuntu, I haven't tried yet.

teet
July 19th, 2006, 04:20 AM
Now, the Department of Education, on the other hand, has nothing to lose money-wise from Firefox users not being able to use their website. They should switch over from Netscape old.old, but it's not likely to happen any time soon.

I agree. Actually I'm sort of just happy that they offer this service online. Otherwise they would have to mail me the documentation, I would have to read through it, sign it, and send it back. Then several weeks later I would hopefully get a confirmation letter back saying that everything is good to go. I was able to complete the whole process within a few hours online.

Whenever I see warnings that I must use IE or Netscape I usually just ignore them and use Firefox anyway. However, you actually have to check a box that confirms that you're using a supported browser on this site...not doing so would be illegal (I guess?).

-teet

houseshadow
August 11th, 2006, 09:26 PM
I am not sure if IETab works on Firefox in Ubuntu, I haven't tried yet.

I just tried grabbing IETab and it isn't available on Linux systems. :(

Virogenesis
August 11th, 2006, 09:37 PM
try playing the discrimination, you'll probally find that they are breaking some accessiblity laws, as a government they have to be section 508 compliant which they probally aren't this would more than likely be a redesign.

Whats the link to the website?

MetalMusicAddict
August 11th, 2006, 09:47 PM
What still kills me is that for us to use/view something we own (if you pay taxes that is) they say you have to have something that costs money. (IE).

I refuse to run IE in WINE.

This is the same thing as Massachusetts wanting to move to an open format for their electronic documents. Having them in a .doc means needing Office. Not really public record.

The Department of Education is ours. We should be able to tell them what we wanna use. Not big business.

Whatever. This pisses me off and Im gettin flustered. Im gonna punch someone in the face.

weekend warrior
August 11th, 2006, 10:04 PM
Perhaps sending them another e-mail requesting investment in a grammar checker for outgoing mail from the U.S. Department of "Education" might change their tune. :rolleyes:

Heh, they can even be directed to an open source checker (http://www.danielnaber.de/languagetool/) as apparently, they don't make much use of their preferred Microsoft applications.

That would just make their day. ;)

nalmeth
August 11th, 2006, 11:25 PM
Yozef, Sidenet (http://sidenet.ddo.jp/winetips/config.html) might be what you're looking for, but I think it will redo your current wine installation, as the newer wine versions have problems with WMP.

This installs version 6 I believe, so after all, your sites may still demand a newer WMP. It may not be worth it for you.

You asked though, :)

teet
January 26th, 2007, 07:51 PM
An Update:

I just logged on to the US Department of Education website again and received this message:



We have detected that you are using a non-certified browser.

The browsers listed below have been certified for use with FAFSA on the Web. If you choose to use a browser other than the ones listed here, the site's pages may not display properly, and you may encounter problems while entering your application that Customer Service may not be able to resolve. On a quarterly basis, the U.S. Department of Education will evaluate new browser versions and certify them for use with FAFSA on the Web.

Netscape browsers:
Netscape Navigator 6.2 (Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
Netscape Navigator 6.2.1 (Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
Netscape Navigator 6.2.2 (Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
Netscape Navigator 6.2.3 (Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP Home and Professional; and Macintosh Operating System 9)
Netscape Navigator 7.01 (Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
Netscape Navigator 7.02 (Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
Netscape Navigator 7.1 (Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional; Macintosh Operating System 10.2)
Netscape Navigator 8.0.2 (Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
Netscape Navigator 8.0.4 (Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
Netscape Navigator 8.1 (Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)

Microsoft browsers:
5.00.2014.0216 - Internet Explorer 5.0 (Windows 95/98 and Windows NT)
5.00.2314.1003 - Internet Explorer 5.0 (Office 2000)
5.00.2614.3500 - Internet Explorer 5.0 (Windows 98 Second Edition)
5.00.2919.6307 - Internet Explorer 5.01 and 5.01 with Service Pack 1 (Windows 95/98, Windows NT and Windows 2000)
5.00.2920.0000 - Internet Explorer 5.01 (Windows 2000, build 5.00.2195)
5.00.3103.1000 - Internet Explorer 5.01 with Service Pack 1 (Windows 2000)
5.00.3105.0106 - Internet Explorer 5.01 with Service Pack 1 (Windows 95/98 and Windows NT)
5.00.3314.2101 - Internet Explorer 5.01 with Service Pack 2 (Windows 95/98 and Windows NT)
5.00.3315.1000 - Internet Explorer 5.01 with Service Pack 2 (Windows 2000)
5.50.4134.0600 - Internet Explorer 5.5 (Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows ME)
5.50.4522.1800 - Internet Explorer 5.5 with Service Pack 1 (Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows ME)
5.50.4807.2300 - Internet Explorer 5.5 with Service Pack 2 (Windows 95/98, Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows ME)
6.0.2600.0000 - Internet Explorer 6.0 (Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
6.0.2800.1106 - Internet Explorer 6.0 with Service Pack 1 (Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
6.0.2900.2180 - Internet Explorer 6.0 with Service Pack 2 (Windows XP Home and Professional)
7.0.5730.11 - Internet Explorer 7.0 (Windows XP Home and Professional)

All versions of Internet Explorer 5 or 6 customized with the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) include one of the following strings after the version number when you click "About" on the Help menu:

IC = Internet Content Provider
IS = Internet Service Provider
CO = Corporate Administrator

America Online default browsers:
AOL 5.0 (Windows 95/98 and Windows NT)
AOL 6.0 (Windows 95/98, Windows 2000 and Windows ME)
AOL 7.0 (Windows 95/98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
AOL 8.0 (Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
AOL 9.0 (Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, and Windows XP Home and Professional)
AOL Explorer 1.2 (Windows 2000, and Windows XP Home and Professional)

Mozilla Firefox browsers:
Mozilla Firefox 1.5 (Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP Home and Professional; and Macintosh Operating System 10.4)
Mozilla Firefox 2.0 (Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME, Windows XP Home and Professional; and Macintosh Operating System 10.4)


It's a step in the right direction at least :)

-teet

azkehmm
January 26th, 2007, 08:01 PM
Well... I called my bank when I switched to Firefox a couple of years ago, and it wasn't compatible with their home-banking system, since they used some kind of active X thingy (veeeery secure, yeah). They told me that at the moment, they only supported Internet Explorer. 5 months later I got a letter from them, telling me that they after a number of requests had decided to make their home-banking system compatible with firefox and that all I had to do was to confirm my request from 5 months ago. I felt so important after that :)