Sunday, February 1, 2009

Internet Explorer 8 ready for use

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Internet Explorer 8 ready for use A ‘finished’ version of Internet Explorer 8 is now available to download. While it adds usability features reminiscent of rival browsers, it offers security genuinely new security measures.

Though beta editions have already been available, this is the first ‘release candidate’. That’s the industry term for software which is fundamentally finished and won’t have any new features added, though any newly-discovered bugs may be fixed before a formal final release.

Dave Jeyes has written about IE8’s user features in our TECH channel. Some of them appear to be, shall we say, inspired by rival browsers: there’s a smart address bar (similar to Firefox’s ‘awesome bar’), private browsing (similar to several Firefox plug-ins) and a behind-the-scenes set-up which means that one crashed tab won’t always freeze the entire browser (a popular feature in Google’s Chrome).

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with copying such ideas – Microsoft effectively treating Firefox and Chrome as a testing ground might not make them popular in the open source community, but as long as they don’t breach intellectual property laws, it’s not the worst of business strategies.

The system does include what Microsoft bills as genuinely new ideas for improved security. Key among these is a technology designed to combat clickjacking. That’s the practice of producing transparent web pages which contain invisible buttons and are overlaid on legitimate sites which have been hijacked. Users can be tricked into clicking on what they think are legitimate options and actually clicking the invisible buttons causing their computer to, for example, install spyware.

As well as tweaking some of the browser problems which allow this to work, Internet Explorer 8 allows web designers to include a tag which will apparently detect and highlight clickjacking attempts.

The browser is available for both Vista and XP, though you must have at least Service Pack 2 of XP. Microsoft has warned that if you are on Service Pack 3 of XP, you may not be able to revert back to Internet Explorer 7 after using the new edition.

There will be a Windows 7 version, but it’s not yet known if it will be released during the current beta trial of the operating system. At the moment public versions of Windows 7 come with the beta edition of IE8.

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Hi, I am Hua, a chinese expat residing in India excited about windows, linux and all things tech

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