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twibbon ie6 must die

Just six years ago, the web was dominated by one browser: Internet Explorer, specifically Internet Explorer 6. Without Netscape to compete against it and the ability to bundle its browser with Windows XP, Microsoft experienced superior market share – up to 95% at the peak. Today though, we have far superior browsers like Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Chrome, as well as Internet Explorer 8.

So why is 15 to 25 percent of the world’s browsing still done in a browser created in the digital Stone Age (aka 2001)? As a coder, designer, and UI guy, it’s difficult to put into words how many extra man hours I and others have dedicated to make websites compatible with the outdated browser.

Despite the difficulty presented by IE6 though, the web’s done alright. But with the coming release of HTML 5, we’re about to hit a breaking point where innovation will be stifled if websites must continue to cater to this browser.

A short list of things IE6 does not support, of which coders probably know them all:

- CSS v2 (Cascading Style Sheets): This is the code that enables almost all design on the web. In other words, designers have to hack up websites just to make them load in IE6.

- PNG Transparency: A great deal of .png images don’t display correctly in IE6. It basically kills using them in design work.

- General Security: Just like not updating your virus software can get you riddled with spyware, not updating your browser can be a gateway to attacks. There are even code snippets that will shut down IE6. I won’t tell you what they are, but you can find them on Wikipedia. It’s unstable.

- Digg, Facebook, and YouTube (soon): Both Digg and YouTube have announced that they’re cutting back on IE6 support. Facebook already gives you suggestions for better browsers if you try to log in with IE6. You won’t be able to Digg articles or browse YouTube via IE6 in the near future.

James Lynch (@lynchjames) used Twibbon, a service that overlays a small icon onto your profile picture, to create a Twitter petition to rally support for ending the use of IE6. Now, the Twibbon petition is gaining steam, as nearly a dozen people a minute are adding a “No to IE6″ image to their profile pictures.

To add this image to your profile picture, go to Twibbon and enter your username and password.