MS does anti-Netscape code
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 97 13:04:53 -0700
Subject: MS does anti-Netscape code
Forwarded-by: Nev Dull <email@example.com>
Forwarded-by: glen mccready <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Forwarded-by: Lloyd Wood <L.Wood@surrey.ac.uk>
Forwarded-by: RISKS 19.41.
From: "Bryan O'Sullivan" <email@example.com>
Subject: Risks of installing Internet Explorer 4.0
I just downloaded and installed Microsoft Internet Exploder 4.0 onto my PC
running Windows 95 at home. Among the optional features that come with this
release are a few tidbits that were included with Plus!, the mostly-useless
set of bells and whistles that was packaged separately from Windows 95.
Two of these features are opaque window manipulation (when you move or
resize a window, the entire window moves in real time, rather than a
rubberband representation being tweaked) and anti-aliasing of large fonts.
The anti-aliasing feature is quite useful; it makes fonts in large point
sizes noticeably less pixelated. However, in this feature lies a small,
and somewhat malicious, piece of code.
This snippet of code apparently checks to see whether it is being asked to
render a font by the Netscape Navigator browser (or, indeed, any component
of the Communicator 4.x suite). If it is, it gives back a plain old
jagged-edged font; otherwise, in every instance I have been able to check,
it gives back an anti-aliased font.
This appears to be a clear instance of discriminatory coding on the part of
Microsoft, and is intended, one presumes, to make Navigator look somewhat
cruddy in comparison with MSIE (not to mention all of the other software on
a system). It begs a troubling question: what other features were included
in MSIE 4.0 that were intended to, in some sense, impede the software of
© 1997 Peter Langston