On February 18, 2023, Wired reported that Microsoft Is Forcibly Removing Internet Explorer From Your PC. Some Hacker News commenters opined that the headline was at least mildly click-baity, for Microsoft is replacing its zombie web browser’s functionality with Microsoft Edge’s compatibility shims. Moreover, only minor parties such as U.S. government agencies, domestic and foreign banks, and major healthcare providers still depend on Internet Explorer functionality. But in a Leaf Bud post earlier today, I discussed hot takes, not nuanced takes. In the spirit of my previous post, I present a hot take hotter than coffee on a summer walk (don’t forget that hot is a state of mind).
I run Linux on all of my working computers (five at the moment) and have done so since August 2020. It should go without saying that I hope to see more Linux users. However, I am a bit more bearish on the prospect of the Year of the Linux Desktop (TM) than some other Linux users. For example, while I opined that while the Steam Deck, and Valve’s investment in Linux, greatly advance the cause of the Linux desktop, Windows’ dominance of the home computer space is still a long way from abating.
But that was then. This is now. Microsoft removing the Internet Explorer icon may not change the lives of most Windows users (they won’t notice because they have not been using Internet Explorer), but the Year of the Linux Desktop is now upon us. Let me tell you a story.
When I was in high school, I had a friend who was popular with many of the young ladies. There was one young lady in a different class who showed no indication of finding him attractive. Note that there was no hostility or anything, she just did not appear to be attracted to him. He complained about this on one occasion. Another friend who was present asked if he liked this young lady. My friend said no, he was just offended that she wasn’t attracted to him.
What we have here is the same principle. It doesn’t matter that the vast majority of Windows 11 users do not use Internet Explorer (or Microsoft Edge despite Microsoft’s best efforts). What matters is choice. On Linux, if you install a horribly outdated web browser that may be a serious security risk and choose to browse the internet with it, no one will take it away from you. I could browse the web in Internet Explorer 11 under WINE right now. In fact, I may do just that to show Microsoft the meaning of freedom (please don’t do this). I won’t be the only one my fair reader, I won’t be the only one. Valve started the moment by bringing more games to Linux; Microsoft finished the movement by wresting Internet Explorer from the hands of its soon-to-be-former users.
Bring on the Year of the Linux Desktop (TM)!
(Just to be clear, this article is a joke. It is even more of a joke than the time I made the case for deliberately misleading video game strategy guides. You may miss the joke if you browse the internet with a search engine that relies on Microsoft’s indexing, however. This is because it blacklisted us.)