14 December 2007

Opera files complaint — an open letter to the Web community

Opera files complaint.

This thing has GOT to come to a head soon. I really understand where this guy is coming from. If you've EVER tried to manage the development process for cross-browser compatibility... you'll know. It's a nightmare. It's beyond a nightmare. Freddy vs Jason nightmare.

BUT. You know the parable. Where does the big elephant sleep? Wherever the hell the big elephant wants to sleep.

10% traffic going to FireFox. Across our site - that's pretty much the average. It's just not enough to force an action.

How long till we can force an action?

The letter follows. Thanks to Brian Bakker from Geeklist. :)

Over the years I have been an active participant in the ongoing fight for open and interoperable Web standards. I have always opposed those who would force proprietary technologies where open alternatives, often superior, exist. From 1994, I worked at CERN and W3C to help make sure there were good specifications for the Web. In 1999, I joined Opera to make sure there was at least one browser that implemented those specifications right. We have worked hard to do that. Unfortunately Microsoft's Internet Explorer, the biggest browser of all, did not.

Today we have taken a stand. Opera has filed a formal complaint with the European Commission to force Microsoft to support open Web standards in its Web browser, Internet Explorer. We believe that Microsoft has harmed Web standards by refusing to support them; Microsoft often participates in creating Web standards, promoting them, and even promising to implement them. Despite their talent, however, they refuse to support Web standards correctly. For example, Internet Explorer is the only modern Web browser that does not support Acid2.

Opera has also requested that Microsoft frees Internet Explorer from the Windows platform. We feel that they have used their market dominating position to limit a genuine choice of browsers on the Web for their own commercial gain.

The time for action is now. The Web browser is the most important application for most of us. Developers and designers are creating more powerful Web sites and applications. But because Internet Explorer doesn't implement open and fully-developed Web standards, the work is hard and frustrating. Web designers are forced to spend time working around IE bugs rather than doing what inspires them. We seek no money from Microsoft. We would rather see Microsoft put their considerable talent and resources to work for the Web community.

To those of you who build and shape the sites and services we use everyday — and who will create those in the future — I ask for your support. You will be the ones who ultimately benefit by having a Web that works seamlessly and effortlessly across devices, browsers and is equally open to everyone. That new day is just over the horizon, and by working together, we will awaken to that dawn.

Thank you.

Håkon Wium Lie
Chief Technology Officer, Opera Software
2007-12-13