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Microsoft treatment of Netscape fonts
I thank Robert Hettinga for forwarding this interesting note regarding
MS's Plus program's interaction with Netscape's Communicator. (The note
first appeared on the well known RISKS forum). Jamie
from RISKS 19.41.
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 21:41:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Bryan O'Sullivan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 Microsoft's competitors?
--- end forwarded text
James Love | Center for Study of Responsive Law
P.O. Box 19367 | Washington, DC 20036 | http://www.cptech.org
voice 202.387.8030 | fax 202.234.5176 | email@example.com