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December 01, 2005



What startling news! If only we were privy to the internal discussions that drove this decision -- the Mozilla folks would probably love to know more about it.


No government, public service or financial entity should ever use a browser as dangerous as Internet Exploder!!! This should be a LAW!
And if they do, they should be held accountable and fined for any data loss or consumer privacy breach.

digg user

Awww! I think I speak for all digg users. Why couldn't it have been Opera?

Just kidding!


No, no, no! This is _still_ all wron. Support standards and not any particular browser.

- Vikram, a longtime Firefox+Linux user.


"No, no, no! This is _still_ all wron. Support standards and not any particular browser."

How can this be accomplished when Internet Explorer itself does not support standards.


One small step for man...

rusty G

i went to the nasa page (using "view in IE tab extesion) an nothing..


yay nasa! finally! some people recognizing firefox!


I just opened IE6 to nasa.gov and saw no such prompts.

Kye Lewis

Adam: I think the point was that there are other browsers out there that are also very standards compliant- and NASA should be supporting standards-compliant browsers in general rather than just sticking to one browser.

However, for admin purposes, standarising to one browser is much easier on them.


Not it will be interesting to see, what NASA does
when big holes are found in firefox.

The Beast in Black

Er, i just clicked through several pages on the nasa site at http://www.nasa.gov using Internet Exploder 6.0.28 and saw absolutely nothing as mentioned...maybe the nasa site is intelligent enough to detect that my primary browser is actually firefox, and disables the warnings... ;-)


Oh cripes! They require Javascript just to view their pages. Idiots.


> Awww! I think I speak for all digg users.
> Why couldn't it have been Opera?

Because security track record is irrelevant to the topic of security - hype is what matters.

- y

Alex Herrero

Well, it seems that the script telling you that IE is not "secure enough" (it was never "secure" in the first place) is run only for the "inside" users. Nobody expect that the NASA implement such scripts for every internet user on every site they own, right?


Go ahead, switch if you want...in fact I use both Firefox and IE, but don't assume that because there haven't been many vulnerabities, that Firefox won't be next. It's tough to be on top, which I'm sure that Mozilla will learn once they get closer to it and line up in the cross hairs of all the script kiddies and black hatters out there.

Peter Buck

Doesn't anyone bother to check on this stuff? http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/browsers.htm lists suggested browsers. The list includes IE but not FF. NASA says they "make no endorsement", but the list still doesn't support this story. Nor did I see any warnings when using IE.

I'd like to see FF make it big but fantasy won't help.


Uh. INTERNALLY. According to the rumor, NASA has made Firefox their only legal browser INTERNALLY. That is, for employees of NASA. Externally may well be another story entirely.

John Deeth

So, DOES it take a rocket scientist to figure that out?


This is being posted from the NASA Johnson Space Center.

This machine is running IE version 6.0.2900.2180.xpsp_sp2_gdr.050301-1519.

No warnings have been displayed about scripts.

If FF is the new standard, it's taking some time to filter down to the worker bees.


NASA just started using FF 6 months ago, and has yet to include any FF version higher than 1.0.6. NASA's official browser internally and externally is IE6 SP1 but does not prohibit the use of FF.
I know...I'm a SW Engineer for a contractor for NASA.


Why Firefox?
Opera is such a better browser!


Why Firefox?
Opera is such a better browser!


The "suggested browsers" link that Peter Buck posted hasnt been updated since 2000.. If they just made this policy change, that page wouldnt reflect it.

Matt Ishida

Just a reminder to read the fine entry...

"Now, if you are an employee of NASA, every time you go to a page using IE, you get up to three prompts telling you how risky it is to run scripts."

Note the, 'if you are an employee of NASA' portion of the sentence? This implies that NASA employees while at work and on the NASA network, while using Internet Explorer, will get the prompts, not people off their network as in everyone outside of NASA.

These people who work at NASA can go home, use IE there and they wont get the prompts unless, their home computer is tied to the internal NASA network.

As for the Opera comment made by Complexium, it shouldn't matter what browser is used as standards are a part of it.


I work at NASA HQ in Washington DC. The kernel of truth in this rumor probably resides in the fact that NASA has a lot of Mac's, MSIE no longer comes with Mac OS X, and so NASA chose Firefox as the default browser for Macs from Tiger on. Why not Safari? I have no idea. While Firefox is being used on Windows by some, there has been no edict to ban MSIE that I'm aware of. A lot of internal apps (i.e. COTS server apps) still require it. Until the govt starts requiring COTS solutions to work with and use web standards, this probably won't change in my lifetime.


Perhaps this little rumor is true but has not yet been implemented across the entire program. NASA is a large umbrella agency, so it's possible that a specific site (like JPL) may decided to default to Firefox.

I'd caution NASA employees to avoid discussing too many specifics regarding internal web architecture or applications, as it could be viewed as a violation of ethics and security training.

Dan Hartung

This has to be nonsense. If anyone has ever been involved in a large-scale corporate software rollout, you know what a nightmare it is to do quality assurance, especially on out-of-date and internal software. Sometimes the former must be replaced, or the latter rewritten, which can delay rollouts for months or even, yes, years.

Government agencies are even stodgier than corps. They have myriad regulations to conform with, and engineering-oriented agencies like NASA probably have many legacy applications, and NASA has numerous military interfaces which would dictate orange book conformance. They don't just go changing the browser across the whole organization by fiat, because of one bug (no matter how major, alas). If anything like this were happening, it would be taking months of committee meetings just to make the decision, and rollout would take years.

That said, I can definitely believe that there may be internally-generated interstitials that prevent casual browsing or at least warn about scripts, as a security measure. That's not the same thing at all.


Eh??? Doesn't matter what browser?!?

Someone's got their pipe full of the white stuff. I casually wrote a JavaScript interpreter over the weekend and it runs 5 times faster than Spidermonkey; and I didn't even touch assembler. Don't worry, it runs 4 times as fast as IE's JScript too.

Why is it I, an undergraduate, can write something that so vastly outperforms what is the most used interpreter in the world?


Firefox is now in our internal pushes to our workstations so users can have the option to use Firefox if they haven't downloaded it already. End of story. At least, that's how it is at Johnson Space Center.

Simon Kellett

Why Firefox ? Well if they are anything ESA, then probably Netscape used to be their standard browser, so Firefox would partly be a return to the roots.


re: Dan, clicking on your link I expected to see details of some actual realworld tests you did to back up what you said, nothing there yet. But also I can see that you are not *just* any undergraduate, given that you plan to write your own operating system.

Christian Montoya

NASA can't afford any security risks, so it's possible they at least started to make the switch. They may recommend FF for external internet use, and IE for internal. Or they may just recommend it as an interim solution until IE 7 arrives.

The point is that IE 6 hasn't changed much since 1998 and has far too many vulnerabilities to be fixed. IE 7 will have great security but until then, it's important that high-security institutions like NASA use something else.

Moncler Jackets

But this is interesting because I don't know of another government agency that has recently standardized (internally) on any browser besides IE for...well, it's been a long time. Years. Time was Mozilla (Netscape) was standard at NCI, but even that holdout has given up the ghost. Maybe this will give them precedent so they can move to a good browser.

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