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Internet Explorer 4.0 Bug

Justin Vincent from AbslouteChat.com claims to have found a bug in InternetExplorer 4.0. The bug reportedly causes IE4 to waste bandwidth byrepeatedly downloading cacheable images. Is this a feature or a bug? Haveyou seen this in your logs? Read on...

By: Dev Shed
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July 06, 1999

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Here is something that you and your readers will undoubtedly find very relevent.

A bug in Microsoft IE 4 is wasting millions of $'s in bandwidth for home users and websites all over the world.

This bug affects ALL home users, who use IE4. If you are a user who often uses search engines then this bug is most likely affecting you by wasting your time and money.

This bug also affects any sites who use dynamic Un-cached pages (certainly all sites with any Kind of search engine will be affected).

Explanation of the bug..

As a user browses the Internet anything that they see is normally cached to their hard disk. (images and pages).

This means that if they see the same page again The browser will retrieve it from the Hard Disk rather than downloading It from the Internet again (thus saving download time and money).

There are certain cases where this is not a good Idea, for example search engines. A search engine could never work if it kept showing the same page over and over! So there is an http header directive to make the page content un-cacheable.

In all other browsers apart from IE4 making this kind Of content un-cacheable ONLY AFFECTS THE TEXT. The images Still remain cached. Thus saving valuable time and bandwidth.

Yet with IE4, images are NEVER CACHED for dynamically created un-cached pages. And there is no way around this.

For example if you go to Infoseek in IE4 and do a search You will see that the GO image has to RELOAD each time You do a search. Also, if you go to Yahoo in IE4 and search you will notice that with each search the Yahoo image has to reload at the top.

This bug is costing everyone money and slowing everyone down.

Below is a list of browsers that used our site (AbsoluteChat.Com) yesterday (along with number of page impressions). Each page on our site has approx. 4 graphics 2k in size each. Normally these graphics would only be downloaded once. But anyone who uses our site with IE4 has to FULLY DOWNLOAD graphics each time they hit the chat button.

Not only does this cost us money, this costs our USERS Money and time at home.

Chart of AbsoluteChat.Com page hits 04/07/1999
Browser                  Number Page Of Hits
MS Internet Explorer 4.x  82,619
MS Internet Explorer 2.x  33,758
MS Internet Explorer 5.x  30,730
Netscape Navigator 4.x    24,599
AOL 4.x                   4,915
Netscape Navigator 3.x    3,248
Netscape Navigator 2.x    3,235
MS Internet Explorer 3.x  1,815
AOL 3.x                   729
Netscape Navigator 1.x    25
Others 2 (1 with less than 5 hits)

During the last month AbsoluteChat.Com has had to Dish out over 18 gigabytes of wasted data Due to IE4!

Consider this on an international level (where dynamic content is king) how many thousands of gigabytes of Internet bandwidth are being wasted by such a simple oversight?

By sheer financial force Microsoft have made their browser the most popular browser on the Internet, yet it seems that sites like ours have to pay a very high price as a result.

I appeal to Microsoft...

Please make a patch that fixes this error, and then distribute it and make sure that everyone knows about it. Best would be if it automatically installed itself using Active X.

Justin Vincent

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