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Browsers and Platforms
- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: Browsers and Platforms
- From: David Goodman <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 12 May 2003 17:50:43 EDT
- Reply-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sender: email@example.com
Many universities have adopted Microsoft Windows and Internet Expolorer as internal standards. Many database designers and other producers of electron materials are providing material that only runs on these systems. However, many students and faculty use other systems. In some fields, such as Molecular Biology, the professional software runs only on the Macintosh. In some, like the creative arts , I am told that the software available for the Macintosh is much superior, and even that the software for the previous operating system (9) is preferred to the current (10.2). In physics, astronomy, and mathematics, many users apparently use Unix and only Unix. As for the students, the 1st year students typically enter with new computers; they are still using them 4 years later when they write their senior papers. On many of these systems Netscape runs much better than IE. Regardless of which system we personally prefer, it is our patrons whom we are providing the materials for. We should not insist that developers of often special purposes software with small numbers of customers adopt the customization techniques of the large service providers. But it is reasonable to ask they they refrain from using features that do not work on any commonly used system. It is certainly possible to develop a system primarily for IE that still functions in Netscape. CPANDA, http://www.cpanda.org/ is one excellent recent example. We should consider a contract clause that "the system will have all essential functions compatible with Windows97+, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems, and with IE and Netscape 4.76+ browsers. " Additions should be made for Unix, but I leave it to the Unix people to suggest what would be appropriate. I do not suggest an indefinite window back to Netscape 1.1, but anything within the 4 year undergaduate life cycle should be workable. Dr. David Goodman Princeton University Library and Palmer School of Library & Information Science, Long Island University firstname.lastname@example.org
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