October 1, 2009 – 11:08 pm
Long story short:
In the late nineties, the South Korean government wanted a strong encryption mechanism for Internet transactions. 128-bit SSL was not ready yet.
So they created their own mechanism, called it SEED, and implemented as a Netscape plugin and as an ActiveX control for Internet Explorer.
As Internet Explorer got 95% of the market, SK government felt it wasn’t worth updating the plugin, so businesses deployed their solutions relying on the ActiveX implementation of SEED. As a result, now 128-bit encrypted transactions like shopping and banking, can only be done on Internet Explorer. Preferably IE6, because newer IE versions tend to be more restrictive and complicated (read secure) for both business and users.
So everybody needs Windows to run IE, even Mac OS X and Linux users!
This is a sad example of what happens when the web is built on closed proprietary technology. In this extreme case, a whole country is now locked into a technology that is already a decade old.
You can read the complete article at Korean Times, pointed by Mozilla Japan’s Gen Kanai, who also described the situation and the consequences a few years ago.
Koreans are taking action: www.ie6nomore.kr
One more reason to use web standard code, here the only way to do almost anything online is to use IE 6 as it was what the code was designed for, so Mac and Linux users are screwed