Lamplight browser support for IE8 ending

tldr; As of 31st July 2013 Lamplight will no longer actively support Internet Explorer 8 or below.  You ought to upgrade soon.

Why?  A number of reasons.

Windows XP is on the way out.

The only sensible reason for using Internet Explorer (IE) 8 in most cases is that you have Windows XP operating system.  IE9 and 10 do not run on Windows XP, so you have to upgrade the operating system, and possibly hardware, to upgrade Internet Explorer – which may get expensive (but needn’t be – see below).

However, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP in April 2014.  In Microsoft’s own words

you will no longer receive updates, including security updates

and you can read more about the security and privacy implications of this from Microsoft.  In short: you should stop using XP too.

So, if you’re using Windows XP, you need to be thinking about upgrading soon.  And if you’re not using Windows XP, you can use Internet Explorer 9 or 10, or…

There are other (better) browsers

That’s assuming you want to keep using Internet Explorer: there are other browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari or Opera (which all work on XP and above).  All of which are better than IE8.  If you are really stuck with IE8 for now, you could try Google Frame

Other things will stop working (or have already)

Google Apps stopped support last year.  Disqus (a commenting system for blogs) doesn’t show comments.  More and more web sites and applications will reduce or remove support for IE8 as we approach April 2013.

It’s expensive to support old browsers

IE8 has quirks and is missing a number of standard features, which makes supporting it takes time  we’d rather be spending on other things.  An Australian company called Kogan added a 6.8% tax on all purchases made using IE7.  The New York Times created a web-page and had to employ one person solely to make it work in IE8.

It’s cheap to upgrade (or can be)

If you don’t want to upgrade your hardware, you could consider moving to a Free and Open Source alternative like Ubuntu instead of Windows.  It’s different, but familiar; it looks similar, and free software is available to do pretty much everything you might want to do on Windows.

If your computer can handle it, you could upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.  Registered charities can do so for £8 per computer through Charity Technology Exchange.

What will happen if I keep using IE8?

First of all, you’ll soon see a warning on the login page linking to this blog post.  But otherwise, nothing much, at least not for now.  Lamplight won’t suddenly stop working on the 1st August.  But as time goes on we will no longer test new features on IE8, and we won’t fix problems that only appear on IE8.  Some functionality that uses modern web technologies may not work at all.

But really, the security risks in continuing to use Windows XP beyond April 2013 are so significant that we would say you must upgrade before then.