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FOX.com Apologizes to Linux Users

Dec 11, 1999, 01:53 (40 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Emmett Plant)

by Emmett Plant, LinuxToday Editor

Earlier this week, it was brought to our attention that you couldn't access FOX.com with Netscape under Linux. Visitors to the site were met with this message.

Unfortunately, you are unable to access FOX.com. You have been denied access for one or both of the following reasons:

You are using a browser below version 3. We recommend upgrading to version 4 or higher with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0 or Netscape Navigator 4.0.

You are running on a platform other than a PC or a Macintosh. Unless you run on one of these platforms, you will be unable to access FOX.com.

As far as Linux users are concerned, we can be a pretty vocal bunch. The FOX.com story became a firestorm of comments on Slashdot, the popular geek discussion portal, with over 600 comment headlines like 'Crush Fox Now!'

I called Fox to find out what was going on, starting with their West coast operations, and eventually calling up News Corp directly in New York City. After wearing out my fingers on my telephone and sitting through endless holiday hold music only to be ultimately transferred to voicemail systems where I left countless messages, I changed my tack and stopped asking for Information Systems people; I wanted to speak to the people in charge. After making friends with operators at Fox, I finally got to Laura Derkin, one of the managers of Foxnews.com, and she had Kathleen Boyd return my call.

Kathleen made every effort to help me and alleviate my concerns, even going so far as to contact the site creators directly on my behalf. I let her know about the problems that Linux users were having with the site, and she agreed with me wholeheartedly. She mentioned that the FOX.com site isn't quite ready to be released yet. She told me that Fox and News Corp. does not want to stop anyone from viewing the FOX.com site, regardless of operating system.

It seems as though the FOX.com debacle is not a case of operating system bigotry, but a simple case of a website in development. Kathleen wanted to express the regrets of Fox for the inconvenience to Linux users, and wrote the following letter for LinuxToday to share with the Linux community.

Linux users,

We are aware that users of Linux operating systems are currently unable to view FOX.com by simply typing in the URL http://fox.com This is due to browser and plug-in detect scripts that we run on our index page. We are working to resolve it as quickly as possible as Linux is one of several operating systems that cannot access the site.

We always intended for users of all known OS's and browsers to be able to view FOX.com and will continue to work on doing so. We expect that the script will be fixed by 12/17/99. We apologize for any inconvenience in the meantime.

FOX.com