RIP Internet Explorer: software engineer's tombstone for Microsoft browser goes viral

The browser was retired by the technology company earlier this week after 27 years

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A South Korean software engineer who built a grave for Internet Explorer — pictures of which quickly went viral — said that the now-defunct web browser had made his life a misery.

South Korea, which has some of the world's fastest average internet speeds, remained bizarrely wedded to Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which was retired by the company earlier this week after 27 years.

In honour of the browser's “death”, a gravestone marked with its signature “e” logo was set up on the rooftop of a cafe in South Korea's southern city of Gyeongju by engineer Kiyoung Jung, 38.

“He was a good tool to use to download other browsers,” the gravestone's inscription reads.

Images of Mr Jung's joke tombstone quickly spread online, with users of social media site Reddit upvoting it tens of thousands of times.

Once dominant globally, Internet Explorer was widely reviled in recent years due to its slow speed and glitches.

But in South Korea, it was mandatory for online banking and shopping until about 2014, as all such online activities required sites to use ActiveX — a plug-in created by Microsoft.

It remained the default browser for many Seoul government sites until very recently, local reports said.

The Microsoft Internet Explorer logo is projected on a screen in Los Angeles. AP Photo

The websites of the Korea Water Resources Corporation and the Korea Expressway Corporation only functioned properly in Internet Explorer until at least June 10, according to a report by the Maeil Economic Daily.

As a software engineer and web developer, Mr Jung told AFP he constantly “suffered” at work because of compatibility issues involving the now-defunct browser.

“In South Korea, when you are doing web development work, the expectation was always that it should look good in Internet Explorer, rather than Chrome,” he said.

Websites that look good in other browsers, such as Safari or Chrome, can look very wrong in Internet Explorer, which often forced him to spend many extra hours working to ensure compatibility.

Mr Jung said that he was “overjoyed” by the browser's retirement.

But he also said he felt genuinely nostalgic and emotional about the browser's demise, as he remembers its heyday — one of the reasons he was inspired to erect the grave stone.

He quoted Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki: “People are often relieved that machines don't have souls, but we as human beings actually give our hearts to them,” Mr Jung said, explaining his feelings for Internet Explorer.

He said he was pleased by the response to his joke grave and that he and his brother — who owns the cafe — plan to leave the monument on the rooftop in Gyeongju indefinitely.

“It has been very exciting to make others laugh,” he said.

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