Preview patch returns ActiveX to the way it was

Over a decade after Microsoft used an idea for making binary programs work with one click from inside Web pages, the company is testing a patch that restores that functionality in the wake of a settlement with the idea's creator.

Last August, rather than prolong its ongoing IP infringement battle with rights holder Eolas Technologies over the embedding of binary functionality into Web pages, Microsoft agreed to settle that dispute. The settlement apparently consisted of a one-time payment, whose amount is still undisclosed, in exchange for a perpetual license for the notion that clicking on something in a Web page can trigger an embedded binary control.

This was the original basis of Microsoft's ActiveX technology, its first major attempt at making the Web its own. That attempt largely failed, and as a result, Internet Explorer today must provide some kind of opt-out warning that a Web page-driven event may trigger the execution of a binary program, such as an on-screen control.

Now, well in advance of its April milestone date, Microsoft released this morning a preview of a patch that removes that warning from Internet Explorer 6 and IE7, for both Windows XP and Windows Vista, for 32- and 64-bit editions, and for x86 and Itanium processors. BetaNews FileForum has posted links this morning to all 12 preview editions, so make certain you download the version that applies to you.

A Microsoft Knowledgebase document released this afternoon says the patch will only work on IE6 and IE7 versions with the latest security patches already installed.

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