Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

April 20th, 2009:

Iron Filings

I’m a little disappointed in the new Chromium-based browser SRWare Iron (see my entry for April 18, 2009) or perhaps I should say a little disappointed in SRWare itself. The browser has worked extremely well the last couple of days here on my quad-core XP machine. After only a little sleuthing I made the ad blocker work: All you have to do is download a text list of ad sites into the Iron directory, and the browser runs with it. (The browser is shipped with an empty adblock.ini file.) However, Pete Albrecht alerted me to the fact that Iron won’t run at all on his Windows 2000 machine–even though SRWare hints that it might.

Google is quite firm about it: Chrome won’t even install under Win2K. XP and Vista are all you get. However, down in the German-language portion of the SRWare Web site, Pete (who is fluent in German and in fact translates engineering texts for a living) found this:

There is something new for users of Windows 2000 as well; for cost reasons, there are still many users of this system, for example, in business. While Chrome can’t even be installed on Windows 2000 systems, Iron has also removed the warning message that appears whenever it is started on a Windows 2000 system. However, installations under Windows 2000 remain unsupported, as there may be isolated problems.

(Pete’s translation; the item is not present in English.) Well, if the problems are isolated, they’re isolated in a peculiarly concentrated fashion. I loaded Iron Portable on a Cruzer Mini and woke up every operational Win2K machine I still have in the house. (This took some waking; my poor 2001 ThinkPad doesn’t work very well anymore.) Iron failed on all four machines, with variations on the following error message:

The procedure entry point <whatever> could not be located in the dynamic link library KERNEL32.DLL.

KERNEL32.DLL is one of several places where the fundamental Windows API lives. The API call that failed was not always the same, but in every single case, Iron failed to start.

0 for 5 on Win2K, sigh. Iron won’t run on Linux or Mac either. (Nor will Chrome.) What bothers Pete and me is that SRWare suggests that the software should run under Win2K, with only “isolated problems.” Why not just be honest? If people get their hopes up that your software will run on their systems and then find out the hard way that it won’t, it only makes your software (and you) look bad. This is not the way to make a very promising software product catch on.