In a rather surprising move that has many webstandards advocates pleasantly surprised Microsoft today reversed it's decision to require idiotic superfluous tags to make IE behave.
We've decided that IE8 will, by default, interpret web content in the most standards compliant way it can. This decision is a change from what we’ve posted previously.
Developers who want their pages shown using IE8's 'IE7 Standards mode' will need to request that explicitly (using the http header/meta tag approach described here).
From: Microsoft's Interoperability Principles and IE8
So incompetent webauthors still have the option to force IE 8 to behave like a backwards browser* (IE 7) while the rest of the rest of the forward looking web can enjoy better pages with more support for standards and no useless code. At least in theory, Microsoft had promised huge leaps in standards support for IE 7 and failed to deliver on that so who knows what IE 8 will actually bring.
It's a good thing that Microsoft reversed it's misplaced "solution"
but forgive me if I'm being a bit skeptical of the end results until I actually see them in a shipping product.
Roger Johansen has a nice summary and the comments are worth a read as well.
*) I'm betting that a lot of CMS
's will default to this state of affairs.