Locked out of Census2006

Today, a friend contacted me about the technical requirements for the online version of this year's census. This requirements page lists several different versions of Windows (and Mac[OS X]), but no versions of Linux, BSD and other alternative operating systems that might be used by Canadians. The site does indicate acceptable versions of Mozilla and Firefox, which are available for a multitude of environments, but suggests that use of these browsers in completing the online version of Census 2006 must be limited to Windows. Firefox also runs on MacOS X, but Mac users, as suggested by the technical requirements, are only permitted to use Safari. This is a weird incongruency. If MacOS X is supported and Firefox 1.0.4 is supported, why can the two not be combined?

I tried to access the main census page using Firefox on Debian GNU/Linux. Access to the web application was denied, suggesting that I download the proper software. Of course, none of the suggested software runs in my environment. I was a bit insulted that software that is capable of detecting my environment in order to deny access would then suggest software that does not run in the environment that was just detected.

These sorts of problems are not restricted to the "unsupported environments". The friend who pointed this out to me (running Firefox on Windows) reported that they encountered "script error dialogs" after completing every question. If this had been me, I'd have quickly lost confidence in the application.

It seems strange to me that only certain classes of Canadians are allowed to complete the Census. How complicated is the census web application? In my mind, a census is only a series of questions and answers. Surely these sorts of applications have been on the Internet for years? Surely some of these survey applications have run in less specialized environments?

It deeply disappoints me that, in 2006, I must resort to completing a federal census on paper.