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From: Ben Laurie <ben@gonzo.ben.algroup.co.uk>
Date: Sat, 28 Dec 1996 20:15:48 +0000 (GMT)
To: HTTP Working Group <http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Message-Id: <9612282015.aa12637@gonzo.ben.algroup.co.uk>
John Franks wrote:
> 
> On Fri, 27 Dec 1996, Dave Kristol wrote:
> 
> > Okay, this may be a dumb question....  (Not my first!)
> > 
> 
> Actually Dave you ask extremely good questions.  The problem seems to
> be that they don't always get answered.
> 
> I am still waiting for consensus on the response header from an 
> HTTP/1.1 server to an HTTP/1.0 request.  Did I miss it?
> 
> The options were:
> 
> 1) Send HTTP/1.0 because that is the protocol the server is actually
> using.
> 
> 2) Send HTTP/1.1 to advertise the servers capability to use 1.1 even
> though what it is using is the 1.0 protocol.
> 
> 3) This is an implementation issue and up to the server.  The browser/proxy
> must be able to accomodate either.

Option 3 is clearly foolish. You either MUST or you MUSTN'T. The problem is
that the spec doesn't say you MUST, and the HTTP/1.0 spec is entirely unclear
on the point.

> 
> 
> I believe Dave opted for 1) and that seems the most reasonable to me.
> The ambiguity has already created the notorious AOL flap.  Apparently
> the Apache writers decided on option 2) (eminently reasonable) and at
> least some of them interpreted the spec to mean that option 2) is a
> MUST (this seems hard to defend especially in light of the fact the WG
> can't agree on the meaning of the spec).
> At the same time AOL proxy
> developers interpreted the HTTP/1.1 header to mean that HTTP/1.1
> protocol and headers were being used.  This is not really consistent
> with the current spec, but is a "common sense" interpretation one
> might arrive at if the spec was not carefully studied.  Yes, everyone
> SHOULD study the spec, but option 2) is somewhat counter-intuitive 
> and even the WG does not agree that this is what the spec says.
> 
> The bottom line is that 2) is consistent with the spec and may even
> have been the intention of some spec authors.  But it is sufficiently
> counter-intuitive that it will continue to cause problems unless the
> spec spells out explicitly that this is what is required.  The fact
> that the WG can't agree on what the current spec says about this is
> prima facie evidence that ambiguity needs to be removed.

I couldn't agree more. And since 1.1 responses don't appear to break all that
many clients, I'm in favour of 2).

However, since they do break some clients I suspect that a well-bred server
will allow the administrator to choose to send 1.0 responses to particular
clients. I'm still working on the rest of the Apache Group on this one, though.

Cheers,

Ben.

-- 
Ben Laurie                Phone: +44 (181) 994 6435  Email: ben@algroup.co.uk
Freelance Consultant and  Fax:   +44 (181) 994 6472
Technical Director        URL: http://www.algroup.co.uk/Apache-SSL
A.L. Digital Ltd,         Apache Group member (http://www.apache.org)
London, England.          Apache-SSL author
Received on Friday, 3 January 1997 15:20:06 EST

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