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Re: Netscape 4.5 and HTTP/1.1 Accept-Encoding

From: Dave Kristol <dmk@bell-labs.com>
Date: Tue, 03 Nov 1998 17:27:39 -0500
Message-Id: <363F835B.3FD2@bell-labs.com>
To: HTTP Working Group <http-wg@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
David W. Morris wrote:
> 
> On Tue, 3 Nov 1998, John Franks wrote:
> 
> > On Tue, 3 Nov 1998, Dave Kristol wrote:
> >
> > I  think gzip and compress are different encodings.  The fact that
> > a program called "gzip" understands both is not relevant.

[N.B.  I never received John Franks's message, either directly, or via
the mailing list.]

Yup, folks, I really did know they are different encodings.  My point
was that perhaps NS 4.5 was able to decode both "gzip" and "compress"
encodings because the gzip *program* can decode both.  Just a hunch,
although I was told privately that NS 4.5 probably cannot decode
"compress".

I think Koen's remarks were most appropriate about not sending 406 in
the absence of negotiation.  However, I don't agree with the idea of
sending Content-type: application/x-compress, except in a nice
theoretical world.  Browsers that don't send Accept-Encoding work quite
nicely with my server (assuming they understand x-compress).  So I'm
more inclined just to ignore Accept-Encoding.

To John Franks's (apparent) question, what do I send in the absence of
Accept-Encoding:  I send Content-Type: application/postscript and
Content-Encoding: x-compress.  I would not send
application/octet-stream.

I disagree mildly with Dave Morris's unhappiness that browsers, etc.,
might uncompress something for him.  What *I* want varies with the
situation.  If I have a viewer for PostScript or PDF, for example, I
want the incoming compressed object to be uncompressed and passed to the
viewer.  OTOH, if I'm saving a file, I *don't* want the object to be
uncompressed.  (Maybe that's what he meant.)

Thanks for the many comments.

Dave Kristol
Received on Tuesday, 3 November 1998 22:28:19 EST

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