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Re: Comments (Part 2) on HTTP I-D Rev 05 (Adams #84, Accept-Charset)

From: Dave Kristol <dmk@bell-labs.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 14:05:03 -0500
Message-Id: <3650775F.609B@bell-labs.com>
To: Jim Gettys <jg@pa.dec.com>
Cc: http-wg@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Jim Gettys wrote:
> 
> Glenn Adams writes:
> 
> >
> > 84. Section 14.2, pg. 93, 4th para., has "the server SHOULD send an
> > error response with the 406 (not acceptable) status code, though the
> > sending of an unacceptable response is also allowed." The effect of the
> > final clause of this statement is to downgrade SHOULD to MAY.  Either
> > remove the final clause or change to MAY. [My preference is to remove
> > the final clause.]  Note that the semantics stated here are expressly
> > different from Accept and Accept-Encoding which do require 406
> > responses for unconditionally compliant implementations.  This
> > inconsistency will make it difficult or impossible to implement
> > agent-driven content negotiation based on Accept-Charset variants.
> 
> What is the correct fix here?  Opinions solicited.

IMO, no fix is required.  In my mind, SHOULD and MAY are very close. 
Furthermore, the wording looks to me like that for Accept and
Accept-Encoding w.r.t. 406 as far as unconditional compliance is
concerned.  And for conditional compliance, servers have the option of
sending an "unacceptable response" in place of an error response.  (We
just went over this territory with my question about Accept-Encoding
(<http://www.ics.uci.edu/pub/ietf/http/hypermail/1998q4/0057.html>).

Dave Kristol
Received on Monday, 16 November 1998 19:06:43 EST

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