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Re: #296: 203 Non-Authoritative Information: deprecate?

From: Poul-Henning Kamp <phk@phk.freebsd.dk>
Date: Thu, 09 Jun 2011 07:19:15 +0000
To: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
cc: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@gbiv.com>, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, httpbis Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <95232.1307603955@critter.freebsd.dk>
In message <45B3D882-F10D-478B-A6B2-4FA5DE8246D3@mnot.net>, Mark Nottingham wri
tes:

>We're rewriting the text to clarify them; they've always been there, 
>just badly documented (mostly in the caching section, of all places) as 
>"non-transparent proxies," a term which eventually got a different 
>meaning in common usage.

I don't quarrel with their existence, but I disagree that a service
which translates contents from english to french (a "semantically
meaningful transformation" if I ever saw one) is a "proxy" of any
kind.

In RFC-2616 non-transparent proxies are quite clearly devices which
aid transmission but do not disturb the content as presented:

      A "non-transparent proxy" is a proxy that modifies
      the request or response in order to provide some added service to
      the user agent, such as group annotation services, media type
      transformation, protocol reduction, or anonymity filtering.

Notice that it says: "service to the user agent", not "service to the user".

We are talking about converting PNG to GIF to cope with old browsers, 
not translation of languages, insertation of advertisements and similar.

The reason why I think the distinction is important, is that the
transformations covered by the RFC2616 text can be done without
a lawyer, no matter what origin server you are talking to:  There
is no change in artists control over their images, there is no
change in authors control of their texts.  The proxy simply does
not in any way change the users perception of the web-object she
is being presented.

But once you start translating works to different languages, remove
bits that are offensive to taste and so on, the term "proxy" simply
does not cover your activity, no matter how you qualify it, and
therefore I think allowing "semantically meaningful" translations
for proxys should not be allowed.

Such transformations can also result in non-trivial HTTP header
rewrites, for instance "Content-Language", a field which is not
approved for non-transparent proxy modification in RFC2616.

-- 
Poul-Henning Kamp       | UNIX since Zilog Zeus 3.20
phk@FreeBSD.ORG         | TCP/IP since RFC 956
FreeBSD committer       | BSD since 4.3-tahoe    
Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by incompetence.
Received on Thursday, 9 June 2011 07:19:49 GMT

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