W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2007

Re: review of content type rules by IETF/HTTP community

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Sun, 26 Aug 2007 15:22:05 -0500
Message-Id: <61CB13FF-3A4E-42B9-BA86-8082F95CD180@robburns.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>

On Aug 26, 2007, at 2:50 PM, Julian Reschke wrote:

> Robert Burns wrote:
>>> Robert Burns wrote:
>>>> However, after further testing, both Opera and Firefox treat the  
>>>> file as HTML. Here's the HTTP header's they get that they treat  
>>>> as HTML
>>> ...
>>>> Content-Type: unknown
>>> Since that can't actually be parsed as a content type (no '/',  
>>> for example), this is treated identically to a missing Content- 
>>> Type header by Firefox.
>>> Which is what you should do if you don't know the type.  No need  
>>> to invent an "unknown" type.
>> My mistake. I changed it to 'unknown/' and now Firefox instead  
>> tries to download the file (note: before it was treating it as  
>> HTML and not unknown so it did make a difference). Opera and  
>> Safari are also putting up the download dialog.
>> However, the point of registering a new IANA MIME type 'unknown'  
>> and issuing an accompanying RFC, is to raise awareness about the  
>> issue.   From the bug cited earlier[1], it looks to me that Apache  
>> is unwilling to fix their bug (from what I can tell you even  
>> submitted a patch fro them). So registering an 'unknown' MIME type  
>> would let server admin's (and probably more importantly Apache  
>> vendors) know to change DefaultType to 'unknown'. Note that this  
>> isn't for the case when the
> > ...
> 1) Where's the advantage over "application/octet-stream"?

The advantage is that UAs are not supposed to sniff for content when  
the content is delivered with a MIME type from the server that's  
supposed to be treated as authoritative. Sending 'unknown', could be  
defined by RFC and IANA as meaning specifically the same as not  
sending a content-type header at all.

> 2) You may want to look at <http://issues.apache.org/bugzilla/ 
> show_bug.cgi?id=13986#c55>.

Yes, I did. In fact I cited it in my message. My comments were drawn  
substantially from reading the comments in that bug. It sounds like  
Apache does not want to fix the bug even though Boris long-ago  
submitted a patch. Using a IANA registered 'unknown' MIME type would  
accomplish the same thing (as long as the servers could be configured  
and pre-configured with 'DefaultType unknnown'.

Take care,
Received on Sunday, 26 August 2007 20:22:27 UTC

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