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Re: Today's call: summary on user agent compliance

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2012 02:16:59 -0700
Cc: "public-tracking@w3.org (public-tracking@w3.org)" <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-Id: <F876A162-A4A4-43F0-8672-3D57108FC5BA@gbiv.com>
To: Tamir Israel <tisrael@cippic.ca>
On Jun 13, 2012, at 10:00 PM, Tamir Israel wrote:

> The server is basing its rejection of the first DNT-1 on its own research and the assessment that it did not result from 'user choice'.

The server would say that the non-compliant browser is broken
and thus incapable of transmitting a true signal of the user's
preferences.  Hence, it will ignore DNT from that browser,
though it may provide other means to control its own tracking.
The user's actions are irrelevant until they choose a browser
capable of communicating correctly or make use of some means
other than DNT.

I have now repeated that same statement, in various ways,
over half a dozen times.  It would be nice if we could stop
wasting the group's time over a question that is not subject
to working group consensus.  In order for the protocol to be
deployable, we agreed on standard semantics for the DNT header
field that includes the need for user choice.  If you don't
like that, you'll have to first appeal to reopen ISSUE-4
and then convince the WG that its decision was wrong.

Deployment of a recommendation is voluntary, and it is absolutely
reasonable for one condition of server deployment to be that
the user agent does not make false statements in the protocol.
I think the question of how a rejection might be communicated
to the user is within scope, but should be discussed on a
new thread.

What I said on last week's call is that Apache does not tolerate
anarchy in HTTP.  Apache would defend the standard, as agreed
to by the WG, because defending open standards for HTTP is
part of the Apache HTTP server project's mission.
I pointed that out during the call because some people think
the WG's decisions are irrelevant and that Microsoft can do
whatever it wants and not suffer any consequences.
I know better, even though I am not representing Apache
in this forum.

Apache committers might quibble over the details, depending
on who implements DNT in the core, but I have no doubt that a
default DNT signal would not be honored by Apache httpd if
the configuration says that a given UA's implementation
is invalid. I'd veto that implementation if it did.

Since Jonathan seems to have confused it multiple times,
I did not say that Adobe would implement DNT, one way or the
other, with or without making an exception for invalid UAs.
I don't know the answer to that yet, nor do I expect to have
an answer until the Compliance document represents at least
an approximation of consensus (as opposed to a list of
contradictory wishes), nor do I expect the answer to be
entirely consistent across the many distinct products,
services, and software tools created at Adobe.  However,
in general, the reason Adobe participates in standards
efforts like this one is because we believe in open standards
and wish to implement them as specified.

....Roy
Received on Thursday, 14 June 2012 09:17:27 UTC

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