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Re: libwww




>> >        The big question then is how hard would it be to rebong Mosaic
>> >onto the current release of CERN libwww? This would give a number of
>>advantages
>> >such as improved ftp support, gopher support that is transparent so you
>> >don't really notice that you are gophering and lots more. I'm not sure how
>> >much
>> >hacking Marc did to libwww2 and what variety it is. If it was bug patches
>>and
>> >such we are probably past the point where the differences need keeping.
>>
>> Please bear with me as I digress a bit:
>>
>> The main problem is that libwww is not the same across all Mosaics.
>> NCSA's three versions of Mosaic use 3 different libwww implementations,
>> all loosely based on your version 2.09, but with very different mods made.
>> The Mac and UNIX versions differ the most, since neither of those platforms
>> are actually using libwww for HTML parsing.  Upgrading either the Mac
>> or UNIX version of NCSA Mosaic to any current CERN version will be a
>> large task.
>
>The parts of the NCSA libwww2 library that I have seen contains some
>very specific Mosaic parts that in my opinion makes it difficult to
>combine Mosaic with the Library 2.16pre2 version. Futhermore, a lot of
>the code has been pretty printed so diffs are basicly impossible
>between the two libraries. Version 2.15 introduced some new fundamental
>data structures into the library and the NCSA version that I have seen
>doesn't use this at all.

I'm CCing the list on this to invite a wider base of opinions on this
situation.  The issue is the sharing of a common code base for W3 software.
The previous message to this list mentioned CERN's soon-to-be-released
versions 2.17 and 3.0 of libwww.  The problem is that most browsers which
use libwww have had to modify it considerably, especially the browsers which
are running on non-UNIX platforms.

In addition to mentioning the NCSA versions of Mosaic and ours, Spry's
AirMosaic is still based on libwww 2.09, as far as I know (Chris?).  EINet's
MacWeb and forthcoming WinWeb appear to be based on CERN code.  I presume
they found it necessary to make substantial modifications as well.

What *actions* can we take to remedy this situation?  Given the number of
code changes that have taken place in the various incarnations of libwww,
I do not think it is likely that any non-UNIX browser will be able to
upgrade to 2.17.  At the least, it will require substantial effort, and
we don't want that effort to be repeated when 2.18 comes out.

Eric W. Sink, Software Engineer --  eric@spyglass.com 217-355-6000 ext 237
All opinions expressed are mine, and may not be those of my employer.
        "Only academic people put cheese in their pocket."
            -SW, 24 May 1994



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