PERSIST: headers needed at all?

I had a bizarre thought concerning persistent connections.

Suppose we decreed that all HTTP/1.1 agents understand persistent
connections, without requiring them to pass special headers.  We also
grant clients and servers the right to close connections at their
discretion following a request/response exchange (as we already do).
Servers could, optionally, honor Connection: Keep-alive from HTTP/1.0

I've probably overlooked something, but at first (and second) thought,
the presence of an HTTP/1.1 protocol version in the request and
response should be enough to tell

a) a server that the client expects to hold the connection open
b) a client that the server will try to hold the connection open.

If all the proxies between a user agent and an origin server understand
HTTP/1.1, the entire connection can be held open.

Dropping the Connection header would simplify the protocol.  Why not?

Dave Kristol

Received on Monday, 15 April 1996 14:42:50 UTC