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Re: Minimizing/avoiding User-Agent, was: SPDY Header Frames

From: James M Snell <jasnell@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 08:11:11 -0700
Message-ID: <CABP7RbdA34E_2ThRtiyGtJXXZ3CZtxDGTp8N0YJ_Zx4ccftKZQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Martin J. Dürst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Cc: Karl Dubost <karld@opera.com>, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
On Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 6:41 PM, "Martin J. Dürst"

> On 2012/07/18 6:08, James M Snell wrote:
>> +1... I was getting ready to respond to Julian's post with a "+1 YEAH!"
>> but
>> then stopped and thought about it... using a URI, while potentially sound
>> in theory, would likely just end up with a different form of the same mess
>> we're in now. Reducing the User-Agent field to nothing more than a single
>> token with a version identifier seems to me to be the Least Bad Option.
> So why did that not happen up to now, and why is the User-Agent string
> growing as it does?
> Because servers/proxies check on substrings in that string, so UAs are
> using the strategy to copy the whole header of some other browser (usually
> the most popular one around at that time) and then tack some additional
> stuff on at the back to make sure they can be uniquely identified.
> This is a cat-and-mouse game where the servers are as much (or as little)
> to blame as the browsers. As long as each side does what's most convenient
> for them, changing the name of the header, or offloading the data to a
> separate URI, or any such thing, is only a cosmetic change.
As has been mentioned several times, we cannot stop people from doing
stupid things. We can, however, make it easier to do the right thing and
work on setting a right precedent. Placing additional constraints on the
User-Agent is the right thing to do. If implementors go off and create a
new header to do the same stupid kinds of things they've been doing, then
that's on them.

- James

> Regards,   Martin.
Received on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:12:07 UTC

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