Re: Changing User Agent Header Value (was Re: transcoders bad)


 > well, given the current status, I think it is better discard the CTGs
 > completely.  Here are the shortcomings of the CTGs:

That's not a conclusion I draw from this exchange. In my view it is not 
possible to write any set of guidelines that do not draw criticism from 
some quarters in some respects.

1. Many of us can think of ways in which the world we live could be 
improved. The fact that we can't stop people doing things we don't like 
is, well, a fact of life. The fact that CT guidelines don't have some 
kind of legislative force is not a criticism and is no different to 
anything else on the Web or Internet.

2. Given the opportunity for "an improvement to some degree" vs 
"stalemate" most of us would choose the former.

3. Nothing is for ever. Improvement now can be followed by improvement 

4. In order to move things forward now, compromise, however hard, is 
needed. CT vendors have compromised in agreeing the CT guidelines as 
they stand.

5. Improvements have been offered on this list and I hope will continue 
to be offered which on the face of it seem likely to be accepted.

6. Some aspects like "user can choose a transformed desktop experience", 
"this must not be the default experience" and "servers that don't have 
to accept the deal don't have to", are actually in my view not that hard 
to run with. The spec specifically tries makes sure that the user gets 
to see the server's choice of experience, means that developers ought 
easily to be able to show that their experiences far out-perform 
transformed desktop experiences. Let's rise to that challenge.

7. There is nothing any one can do to force malicious people to "do the 
right thing". However the CT Guidelines provide a framework within which 
testing can be carried out and questions can be asked about the 

I can't speak for what the BP Group will do about a conformance test 
suite but my opinion is that such a suite would be very useful and all 
the SHOULD clauses, when not met, need to have a proper justification in 
such a suite.

8. It's actually the deployments that we should be interested in, not 
the products. Network operators need to be convinced that their 
interests are served by the products they deploy.

9. A lack of consensus of any kind in the industry means that operators 
will continue to deploy regardless. Industry agreement about the parts 
that can be agreed upon is therefore essential, in order to avoid 
throwing out the baby with the bath water. Saying that it should be 
discarded completely is, well, a guarantee that nothing you want will be 

A lot of useful things have come out of the discussion on this list over 
the last few days. Call me hopelessly optimistic, if you want, but I 
think that technical disagreements are reduced to quite a small level.

What we are left with is an opportunity to move things forward, to 
nobody's complete satisfaction but to the benefit of everyone.


On 06/08/2008 22:38, Luca Passani wrote:
> Sean Owen wrote:
>> I think one of Jo's points is that the W3C is not the government or
>> any kind of enforcement agency. Transcoder vendors can do whatever
>> they like, period, regardless of what any of us write. One can only
>> recommend.
> well, given the current status, I think it is better discard the CTGs 
> completely. Here are the shortcomings of the CTGs:
> - as you say, CTGs are not binding for transcoders (no W3C police around)
> - CTGs compliance does not bring enough protection for content owners 
> (as the discussion you have triggered on WMLProgramming is demonstrating)
> - CTGs can still be used by vendors and operators to justify their 
> totally non-standard practices and abusive business practices
> - CTGs conflict in some important parts with the Manifesto for 
> Responsible Reformatting (which already has incredibly wide industry 
> support by the developer community, which has already been adopted by 
> key transcoder vendors such Infogin and Openwave, and is being used by 
> operators across the globe as the basis for their requirements for 
> transcoding)
> I realize it is a pity to discard all the work done so far, but why 
> struggle for a different balance than what already achieved through the 
> bloodshed we witnessed last April?
>> How about this part?
>>  A transcoder that follows this recommendation does not force
>> transcoding on all requests, which sounds like something everyone
>> agrees on.
> I still think CTGs should simply be discarded, but if you really want to 
> write something I am happy with, what about?
> "Network operators should not install transcoders as the default 
> gateways across which all standard WAP/WEB traffic is routed"
> Luca
>> This is the place to submit a proposed change, perhaps related to
>> these sections.
>>   On Wed, Aug 6, 2008 at 4:50 PM, Luca Passani <> wrote:
>>> the problem is that the rule is big enough that transcoder vendors 
>>> can run a
>>> train through it. They just need to claim that it's "full web on a 
>>> mobile
>>> phone" they are launching, and there you go, everyone gets trascoded 
>>> (this
>>> is exactly what VodaUK did, by the way).
>>> What about having a rule that says that Network operators are not 
>>> supposed
>>> to make transcoders manage all HTTP requests for their main/default WAP
>>> configuration on devices?
>>> How do I submit a proposed change?

Received on Wednesday, 6 August 2008 22:44:33 UTC