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

From: Jo Rabin <jrabin@mtld.mobi>
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 2008 09:41:27 +0100
Message-ID: <489AB537.3040808@mtld.mobi>
To: Luca Passani <passani@eunet.no>
CC: public-bpwg-comments@w3.org

The long and the short Luca, is that you are saying that irrepective of 
how the Working Group takes the document forward you'd rather have a 
manifesto than industry supported guidelines.


 > public criticism (in fact, most public criticism has come from you and
 > Sean Owen). If you know of a different specimen of criticism to the

Incidentally, I don't recall having made a public comment about the 

On 07/08/2008 09:28, Luca Passani wrote:
> Jo, I think that what you write is not consistent with the fact that the 
> Manifesto exists, it comes from developers and that it is widely adopted 
> by everyone in the industry (including operators!).
> Now, if you disagree with this, let's talk about the Manifesto's 
> success, but if you don't, please see in-line:
>> > 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.
> wrong. The Manifesto is a set of guidelines and it has met very little 
> public criticism (in fact, most public criticism has come from you and 
> Sean Owen). If you know of a different specimen of criticism to the 
> Manifesto, please send a pointer...
>> 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 Manifesto did stop operators from installing transcoder abusively, 
> so I am happy that, in this particular case, wrongdoers were effectively 
> stopped and a lot of wrongdoing was pre-empted.
>> 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.
> The Manifesto has no legislative force either, but letting operators 
> know that they may enrage every single mobile developer in their 
> ecosystem has been a strong deterrent.
>> 2. Given the opportunity for "an improvement to some degree" vs 
>> "stalemate" most of us would choose the former.
> The Manifesto has been an imporvement to a very large degree and it took 
> a lot less time than CTGs are taking.
>> 3. Nothing is for ever. Improvement now can be followed by improvement 
>> later.
> correct. Infact, I am playing with the idea of having a release two of 
> the Manifesto (explicitly stopping abuses which we did not quite foresee 
> because they were unthinkable: breaking HTTPS, adding extra ads, adding 
> operator navbars,...)
>> 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.
> CT vendors have agreed to the Manifesto and even signed it. Those who 
> have not are telling operators (their customers) that they can support 
> the Manifesto rules.
>> 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.
> I am curious to see the WG's decisions, because right now, I see a 
> paradox: the world is shouting that the UA string should not be broken 
> and HTTPS pages should not be reformatted, and you and Sean are arguing 
> with against them with the most fanciful arguments possible. Did you 
> guys consider a future in politics?
>> 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.
> as long as you don't make the "economics" of reformatting part of your 
> spec, your rules will always be so wide that abusive behavior by 
> transcoders is possible. Just ask yourself: How do I make a rule that 
> avoids that VodafoneUK launches novarra the way they did last year AND 
> claim CTGs compliance at the same time?
>> 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.
> "let's"? are you a mobile developer? Mobile development is already hard 
> enough that you can't expect developers from around the planet to go 
> after each and every carrier around the planet again. This would be the 
> final blow on top of device fragmentation.
>> 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 
>> interpretation.
> I am sorry, but what is the point of releasing guidelines which beg for 
> interpretation? once again, look at the Manifesto, there is very little 
> to interpret there. Everyone, developers and CT vendors alike, got it 
> and implemented it.
>> 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.
> the way it works today, I an see Novarra Vision (as launched by VodaUK) 
> to be fully compliant to CTGs. This is not acceptable.
>> 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.
> The Manifesto already achieves this.
>> 9. A lack of consensus of any kind in the industry means that 
>> operators will continue to deploy regardless.
> Again, there is consensus around the Manifesto
>> 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 achieved.
> The Manifesto has already achieved much better than the CTGs will ever 
> achieve in its wildest dreams.
>> 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.
> yes, you are hopelessly optimistic.
>> What we are left with is an opportunity to move things forward, to 
>> nobody's complete satisfaction but to the benefit of everyone.
> What you are left with is an opportunity to bring confusion to the 
> industry and give abusive transcoder vendors a leaf fig.
> Also, if CTGs are released officially in this condition, I will have no 
> choice but to blog hard against them.
> Luca
>> Jo
>> 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?
>>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-ct-guidelines-20080801/#sec-request-no-transform 
>>>>  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 <passani@eunet.no> 
>>>> 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 Thursday, 7 August 2008 08:42:47 UTC

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