W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-bpwg@w3.org > March 2009

Re: FYI - "Mobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998"

From: Luca Passani <passani@eunet.no>
Date: Sun, 08 Mar 2009 23:27:06 +0100
Message-ID: <49B4463A.5090206@eunet.no>
To: public-bpwg@w3.org
Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> Perhaps you could ask them, before asserting that they made a positive 
> statement without checking obvious public sources.

Sounds like Opera has been dealing with Berkley? can you send me a 
reference? also offline. Yes, I would like to take contact and ask 
Barclay's why they decided that it's OK that a third-party company 
breaks the secure communication between them and their customers.
>>> Opera mobile does not "attempt to redefine HTTP".
>> with reference to past discussions on this list, I think this is 
>> arguable (ref: HTTPS and how it can be legitimately tampered with).
> Anything is arguable.
> However, Opera does not attempt to redefine HTTPS. It provides a 
> connection from any web service chosen by a user to the Opera server 
> that is secured. Since it needs to render the site at that point, it 
> does so, and in the spirit of HTTPS provides another secured 
> connection from the secured rendering service to the user's handset.

I won't discuss this again. HTTPS is end2end. Opera Mini is about:

Web server <-> Opera Proxy <-> OperaMini

which is not end2end. Full stop.

> I simply don't see the logic in your assertion. So let me rephrase 
> what I understand your position to be, to ensure we are talking about 
> the same thing...
> A content owner decides to put up a web service, and open it to all 
> comers.
> If a technically savvy user decides to look at it in a way customised 
> by that user, this is fine.

not what I said. I said that users are taking the responsibility for 
their actions. Not very differently from when one exceeds the speed 
limit because they feel safe and they think that no police is there to 
check. I wouldn't say it's fine (oops...a pun). I would say that if they 
do it, chances are that they get away with it.

> If an ordinary user chooses a service to look at it in a way that 
> apparently suits that user, that is not fine.

Correct. This would be like a service that says: we will disable all 
speed checking equipment until you get home. I don't think the police 
would be very happy about this.

> What I fail to understand is
> 1. The difference between a person choosing their own modifications, 
> and a person choosing a service that does the modification for them.

the service is helping people perform an illegitimate operation.

> 2. How this difference is somehow importantly different to the 
> capacity for different browsers to have different rendering engines 
> (it doesn't come a lot more different than silent onscreen 
> presentation and presentation in voice, for example).

It is different. By placing the transcoding in the network, HTTP is 
disrupted and the capability of existing services to serve content 
tailored to mobile devices is severely impaired.

> (What I further fail to understand is why Opera Mini, which makes 
> every effort to provide the intended rendering, and

half of your sentence is MIA. So I won't comment on this.

> I think you are missing the point of Bruce's analogy. If a user 
> *chooses* a TV service that converts content to Black and White, or 
> puts a filter that converts the signal to Black and White between the 
> antenna and the TV, or just has a Black and White TV, how is one of 
> these scenarios different from the other?

so, if a user makes their own hacks, they take the responsibility and 
will probably get away with it (which does not mean it is fine).
If a company invents a technology that lets them convert the signal of a 
broadcasted program, it would NOT be ok for them to use it and offer it 
as a service.

> I also think it is a misleading example, since Opera Mini is *not* 
> equivalent to converting the colour movie to Black and White on a 
> colour TV. It might be more appropriate to use an analogy of it 
> displaying TV on a mobile phone, where that may be a Black and White 
> phone. (It is an imperfect analogy still, but I think closer to the 
> reality).

I did not have any particularly hard feelings against OperaMini because 
1) it was typically opt-in for users and did not impact deployed mobile 
applications all that much  2)  I stilll did not know that you sold the 
rendering engine to ByteMobile and BM was using it for their transcoder 
in OperaMini's name. Now that I find you and your Opera colleagues here 
going out of your way to defend transcoders, I have no choice but to 
speak up: transcoding without the consent of copyright owners is 

> Why is it an abuse to offer a service which allows non-technical 
> people to have the same benefits that technical users know how to get?

because the "benefit" of the technical user is not a benefit. It's an 
illegitimate action.

> I still fail to see how a user choosing a service is somehow not 
> taking responsibility for what they do.
> If I have a car, is it OK for me to replace the carburettor, but not 
> OK for me to simply find a service like a mechanic who looks at it 
> from time to time and says "you should replace your carburettor"? 
> Because as I understand the discussion, this is equivalent to the 
> question we are asking.

I don't think I get your analogy. If you have a car, you are not 
stealing anyone's copyrighted content.

>>> If your site can be found in Google,...
>> I find this situation you describe profoundly different from 
>> transcoding the whole page without the consent of the copyright 
>> holder, often stripping out ads and banners which constitute a site's 
>> business model (not to mention the case when operators inject their 
>> own ads in the process).
> So do you really object to rendering a page somewhere, and providing 
> that rendering somewhere else? Opera Mini, and the X Server running a 
> web client and rendering it for me on a terminal somewhere else are 
> both doing this, and so is lynx over an Xterm, and so is using a 
> virtual screen to remotely run my browser.

there is a not so little difference. As a content owner, I have the 
possibility to identify Lynx and serve Lynx-optimised content or no 
content at all. For simplicity, most content owners will simply ignore lynx.

With transcoders, the network owner is interfering with how HTTP has 
worked until today to change the way my application works against my 
will. This is NOT OK.
You may start arguing about "via:" header, "no-transform:" and 
"x-device-", but this is not the way HTTP has worked until before 
transcoders where put in the middle of all HTTP requests  (which is 
exactly the moment when developers went up in arms against transcoders), 
so my point stands. You MUST leave HTTP alone.

> Or would this be OK if it is my server, but unreasonable if it is my 
> friend who set it up for me? How is it different if a third party does 
> so?

if your friend is an individual, then it's still in the domain of the 
user. If it's a company, then they are making profit on illegitimate 
activities. The "third-party" term here is just muddying the waters.

> Or is the issue really that you object to some specific kind(s) of 
> transformation? 

I object to transformations happening in the network. Whatever the 
network, content owners have the right to see their content served to 
clients exactly as they have sent it.
Please observe that I am still leaving plenty of space for "honest" 
transcoding. Operators might launch developer programs and partnerships 
to have third-party companies subscribe to Operator's transcoding 
service. At that  point, content owners would  be the ones which 
subscribe to the transcoding and all problems would be solved.
Of course, this would mean a lot less stuff to transcode (at least 
initially), but it would be happening much more cleanly and in peace 
with the rest of the ecosystem.

> I think that is a seperate discussion, but one I can see as making 
> sense, and one I think the CT work should address.

They merged the CT mailing list back into BPWG, so we are already on the 
right list.


Received on Sunday, 8 March 2009 22:27:47 UTC

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