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Re: Lynx and log files

From: Chris Maden <crism@oreilly.com>
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 03:12:08 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <199907250712.DAA24552@ruby.ora.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
[Gregory J. Rosmaita]
> that's a good question, and one for which i don't have a definitive
> answer, as i've never succumbed to the urge to sniff a browser...  i
> suppose that they are simply looking for the string (or, rather,
> prefix) "Mozilla" in the user-agent header, before issuing an
> accept, as i doubt that anyone has the energy or inclination to
> maintain a list of excluded browsers and their user-agent header
> prefixes...

The one negative filter of which I'm aware is at
<URL:http://www.movielink.com/>.  If the string "Lynx" appears
anywhere in the user agent field, the Web server will serve out null
content.  The interface of the site has gotten better, and is now
quite accessible (at least, it seemed it, today), but I have to alter
the user agent field to "Netscape/3.0 (compatible; L_y_n_x 2.8rel.2
libwww-FM/2.14)" to get in.  Frustrating, to put it mildly.

> 3) if it identifies the browser requesting the document as a
> "Mozilla" compliant browser, it sends the request on to the
> "high-bandwidth" version of the site; and, if it fails to find the
> "Mozilla" prefix, it assumes that the browser isn't capable of
> handling graphically oriented content, and shunts it off either to
> the low bandwidth version of the site, or to a page that advises the
> user to join the twentieth century before it ends...
> all of which is a pretty un-discriminating way to discriminate on
> the basis of browser!

This is pretty common.  Once upon a time, there were only Mozilla,
Lynx, and Mosaic.  When browser sniffing started, it was pretty much
just Mozilla and Lynx.  When IE came out, it had to declare as Mozilla
to avoid crappy versions of Web sites, which started a whole trademark
problem.  Now, things seem to have evened out a bit, except for that
one movielink.com site.  I suppose that they're afraid Lynx users
won't see their ads, and are too lazy to put any effort into putting
something informative in alt text.

<!ENTITY crism PUBLIC "-//O'Reilly//NONSGML Christopher R. Maden//EN"
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Received on Sunday, 25 July 1999 03:12:13 UTC

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