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Re: fixhrefgz - tool for converting anchors to gzipped files

On Sat, 28 Jun 1997, Jim Pick wrote:

> > You are proposing that a web-server is supposed to be searching
> > through the .html code it serves and replace all links referring to
> > .html.gz by .html links?
> dwww does this - it's not trivial. This is definitely not the job of a
> web server.

I agree 100%.

A web server should NOT mess with the content.

If we do this then we will make it difficult (or impossible) to serve .gz
compressed files from debian-based web-servers.  

remember that not all .gz files are compressed documentation that needs
to be decompressed on the fly. e.g. you put the linux kernel source on
your web server for anyone to download. Do you really want apache or
whatever to decompress a 6+MB .tar.gz file on-the-fly while sending it
out to someone?

> So here's my stand:
> - let's munch up the links to point to ".html.gz" files.  Ugly, I know,
>   and a bit of work, but then we don't need to force people to install a
>   web server.  I think it's pretty important that we don't force people
>   to run stuff they don't want.

no, that will make it a pain to download files which are already
compressed.  The "smarts" should be in the web browser.

> - we should compress html, because lots of people (like me) are using
>   Debian on machines with almost no hard drive.
> - Lynx and Netscape work with the compressed links (correct me if I'm wrong),
>   and we could use a web server/dwww combination to allow other browsers
>   to work too.

I think that the correct place for this translation is in the web browser
(as many others have suggested).

modify lynx, mosaic, chimera, etc so that:

 1.  when a NON- .gz link is selected, try to fetch it.

 2.  if it fails, try to fetch .gz version and decompress it.

 3.  if that fails too, report an error to user.

 4.  if the link was pointing to a .gz file then DO NOTHING TO IT.  If I 
     download a compressed file from the net, then i want to save it as
     a compressed file.  I certainly dont want my browser mangling the
     file for me.

point 2. should probably be restricted to localhost or `hostname -d`.  i
don't know.  will have to think some more about it.

It may also be worthwhile doing this for file managers like mc, git,
tkdesk. It would definitely be worthwhile to use less' LESSPIPE feature
to do this.

we can't patch netscape, but that's not our problem. people using
netscape will just have to use dwww (which should be the preferred way
of browsing debian docs anyway).

I can't wait for the Mnemonic project to get off the ground...an
extensible, modular, freeware web browser written using the Gimp's GTK
widget set: Heaven! 

I'm getting really tired of netscape 4.0b5 crashing when I do Really
Bad Things like click on a page to select a link or foolishly try to
use it's drag and drop feature (it worked in 4.0b3, crashes almost 100%
of the time under 4.0b5), or leave a netscape window idle for a while
and have it just die for no apparent reason. Netscape is becoming yet
another example of why free software is better than commercial/non-free.


craig sanders
networking consultant                  Available for casual or contract
temporary autonomous zone              system administration tasks.

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