fiat mode on regarding WWW and documentation
On Sun, 29 Jun 1997, Christoph Lameter wrote:
> This is a non-standard extension of the http protocol!
This is a pretty silly argument. The web server has complete control over
how a compressed document is presented. It can send the document as
"Content-Type: text/html" or as "Content-Type: application/gzip".
The web server can completely hide compression from the browser.
I think we've reached the point of absurdity as far as making browsers
browse Debian documentation directly is concerned. It presents us with
a number of un-resolvable problems:
1. It doesn't allow browsing the Debian documentation from another computer.
I often run Netscape on Valerie's windows system and use it to read
documentation served by "boa" on my Debian system. This is something a
network admin or anyone else who has to know about the system and doesn't
necessarily have it on their desk might want to do. We should support this
form of use.
2. It requires hacking of the browsers, or worse, hacking the filesystem, if
you want to handle compression transparently for all browsers. Ugh!
Servers handle this so well, let's use them.
3. It forces us to make changes in the system and its tools that have little
to do with presenting documentation.
So far I'm not convinced by the "let's compress the filesystem" argument.
It doesn't work off of a CD, and it limits the user from using "foriegn"
filesystems that we otherwise fully support.
At this point I'm convinced that dwww should depend on a web server, and
that the server should be able to handle compressed documents. I am willing
to take the (small) hit for "boa" or something else small and fast. I am
willing to support browsers on the system that can browse the documentation
directly, but am not willing to insist that all browsers do so.
Bruce Perens K6BP email@example.com 510-215-3502
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