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Re: Iceweasel and Firefox compatibility

Steve Langasek wrote:

> On Mon, Nov 09, 2009 at 07:48:49PM -0600, Raphael Geissert wrote:
>> John Goerzen wrote:
>> [...]
>> > It would be *great* if this could be fixed before sarge comes out.
>> Like Mike already said, those sites or applications also break with many
>> other browsers. The, often limited, knowledge of the browsers by the
>> developer shouldn't be a reason to limit the usage of those sites or
>> applications.
>> As a person who has developed web apps and has had to deal with this my
>> opinion is to follow the specs and implement remedies in a best-effort
>> manner for those browsers that don't follow or support the specs. Any
>> UA-based decision to say some browser is supported is silly and is meant
>> to fail.
> Yes, web apps that look at the UA string to decide whether to play nice
> are
> broken.  In what possible way does this imply that we should engage in a
> policy of brinksmanship with these web developers, making all of our users
> pawns in a battle to force web developers to write cleaner code?

I never said no workaround could be applied.

>> Is it hard?, sure. Takes time?, yup. Should we give up?, I say no.
> You're free to fight for this if you like, but this is very much a "make
> the mountain come to Mohammed" situation - the number of code monkeys
> writing bad web apps is enormous, and all of Debian's users together are
> unlikely to make a dent in this problem, even if they all felt it was an
> important
> issue.  This doesn't put our users *or* Free Software first; instead
> you're prioritizing an ideological dispute the outcome of which will have
> no discernable benefit for Free Software, versus simply changing our
> browsers' code centrally to spit out the string that appeases the web app
> writers.

If we only add a workaround the situation is never going to change.
People need to complain enough for the decision-makers to be aware of the

>> I think it is time for the project to recognise this kind of freedom
>> issues and stand still and fight against those that keep limiting our
>> freedom.
> I think this is nonsense.  Whatever you think of web app writers who key
> on the UA string, there is no freedom issue here - if you don't like how
> the web app handles differences in the string, stop sending a different
> string.

The freedom issue here is that they are not allowing users of any of the
other browsers they don't know about to use their web apps, forcing them to
either switch to one that the developer happened to know about or to modify
the browser. That's called discrimination.

Raphael Geissert - Debian Developer
www.debian.org - get.debian.net

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