Re: uh oh -- halp!

Marc Andreessen (
Thu, 9 Sep 93 00:36:04 -0500 writes:
> In private conversation with me, Marc has convinced me that HTTP0 is
> useful enough for quick shell script special purpose servers that we need
> to keep it around as a viable protocol. That being the case. It is also
> vital that HTTP/1.0 clients still be able to talk to these servers.
> I feel we need to bite the bullet and be willing to change one of these
> protocols. Both are already somewhat established, and changing either
> of them will require the cooperation of all the current browser and server
> writers.
> 1) To change the HTTP/1.0 protocol to use a different separator between
> accept fields, and to use CR LF as a terminator. This means getting new
> versions of all the servers and clients, and also means getting all
> existing HTTP/1.0 servers upgraded. Anyone know the install base
> out there? This will cause lots of user headaches until all the servers
> get upgraded.
> 2) Change HTTP0. As I understand it, an HTTP0 server right now, to
> process an HTTP/1.0 request reads first the command (Usually GET),
> Then the URL. It throws away everything from the URL to CR LF.
> We could modify this slightly to instead throw away eveything up
> to the terminator for HTTP/1.0 (Which
> This would mean upgrading all the current HTTP0 servers and shell
> scripts. It should be an easy update, just change the terminating
> sequence. The biggest headache here is what to do about old HTTP0
> clients. They would hang on the new HTTP0 servers, because they would
> never send the right terminating sequence. Are their any browsers
> out there that are not planning to move to HTTP/1.0 in the coming year?
> If the number of HTTP/1.0 servers is small (less than 200), then I would
> prefer option 1. If both have about equal server numbers I would prefer
> option 2, because I would rather cause headaches for users of old
> (out-of-date) software than for users of our new stuff. (I.E. Everyone
> we have already sold on HTTP/1.0). For document writers who have to deal
> with stubborn old servers who refuse to upgrade, we could add a http0://
> url type to the browser that would always talk that protocol. Of course
> this will break all the current documents that assume all http is created
> equal.

So, of course, after sending my note of a few minutes ("I know Eric
disagrees with me"), pretty volatile lunchtime discussion over this today, at the end of
which like (2) and (if necessary) the http0 URL type.

That's what I get for reading my mail backwards...