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## Re: lynx-dev Lynx 2.7.1 and 2.8 refuse to render certain HTML documents

 From: Foteos Macrides Subject: Re: lynx-dev Lynx 2.7.1 and 2.8 refuse to render certain HTML documents Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 18:45:43 -0400

address@hidden (Jason F. McBrayer) wrote
>>>>>> "HS" == Heather Stern <address@hidden> writes:
>
>HS> I ate the fortune cookie first, then read what Jason F. McBrayer wrote:
>>> Using file extensions for file typing is an abomination, and since
>>> the web has a perfectly satisfactory alternative (mime types), we
>>> should do file typing the right way.
>
>HS> Theoretically with MIME types we shouldn't need extensions at
>HS> all... except, as far as I can tell, that's how most servers
>HS> determine what MIME type to state during HTTP!
>
>\begin{rant}
>Unfortunately, yes, since Unix doesn't have typed files
>and most http servers run on Unix.  Still, the Unix philosophy is that
>files /really/, /really/ don't have types: a stream is a stream is a
>stream.  The use of extensions for setting MIME types is clearly an
>example of the Windows mindset slopping over into Unix, and not an
>expression of the Unix philosophy.
>
>Servers running on OSes that DO have typed files (Macintosh, OS/2)
>could use the native file type (resources, EAs) to set the MIME type.
>What servers on Unix /should/ do is to generate indices of files in
>each directory, let their file types be assigned in the index, and
>refer to the index for what MIME type to send out.  Or perhaps use
>magic numbers to decide (as in file(1)), or some combination of the
>two.  But we seem to be stuck with the idea that, say, PostScript
>files have to be named "dog.ps" and not "A picture of my dog Spot"
>just because people in the DOS world say so.  Bleah.  File names have
>nothing to do with file types, so there :)
>\end{rant}

I don't see why you are singling out DOS.  Most non-Unix
platforms have a way of indicating attributes of files.  Moreover,
the purpose of MIME types, however they are based, is to make
reliable an appropriate choice of application to handle the file
or stream.  If my brain analyzes "A picture of my dog Spot" I
might guess that it should be handled by some kind of image viewer,
but a computer would need something more concrete.  If the file
contents were examined, something in that might indicate the
appropriate application to use, but that amounts to kludging a
way to assign attributes within the file, because no better way
was made available.  Much of the MIME and metamail development
was done on Unix boxes -- to fill a real need.

Fote
--
Foteos Macrides (address@hidden during April, '98)


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