[Netsurf-develop] Re: NetSurf corrupting binary downloads

Andrew Hodgkinson ahodgkin at rowing.org.uk
Tue May 9 21:55:07 BST 2006

Paul Vigay wrote:

> [...] at least without warning the user first and
> giving the option to not 'gunzip' them.
> I'll submit bug in the bug tracker accordingly.

My guess is that it's actually happening at the HTTP transport layer, 
because of content type negotiation. Servers can store things like GZip'd 
HTML and the HTTP layer is supposed to transparently pass the unzipped 
result back to the browser without the browser having to know that this 
occurred. Transparent compression and decompression over the wire doesn't 
make as much sense as it once did, given the greater available bandwidth 
these days, but it's still a neat idea even if not widely implemented.

I don't know enough of the relevant bit of the HTTP 1.1 specification to 
be sure, but it could be that the *server* isn't quite behaving properly 
when it sees a tar.gz file. Maybe it specifies things in its response to 
NetSurf that makes the latter believe it should transparently decompress 
the file with upper layers of the application unaware that this has taken 
place. It would be interesting to see what content type the HTTP layer 
passes back in such cases - assuming that this is indeed what's going on.

Browse supported this feature of HTTP 1.1 many moons ago - you would know 
it was in action when the reported data transfer rate was several times 
higher than that supported by your connection. I too saw this happen with 
.tar.gz files on the odd occasion from certain servers.

TTFN, Andrew Hodgkinson
Find some electronic music at:   All sorts of other bits and pieces at:
http://www.ampcast.com/pond                         http://pond.org.uk/

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