Chris Cole writes:
> >>> The first was the CEO of Netscape saying something to the effect that
> >>> "..we know how many people are using our browsers because every time
> >>> you access a site, a message is set to one of our servers telling us
> >>> what version you have, if it's a trial beta or registered, etc".
> >>> I havent had a chance to run a packet trace on it yet, but does anyone
> >>> know if this is true?
> Not totally true. By default, the 'N' build of the Netscape Navigator
> connects to netscape's homepage on the net. Likewise, the 'S' build of
> the navigator defaults to Silicon Graphics' Homepage, etc. When the
> Netscape navigator connects to an http host, the client initiates the
> connection with something similar to the following asci text:
> GET / HTTP/1.0
> Connection: Keep-Alive
> User-Agent: Mozilla/2.0b2N (X11; I; Solaris 5.4 sun4m)
> Host: www.toyota.com:80
> Accept: image/gif, image/x-xbitmap, image/jpeg, image/pjpeg, */*
> My experience agrees with yours: When snooping all packets on our
> subnet, NO packets go to netscape's site. The only packets I see are
> those for the intended web host.
> > Did it occur to anyone that what may have been said was that "When you
> > connect on one of our sites a message abot who what where when and HOW" is
> > collected? Sounds like logging to me. Netscape has the ability (i
> > understand) to report the type of and rev number for the browser.
> Type and rev, yes. Remote site, yes. Who, NO. The machine type is
> obtained from the 'User-Agent' line which tells the platform the navigator
> was built for.
The following is (almost) my .netscape-cookies file for 1.1N and
the same got moved to .netscape/cookies when I moved to 2.0.
Contrary to its advice I have edited it here to shorten the lines.
# Netscape HTTP Cookie File
# This is a generated file! Do not edit.
.mcom.com TRUE / FALSE 946648799 NETSCAPE_ID c65ffb1e,c6582c0b
.netscape.com TRUE / FALSE 946648799 NETSCAPE_ID c65ffb1e,c655a0cf
This causes an extra header to be sent by the Navigator when it connects
to one of their sites, containing the NETSCAPE_ID at the end.
My guess is that when you connect to *.netscape.com without a NETSCAPE_ID set,
i.e. the first time for each user, they allocate you a cookie by sending
back the Set-Cookie: header, causing your Navigator to save the value given
in your local cookies file. Note that cookie spec is wrong wrt. date formats.
This way they could easily count roughly how many unique users they have,
with the ID preserved on upgrade so they don't count you multiple times.
Again, this is just my speculation.
Tim Adam tma @
Open Software Associates Melbourne, Australia