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  1. #1
    Keeland
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    User Agent Switchers: What's the Point?

    I downloaded an add-on to Firefox that allegedly spoofs the browser's name and operating system (I use a Mac) on whatever sites gather the information.

    But what's the point when, according to a browser-sniffer site, the identification info begins with Mozilla? It's immediately obvious that everything that follows Mozilla is nonsense; it's Firefox, not IE, and that even the reported operating system is suspect.

    Or am I missing something?

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  2. #2
    panegyric JUB Admin Corny's Avatar
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    Re: User Agent Switchers: What's the Point?

    Oooh time for some history. Back in the days, the first basically usable Web Browser was Netscape Navigator. The Netscape User Agent already started with Mozilla (the internal codename for the program). IE followed later and added to it's user agent that it is compatible to the Mozilla agent. Later from the ashes of the Netscape Navigator rose the Mozilla project and Firebird (later: Firefox).

    So with that user agent, you are masking your browser as IE 9.0.

    http://www.useragentstring.com/pages...et%20Explorer/

    Basically all of the big browsers still use the Mozilla part in their User Agent.
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  3. #3
    Keeland
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    Re: User Agent Switchers: What's the Point?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corny View Post
    Oooh time for some history. . . .
    Thanks, Corny! I certainly was missing something and obviously had no idea that all browsers begin that line with mozilla.

    I rarely used any browser but Netscape Navigator, then Mozilla's offerings after Netscape went tits up (that did nothing but fuel my intense dislike of MS), so that info line never surprised me whenever I had the occasion to see it.

    I have a dim memory of using Mosaic, but it was clunkier than even the first Navigators. Then I held my nose using IE when OS X came into existence, but as soon as I could dump it, I did. If I saw that info line with IE, it wouldn't have surprised me because I would have thought, incorrectly, that IE was made compatible with OS X by using Mozilla code.

    A minute ago I went here, using Safari, because it uses Webkit, and I wanted to see whether that makes a difference. But sure enough, it displays Mozilla, as well. So Webkit as opposed to Mozilla's Gecko or any other browser engine is immaterial.

    But every browser saying it's Mozilla compatible is like saying every tire on the road is compatible with round. Is there a kowtow-to-Mozilla copyright issue? Wouldn't html 5 compatible or 4 or even 3, 2, 1 make more sense?

    Signed,
    Flummoxed

  4. #4
    panegyric JUB Admin Corny's Avatar
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    Re: User Agent Switchers: What's the Point?

    The whole user agent today is more historical than practical/logical
    In the past it wasn't that rare to see certain websites trying to force you to use a certain browser. This has become quite rare.
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  5. #5
    JUB Addict T-Rexx's Avatar
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    Re: User Agent Switchers: What's the Point?

    ^ Rare, but not unheard of.

    If, for example, you wish to buy an upgrade key from Microsoft for Windows 8, you cannot do so unless you log into Microsoft's upgrade site from a computer that reports itself as running Windows. I don't think they worry about the browser, but they do worry about the OS.

    If is not illegal, of course, to purchase an upgrade for a Windows PC from a non-Windows PC. Nor is there any risk of piracy from this. Nor does it violate any EULA. But, for whatever reason, Microsoft has decided not to permit this.

  6. #6
    panegyric JUB Admin Corny's Avatar
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    Re: User Agent Switchers: What's the Point?

    Funny thing They used to do require IE for the MS Upgrade (Software) Site, too. Now they allow every browser.
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