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Build date frozen in UA string for SM 2.14.1 and later

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rsx11m
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 8:34 am

Bug 588909, Replace Gecko/<date> with Gecko/<version> in UA string, has landed on mozilla-inbound and will become effective on the SeaMonkey trunk nightlies after the next merge into mozilla-central.

Edit: This has been finally won't-fixed with Gecko 17.0.1 after hitting the release channel with 17.0, thus the following doesn't apply to any current builds. However, freezing the build date to Gecko/20100101 is now being performed for SeaMonkey as well!

Thus, expect pages to break which rely on parsing Gecko/YYYYMMDD from the user-agent string, which will be replaced by the Gecko release (i.e., Gecko/13.0 SeaMonkey/2.10a1). According to a quick test as reported in a spread-sheet attached to the bug report, the most frequently visited sites seem to still work properly with the modified UA string.

No other changes are performed at this time, on the long run though it's still envisioned to remove the "rv:xx.xx" component in the comment section after that moved into the Gecko token.

To obtain the build-date information on a web site, you'll then have to use navigator.buildID in your JavaScript code (as is already the case with Firefox builds which have a frozen date string in the Gecko token, neither SeaMonkey nor Thunderbird followed that move).

Previous edit: Now effective again with the 2.15a1 and 2.14a2 nightly builds.
Last edited by rsx11m on November 29th, 2012, 6:40 pm, edited 9 times in total.

therube

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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 8:48 am

FOOLISH, IMO!

So I suppose your UA would show:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:12.0a2) Gecko/12.0 SeaMonkey/2.9a2

That's foolish, IMO!

Oh, look at that, you're running a week older build then I.
Oh, but that would never be important to know!


(Of course I could care less what the UA string says, it's just when you try to support others, knowing a date is very helpful ](*,).)
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1.19) Gecko/20110420 SeaMonkey/2.0.14 Pinball CopyURL+ FetchTextURL FlashGot NoScript

rsx11m
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 9:37 am

Damn, now you've got me - thanks for the reminder to occasionally update my nightly build! ;-)

I think it's probably rather Gecko/13.0a1 for the nightly channel and Gecko/12.0a2 for aurora, assuming that the literal version string is taken, but we'll see.

Yes, that bug was initially won't-fixed during the discussion on the UA redesign for Gecko 2.0 / Firefox 4.0, then suddenly reopened three weeks ago with the argumentation that "Fennec is now using Gecko/<version> after doing some research with the result that this seems to have no significant impact on compatibility (https://wiki.mozilla.org/Fennec/User_Agent)." Patch was posted and went through more or less immediately after some brief ad-hoc testing with common web sites.

So, the sniffing algorithm for the Gecko version and build date would now be something like that:
  1. Find the "Gecko/" token
  2. if the subtoken contains a dot, that's the Gecko version, and get the date from navigator.buildID
  3. if the subtoken doesn't contain a dot, it may be the build date and you should look for the "rv:" string first to get the Gecko version
  4. if the rv:x.x version is earlier than 2.0, the "Gecko/" token contains the build date
  5. if the rv:x.x version is 2.0 or later, use navigator.buildID for the build date

While Google et al. don't seem to bother, the question will be how security-sensitive sites like online banking or intranet sites are going to react to those. Thus, make sure that your most important activities in this regard are wrapped up before updating to a Gecko 13.0 version... :doubt:

ElTxolo

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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 10:49 am

rsx11m wrote:Bug 588909, Replace Gecko/<date> with Gecko/<version> in UA string, has landed on mozilla-inbound and will become effective on the SeaMonkey trunk nightlies after the next merge into mozilla-central. [...]

Image Another stupid decision by MoFo/MoCo (= un montón de imbéciles)
How to Ask Questions The Smart Way - How to Report Bugs Effectively ;)
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:52.0) Gecko/20171015 SeaMonkey/2.49.1
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:54.0) Gecko/20170619 SeaMonkey/2.51

James
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 4:14 pm

For those who think it will be perfectly fine to remove the build date from the Nightly and Aurora channel (also tinderbox hourly and ux and such) builds then they must not do any real support or testing of these builds themselves. To remove the frozen build date in releases I do not have much of a issue with.

Bad enough that I have to use about: or about:support in Firefox Nightly to see what build date I have (short of posting on mZ forums). It will be annoying if one has to go to about:buildconfig and then click on the http://hg.mozilla.org... link just to get an idea of when it was built. Will be more work to convince bug fillers to go about getting such info on what build date they are seeing a bug or regression or such in.

rsx11m
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Post Posted February 17th, 2012, 6:09 pm

Sadly enough, all those arguments have been brought forward in the various bugs (already at the time they were discussed for Firefox 4.0) but were widely dismissed. In result, Firefox froze the date string to a useless constant, and now that the web-site developers "got used to it" the (from their point of view) logical continuation is to remove it entirely from the string.

As said, I'd expect the "rv:x.x" string to go next (that's bug 588913, currently still in "won't-fixed" status) after some waiting period to allow the current change to settle and to be "accepted" by web sites. There are still people advocating removing the ".0*" part of the Gecko and application versions as well (that was bug 572659), despite the rapid-release system making that pointless anyway.

rsx11m
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Post Posted February 18th, 2012, 6:52 am

Here we go, the latest tinderbox build from comm-central, lots of "13.0a1" now in the UA string.

The build date doesn't even show up in about:support, thus to get it you'll have to type in javascript:navigator.buildID to get to the 20120217223449 string (or have the Debug and QA extension installed to see it in the title bar, which at least is the default on the nightly builds). Great! :evil:

Edit: KaiRo filed bug 726587 to add the Build ID to the support page.

James
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Post Posted February 18th, 2012, 1:39 pm

Wow three mentions of 13.0a1 in SeaMonkey UA. I wonder how many newer SeaMonkey users may think they were using SeaMonkey 13.0 and not 2.10

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux i686; rv:13.0a1) Gecko/13.0a1 Firefox/13.0a1

One of those few times I wonder why they thought it would be a brilliant idea despite the consequences of doing it.

Hopefully they do at least still allow build ID in about:support and about: pages still as per Bug 726587

Anybody using the now Nightly channel builds of SeaMonkey, Firefox and Thunderbird here are going to have to go to about:support or about: and copy and paste their useragent in post to show what build they were using for the issue they are having for example as the UA display on bottom right of posts is somewhat useless now.

I wonder if it will be possible to make a simple extension to force UA to have the build id.

Hmm.. the build ID date is still listed with browser.startup.homepage_override.buildID in Help->TroubleShooting Information (about:support)

WaltS48

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Post Posted February 18th, 2012, 7:36 pm

Build ID is still in the title bar of my SeaMonkey 2.10a1 on Linux. Shows 20120218003027.
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rsx11m
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Post Posted February 18th, 2012, 8:06 pm

Yes, the Debug and QA extension takes care of that (you can't copy-paste it though).

Also, there is bug 728610 on the new UA string breaking Zimbra web-mail servers (unclear at this time if this is merely a matter of convincing Zimbra to do it "right" or if this may actually result in the UA change being backed out again if it's considered serious enough).

therube

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Post Posted February 19th, 2012, 8:12 am

Guess what I'm running: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:13.0a1) Gecko/13.0a1 Firefox/13.0a1

:cry:

This is almost as bad as removing Help | About.
(Heh. Well maybe not quite.)

And Kairo participated in the other bugs & should have realized that hey, I'm not going to be getting any more pertinent data in my bug reports!
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1.19) Gecko/20110420 SeaMonkey/2.0.14 Pinball CopyURL+ FetchTextURL FlashGot NoScript

therube

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Post Posted February 19th, 2012, 8:22 am

You know, I posted that UA in jest, but in reality, I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M RUNNING!
FF by default (or otherwise, not sure) does not have that top line, where SeaMonkey does have the Build ID:.

about: does not show it.
(Typically where I'd go to copy the UA to post in a bug report.)
about:support does not show it.
(I do not & would not use about:support to get that data, or for use in posting in bugs.)

I DO NOT KNOW IF I AM CURRENT OR NOT?
(Isn't that the whole premise of the FF sheepish community. To not know anything about anything to only accept that which is forced upon them.)

(Help | About Nightly, does show a date.)

Ridiculous.
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 6.1; en-US; rv:1.9.1.19) Gecko/20110420 SeaMonkey/2.0.14 Pinball CopyURL+ FetchTextURL FlashGot NoScript

James
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Post Posted February 19th, 2012, 1:49 pm

I have taken to adding the general.useragent.override preference in about:config so I can replace the Gecko/13.0a1 with build id of day like for example Gecko/20120219

Google was displaying wrong until I did this.

Philip Chee

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Post Posted February 20th, 2012, 5:36 am

James wrote:I have taken to adding the general.useragent.override preference in about:config so I can replace the Gecko/13.0a1 with build id of day like for example Gecko/20120219

Google was displaying wrong until I did this.

Snxxxx! Mozilla.com's Zimbra web mail server crashes with internal error 500 when faced with Gecko/13.0a.

Phil

rsx11m
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Post Posted February 20th, 2012, 6:36 am

Yes, that's the reason why bug 572659 was reopened last night (among a lot of other activity on previously hibernating related bugs), now with target "Don't expose the Gecko patch level (13.X.Y) in the UA string, only show the major version (13.X)" - so that's the cheapest reason for make that change, ridiculous! :evil:

On a side note, e-mails sent from trunk with the revised user-agent string receive now a higher spam score with SpamAssassin given that it hits the RATWARE_GECKO_BUILD rule due to the "invalid" date specification.

Edit: Filed bug 728856 on this, but this may be fixed already for the most recent SpamAssassin release.

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