Andy wrote:
On 26/03/07, Jeremy Stone <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
0.4% of users at the time used a Linux operating system  ;)

That's not entirely true is it?
Please do not try to mislead people.

Admittedly, I've only met Jem a few times, but I feel I
ought to defend his honour here by pointing out that I
don't believe he's the misleading type.

What is more likely is:
0.4% of users WHERE DETECTED AS using a Linux operating system AT THE

Well, we are talking about stats based on visits to the home page, so I kind of took that as implicit.

This number can be wrong for a multitude of reasons.

Indeed. But for all you know, it's also right.

1) the BBC stats are biased, the site is target at Windows users and
on certain pages blocks users of other OSes

That's not my experience of it; my usual browser is Firefox on Gentoo Linux,
and I can't recall the last time I was blocked from content on

This is the great thing about statistics people like you claim they
show something and try to cover up the failings of how the sampling
was done.

"People like you", eh?  I trust you have the data to support
such a generalized denigration.

I really do dislike statistics, especially when people try to claim
that they prove something without accounting for the method of

I suspect that you dislike abuse of statistics, as I do;
statistics themselves are tremendously useful, and I find
them really quite hard to dislike by themselves.

Maybe you should improve your stats?
1.Group each unique header together and have a Skilled Human with
knowledge of all operating system classify them according to OS.

Not exactly scalable.

2. Make each visitor pass a Turing Test prior to using there User Agent.

Not exactly possible.

It would probably be easier and cheaper to just add
'Browsing platform' as a question in the next census.
Then we'd have the data for a whole decade of quibbling.

3. Verify details of OS using other methods, i.e. Javascript could

An interesting suggestion, given your other comments about just using
what's standard, and given how uniformly available and consistent
Javascript isn't.

Why do you need to 'support' specific browsers anyway? This is what
standards are ofr, [...] Why should the HTML content be any different?

Because an ounce of facts beats a ton of wishful thinking.

Just because Microsoft, Mozilla and others ought to implement
standards-compatible software doesn't mean they actually do,
and any serious web developer is mindful of the technologies that
people actually have, not those that she would rather they had.

The underlying TCP/IP and HTTP system seem to work much more
compatibly than all these websites, [...] does this not show
> that standards work better?

Not a relevant comparison, in my opinion.  Standards such as
TCP/IP and HTTP are often substantially easier to implement
correctly than client-side web standards.  Morever, the Internet
Protocols were never used as strategic weapons in a struggle for
the desktop, so had no reason to break out in ugly rashes of
vendor-specific quirks.

Like it or not, any competent, non-trivial web site today simply
has to take account of differences at the client, both in implementation
and in customization, and this isn't a situation that's going to go
away any time soon, especially with the burgeoning of Ajax-like
interactivity and the use of mobile devices as browsers.
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