Sunday, April 13, 2008

What does "R1 1.3" mean in a user agent?

In the last post (here), we saw that Bernard Klatt, Lemire's expert witness in his ongoing CHRC hearing, revealed 90sAREover's user agent data to be this:
    "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows 98; Rogers Hi-Speed Internet; (R1 1.3))"
Now, Klatt successfully identified the browser (Internet Explorer version 6.0) and Operating System (Windows 98). He was less successful in explaining the latter two items "Rogers Hi-Speed Internet; (R1 1.3))".

Apparently he didn't know User Agent String, a handy-dandy site that takes any user-agent and breaks it up into nice understandable parts. Entering our string yields the following table
    Internet Explorer 6.0
    Mozilla It's a Mozilla based browser
    4.0 Mozilla Version
    compatible Compatibility flag
    Indicates that this browser is compatible with a common set of features
    MSIE 6.0Name :
    MSIE 6.0
    Version = 6.0
    Windows 98OS-or-CPU :
    Windows 98
    Rogers Hi-Speed InternetRogers Communications
    Internet provider. Partnered with Yahoo! to offer Rogers-Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet.
    R1 1.3Using Real Player as a browser

    All Internet Explorer user agent strings
Now, especially to be noted is how wide of the mark is Klatt's explanation of R1 1.3. His explanation (p. 1634):

This is clearly wrong, as the search shows. "R1 1.3" does not refer to Cisco firmware, but to the fact that the user of this computer had a Real Player installed.

The "Rogers Hi-Speed Internet" is less clear. Not all Rogers' users have it. In the thirty visits from a dozen or so users of here, only a couple have it. (To judge from this, the Rogers-tag here means that the version of Explorer being used was one supplied by Rogers, not a generic version.)

More shortly.

Update. Commenter "freemarkets" points out that the Real Player only shows up in the string if it is being used, not installed.

Clarifications to Rogers Hi-Speed made; quote from Klatt on R113 added.