Re: A few semantic points for HTTP/1.0 draft

Bob Denny (
Thu, 1 Dec 1994 07:55:08 +0100

At 2:20 AM 30/11/94 +0100, Bob Denny wrote in response to a note
from Lou Montulli:
>It was I that "created" the 503 code last summer. My intention, and the
>thrust of the discussion on www-talk, was exactly that... The server is
>temporarily too busy, try again in a "short while". I envisioned the
>"short while" to be a few seconds, not milliseconds, not minutes. So
>your response was appropriate.

At 4:00 PM 30/11/94 +0100, John C. Mallery responded:
>The bug was that you did not get it into the spec and so you have caused
>considerable confusion when cern allocated a different number for the
>meltdown case.

As my daughter would say: "Bull Honkey"

I suggest you get your facts straight before launching an attack like that.
The 503 code was discussed at length on this list, and the discussion
included, among others, Ari Luotonen (then at CERN working on the code),
Henrik Frystyk, Roy Fielding, and Rob McCool. I placed the proposal into
discussion, asked for comments, received some, but got no objections.
If you care, read the archives. Just in case you're too busy to read the
archives (obviously you didn't _before_ making the above statement), here
is an excerpt from a note from Henrik, along with the header, for complete-
ness: Henrik, my apologies in advance for using your note...

>Return-Path: <>
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>Date: Thu, 9 Jun 1994 10:43:58 +0200
>Message-Id: <>
>Precedence: bulk
>From: (Henrik Frystyk Nielsen)
>To: Multiple recipients of list <>
>Subject: Re: "Too Busy" Error Needed
>X-Listprocessor-Version: 6.0c -- ListProcessor by Anastasios Kotsikonas
>Status: RO
>[... discussion of 500 type codes in context of proxy protocol conversions]
>BTW: Another code that I would like to get in is
> 502 Bad response
>if the server response is wrong.
>Henrik Frystyk
>+ 41 22 767 8265
>World-Wide Web Project,
>CERN, CH-1211 Geneva 23,

Note that Henrik proposed 502 as "bad response" at that time, and my proposal
was for 503. Now, what "spec" do you mean? The "working draft" at CERN? At
the time, TimBL was a new father, Ari was headed for Finland, thence to
Calif to work at "Mosaic", Henrik was getting into the swing of things,
Rob McCool was finishing school and thinking all about his opportunities
at "Mosaic" versus how he was going to finish school... I did what I thought
was approprite, I asked Ari to at least _try_ to get the change in, but in
fairness to him, he was really preoccupied and never told me he would.

So there it is.

-- Bob