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Re: st: Stata agent string for net install
Muhammad Anees <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Re: st: Stata agent string for net install
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 20:46:37 +0500
Really good to know that. Thanks Alan.
On Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 8:12 PM, Alan Riley <email@example.com> wrote:
> Brendan Halpin (firstname.lastname@example.org) asked about a set of four
> numbers Stata includes in its "browser id" string that it reports
> when it accesses files over the web:
>> Does anyone happen to know what the four numbers in the agent string
>> that Stata sends when making a HTTP connection to do a -net install-?
>> That is, when you do a -net install- Stata identifies itself as a
>> browser to the web server. Older versions may simply say "Stata/9.2
>> (Windows)" but more recent ones give more info, e.g.:
>> Stata/IC 11.1 (4126.96.36.1997) on Windows NT 5.0
>> What does the 4188.8.131.527 mean (I've made up the numbers here in case
>> they actually reveal information about people)? Is it unique to the
>> Stata installation? Can I use it, for instance, to enumerate unique
>> downloads (better than using IP addresses)?
> Unfortunately for Brendan's purposes, but fortunately for our users,
> this number does NOT uniquely identify Stata installations nor Stata
> This string is known as a browser id string, or, more formally,
> a "User Agent ID". It is how web browsers, and applications
> like Stata which access the web, tell web servers about themselves.
> Here is what one web browser might report:
> Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1)
> The parts of this that matter to most people are "MSIE 6.0", which
> tells you that the browser being used is Microsoft Internet Explorer
> 6.0, and "Windows NT 5.1", which tells you that the browser is running
> on Windows XP 32-bit. Yes, Microsoft has called every version
> of Windows since the original Windows NT 3.1 "Windows NT". Windows 8
> will be "Windows NT 6.2". (By the way, hopefully the above browser id
> string didn't come from any of you. Internet Explorer 6 is a legacy
> browser full of security holes. Even Microsoft wants you to stop using
> it: http://www.ie6countdown.com/ )
> Brendan made up what he reported above. Here is a real Stata example
> along with an explanation of it:
> Stata/MP 12.1 (5184.108.40.2067) on Windows NT 6.1
> Let's break that down.
> Stata/MP 12.1 (obvious)
> 5220.127.116.117 (see below)
> on Windows NT 6.1 (running on Windows 7; I'll explain below
> why 'Windows NT 6.1' is reported)
> Looking closer at the four numbers in the middle, we see they are
> really three:
> 521 (an encoded version of the Stata flavor and operating system)
> 12.1 (the Stata version)
> 887 (our internal build number)
> The 12.1 in the middle has an obvious meaning.
> The 887 on the end is our internal update build number. 887 corresponds
> to the current update of Stata 12.1 which users have in their hands now.
> FYI, the previous update of Stata 12.1 which users saw was 884, and
> internally at StataCorp we had 885 and 886 which users never saw as we
> were working toward 887.
> The 521 at the beginning contains two pieces of information. The first
> is the flavor. 5 corresponds to Stata/MP. (4 is Stata/SE, 3 is
> Stata/IC, and 2 is Small Stata.) 21 is 64-bit Windows. There are
> different numbers for other operating systems.
> All users using the latest update of Stata/MP 12.1 on 64-bit
> Windows 7 would have the same string. So, Brendan cannot use
> this string to uniquely identify hits to his website from different
> Stata users. The IP address would be a better choice for this even
> though it isn't perfect either. Even if Brendan sees two different
> Stata User Agent IDs from the same IP address, he has no way of
> knowing whether they are from two different people or if they are
> merely a single person who has Stata on, say, both a PC desktop and a
> Mac laptop.
> In any case, Stata reports this string for two reasons. First,
> any application which accesses files from a web server is supposed
> to report such a string. Second, in the case of a technical support
> question related to Stata accessing files over the web, this string
> gives our Technical Services group some very useful information about
> Stata and the operating system on which it is running.
> A quick caveat: although we have no plans to change it right now, we
> don't promise to keep the User Agent ID reported by Stata in the same
> format in the future, nor will the pieces of the quartet of numbers in
> the middle of it necessarily mean the same thing in the future.
> * For searches and help try:
> * http://www.stata.com/help.cgi?search
> * http://www.stata.com/support/faqs/resources/statalist-faq/
> * http://www.ats.ucla.edu/stat/stata/
Assistant Professor/Programme Coordinator
COMSATS Institute of Information Technology
Attock 43600, Pakistan
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