Why did Opera's former CEO Vivaldi be forced to “make Chrome look like a user agent string”?



The browser user agent string is text that the browser sends to the host server of the website you are accessing, including the OS and device architecture you are using, browser information, and so on. ' Vivaldi ', a browser developed by Yon Stevenson von Tetzner, former CEO of Opera software that develops the Norwegian browser Opera , changes this user agent string to the same as Chrome '

User Agent Changes | Vivaldi Browser

User agent strings are primarily used by websites to provide a better experience for their users. For example, based on user agent character string information, it is possible to display the optimal screen according to the environment of the device used, or the website can present appropriate options when downloading content.

But over time, user agent strings have been misused by some developers and abused by large, powerful companies, said Rivalí Ødegaard from the Vivaldi development team. In recent years, it has been used differently from its original intention, such as using a user agent string as a clue to a browser fingerprint that identifies users without using cookies.



According to Ødegaard, some of the bug reports from Vivaldi users saying that 'the behavior of certain websites is strange' are due to user agent strings. Ødegaard says Vivaldi's user agent strings are frequently blocked from one website or introduced to another website. The user agent strings actually used by Vivaldi on the latest stable version of Linux are as follows.

[code] Mozilla / 5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit / 537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome / 78.0.3904.99 Safari / 537.36 Vivaldi / 2.9.1705.41 [/ code]

It seems that website developers may only allow access from browsers that they have tested, and may deny access from other browsers. Therefore, if a small browser such as Vivaldi, which has a small share, honestly declares the user agent string, there is a situation where access is denied even though it is a legitimate browser.

In addition, Ødegaard pointed out that some websites are likely to have blocks and some limited functionality specifically targeting Vivaldi. As an example of a website that deliberately inconveniently accesses Vivaldi, Ødegaard cites the following:

-When accessing Google Docs with Vivaldi, a warning is displayed.
・ When I try to access Facebook's WhatsApp web interface with Vivaldi, I can't access the website.
・ When I try to access Microsoft Teams, a Microsoft group chat tool, with Vivaldi, I cannot access the website.
・ If you try to access Netflix with Vivaldi, you will be prompted to install Microsoft Silverlight , a web browser plug-in.

When the development team of Vivaldi dared spelling 'Vivaldi' in the user agent string, such as 'Vivaldo' and 'Vxvaldi', the above problems did not occur. Ødegaard says that if a giant tech company intentionally blocks access from Vivaldi, 'users will think there is something wrong with Vivaldi.'


Vivaldi has responded to these problems by directly requesting the website administrator to `` grant access from Vivaldi '', but there is no prospect of improvement at all . So, the Vivaldi development team decided to keep the access from Vivaldi by making the user agent string the same as the Google-developed browser Chrome.

The development team creates a 'list of websites that are known to be accessible from Vivaldi', sends only the correct Vivaldi user agent string to some of these websites, and other websites Developed a system that sends the same user agent string as Chrome. The next version of Vivaldi will release this feature.

in Software,   Web Service, Posted by log1h_ik