[whatwg] Web Storage: apparent contradiction in spec

Brady Eidson beidson at apple.com
Tue Aug 25 15:31:43 PDT 2009

On Aug 25, 2009, at 3:09 PM, Jens Alfke wrote:

> Interesting comments. Linus and Jeremy appear to be coming at this  
> from a pure "cloud" perspective, where any important or persistent  
> data is kept on a remote server and the browser, so local storage  
> can be treated as merely a cache. That's definitely a valid  
> position, but from my perspective, much of the impetus for having  
> local storage is to be able to support other application models,  
> where important data is stored locally. If browsers are free to  
> dispose HTML5 local storage without the user's informed consent,  
> such applications become dangerously unreliable.
> For example, Linus wrote:
>> User agents need to be free to garbage collect any local state. If  
>> they can't then attackers (or the merely lazy) will be able to fill  
>> up the user's disk. We can't expect web sites or users to do the  
>> chore of taking out the garbage.
> Replace "user agent" -> "operating system" and "local state" ->  
> "user files", and you have an argument that, when the hard disk in  
> my MacBook gets too full, the OS should be free to start randomly  
> deleting my local files to make room. This would be a really bad idea.
> Similar analogies —
> • If the SD card in my Wii fills up, should the system automatically  
> start deleting saved games?
> • If my iPhone's Flash disk gets full, should it start deleting  
> photos? What if I haven't synced those photos to my iTunes yet?
> In each of those cases, what the device actually does is warns you  
> about the lack of free space, and lets you choose what to get rid of.
> Local storage is different from cloud storage. The HTML5 storage API  
> can be used for both, so it shouldn't be limited to what's  
> convenient for just one of them.

Thank you Jens.  This is a well thought out synopsis of the point I've  
been wanting to make whenever this comes up, but have failed to do.


> —Jens

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