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MacOS 10.4 Tiger IPv6 compatibility (posted 2005-05-16)

The first thing I did after installing Tiger was check out the new IPv6 features. That didn't take long... It doesn't look like there is more IPv6 functionality in Tiger than in Panther, except for one thing:

Unlike earlier versions (including the recent 1.3 release) Safari 2.0 now uses IPv6 by default (when available, of course).

This is very nice: no more mucking about with the debug menu. It also means that you get to use session keepalive with IPv6: rather than open a new TCP session for each HTTP request, Safari will try to keep sessions open and reuse them for subsequent requests. This can be very helpful if you don't have a high bandwidth, low delay link because you don't have to suffer the TCP setup and slow start delays for every single image on a page.

Looking at this stuff in tcpdump I can't help but notice that HTTP is a very wasteful protocol. A GET can easily be 700 bytes, and many web designers use images that are only 100 bytes...

I also noticed that Safari now says Accept-Language: en, while I have English, Dutch and German (ok, slight case of hybris for that last one) set up as my languages in the system preferences. This is a shame, because my carefully crafted language detection at now no longer knows I speak Dutch so it shows me the English version of the page.

However, the switch to Tiger wasn't entirely problem-free in the IPv6 department: the new Mail has a pretty serious bug: SMTP won't work over IPv6 anymore. To add insult to injury, Mail won't all back on IPv4 for SMTP, so if your SMTP server has an AAAA record in the DNS and you have IPv6 connectivity, you won't be able to send mail. The workaround is to configure a DNS name for the SMTP server that doesn't have an AAAA record, or the SMTP server's IPv4 address. See bug 4113850 in Apple's bug reporter (you must have a developer account to log in) for more details.