Don't Break The Web For Stupid Reasons

My letter to AMD on a recent website change:

Hello!

I found today that amd.com has Changed Something™ in the site to prevent downloads unless the HTTP Referer is set.

Unfortunately, this new “feature” does not work very well for me - I use a browser called Midori which allows control of http-referer sending.

I keep it off by default for (slightly) improved privacy.

Until today - NO site has mentioned or cared.

When I turned it on to try to download the released 14.4 Catalyst driver - I still got endless denied.

So, I am not sure what the point of this new referer check is, but its definitely not an improvement for the user experience of a user trying to get an updated driver for the $700 video card he bought from you to run on the $300 CPU he bought from you.

$1000 worth of AMD hardware in this box, and 117MB download is blocked by a *useless* and *broken* http referer header?

Whoever thought this was a good idea, might want to go back to the drawing board and rethink the proper and appropriate purpose of putting pages of information and files onto a public access server… you know… to share them?

If you're trying to stop hotlinkers or something, this referer bump isn't going to do it.

Here's why - to get the driver I ultimately had to NOT use my browser and use

wget --referer='http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Linux+x86' \
http://www2.ati.com/drivers/linux/amd-catalyst-14-4-linux-x86-x86-64.zip

from the Linux command line.

That got the driver.

And don't bother thinking that blocking or keying on user agent or robots.txt will help.

All of that can be bypassed with wget or other tools.

Ultimately any hotlinker worth paying a $1 can do the same thing and all this referer check has done is hassle me needlessly.

Call that customer satisfaction?

Because… I don't.

Just trying to be honest here - I love AMD gear, but not loving the fact that someone got paid (or worse, charged you a fortune) to upgrade the website to make my day a fraction more annoying.

Jumping through hoops to get the driver onto a Linux box is annoyance enough without the website making derpy faces at me “you don't have my referer tag derp derp derp” - ugh.

Anyway - I thought I would bother writing that whoever is patting themselves on the back for this ugly web hack needs to stop, before I come down there and hit them with a printed copy of the W3C standards and the HTTP RFC.

Tell the web folks to focus:

  • burning and polishing sand into awesome: yes.
  • Getting info and code to people: yes
  • Stupid web changes that only break people's ability to get info and code: no.

I'd rather AMD spent the people time on the silicon and their drivers, like open-sourcing things so the drivers run better in Linux, and bringing the driver code quality closer to the quality of the silicon.

Shut up and take my money for chips and code.

Stop making the web site show stop signs for, frankly, pointless reasons.

I will spare you my rant on trying to look as bad as the garbage Windows 8 “met-NO” UI.

I spent $700 for a video card for an OS (and wanna be sites) to look like EGA?

No thanks.

But whatever I care less about the horrible MetNO UI look than I do about the website intentionally throwing up walls for no good reason.

Have a good day otherwise and please delete this immediately as crank ravings, or forward it along as you see fit.

I wrote it, its out of my brain now.

Where it goes from here is up to you.