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Richard Stallman Warns About Non-Free Web Apps

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the beware-hidden-dollarsign dept.

Software 747

An anonymous reader writes "Richard Stallman has published an article which warns about the 'Javascript trap' posed by non-free AJAX-based applications. The article calls for a mechanism which would enable browsers to identify freely-licensed Javascript applications and run modified version thereof. 'It is possible to release a Javascript program as free software,' Stallman writes. 'But even if the program's source is available, there is no easy way to run your modified version instead of the original ... The effect is comparable to tivoization, although not quite so hard to overcome.'"

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frost lol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27298855)

blah blah this won'tbe it anyway so whatever. um. g n a a. yup.

whoosh (1, Offtopic)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27298883)

Smell that? That's the unfortunate smell of a web server going down in flames.

Nice.

Re:whoosh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299075)

Smell that?

That's just rms.

Re:whoosh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299309)

It's the smell of his beard, hacking subconciously.

OK, dumb question after reading the article (4, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#27298909)

Why do I care if I visit a web site and "non-free" JavaScript runs in my browser?

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (3, Insightful)

Arainach (906420) | more than 5 years ago | (#27298975)

You only really care if, like Stallman, you're a "software vegan" and are terrified about touching anything to do with non-GPL code.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27298991)

I'm pretty sure only Richard Stallman cares. Not sure why anyone cares what he cares about though, he seems like a real barrel of laughs.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (5, Insightful)

paroneayea (642895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27298993)

Why do you care if non-free python, C, or whatever apps run on your computer? Code is code, and websites aren't what they used to be. The web has become a platform for client/server applications. So if you do care about free software on the desktop, it's reasonable that you should care about free software in your browser.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (5, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299277)

Why do you care if non-free python, C, or whatever apps run on your computer?

Because it's generally harder to upgrade/maintain (not in the standard apt repositories), I can't fix it myself, and whoever controls it can just randomly disappear or EOL it.

So if you do care about free software on the desktop, it's reasonable that you should care about free software in your browser.

Except that all of those thing either don't apply to web apps at all, or apply to all web apps. There's nothing to install, upgrade, or fix locally, and you're dependent on some service provider regardless of the status of the code.

I thought I did. (5, Insightful)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299295)

So if you do care about free software on the desktop, it's reasonable that you should care about free software in your browser.

I was having trouble with a F/OSS app several months ago and I thought "Great! It's F/OSS! I can just get the software source and have a gander and solve my own problems!"

So, I downloaded the code, unzipped it, spent a couple of days getting the development environment right, and brought up the editor. A few days go by, and I'm trudging through uncommented PHP code, digging into class after class calling other classes that called other classes that just set global constants or read environment variables, and so on and so on...

I deleted the code because instead of "solving my problem" I was getting lost and not accomplishing the activity that the software was supposed to accomplish.

I went and got a package that did what I wanted.

In short, I have no desire to look at source code. I don't give a rat's ass. I have better things to do than to dig through other people's mess - thank-you-very-much.

F/OSS only appeals to people who LIKE to trudge through others code to see how it works or make it "better". To me, software is an end to a means and I don't really give a rat's ass how it works as long as it's not doing shit behind may back that I don't want; which I can find out by other means than looking at source code.

Re:I thought I did. (1)

Giloo (1008735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299427)

What exactly would have changed if it had not been free software?

Re:I thought I did. (2, Insightful)

DMalic (1118167) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299545)

His point is that fighting for the ideals of free software seems rather useless to him when he will never personally take advantage of them directly.

Re:I thought I did. (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299515)

Insert key.
Push the pedal.
Go.

I share the same philosophy about computers. I don't want to waste hours of my life on coding software. I'd rather just work 1 hour of overtime, and then go out and buy the program I need.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299327)

...

So if you do care about free software on the desktop, it's reasonable that you should care about free software in your browser.

Huh?

Why should I care what code OTHERS decide to present to the world?

It's more reasonable to state that if you care about freedom, you'd care more about the owner of the web server being FREE to do as he damn well pleases with HIS site.

And you're more than welcome to exercise YOUR freedom by not visiting that site if you don't like the software running/presented there.

What about the server side? (4, Insightful)

patro (104336) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299457)

So if you do care about free software on the desktop, it's reasonable that you should care about free software in your browser.

Okay, but Javascript is only one part of this problem. What about the code running on the server? I wonder if RMS visits any websites at all besides fsf.org

He can't be sure after all if other sites use only free software on the server side, so he can't visit them to avoid accidentally supporting non-free software.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299645)

So if you do care about free software on the desktop, it's reasonable that you should care about free software in your browser.

Except I'm not using the application, I'm using the website. And if I identify a proprietary app, what then? Block it, thereby depriving myself of functionality? Stop using the website? Flame someone who spent effort on it to make sure it's working? Btw if I even notice the app, that's a design and usability issue.

I couldn't care less about what part of the site falls under what licence. I'm interested in the content.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (2, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299023)

You should only care if you're a Free Software Fanatic. I can't imagine why anybody else would care. I read the entire thing a few times, and I couldn't find a real reason why anybody (other than Stallman) would care.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299071)

I care.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299447)

I don't.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (2, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299539)

I couldn't find a real reason why anybody (other than Stallman) would care.

Contrariness?

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (4, Insightful)

jkrise (535370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299057)

Programmability is an important aspect of free software. The javascript trap effectively converts web applications into proprietary client-server type applications, Google's apps included. Which reduces the scope for innovation, standards and progress. Hence Stallman's warning.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299113)

How many web-applications are not client-server apps, and why are they written in such an inefficient style if not to support client-server operations?

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299299)

All web-apps are client-server apps. Not all client-server apps are web-apps

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299465)

To support deployment. Look at HTML5 and google gears and you'll see that offline apps are already here -- even if they're under the radar of the slashdot readership.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (0, Troll)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299585)

Which reduces the scope for innovation, standards and progress.

I keep hearing that; but yet, no one has offered any compelling evidence that this is true. All of the innovations that have occurred have been in proprietary software: F/OSS just copies commercial solutions.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (2, Insightful)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299085)

http://www.gnu.org/gnu/manifesto.html [gnu.org]

Complete system sources will be available to everyone. As a result, a user who needs changes in the system will always be free to make them himself, or hire any available programmer or company to make them for him. Users will no longer be at the mercy of one programmer or company which owns the sources and is in sole position to make changes.

from "Why all computer users will benefit", among other things.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299167)

Suppose you're visiting Slashdot, and your web browser constantly hangs due to the crappy tag formatting code on the front page. If there was a way to modify and replace that code, you could fix it, and distribute the fix to other slashdotters. As it is now we have to hope the devs care enough to fix the problem some day, which they don't.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

caffeinemessiah (918089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299239)

Suppose you're visiting Slashdot, and your web browser constantly hangs due to the crappy tag formatting code on the front page. If there was a way to modify and replace that code, you could fix it, and distribute the fix to other slashdotters.

It's called Greasemonkey [greasespot.net] .

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299485)

You mean like the about->code page in the menu? Analogy fail.

Slippery slope to non-free (5, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299173)

Because you are reliant on something which must be paid for (somehow) and/or you can't own. Stallman's view, nutty or not, is that you should be able to function ENTIRELY on free software - which a non-free JavaScript "app" by definition isn't. From his perspective, it's an insidious "slippery slope" undercutting of the free (speech AND beer) software paradigm: it's so easy to get caught in the "[shrug] so what? I didn't have to pay, and I don't have to keep a copy because I just go to the site to run it again" trap, risking reliance on something controlled by someone else.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299211)

Because:
-you have too much time on your hands
-you live in the MIT hallway on a cot
-you put false importance in javascript
-you are obsessed with the definition of the word free and are happy to spend the rest of your life debating the minutia.

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299259)

Probably for reasons like this [hackaday.com]
Imagine a hidden closed-version of this. Also:
Why do we care about open source software anyway ? We have the bytecode after all...

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

mrvan (973822) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299287)

Actually, I have a related question: I am developing server code that runs analyses and reports these as a website. How can I license my code to prevent another party from taking my code, running it on their webserver with modifications without releasing the modifications? since they don't distribute, they aren't required to release the source. Is there a 'server GPL' that has some sort of clause that requires all *users* of the program (ie clients connecting to the server) from getting access to the source code, without extra conditions (ie no contractually binding click-through agreement that they won't actually use their right to get and modify the source)?

Thanks!

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299403)

Think affero or gpl3 or something like that is what you want...

Re:OK, dumb question after reading the article (1)

sigmoid_balance (777560) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299405)

From a purist point of view, it does matter and you should care. But what's the solution? This is the real question.

Implementation (4, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299617)

But what's the solution? This is the real question.

Just put a checkbox in the Firefox preferences window somewhere. I suggest this wording:

(x) Warn me before running JavaScript written by capitalist pigs

copyright enforcement? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27298911)

Has "borrowing" some Javascript (or HTML for that matter) ever resulted in litigation? There's been sort of an understanding since the inception of the Web that people will borrow from each other, because they can, and that's more or less fine.

I like Stallman's idea, it just doesn't seem particularly urgent.

Re:copyright enforcement? (1)

GXTi (635121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299157)

It certainly could. Code, markup, graphics, it's all copyrightable. Whether it has in the past or not isn't relevant at all since it's functionally the same as any other code. And yes, people borrow from each other all the time, but that doesn't make it legally sound.

As for Stallman's ideas, it seems like the easiest thing to do would be to just not visit websites that don't license their scripts in a friendly manner. You're not going to hell just because you accidentally went to some site with non-free javascript once, it's only important (for very idealistic definitions of important) for the sites that you use regularly.

Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27298931)

You mean Google might not be the glorious, saintly beneficent deity that all nerds seem to blindly worship it as?

How utterly unexpected. After all, they SAY they don't do evil. And we can always trust gigantic corporations, can't we?

he is right. (2, Interesting)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#27298939)

About a lot of other thing he may be too fundamentalistic, but this danger is real. The average user is now more than ever dependent on a fragile link of software-service-supplier chain, locking him in totally

Re:he is right. (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299055)

this danger is real

What danger, exactly? I read the article a few times, and it sounded like FUD to me.

Re:he is right. (5, Informative)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299487)

I think it's pretty clear, if you just keep the fundamental principles of free software in mind. If you use software, you should have the freedom to modify it and run a modified version. Just remember that, and this article will make a lot more sense to you.

I think he enunciates quite clearly the "danger": that we are becoming more and more dependent on software that is temporarily downloaded to our computers in a semi-obfuscated manner and executed to perform non-trivial tasks. This is not quite breaking the "freedom to modify" principle, since technically the source code is available, but he's calling it a trap because in practice it's extremely difficult to get in there and modify a web application since current browsers don't provide an easy way to do it, and the "source code" is almost impossible to read.

Look -- people are calling him crazy for this but I don't know why. (Possibly because they'll jump on any opportunity to call him crazy.) But frankly he's right. If you value the ability to modify software that you use, web applications don't make it easy to do. Not only that, but they can change on you while you're in the middle of using them, making it difficult for any local modifications (based on GreaseMonkey e.g), to "stick".

I don't think he comes off as crazy at all in this article, nor is he even suggesting we don't use JavaScript or anything silly like that. He's merely pointing out some potential problems with web applications vis-a-vis the freedom to modify, and providing a possible solution in the form of metadata.

In fact I'd say this is one of the more practical and shorter things I've seen him write, so I can't understand why people are jumping all over this.

Re:he is right. (1)

hannson (1369413) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299115)

About a lot of other thing he may be too fundamentalistic, but this danger is real. The average user is now more than ever dependent on a fragile link of software-service-supplier chain, locking him in totally

I'm not sure if his article is warning about proprietary services or just that non-free code might be running on his/your computer.

Re:he is right. (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299227)

The end result is the same.

Re:he is right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299273)

Meh. Stallman's just trying to stay relevant. He's a fanatic, and thrives only on people knowing that he exists.

Beware the hidden dollarsign? (4, Interesting)

paroneayea (642895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27298941)

"from the beware-hidden-dollarsign dept"

I would think slashdot would know better what Stallman means by when he says free or non-free software [gnu.org] . Generally these webapps area available at no cost anyway, and obviously that's not what he's talking about. He's talking about the classic ideas of free software, not whether or not it is okay to sell software [gnu.org] . I just think that should be clear here.

Anyway, if we do argue that applications are moving into the web sphere, (which most web 2.0 advocates of course do,) then this is indeed something important to think about within the domain of free software.

Re:Beware the hidden dollarsign? (4, Insightful)

u38cg (607297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299125)

I think /. is more than aware what they mean. Just because you aren't forking out to use these web applications, doesn't mean that there isn't a cost. Software as a service costs real money to host, and you should be asking where the money is, and why.

Re:Beware the hidden dollarsign? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299133)

Well, maybe Soulskill was just trying to be clever... I think it would be hard to be a Slashdot editor and not know the difference between gratis and libre.

Re:Beware the hidden dollarsign? (4, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299215)

I thought the hidden dollarsign referred to malware possibly embedded in non-free Javascript. As Stallman points out in TFA,

the idea that non-free programs mistreat their users is familiar

This mistreatment can take many forms, including collecting user data without informed consent, for example, a user profile which can then be used for marketing (and/or sold). That's what I thought the "hidden dollarsign" was referring to.

Re:Beware the hidden dollarsign? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299347)

I'm not sure the distinction is that significant. Non-Free software is bad pragmatically precisely because of its costs. Those costs may be:
  • The cost of working around a bug that you can't fix.
  • The cost of interoperating with other people because you can't just give them a copy of the program you use.
  • The cost of upgrading because you need a bug fix that is only in the new version.
  • The cost of retraining because you can't just back-port bug fixes without getting a new UI.
  • The cost of migration to a new platform later.
  • The cost of depending on a third party beyond your control with a monopoly on being able to modify software you use.

All of these are real, financial, costs which come as a direct result of not having the FSF's four freedoms. These are all hidden dollar (or Pound, Yen, Euro, or whatever signs) that differentiate a Free web-app from a free one.

Re:Beware the hidden dollarsign? (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299395)

The beardy guy said :

In the free software community, the idea that non-free programs mistreat their users is familiar. Some of us refuse entirely to install proprietary software, and many others consider non-freedom a strike against the program. Many users are aware that this issue applies to the plug-ins that browsers offer to install, since they can be free or non-free. But browsers run other non-free programs which they don't ask you about or even tell you about--programs that web pages contain or link to. These programs are most often written in Javascript, though other languages are also used.

The distinction between pages and code becomes more and more blurry every day. Does Stallman agree to read non-CCed content on his web browser ? Things like the New York Times website ? or even Slashdot ? I'll take this problem seriously when someone begins to try and enforce copyright on a javascript code. It will surely happen, but right now most javascripts lack a proper license.

Re:Beware the hidden dollarsign? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299505)

Stallman doesn't use a web browser. Really.

Re:Beware the hidden dollarsign? (1)

Jonner (189691) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299573)

I'll take this problem seriously when someone begins to try and enforce copyright on a javascript code. It will surely happen, but right now most javascripts lack a proper license.

That's almost exactly what the bearded one is saying. Except he's saying we need to pay attention to licenses on Javascript now before heavy-handed enforcement happens, rather than just reacting.

blah, more stallman? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27298947)

if i never heard that name again it would be too soon.

why does slashdot keep pandering to this worthless tool?

Software Reds Aren't Ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27298963)

This article proves it.

Spidermonkey Javascript Shell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27298969)

I mean, how else are we supposed to test Javascript based Windows worms on Linux?

This is clearly a non issue.

 

What's in a name? (5, Funny)

sbalneav (464064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27298983)

From TFA:

"Javascript (officially called ECMAscript, but few use that name)..."

Linux (officially called GNU/Linux, but few use that name)..."

Practice what we preach, Hmmmmm?

Re:What's in a name? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299393)

You can't practice that. If you say ECMAScript no one will know you really mean Javascript. Except maybe a few people that use Opera.

Re:What's in a name? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299537)

"Richard Stallman (officially called Dick, but few use that name)..."

data (4, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299019)

The license for the javascript software you are running might be important, but the far more important factor, in my mind, is the IP rights and responsibilities attached to your data.

Who has access to your data? How can you verify that? Who is responsible for keeping it secure? Who is responsible for making backups? How can you verify that?

Obama Bankrupting the USA Tsarkon Reports (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299029)

Obama = Currency Run, Total Insolvency.

- Chairman Barack Hussein "The Teleprompter" Obama is deeply connected to corruption, Rahm Emanuel (Radical authoritarian Statist-Zionist whose father was part of the Murderous Civilian Killing Israeli Terrorist Organization known as IRGUN), Connected to Rod Blagojevich (Rahm inherited Rod's federal-congress seat), Connected to Ayers, a man who promotes the concept that civilian collateral damage is ok in a war against freedom, Preacher Jeremiah Wright, who is himself a black-elitist who wants all the people who largely "pay the freight" to suffer, 31 million on food stamps, more blacks are in prison and on food-stamps per capita than anyone else. The problem with Wright is simply this: the facts are "racist."
- Obama: Racist, AIPAC-Zionist, Corrupted and a Traitor and a Liar who can't even produce a valid birth certificate (which is not a certificate of live birth)
- Raytheon lobbyist in Pentagon
- Goldman Sachs insider second in command at Treasury.
- Cabinet has had several nominees and appointees with multiple tax fraud issues.
- The head of the IRS and the head of the Treasury, Geithner, is a Tax Cheat
- Lied about no lobbyists
- Lied about having a new degree of accountability and a SUNSHINE period of new laws, he has signed bills with little or no review at whitehouse.gov as promised.
- Appointed a second amendment violating Rich-pardoning treasonist Eric Holder as AG, the top cop of the USA, a man who helped a fugitive evade justice.
- Has not put a dime in for a single new nuclear power plant but wants to help bridges and roads to promote more driving.
- Obama, Blagojevich and Rahm Emanuel have a LOT to hide. They literally lived next to each other, Rahm had (until being Chairman Obama's Chief of staff) Blagojevich's old federal congressional seat. Blagojevich helped Chairman "The Teleprompter" Obama cheat his way to the Illinois senate by getting other candidates thrown off the ballot in Illinois. Why do you think Blagojevich was so mad? Obama DID owe him, big time. Rahm and Obama are using Blagojevich and trying to cut his head off to keep him away.
- Tony Rezko, Iraqi Arms Dealer Nahdmi Auchi, and of course Aiham Alsammarae. Chairman "The Teleprompter" Hussein Obama is so corrupted its a joke.
- Fools and "useful idiots" twist the pie charts by leaving welfare, workfare, interest on debt, social security, Medicare and Medicaid out and focusing only on non-whole "discretionary" pie charts.
2007 high level pie chart, Federal Budget, USA [wikimedia.org]
2009 Pie chart, detailed, Federal Budget, USA [wikimedia.org]
- Chairman Obama is drastically increasing spending and creating more entitlements that will make the US less competitive (especially against China, India, East Europe/Russia). This will be a huge disaster and change you can believe in will strap you and your grandkids with more debt. No taxation without representation? Obama is spending money for the next two-three generations and they can't even vote yet, or even have been born.
- An alternative to the dollar and a forex and a reserve currency came up at the last G20 meeting. The world will not take faith in Obama's liar-socialist spending and welfare state, why should the taxpayers (plebian citizen-slaves of a police state).
- The spending going on now vastly eclipses all previous spending. In fact, the massive trillion plus debts is a thing of the 80's onwards. Congress signs the checks, remember that Year after year, as egregious as the pentagon spending is, that the social spending is completely a waste of money and it is unfunded over the long term. Eisenhower built the interstates, the US could build a new power infrastructure with this money but instead is being pissed into creating more of an entitlement system that is STILL unfunded, and without massive poll-taxes and far more aggressive progressive taxes, could NEVER be funded.
- The budgeting being done today were recently reported by a non-partisan auditing commission will lead to about 10 TRILLION in new debt over the next 10 years. Obama is going to double the national debt while doing nothing to address the unfunded debt obligations of Social Security.
- Clinton appointed David Walker of the GAO, he quit, the unfunded debt obligations have rendered the USA insolvent according to accounting standards.
Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion [usatoday.com]
US Public Debt Unfunded Debt Obligations [wikipedia.org]
- Most of the world population gets NOTHING from their governments, or a very bare minimum or services that benefit only the upper echelons of society. However, the liar Chairman Obama says we need his universal "state-hospital" rationed health care to be competitive. Bull. China and India give nothing, and they are the biggest threat to the American worker. By forcing healthcare and higher taxes, Americans will be less competitive.
- If you think 60% tax rates end to end (income, accounts receivable tax, building permit tax, CDL tax, cigarette tax, corporate income tax, dog license tax, federal income tax, unemployment tax, gasoline tax, hunting license tax, fishing license tax, waterfowl stamp tax, inheritance tax, inventory tax, liquor tax, luxury tax, Medicare tax, city, school and county property tax (up 33 percent last 4 years), real estate tax, social security tax, road usage tax, toll road tax, state and city sales tax, recreational vehicle tax, excise tax, state franchise tax, state unemployment tax, telephone federal excise tax, telephone federal state and local surcharge tax, telephone minimum usage surcharge tax, telephone state and local tax, utility tax, vehicle license registration tax, capital gains tax, lease severance tax, oil and gas assessment tax, misc internet sales tax and many more taxes that I can't recall at the moment) will make the US competitive, along with compulsory programs to provide everyone with health care is going to make the US competitive in the age of India and China, you are a joke.
- As the US nationalizes (read: rations healthcare) to the least common denominator of affordability without regard to efficacy, people with money will simply look into medical tourism so those with money can go to medical parks in India and get real health care. Those who have lived in Canada or in the UK can tell you "free" healthcare is NOT a panacea. If you think this, you are again, a useful idiot. The NHS in the UK has given bad blood and Hepatitis and AIDS blood to people, and Jade Goody who just died was misdiagnosed twice resulting in her death (She was all cleared twice of cervical cancer which she just died of). The NHS in the UK is not able to be sued or held accountable. Neither will Chairman Obama's rationed health care service for America.
- Sorry to bust the socialist bubble-lie, but support of these types of policies will simply lower the standard of living in the USA, particularly for the middle class. At least at the end of the Eisenhower projects the USA got roads to show for the spending, and with this new spending, the USA could have built power plants that get the USA out of the middle east, but the age of government for the sake of government is upon us, and the useful idiots line up and believe empty promises.
The pentagon (and Bechtel, Kroll, Bluewater, Halliburton, etc) could get less than half of what they get today, but that will fix nothing fundamental in terms of government spending. It is simply not enough to make a difference when compared to the Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security entitlements.
See: YouTube - US Government Immorality Will Lead to Bankruptcy [youtube.com]
- If Obama thinks its ok to lie to 300 million people about being able to "take care of them" without even being honest about what that care would look like, then being an idiot and believing in Obama is for you.
- The US Government already have over 50% of the budget on Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, workfare and social security. Socialists: Good job on that one, its working great. Solution to the current near-collapse-due-to-over-spending: add more unfunded entitlements!
- You Socialist-liars can break my spirit and my financial back to force me to "need" a federal government that is turning this country into a police state and turn it into a quasi-socialist lie, but I will, I must put up a fight. I have kids to educate and feed, and the stuff you sell (which is failing to various degrees everywhere else as implemented) is simply forcing a culture of failure on a once great, libertarian free country.
- I will not be complacent with your "change," and there will be a point where civil war will become an option. See how hard you can push before you get it. How much more than half can the truly productive workers in this country afford to pay. Keep pushing to find out how to start a civil war.
- The socialist-lie of a plan will not work, its not fundable, it WILL destroy the currency to fund it, and its really as simple as this: if this insanity is funded by borrowing from the US's economic and military adversaries then Obama and his socialist cabal is NOT fit to administrate society. Rome fell. Kings who mis-manged their treasuries all fell. Every example of unhinged spending leads to the same result: systemic collapse.
- Obama and his sycophantic lunatics would want to have a civil war to get Chairman Obama's way and force the socialist-lie system on my already tax paying law abiding ass. And as far as "no new taxes" for those under 250k, its a lie, the tax is called inflation, which is set to begin just about now that the Chinese wont want the USA's worthless treasuries to fund the socialist-lie fantasy (one that COMMUNIST China doesn't even try and sell to its people!)
- Chairman Obama's numbers don't add up. There is a $59 trillion dollar hole (UFDO) in social security alone. AIG $150 billion here, TARP $350 billion there. $800 billion for a highly dubious stimulus package. Another one on the way. $59 trillion hole in the balance sheet IGNORED. China saying they aren't going to buy treasuries, Clinton clamoring to find buyers now. $3.6 trillion dollar budget, potential military action on Mexico, Iran still a "terrorist state" at the behest of the AIPAC, spending up, dollar about to fall, inflation over time since Breton Woods extremely easy to document, yet, the socialist-liars question when the numbers (the Federal Government numbers) simply don't add up to the point where if the US-GOV was a company it would be insolvent.
  -How dare the taxpayers question what Chairman Obama's drastic spending increases are going to do to the purchasing power of our savings because Chairman Obama wants to recklessly spend and try to maintain and American empire AND guarantee a standard of living, and Chairman Obama doesn't even want to build a single nuclear power plant to do it? Chairman Obama must be a complete and total lunatic moron.
- Obama is either a negligent idiot or an unhinged maniac with delusional fantasies. Meanwhile, Chainman Obama's tax dodging Treasury Secretary has 17 unfilled positions, the Treasury Dept. isn't even functioning at this point.
- "General welfare" in the constitution was, according to the man who wrote it, Madison, meant to be extremely limited in scope. The federal government per the constitution doesn't even have the enumerated POWER to deal with economic messes. A lot of these "POWERS" were created while there is a crisis to dupe the public into accepting an un-constitutional authoritarian regime as the government and to usurp authority over the people.
- The USA is a constitutional republic. A democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting to eat a sheep. Also a constitutional republic isn't about using a barely-majority or a plurality to stuff your (un-fundable disastrous) crap down the disenfranchised other-half's throat.
- With Obama's authoritarian corrupted criminal (aiding and abetting a criminal in flight of prosecution, Rich case) Eric Holder in charge, we won't have our inalienable and enumerated rights to firearms much longer. For a constitutional law expert, Obama must have never read the federalist papers or he would simply hand himself as a traitor.
- The arbitrary expansion of "general welfare" is not only unconstitutional, it may very well lead to a serious conflict on the issue.
- Here is a debate on general welfare and how stuff like this came to pass, but was clearly no intended by the authors of the document of root law.
In Federalist No. 41, James Madison asked rhetorically: "For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power?" (In reference to the general welfare clause)
So strongly did the founders believe that "general welfare" wouldn't be expanded as written:
In Federalist No. 84, Alexander Hamilton indirectly confirmed Madison's point. (That the "general welfare" clause was "clearly" nota free pass for government)
Hamilton argued that a bill of rights, which many were clamoring for, would be not only unnecessary, but dangerous. Since the federal government was given only a few specific powers, there was no need to add prohibitions: it was implicitly prohibited by the listed powers. If a proposed law a relief act, for instance wasn't covered by any of these powers, it was unconstitutional.
"why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed?"
Hamilton goes on to argue that making Amendments (e.g., enumerating Free speech, press and assembly) and enumerating the 'right' would have the following effect:
(A bill of rights) "would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretence for claiming that power that is, a power to regulate the press, short of actually shutting it down. "
"With respect to the words 'general welfare,' I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers (enumerated in the Constitution) connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators." --James Madison [The US Supreme Court has found the meaning of "general welfare" in the Constitution to be much more elastic than did Mr. Madison. But as the "author of the Constitution," what does he know?]
James Madison, when asked if the "general welfare" clause was a grant of power, replied in 1792, in a letter to Henry Lee,

If not only the means but the objects are unlimited, the parchment [the Constitution] should be thrown into the fire at once.

"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government , and to provide new Guards for their future security. ...--The Declaration of Independence
- Wrong, monetizing failures causes more. Japan showed us this for decades. But hey, Chairman Obama thinks you can fix a problem DECADES in the making with a quick fixer-upper, he is screwed in the head.
- The complaints are with the Federal government (in general) since Breton Woods. The Federal Government and Obama's minions STILL didn't listen to David Walker, a Clinton appointee and former head of the GAO. This isn't about political parties anymore morons!
- Show me a single federal budget that was less than the previous. If this $3.6T budget goes, its never coming back barring systemic collapse.
- The United States Federal Government, The United States Federal Reserve, and the banks which were enabled to continue down reckless paths by a quasi government agency known as the Federal Reserve whose actions are not subject to congress and whose members are unelected. This situation is untenable and unconstitutional.
- Every inflationary road taken in history ends in collapse. Keynesian policies are widely regarded as no longer workable.
- Inflation is a tax: What ignorant tax and spenders don't take into account here is the relative percentages of people's wealth (both net and gross) and the costs of owning and maintaining houses, cars, standards of living.
- Inflation via deficit spending is going to make it such that you will be paying a lot more by percentage of your income to maintain a given standard of living. Obama's arguments are so poorly thought out and seek to blame "Republicans" for the mess, its really simply laughable - the needs cleanup now, not worsening.
- You can't spend your way out of a hole if the creditors (e.g. China) start telling the USA they won't buy. It is that simple. Now America starts to have to collateralize the debt with assets. The USA will be selling off chunks of American assets to back the new debt. One day, it may even be necessary to sell Alaska back to Russia because no one will take greenbacks to prop up a failing version of a modern Rome.
- Ah, here we go with the Matthew Lesko arguments. [lesko.com]
Interest rates were on the rise before the government stepped in with free money for everyone (the fine print of course indicate massive strings attached).
Other economies, for example, India, have the central rates set to far more reasonable/realistic rates (at the moment ~ 8+%), which is still tends to be too low, but shows that if you need someone else capital you need to pay a premium for it, and given that capital is in short supply, it would stand to reason that a premium must be charged for it.
The problem is the unrealistic growth rates of mature economies don't allow for profiting via growth projections (rather than simply earning money). So the government steps in, turns on the free money spigot, gets the interest rates for savings down in the 1-2% range while diluting the value of the whole currency in order to prop up dying companies that ran the business like a Madhoff Ponzi scheme.
- The Republicans aren't solely responsible for the crisis as Obama's minions would have you believe, congress is (no particular congress), the Executive of the US government (no particular one) and the US Federal Reserve System are all at fault.
- Fundamentally, the government is trying to fix the prices of various things to "make it all work." This pulling on the invisible hand is a fools venture. It was predicted long ago the housing collapse (and those, such as myself, in the know, wished while realizing the housing collapse coming that we were wrong for everyone's sake - but the truth is the truth) . It may be that the Austrian (von Mises) economists will ultimately be proven right.
- We are a nation of partially educated whiney grabby idiots, and we got the government that represents this. The Chinese, India and other up and coming nations will show no mercy for this arrogant abuse of our status as the world's forex reserves.
- War and asset sales will continue to be the only option for this scheme until it is corrected at the core. And to say that the government has already averted a depression by doing what they did (most of the monies injected wont be "felt" for some time), is just arrogance and stupidity. Price fixing prolonged the Great Depression. Price-fixing (or attempting to) houses will do the same, but probably worse.
- Obama's minions simply don't care if the US is bankrupted and rendered insolvent, they just want a say in how its done, presumably to "feel safe." Rather selfish.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." AND "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -- Benjamin Franklin (Possibly Richard Jackson)

- Everyone better realize that inflation will pay a major role in funding un-fundable fantasies, wiping the savers and the middle class out. The problem is, that other countries are growing tired of making our Federal Reserve notes worth something by buying our debt as treasuries. Obama's minions talk about spending, but in order to "get what YOU want" you will sell debt to potential economic and military adversaries? Real bright. What's really sad is that despite David Walker being an authority on these issues, people refuse to even watch him and listen to what he is saying.
- On the success of Canada and its form of Socialism: A huge country like Canada with massive amounts of uranium and tar sands and natural resources and a huge land mass with a scant 30 million people is an order of magnitude less of a problem to manage than a country with 10x its population, a serious leaky southern border, backfiring aggressive foreign policy, particularly with Iran, and the US is competing with countries like India and China whose middle classes are larger than the US's entire population. The top 5 students in every Indian and Chinese primary school out numbers all the kids in primary school in the US. Canada is a idyllic island, the USA is front and center in an all out economic and political clash of ideologies.
- Cap and trade (and pollution control for solving global problems) will never work unless the top 10 countries in the world (in terms of both GDP and manufacturing capacity and population) are on board. Period end. If the world doesn't quickly move to nuclear now and fusion shortly, it is OVER possibly not if every home on the planet gets a wind vane, but that seems unlikely to happen (since its possible now).
- Keynes calls it "the paradox of thrift" and suggested that policies forcing people not to save is a "good idea." The guy wanted people spending all the time, or if he didn't, he never conveyed that to his protégés well enough for them to not do what they are doing. Right now the plebeians in the US are actually stashing cash, and everyone from Obama to the media is trying to get people to spend spend spend. The best thing for the long term is for people to prepare for the coming hell, not set out with no reserves.
- I have seen Keynes invoked to justify nearly every bad move in the past decade, and its warming up to be a potential currency collapse, the collapse of the US Treasury and Federal Reserve notes, and a collapse of the NYSE. And then they invoke Keynes to suggest the best way out of the mess is to spend out of an already near-critically debt massed black hole.
- A house is run like a town is run like a country or business is run like a state is run like a government. If there are things the government is doing that would either force your home into bankruptcy or into jail via fraud charges, then the government and banks shouldn't be operating in that fashion. A certain degree of stretchy liquidity is in order, but in terms of percent of GDP, there is no way of justifying what they US has now.
- Iceland failed at 850 percent debt to GDP. The US is at 350 and rising. It is not a good thing at all.
- What is happening to the dollar as a forex standard. [youtube.com]
- March 19, 2009 C-SPAN - "Let's Quit Destroying Our Dollar!" [youtube.com]
- HR 1207 (A bill to make the Fed more accountable and to answer questions regarding the dollar policy) [loc.gov]

Title: Obama sidetracked by fiscal mess, but presses on [yahoo.com]
"Being heard above the din may prove difficult. Lawmakers are wrangling over taxing people who got big bonuses and worrying the president's budget could generate $9.3 trillion in red ink over the next decade."
- Kremlin to pitch new global currency [infowars.com]
Russia proposes creation of global super-reserve currency

Holy crap, even the Russians and Chinese get it. Strange days are here.

Re:Obama Bankrupting the USA Tsarkon Reports (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299343)

Did your mother drop you on your head when you were young or something?

Stallman has finally lost it. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299035)

According to this, a Javascript program that talks to a closed source AJAX backend is Not Free, even if the Javascript code itself is Free.

This is the craziest thing Stallman has come up with yet. Is a web browser that talks to a None Free web server Not Free? What about a program that uses SQL to talk to a database server that is Not Free?

Re:Stallman has finally lost it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299271)

No, you idiot. He's briefly saying you can't easily run a free replacement of the javascript code due to the way browsers lock you in.

Re:Stallman has finally lost it. (4, Insightful)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299419)

While I frequently think RMS takes good philosophy and generates stupid conclusion, I actually think your example proves him right. Imagine MS SQL ships you SQL server with all the source code Query Analyzer and the DB access libraries open sourced and GPL. But they continue to distribute the SQL server engine as closed source and with the current license. Does that make SQL server free or not free?

Your browser example just doesn't work because the browser can access a whole host of other information and isn't built only for talking to that one server. Your other example program could be used to talk to any number of database servers instead of MSSQL. As long as it was a free, open source app and didn't use some incredibly henious MS-specific SQL, you could point it at another DB.

Now imagine something even more symbiotic than Query Analyzer and MSSQL. Something where there really is no practical use for the client except to talk to that server. For AJAX apps, it's more of a parallel to say the Javascript is just the top layer GUI on the behind-the-scenes application. That's what we're talking about here. The client is only half of the application, the server is the other half. An application can't be "half-free."

Re:Stallman has finally lost it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299431)

Let's assume that the Free JavaScript code is licensed under the GPL. In that case, depending on how you read the GPL, the non-free web server code is linked to the JavaScript code, and thus should be distributed under the GPL also.

AFAIK, nobody has ever tested the propagation of the GPL across physical network tiers. Does anyone else know of any examples?

throw away code? (0)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299039)

Isn't a large majority of javascript basically throw away code? bits and pieces of glue to weld a website together? Why should I care if it's not GPL. It seems to me there is already a lot that can be done with GreaseMonkey to work around javascript that I don't like.

Re:throw away code? (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299263)

The very core of TFA is to talk about the need to differentiate (either automatically or through metadata) between "throw away" javascript that is used for formatting and input validation, and actual large-sized chunks of code that constitute application logic.

What? (1)

Haiyadragon (770036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299041)

Eh, what?

The article calls for a mechanism which would enable browsers to identify freely-licensed Javascript applications and run modified version thereof.

To what end?

It is possible to release a Javascript program as free software

O RLY?

But even if the program's source is available, there is no easy way to run your modified version instead of the original ... The effect is comparable to tivoization, although not quite so hard to overcome.

What the... What? Does this make sense to anyone?

Worst. Summary. Ever.

Re:What? (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299241)

What the... What? Does this make sense to anyone?

Yes.

Worst. Summary. Ever.

No.

Re:What? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299463)

Eh, what?

Very eloquent.

The article calls for a mechanism which would enable browsers to identify freely-licensed Javascript applications and run modified version thereof.

To what end?

So that they can run a version that adds features or fixes bugs, the same reason you want source code and accompanying rights for any other program.

It is possible to release a Javascript program as free software

O RLY?

Yes, just put a license in the JS file that provides the four freedoms that the FSF outline. There are quite a lot of Free Software JavaScript libraries around the place.

But even if the program's source is available, there is no easy way to run your modified version instead of the original ... The effect is comparable to tivoization, although not quite so hard to overcome.

What the... What? Does this make sense to anyone?

It means that, even if you have the rights to modify the client code, it is very difficult to run a modified client connecting to someone else's server. This is similar to the effect with the Tivo where, although you are able to modify their code, you can not then run the result on the Tivo hardware.

Worst. Summary. Ever.

I think you might need to practice reading some more.

Stallman has to go (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299053)

Richard Stallman has done more damage to the open source movement than anyone else. He is pompous, arrogant, rude, inflexible, and intolerant of diversity of opinion.

He has systematically alienated open source leaders like Linus Torvalds, corporate IT, and large swaths of the people who actually use Linux and other open source solutions.

The complete and abysmal failure of the GPL3 speaks not just to the profound mistakes made in its drafting, it also speaks to a general distrust of the FSF as an institution.

The FSF should book a banquet hall, give a retirement roast and gold watch to Mr. Stallman, or simply close its doors.

Re:Stallman has to go (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299377)

hmm. the FSF continues its coverup by labeling this a troll

Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299065)

RMS is irrelevant at this point in time, and it's his own shrill and chicken-little attitude that has caused that state to come about. Nobody takes him seriously any more.

RMS: Have the grace and good will to know that you have essentially milked this cause for all it is worth. Stop anthropomorphizing software.

How ironic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299073)

Slashdot give me this little nugget:

There may be more comments in this discussion. Without JavaScript enabled, you might want to turn on Classic Discussion System in your preferences instead.

Legal consequences? (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299101)

If somebody distributes a "non-free" software process to you, without any expressed limitation on your use of that process and without giving you the option to terminate the process, then what kind of use can you make of the process consistent with copyright law?

IAAL, but this kind of question calls for a copyright lawyer. It seems to me that if somebody injects your computer with a process without asking first and without limiting your use of that process, then that process ought to be yours to do with as you wish (i.e., "free").

I'd be interested in hearing other points of view on this. To me, the autonomy issue is more interesting than the "non-free" issue.

Re:Legal consequences? (1)

e2d2 (115622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299373)

This type of issue could probably be handled by adding meta data to content/code downloaded in your browser. For instance you could tag the license as GPL/LGPL and then in the browser the user could have an option to allow/forbid this code to execute or content to display. This could also add some value on the content provider side, allowing them to add meta data license information their content.

You also may provide a signature for code signing in the same meta data.

I have no clue about the legal side of this though. Right now copyright and "digital rights" are usually implicit, being expressed on the whole in one place on a site usually.

     

Stallman should concentrate less on free software (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299127)

and more on washing.

PETA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299193)

RMS is beginning to sound like the subject.

- Ramanujam

Nice to see it worked (5, Interesting)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299225)

Actually, it was me who alerted him on this issue (using GMail as an example). However, that was almost a year (!) ago. Took him a long time, but I couldn't expect any less, since the man almost never uses a browser at all...

P.S. For those interested, here [sinp.msu.ru] is the transcript of our email conversation.

Re:Nice to see it worked (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299451)

Nice going you fucking asshole. Adding more fuel to the stallman bullshit fire.

Re:Nice to see it worked (2, Interesting)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299631)

That wasn't my intention. If you cared to read, I only wanted to know his opinion on the subject, because I found it interesting to see how would he apply the logic behind GPL to web applications. However, when I saw faults in the logic he told me, I felt the urge to object, informing him and changing his opinion in process. So much for pure academic interest...

This is actually really interesting... (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299275)

I have a Drupal-run site, it's my CMS and framework. Drupal is released under the GPL so I'm assuming all javascript, CSS, images, etc. are under that same umbrella. If I make a modification to the javascript or CSS, which I have, what does that mean to me?

Could someone go to my site and only run GPL'd code while ignoring mine (which I have not explicitly licensed)? I think he brings up a legitimate point.

i don't get it: you download the code (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299285)

someone can say it is not free, but since, with javascript, they are essentially handing you the code, you can take it and modify it and do whatever you want with it

yes, i understand what stallman is saying philosphically, and javascript can be obfuscated, but there is a fundamental difference between interpretted and compiled code, and i don't see javascript as that hard to deobfuscated and do as you wish with it. modify something you find heavily enough, and who is to say they own that and you can't use that?

what you have to worry about is google chrome or windows ie suddenly saying "with our latest browser, we are implementing ecmascript shiny plus plus (trademark, copyright), which will allow us to serve you compiled code, which will make your browsing experience more fantastical and delicious!"

then we have a serious sliver against free software

What you don't get is copyright law (1)

illegalcortex (1007791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299475)

Making something open source does not make it lose it's copyright status. You can't just rip off someone's javascript and claim they were "handing you the code." You can get away with it for minor stuff, but I'd love to see you try to do that with something like gmail.

FFS (3, Insightful)

LizardKing (5245) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299291)

This is from the man who by his own admission doesn't use a web browser. He's becoming more and more like the Ayatollah - issuing edicts about things that he barely comprehends and has never actually tried himself.

Re:FFS (2, Insightful)

clintp (5169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299653)

Less like the Ayatollah and more like Jesse Jackson. Jackson is not "the Emperor of Black People", but every time the man chimes in about race-related issues the media is sure to stick a microphone in front of him.*

The problem is that once someone gets tagged as "representing" a class of people, they're awfully hard to get rid of. The media (Slashdot) falls over themselves when an edict is issued. This keeps them around long after they're usefulness is past.

Ignore Stallman and he'll go away.

* Feel free to substitute Kissinger/Foreign Policy, Nader/Product Safety, Hoffa/Labor Relations, etc..

Every time he speaks I just want to shoot him (4, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299315)

Let me give you guys a hint. Its a good time to start distancing yourself from Stallman, he's definitely wondering off to the tree-hugging-nutjob-hippie commune.

He's lost grasp of the point of software. The point of software is not 'to run free software', its to get something done.

His entire life has turned into 'omg you must use free software or you are doing the wrong thing'. He has no logic for this other than 'its bad for you not to use free software' or 'its bad for you if you cant modify it even though you have no useful reason to do so!!!'

He goes so far in the article to try to confuse the meaning of 'free' versus 'open', implying they are essentially the same thing. They aren't, and never will be. He has gotten himself so deep into his own bullshit that it would appear that it is now impossible for him to understand that his 'way' isn't the only one. Once you've got yourself to the point where you think 'free' or OSS software is 'the only way' you are no better than those people who refuse to use OSS software, you're just a moronic twit at that point.

Stallman has reduced himself to a religious leader rather than a promoter of openness for the common good. He's simply gone too far.

So again, I encourage you to distance yourself from Stallman, he is not someone you should associate with any more than the Church of Scientology as they are both just spreading propaganda for their own personal gain at this point. Now that OSS has become even slightly accepted his usefulness as a supporter of OSS is diminished, so he's taking it to the next level and trying to say all non-free software is bad. Read that carefully, 'non-free'. Not open. In this article he in a round about way attacks 'open' standards that are not 'free' by his definition.

You need to watch out for the guy who screams 'freedom' while at the exact same time adding new restrictions to the very license he claims is all about 'freedom'. I'm not saying not to use GPL or GPLv3, if the fit your needs/goals, thats entirely fine and should be used if they fit. I license my software under many different licenses based on what I'm trying to accomplish. My applications are generally closed source, I have some libraries that I've released LGPL, and many that are BSD licensed. I have not used GPL proper as it doesn't really fit my Each has their place in MY agenda. I'm just saying that what he does is hypocritical to an extreme only shared by politicians and lawyers, and because of that he should be treated as such.

I am in no way saying you should abandon OSS or the quest for open standards. I just feel that what Stallman is doing is not the quest for openness, but more like gathering a cult to be lead off to a mass suicide.

Re:Every time he speaks I just want to shoot him (0)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299503)

As opposed to a rational person like yourself who just wants to "shoot him"... Church, cults, mass suicide. You're coming off more like a crazy person than you accuse him of...

Re:Every time he speaks I just want to shoot him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299543)

Yeah, it sometimes seems that way, doesn't it? The whole trying to rename Linux thing is particularly annoying. Imagine if he'd said, "Oh you can use our tools, but every day thereafter we're going to bust your chops about it and forcibly rename your project just for good measure."

Really, I can't wait for the day when the Linux developers finally get tired of FSF tirades, take out the GNU tools and write their own.

It's not GNU/Linux...it's just Linux. Deal with it, FSF. Maybe if they put time into developing HURD that they do complaining about names, it'd be worth a damn.

Re:Every time he speaks I just want to shoot him (5, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299551)

Given what he's already given us, I think you greatly understate the credit he's due. Without Stallman, we would have compilers, operating systems, editors, etc, but it's quite likely we would not enjoy the freedoms we have with them today. Right now, I can install Linux on any number of systems I have as well as systems at work, including all sorts of software, without any legal worries about licensing - Stallman did not write most of it, but he made it possible and drew people's attention to its desirability. It is because he constantly screams "freedom" and enough people listen (or are bound by the GPL's viral nature to listen) that we have a viable way to run computers without people who would significantly restrict our usage of this software getting in the way.

Stallman isn't perfect - he is known for being hard to work with, he let GCC stagnate for several years because of an inappropriate development model, and the "GNU/Linux" terminology thing wasn't necessary. However, taken as a whole he's a very important and positive figure.

Re:Every time he speaks I just want to shoot him (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299605)

Whatever.

Re:Every time he speaks I just want to shoot him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299663)

the point of software is indeed to get things done- so what happens when the close source program you're dependent on to get things done goes belly up, EOL, etc. Stallman wants you to have your cake and eat it too.

And? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299321)

You can't replace parts of the running code on the server with your own, either. Go cry.

Web Apps (5, Interesting)

LaminatorX (410794) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299369)

RMS may be a cranky extremist, but he's still right far more often than he's wrong. Web apps are in some ways a huge step backwards in terms of openness. If you're lucky there's a wsdl you can analyze but even then that's really just a client-facing API. What's less free/open than a binary-only distribution? One that's never even distributed in the first place. May I please continue to access this application, sir?

Re:Web Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299589)

If you don't like the free lunch on offer, then go elsewhere. I'm sure Google will get over it.

Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299449)

cat /. | grep -vi stallman

Replaceable jsvascript (1)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299493)

It's an interesting idea, that a user could save the javascript from a page, modify it and then command their browser to use the local modified version when viewing the page. It would be cool right up until the web server changes their API and you need to update your local javascript to cope with the change. This also assumes that your page is just enough HTML to load the javascript and is all dynamically generated from there on in, the gmail interface being a good example of this.

I guess a server could even offer a mechanism to store a users modified javascript and serve it to them when it detects they are logged in, and even offer a 'store' for people to choose which javascript client to use with their service.

This does not answer why anyone would do this ofcourse, just thinking out loud.

RMS is missing the point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27299549)

Javascript program which measures half a megabyte, in a compacted form that we could call Obfuscript because it has no comments and hardly any whitespace

I squeeze every byte I can out of my javascript files not because I want to obfuscate the code but to make the site faster. 20kb difference is a huge deal for high-traffic sites. Not only for the sake of bandwidth but for load times on mobile phones as well.

We had a 9am meeting last October with a team of web developers on the size of CSS files across the domain. It lasted around 4 hours and we managed to cut the size from an already optimized 80kb down to 55kb across multiple sheets on the front page. These things matter.

Who really cares what RMS says? (2, Insightful)

EvilIntelligence (1339913) | more than 5 years ago | (#27299569)

It's getting to the point that RMS just spouts crap to be heard. Most website developers use java script to get some functionality working, and java script is the easiest to do so. There is (usually) no intent to do harm, or take over your computer, or lie to you, or stalk your grandmother. The developer just wants to deliver the site to its users complete with certain functionality. Why would you want to run your own version of its java script? This is such nitpicking crap that its not worth reading.
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