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Why We Shouldn't Begrudge Commercial Open Source Companies

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the merge-those-benjamins-back-upstream dept.

Firefox 172

Thinkcloud writes with a followup to recent news that Mozilla is once again looking into a do-not-track mechanism after having previously killed a similar tool, allegedly under pressure from advertisers. Canonical COO Matt Asay wrote in The Register that this is not necessarily the case, nor is Mozilla's decision necessarily the wrong one. "It's quite possible — indeed, probable — that the best way for Mozilla to fulfill its mission is precisely to limit the openness of the web. At least a bit. Why? Because end-users aren't the only ones with rights and needs online, a point Luis Villa elegantly made years ago. It's not a one-way, free-for-all for end-users. Advertisers, developers and enterprises who employ end-users among others all factor into Mozilla's freedom calculus. Or should." OStatic adds commentary that "Like it or not, commercial open source companies are still companies, and the economics of the online world have everything to do with their present and their future.

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172 comments

Derp!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469494)

Derp

Hurrr.

Offensive (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469520)

From the article:

"The do not track mechanism is so simple a grandmother could use it."

As a 49 yo grandmother, feminist and programmer of 20 years (assembly, C) I find this offensive.

Re:Offensive (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469558)

has more to do with social prototypes than feminist sensitivities.

"dont get yur panties in a wad."

Re:Offensive (-1, Offtopic)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469572)

So it's OK to talk about her "panties" now? Not very civil. And we women just call them underwear nowadays. The 1950s was oh...about 60 years ago.

Re:Offensive (-1, Redundant)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469610)

[Like]

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469702)

Does the hairspray affect the WHOOSH sound much as the joke passes over your head?

  I swear the captchas have to be context sensitive, this time it was "collagen".

Re:Offensive (1)

geekpowa (916089) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469754)

"Panties" is current nomenclature in South East Asia; and the term is regularly used to describe underwear of both genders.

The OP comment about "social prototypes" is an interesting and relevant turn of phrase; nothing in what was written was sexist; but seemed to set you off. I thought that divining offensive comments in throw away lines, was 1970s post publication of "The Female Eunuch", which was oh.... about 40 years ago.

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469964)

World War 2 lasted only 6 years and ended 65 years ago, yet we still have to demonize Hitler instead of studying him as just another historical figure. Because God knows there weren't many wars longer than that one! :)
We also must feel very sorry for the poor persecuted jewish people, even though we can clearly see on the news they have since become an agressive demon of their own. All hail the social norm!

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470144)

show us your pussy.

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470228)

What's her son got to do with this?

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470262)

I'm sure that the leather-skinned, slack-breasted gorgons have always called them "underwear".

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469718)

As a 49 yo grandmother, feminist and programmer of 20 years (assembly, C) I find this offensive.

And "who posts on slashdot" too...

You clearly do not fall in the demographic profile implied by that statement (which I can't find in the articles, but I assume is somewhere...).

The reality is >99% grandmothers are like what that statement implies, and not like you.

Just do a survey of 10000 grandmothers, how many will be "programmer of 20 years, assembly and C". If Apple targeted people like you they'd go out of business.

Re:Offensive (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469730)

As a 49 yo grandmother, feminist and programmer of 20 years (assembly, C) I find this offensive.

Welcome to the Internet, where October 2007 was "years ago" and being over 40 and able to program assembly makes you a "greybeard". I am sure those guys at Mozilla are referring to their own grandmother's generation, however, the distinction would be subtle to them.

Re:Offensive (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469858)

Yet to see a grandmother with a beard, grey or not. :P

Re:Offensive (0)

espiesp (1251084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470000)

You are not looking hard enough.

Re:Offensive (1)

Again (1351325) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469874)

Welcome to the Internet, where October 2007 was "years ago" and being over 40 and able to program assembly makes you a "greybeard". I am sure those guys at Mozilla are referring to their own grandmother's generation, however, the distinction would be subtle to them.

Dude, I don't even remember 2007 anymore. There's no need for the double quotes around years ago.

Re:Offensive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469996)

no, you need a +5 Grammar Tightarse moderation.

Re:Offensive (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470106)

noob.

Re:Offensive (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469904)

Do you troll this comment on every article that posts about Grandmas?

I find the fact that you're a feminist offensive. Feminists are the most obnoxious self-centered people I have ever met. i.e. thinking people would care about your opinion. I know no one cares about mine especially so here.

I find the fact that you're 49 year old grandmother to mean that you either got pregnant in school, or your daughter did, maybe one of you should have been taught about safe sex, or you're just lying about your age, a common trait among women. Face it you're old.

I find the fact that you copy-pasta troll offensive. One could say it's so easy a grandma could do it.

Now get off my internet lawn.

Re:Offensive (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470068)

To be fair, you are not the mean, median, or mode grandmother. Nor anywhere within several standard deviations of one...

But yes, the article should probably just have said "just about anyone" instead of "grandmother". I would bet that the average kid using the Web would have a harder time with do not track mechanisms than the average grandmother, if nothing else. For one thing, the kid doesn't even understand what the problem is...

Pretentious twat (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470976)

To be fair, you are not the mean, median, or mode grandmother. Nor anywhere within several standard deviations of one...

To be fair, you are not a statistician.

All those buzzwords you used in your failed attempt to look smart refer to measurable numeric characteristics - height, weight, income - of sets of objects.

So you can say that the mean income of Lalaland is so many dollars. You can say that Mr X earns the median Lalaland salary of Y dollars. But saying Mr X is the mode of Lalaland is just retarded.

Re:Offensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470334)

Weren't you the stupid dog that claimed to be a 20 years c++ programmer, and then before that a 20 years antenna designer? how about you STFU, and GTFO. You useless cunt.

Troll Alert (4, Interesting)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470654)

This troll has been appearing a lot recently. There's no mention of that phrase in TFA, not that anyone's actually read it.

Be happy about it because they want to do it? (4, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469616)

They're a company not a charity, it will be easier for them to succeed if they "limit the openess of the web," and the have rights too.

That sounds like three (or really two) reasons why commercial open source compaies have interests that may be counter to ours. That does -not- sound like it's a good reason we should be happy about it when those interests conflict, nor do they sound like reasons to get on board with things like advertiser tracking.

Re:Be happy about it because they want to do it? (2)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470632)

The benefit to open source is that if they get too evil, we can always fork the project and build in the tracking prevention. He'll we don't even have to wait for them to get evil.

that isn't done for first time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469524)

MySQL tried similar thing [dyndns.info]

Tracking is evil (5, Interesting)

KugelKurt (908765) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469528)

Tracking users without their consent is just evil. In no other medium are ad recipients tracked: Not in TV, not in print magazines, not on billboards.
If they are tracked in other marketing efforts (eg. loyalty cards), the consumers gave their consent first.

Re:Tracking is evil (1)

vxice (1690200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469734)

That is more an issue of can't than won't. And there has always been an attempt to track at some level. Nielson, demographic info of subscribers or topic of magazine, geographic location etc.

Re:Tracking is evil (4, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469802)

I'm not sure explicit consent is required as much as a singular, easy-to-find method of opting out.

It should be created in a way that doesn't cause websites to freeze or browsers to crash. If a website wants to require tracking in exchange for displaying content, that is their right, however the current state of things web apps just fail and crash and generally don't behave correctly when cookies aren't enabled or JavaScript is disabled.
 
This is the very thing Mozilla (and the W3C) need to lead the charge on. No closed source company is going to push for this. In fact, this seems like part of why Firefox was created. IE had a hegemony on the market and it was harming to end users that they didnt protect privacy, implement standards, and was generally bloaty and insecure. If Mozilla cant hold true to their mission, perhaps it's time to fork it.

Re:Tracking is evil (3, Insightful)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470088)

Try of opting in. The default should be privacy, and anyone who wishes to can waive that right.

Re:Tracking is evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470424)

If a website wants to require tracking in exchange for displaying content, that is their right...

It's also my right to block their tracking, in the same way that it's my right to block their ads.

Re:Tracking is evil (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470464)

I'm not sure explicit consent is required as much as a singular, easy-to-find method of opting out.

A very important addendum to opting out is that it needs to actually be opting out from being tracked.
To the best of my knowledge, all of the various tracker-specific "opt out" methods do not stop them from tracking you.
All they do is stop them from showing you advertisements based on the tracking information that they still collect.
You aren't really opting out from being tracked, you are opting out from being reminded that you are being tracked.

That needs to change.

Re:Tracking is evil (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471264)

Try noScript.

Re:Tracking is evil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469882)

I'm looking for cute geeky *freshman* boys who need a little love and money. Eugene or Portland. Need not be "experienced", but must be under 19 and over 18. The geekier the better. Let's hook up! I'll make it worth your while.

Re:Tracking is evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470016)

Tracking users without their consent is just evil. In no other medium are ad recipients tracked: Not in TV

-

Yep, your TV. Cable TV, at least. Experian manages your viewing profile for Cox, Comcast, and other cable companies.

Re:Tracking is evil (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470620)

That's only because those other mediums couldn't/can't track users like the Internet can. If they could, they'd have already been doing it for ages.

RMS got this in the 80s (5, Informative)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469530)

Richard Stallman was selling tapes of Emacs and GCC back in the 80s and made sure the GPL allowed selling.

Here's his essay about how to do it but at the same time ensure it doesn't end up funding proprietary software:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html [gnu.org]

That's to say, it has been proven without tracking (5, Interesting)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469578)

That is to say, commercialising a project can be done without spoiling the software.

In the 80s, distributing tapes was one model. Teaching classes is another model (which RMS also did for GCC). In the 90s, service companies sprung up.

Commerce isn't inherently bad. But it's also not inherently necessary.

Advertising funds such a tiny amount of free software development, we shouldn't worry about losing it. There are other business models. Ones which rely on doing something useful which people choose to pay for.

Re:That's to say, it has been proven without track (2)

Penguin Programmer (241752) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469896)

Other business models work for certain products. It hasn't been viable to charge money for a browser since the 1990's. No one is going to take a browser training course. No one needs to hire an enterprise browser deployment specialist.

Re:That's to say, it has been proven without track (3, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469958)

How many programs do you have installed? 100? How many need to sell information about you in order to exist?

Other than your browser, the answer's zero. In my opinion, including the browser, it's still zero.

Re:That's to say, it has been proven without track (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470112)

Wait, are you answering both questions? I thought the browser being the OS was an outdated mindset.

Re:RMS got this in the 80s (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469600)

Richard Stallman also raped a gnu in the 80s. Maybe we shouldn't be taking his writings so seriously.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gnu [wikipedia.org]

Re:RMS got this in the 80s (-1, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470170)

it gets worse. There was a richard stallman sex tape making the rounds 4-5 years ago, I think. (for the record, he's straight. or at least bi). It looked like it was from the 80s. Anyhow, point of the story is, he was eating out some chick's asshole (average looking by porn standards, very 80s, giant bush in need of trimming) and he stops, pulls out a chuck of shit/peanuts/corn/whatever, looks at it for a moment, pops it in his mouth, and chews. Then continues french kissing her asshole. Makes that video of him eating his toe jam seem normal in comparison.

RMS in CORVALLIS (0)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470330)

I was at an Open Source Symposium at Oregon State Uni, and RMS was a guest. Before his time to speak, he sat ni the first row PICKING FLEAS OUT OF HIS BEARD and popping them in his mouth. NO SHIT.

Re:RMS in CORVALLIS (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470834)

Well, thank god there was no shit. That'd be gross.

Well, at least ... (4, Funny)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469532)

At least we have other Free Software Browsers that don't have any ties or financial interests in advertisement, like Chrome. Oh ... wait ...

Re:Well, at least ... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469928)

You mean KHTML, which webkit and thus chrome descended from.

Re:Well, at least ... (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471062)

KHTML isn't a browser.

Re:Well, at least ... (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470904)

At least we have other Free Software Browsers that don't have any ties or financial interests in advertisement, like Chrome. Oh ... wait ...

Epiphany?

Well, ok then (4, Interesting)

black6host (469985) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469538)

the best way for Mozilla to fulfill its mission is precisely to limit the openness of the web. At least a bit. Why? Because end-users aren't the only ones with rights and needs online

Sometimes I think: fine. All the commercial entities can take the net and turn it into nothing but a big shopping mall with everyone's computer being nothing but a terminal with which they can deposit cash into somebody's pocket. Except for me, and others like me who understand what it was like to a run Fidonet node. For the hell of it, and for free. And I'm sure there's plenty of younger folks who just get tired of this stuff as well. Hell, I'm sure they could do it better than we did back in the day......

Now get the hell off my lawn! :)

Re:Well, ok then (3, Interesting)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469576)

Sometimes I think: fine. All the commercial entities can take the net and turn it into nothing but a big shopping mall with everyone's computer being nothing but a terminal with which they can deposit cash into somebody's pocket. Except for me, and others like me who understand what it was like to a run Fidonet node. For the hell of it, and for free. And I'm sure there's plenty of younger folks who just get tired of this stuff as well. Hell, I'm sure they could do it better than we did back in the day......

You should go start a new on on port 81. I'm only 2/3 joking.

Re:Well, ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471220)

You should go start a new on on port 81. I'm only 2/3 joking.

You mean port 54 then?

Nothing Is Free (4, Interesting)

Ancantus (1926920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469682)

Allow me to be one of the 'younger folk'. I agree that it can get damn annoying sometimes, flash advertisements and popup-spam come to mind. But in the end making, hosting, and maintaining a website does cost money. And no service is free. Instead of paying with your money, you pay for websites with your attention. If the 'cost' of privacy violation is too high (facebook), I wont participate. However if the service provided is useful and the adds/privacy isn't too bad (Google, Slashdot, etc.) I'll participate. I think the Canonical COO has a point, we as end consumers don't usually think about the people who have to fund the hardware that makes the web possible. I certainly hope their is some money to be made in the computer industry, or all this money I paid for college will be moot.

Re:Nothing Is Free (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469808)

If the ads get too annoying I will tell my computer not to fetch them (blocking tools).

If that's not acceptable to the content providers, they are free not to serve me their content and I'm happy with their decision. It's a deal I'm perfectly happy with and I consider it in no way cutting off my nose to spite my face. The price of the implied contract is too high, neither party wants to enter into it.

I'm prepared to put up with some advertising, just not most of the flash stuff.

Privacy violation and tracking are different and harder to quantify, also harder to catch and track. I think if there are things to be done at the browser level then community editions or additions may be the way to go. I use a cookie prevention mechanism, a flash cookie autoremoval addon and a variety of other things.

Facebook I use. But it's because info I put on there I choose to put on there. Irrelevant crap mostly.

Re:Nothing Is Free (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470504)

The price of the implied contract is too high, neither party wants to enter into it.

I think the root of the problem is that we do not have any other currency besides ad impressions. None of the "electronic cash" and micropayment ventures have taken root, so advertising has become the defacto micropayment system.

I think that if we had a practical "electronic cash" system that was reasonably anonymous with effectively no per-transaction cost we would see the end of a lot of advertising on the net. I think that many people would be happy to pay $5-$20 per month for all of the websites that they browse, but right now, advertising is the only form of micropayments that are flexible enough to handle each individual user's personal choice of websites.

Re:Nothing Is Free (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471234)

If that's not acceptable to the content providers, they are free not to serve me their content and I'm happy with their decision. It's a deal I'm perfectly happy with and I consider it in no way cutting off my nose to spite my face. The price of the implied contract is too high, neither party wants to enter into it.

If you look at the escalating war between ads and ad-blockers, it's obvious people want to see sites without ads that the owners don't want to offer without ads. Very few sites allow you to opt out of their advertising, that your ad blocker works is much the same way you can buy a newspaper and have someone go over it with a magic marker blacking out all the ads before you read it. It can be done, but the newspaper producer obviously doesn't want you to. It is rather disingenuous to say that "because they still serve me content even if I block the ads, they're cool with it", when it's pretty much the same as "because the newspaper doesn't prevent me from using a magic marker, the publisher is cool with it."

Re:Nothing Is Free (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471260)

Two things make it different -

1. My browser has to request the ads separately, I wish to disable this behaviour. It's nothing like buying a newspaper and blanking bits out. It is (largely) active content that takes my bandwidth and resources to run, as well as annoying me.

2. Some sites already block people that block their ads.

I do agree that it's dubious at best to engage in any sort of arms race here. But here's the thing, at a fundamental level serving a page is something they do, actively, at my request. If they don't want to give me content unless I also get ads or pay them money it's their responsibility to make that happen, not mine. And I will be just as happy if/when they catch on and start checking this stuff.

Besides which, I'm not anti all ads. I leave advertising on for slashdot because it doesn't usually strobe bright colours all over the place, advertise scams or malware, or take over the browser.

Re:Nothing Is Free (3, Informative)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469946)

There's always money to be had, but everything doesn't always have to be about money. As I say in my post just above to the GP here, I was around in those BBS days he remembers. You can actually do something that provides other people with a service and costs you time and money without trying to make money off of it and just do it because it's fun. Back in the day even actual businesses did that sometimes. There was a great BBS that was completely free run by the newspaper back in my home town. It had a bunch of registered doors, IRC style chat, etc. and no advertising at all, not even for themselves that I can remember. It wasn't about money, tracking users, spreading their name, etc. Just providing something cool and fun for the community.

Re:Nothing Is Free (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470606)

But in the end making, hosting, and maintaining a website does cost money.

Sure, about a hundred dollars per year, more or less. That's pocket change for most people in the developed world, less than a year's worth of lattes at starbucks.

Moreover, if you don't insist on being the *only one* making your content available to the public, then you can always find others who are willing to mirror your content for free (that's on the 0.01% chance that your content becomes wildly popular).

There's a reason why sites like Google and Amazon have astronomical hosting costs - they want to keep tight control over the services they offer - so tight that literally the whole world has to point browsers to *their* webservers, so tight that they need armies of engineers to figure out clever ways to solve the self inflicted problem of having the whole net wanting to be served by a single URL.

Be smart. Make interesting content, then put it up on a cheap website, and tell everyone they can mirror it as much as they want to.

Re:Nothing Is Free (0)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470982)

But in the end making, hosting, and maintaining a website does cost money. And no service is free.

Bullshit.

I am one of those from the BBS days the GP mentions, and ran a free board with no advertising to the users back in the 80s.

Even today I run an IRC network at a decent expense for servers and time from myself and my other administrator, yet zero cost for our users and no advertising. Purely for the fun of it, because it is what we enjoy doing.

I am far from alone in this.

EFnet is one of the largest IRC networks still to this day run by similar minded people, provided free to the users simply because we enjoy doing so. There are many other networks run exactly the same way, at one point hundreds of networks and thousands of servers and administrators doing the same.

There are even plenty of hobbyist websites with no advertising or banners run the same.
Most all Linux distros are put together and hosted/administered by the same ideals.

Usenet used to be run in a similar fashion not too very long ago, and I have no doubt there are a ton of other services run under the same ideals that I am forgetting or even have no idea about.

Obviously these are in the minority these days, but to say Nothing is free is not at all true.

Re:Well, ok then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469902)

yes. I got off your lawn and am yelling at you from my lawn. Can you hear me? Great. I remember those times too, now I am 32 drinking budweiser and wonder what the hell those white lines are they are spraying at us up in the sky. are we bugs, or men?

Re:Well, ok then (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469912)

Get the hell off your lawn? I was hoping to come hang out and have a beer with another ex-BBS sysop. We hadn't gotten fidonet set up on ours when it finally died (a storm killed the modem on the first day of a 2 week vacation of the guy who's house the computer was in... lost just about all of our users), but there was still the paying for phone lines, a computer dedicated to the BBS, door registration, and so on. All with no requirement for users to pay up. Just because it was fun and cool to do.

Man, I miss those days. Simpler times and so much fun.

Re:Well, ok then (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470058)

In a related way, I've long wondered if its possible to script some history poisoning. Let them read my history all they want. Eventually, some ad company will get all excited about the new "goatse" phenomenon, and go to see what it is.
Mayhap they will be so deeply scarred that they will begin to question themselves and their carrer choices. Eventually they will move on, making room for a fresh young batch of n00bs. Hence, every time I start Firefox, I want the whole history replaced with goatse.

As it is, my hosts file is nearly 300k. And it works beautifully. You can lose 99% of the crap just by sending doubleclick and google-analytics to 127.0.0.1. Not to mention alexa, sextracker, etc... it's a long list.

Companies have rights? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469554)

Companies do not have rights. They are not people. ...sorry I was thinking about this from a strict reading of the constitution. Forgot that was thrown out the window by.... conservatives? Damn. Just Damn.

Re:Companies have rights? (3, Interesting)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469706)

Do people who own companies have rights?

Re:Companies have rights? (-1, Troll)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470694)

Right to guaranteed flow of money into those people's pockets, and right to have power over other people are, without any doubt, among those God-given rights.

Fuck you and fuck your disgusting ideology.

Re:Companies have rights? (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470912)

Do people who own companies have rights?

Yes. How does that have anything at all to do with companies having rights?

That's like responding to "farm animals don't have rights" by asking, "Do people who own farm animals have rights?"

They have legal rights (1)

judeancodersfront (1760122) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469806)

as do the people that own them.

Re:They have legal rights (1)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470854)

Just like consumers, then?

Confusing freedom, privacy, and openness (5, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469604)

Is it just me, or is the author completely confusing the notions of privacy online with the open source movement? He mentions the comparison many times, yet the only relevant factor I can see is that Firefox happens to be open-source.

In any event, if Mozilla is caving to the tracking mafia, I will cease to use it. And if Google is behind it, I'll have to rethink their services as well. The notion that I have to tell them everything I do to use online services is preposterous. Get a business model that doesn't depend on spying.

Re:Confusing freedom, privacy, and openness (1)

jvillain (546827) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470714)

No you are right on the money. What a surprise to see Canonical coming along and selling out the opensource world for what, about the billionth time.

Firefox is an end-user product (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469612)

So Mozilla should follow the needs and desires of end users.

The point would be valid when talking about some open-source product which isn't an end-user product.

Don't trample on MY rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469620)

I have every right to protect my privacy. Advertizers have a rigth to advertize but they do NOT need to know details about me. A billboard on the street advertizes without knowing details about the people they advertize to. Yes, I do use AdBlock plus but not because I'm against advertizing - I'm against pushy advertizing - flash that continuously moves, changes in order to get my attention and it's difficult to concentrate on the rest of the page.

Re:Don't trample on MY rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469732)

It is not just the annoyance of ads but the crap advertised on them is stuff I don't want and there is a lot of shady ads that link to sites that compromise a Windows OS. One misclick and you could be infected with malware instead of just adware.

Don't make the internet... (1)

shovas (1605685) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469638)

Something it wasn't meant to be.

It's not a one-way, free-for-all for end-users.

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. If your model isn't working out for you, try another.

Re:Don't make the internet... (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471070)

It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes!

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. If your model isn't working out for you, try another.

I think your analysis is a good general antidote to Internet misconceptions.

Matt Asay (2)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469656)

Why the hell is the COO of Canonical making news articles, doesn't he have a job to do? That's a serious conflict of interest in my opinion.

Regardless he's completely wrong. He cites Mozilla doing smart business where Ubuntu isn't, catering to the advertising crowd. Well guess what's quickly being replaced by Chrome.

The guy simply doesn't have a clue. He cites Red Hat licensing being better then the company he works for. I really don't understand why Mark would put this guy in such a high position so he can then simply shit on the company.

Re:Matt Asay (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470076)

Why the hell is the COO of Canonical making news articles, doesn't he have a job to do? That's a serious conflict of interest in my opinion.

I find the suggestion that public figures and business leaders should have an opinion-ectomy on Day 1 completely absurd.

I realise that I'm in the minority on this, but I don't buy the whole 'never admit weakness' thing. If a football quarterback admits that his team's got a weak mid-field, he's not saying anything people don't already know. He's just being honest about the situation. Saying so won't make it weaker.

(Now if he starts telling secrets, like 'Joe's going in for surgery after Sunday's game...' well, that's a little different.)

Regardless he's completely wrong. He cites Mozilla doing smart business where Ubuntu isn't, catering to the advertising crowd. Well guess what's quickly being replaced by Chrome.

The guy simply doesn't have a clue. He cites Red Hat licensing being better then the company he works for. I really don't understand why Mark would put this guy in such a high position so he can then simply shit on the company.

I won't argue with you whether or not he's right (I agree that he's a bit clueless), but since when did offering a criticism become 'shitting on the company'?

I expect my managers and staff to stand up and say, 'we did this wrong,' or 'they're doing it better than us.' And I have no problem with them saying so in public. Pretending to speak for the company as a whole, pointless bitching and moaning or open subversion might get them a quick ticket out the door, but thoughtful inquiry, analysis and criticism? No problem. I'll be in the front row, applauding.

Re:Matt Asay (2)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470190)

I find the suggestion that public figures and business leaders should have an opinion-ectomy on Day 1 completely absurd.

There's a difference between having an opinion and broadcasting it in a what is regarded as a news piece.

but thoughtful inquiry, analysis and criticism? No problem. I'll be in the front row, applauding.

Perhaps you could point out the thoughtful analysis on what you yourself describe as opinion because I can't see it.

Re:Matt Asay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470204)

Seems to me that the dude has an agenda with Mozilla. His tweets are full of stuff like this..

Why we still need a strong Mozilla: to be "the Switzerland of HTML5" http://j.mp/gj6W99 [j.mp]

Re:Matt Asay (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470268)

Probably because Mark is just like him, he is a millionaire after all, went to space, a charitable man doesn't buy space trip, It's pretty clear that Mark wants to Embrace+Extend+Ensomething linux and maybe the whole of open source.

He's not a fool, he saw a chance flying under MS radar. MS ans Apple are too determined to beat Free, why wouldn't they? Free has little over a 1% penetration on the desktop, for all that matters the battle has already been won. But Mark saw potential and decided to used his money to win that market. And winning he has, since Ubuntu has been #1 for several years.

Now, I'm not saying he is a baby eating monster, nor a blood sucking parasite. He has done an invaluable service to the entire FOSS community and he surely considers himself a very nice man, charitable even. But he is clearly a man of compromises.

First we had the CEO saying "Ubuntu is not a democracy" and now the COO saying "the web should be less open", it's not a stretch to guess that next year we'll hear "the desktop should be less open".

That's why I switched off Ubuntu a while ago, I don't know exactly what is Mark going to do to monetize Ubuntu. For certain it won't be a show stopper, he knows very well the FOSS community is rebellious and open to challenges, he won't knock himself down from the #1 place he's got right now by doing something drastic and stupid, but expect Ubuntu to start grow more annoying features in the next 2 years.

Can we still begrudge Oracle? (1)

cblack (4342) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469678)

They aren't exactly an open source company, but a company that has bought the prior commercial sponsors of open source packages. In many cases they then proceeded to bungle community interaction and knock some of the appeal off the original technologies among many decision makers.

Matt's wrong about FSF (5, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469772)

I think Matt's portrayal of FSF is disingenuous.

He says that pressure from Google convinced FSF to not "close the ASP loophole", but that's not how it was.

FSF wanted to close the ASP loophole (by putting the Affero clause into GPLv3), but many software developers and many companies were against this.

This left FSF with the choice of producing their ideal licence, and few people using it, or producing a licence that was an improvement compared to GPLv2, and more people using it.

The licence exists to give freedom to users and to protect distributors from patent attacks. It can't do these things if no one uses it! So FSF reluctantly left the Affero clause out of GPLv3.

Same goes for the patent clause. FSF could have put a waaay broader patent grant into GPLv3, but then the patent holders simply wouldn't distribute any GPLv3'd software.

Instead, FSF started with GPLv2 and looked at every section where they could get more freedom and more protections for the distributors and the users, while ensuring that it would be used by software projects and that companies would distribute GPLv3 software. That's what it means to be pragmatic.

(Selling out your users is completely different and shouldn't be called "pragmatic")

Re:Matt's wrong about FSF (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470948)

He says that pressure from Google convinced FSF to not "close the ASP loophole", but that's not how it was.

Yeah, I have a hard time picturing Stallman's organization bowing to pressure from anyone, especially a major corporation.

Instead, FSF started with GPLv2 and looked at every section where they could get more freedom and more protections for the distributors and the users, while ensuring that it would be used by software projects and that companies would distribute GPLv3 software. That's what it means to be pragmatic.

That sounds more like the FSF I know. I don't often describe them as pragmatic, but given the choice between believing the story that they chose to write a license more devs would use, or believing the story that they bowed to pressure from one big corporation, the former seems about 1000x more plausible.

Re:Matt's wrong about FSF (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471258)

This left FSF with the choice of producing their ideal licence, and few people using it, or producing a licence that was an improvement compared to GPLv2, and more people using it.

Not to mention that it isn't an either-or. They DID create both the GPLv3 and the AGPLv3. I also think a large influence was the wish that people continue to use the "or any later version" on GPL code. The more radically you altered it, the more likely people would start creating "GPLv2 only" or "GPLv3 only" code. Anything people would consider a mass relicensing of their code rather that an upgraded GPL would kill all trust in future GPL versions.

Yeah, sure.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34469790)

OK, I must be missing the point.... Isn't the openness of the internet leading straight to the tracking of users? Wikileaks is all about openness.. The web is all about getting out and saying what you want. How do you expect to be able to reach such a huge audience, and have the freedom to say anything you want, and not expect people to pay attention to what you say or do in the medium? Freedom used to have meaning in this country because you could stand up and say what you thought. Not because you could say it anonymously. What good is freedom of speech if you have to hide behind a veil of secrecy to use it. I don't care if advertisers want to track me. I do care that people like Assange can do what they do and not be persecuted for it. There's no need to fight for anonymity, there's a huge need to fight for the goddamn freedom of speech and damn well use it.

Re:Yeah, sure.... (2)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470980)

Anonymity is free speech. Let's be honest: truly free speech will never be a reality. Even if no one can legally convict you for anything you say, that doesn't mean there isn't a social backlash you'll have to face. If you work for a company and feels the need to call your boss a moron, ok. There will be consequences, though, and probably not great ones, from your point of view. Now we might say it's only fair and natural that you have to deal with the consequences of what you say, but if something - anything - makes you afraid to say what you want, then your speech isn't really free, is it? It will cost you something. Why do you think your vote is to be kept undisclosed? Anonymity makes for truly free speech. Free and nonprofitable, as you will gain no personal recognition for what you say, either. Plus appeals to authority would be gone, so whatever opinions you choose to voice would have to stand on their own.

free vs libre, yet again (5, Interesting)

bugi (8479) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469860)

Once again, this conflates free as in beer with free as in freedom. Few of us would begrudge others the opportunity to make money. That's not the same thing as parting out our privacy. And if we do as he suggests, adopt the so-called "reasonable" position in the middle, then you can be quite sure our opponents will take that as our position and further demand to meet in the middle.

No thank you. I insist on an open network that values freedom.

Freedom? Sure. (3, Informative)

taustin (171655) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469876)

Companies have the right to offer their goods and services on the internet. They do not, however, have the right to force me to help them sell it to their customers (the customers here are the advertisers, not the users of Firefox or any other software). It is not my responsibility to help them prop up a broken, evil business model that can only succeed by taking away my choice to be tracked or not.

When advertisers pay me to watch their crap, I might consider it, if the pay is high enough. Until then, it is up to me what I watch and who tracks me watching it.

Re:Freedom? Sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470286)

Companies have the right to offer their goods and services on the internet. They do not, however, have the right to force me to help them sell it to their customers

When they drug you, bind you to a chair, forcibly open your eyes, and make you watch their content, clockwork orange style, you will have my sympathy. Until then, your rant is just silly. "They" can create whatever content they want, and track users any way they want. Don't like it? Don't use it.

It is not my responsibility to help them prop up a broken, evil business model that can only succeed by taking away my choice to be tracked or not.

If you dislike it, it is your responsibility to not use it. Otherwise, you demonstrate through your actions that you don't care.

I don't like it, and therefore I ain't gonna. (4, Interesting)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34469906)

""Like it or not, commercial open source companies are still companies, and the economics of the online world have everything to do with their present and their future."

  Sure, the economies of the online world have everything to do with their present and future, which is PRECISELY why we can allow them to be spoiled. We have two choices, THE right way (and there is only one when it comes to freedom and openness, with honesty and well, openness), or the wrong way. Compromises are like bad apples, they spoil the whole barrel.

  We can find a solution to anything, but it is not by sacrificing our morals. Don't want to tell me what your doing by tracking me? Not in the spirit of open source; and you can go to hell, where your sins belong.

Re:I don't like it, and therefore I ain't gonna. (2)

bidule (173941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470250)

We have two choices, THE right way (and there is only one when it comes to freedom and openness, with honesty and well, openness), or the wrong way. Compromises are like bad apples, they spoil the whole barrel.

Truth is a three-edged sword.

Or are you saying you are part of the problem?

Orly? Srsly? Pffft. /me forks FF. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470284)

TFA is wrong, Mozilla has not the right or capability to keep me from using FF in any way I want.
I compiled my OS & all the programs on it. Perhaps some FF users imagine themselves under the thumb of Mozilla?

Firefox is open source. If Mozilla refuses to add important features we want, me (or someone like me), will make them available to you in source and binary forms.

Everyone just chill out. If Mozilla is stupid enough to force this crap on its users, competitors will spring up instantly that offer everything Firefox does as well as the privacy tools too (note: there are already forks of FF available, if you care to search).

IMO, Some jag-off is blabbing on the Internet about shit they know nothing about again, BFD. Nothing to see here, move along.

Iceweasel (1)

paulproteus (112149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470434)

Mozilla might want to add more tracking of its users.

And some people wonder why Debian wants permission to distribute modified versions of Firefox.

I run Iceweasel.

already trivial to do (2)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470498)

In May, Mozilla engineer Dan Witte proposed a mechanism that caused cookies to automatically expire when a user closed his or her Web browser. (By comparison, most tracking cookies last for years). It only affected tracking cookies—not cookies that websites use to remember users' passwords or shopping-cart information.

This is already pretty darn easy to accomplish in Firefox. Go it "Edit : Preferences : privacy." Uncheck "accept third-party cookies." Select "Keep until: I close Firefox." Under "exceptions," check "allow" for any sites that you frequently visit and want to stay logged in to between sessions.

I don't mind surrendering a little privacy to corporations if they're willing to pay for it. That's what I'm doing when I use the preferred customer mechanism at the supermarket. That's what I'm doing when I get a magazine subscription for much less than the newsstand price. The problem with online advertisers is that they shoot themselves in the foot with their unrealistic expectations. They expect me to give them my information without any economic reward. They expect me to tolerate animated ads that distract me from the text I'm trying to read. Given that their behavior is so unreasonable, I'm willing to take the time to install adblock plus and configure firefox to reject cookies that aren't on my whitelist.

Bullshit. We are ALL "end users". (1)

gig (78408) | more than 3 years ago | (#34470554)

Every Web user is an equal to every other Web user. We all have the exact same rights. We are all "end users". Everything the browser vendor does should be for the user of that browser.

Zminus 2, Troll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34470906)

our abilit7 to

Opposite point? (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#34471102)

Because end-users aren't the only ones with rights and needs online, a point Luis Villa elegantly made years ago. It's not a one-way, free-for-all for end-users. Advertisers, developers and enterprises who employ end-users among others all factor into Mozilla's freedom calculus. Or should.

It seems like Luis Villa elegantly made just about the opposite point: in a world where GPL and other things intended to help end-users are increasingly playing into the hands of intermediate users, we should bring the rights back to the end-users. "I remain interested in the problem, though, since in the end I'm much more interested in the freedoms of users than the freedoms of sysadmins." Nowhere in Villa's article does he even mention the needs of advertisers, developers, or employers of end-users (thought he does mention how user-consumers and user-deployers were previously connected by their employers). Almost seems like Matt Asay knows we won't buy what he's saying unless he puts his words in another's mouth.

Fucking morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34471322)

That's what they are. Who wrote that piece of shit? Goddamn imbeciles. I don't owe the advertisers ANYTHING. Fuck off!

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