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Re: [Bug-gnuzilla] GNU LibreJS won't be removed from GNU IceCat

From: Ivan Zaigralin
Subject: Re: [Bug-gnuzilla] GNU LibreJS won't be removed from GNU IceCat
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 10:12:53 -0800
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On Tuesday, February 27, 2018 23:36:37 bill-auger wrote:
> On 02/27/2018 01:33 PM, Ivan Zaigralin wrote:
> > I realized that in order to make the web useful without
> > having to run nonfree software, we must *unscript* it. Fixing individual
> > pages/domains will not solve the problem posed by the disposable software;
> just to be clear about the words you are using - where first you
> mentioned "drive-by-download" and now you say "disposable software" -
> you meant the same by these yes? "disposable software" is quite better -
> that says it very precisely - not unlike a plastic diaper

Well, they are two different facets of the same complex human+computer 
language+protocol we call the web.

Disposable software (which we could also call transient software) is pretty 
much anything rapidly generated by a computer, but especially the obfuscated 
code, which may also be salted to fool automated detectors. The key property 
of such software is that it's not intended for audit (no one has such 
capacity), and the obfuscated part of it is resistant to audit. It is also, as 
you pointed out elsewhere, mostly useless outside of its intended context.

Drive-by-downloading should really be called drive-by-execution (but that's 
too gruesome :), and this term refers to a specific user-side policy, not 
software. The policy is: upon loading a web page, have the web browser 
automatically download and execute arbitrary (and often disposable) code from 
absolutely anywhere on the web.

This is a very detrimental policy. It's bad for agents who follow it, and 
because so many people and computers follow it, it also ruins the web for the 
rest of us. This last bit is a good reason to fight it with legislation aimed 
at protecting the rights of people who choose not to engage is this madness. 
Make commercial and government sites provide free-software-friendly fronts and 
all that.

But another side of that issue is educating the users, and here I am very 
pessimistic. And we probably do need to educate the users if we are ever to 
get the popular support for appropriate legislation. But users are in a 
baaaaaad state of mind these days. I am personally blown away by every person 
who is not *aghast* at the fact that they are not allowed to own a mobile 
phone. Even the people who believe in the sanctity of private property are 
seemingly unable to connect the dots. Without the right to repair or even 
control, these are rentals in every sense of the word. Indeed, telling others 
how to repair devices powered by nonfree software will likely result in a 
prison sentence in US:


What chance do we have explaining the subtle exploitation via the disposable 
software, when users stampede storefronts hoping to become proud renters of 
devices which rob them of basic consumer rights, and spy on the most intimate 
details of their private lives 24/7, text+sound+video?

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