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Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: On being web-friendly and why info must die
Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2014 10:32:12 +0900

chad writes:

 > True, but weve already seen both interest in doing so and moderately
 > near misses in existing code posted to this thread.  This seems
 > like a fairly minor concern.

Not really.  The question is practical: can such a system be as agile
as Info is?  I believe the answer is yes, except but browsers are
heavy beasts.  It may not work as well as we hope.

 > More troublesome (at least to me) is the fact that the closest we
 > get to such a browser in emacs is xwidget.

I don't see why that's relevant.  ISTM that people who advocate use of
HTML intend to use full-featured browsers like Firefox anyway, and
probably won't even bother to learn the hotkeys for Info-style
navigation.  Emacs can have its own documentation browser with a UI
based on Info mode.

 > I might be wrong, but I believe that Richard is generally unhappy
 > about software that the user runs without really being aware.

Surely not.  Running without your knowledge of the details is *what
software is for*.  Richard of all people is aware of that -- that's
why software freedom is so important, so you can exert control when
you choose.  Even most modern content formats are basically programs
with specialized interpreters (hello, PDF -- it's 10pm, do you know
what mischief is executing in your Postscript[tm] printer?)  Another
way to look at it: do you know the names of all the libraries that are
loaded in your Emacs?  (In my XEmacs I currently have a features
variable of length 442.  The first 100 or so are all library features.)

 > It would be interesting to see browsers and javascript packages
 > adopt a GPL-compatibility declaration,

Good luck.  The people advocating HTML are using IE, Firefox, Chrome,
or Safari (or DFSG variants of the above, where legally feasible), I'd
bet.  GPL browsers are minor.

 > There are practical ways in which users can exert some control over
 > client-side javascript today (GreaseMonkey, NoScript, and the like).

I think that's a much better approach.  I really don't care if the
code I'm running is GPL or another FLOSS license or public domain.
After all, the browsers I use most of the time aren't even GPL
themselves.  I don't think crackers and phishers will hesitate to
fraudulently present a GPL assertion, either.  So what I really want
is a feature that tells me that I haven't run this script before and
asks me if I want to run it.

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