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Web browsing (was Re: Concurrency, again)

From: Perry E. Metzger
Subject: Web browsing (was Re: Concurrency, again)
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2016 16:29:08 -0400

On Tue, 18 Oct 2016 15:47:43 -0400 Richard Stallman <address@hidden>
>   > Every open browser tab (should I say "window", this being
>   > emacs?) can potentially be doing all sorts of computation in
>   > the background via JavaScript,
> We should not make Emacs a platform for running nonfree software
> sent from servers designed to snoop on people.

I agree, but that's predicated on first answering the question of how
to make Emacs into a good browser.  Defensive systems (like the open
source Brave browser) have shown that there are mechanisms that can be
used to block bad javascript and links, so the technology is
understood at least in terms of what sorts of things one needs to
block etc.

I'm concerned, however, about the vast amount of work needed to get
Emacs browsing to the point where anti-spyware measures are useful, as
unless Emacs gets powerful enough to really browse the modern web
well, there won't be any issue of people being spied on via Emacs
since there will be no users. This involves things like thinking hard
about the architectural problems involved.

> An ethical web browser requires lots of work.

Sure, and I run loads of anti-spying goop on my browser right now that
I would want in Emacs too. Again, though, it is only possible to add
anti-spying measures to an Emacs that is capable of browsing the web
at all. So I think a good first step is figuring out how that might be

> If Emacs is going to have a web browser powerful enough to be
> vulnerable to these things, then it too has to be changed to defend
> against them.

No argument whatsoever.

Again, I think one wants Emacs to be able to do all this (to provide a
really good integrated work environment), but there is a *staggering*
amount of work that would need to be done to make all this happen. I'm
not even sure the dream is realistic. I would like to see it though.

Perry E. Metzger                address@hidden

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