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Re: official Emacs Docker image

From: Mike Gerwitz
Subject: Re: official Emacs Docker image
Date: Fri, 03 Feb 2017 21:56:43 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.1 (gnu/linux)

Hey, Filipe:

On Fri, Feb 03, 2017 at 09:18:59 -0200, Filipe Silva wrote:
> Mike Gerwitz, back to the topic, you've posted an issue on the github site,
> which is run with non-free software, and I'm pretty sure that it runs
> non-free javascript. The fact that you will be running "non-free"
> javascript seems a bit unescapeable, doesn't it?

I was expecting this point to come up. ;)

I first want to state that I do not recommend that anyone make use of
GitHub for their own projects.  I have contacted them in the past asking
them if they're liberate their JavaScript, and they stated that they
have no interest in doing so:


Further, GitHub does not meet the GNU Project's ethical repository
criteria for those reasons and more:


GitHub does serve and often relies on non-free JavaScript.  Fortunately,
many things happen to work without it, or work well enough.  I do not
run JavaScript in my browser even for sites with free JS, with very few

I'm able to log in to GitHub, open issues, and comment on issues without
running any JavaScript, among other things.  I don't use GitHub
personally anymore aside from a mirror for certain projects (and my
employer uses it, so I'll push liberated code here on their behalf), but
in the past, there were certain things I'd have simply Greasemonkey
scripts for.  For example, you couldn't (and probably still can't)
change the repository description without running non-free JS.  So I
briefly studied what I did and wrote a free replacement for that
functionality (which was trivial).

Now, as a direct parallel to this Docker Hub discussion:

It isn't reasonable to register an account on GitHub without running
non-free JS.[*]  It happens that I registered an account a number of
years back (2009) when I was still relatively new to the free software
movement and didn't consider JS as a possible issue.  Since I have an
account and can use it without running non-free JS, I will use it when
pressed.  But I will never recommend that someone else create an account
or otherwise use GitHub.

Hopefully that answers you question.  Just because a site serves
non-free JS doesn't mean that it needs it.  Websites would be wise and
respectful to consider a progressive enhancement methodology.[0]

[*] I was able to register a new account (which successfully logs in):
The first registration page required no JS, and the second page didn't
want to move forward because of HTML5 validations on hidden (Credit
Card) fields.  I removed those fields from the DOM and was able to
continue successfully.  This also worked over Tor and served no CAPTCHA.
So I could trivially write a script/bookmarklet that a user could use to
register, but I wouldn't want to do that, since they still rely on
proprietary JS for so many other things.  If I did _not_ have a
GitHub account, and creating one were the only way I could report issues
like this Docker Hub one for reasons of activism, I would create an
account using this method.  I have no such workaround for Docker Hub.

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_enhancement

Mike Gerwitz
Free Software Hacker+Activist | GNU Maintainer & Volunteer
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