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re: What search engine best at "Freedom-Respecting"?

From: Jim Fulner
Subject: re: What search engine best at "Freedom-Respecting"?
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2023 17:31:47 -0500

   I know I'm a little late to this party, but I feel my two cents is
   needed here.
   Don's original question was about "Freedom-Respecting" but all of the
   responses where about privacy. While many Free Software supporters are
   also "privacy and security nuts" normally "Freedom-Respecting" is about
   respecting the 4 freedoms listed in the definition of Free software
     * The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose
       (freedom 0).
     * The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it
       does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source
       code is a precondition for this.
     * The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help others (freedom
     * The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to
       others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community
       a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is
       a precondition for this.

   You should note that nothing direclty links software or newtwork
   security to software freedom.
   I am unaware of anything about Startpage that is Free Software.
   A good portion of DuckDuck Go is "Open Source." From their marketing
   materials it seems very clear that their reason for doing such is
   around security and allowing users to verify such. Most of which they
   do publish is under the Apache license.

   [1]Apache License, Version 2.0 ([2]#apache2)

   [3]This is a free software license, compatible with version 3 of the

   [4]Please note that this license is not compatible with GPL version 2,
   because it has some requirements that are not in that GPL version.
   These include certain patent termination and indemnification
   provisions. The patent termination provision is a good thing, which is
   why we recommend the Apache 2.0 license for substantial programs over
   other lax permissive licenses.
   The "core" of their search engine, which i understand to include the
   actual search algorthym,  however remains propritary. You can find what
   they do publish [5]
   SearX is Free Software published under the AGPL, which many consider to
   be the most freedom-respecting software license currently in use. As
   Paul said you can self-host it, which certainly gives you more freedom
   and control.  You can view their Free Software
   here [6]
   SearXNG is a fork of SearX primarily focused on users who want to make
   the service available to the general public through hosting instances
   available via the www, similar to how Mastodon and other fediverse
   platforms work, it has slightly fewer privacy controls than SearX to
   make it easier to use for the genearal public. A list of currently
   available public instances can be found at [7] As
   a fork of SearX it is also published under the AGPL and its source can
   be found at [8]
   As SearX[NG] is a metasearch engine, not all of the tools it utilizes
   to make searches are Free Software, however it has built into it the
   ability toggle on/off which search engines it references for your
   particular search.
   On my personal device I have my default search engine set
   as [9] and I have cookies saved on my
   browser such that it saves MY default prefernces of using mostly the
   "minor players" of the search engines they use including, but not
   limited to Alexandria which brands itself as THE open source search
   engine. Alexandria's code  is100% Free Software published under what
   they call "[10]THE MIT License" which i think is the same thing that
   the FSF calls [11]The Expat License. You can find there code
   here [12]
   On my work device, where much of the www is blocked, I have my default
   browser as Microsoft Edge, and my default search engine as Bing, linked
   to my old high school hotmail account with my Microsoft Awards set to
   make monetary donations to the charity of my choice, the Free Software
   Foundation, that increases based on how much I use their services. This
   is mostly because I think it's funny to have Microsoft donate to the
   Yours in liberation,
   Jim Fulner
   Promoting Freed Minds, Freed Markets and Free Software
   and whenever possible Free Beer
   "For as long as one of your brothers is not free, none of you are free"
   Follow me [13] on [14]#Friendica the world's best
   poly-centric social media platform, or from anywhere else on
   the [15]#Fediverse. Aren't you tired of big government backed
   corporations managing your social interactions?
   This Free message sent via a Free SMTP server running the Free
   Operating System GNU/Linux

      From: Arthur Torrey
   Subject: re: What search engine best at "Freedom-Respecting"?
      Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2022 13:05:06 -0500 (EST)

I found Duck Duck's results to be underwhelming, especially when doing things
like looking for technical documents on a product - DDG would return umpteen
places to BUY the product, but not manufacturer's websites, or manual pages,

I now use "Startpage" <[17]> which is based in the EU,
under the GDPR for whatever good that does...  They claim that they don't log,
monitor, or track searches or users.  Supposedly what they do is pay Google to
use their engine / database on an anonymous basis (all the requests to Google
are marked as coming from Startpage, not you) and make their money by doing
adds (that are clearly marked as adds) based strictly on the search terms used,
which seems reasonable.  I believe they also have some 'premium' extra cost
services like VPN's, etc.

They do have some sort of javascript that is reported by NoScript, but I'm not
sure if it's proprietary or free...  (I haven't checked)


Arthur Torrey - <[18]>
 From: Abe Indoria
 Subject: Re: What search engine best at "Freedom-Respecting"?
 Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2022 09:13:52 -0700

   (Oops, originally replied to author only, my bad)
   I was under the impression that SearX-ng (use the ng) can still be used
   to build an ad-profile of you. A major advantage of searX is that the
   more people use it, the more anonymous it gets. Otherwise, it's just an
   aggregator, and thus, Google/bing/Brave/DDG etc will still be tracking
   you if you're the only person to use it. Potentially anyhow.
   On the other hand, the benefits of searx-ng are good enough for me to
   self-host and use it everyday.
 From: Paul Sutton
 Subject: Re: What search engine best at "Freedom-Respecting"?
 Date: Tue, 6 Dec 2022 15:12:37 +0000

   I would guess Duckduckgo is much better than the main search
   engines such as Google and Bing. There are several such as SearX which
   are more decentralised, but can also be self hosted, which that comes
   with the price tag of time, resources, cost and effort to set up and
It probably depends what you want or are looking for.


Paul Sutton, Cert Cont Sci (Open)
OpenPGP : 4350 91C4 C8FB 681B 23A6 7944 8EA9 1B51 E27E 3D99
Mastodon : @[20]
 From: Don Saklad
 Subject: What search engine best at "Freedom-Respecting"?
 Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2022 11:50:41 -0500

What search engine best at "Freedom-Respecting"?




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