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Re: Web versions

From: Jacob Bachmeyer
Subject: Re: Web versions
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2021 21:08:58 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20090807 MultiZilla/ SeaMonkey/1.1.17 Mnenhy/

Jean Louis wrote:
* Jacob Bachmeyer <> [2021-03-16 10:30]:
   3.  Web apps stored on "the cloud" are bad because they often do not
respect the user's freedoms, as even if the software is under Free license
terms, technical issues can make running a modified version difficult or

Just because there is possibility of abuse one shall reject the
technological opportunity?!

That is ridiculous, but we should still take steps to mitigate possibilities for abuses. After all, we have the GPL to mitigate the abuse of "walking off" with a copy of a Free program and making a proprietary derivative, and GPL3 was introduced to mitigate the abuse of Tivoisation.

 Or maybe you wanted to define "GNU operating
system" as only those software packages developed by GNU, but not
those software packages delivered with the GNU operating systems like
Parabola in my case?

The original request that started this discussion was a suggestion to port all of the software developed by GNU to WebAssembly to run in browsers. There are some packages, such as coreutils, for which that is obviously nonsensical. This does not mean that we could not support WebAssembly as a general compilation target, or that we could not build effectively a browser-based HURD port, (and HURD's architecture fits such an environment fairly well, treating the browser itself as a Mach-analogue) but generally relying on browsers is dangerously close to SaaSS.

I am sure that my Hyperscope system can be modified to run in any
browser. It will become possible to develop Dynamical Knowledge
Repositories as envisioned by Engelbart and request documents of any
kinds and see/view them without modifying the OS. Open up DJVU
document on any computer, use Emacs from any worldwide Internet cafe
or point, play your favorite game without installing anything on a
host computer.

Those are great.  That is something that *fits* the Web platform model.

For me, Webassembly does not dictate necessarily "external network
resources". Why not speak of the concept of running software in
Webassembly without using external network resources, such as it is
GNU Health, that could eventually in future, run inside of Firefox or
modified Firefox browser in local area network. That is useful. There
would be no need to install clients on every computer, it would be
just enough to run the computer even from the USB stick, fire up
browser, and one could manage the hospital. Software could be
downloaded for execution from local area network. GNU Health is part
of GNU system and GNU package, GNU software, routine operation of
hospital management is to run GNU Health to manage patients and their
health improvements.

GNU Health is another good example of a package that could usefully be ported to a Web-ish runtime, and SaaSS is not a problem if the servers are running Free software under your own control on your own LAN, as would be expected in a hospital installation.

I believe that "Who Does That Server Really Serve?" better applies
to these issues than "The JavaScript Trap" does: the former warns
against relying on systems outside of the user's control, even if
those systems are also running Free software, while the latter
applies to a widespread means of "sneaking" non-free software into
otherwise-Free environments under the user's proverbial nose.

Sure I understand that viewpoint. I just don't think of proprietary
viewpoint. There is plethora of free software already written for

You can install applications yourself, you can install them on your
computer or your local area server or your own server.

The original request was for GNU packages to be offered as SaaSS.

As platform for development of free software Webassembly is great
tool. Let us think of free software.

I agree with this point.

Or Vim editor ported to Webassembly: why we don't have Emacs running?

Probably because Emacs is a full Lisp runtime and vim is much simpler. I had to learn to use vim for a while when I had just gotten a new AMD64 system and Emacs had not yet been ported to x86-64. (Nor had X yet been adapted to support building both 32-bit and 64-bit libraries; Emacs gained x86-64 support before I had X multilibs.)

-- Jacob

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