09.10.20

The Web is Becoming More Proprietary and Means for Accessing the Web Likewise (Now With DRM and With Limited — by Design — Compatibility)

Posted in DRM, Google, Microsoft, Standard at 3:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’ll get harder to stay a “Gnu”

Wildebeest and Zebras in the Maasai Mara
The first time I installed IceCat was about 15 years ago (it was still difficult to install); Mozilla has changed its spots since, so more Firefox alternatives may be needed

Summary: The Web is becoming a sordid jungle of Google-oriented proprietary browsers with DRM built in; this is a very sad situation and various people are increasingly sounding the alarm about it

THE LATE 90s were terrible for the World Wide Web. All the major Web browsers were proprietary (I used Netscape when it was still primitive, but I cannot recall the exact version number; prior to that I used pre-Netscape browsers, which were light and surprisingly simple although good enough to enter every Web site). Years later I used Konqueror, which I still use today, along with Falkon/QupZilla (the latter on older machines). Sometimes, especially when it comes to WordPress, I use Firefox too (I was a very early adopter of it, some time around spring of 2004 when the name “Firefox” was set in stone; I used “Mozilla” prior to that, along with Konqueror in S.u.S.E. 8.3). I’ve tried almost every browser over the years (as part of my job I had to test compatibility). Chromium is of no interest to me and the monoculture that develops around it reminds me of the MSIE monopoly days. Sure, it’s Google as opposed to Microsoft, but the threat is still real and oughtn’t be underestimated. Google plays a big role in insertion of DRM into Linux (yes, the kernel itself). Thanks for nothing, Google! You’re part of the problem and your bribes don’t sufficiently disguise that.

“Chromium is of no interest to me and the monoculture that develops around it reminds me of the MSIE monopoly days.”Mozilla Firefox is not inherently bad, but when shipped by Mozilla (not via Debian, which I use, as an ESR) it contains some bad things. Thankfully there are forks and branches of Firefox, including some that are (or were) associated with the GNU Project. I’ve used a few over the years. Some projects like WaterFox are in fact connected to surveillance giants and should thus be shunned (same surveillance company that covertly runs Startpage), so not everything Gecko-based is harmless. Mozilla really blew it with XUL because it betrayed a lot of developers and yesterday it revealed plans to charge extension developers (basically volunteers) to become visible.

Not a good direction. Is that like some new effort at finding a business model? Charging developers to participate or get more hits/users?

A lot of people don’t seem to understand that Chromium-derived browsers are “proprietary garbage”, as Derek explains in this new video. That’s true for Opera, Vivaldi, Edge, Chrome and many more.

“Mozilla helped save the (digital) world from MSIE monopoly, which deliberately held back development/advancement of the Web (Microsoft didn’t even bother with newer versions for many years). For that alone we should eternally be grateful to Mozilla.”However, there are pitfalls and gotchas. For instance, Firefox comes with what it calls “telemetry” (basically surveillance) and Google is the default search engine (because Google, a surveillance company, pays for it). Then there’s DRM which is right there ready to be enabled (EME) and there are some side issues such as Firefox hosting sub-projects or components under Microsoft (developed on Microsoft servers, using GitHub). There’s also that concern that Microsoft veterans are now in the board of Mozilla and Facebook veterans are in top management positions. Those are people who came from the surveillance industry, nothing less!

In our Daily Links we include as many links as possible about Mozilla because it’s still important to support this company (it also makes Thunderbird with PGP support after all) and right now all the major alternatives are proprietary and Google-centric.

Mozilla helped save the (digital) world from MSIE monopoly, which deliberately held back development/advancement of the Web (Microsoft didn’t even bother with newer versions for many years). For that alone we should eternally be grateful to Mozilla.

I will, for the time being, keep Firefox installed and use it to compose/publish posts (for 4 years prior to today I used QupZilla to do this). Mozilla relies on the goodwill of geeks and their eagerness to promote it to friends/family. My wife only uses Firefox because I advised her to avoid Google. If Mozilla messes up and throws away all this goodwill (to appease the wrong groups/interests), its market share will continue to erode. Putting Microsofters inside your board is a breach of trust, as was this move. Who are you trying to impress these days?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2020/09/10/microsoft-internet-explorer-gen2/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. GNU/Linux Turns 38 This Year, But the (Partly) Microsoft-Led Linux Foundation Wants You to Think It's Only 30 and a Good Friend of Microsoft

    What the Linux Foundation calls “Linux” (as its PR staff members refer to it in their new press release) is 38 years old, not 30. “Open Source” as a term did not formally exist yet, so this latest waffle makes no sense at all (the press release keeps mentioning a term that’s designed to attack and replace the original). But it’s part of a broader pattern of deception, attacking software freedom and pretending GNU never existed. Did money corrupt everything and is it too late to salvage truth, let alone freedom?



  2. Richard Stallman on Paid Smear Campaigns

    Dr. Richard Stallman on people who lie about him online (4 years after the older campaign of hate and distortion and half a decade before the current one, coordinated by groups funded by monopolies that dislike GPL)



  3. Links 22/4/2021: Grafana Goes for AGPLv3, Godot 3.3 Released, Mesa 21.0.3 Available

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 21, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 21, 2021



  5. Behind the Curtains of Cheap and Cheesy PR the EPO is a Machine of Oppression (Against Its Very Own Staff), Tribunal to Rule on Strike Busting

    The laughable regime of Campinos is a naked emperor with nothing but diplomatic immunity (almost not a single member of staff trusts the President) and the PR strategic front is becoming worse than pathetic; it's like the place is run by infantile career-climbing sociopaths with no qualifications, trying to weaponise a sea of money against staff, inquisitive media, and states (by bribing them or hiring lawyers to intimidate/bankrupt them); while the EPO still swims in money its reputation drowns too quickly to ever resurface, recover



  6. Links 21/4/2021: University of Minnesota Blacklisted Over Defects, Red Hat Satellite 6.9 is Out

    Links for the day



  7. Links 21/4/2021: VirtualBox 6.1.20, GCC 11.1 Release Candidate, Nginx 1.20.0

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 20, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 20, 2021



  9. Some People Who Asked to Be Removed From the Slanderous Hate Letter Against the FSF Are Still Being Denied Removal (But Not All)

    I am aware of some people (evidence is in the public domain for all to see) who asked to be removed from the hate list; their requests have not yet been processed, or simply denied. Maybe they should ask again. There are silent and selective changes.



  10. Overt Abuse and Mischaracterisations by Bully de Blanc

    The campaign to ruin the FSF and silence its founder, Richard M. Stallman (RMS), goes months prior to the hate letter set up by Bully de Blanc, her boss, and the Microsoft-sponsored OSI; they just attack the licence (GPL/copyleft) and they try to redefine things for the corporations which fund them



  11. According to StatCounter, This Month GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktops/Laptops Exceeded 2% (Based on Sites They Monitor)

    StatCounter does not monitor everything and not every machine connects to the Web, but in relative terms, based on the chart above, no doubt GNU/Linux continues growing relative to other operating systems (chart plotted based on the latest raw data, rendered in LibreOffice Calc)



  12. At the EPO, Lawlessness Has Become “a New Normal”

    Without as much as a real consultation with those who are impacted (by the EPO's gross infringements) the management of the EPO rushes ahead again, enjoying zero oversight, no legal review, and no accountability or scrutiny of any kind



  13. Links 20/4/2021: Tails 4.18 and Mark Surman in Mozilla's Board of Directors

    Links for the day



  14. Microsoft as a Censorship Machine Working to Undermine Free Software and Code Sharing (Also Sharing in General)

    Microsoft is, as usual, a tool of destruction rather than creation; it seems to be better at ruining things and censoring things, notably things that compete against Microsoft or pose a threat to Microsoft's business model (and close partners, such as RIAA)



  15. Phoronix Needs to Exercise Caution and Stay Vigilant/Careful of Microsoft

    Taking note or lessons from the blunder of Raspberry Pi (back in February), Phoronix should be careful of Microsoft 'freebies' as they're never free and there are strings attached, destined to alienate longtime supporters



  16. IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 19, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, April 19, 2021



  17. Links 20/4/2021: EasyOS Dunfell 2.7.1, Phoronix Takes Microsoft 'Freebies', Microsoft Trying to Steal Credit for Linux on Mars

    Links for the day



  18. Richard Stallman on How UPC is a Trojan Horse for Software Patents in Europe

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, offers his analysis of the Unitary Patent (or UPC) and what it means for software patents in Europe now that the EPO increases its influence over continental law



  19. Technology Can Make Life Worse, Even in the Public Sector, Not Just the Private Sector

    There are growing concerns — increasingly justified concerns as a matter of fact — that customer service is universally going away and “COVID” has become the impenetrable shield or a cover in the face of facts, laws, and basic rights



  20. Links 19/4/2021: LibreSSL 3.3.2, OpenSSH 8.6, Firefox 88

    Links for the day



  21. Time to Move to Gemini, Wherever/Whenever Possible, as the World Wide Web is a Burden on Everybody

    A 30-minute rant about what the Web has become and the promise of gemini:// (designed to simplify everything, enable self-hosting, preserve privacy, and empower communities rather than military-connected monopolies)



  22. The Number of Signatures in the Anti-FSF Petition is Decreasing, Not Increasing

    A reader has notified Techrights that belatedly, perhaps where people’s job is at risk (we’ve heard of stories and situations wherein the employer’s view and a worker’s view diverge), the GNOME Foundation/OSI did in fact remove some people from the hate letter they had set up for their monopolistic sponsors. We do, however, still see some names in there of people who asked to be removed, so it must be a very selective process. They don’t want to lose face, so they must have made it very difficult to revoke one’s name. Exceptional circumstances? We have checked to confirm, based on the available archives, and indeed that number decreased since 10 days ago, whereas 6,415 people have thus far signed the support letter (it's still growing), so we’ve just re-plotted the chart.



  23. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 18, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, April 18, 2021



  24. How Many People Developed GNU (Maybe Hundreds) in the 1980s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains how code was managed and contributed in the early days of GNU



  25. Links 19/4/2021: Linux 5.12 RC8, GNU Poke 1.2, EndeavourOS 2021.04

    Links for the day



  26. Proprietary Software (BT Hub) Has Ruined My Whole Day

    While we did have some plans to publish long articles, those plans were curtailed or at least delayed due to the fact our sole device at home not to be controlled by us (a so-called 'Smart' Hub from BT) decided to break itself and by doing so bring productivity to a standstill (that firmware update, silently installed without notice or any form of consent, managed to screw with the local network)



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 17, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, April 17, 2021



  28. Tolerating the Intolerant and Lacking Tolerance for Opposing Views

    The person who shouted...



  29. Letter of Support for Richard Stallman - Doing Better in Community

    "How do you support someone you’ve known for years who is unfairly attacked and publicly maligned?"



  30. Richard Stallman on Rejecting Workplace Bureaucracy in the 1970s

    Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation's founder, explains what inspired him to get involved in non-software matters


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts