Free software proponent Richard Stallman has
issued a warning to free software users
that they may be using non-free
"Many users are aware that this issue applies to the plug-ins that
browsers offer to install, since they can be free or non-free," Stallman
said. "But browsers run other
non-free programs which they don't ask you about or even tell you
about-programs that Web pages contain or link to. These programs are most often
pages," but is now used for much more. "Many sites still use
jobs," he said. "For instance, Google Docs downloads into your
form that we could call 'Obfuscript' because it has no comments and hardly any
white space, and the method names are one letter long. The source code of a
program is the preferred form for modifying it; the real source code of this
program is not available to the user."
Moreover, Stallman said:
program as free software, by distributing the source code under a free software
license. But even if the program's source is available, there is no easy way to
run your modified version instead of the original. Current free browsers do not
offer a facility to run your own modified version instead of the one delivered
in the page. The effect is comparable to tivoization, although not quite so
hard to overcome.
As to a course of action to address the issue, Stallman suggested:
In practical terms, how can we deal
First, we need a practical criterion
degree, this is a matter of designing a simple criterion that gives good
results, rather than determining the one correct answer.
Our proposal is to consider a
external script or is loaded as one, or if it makes an AJAX request.
In a reaction
post on Ajaxian.com, Michael Mahemoff
wrote, "However, most of the
Stallman's complaint is that it should instead be issued under free software