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Why not Mozilla?

Ethan Carter Edwards
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Hey Brett,

I noticed in your recent blog post you said not to support Mozilla, any
reason why? They've made a Free (as in Freedom and price) browser
providing liberation from the chromium web. And they've funded and
supported a Free programming language, Rust.

Maybe there is something I'm missing...
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Ethan Carter Edwards <ethancarteredwards@gmail.com> writes:

> Hey Brett,
>
> I noticed in your recent blog post you said not to support Mozilla, any
> reason why? They've made a Free (as in Freedom and price) browser
> providing liberation from the chromium web. And they've funded and
> supported a Free programming language, Rust.
>
> Maybe there is something I'm missing...

Hello Ethan,

Thanks for reaching out to me regarding my recent blog post. While you
are correct that Mozilla has provided us with some free software, their
practices have been dubious for many years. Putting aside trademark
issues with Firefox and Rust, I want to point out their habit of laying
off their workforce[0], their absurd profits (up 400%) going to the executives of
their company amidst layoffs[1] all while Mozilla Firefox share is down
85%[2].

For information on their interesting Trademark guidelines that help
foster this level of abuse check out [3].

It has been made clearer time and time again that Mozilla's interests
are not to provide an ethical foundation for computing. As they
repeatedly bend to the whim of digital restrictions [4], questionable
care about privacy [5], and their semi-recent "marketing move" to enable
a backdoor to force install plugins from MrRobot [6].

There are more ethical alternatives out there. If you are fond of
Firefox, and wish to use something based on that software with ethics
preserved please checkout GNU IceCat [7].

Best,
Brett Gilio




[0]:
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/08/firefox-maker-mozilla-lays-off-250-workers-says-covid-19-lowered-revenue/

[1]
https://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/2013_Mozilla_Foundation_Fed_990_Public_Disclosure.pdf

[2] http://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html

[3] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/trademarks/policy/

[4] https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/enable-drm

[5] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/privacy/firefox/

[6]
https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/16/16784628/mozilla-mr-robot-arg-plugin-firefox-looking-glass

[7] https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/
Ethan Carter Edwards
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I see.

I wasn't aware of many of these. They do certainly alarm me. I had heard
of the trademark issue with FF and Rust and I thought the profits going
to the CEO was terrible, but I didn't realize it was this bad.

The thing stopping my from using something like IceCat is that
development doesn't seem very active. And there could be security wholes
no one knows about for that reason. What are your opinions on Brave? I
don't like it because of the url hijacking[0], and it just seems like an
advertising effort for their CryptoCurrency, Bat. And its chromium.
There doesn't seem to be any good options, there's also qutebrowser[1]
and surf[2] from the Suckless group. But they don't seem like viable
options, just projects that are cool if that makes any sense.

Thanks for the response,
	Ethan

NOTE: Sorry, forgot to cc the mailing list on the last email

[0]: https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/2020/06/06/the-brave-web-browser-is-hijacking-links-and-inserting-affiliate-codes/

[1]: https://qutebrowser.org/

[2]: https://surf.suckless.org/

On 20/10/07 02:38PM, Brett Gilio wrote:
> Ethan Carter Edwards <ethancarteredwards@gmail.com> writes:
> 
> > Hey Brett,
> >
> > I noticed in your recent blog post you said not to support Mozilla, any
> > reason why? They've made a Free (as in Freedom and price) browser
> > providing liberation from the chromium web. And they've funded and
> > supported a Free programming language, Rust.
> >
> > Maybe there is something I'm missing...
> 
> Hello Ethan,
> 
> Thanks for reaching out to me regarding my recent blog post. While you
> are correct that Mozilla has provided us with some free software, their
> practices have been dubious for many years. Putting aside trademark
> issues with Firefox and Rust, I want to point out their habit of laying
> off their workforce[0], their absurd profits (up 400%) going to the executives of
> their company amidst layoffs[1] all while Mozilla Firefox share is down
> 85%[2].
> 
> For information on their interesting Trademark guidelines that help
> foster this level of abuse check out [3].
> 
> It has been made clearer time and time again that Mozilla's interests
> are not to provide an ethical foundation for computing. As they
> repeatedly bend to the whim of digital restrictions [4], questionable
> care about privacy [5], and their semi-recent "marketing move" to enable
> a backdoor to force install plugins from MrRobot [6].
> 
> There are more ethical alternatives out there. If you are fond of
> Firefox, and wish to use something based on that software with ethics
> preserved please checkout GNU IceCat [7].
> 
> Best,
> Brett Gilio
> 
> 
> 
> 
> [0]:
> https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/08/firefox-maker-mozilla-lays-off-250-workers-says-covid-19-lowered-revenue/
> 
> [1]
> https://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/2013_Mozilla_Foundation_Fed_990_Public_Disclosure.pdf
> 
> [2] http://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html
> 
> [3] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/trademarks/policy/
> 
> [4] https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/enable-drm
> 
> [5] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/privacy/firefox/
> 
> [6]
> https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/16/16784628/mozilla-mr-robot-arg-plugin-firefox-looking-glass
> 
> [7] https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/
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Ethan,
I hope you're well.

Well, IceCat's development is as active as Firefox. IceCat is just a
libre version of Firefox.

Brave is great, as in concept but the fact that it's based on Chromium
makes it not trustworthy and a good option. What we have with Firefox
(and Firefox-based browsers) is the fight we have against Googlized web.

Firefox (and Firefox-based browsers) are supported by community and are
for open-web, mostly. However, Google's Chrome (and it's parent project,
Chromium) are there to support Google's benefit and desires.

Another thing is that unlike the popular opinion about Chromium, it's
not software libre. It has a lot of ethical and copyright (license)
problems.

On 10/7/20 11:28 PM, Ethan Carter Edwards wrote:
> I see.
> 
> I wasn't aware of many of these. They do certainly alarm me. I had heard
> of the trademark issue with FF and Rust and I thought the profits going
> to the CEO was terrible, but I didn't realize it was this bad.
> 
> The thing stopping my from using something like IceCat is that
> development doesn't seem very active. And there could be security wholes
> no one knows about for that reason. What are your opinions on Brave? I
> don't like it because of the url hijacking[0], and it just seems like an
> advertising effort for their CryptoCurrency, Bat. And its chromium.
> There doesn't seem to be any good options, there's also qutebrowser[1]
> and surf[2] from the Suckless group. But they don't seem like viable
> options, just projects that are cool if that makes any sense.
> 
> Thanks for the response,
> 	Ethan
> 
> NOTE: Sorry, forgot to cc the mailing list on the last email
> 
> [0]: https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/2020/06/06/the-brave-web-browser-is-hijacking-links-and-inserting-affiliate-codes/
> 
> [1]: https://qutebrowser.org/
> 
> [2]: https://surf.suckless.org/
> 
> On 20/10/07 02:38PM, Brett Gilio wrote:
>> Ethan Carter Edwards <ethancarteredwards@gmail.com> writes:
>>
>>> Hey Brett,
>>>
>>> I noticed in your recent blog post you said not to support Mozilla, any
>>> reason why? They've made a Free (as in Freedom and price) browser
>>> providing liberation from the chromium web. And they've funded and
>>> supported a Free programming language, Rust.
>>>
>>> Maybe there is something I'm missing...
>>
>> Hello Ethan,
>>
>> Thanks for reaching out to me regarding my recent blog post. While you
>> are correct that Mozilla has provided us with some free software, their
>> practices have been dubious for many years. Putting aside trademark
>> issues with Firefox and Rust, I want to point out their habit of laying
>> off their workforce[0], their absurd profits (up 400%) going to the executives of
>> their company amidst layoffs[1] all while Mozilla Firefox share is down
>> 85%[2].
>>
>> For information on their interesting Trademark guidelines that help
>> foster this level of abuse check out [3].
>>
>> It has been made clearer time and time again that Mozilla's interests
>> are not to provide an ethical foundation for computing. As they
>> repeatedly bend to the whim of digital restrictions [4], questionable
>> care about privacy [5], and their semi-recent "marketing move" to enable
>> a backdoor to force install plugins from MrRobot [6].
>>
>> There are more ethical alternatives out there. If you are fond of
>> Firefox, and wish to use something based on that software with ethics
>> preserved please checkout GNU IceCat [7].
>>
>> Best,
>> Brett Gilio
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> [0]:
>> https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/08/firefox-maker-mozilla-lays-off-250-workers-says-covid-19-lowered-revenue/
>>
>> [1]
>> https://static.mozilla.com/moco/en-US/pdf/2013_Mozilla_Foundation_Fed_990_Public_Disclosure.pdf
>>
>> [2] http://calpaterson.com/mozilla.html
>>
>> [3] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/foundation/trademarks/policy/
>>
>> [4] https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/enable-drm
>>
>> [5] https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/privacy/firefox/
>>
>> [6]
>> https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/16/16784628/mozilla-mr-robot-arg-plugin-firefox-looking-glass
>>
>> [7] https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/

-- 
Ali Reza Hayati / alirezahayati.com
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Hi Ali Reza, Ethan, all,

(Co)maintainer of GNU IceCat here; I thought I'd clarify a few things.

> Well, IceCat's development is as active as Firefox. IceCat is just a
> libre version of Firefox.

That's not entirely accurate.  While it is true that GNU IceCat is the
GNU version of the Firefox browser (more specifically, Firefox ESR), our
pace of making changes and cutting IceCat releases has often been slower
than our Firefox ESR upstream, and *much* slower compared to the rate at
which Firefox itself changes.  That is in fact part of the challenge:
there are *a lot* of changes accumulated in Firefox from one ESR release
to the next, and since IceCat ships with quite a few customizations
(mostly related to offering better privacy settings out of the box) on
top of a vanilla Firefox, it's more often than not quite challenging and
time-consuming to update/revamp our customizations and patches from one
ESR release to the next.  Further, the fact that there is not a lot of
documentation on Firefox's internals and Mozilla making breaking changes
to the internal APIs from one ESR release to the next adds even more
complexity and obstacles to keeping IceCat up-to-date with new Firefox
ESR releases.

Indeed, if you browse to https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/ you will
see that the latest official IceCat release is 60.7.0 from over a year
ago, which I could not in good conscience recommend anyone use, given
that Mozilla stopped providing security updates for it some time after
the release of the 68 series.  We (IceCat maintainers) put in quite a
bit of effort in preparing a 68 release for IceCat, but due to a variety
of reasons including lack of time we never got to making an official 68
release before it too stopped receiving security updates from Mozilla.

Now, with the 78 series, we're in a bit of a similar situation on doing
the required updates on our customizations and patches to make them
compatible with 78.  Actually our work is looking fairly promising so
far, and I'm really hoping we could make an official 78 release in the
not-so-distant future.

In the meantime, while we keep working on a 78 release for IceCat,
anyone looking to try our work so far can either build IceCat from
source (https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/gnuzilla.git) or grab the
`icecat' package from GNU Guix, which is currently on version
"78.3.1-guix0-preview1" and follows the latest development of IceCat
somewhat closely (the Guix package is written and maintained by Mark,
fellow IceCat (co)maintainer).  If you'd like to hack on GNU IceCat, we
would welcome your contributions and would be happy to receive any help
we can :-).  Feel free to email me privately off-list if you may be
interested.

Hope this helps shed some light on the GNU IceCat situation.

-- 
https://bndl.org
Free Software activist | GNU maintainer & webmaster
GPG: BE62 7373 8E61 6D6D 1B3A  08E8 A21A 0202 4881 6103
Ethan Carter Edwards
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On 20/10/07 10:42PM, Amin Bandali wrote:
> Hi Ali Reza, Ethan, all,
> 
> (Co)maintainer of GNU IceCat here; I thought I'd clarify a few things.
> 
> > Well, IceCat's development is as active as Firefox. IceCat is just a
> > libre version of Firefox.
> 
> That's not entirely accurate.  While it is true that GNU IceCat is the
> GNU version of the Firefox browser (more specifically, Firefox ESR), our
> pace of making changes and cutting IceCat releases has often been slower
> than our Firefox ESR upstream, and *much* slower compared to the rate at
> which Firefox itself changes.  That is in fact part of the challenge:
> there are *a lot* of changes accumulated in Firefox from one ESR release
> to the next, and since IceCat ships with quite a few customizations
> (mostly related to offering better privacy settings out of the box) on
> top of a vanilla Firefox, it's more often than not quite challenging and
> time-consuming to update/revamp our customizations and patches from one
> ESR release to the next.  Further, the fact that there is not a lot of
> documentation on Firefox's internals and Mozilla making breaking changes
> to the internal APIs from one ESR release to the next adds even more
> complexity and obstacles to keeping IceCat up-to-date with new Firefox
> ESR releases.
> 
> Indeed, if you browse to https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/ you will
> see that the latest official IceCat release is 60.7.0 from over a year
> ago, which I could not in good conscience recommend anyone use, given
> that Mozilla stopped providing security updates for it some time after
> the release of the 68 series.  We (IceCat maintainers) put in quite a
> bit of effort in preparing a 68 release for IceCat, but due to a variety
> of reasons including lack of time we never got to making an official 68
> release before it too stopped receiving security updates from Mozilla.

I see, that's why I was under the impression that development wasn't
active. I had looked at the page and saw a very outdated version.

> 
> Now, with the 78 series, we're in a bit of a similar situation on doing
> the required updates on our customizations and patches to make them
> compatible with 78.  Actually our work is looking fairly promising so
> far, and I'm really hoping we could make an official 78 release in the
> not-so-distant future.

Hopefully so. 

> 
> In the meantime, while we keep working on a 78 release for IceCat,
> anyone looking to try our work so far can either build IceCat from
> source (https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/gnuzilla.git) or grab the
> `icecat' package from GNU Guix, which is currently on version
> "78.3.1-guix0-preview1" and follows the latest development of IceCat
> somewhat closely (the Guix package is written and maintained by Mark,
> fellow IceCat (co)maintainer).  If you'd like to hack on GNU IceCat, we
> would welcome your contributions and would be happy to receive any help
> we can :-).  Feel free to email me privately off-list if you may be
> interested.

I'm not on Guix, but I am on Arch, I'll clone the repo and try to build
it :). I would love to contribute but I'm not sure where I would start.

> 
> Hope this helps shed some light on the GNU IceCat situation.
> 
> -- 
> https://bndl.org
> Free Software activist | GNU maintainer & webmaster
> GPG: BE62 7373 8E61 6D6D 1B3A  08E8 A21A 0202 4881 6103
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Ethan Carter Edwards <ethancarteredwards@gmail.com> writes:

>
> I'm not on Guix, but I am on Arch, I'll clone the repo and try to build
> it :). I would love to contribute but I'm not sure where I would start.
>

I am going to refer you back to Amin Bandali, here. He is one of the
maintainers of GNU IceCat and the Gnuzilla suite of tools. You might
also consider joining the mailing lists here [0], introduce yourself and
ask what the status is :).

Best wishes,
Brett Gilio


[0] https://savannah.gnu.org/mail/?group=gnuzilla
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Ethan Carter Edwards <ethancarteredwards@gmail.com> writes:

>
> I'm not on Guix, but I am on Arch, I'll clone the repo and try to build
> it :). I would love to contribute but I'm not sure where I would start.
>

I am going to refer you back to Amin Bandali, here. He is one of the
maintainers of GNU IceCat and the Gnuzilla suite of tools. You might
also consider joining the mailing lists here [0], introduce yourself and
ask what the status is :).

Best wishes,
Brett Gilio


[0] https://savannah.gnu.org/mail/?group=gnuzilla
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Hi Ethan!

On Wed, Oct 07, 2020 at 03:58:49PM -0400, Ethan Carter Edwards wrote:
> There doesn't seem to be any good options, there's also qutebrowser[1]
> and surf[2] from the Suckless group. But they don't seem like viable
> options, just projects that are cool if that makes any sense.

If it's worth, I've been using qutebrowser as my daily driver for a
while now (+- 6 months) and I can't look back no more, it's not for
hard/pro users like surf and it's very customizable, the only issues
I've had so far are related to some of the default keybinds.

On the sense of options, there are Midori (from the elementaryOS I
guess?) as well, which I've recently discovered that there's even a
Android version.

Thanks,
Pedro Lucas
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Pedro Lucas Porcellis <porcellis@eletrotupi.com> writes:

> If it's worth, I've been using qutebrowser as my daily driver for a
> while now (+- 6 months) and I can't look back no more, it's not for
> hard/pro users like surf and it's very customizable, the only issues
> I've had so far are related to some of the default keybinds.
>

It was some years ago, but I remember enjoying qutebrowser. I can't
recall if I mentioned Nyxt which is written in Common Lisp (and is
extensible as in Emacs) https://github.com/atlas-engineer/nyxt

-- 
Brett M. Gilio
<brettg@gnu.org>
https://brettgilio.com
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I am just starting to try out: https://www.waterfox.net/

There are other Firefox forks as well. I would prefer to have access to some add ons I guess. These projects appear to have active development. 


-- 
  Shreyas Ragavan
  sr@eml.cc
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"Shreyas Ragavan" <sr@eml.cc> writes:

> I am just starting to try out: https://www.waterfox.net/
>
> There are other Firefox forks as well. I would prefer to have access to some add ons I guess. These projects appear to have active development. 

Looks to be free software. Thanks for sharing. Do you know if it has DRM
support available? I would like it if it DOES NOT.

Thanks

-- 
Brett M. Gilio
<brettg@gnu.org>
https://brettgilio.com
Ethan Carter Edwards
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On 20/10/09 07:30PM, Brett Gilio wrote:
> Ethan Carter Edwards <ethancarteredwards@gmail.com> writes:
> 
> >
> > I'm not on Guix, but I am on Arch, I'll clone the repo and try to build
> > it :). I would love to contribute but I'm not sure where I would start.
> >
> 
> I am going to refer you back to Amin Bandali, here. He is one of the
> maintainers of GNU IceCat and the Gnuzilla suite of tools. You might
> also consider joining the mailing lists here [0], introduce yourself and
> ask what the status is :).

Sure thing :). Thanks for the link, I'll be sure to send a message over.

> 
> Best wishes,
> Brett Gilio
> 
> 
> [0] https://savannah.gnu.org/mail/?group=gnuzilla

-- 
Ethan Carter Edwards
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Secondary: ethancarteredwards@outlook.com
Website: https://ethancedwards.com
Blog: https://blog.ethancedwards.com
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