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Why We Shouldn't Begrudge Commercial Open Source Companies 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the merge-those-benjamins-back-upstream dept.
Thinkcloud writes with a followup to recent news that Mozilla is once again looking into a do-not-track mechanism after having previously killed a similar tool, allegedly under pressure from advertisers. Canonical COO Matt Asay wrote in The Register that this is not necessarily the case, nor is Mozilla's decision necessarily the wrong one. "It's quite possible — indeed, probable — that the best way for Mozilla to fulfill its mission is precisely to limit the openness of the web. At least a bit. Why? Because end-users aren't the only ones with rights and needs online, a point Luis Villa elegantly made years ago. It's not a one-way, free-for-all for end-users. Advertisers, developers and enterprises who employ end-users among others all factor into Mozilla's freedom calculus. Or should." OStatic adds commentary that "Like it or not, commercial open source companies are still companies, and the economics of the online world have everything to do with their present and their future.
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Why We Shouldn't Begrudge Commercial Open Source Companies

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  • Tracking is evil (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KugelKurt (908765) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:22PM (#34469528)

    Tracking users without their consent is just evil. In no other medium are ad recipients tracked: Not in TV, not in print magazines, not on billboards.
    If they are tracked in other marketing efforts (eg. loyalty cards), the consumers gave their consent first.

    • by vxice (1690200)
      That is more an issue of can't than won't. And there has always been an attempt to track at some level. Nielson, demographic info of subscribers or topic of magazine, geographic location etc.
    • by beakerMeep (716990) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:07AM (#34469802)

      I'm not sure explicit consent is required as much as a singular, easy-to-find method of opting out.

      It should be created in a way that doesn't cause websites to freeze or browsers to crash. If a website wants to require tracking in exchange for displaying content, that is their right, however the current state of things web apps just fail and crash and generally don't behave correctly when cookies aren't enabled or JavaScript is disabled.
       
      This is the very thing Mozilla (and the W3C) need to lead the charge on. No closed source company is going to push for this. In fact, this seems like part of why Firefox was created. IE had a hegemony on the market and it was harming to end users that they didnt protect privacy, implement standards, and was generally bloaty and insecure. If Mozilla cant hold true to their mission, perhaps it's time to fork it.

      • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @01:03AM (#34470088)

        Try of opting in. The default should be privacy, and anyone who wishes to can waive that right.

        • by nametaken (610866) *

          If you mean tracking (not advertising), I'd have to agree. Though in reality they'll just make sure you've somehow agreed to it via some long-winded legalese somewhere and the opt-out mechanism will only be enforced with be a cookie in your browser. Next time you clear cookies or use a different browser (or device), you've effectively opted back in.

          This is how tracking opt-out worked with Wide Open West's (Cable ISP) tracking.

      • Re:Tracking is evil (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:26AM (#34470464)

        I'm not sure explicit consent is required as much as a singular, easy-to-find method of opting out.

        A very important addendum to opting out is that it needs to actually be opting out from being tracked.
        To the best of my knowledge, all of the various tracker-specific "opt out" methods do not stop them from tracking you.
        All they do is stop them from showing you advertisements based on the tracking information that they still collect.
        You aren't really opting out from being tracked, you are opting out from being reminded that you are being tracked.

        That needs to change.

      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        Try noScript.
      • If Mozilla cant hold true to their mission, perhaps it's time to fork it.

        Not a bad idea at this point...in the tech industry it's a natural cycle for David to become the next Goliath, but luckily with FOSS it's easy to reset that cycle at any time. Privacy-oriented forks of Firefox and Chrome would become overnight sensations with the geek community, and the knowledge will trickle down from there (and it really does work to some extent with knowledge, not like money).

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      That's only because those other mediums couldn't/can't track users like the Internet can. If they could, they'd have already been doing it for ages.
    • Everytime we talk about pirating copyright material, people on this site go up in arms about how we are now in the digital age and companies should learn to catch up with the times. "What was fine for older mediums, is no necessarily adequate for the digital age," we say, "Companies should changes their business models accordingly."
      Given that, your comparison to older mediums and their inability to track users is irrelevant. I do not say I agree to all this tracking, but comparison to "older business models

    • by cmdr_tofu (826352)

      What if you have an employee that you pay to say learn programming languages and write code. The employee tells you they didn't make any progress on projects this week because they spent their time learning. Do you as an employer have a right to know if the user spent 30 hours in non-work related websurfing?

      Technically looking over your employee's shoulder is tracking them without consent. However, I agree if an employer wants to track their emplyees they should make a clear a policy saying, "What you

    • I agree, but the do-not-track approach makes exactly as much sense as having computers send a do-not-hack message.

      I think the proper approach is to:

      1. Strictly limit, control and obfuscate information sites are able to collect about browsers. Sites have no right or need to know what OS you're running or your CPU architecture. They don't need to know exactly what browser you're running down to the build number and branding. They don't need to know your screen resolution, only the window size. Maybe there sho

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:23PM (#34469530) Homepage

    Richard Stallman was selling tapes of Emacs and GCC back in the 80s and made sure the GPL allowed selling.

    Here's his essay about how to do it but at the same time ensure it doesn't end up funding proprietary software:

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html [gnu.org]

    • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:31PM (#34469578) Homepage

      That is to say, commercialising a project can be done without spoiling the software.

      In the 80s, distributing tapes was one model. Teaching classes is another model (which RMS also did for GCC). In the 90s, service companies sprung up.

      Commerce isn't inherently bad. But it's also not inherently necessary.

      Advertising funds such a tiny amount of free software development, we shouldn't worry about losing it. There are other business models. Ones which rely on doing something useful which people choose to pay for.

      • Other business models work for certain products. It hasn't been viable to charge money for a browser since the 1990's. No one is going to take a browser training course. No one needs to hire an enterprise browser deployment specialist.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          How many programs do you have installed? 100? How many need to sell information about you in order to exist?

          Other than your browser, the answer's zero. In my opinion, including the browser, it's still zero.

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .etreufamla.> on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:23PM (#34469532)

    At least we have other Free Software Browsers that don't have any ties or financial interests in advertisement, like Chrome. Oh ... wait ...

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      You mean KHTML, which webkit and thus chrome descended from.

    • by fishexe (168879)

      At least we have other Free Software Browsers that don't have any ties or financial interests in advertisement, like Chrome. Oh ... wait ...

      Epiphany?

    • by Lennie (16154)

      The open source browser mostly created by Google is called Chromium. The browser Google delivers to the consumer is Chrome.

  • Well, ok then (Score:5, Interesting)

    by black6host (469985) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:23PM (#34469538)

    the best way for Mozilla to fulfill its mission is precisely to limit the openness of the web. At least a bit. Why? Because end-users aren't the only ones with rights and needs online

    Sometimes I think: fine. All the commercial entities can take the net and turn it into nothing but a big shopping mall with everyone's computer being nothing but a terminal with which they can deposit cash into somebody's pocket. Except for me, and others like me who understand what it was like to a run Fidonet node. For the hell of it, and for free. And I'm sure there's plenty of younger folks who just get tired of this stuff as well. Hell, I'm sure they could do it better than we did back in the day......

    Now get the hell off my lawn! :)

    • Re:Well, ok then (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:30PM (#34469576) Homepage

      Sometimes I think: fine. All the commercial entities can take the net and turn it into nothing but a big shopping mall with everyone's computer being nothing but a terminal with which they can deposit cash into somebody's pocket. Except for me, and others like me who understand what it was like to a run Fidonet node. For the hell of it, and for free. And I'm sure there's plenty of younger folks who just get tired of this stuff as well. Hell, I'm sure they could do it better than we did back in the day......

      You should go start a new on on port 81. I'm only 2/3 joking.

    • Nothing Is Free (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ancantus (1926920) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:42PM (#34469682) Homepage Journal
      Allow me to be one of the 'younger folk'. I agree that it can get damn annoying sometimes, flash advertisements and popup-spam come to mind. But in the end making, hosting, and maintaining a website does cost money. And no service is free. Instead of paying with your money, you pay for websites with your attention. If the 'cost' of privacy violation is too high (facebook), I wont participate. However if the service provided is useful and the adds/privacy isn't too bad (Google, Slashdot, etc.) I'll participate. I think the Canonical COO has a point, we as end consumers don't usually think about the people who have to fund the hardware that makes the web possible. I certainly hope their is some money to be made in the computer industry, or all this money I paid for college will be moot.
      • by Nursie (632944)

        If the ads get too annoying I will tell my computer not to fetch them (blocking tools).

        If that's not acceptable to the content providers, they are free not to serve me their content and I'm happy with their decision. It's a deal I'm perfectly happy with and I consider it in no way cutting off my nose to spite my face. The price of the implied contract is too high, neither party wants to enter into it.

        I'm prepared to put up with some advertising, just not most of the flash stuff.

        Privacy violation and trackin

        • The price of the implied contract is too high, neither party wants to enter into it.

          I think the root of the problem is that we do not have any other currency besides ad impressions. None of the "electronic cash" and micropayment ventures have taken root, so advertising has become the defacto micropayment system.

          I think that if we had a practical "electronic cash" system that was reasonably anonymous with effectively no per-transaction cost we would see the end of a lot of advertising on the net. I think that many people would be happy to pay $5-$20 per month for all of the websites that

          • I think that if we had a practical "electronic cash" system that was reasonably anonymous with effectively no per-transaction cost we would see the end of a lot of advertising on the net.

            It'll just become another revenue stream. We'll see a lot more pay-for-access websites that also advertise at you, and also track you.

            Think of subscription TV channels. In principle, these should be advert-free since the viewer has already funded the channel. In practice, I don't know a single one that doesn't also show

          • by ultranova (717540)

            I think that if we had a practical "electronic cash" system that was reasonably anonymous with effectively no per-transaction cost we would see the end of a lot of advertising on the net.

            Why would we? Show someone an ad and charge them for the privilege! It's not like a web browser can differentiate between an add and legitimate content, so it'll just end up paying for both.

            Business is not based on making some reasonable amount, it's based on fleecing your customers and other victims as much as possible. A

        • by Kjella (173770)

          If that's not acceptable to the content providers, they are free not to serve me their content and I'm happy with their decision. It's a deal I'm perfectly happy with and I consider it in no way cutting off my nose to spite my face. The price of the implied contract is too high, neither party wants to enter into it.

          If you look at the escalating war between ads and ad-blockers, it's obvious people want to see sites without ads that the owners don't want to offer without ads. Very few sites allow you to opt out of their advertising, that your ad blocker works is much the same way you can buy a newspaper and have someone go over it with a magic marker blacking out all the ads before you read it. It can be done, but the newspaper producer obviously doesn't want you to. It is rather disingenuous to say that "because they s

          • by Nursie (632944)

            Two things make it different -

            1. My browser has to request the ads separately, I wish to disable this behaviour. It's nothing like buying a newspaper and blanking bits out. It is (largely) active content that takes my bandwidth and resources to run, as well as annoying me.

            2. Some sites already block people that block their ads.

            I do agree that it's dubious at best to engage in any sort of arms race here. But here's the thing, at a fundamental level serving a page is something they do, actively, at my request

          • by Lennie (16154)

            I actually have 4 things to say about ads:
            1. ads - I'm kind of ok with that in general, people building websites got to eat
            2. tracking, datamining, history sniffing - I'm NOT ok with that
            3. busy attention grabbing ads which almost make it impossible to actually read the content - I'm NOT ok with that
            4. ads which are related to the content - I'm very much ok with that. This probably makes the most sense, I'll be most likely to click on them

        • by jolyonr (560227)

          > If the ads get too annoying I will tell my computer not to fetch them (blocking tools).

          The honest thing to do, if you find the ads on a website too annoying, is not to visit that website again. If you continue to want to use the website in question but block the adverts, you're using a service they provide to you (at their cost) without in effect paying for it.

          But publishers have to realise they can get what they want without intrusive advertising. It's only an arms race between advertisers to grab you

          • by jolyonr (560227)

            I should also point out for the sake of completeness that I do have google ads on my site as well, but to be honest they're proving pretty ineffective as a way of generating revenue, and I'll probably drop them.

            • by Nursie (632944)

              Your site sounds fine to me. I'm a reactive ad blocker rather than a proactive one.
              Annoy me with flash or sound and I will block ads. It's also quite likely I won't come back to your site.

              Make ads in context and inoffensive and I'll leave them be. Here's the problem though - any money you get from me loading the ads is probably pretty inconsequential. And I don't click on them. Ever. I'm generally not interested in new opportunities to hand over my credit card details online.

              OK, so 'never' was an exaggerati

      • Re:Nothing Is Free (Score:4, Informative)

        by Jimmy King (828214) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:31AM (#34469946) Homepage Journal
        There's always money to be had, but everything doesn't always have to be about money. As I say in my post just above to the GP here, I was around in those BBS days he remembers. You can actually do something that provides other people with a service and costs you time and money without trying to make money off of it and just do it because it's fun. Back in the day even actual businesses did that sometimes. There was a great BBS that was completely free run by the newspaper back in my home town. It had a bunch of registered doors, IRC style chat, etc. and no advertising at all, not even for themselves that I can remember. It wasn't about money, tracking users, spreading their name, etc. Just providing something cool and fun for the community.
      • But in the end making, hosting, and maintaining a website does cost money.

        Sure, about a hundred dollars per year, more or less. That's pocket change for most people in the developed world, less than a year's worth of lattes at starbucks.

        Moreover, if you don't insist on being the *only one* making your content available to the public, then you can always find others who are willing to mirror your content for free (that's on the 0.01% chance that your content becomes wildly popular).

        There's a reason

        • by Ash Vince (602485) *

          Be smart. Make interesting content, then put it up on a cheap website, and tell everyone they can mirror it as much as they want to.

          How do you get rewarded for the time you spent making the interesting content? Or do you have to do this only as a hobby and have a real paying job on the side?

          • How do you get rewarded for the time you spent making the interesting content? Or do you have to do this only as a hobby and have a real paying job on the side?

            Get your priorities straight. You don't care about running websites for the hell of it, you care about making money and you're only tangentially interested in running a website because you think that can make you the money you crave.

            Good for you, but it's off the thread topic. The comment I was responding to claimed that running websites fo

    • Get the hell off your lawn? I was hoping to come hang out and have a beer with another ex-BBS sysop. We hadn't gotten fidonet set up on ours when it finally died (a storm killed the modem on the first day of a 2 week vacation of the guy who's house the computer was in... lost just about all of our users), but there was still the paying for phone lines, a computer dedicated to the BBS, door registration, and so on. All with no requirement for users to pay up. Just because it was fun and cool to do.

      Man,

    • by Raenex (947668)

      Sometimes I think: fine. All the commercial entities can take the net and turn it into nothing but a big shopping mall [..]

      This reminds of a story from 1994: imminent drowning of the net in sticky brown liquid [furrs.org]

      It's a bit archaic since it talks a lot about Usenet (newsgroups), which has since been taken over by the Web.

  • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:33PM (#34469604)

    Is it just me, or is the author completely confusing the notions of privacy online with the open source movement? He mentions the comparison many times, yet the only relevant factor I can see is that Firefox happens to be open-source.

    In any event, if Mozilla is caving to the tracking mafia, I will cease to use it. And if Google is behind it, I'll have to rethink their services as well. The notion that I have to tell them everything I do to use online services is preposterous. Get a business model that doesn't depend on spying.

    • by jvillain (546827)
      No you are right on the money. What a surprise to see Canonical coming along and selling out the opensource world for what, about the billionth time.
    • What you mean is: "Get a business model that allows me to get free content, without advertisement and even if there are ads, do not target them in order to maximize your profits".
      I also do not like being tracked online. OTOH, I understand that in order for me to get so much for no money, I have to pay with something else. For me, the price is right. I agree to give up some privacy in order to be able to use a browser, web e-mail, encyclopedia and many more resources for no money. It is not really free, beca

      • What you mean is: "Get a business model that allows me to get free content, without advertisement and even if there are ads, do not target them in order to maximize your profits".

        Actually I don't, and if you don't mind I'll write my own lines.

        I also do not like being tracked online. OTOH, I understand that in order for me to get so much for no money, I have to pay with something else.

        Yep. Very much like ad-driven content on TV. Critical difference: *My TV doesn't spy on me.*

        I'm fine with ads. Counter to your incorrect assertion, I don't even use ad block. I'm fine with targeted ads based on what a company is able to learn about me from my interactions *with them*. What I don't want them doing is spying on what I do online when I'm not using their service.

        Put simply, I don't want any organization - commercial, govern

        • First of all, I didn't mean to put words in your mouth. What I meant is that the consequence of what you said, is what wrote in my OP. If I came out a bit condescending, my apologies.
          I agree that there is a difference between ads and tracking behavior, however my main point stands: Everyone of us gets to choose what trade-off he accepts for the services he uses.
          I use free services knowing that they track what I do. OTOH, since I don't want them to know everything about me, I choose what information I divulg

          • If I came out a bit condescending, my apologies.

            No worries.

            however my main point stands: Everyone of us gets to choose what trade-off he accepts for the services he uses.

            Ah, but do we? Can I turn on cookies but prevent sites from using each others' cookies? I'm fine with that trade-off on a company-by-company basis. I'm not fine with every website knowing everywhere I've ever been. And I don't want to make a decision between giving every site my full identity *or* turning off cookies altogether, making the web a pain in the ass to use.

            If someone goes on Facebook and writes everything they do, including their name, social status and underwear color - surprise, someone will collect this info.

            Correct, which is why my facebook profile is very generic. That's also not my beef. My issue is that if I go to xyz.com an

  • Something it wasn't meant to be.

    It's not a one-way, free-for-all for end-users.

    Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. If your model isn't working out for you, try another.

    • by fishexe (168879)

      It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes!

      Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. If your model isn't working out for you, try another.

      I think your analysis is a good general antidote to Internet misconceptions.

  • by LingNoi (1066278) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:39PM (#34469656)

    Why the hell is the COO of Canonical making news articles, doesn't he have a job to do? That's a serious conflict of interest in my opinion.

    Regardless he's completely wrong. He cites Mozilla doing smart business where Ubuntu isn't, catering to the advertising crowd. Well guess what's quickly being replaced by Chrome.

    The guy simply doesn't have a clue. He cites Red Hat licensing being better then the company he works for. I really don't understand why Mark would put this guy in such a high position so he can then simply shit on the company.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      Why the hell is the COO of Canonical making news articles, doesn't he have a job to do? That's a serious conflict of interest in my opinion.

      I find the suggestion that public figures and business leaders should have an opinion-ectomy on Day 1 completely absurd.

      I realise that I'm in the minority on this, but I don't buy the whole 'never admit weakness' thing. If a football quarterback admits that his team's got a weak mid-field, he's not saying anything people don't already know. He's just being honest about the situation. Saying so won't make it weaker.

      (Now if he starts telling secrets, like 'Joe's going in for surgery after Sunday's game...' we

      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        I find the suggestion that public figures and business leaders should have an opinion-ectomy on Day 1 completely absurd.

        There's a difference between having an opinion and broadcasting it in a what is regarded as a news piece.

        but thoughtful inquiry, analysis and criticism? No problem. I'll be in the front row, applauding.

        Perhaps you could point out the thoughtful analysis on what you yourself describe as opinion because I can't see it.

      • by yuhong (1378501)

        Not the only time this brokenness happened:
        http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/370034 [sinsofasolarempire.com]

    • Probably because Mark is just like him, he is a millionaire after all, went to space, a charitable man doesn't buy space trip, It's pretty clear that Mark wants to Embrace+Extend+Ensomething linux and maybe the whole of open source.

      He's not a fool, he saw a chance flying under MS radar. MS ans Apple are too determined to beat Free, why wouldn't they? Free has little over a 1% penetration on the desktop, for all that matters the battle has already been won. But Mark saw potential and decided to used his mo

  • They aren't exactly an open source company, but a company that has bought the prior commercial sponsors of open source packages. In many cases they then proceeded to bungle community interaction and knock some of the appeal off the original technologies among many decision makers.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Monday December 06, 2010 @11:58PM (#34469772) Homepage

    I think Matt's portrayal of FSF is disingenuous.

    He says that pressure from Google convinced FSF to not "close the ASP loophole", but that's not how it was.

    FSF wanted to close the ASP loophole (by putting the Affero clause into GPLv3), but many software developers and many companies were against this.

    This left FSF with the choice of producing their ideal licence, and few people using it, or producing a licence that was an improvement compared to GPLv2, and more people using it.

    The licence exists to give freedom to users and to protect distributors from patent attacks. It can't do these things if no one uses it! So FSF reluctantly left the Affero clause out of GPLv3.

    Same goes for the patent clause. FSF could have put a waaay broader patent grant into GPLv3, but then the patent holders simply wouldn't distribute any GPLv3'd software.

    Instead, FSF started with GPLv2 and looked at every section where they could get more freedom and more protections for the distributors and the users, while ensuring that it would be used by software projects and that companies would distribute GPLv3 software. That's what it means to be pragmatic.

    (Selling out your users is completely different and shouldn't be called "pragmatic")

    • by fishexe (168879)

      He says that pressure from Google convinced FSF to not "close the ASP loophole", but that's not how it was.

      Yeah, I have a hard time picturing Stallman's organization bowing to pressure from anyone, especially a major corporation.

      Instead, FSF started with GPLv2 and looked at every section where they could get more freedom and more protections for the distributors and the users, while ensuring that it would be used by software projects and that companies would distribute GPLv3 software. That's what it means to be pragmatic.

      That sounds more like the FSF I know. I don't often describe them as pragmatic, but given the choice between believing the story that they chose to write a license more devs would use, or believing the story that they bowed to pressure from one big corporation, the former seems about 1000x more plausible.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      This left FSF with the choice of producing their ideal licence, and few people using it, or producing a licence that was an improvement compared to GPLv2, and more people using it.

      Not to mention that it isn't an either-or. They DID create both the GPLv3 and the AGPLv3. I also think a large influence was the wish that people continue to use the "or any later version" on GPL code. The more radically you altered it, the more likely people would start creating "GPLv2 only" or "GPLv3 only" code. Anything people would consider a mass relicensing of their code rather that an upgraded GPL would kill all trust in future GPL versions.

  • by bugi (8479) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:15AM (#34469860)

    Once again, this conflates free as in beer with free as in freedom. Few of us would begrudge others the opportunity to make money. That's not the same thing as parting out our privacy. And if we do as he suggests, adopt the so-called "reasonable" position in the middle, then you can be quite sure our opponents will take that as our position and further demand to meet in the middle.

    No thank you. I insist on an open network that values freedom.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      I don't know that we have more freedom today or less with tracking. More effective and targeting advertising may mean less advertising and less obtrusive advertising. You remember what the web was like in 1998? Or for that matter what television is like today? Untargetted advertising requires far more advertising for the same bang for the buck.

      Heck I have mixed feeling about anonymity on the web. In the late 1980s and early 1990s when people all had real name accounts that tied to their workplaces you

  • Freedom? Sure. (Score:4, Informative)

    by taustin (171655) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:17AM (#34469876) Homepage Journal

    Companies have the right to offer their goods and services on the internet. They do not, however, have the right to force me to help them sell it to their customers (the customers here are the advertisers, not the users of Firefox or any other software). It is not my responsibility to help them prop up a broken, evil business model that can only succeed by taking away my choice to be tracked or not.

    When advertisers pay me to watch their crap, I might consider it, if the pay is high enough. Until then, it is up to me what I watch and who tracks me watching it.

    • by jbolden (176878)

      Since when are company's customer's advertisers when they are offering products? Advertisers are customers for free websites like this one, and vendors to pay ones. I think the least you could do is work your analogy to the point it makes sense and not conflate two different relationships.

  • by Aldenissin (976329) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @12:24AM (#34469906)

    ""Like it or not, commercial open source companies are still companies, and the economics of the online world have everything to do with their present and their future."

      Sure, the economies of the online world have everything to do with their present and future, which is PRECISELY why we can allow them to be spoiled. We have two choices, THE right way (and there is only one when it comes to freedom and openness, with honesty and well, openness), or the wrong way. Compromises are like bad apples, they spoil the whole barrel.

      We can find a solution to anything, but it is not by sacrificing our morals. Don't want to tell me what your doing by tracking me? Not in the spirit of open source; and you can go to hell, where your sins belong.

    • by bidule (173941)

      We have two choices, THE right way (and there is only one when it comes to freedom and openness, with honesty and well, openness), or the wrong way. Compromises are like bad apples, they spoil the whole barrel.

      Truth is a three-edged sword.

      Or are you saying you are part of the problem?

      • I looked up the phrase three edged sword, and it seems to mean your side, their side, and the truth. Are you implying I have my own side, which isn't the truth? Because, that is the only side I am on. In fact, that was that I was saying, there is only the truth, and anything else is not the truth, i.e. wrong.

        • by bidule (173941)

          I looked up the phrase three edged sword, and it seems to mean your side, their side, and the truth. Are you implying I have my own side, which isn't the truth?

          Mu [wikipedia.org].

          Because, that is the only side I am on. In fact, that was that I was saying, there is only the truth, and anything else is not the truth, i.e. wrong.

          False dichotomy [wikipedia.org].

          Truth is a wave function, you never know how it will collapse. There are as many truths as there are observers and if you think you've collapsed it you haven't dug enough. Unless you are omniscient, but then you can force it to collapse to your truth using omnipotence.

  • TFA is wrong, Mozilla has not the right or capability to keep me from using FF in any way I want.
    I compiled my OS & all the programs on it. Perhaps some FF users imagine themselves under the thumb of Mozilla?

    Firefox is open source. If Mozilla refuses to add important features we want, me (or someone like me), will make them available to you in source and binary forms.

    Everyone just chill out. If Mozilla is stupid enough to force this crap on its users, competitors will spring up instantly that offer e

  • Mozilla might want to add more tracking of its users.

    And some people wonder why Debian wants permission to distribute modified versions of Firefox.

    I run Iceweasel.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday December 07, 2010 @02:34AM (#34470498) Homepage

    In May, Mozilla engineer Dan Witte proposed a mechanism that caused cookies to automatically expire when a user closed his or her Web browser. (By comparison, most tracking cookies last for years). It only affected tracking cookies—not cookies that websites use to remember users' passwords or shopping-cart information.

    This is already pretty darn easy to accomplish in Firefox. Go it "Edit : Preferences : privacy." Uncheck "accept third-party cookies." Select "Keep until: I close Firefox." Under "exceptions," check "allow" for any sites that you frequently visit and want to stay logged in to between sessions.

    I don't mind surrendering a little privacy to corporations if they're willing to pay for it. That's what I'm doing when I use the preferred customer mechanism at the supermarket. That's what I'm doing when I get a magazine subscription for much less than the newsstand price. The problem with online advertisers is that they shoot themselves in the foot with their unrealistic expectations. They expect me to give them my information without any economic reward. They expect me to tolerate animated ads that distract me from the text I'm trying to read. Given that their behavior is so unreasonable, I'm willing to take the time to install adblock plus and configure firefox to reject cookies that aren't on my whitelist.

    • "Go it "Edit : Preferences : privacy." Uncheck "accept third-party cookies." Select "Keep until: I close Firefox." Under "exceptions," check "allow" for any sites that you frequently visit and want to stay logged in to between sessions."

      Instead, configure cookies only until you close Firefox, and install the Cookie Monster extension. That way, whitelisting a site is done with just a click.

  • Every Web user is an equal to every other Web user. We all have the exact same rights. We are all "end users". Everything the browser vendor does should be for the user of that browser.

  • Because end-users aren't the only ones with rights and needs online, a point Luis Villa elegantly made years ago. It's not a one-way, free-for-all for end-users. Advertisers, developers and enterprises who employ end-users among others all factor into Mozilla's freedom calculus. Or should.

    It seems like Luis Villa elegantly made just about the opposite point: in a world where GPL and other things intended to help end-users are increasingly playing into the hands of intermediate users, we should bring the rights back to the end-users. "I remain interested in the problem, though, since in the end I'm much more interested in the freedoms of users than the freedoms of sysadmins." Nowhere in Villa's article does he even mention the needs of advertisers, developers, or employers of end-users (tho

  • Sam Dean, who wrote the original article for OStatic was a bit incorrect in his definitions, "Like it or not, commercial open source companies are still companies, and the economics of the online world have everything to do with their present and their future" which got quoted in the summary on /. But if you read the article by " commercial open source companies" he means advertisers not companies releasing open source software to sell a support agreement or a commercial licensed version or ..... The poin

  • A corporation is there to serve my interests, if I have interest in it. They are a fictional entity created for monetary gain. They are NOT equivalent to a person, and NEVER should they be. When corporations start defining what we the people can do then they are overstepping their boundaries. I firmly believe the internet is there for the sole purpose of serving its users, nothing more.
  • Lynx had this feature back in 1997, and it was enabled by default. When you first visited a site that had cookies, it would ask you if you wanted to add that site to the white list. ((A) to accept cookies 'always')

    I'm pretty sure that Netscape also had white lists for cookies, the last time I checked.

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