On 29/04/15 22:42, Les Kitchen wrote:
> Given the state of the world we live in, I think the Mozilla
> people have adopted a difficult but justifiable compromise —
> giving users the option of interacting with DRM if they choose,
> from a free-software browser, with sandboxing to minimize
> abuses.
> I think that much the same arguments being made against
> Mozilla's stance on this could be applied to say that you
> shouldn't port Firefox to non-free operating systems, like
> Windows or even MacOS.  (Or, in extreme, even that you shouldn't
> port free operating systems to machines that don't have entirely
> free firmware and entirely open hardware design.)

You say "option of interacting with DRM" and then attempt to draw an
analogy between supporting EME, and supporting non-free operating
systems the browser can run on. But this analogy is flawed.

When we speak of Mozilla supporting DRM, we mean as a client to the
browser. That is - it is facilitating the user in restricting herself or
himself in ways that were not options prior to installation of the
browser. However when Mozilla supports operating systems that are
proprietary and incorporate DRM, they are not causing more harm to the
user - on the contrary, Mozilla is granting freedoms to people who would
otherwise most likely be running a proprietary browser that came
pre-installed with the operating system.

> You might strongly believe those arguments, but having
> free software (like Firefox, LibreOffice, The Gimp) ported to
> non-free operating systems has greatly increased the number of
> people using and aware of free software, and provides for
> ordinary people a transition path to using more free software
> and free operating systems.

I do agree. But in doing so, the ports are promoting free software. In
Mozilla supporting EME, Mozilla is supporting DRM and Netflix.

> Even in the early days, porting gcc and GNU tools to proprietary
> Unixes prepared the way for Linux.

Again, as it should be.

> For a long long time, free software will have to inter-operate
> with non-free systems.

"Inter-operate", "interact"... such vague terms. As previously
illustrated, it might be a problem or it might not be a problem,
depending on the situation.

> If we believe free software is a good thing, then we should work
> towards getting more people using and benefiting from free
> software.  And that means providing transition paths for
> ordinary people, even though those paths might not be entirely
> "pure".  This is going to be the work of decades.

Why would we want to have free software assist people in a transition to
DRM? Likewise, why do we want to make it easier for DRM providers to
restrict people? With that sort of attitude, it'll take more than
decades to complete our work - it will *never* be complete.

> We need to build a ramp so many people can move towards greater
> freedom, not a high wall that only the few can climb.  If free
> software is only some kind of ascetic practice for the few, then
> we're not really advancing freedom.

What's happening here is that Mozilla has created a ramp for people to
switch to a DRM-riddled video service in the browser. How is that a
greater freedom? They have the freedom to have their freedoms taken
away, sure... but that's the kind of backwards thinking which has
resulted licenses such as the FreeBSD license.

> I'm reminded of the saying, "It is permissible to walk with the
> Devil to get to the other side of the bridge."

And yet, there are some lines that shouldn't be crossed.

> I think our efforts would be better spent working against DRM
> itself (and more important the distorted copyright system
> underneath it), rather than firing a shot at an ally who's made
> an uncomfortable (but in my opinion justifiable) compromise.

Supporting DRM was a violation of its own manifesto, plain and simple.
"Compromise" is a weasel word. If feels like Mozilla is more interested
in being an ally on paper than through its actions. This can also be
seen from other angles not discussed here, but supporting EME is the
most blatant example to date.

> Just my thoughts on the matter.  If the letter represents the
> prevailing view of FSM, then at least it's giving those views an
> airing.

Of course. It's nice to hear from another perspective.


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