Maybe its time to rethink Mozilla products

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t3g
t3g
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Iscritto: 05/15/2011

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMALm1VthGY

In a nutshell, the Mozilla Corporation, which brings in $500 million a year and is the steward behind the Mozilla Firefox browser, has been in a lot of hot water lately. Hot water for recently adding tracking information to their browser from forcing extensions to alter your ads to tailor to whatever company pays them to show. They talk about an "open internet" but are willing to force DRM in the browser and censor you if you do not agree with them.

I know the other alternative is Chromium, but there still seems to be a bunch of issues around that browser too.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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Iscritto: 06/09/2014

name at domain wrote:
> In a nutshell, the Mozilla Corporation, which brings in $500 million a
> year and is the steward behind the Mozilla Firefox browser, has been in
> a lot of hot water lately.
How is their income relevant?

> Hot water for recently adding tracking information to their browser from
> forcing extensions to alter your ads to tailor to whatever company pays
> them to show.
What references are there for these claims?

> They talk about an "open internet" but are willing to force DRM in the
> browser and censor you if you do not agree with them.
Again, what references back up an alleged forced DRM? And if you're talking
about a Mozilla-hosted discussion forum censoring people, how is that an
issue which would give one cause to stop using their free software?

> I know the other alternative is Chromium, but there still seems to be a
> bunch of issues around that browser too.
Such as?

t3g
t3g
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Iscritto: 05/15/2011

> How is their income relevant?
They are a "non-profit" that accepts money for the corporation. A "non-profit" that will force your search engine to change depending on their business deal.

> What references are there for these claims?
If you read the link or watched the YouTube video, Mozilla has the power to remotely force extensions and that resulted in the Mr. Robot controversy.

> Again, what references back up an alleged forced DRM? And if you're talking
> about a Mozilla-hosted discussion forum censoring people, how is that an
> issue which would give one cause to stop using their free software?
Mozilla implemented the encrypted media extensions before it was a W3C standard. They also fired an employee for not agreeing with them 100% and they also own the RiseUp email site. RiseUp is very inclusive and will kick you out if you do not follow their strict ideology.

> Such as?
The Chromium browser has been excluded from Trisquel for years due to inconsistent licensing and Ruben made a decision to exclude it instead of doing further research or blacklisting the libraries.

strypey
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Iscritto: 05/14/2015

I agree with most of t3g's criticisms of Mozilla, but I have to correct the erroneous claims about RiseUp.

"[Mozilla] own the RiseUp email site"

Mozilla have given some funding to RiseUp (mainly to fund the development of the Tails GNU-Linux distro AFAIK), but they do *not* own RiseUp. RiseUp is run by a self-governing collective of radical geeks, some of whom were/ are involved in the Indymedia open-publishing news network.

"RiseUp is very inclusive and will kick you out if you do not follow their strict ideology."

RiseUp is a hosted service provider, not a piece of software. They have every right to decide who they will and won't provide services to.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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Iscritto: 06/09/2014

name at domain wrote:
> They are a "non-profit" that accepts money for the corporation. A
> "non-profit" that will force your search engine to change depending on
> their business deal.

Perhaps you and Bryan Lunduke need to learn more about incorporation and
non-profit status so you can put together a complete argument that makes
sense. In any case, your inchoate expression above doesn't in any way
clarify why we should question running Mozilla's free software. Even
Lunduke's vague non-argument about non-profits is one he says (around
7m53s) "doesn't make them [Mozilla] untrustworthy".

You and Lunduke use the word "force" to refer to how a free software
program runs, this makes no sense. If you don't like how Firefox sets your
default browser or anything else Firefox does, you have the freedom to
change it to make it behave how you wish. Even proprietary software
supporters wouldn't agree with your use of the word "force" here because
they'd point out that you have other options of browsers (for them,
switching to some nonfree browser where you have no software freedom is
considered to be an alternative). Ironic that with software freedom you
have more choices to make something you don't really need (trust in
Mozilla) come true.

> If you read the link or watched the YouTube video, Mozilla has the power
> to remotely force extensions and that resulted in the Mr. Robot
> controversy.
I did read the article and watch Lunduke's video ramble. There's plenty of
anger there but very little substance, and it's all predicated on something
completely unnecessary -- trusting Mozilla. The Lunduke Show video
ramble[1] claims "Mozilla is not trustworthy" but never explains why one
needs to trust them in light of software freedom.

Running software one didn't write has always posed a threat to users.
Running code without fully knowing what that code does is inherently
dangerous. With nonfree software all one has is blind faith that the
proprietor won't screw them. But with free software users are granted
permission to run, inspect, share, and modify the code. Users can choose to
make sure it is acceptable to them. This means with free software one
doesn't need to trust the publisher.

Both the article and video seem more interested in trying to manufacture an
controversy out of very little; the solution is clear and has remained the
same for decades -- use your software freedom to vet the software you run,
and respect software freedom for others so they can help themselves and
possibly help you vet free software too.

It's not clear how this issue with Looking Glass rises to something more
serious than a bungled PR effort and poor communication from Mozilla.
TheVerge's article doesn't address this and neither does the ridiculously
long Lunduke YouTube video.

What's also telling is how neither the article nor the video you pointed us
to even get into the practical consequences of valuing software freedom for
its own sake. Inspecting and improving the code mean that we don't need to
trust Firefox.

Neither that article nor that video get into how nonfree software published
by known NSA partners (such as Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, and
Microsoft's MSIE & Edge but there's no reason to limit this to web
browsers) pose a considerably greater threat to users than any free
software (regardless of publisher). I don't recall seeing anything railing
on them (neither in the specific sources you pointed us to nor in any other
posting) despite that those security problems are more serious because the
software is nonfree; users lack permission to inspect for the problem,
modify the software to fix the problem, or distribute a fix to others.

Can you provide a reference in the code for the Looking Glass add-on that
grants Mozilla the power you claim they have in light of the fact that one
can choose to edit out Looking Glass (if they're running a version of
Firefox where this is included) or not install Looking Glass (if they're
running a version of Firefox where Looking Glass is not included)?

> Mozilla implemented the encrypted media extensions before it was a W3C
> standard. They also fired an employee for not agreeing with them 100%

The first item conflicts with the freedom users have to make Firefox behave
as they wish, and the second item isn't clear why that should give one
cause to avoid using Mozilla's free software.

[1] Lunduke is pretty clueless here: consistently mispronouncing the word
"Mozilla" as "Motzilla" (there's no "t" in their name), directly
contradicting his own thesis (around 6m30s) in neighboring sentences: "This
is not an opinion on my part. I guess that my opinion is that they're not
trustworthy based on these facts...". He does this again in his own
ignorance of the terms "foundation" and "corporation" around 7m where he
seems to be finding fault with the difference between what he reads into
the terms he doesn't define versus what he describes to be the case (thus
vaguely complaining that Mozilla makes money and publishes free software
for hire).

FindEssential
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Iscritto: 08/23/2017

Chromium (not Chrome which is clearly not free) has a multi-license set-up, which adds a lot of complexity to assessing issues as it relates to copy-left. The most obvious issue is that some mainline components use the MS-PL license in part, which is not GPL compliant. That is the most obvious, but I am sure there is more because the browser is a collection of several projects, with each contributing licenses to the end product. The project also changes components over time, so its level of copy-left compliance can shift from version to version. Another issue is that the Google portion of the code uses the "BSD License" which is actually several licenses of which only some are GPL compliant. One would have to read the actual license to assess which version it is as I have only seen it referred to in this super unhelpful shorthand in any kind of summary.

Firefox in contrast uses a single, GPL compliant license (the MPL v. 2.0+) for all compontents making the only issues related to freedom being branding and access to third party add-ons which may carry different licenses.

Magic Banana

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Iscritto: 07/24/2010

There are other problems. See the "Blocked on" list on the left of https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=28291

FindEssential
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Iscritto: 08/23/2017

oh ya, I know. I'm just tired of people posting stuff the effect that no one has personally explained to them why it is not available...without ever trying to figure it out on their own. The example I used is right on the Wikipedia page for those so inclined.

ADFENO
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Iscritto: 12/31/2012

We are getting our hands dirty in order to make that huge evaluation
happen. To give you an idea, a git clone of the source code takes around
two hourse, a check made by FOSSOlogy takes more than two days.

See [1] for a possibly (already) outdated evaluation, and if you want to
make this evaluation happen, talk to jxself, he has a FOSSOlogy instance
running specifically for Chromium

Also, as I said in #peers in chat.freenode.net IRC, if there's no
evaluation for a specific software, we can only assume it to be non-free
for now, but keeping note that software changes the freedom status over
time, and since less people want to get involved in the evaluation, we
can only assume the worst conclusion in case of software: it'd be
non-free.

I would like to contribute but FOSSology doesn't seem to allow me to
take work for offline use like Git, Bazaar, CVS or other RCSs/VCSs would
and I don't have stable internet connection now, so I can't do much from
here.

[1] https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Talk:Chromium

2017-12-21T21:30:31+0100 name at domain wrote:
> oh ya, I know. I'm just tired of people posting stuff the effect that
> no one has personally explained to them why it is not
> available...without ever trying to figure it out on their own. The
> example I used is right on the Wikipedia page for those so inclined.
>

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calher

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Iscritto: 06/19/2015

> See [1] for a possibly (already) outdated evaluation, and if you want to
> make this evaluation happen, talk to jxself, he has a FOSSOlogy instance
> running specifically for Chromium

jxself is helping to eval Cr? THANK YOU!!! :D :D :D :D

bobstechsite

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Iscritto: 12/10/2017

It will be interesting to see what comes from Mozilla's apology. https://blog.mozilla.org/firefox/update-looking-glass-add/

Personally I've switched machines that were using Firefox over to GNU IceCat. Still using Abrowser on my Trisquel box though.
(I don't really understand the logic behind people fleeing to Chrome. That feels a bit like leaping out of the frying pan and into the fire because you can smell smoke! :D)

chaosmonk

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I am a translator!

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Iscritto: 07/07/2017

Installing the addon automatically was indeed a mistake. I believe that it was an honest mistake on Mozilla's part, as I'm sure they value their privacy-respecting image over a game, but it certainly erodes trust.

The addon in and of itself doesn't seem malicious, and because it is libre software any undesirable features could be removed. Since the addon was disabled by default, it did not affect anyone who did not want to use it. If the addon were proprietary it would be a more serious issue, as Mozilla should not push proprietary software.

However, Mozilla already had a policy of recommending non-free addons. Fortunately, Firefox is free software so others have been able to fix this and other problems in Abrowser, Icecat, Tor Browser, etc. There were already reasons to use these forks instead of Firefox, and Mozilla has not impaired our ability to do that, so little has changed as far as I'm concerned.

Mozilla did make a mistake, and I hope they learn from it, but even if they aren't as serious about privacy as they claim they don't even begin to compare to Google. Google doesn't even pay lip service to privacy. They try to train us not to value our privacy so that we will give it to them gratis and they can sell it. So far they are winning.

When Firefox 57 came out, I saw people switch from Chrome for the better performance. (Not that anyone should use Chrome regardless of performance, but whatever.) When people I know installed Firefox and were prompted to configure their privacy settings, it got them thinking about their privacy. Knowing that I'm already healthily paranoid, they began asking me questions about internet privacy. If Mozilla is teaching people to care about their privacy again, they are a valuable ally regardless of how well they deliver.

serval
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Iscritto: 09/04/2014

New versions of Firefox have a setting in Preferences > Privacy & Security: "Allow Firefox to install and run studies". If I remember correctly, it is checked by default.

I just wonder if they installed this add-on only for those users who had this setting checked. I read Mozilla's apology linked by bobstechsite, but this sentence sounds as if they would install the add-on anyway: "Instead of giving users the choice to install this add-on, we initially pushed an update to Firefox that installed the “Looking Glass” add-on for English speaking users."