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A few months ago, Microsoft decided to collaborate with Google and drop its web engine in favor of Google's.

Earlier this week, Google blocked all ad blockers, and now Microsoft has de-listed UBlock Origin (a powerful ad-blocker). Without real choice, monopolies will dictate what you see and do on the Internet.

Real choice comes with Free/Open Source Software.

Wow this post blew up!

For anyone who liked it... I co-host a podcast about User Freedom with @cwebber called @librelounge which you can check out at librelounge.org

@emacsen funny, I still see uBlock Origin just fine in the MS Store app and website. Completely agree with the rest though, Chrome is a cancer on user agency

@emacsen I guess what I'm seeing is just for EdgeHTML based Edge then. More of the bullshit that comes with switching to Google's anti-user browser.

@sir I think @emacsen refers to switch Edge to use Blink. I admit that Bing's results would improve if the were just a front-end for Google, but I can't see Microsoft doing that.

@emacsen Firefox is a really good alternative, considering that with the latest updates is very fast

@emacsen @nleigh

what appears on the MS store can be random and inconsistent anyway. I had a few months of a desktop delivering the entire MS Store in Welsh - in spite of me not turning off geolocation, using a static IP and every other computer in the building correctly realising I am completely the other side of Britain in Eastern England 😆

@emacsen

too bad the “living standard” is too complex to keep up with unless you have a big corporate backer.

megas can have their own platform. we need something that’s maintainable by a free software community. web is too big.
@xj9 @emacsen come home to gopher protocol serving plaintext and, at most, HTML 3.2 using the h type
@roka @emacsen

come home to the sweet taste of shattering the grand illusion. come home to gopher.

@xj9 @roka @emacsen I don't know what the problem with HTML is; just like gopher it is just text right? Isn't the real problem CSS/JavaScript/Flash/any other add-on? 🙃

@RyuKurisu @xj9 @roka @emacsen Exactly. HTTP can serve plain text files. And it supports native, standardized TLS security - which Gopher doesn't. I drank the Gopher kool-aid a few years ago (even wrote some Gopher software) but I eventually realized it's just retrotechfetishism. Protocol-wise, Gopher is pretty limited. It accomplishes nothing that can't be done with simple text-only web pages. Web designers and the ad/tracking economy ruined the web, not the underlying HTTP protocol.

@xj9 @emacsen I do expect the net to split between commercial services and open federated platforms going forward, it's possible that they could diverge to the point of incompatibility even.

I think that open federated platforms have a huge practical advantage because they can talk to each other. This directly provides value to the users as it allows moving information freely between them.

@emacsen

> Real choice comes with Free/Open Source Software.

Perhaps, but my question would be what assurances do we have that Mozilla will not follow Google in this matter? If history is much of an indicator, Firefox trends after Chrome in both form and function. And eliminating Chromium(-based) and Firefox - what other FOSS browsers have sufficient features, devs, and community to persist for the long term? Especially in a world where Blink does and will continue to set web standards?

@sean Because if it does, we can fork it.

Chromium is Free as well, but Google has a history of making those lines blurry.

Mozilla has no such a history.

@sean In the meantime, Iceweasel and Chromium do exist.

@emacsen Iceweasel is a re-branding and Chromium will have the same ad blocker killing API change.

Show me a modern. feature-complete FOSS browser that is not dependent upon Chromium or Firefox code. There really aren't any (I've looked).

> not the only requirement

That's what I'm saying. We can't simply wave our hand and say "FOSS is the answer." Because that's only part of it. In a way, we (the FOSS community) have gathered our fetal chickens into a very small number of rickety baskets.

@sean These are the exact topics we discuss on @librelounge

We actually did a 2 part series on Free Software funding models.

@emacsen I think it should also be noted that one of those two major parties owes a great deal of its income to the other.

@sean @emacsen Free & open source browser with no dep on Chrom* or Firefox: Konqueror+KHTML (KHTML being the basis for webkit)

@klaatu @emacsen I may be misinformed, but I thought that KHTML was essentially in "life support" mode? As far as I know, active development on that engine ended in 2016.

Tbh, I was not aware that Konqueror was still in active development.

@sean
Waterfox, Pale Moon and Ice Cat are doing pretty well as forks. Waterfox in particular would have no problem forking the codebase and gutting the offending code out, it's what they're doing now.
@emacsen

@emacsen I think that sentiment is naive (no offense meant). Sure we could fork Firefox. We could fork Chromium, too. But without sufficient resources to maintain a fork - it withers and dies. Therein lies my point. Chromium and Firefox are both FOSS. One is controlled by Google, the other by Mozilla - major orgs with lots of money to throw at dev and maintenance. Now go find another FOSS browser not based on Chromium (I've tried). Small projects, one-man shows, often lacking key features.

@sean Free Software is a prerequisite. It's not the only requirement for User Freedom.

@emacsen UBlock is great, I wonder if we’re heading towards a crack-down on ad blockers.

@donblanco @emacsen Brave's placing their own ads is only going to be used to muddy the waters around the ethics of ad blockers.

There's a HUGE difference between blocking ads because they're annoying and blocking them in order to place your own in order to make money. We need to keep it very clear that we block ads because we find them annoying and don't want to be tracked, NOT as a mechanism to divert money from publishers to VCs.

@emacsen Firefox Forever. Mozilla has its issues but I still feel they’re one of the new organizations that still believes in a free and open internet.

@emacsen If browsers are taken away from us, we are going to see more things like Pi-hole https://pi-hole.net/

@emacsen
Where's the source for Microsoft giving up on its search engine in favor of Googles? Can't find it and the Duck won't help. :P

@Gluk @emacsen "Web engine" referring not to search engine but the browser engine - Edge will be based on Chromium.

@vecna @emacsen

Ach. Now I see. ^^ But it makes no sense at all unless they intend to fix chromes ram-eating problems.

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