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[News] Why Proprietary Software is Harmful

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The annoyances of proprietary Firefox extensions

,----[ Quote ]
| As a regular browser of the Firefox Add-ons site, I'm troubled by the 
| apparent proliferation of proprietary extensions in the last year. Maybe I've 
| simply exhausted the free-licensed extensions that interest me, but recently 
| every interesting-looking extension seems to be a proprietary one -- 
| especially in the recommended list. Nothing, of course, in the Mozilla 
| privacy or legal notice prohibits proprietary extensions simply because they 
| are proprietary, but I find them not only contrary to the spirit of free and 
| open source software (FOSS), but, often, annoying attempts to entangle me in 
| some impossible startup.        


A balance of freedoms

,----[ Quote ]
| We balance freedoms (sacrifice one freedom for another) everyday. We 
| sacrifice the freedom to do whatever we want to live in a society where laws 
| keep us safe. And we'd rather be safe than do the things that are illegal 
| (well most of us anyway). So we sacrifice a freedom we wouldn't exercise (to 
| commit crimes) for ones we do want to exercise (to live without being the 
| victim of crime).     
| Software example: Skype
| You could sacrifice the software freedom so that you can have the freedom to 
| communicate with family and friends who use skype. 
| OR
| You could sacrifice the freedom to communicate with friends and family via 
| Skype so that you can retain software freedom - the freedom to 
| use/study/modify/share the code.  


Software sucks, or why I don't trust proprietary closed source software

,----[ Quote ]
| Now, can somebody really trust proprietary software at this point? The only 
| way I can trust Free Software is by making sure I can fix it, but there are 
| so many forks and copies and bundles and morphings that evaluating the 
| security of the software is difficult even there; on proprietary software, 
| where you cannot be really sure at all about the origin of the software, the 
| embedded libraries, and stuff like that, there’s no way I can trust that.     
| I think I’ll try my best to improve the situation of Free Software even when 
| it comes to security; as the IE bug demonstrated, free software solutions 
| like Firefox can be considered working secure alternatives even by media, we 
| should try to play that card much more often.   



No Secret Software!

,----[ Quote ]
| This is very closely aligned to the struggle for the use of open-source
| software where appropriate, but “Open Source” is a term of art and is
| associated with ill-groomed inarticulate geeks who have odd opinions about
| lots of things. “Secret software” is a term that anyone can understand
| instantly, and it sounds creepy and dangerous; because secret software in the
| public sector is creepy and dangerous, and simply shouldn’t be allowed.
| Ms Peterson gently chided the Open-Source community for having let the
| e-voting debacle happen in the first place; it was foreseeable and should
| have been headed off. I think she has a point.


Backdoor in Skype? We need an open-source replacement

,----[ Quote ]
| Deliberate or just flawed?
| So, assuming for a moment that the claim of the Austrian police is correct,
| there are two possibilities now: (a) Either Skype made a mistake somewhere in
| the implementation of their encryption algorithms and thus allowed a
| successful attack on their protocols. Or (b) they have deliberately provided
| a backdoor for law enforcement or other agencies.
| [...]
| And of course, Skype is ubiquituous. If you want to talk to people, you need
| to use what they are using. And everyone is using Skype.

Version: GnuPG v1.4.9 (GNU/Linux)


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