Some free software is pure crap, just like proprietary.
The following is a rant of high emotional content, filled with much
whining and complaining. If you aren't up for it, press delete now.
In the past weeks there has been much discussion about the moral and
technical superiority of Free Software. I have a firm, practical case,
where the available free software is totally useless for my fairly simple
needs. There is not currently a Free web brouser that is at all useful to
I don't surf the web, looking at all the pretty pages, but when I do go
out on the web, I usually have a specific address and a particular task to
perform. Not often, but sometimes, I would like to purchase something over
the web from CheapBytes. The last time I tried, using lynx-ssl, I was able
to work all the way through the shopping cart program, until it came time
to "check out" with my purchages, at which point lynx went belly up with
some unsatisfied call to its libraries. (That was a month ago)
I heard that it was miscompiled against the wrong library, or something to
that effect, and, having "contacts" at CheapBytes it didn't get in the way
of my getting what I needed.
Today, I tried to take advantage of Red Hat's generous offer to take my
money in exchange for some "shares" in the company. I went to Jim Pick, my
favorite non-us archiver, and got the latest versions of openssl and
lynx-ssl, and installed them. I went to the URL provided by Red Hat,
selected "logon", got another page with another login choice. When I make
this choice lynx says it got an unexpected network message, and aborts the
connection. Looks like I don't get to spend my money _again_!
The other two "major" browsers, gzilla, and mozilla-navigator, are both
equally useless at these tasks, as they have no secure shell capabilities,
and, in many cases, can't even get through the CGI scripting that goes
before the secure opperations.
I understand that gzilla is the FSF almost-ware version of a browser, so I
don't expect it to do much on the net, and I'm not supprised when it
stares back bald-faced when I request a URL that has some useful features
available, refusing to serve the page, or even acknowledge the failure of
For being a fork of Netscape, mozilla is little better than gzilla,
although I use it a lot for searching and getting documents, it is
very frustrating to have worked down a long tree of links, and you are
finally at the link that will answer the question of "Life, the Universe,
and Everything!", and mozilla graciously disapears, leaving a blank
desktop, as soon as you click on the desired item. This willingness to die
at the drop of a hat, coupled with the fact that you can not edit your
bookmarks, makes this product more frustrating than any commercial product
I have ever used in the M$ environments.
Am I asking too much to want to be able to go to a vendor and negotiate a
sale, or simply the exchange of "secure" information?
There are at least 3 web browsers available in Debian. I have used them
all, and find every one of them to be deficient in the bare necessities
for negotiating the web.
Where is the "superior" mind share that was supposed to take the free
netscape code and make something competative out of it? Why, even with the
openssl libraries, is the simple text browser unable to negotiate with a
public trading site? Why is it, that the only answer I keep getting to
such questions is "download netscape"?
BTW, the version of mozilla from potato will not come up for me. Where do
I find error messages telling me why?
_-_-_-_-_- Author of "The Debian Linux User's Guide" _-_-_-_-_-_-
aka Dale Scheetz Phone: 1 (850) 656-9769
Flexible Software 11000 McCrackin Road
e-mail: email@example.com Tallahassee, FL 32308
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