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Re: GNU GPL future

Gervase Markham <gerv@mozilla.org>
> MJ Ray wrote:
> > Well, that's just great for the users who can see the UI without it
> > spewing errors.  Was there really no way to offer the same features to
> > everyone in an easily-accessible way? 
> I don't know; you'd have to ask the designers.

I have, albeit in less colourful language.  The reply was along the lines
of it working for most people and being quicker to do like that, which
didn't really answer it.

> Although you are now
> using the word "accessible" when I don't think you were before; is your
> complaint that there are disabled users who can't access the interface?

That's my main complaint.  Compare the app against the Web Content
Accessibility Guidelines and see how many it fails to follow.  It's better
than it was - at first, even colours were screwed - but still a long
way short.  I doubt the app designers even looked at them.  What sort
of consultation is this thing?  A big black box to most of us.

> > There are free software browsers with which it doesn't work, even though
> > they follow the usual web standards.  
> Which ones?

links is the one which produced the most bizarre errors, thanks to the
javascript relying on Mozilla-centric features, as far as I can tell.
(This answers the question about which non-standard features.)

> > It's a big step backwards from any-browser
> > (which was claimed on the gplv3 site at first, but later removed, rather
> > than bringing the software into line).
> What does "any-browser" mean? Would you have them work on Netscape 4
> support? Or Netscape 3? Where does it end?

NS4 with its buggy CSS off, sure.  Any browser means anything which can
speak a reasonably modern HTTP and display a reasonably modern xhtml.
Extend it if needed, but there's no good reason to break it for earlier
users.  Let as many users as possible can take advantage of the
information published and participate in the consultation.  Conservative
in what you generate...

> Devil's advocate: Would you have objected if they had said "We can't do
> this properly in a browser-based interface; please download our free
> software dedicated client, with binaries available for Windows, Linux
> and Mac OS X, and source in this tarball"?

If there was an identifiable API used and the source followed the GNU
Coding Standards and GNU Maintainer practices, then probably not.

> If not, what's the difference if Firefox is the dedicated client?

Firefox is a memory hog, doesn't fit into my desktop environment and my
computer won't suspend if it's running.  I also don't trust its Javascript
and Cookie implementations.  It's another big application which I found
messy enough to compile, let alone start hacking an application built on
top of it.  The application API is a pain to unpack from HTTP and didn't
seem to be documented anywhere apart from the spaghetti source, which is
hard to test running, thanks to the lack of an INSTALL.

My Opinion Only: see http://people.debian.org/~mjr/
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