Free-er Web

Of course the Web is free, for the average user. But Richard Stallman wants to make it more explicit for the Web. Just the other day some of us were trying to apply the open source philosophy to the Web technologies. When the Web was born, all the source code (it was only markup and style then) was open and accessible by default. However, with time, more and more technologies have been able to power Web, and consequently hide under it. Most of the everyday users interact with only the Web interface, they never really have to deal with the underlying technologies if it works. In fact, it is not easy to get the information even if someone wants it.

I completely agree with the sentiment expressed in the article because we are looking at the Web technologies through the FOSS lense. As Web is getting more and more dominant, it is important from the open source perspective to differentiate between the web sites that comply with FOSS ideology and the ones that don’t. The challenge is bigger here because Web gets used more as a platform than a delivery mechanism. Also, today JavaScript can play the role of only the delivered script as it can be generated using frameworks in other languages. I am sure there will be more languages and technologies to deal with as Web gets used more different ways and on different media, like the mobile world.

This must have received criticism from some who think that this is getting too puristic to be pragmatic. However, I do not think this can be enforced on anyone. It is a matter of ideology and if you are the one who follow FOSS, then you will like this. It will encourage use and growth of FOSS philosophy. However calling the browser vendors to support this might run into stalemates. It might be quicker to see if we can build plugins/extensions/addons for them that give out warnings about web sites with proprietary code.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Shlomi Fish said:

    Why do you call “the Web” just “Web”? I never heard it used before like this. The full name of the Web is the World-Wide Web (or the “WWW” for short). So I don’t think it’s correct to call it just “Web”, without a Preceding “the”.

    I have encountered a few times that people said “I have created a web” or “am working on a web”, where “web” should be “web-site”. It’s not correct either, and always confuses me. You don’t make this mistake, but I’m just noting it in this context.

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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