[Assist] Fwd: Re: Telegram & Non-Free SaaSS

bill-auger bill-auger at peers.community
Sun Jul 15 21:04:27 BST 2018

an email message from RMS regarding his opinion on the 'telegram-desktop' program was forwarded recently to the parabola mailing list[1] - i would like to ask dr stallman a follow-up question

firstly, let me say that the telegram service could easily be considered to be a SaaSS because GNU-ring (and many others) can accomplish every task that telegram can (and more) without any proprietary mediator - indeed, this requires all peers to operate as a server; but at least that server is free software and is running on your machine; and the remote servers that you interact with are presumably operated by semi-trusted personal acquaintances who are presumably running that same free software server on their machines - so perhaps, by its nature of being a service, it is not precisely a substitute for passive software; but it is clearly a proprietary remote substitute service for a free software service that could be running on your own machine - perhaps a new acronym should be coined: PSaaFSS - Proprietary Service as a Free Service Substitute

that aside, the important concern that i would like to address is this: even if the telegram service is not a substitute for your own computing, and therefore the free client should not be judged on the merits of the proprietary server; still, the service itself should be judged by the same sort of "ethical" criteria as code forges such as github and media hosts such as youtube - this has been discussed on IRC and i was told that the telegram server routinely sends minified javascript to the client to be executed - i have not verified this, but i would like to ask dr stallman: if that could be shown to be indeed how it operates, wouldn't that cross the line you have drawn here? - would it make a difference if those minified scripts were intrinsic to it's core functionality; or something optional that could theoretically be removed from the free client without breaking it, but is yet to be removed? - even if that were acceptable, and the obvious privacy concerns aside, the service would not be considered to be very "ethical" by the same standards being applied to code forges; so users should be discouraged from using such a service just as any others setting "the javascript trap" - yes?

i ask because this scenario is not peculiar to this one program - it has graced the door of parabola before and surely will again in the form of some "integrated" webby things of tomorrow - that the new buzz-word euphemism as i hear it for putting javascript on the desktop: its "integrated"

[1]: https://lists.parabola.nu/pipermail/assist/2018-July/001141.html
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