It’s difficult to exaggerate the damage that has been caused to the original vision of the web through the commercialisation of domain names. Imposing artificial scarcity and the complexity of commerce systems on a fundamental identifier makes it orders of magnitude harder to self host. Domain names should be a public good. We should embrace in the EU and mandate that all browser vendors implement support and get Let’s Encrypt to provide TLS support.


@aral Under what legal theory can a liberal government micromanage all browser vendors?

@freakazoid @aral under the same theory that allows them to micromanage the ingredients in food, or medication, or.... regulation is common

@walruslifestyle @aral Food safety is explicitly included as a regulatable category. So far software has been relatively untouched.

And we're not just talking about commercial entities here, but open source developers as well.

Food safety laws have been used to squash independent food production fairly effectively. The same will happen with open source once we start regulating software.

@freakazoid @aral the majority of web users use Chrome, from Google, or Firefox, from Mozilla which takes large corporate donations. literally what's being proposed is regulating these large corporate entities to stop them from leveraging their power to wrest money from individuals. exactly what regulation is intended to do. I fail to see the issue, nor the novelty, in this aside from being astounded that it hasn't happened sooner given the level of harm caused

@walruslifestyle @freakazoid @aral

You are pretty naive if you think that regulation constraints big existing players.

The problem with regulating software now ia that it is still too primitive. We would hurt innovation that occurs on free software.

The solution for these issues is very simple: cap company size. Split Google, Facebook, Amazon and friends in a few thousands little company. Problem solved.

@Shamar @walruslifestyle @freakazoid @aral Isn't this what Anti-trust is for?

How I long for that concept to be taken seriously again.

@alcinnz @Shamar @freakazoid @aral yes. regulating monopolies used to be done more ime, but barely occurs now. when it has, eg to Microsoft, it had a beneficial effect

@Shamar @alcinnz @freakazoid @aral applying antitrust law to Microsoft did not result in the dominance of the Chrome web browser. that is a historically false suggestion. can you please at least try?

@walruslifestyle @alcinnz @freakazoid @aral

No wait, I was there.

IE6 had 92% of the market.

Without that "antitrust" sentence, today #JavaScript would still be a toy to do little to nothing on the client side and all elaborations would occur server side. The #Web would be completely different simply because #Microsoft was actively hurting it as an app dev platform.

I hate to admit this, but had they won we wouldn't have this dystopia.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle No, we'd have a much worse dystopia where every site uses ActiveX and you can't use most of the web without Windows.

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

ActiveX weren't doing much well back then. The two contenders for the "#Web as a Application Deployment Platform" were #Java Applets and #Flash.
And later, Microsoft moved to .NET and WPF: they didn't consider the Web as a viable architecture for a distributed operating system. They were right, but nobody want to admit this now (not even them).

But mostly, back then, there was a huge movement towards the #Accessible and #SemanticWeb that #JS killed.


@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle WASM turns the web into a viable application deployment platform. Or will when it finally escapes JS's broken security model.

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

No it doesn't.

What make you think that executing a #WASM binary that a stranger serves over #HTTP (which is designed to serve cacheable hypertext) and potentially customizes for you can be safe?

To me it can only be worse, from a #security perspective, than #JS because any unintended behaviour is way easier to hide in a binary.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle It seems like the goalposts have moved from what application deployers view as a viable application deployment platform to what YOU view as a viable application deployment platform.

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

You said

> WASM turns the web into a viable application deployment platform.

This is not a theorem proof or a scientific result. It's just YOUR own opinion.

An opinion that is very hard to sustain technically (at least if you give a shit about users' security) but if you want we can discuss the matter: it's possible than in 20 years of Web development / deployment practice I missed something.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle I'm curious how the alternative you think we'd have had MS won their antitrust fight would improve on any of the things you've mentioned?

@walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral @Shamar And again, we're still talking about what YOU think is a viable platform versus what app deployers would be willing to use. I'm not arguing that it's not a shit show; just that WASM is an improvement over JS that in app deployers eyes will make it sufficient for their needs.

JS is no more transparent than WASM; obfuscated JS is no easier to read than disassembled WASM.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle I guess what I'm really trying to understand is why/how you think the computing world would have come with something better than the web for application deployment rather than just inventing an equally bad shitshow. All the other popular ones, they're all a shitshow on one or more axes.

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

#Plan9 proposed a decent architectural alternative.

FAR from perfect (that's why I forked it! :-D) but got more axes right.

.NET was another potential contender (at least in the vision that I've read Gates had).

Worse than Plan9, but very innovative on several aspects.

.NET had an great weakness: Microsoft.
They completely missed the potential of Open Source marketing and loss the war again.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle I know a bit about Plan 9 but not about their proposal for application deployment.

I agree about .Net. There was a lot of potential there. Through their embracement of Mono there still seems to be a lot, but it keeps moving too slowly to gain enough momentum.

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

Today .NET is like Java in 20 years ago.

The past.

It's not going anywhere (like Java), but it's not even going to change the world anymore.

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

As for #Plan9 as application deployment platform it's very simple: make everything a file system that can be transparently exported through a network and composed of several services all visible as files and folders with properly manageable permissions and visibilities and then... enjoy.

Now the user can safely export a piece of its screen to make a weather service draw the forecast there.

@freakazoid @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle

> I'm not arguing that it's not a shit show; just that WASM is an improvement over JS that in app deployers eyes will make it sufficient for their needs.

And again I'm saying that App deployers do not think so (except if you mean #Google #Facebook or #Amazon to which WASM can save tons of bandwidth)

> obfuscated JS is no easier to read than disassembled WASM.

You don't know what you say. ;-)

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

Oh... that's simple.

By now we would have a #SemanticWeb of human readable and machine readable #HyperText. Probably we would have an easy to strip #HTML tag for #Ads, better Web #typography, better #CSS and way, way more browsers simply because #MS didn't care about the #Web.

OTOH, people would be more used to buy applications to install, probably through systems like APT on Windows too.


@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

Note: there would still be issues in the world.

Famine, war, low quality software...

But at least the Web would still be an immense public library that people would be able to consume through a browser AND through any other application they could conceive.

But the applications wouldn't be customised on the fly for the user knowing EVERYTHING about him and without leaving any evidence.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle Ok, this makes a lot more sense to me, but I still have questions:

Why do you think an apt-like system would be the way people would install apps even on Windows, versus an even earlier appearance of the platform-specific app stores we have now?

In the absence of on-the-fly customization and spying through the web, why do you think the platform vendors wouldn't have turned the OS itself into a surveillance apparatus much sooner?

@walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral @Shamar The problem is, the absence of surveillance via the web doesn't make people's data any less valuable. In the absence of control by online platforms like Facebook, control of the operating system itself would be way more valuable. I think computers would still be turning into appliances, just for services provided by Microsoft and Apple (Google probably wouldn't exist) instead of Facebook Google.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle This is not to say that the web is great as it exists, just that the market forces that shaped it into the shitshow it is today would still have existed even if the web hadn't turned into an app deployment platform.

And frankly, I doubt stewardship of the web would have been significantly better. I think it's just as likely the web would have been overtaken by proprietary platforms in the same way messaging has.

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

There's a lot to say here.

Why APT like?
Because App stores mimic APT.
That is a trusted source of software.

Why the OS wouldn't have become a surveillance tools?
Because Microsoft was very profitable selling Windows for money. Any backdoor discovered would have been a loss of market share.

Would we have Linux on smartphones?
Probably not. But I would accept the exchange.

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