I have a feeling that the FLOSS movement in spirit was constructed in the previous centralised computing paradigm with timesharing systems, and in some sense is left there. I wonder what its corresponding movement of our time would be, now that the pendulum has swung back from the desktop computing paradigm and into dumb terminals over a document format?


@bjoern I agree with your general sentiment, but not all of your historicising. In particular, you write that Stallman could have stayed away from modern computing. I would argue that he and most of the FLOSS movement indeed did so: we are talking about a man who emails web pages to himself via Emacs, and I have myself been the sort of person who runs a hacked-up Unix made from compiled components with a tiling window manager. That's even remotely how non-hackers compute, even developers.

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@bjoern More importantly though, I think you are missing an important aspect of the freedom to study and modify (but I agree with everything you have!). In particular, I think WASM or minified (or just plain bad/obfuscated) JS, while being free is about as useful as binary code. And to add insult to injury, it's very hard to verify that the code you are inspecting is the actual code running under the hood.

@bjoern So in order for any user to be able to exercise their freedoms to study or modify the code (compare with everyone's right to fly of their own muscle power or breathe under water), I think further regulation of some sort is needed -- though not necessarily through licenses. Also, this may not even be possible through the Web as it exists today.

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