Mike Gerwitz

Activist for User Freedom

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% Restore Online Freedom!
%
% Copyright (C) 2016 Mike Gerwitz
%
% This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike
% 4.0 International License.
%
% You should have received a copy of the license along with this
% work.  If not, see <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/>.
%%

\documentclass[pdf,red]{beamer}
\mode<presentation>{}
\usetheme{Boadilla}

%% preamble
\title{Restore Online Freedom!}
\author{Mike Gerwitz}
\date{20 March, LibrePlanet 2016}

\usepackage{listings}

% hide pesky navigation
\setbeamertemplate{navigation symbols}{}

\def\hangleft#1{%
  \settowidth{\dimen0}{#1}%
  \hspace*{-\dimen0}%
  #1%
}


\def\lecture#1{}

\begin{document}


%%%=== BEGIN TIMEBLOCK 6.5m ==============================================

\begin{frame}
  \titlepage

  \lecture{So I'm here to talk to you about some problems.  Too many
           problems for this talk---I had to gut this presentation for
           length countless times.  A better term might be
           ``eviscerate''.  Problems that are fundamental to the Web today,
           and don't have a trivial solution.  My hope is to encourage
           discussion on these issues, since not enough people are talking
           about them.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Who am I?}
  \lecture{Well, I'm Mike Gerwitz.}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item Long-time free software hacker and activist
      \lecture{I'm a long-time free software hacker and activist}

    \item GNU volunteer, software evaluator, and part of maintainers team
      \lecture{and volunteer for the GNU project.  I'm part of the small
               team of evaluators for GNU project submissions, and I'm what
               I'd called a trainee on the maintainers team.}

    \item Author of GNU ease.js
      \lecture{I'm also the author of GNU ease.js, a classical
               object-oriented framework for JavaScript licensed under the
               GNU GPLv3+.}

    \lecture{I've been involved in web development to at least some capacity}
    \item 10+ years of web development
      \lecture{for well over ten years.  But possibly just as importantly,
               I've been a \emph{user} of the web for even longer.  Now, I'm
               26---I'm not part of the generation that was swiping at
               newspapers when they were babies, wondering why nothing was
               happening, but I did grow up with the Internet.}

    \begin{itemize}
      \item<2-> The Web has \only<2>{changed}\only<3->{{\bf worsened}} a lot
        \lecture{And as I'm sure all of you here can attest to---and I'm
               really stating the obvious here---the Internet has changed a
               \emph{lot} in the past ten, fifteen years.  In fact, it's had
               a version change---the so-called ``Web 2.0''!  Which, to
               clarify, is just jargon; there's not actually a version
               change.}

        \lecture{But I suppose I could phrase this in another way: the
                 Web has also \emph{worsened} a lot in the past ten
                 years.  A version bump isn't always an upgrade.}
      \end{itemize}
    \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{``But the Web is great!''}
  \lecture{``But the web is great!'', you'll hear people say.}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item<2-> The Web has improved \emph{technically}
      \lecture{Yes, the web has improved \emph{technically}---}

    \begin{itemize}
      \item<2-> Modern software on the web rivals traditional desktop
                software
    \end{itemize}
      \lecture{you can do things on the web today that were
               \emph{unfathomable} ten years ago.  I don't think any
               rational person who's seen the~transition over the past
               ten-plus years would argue that.}

      \lecture{But we're talking about \emph{freedom}.}

    \item<3-> The truth is: the Web has become alarmingly hostile and
      freedom-denying toward users
      \lecture{The sad truth is: the web has become increasing \emph{hostile} and
               freedom-denying toward its users.  And that's not progress;
               technical advancements are great, but \emph{not when they
               deny users their freedoms}.}

    \item<4-> Freedom trumps all.
      \lecture{\emph{Freedom trumps all.}  So we can say that, while Web~2.0
               was a \emph{technical} upgrade, it has been an alarmingly
               progressive \emph{downgrade} for users' freedoms.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Interoperability}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Fundamental building blocks are standardized (W3C)
      \lecture{Normally when we talk about the ``Web'', as opposed to the
               ``Internet'' as a whole, we're referring to something that
               you would access using a web browser.}
      \lecture{Technically, you can include anything on the
               Web---certain formats will just invoke external programs or
               trigger a download.  But as far as web pages go, they
               traditionally consist of HTML}
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<1-> HTML---Describes the document
          \lecture{which describes the~document, and CSS}

        \item<1-> CSS---Describes the document style (appearance)
          \lecture{which describes the~document \emph{style}---how it looks,
                   what font to render in, the background color, et cetera.}

        \item<1-> HTTP---Communication protocol
          \lecture{Most of this communication is done using the HTTP
                   protocol, which defines how the server and client
                   communicate.  All of this is standardized by the
                   W3C---the World Wide Web Consortium.}

          \lecture{Back in the day, most every reaction to user input
                   involved loading a new webpage.  You're seeing less and
                   less of that today---many web pages look and behave more
                   like \emph{software} than documents.  You might hear the
                   term ``single-page'' programs.}

          \item<2-> JavaScript---Embed programs in web browser
            \lecture{The standard way to do this today is with a language
                     called JavaScript.}
    \end{itemize}

    \item<3-> Any software can interact freely
      \lecture{Given these standards, you're free to use whatever software
               you choose!  Everything is interoperable, on both the server
               and the client.  And this is incredibly important for user
               freedom, and essential for free software.}

    \item<3-> Threatened in the past: Java applets, ActiveX, Flash,
               Silverlight, and other proprietary/non-standard software
      \lecture{Now that's been threatened in the past by other proprietary
               systems for embedding software in the browser.  The most
               popular ones include Java applets, ActiveX, Flash, and
               Silverlight.  Those were dark ages.}

    \item<3-> Threatened today: Encrypted Media Extensions (EME)
               Silverlight, and other proprietary/non-standard software
      \lecture{But we do in fact have another looming threat---the Encrypted
               Media Extensions proposal being considered by the W3C which
               would effectively introduce DRM as a \emph{standard} for the
               Web.  A \emph{standarized} way to betray users.  We must
               oppose it, and I encourage you to join us in protest just
               outside the conference tonight at 6:45.}

    \item<4-> Now the greatest threat is JavaScript
      \lecture{But an \emph{existing} standard is now our greatest
               threat.  JavaScript.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{What is JavaScript?}
  \lecture{So what is \emph{JavaScript}?}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> ECMAScript (Standard: ECMA-262; ISO/IEC 16262)
      \lecture{Formally, it's ECMAScript, which is the standard defining the
               language.  But browsers tend to incorporate their own
               features beyond the standard, which we include under the
               umbrella of ``JavaScript''.}

    \item<1-> Traditionally: Browser-based, client-side scripting language
      \lecture{JavaScript started out in the web browser, specifically
               Netscape in 1995.  It was used on the server as well at the
               time, but that's not where it flourished.}

    \item<2-> Today: General-purpose programming language
      \lecture{But today is has evolved into a popular general-purpose
               scripting language, used on both the client and the
               server.}

      \begin{itemize}
        \item<2-> Heavily popularized by Node.js
          \lecture{But it wasn't until Node.js that it exploded in
                   popularity, and is often times even \emph{preferable} by
                   some to other languages on the server.  I'm not getting
                   into \emph{that} debate today.}
      \end{itemize}

    \item<3-> ``Assembly language'' of the web
      \lecture{It's often called the ``assembly language'' of the web,
               because there an ever-growing number of languages that
               compile into it---if you want code running in the browser,
               the standard way to do it is by using JavaScript.}
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<3-> Subset: asm.js
        \item<3-> Soon: WebAssembly (WebASM)
          \lecture{But there are properties of the language that don't make
                   ideal for being the compiler target for all things on the
                   web.  One popular method is a subset of JavaScript called
                   asm.js that is more effectively optimized.  But now we
                   have a low-level language on the horizon called
                   WebAssembly, which is intended as a compiler target for
                   C/C++ code.  So expect these issues I'm about to describe
                   to only propagate further in the future as it becomes
                   more and more trivial to write software for the web.}
      \end{itemize}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}

%%%=== END TIMEBLOCK 6.5m ==============================================


%%%=== BEGIN TIMEBLOCK 8m ==============================================

\begin{frame}{The Illusion of Remote Execution}
  \lecture{Perhaps one of the greatest dangers of software on the Web is the
           illusion of remote execution---}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Looks like the web page is manipulating itself
    \begin{itemize}
      \item<1-> Many consider the web page as a remote resource, not a local
            copy of that resource
    \end{itemize}
      \lecture{the illusion that, because the program is manipulating and
               appears to be a part of the web page, that it must be
               executing in a magical remote place.}

    \item<2-> JavaScript programs run \emph{on the client}
      \lecture{But it's not.  JavaScript programs are executed \emph{on your
               computer, by your web browser}: the program is downloaded
               just like any other resource and interpreted by a JavaScript
               engine in your browser.}

    \item<3-> Illusion inhibits consideration of freedoms
      \lecture{This is an important distinction, because we can't begin to
               consider how to exercise our four freedoms if we can't even
               get around to the fact that the program is actually running
               on our computer.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[plain]{}
  \begin{center}
    \center\includegraphics[width=0.9\textwidth]{images/you-win.png}

    Would you run some random website's program on your computer?
  \end{center}

  \lecture{(Read slide)}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[plain,c]{}
  \lecture{Well, you do.  Or at least many of you.}

  \begin{center}
    Well, you do.
  \end{center}

  \lecture{If only our web browser gave us a warning like that.  But
           instead, it's silent.  And this is more dangerous than a phishing
           attack---because at least when the user is presented with
           \emph{this} (return to previous slide), they have a \emph{chance}
           to be suspicious.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Covert Ephemeral Software}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Browser downloads and executes arbitrary, often non-free software
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<1-> (Automatically clicks the download button for you!)
      \end{itemize}

      \lecture{But no---our web browsers are being stupid on our behalf!}

    \item<2-> Most users have no idea this is happening
      \lecture{And most users---even many technical ones---really don't have
               any idea that this is happening.  Because they don't think
               about it like that.}

      \begin{itemize}
        \item<2-> How would they?
          \lecture{You can be taught to be suspicious of sites advertising
                   awards and such, but when a site offers no indication at
                   all, then what exactly do you teach?  What do you tell
                   them to be suspicious of?  Instead, it's just a website.}

        \item<2-> Most who \emph{do} know don't care.
          \lecture{But then there are those who are well aware of what is
                   going on.  Many of those are web developers---the same
                   people that \emph{write} this covert software.  And
                   surprisingly, at least from my experience, most of them
                   don't care.  Many instead take the stance that it would
                   be silly to consider disabling it and quote-unquote
                   ``break'' websites.  They don't consider that they're
                   already broken by robbing users of their freedoms and
                   privacy.}
      \end{itemize}

      \item<3-> Ephemeral software
        \lecture{And then at the end, the software disappears, leaving no
                 trace except for some persistent data storage.  A browser
                 doesn't list all the scripts that it executes as
                 ``installed software'' like it would an addon.  Users won't
                 know that they were running software.  The software is
                 ephemeral.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[c]{Just Say ``Yes!''}
  \lecture{So if we adopt the philosophy of those who really don't care,
           then life becomes a hell of a lot easier.  Just saying ``yes''
           all the time is much less confrontational; especially when
           your web browser is doing it for you.  And this makes a lot of
           people pretty excited!  Like...}

  \begin{center}
    \only<2>{Advertisers}
    \lecture{Advertisers!  You say ``yes!'' to their spyware that tracks
             and analyzes you.}

    \only<3>{Crackers \& Script Kiddies}
    \lecture{Crackers and script kiddies love you too.  You happily say
             ``yes!'' to their payloads.}

    \only<4>{Governments (also Crackers \& Script Kiddies)}
    \lecture{Governments!  Also crackers and script kiddies.  They like to
             broadly distribute exploits in the hope of maybe catching a
             criminal.  One such exploit was a 0-day used by the FBI to
             deanonymize Tor users, guilty or not.}

    \only<5>{ISPs (Like Comcast)}
    \lecture{And what about the entity you depend on the most for your
             communications online?  In November of last year it was
             discovered that Comcast was MITM'ing customers to inject
             JavaScript into non-SSL webpages to inform customers of
             copyright violations.  Oh yes.}

    \only<6>{People who want to show off their cool stuff}
    \lecture{There are certainly other malicious actors, but not everyone
             has bad intentions---you also have hackers that just want to
             show you their cool new programs.  And I think a
             lot of people fall into this group---I don't think many of them
             are being intentionally malicious.}
  \end{center}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[c]{Just Say ``Yes!''...and ``Yes!'' and ``Yes!'' and ``Yes!''...}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Everyone expects their code to run, always, or there's
              something wrong with your browser

    \lecture{So if your browser doesn't default to saying ``yes'' to
             untrusted, random, freedom-denying, possibly malicious
             programs, then your browser is broken.  This is in fact a big
             deterrent for common-sense freedom and security practices: the
             Tor Browser Bundle, for example---although it comes with
             NoScript installed---does not block any websites by default,
             even though it would make its users safer.}

    \item<2-> But most browsers today give you a binary choice:
      \lecture{But let's say you are one of those people who might be a
             little uncomfortable with this situation, and want to do
             something about it.  Well, with most browsers, what are your
             options?}

      \begin{enumerate}[<+->]
        \item<2-> No---disable JavaScript
          \lecture{You could disable JavaScript completely.  But there might
             be \emph{some} things that you'd like to run.}

        \item<2-> Yes---run everything!
          \lecture{Or you could run everything!  Good choices here.  These
                   are clearly not choices that taken into consideration
                   these issues.}
      \end{enumerate}

      \lecture{Now, many people will simply say, ``Well, I trust the sites I
               visit.''}
      \item<3-> You aren't just running that site's JavaScript
        \lecture{But it's very important to understand that you aren't just
                 running the programs for that website.  That website might
                 also include code from other servers---like CDNs.  It might
                 inject other code like the Google Analytics spyware.  And
                 what if the site is compromised, or susceptible to a XSS
                 attack, and an attacker loads additional scripts?}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{How Do We Install Software (Usually)?}
  \lecture{If all of this seems awkward to consider, that's because it
           is.  Let's go back to the desktop for a bit; now that we're
           thinking in terms of programs running on our computer, how do we
           normally install software?}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item<2-> Explicitly.
      \lecture{Explicitly.  You indicate that you want some program foo and
               you make it so.  Unless you use a backdoored operating system
               like Windows, OSX, iOS, or others---they tend to install
               things for you.}

    \begin{itemize}
      \item<3-> GNU/Linux---Usually through a package manager
        \lecture{On a GNU/Linux operating system, you usually install
                 software through that distro's package manager.  GNU Guix
                 is a pretty good one to try.}

      \item<3-> Source distribution (tarballs/etc)
        \lecture{You might compile from source.  That's even more of an
                 explicit process.}

      \item<3-> Binaries (especially on proprietary operating systems)
        \lecture{And, as is usually necessary on proprietary operating
                 systems, there are binaries.  They might be downloaded from
                 a website or a walled weed garden,}
    \end{itemize}

    \item<4-> There is a conscious effort made by the user
      \lecture{but in any case, it's generally a conscious operation all the
               same.  Even users of proprietary operating systems don't like
               when things appear on their computer without having been
               requested.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}

\begin{frame}{Software Signing}
  \lecture{We also have certain other guarantees.  Or attempts, at least.}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Package manager (should!) verify signatures of package
               maintainers
      \lecture{Many package managers provide---with some
               caveats---assurances that the package you received is
               actually the package that the author or maintainer intended
               for you to receive by using cryptographic signatures.  I'm
               not getting into those caveats here.}

    \item<1-> Many projects distribute detached signatures for manual
              verification
      \lecture{In the case of source distributions, detached signatures are
               often used.  You'll see this with GNU programs, for
               example---if you download a program from ftp.gnu.org, you'll
               also find a corresponding signature file, and you should use
               GPG to verify that your download is what the author
               actually signed.}

    \item<2-> No such thing exists for the Web
      \lecture{...We don't have this type of thing for the web.}

    \item<3-> I wish I had time to discuss this
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<4-> What not to do: Firefox refuses to install/run addons that
                  are not signed by Mozilla
        \item<4-> No ``walled gardens''
      \end{itemize}
      \lecture{I really wish I had the time to discuss this on a more
               technical level, but I don't.  Like I said---it's a
               presentation about problems, and there's a lot of them to get
               to in such a short talk!}
  \end{itemize}

  \lecture{So what does the absence of user control mean?}
\end{frame}

%%%=== END TIMEBLOCK 8m ==============================================


%%%=== BEGIN TIMEBLOCK 4.5m ==============================================

\begin{frame}[c]
  \begin{center}
    Everyone is flocking to the web
  \end{center}

  \lecture{Everyone is flocking to the web.  And a major reason is because
           of the convenience that is provided by transferring even more
           control away from the user \emph{to} the authors and
           distributors.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Effortless Distribution}
  \lecture{This convenience provides a distribution model that is
           exploitative, and highly alluring to many.  Two things that go
           great in the same sentence.}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item Software is downloaded \emph{automatically}---guaranteed!
      \lecture{So, when you visit a website---as we've already
               discussed---your browser just starts saying ``Yes!'' to
               software.  So, for the majority of your users, it's
               essentially guaranteed that your software will be downloaded
               and executed, and it will be done so immediately.  If not,
               their browser is broken, right?  Right.}

    \item<1-> It's so easy for you---just click here!
      \lecture{Baiting the user into downloading that software is also a
               trivial task---there's no trying to trick the user into
               downloading and invoking an executable.  Just provide the
               user with a link, and their freedoms are automatically
               robbed.}

    \item<2-> Cross-\{device,platform\}!
      \lecture{In the modern web, platform or operating system isn't a
               border---you can rob someone of their freedoms anywhere, any
               time, whether they're on a mobile device, their home
               computer, or their television.}

    \item<3-> Automatic updates!  We know best!  (Ephemeral software)
      \lecture{And let's not worry about those pesky users who decide to
               exercise their freedom to decide what software they want to
               run.  Just overwrite their software for them, at any
               time.  Updates are automatic, and the user has no
               choice.}
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<3-> Your browser is effectively a backdoor
          \lecture{You might hear from security experts that most
                   computers have a backdoor---software updates.  Well, in
                   this case, the backdoor is the front door.  You have no
                   option.  There \emph{is no} separate installation and
                   update---they're one and the same.  As I already
                   mentioned, we can say that the software is ephemeral---it
                   exists as long as you're on the website, and then
                   disappears until you next load it again.}
      \end{itemize}

    \item<4-> We control your data and computing (SaaSS)!
      \lecture{But that's not enough.  How can we take even greater
               advantage of the user?  Ah, let's also hold their data
               hostage, and control what they can and cannot do with it!}

    \item<5-> So easy to spy on you!
      \lecture{And what's a magnificent consequence of all of this?  We get
               to spy on you for free!  It's part of the package!  We know
               exactly what you are doing, when your are doing it, how you
               are doing it, and anything in-between.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}
  \begin{center}
    We can finally get rid of that pesky little bit of control you had left
    over your physical computing!

    \lecture{Greedy, malicious software developers and distributors have
             been searching long and hard for ways to prevent users from
             even studying the binaries, letalone source code.  They've
             pursued draconian technical and legal measures like DRM and the
             DMCA out of desperation.}
  \end{center}
\end{frame}

%%%=== END TIMEBLOCK 4.5m ==============================================



%%%=== BEGIN TIMEBLOCK 4.5m ==============================================

\begin{frame}{The Web Is Easy}
  \lecture{Let's explore another aspect of why the Web is so appealing for
           software developers.}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item Low Barrier To Entry
      \lecture{Most everyone has a web browser, and every very major browser
               comes with excellent debugging and inspection tools, which is
               great, because it encourages studying and tinkering.  And
               when users start writing software, they can see it in the
               familiar environment that is their web browser.}

    \item Huge number of libraries and tools for web development
      \lecture{Because of that, the number of libraries focused on web
               development is crazy, and steadily growing.  And most of
               these popular libraries are free software.}

    \item Even server/desktop software [substitutes] using web libraries
      \lecture{And then we have software like Node.js that allows running
               code written for the web directly, without a web browser.  So
               it often makes sense to write software in JavaScript or a
               language that compiles into it, because then you can share
               code between the server and client.  And then you have those
               that only really know web development, but are now able to
               take that knowledge and apply it directly to the server or
               the desktop.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}
  \begin{center}
    \only<1>{This is great for software freedom.}
    \lecture{All of this is great for software freedom---you have all of
             these libraries that make it \emph{easy} to develop free
             software!}

    \only<2>{But we have a problem.}
    \lecture{...but we have a problem.}
  \end{center}
\end{frame}



\begin{frame}{Effortless \emph{Proprietary} Software}
  \lecture{While it's making software easy for the good guys, it's also
           making it easy for the bad guys!  And there's an easy explanation
           for that.}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> We have a licensing problem.
      \lecture{What we have is a licensing problem!  We have a \emph{lot} of
               free software,}

    \item<2-> Permissive licensing \emph{enables} proprietary software
      \lecture{but most of it is licensed under permissive licenses---one
               of the most popular being the MIT~Expat license, which allows
               for non-free derivatives.  Writing software is expensive; any
               time that can be saved using free software libraries is money
               that they can divert toward adding attractive features,
               releasing early, and implementing ways to screw over the
               user.}
  \end{itemize}

  \lecture{How many of you saw Bradley Kuhn's presentation yesterday?  I was
           originally going to talk a lot more on this topic, but it's one
           of the things I gutted, so I recommend watching his.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{The Web Scene}
  \lecture{This philosophy is pervasive throughout the modern web
           development community.}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Startups (e.g. YCombinator-funded)
      \lecture{There are a lot of startups, and they recognize the Web as an
               easy way to create lock-in---something that many misguided
               startups and funders will consider to be vital to their
               long-term success.}

    \item <1-> Large corporations
      \lecture{The Web is carried and advanced (tehcnologically) by large
               and influential corporations like Google, Facebook, Twitter,
               GitHub, and others.  All of them contribute to the free
               software community.  But all of them rob us of our freedoms.}

    \item<1-> New programmers, new culture
      \lecture{The web development community is home to many new or
               inexperienced programmers.  Those programmers are immersed in
               a culture that talks about ``rockstar'' and ``10x''
               programmers; about ``brogrammers'' and ``hipster''
               languages---these are very different terms than hackers are
               used to, and highlight very different concepts.}
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<2-> ``Open Source''
          \lecture{Importantly, they focus on
                   \emph{methodology}---performance, producing something
                   that is cool and will be accepted by your peers.  This is
                   not a focus on freedom.}
        \item<2-> ``Copyleft'' is a dirty word
          \lecture{``Copyleft'' is a dirty word: if you want to be accepted
                   by your peers, you'd better license your libraries
                   permissively.}
       \end{itemize}

    \item<3-> Peer pressure
      \lecture{And besides, all your friends are doing it, and they're all
               10x rockstars!}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[c]
  \begin{center}
    Partial freedom isn't freedom!
  \end{center}

  \lecture{So what you get is this dangerous ``open core'' concept, where
           you have a lot of free software, but you build all the goodies
           that people want on top of it, and make it proprietary.  Partial
           freedom isn't freedom!  It doesn't matter if \emph{part} of your
           software is free---if even a byte of it robs me of any of my four
           freedoms, then I can't ethically use it!  I would have to concede
           that your website is worth surrendering my freedoms for.  It's
           probably not.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{No Such Thing As Neutral On Freedom}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Permissive (pushover) licenses are sometimes used in an
              attempt to be neutral
      \lecture{Freedom can be an uncomfortable topic, because it's
               philosophical and heavily controversial.  So they might try
               to remain neutral by using pushover licenses.  And many
               people are neutral by default simply because they don't
               consider the issues, or aren't aware of them.}

    \item<2-> But there's no such thing as neutrality!
      \lecture{Remaining neutral on the topic of freedom is like walking
               down a sidewalk and seeing someone being bullied.
               And rather than step in, you just keep walking.  Maybe
               peek back.  Because if you were to step in to stop the
               bullying, then you'd piss off the bullies, and you'd be a
               target.  But if you stepped in and bullied yourself, then
               you'd be called a bully!  So what's the end result?}

    \item<2-> Neutral on freedom $\equiv$ allowing erosion of freedoms
      \lecture{You let the bullies take over---they already have the upper
               hand, and they'll continue to exert their power for as long
               as it benefits them.  Neutrality might okay if freedom were
               the default.  But that's not the case today.  We are being
               bullied at every turn.}

    \item<3-> Copyleft is \emph{essential} for a free Web
      \lecture{Standing up to the bullies means \emph{fighting} for freedom,
               not just talking about it.  If you are writing software, that
               means using copyleft by means of a license like the
               AGPL.}

      \begin{itemize}
        \item<3-> If you use pushover licenses, you're helping to push over
                  everyone else (but perhaps not intentionally)
          \lecture{If you write software that uses a pushover license, then
                   you're not just standing on the sidewalk---you're giving
                   \emph{power} to the bullies, whether you realize it or
                   not.}
      \end{itemize}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[c]
  \begin{center}
    If you value freedom,
    \only<1>{talk about Free Software!}%
    \only<2>{choose copyleft!}
      \lecture{If you value freedom, \emph{talk about free software}!  Many
               people simply don't know about these issues!  Talk to your
               peers, talk to users, start that discussion.}%

      \lecture{If you value freedom, \emph{choose copyleft!}  Fight for the
               freedoms that you deserve, and for the freedoms of those who
               can't fight.  Lead by example!}
  \end{center}
\end{frame}

%%%=== END TIMEBLOCK 4.5m ==============================================


%%%=== BEGIN TIMEBLOCK 4.5m ==============================================


\begin{frame}[c]
  \begin{center}
    Freedom is only as good as your ability to exercise it
  \end{center}

  \lecture{All this focus on copyleft is good and all---if only it were the
           solution to all of our problems.  Freedom is only as good as your
           ability to exercise it.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Maybe free...?}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item Almost always no license information or link to source code
      \lecture{One huge problem we have with software on the web is that it
               is almost always void of licensing information.  So software
               might be free, but we can't be sure.}

    \item Might also load non-free code as a separate program
          (e.g. Google Analytics spyware)
      \lecture{The page might also load other programs in \emph{addition}
               to the free program, for example the Google Analytics
               spyware.  This is like a free software package installing
               proprietary software alongside of it; SourceForge used to do
               that, for example.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Corresponding Source Code}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Where can I find the corresponding source?
      \lecture{The other requirement is the corresponding source code.  We
               should be able to build it ourselves, host it ourselves, and
               expect to have the same functionality.}

    \item<2-> Minified code is not source code!
      \lecture{I have personally had people counter my argument in the past
               with a statement saying that all JavaScript code is
               quote-unquote ``open source'' because the source code is
               distributed to the browser.  No!}

    \item<2-> ``The 'source code' for a work means the preferred form of the
          work for making modifications to it.  'Object code' means any
          non-source form of a work.''
      \lecture{The GPL defines ``source code'' as (read above).  So minified
               sources are object code.  And let's see why:}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[fragile,plain]
\scriptsize
\begin{verbatim}
add:function(a,b,c,d,e){var
f,g,h,i,j,k,l,m,o,p,q,r=N.get(a);if(r){c.handler&&(f=c,c=f.handler,
e=f.selector),c.guid||(c.guid=n.guid++),(i=r.events)||(i=r.events={}),
(g=r.handle)||(g=r.handle=function(b){return"undefined"!=typeof
n&&n.event.triggered!==b.type?n.event.dispatch.apply(a,arguments):void
0}),b=(b||"").match(G)||[""],j=b.length;while(j--)h=fa.exec(b[j])||[],
o=q=h[1],p=(h[2]||"").split(".").sort(),o&&(l=n.event.special[o]||{},
o=(e?l.delegateType:l.bindType)||o,l=n.event.special[o]||{},k=n.extend(
{type:o,origType:q,data:d,handler:c,guid:c.guid,selector:e,needsContext:
e&&n.expr.match.needsContext.test(e),namespace:p.join(".")},f),(m=i[o])
||(m=i[o]=[],m.delegateCount=0,l.setup&&l.setup.call(a,d,p,g)!==!1||
a.addEventListener&&a.addEventListener(o,g)),l.add&&(l.add.call(a,k),
k.handler.guid||(k.handler.guid=c.guid)),e?m.splice(m.delegateCount++,0,k)
:m.push(k),n.event.global[o]=!0)}}
\end{verbatim}
  {\scriptsize https://code.jquery.com/jquery-2.2.1.min.js}
  \lecture{This is an example of minified code---a snippet of jQuery's
           minified sources for an 'add' method.  Real quick---what do each
           of those arguments mean?  What does this function do?
           Minification is used even with free software for performance
           reasons---smaller file sizes, smaller load times.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}
  \begin{center}
    \includegraphics{images/librejs-logo.png}
  \end{center}
  \lecture{GNU has an addon for Firefox-based browsers like GNU IceCat that
           approaches this issue in a few different ways.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{LibreJS}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item Blocks execution of non-free JavaScript
      \lecture{LibreJS blocks the execution of non-free JavaScript.  But how
               does it determine what is non-free?}

    \item JavaScript should contain {\tt @license} tags
      \lecture{A couple ways.  Ideally, the JavaScript should be wrapped in
               license tags.  It can identify the license in a number of
               ways, including the full license header you'd see in source
               files, or a magnet link, which is much more ideal for
               minified sources.}

    \item Hashes of common libraries recognized as free
      \lecture{But the Web is full of \emph{existing} software like
               libraries that don't contain those labels.  So LibreJS also
               maintains a list of file hashes for popular libraries.  For
               example, the minified jQuery file containing the snippet I
               showed would be recognized as free, even though it doesn't
               contain licensing information.}

    \item Web Labels map scripts to corresponding source code
      \lecture{It then has a method called Web Labels---which is a simple
               HTML table---that is intended to be a machine-readable way to
               map scripts to their source code.}
  \end{itemize}

  \lecture{The LibreJS project needs help from JavaScript developers to
           develop and maintain the addon.  If you're interested, please
           visit gnu.org/software/librejs}.
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Submit Patches To Projects!}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item Patch your own projects!
    \item Submit patches to add headers to projects
    \item Patches for minifiers (e.g. UglifyJS)
    \item Patches for programs that combine sources (e.g. Browserify)
    \item For Node.js programs: can pull license right out of {\tt package.json}
  \end{itemize}

  \lecture{You can help by adding licenses to your own projects and by
           submitting patches to other projects; this will not only help
           solve the licensing issue for that project, but also make others
           aware of the issue.  And one great way to help is to submit
           patches to minifiers like UglifyJS to automatically add that
           license information to sources, or retain it if it exists.  But
           that doesn't help when a minified file might contain code under
           various licenses, so it'd also be helpful to patch programs like
           Browserify---which packages Node.js modules for the client---to
           recognize licenses and add them as appropriate.  For node.js
           pull the license right out of the package.json file.}
\end{frame}

%%%=== END TIMEBLOCK 4.5m ==============================================



%%%=== BEGIN TIMEBLOCK 5m ==============================================

\begin{frame}{Replacing Programs}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> How do you replace a program (free or non-) on your computer?
      \lecture{Alright.  So back to your desktop for a moment.  If you want
               to replace a non-free program with a free one, or modify a
               free program, how do you do it?}
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<2-> You just do.
          \lecture{Well...you just do.}
      \end{itemize}

    \item<3-> How do you replace a program (free or non-) on the Web?
      \lecture{But what about on the web?}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[c]
  \begin{center}
    Is that a trick question?
  \end{center}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Replacing Programs---The Best Case}
  \only<1->{
    \begin{enumerate}
      \item The program is entirely packaged in its own JavaScript file(s)
      \item All dependencies are packaged with or alongside it
    \end{enumerate}
  }
    \lecture{The best situation we have for replacing programs is when the
             program is packaged entirely in its own JavaScript files, and
             so are its dependencies.}

  \only<2->{
    Solution:

    \begin{enumerate}
      \item Block program scripts
      \item Block undesirable dependencies
      \item Inject replacement program
    \end{enumerate}
  }
    \lecture{The solution isn't all that complicated then.  Block those
             undesirable scripts from loading and inject a replacement
             program.  I'll get into how to do that shortly.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Replacing Programs---The Realistic Case}
  \lecture{But if only we were so lucky!}

  \begin{enumerate}
    \item<1-> The program is actually a number of independent programs
              (scripts) doing different things
      \lecture{But let's be realistic; a web page often contains what can
               be considered a bunch of independent programs doing distinct
               things, like validating forms, populating a real-time search,
               a shopping cart, animating part of the page, etc.}

    \item<1-> Some scripts are packaged in one or more JavaScript files
      \lecture{Some of those scripts might be packaged in one or more
               JavaScript files.  Okay, that's good.}

    \item<1-> Some are inline {\tt <script>} tags scattered throughout
      \lecture{But some are inline script tags mixed with the HTML.}
      %% example

    \item<1-> Some are inline JavaScript fragments in HTML attributes
      \lecture{And others still might be fragments of JavaScript in HTML
               attributes.}
      %% example
  \end{enumerate}

  \includegraphics[width=\textwidth]{images/code_quality.png}
  {\tiny\\\hfill ``Code Quality'' by Randall Munroe
    (http://xkcd.com/1513/) CC BY-NC 2.5}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}[c]
  \begin{center}
    \only<1>{Solution?}
      \lecture{So what's the solution?}

    \only<2>{Write a presentation complaining about it.}
      \lecture{Well my first step was to write a rant about it.  Because not
               everyone thinks about these issues.}
  \end{center}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Blocking Scripts---Entirely}
  \lecture{One option is to turn of JavaScript in your browser,
           entirely But if you disable JavaScript, then you can't run any
           replacements.}

  \begin{itemize}
    \item Can disable JavaScript entirely
    \item But then you can't run replacements
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Blocking Scripts---NoScript}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item NoScript is effective at blocking scripts per (sub-)domain
      \lecture{I consider NoScript to be a necessity for the web.  And what
               it does is block scripts entirely, but allows you to create a
               whitelist for specific domains or sub-domains.}

    \item Careful---some domains serve lots of scripts (e.g. CDNs)
      \lecture{But you have to be careful when you do this, because some
               domains serve a lot of different scripts, and some of them
               might be non-free.  CDNs are popular today.}

    \item Some sites require you to trust many different domains
      \lecture{It's also not uncommon to see a site referencing scripts from
               a dozen different domains.  Do you really want to trust a
               dozen third parties to run software for a single website?}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Blocking Scripts---LibreJS}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item Blocks non-free JS with a high level of granularity
      \lecture{LibreJS takes a much more granular approach---it blocks
               individual scripts.}

    \item Recognizes JavaScript files (or parts of), script tags, inline
          scripts in attributes, etc.
      \lecture{So rather than domain, it recognizes individual source files,
               \emph{sections} of source files if they provide licensing
               information, and some of those less desirable practices like
               script tags and fragments in HTML attributes.}

    \item But doesn't block scripts recognized as free
      \lecture{But one feature I'd like to see is the ability to block all
               scripts by default, even if free.}
      \begin{itemize}
        \item So that we can replace specific programs
          \lecture{Why?  Firstly, we'd be able to replace specific programs
                   on the page; we can't do that with NoScript.}

        \item Free software can do bad things too
          \lecture{Free software can still do all the bad things that I
                   talked about; you just have the ability to remove those
                   anti-features and replace it.  Well, you should, anyway,
                   if you can find a \emph{way} to replace it.}
      \end{itemize}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Injecting Scripts---Greasemonkey}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item Expat / Modified BSD / MPL 1.1

    \item Inject user-defined scripts into web pages

    \item \url{http://openuserjs.org}, \url{http://greasyfork.org},
          \url{http://userscripts-mirror.org}
  \end{itemize}

  \lecture{After blocking scripts, the second step is replacing
           them.  Greasemonkey is a popular browser addon for running
           arbitrary ``user scripts'' on pages.  Since the scripts can be
           anything, you can inject your modified program.  There are a few
           sites hosting scripts written by users that demonstrates the
           practical utility of modifying programs on the web, or augmenting
           them.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Injecting Scripts/Styles---dotjs}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item MPL 1.1

    \item Inject user-defined scripts from {\tt \~{}/.js}

    \item Inject user-defined styles from {\tt \~{}/.css}
  \end{itemize}

  \lecture{There's also dotjs, which is like a Greasemonkey and Stylish in
           one.  It takes a much simpler approach---place scripts and
           stylesheets for specific domains in your home directory and it
           will automatically run them.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Replacing Scripts---What We Need}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Something your grandparents can use!

    \lecture{So that's the existing state of affairs.  But as a user---not a
             hacker---do you find this intuitive?  You can ask your
             grandparents to install GNU IceCat on their computer just fine,
             but you can't ask them to go through all of this to replace a
             non-free program on the web.  We need an easier solution.}

    \item<2-> Package changes:
      \lecture{I challenge someone to create an addon that allows you to:}

      \begin{itemize}
        \item<2-> Install replacement software like you'd install an addon

        \item<2-> Automatically block scripts with granularity of LibreJS

        \item<2-> Automatically inject scripts

        \item<2-> Verify package signatures

        \item<2-> Update mechanism
      \end{itemize}

    \item<2-> Ideally: add that support to LibreJS
      \lecture{And ideally you'd add that support to GNU LibreJS.}
  \end{itemize}

  \lecture{But let's be honest.}
\end{frame}

%%%=== END TIMEBLOCK 5m ==============================================



%%%=== BEGIN TIMEBLOCK 6.5m ==============================================

\begin{frame}
  \begin{center}
    But all this is just a kluge.
  \end{center}

  \lecture{While all of this would be great, it's ultimately just a
           kluge---we're trying to work around an architecture that was not
           intended to promote exercising the four freedoms.}

  \lecture{So I have a stronger proposal.  I'm going to illustrate with an
           even more disastrous problem.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Service as a Software Substitute (SaaSS)}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Also called ``Software as a Service'' (SaaS)
    \item<1-> ``Who Does That Server Really Serve?'' essay by rms

    \lecture{Services as software substitutes.  Most people refer to it as
             ``Software as a Service'', but many of us use the term
             ``Service as a Software Substitute''---as coined by rms---to
             emphasize that you're sacrificing something.}

    \item<2-> You simply cannot modify a program running on someone else's
              server
      \lecture{This poses an entirely different problem than software
             freedom---you simply cannot modify software on someone else's
             computer; nor should you be able to.}

    \item<3>{SaaS---Shackles as a Service}
      \lecture{When talking about freedom, we may as well call it
               ``Shackles as a Service''.  We're at the point today where
               the next step to strip all power from the user is to remotely
               render the program and stream images.  And unfortunately,
               such a thing already exists!  It's called ``cloud gaming'',
               or Gaming as a Service.  Hold the fart jokes.  These services
               remotely render games and stream them to the user.  All user
               input is sent to the service.  The next logical step after
               that is then licensing eyeball or brain implants so that the
               user can't record or manipulate the image on her screen!
               Vision as a Service, perhaps.}
  \end{itemize}

  \lecture{You'll often hear that these services are hosted quote ``in the
           cloud''.  But let's not fool ourselves.}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{There Is No Cloud}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Talking about the ``cloud'' leads to cloudy judgment
      \lecture{The ``cloud'' is a popular term that is more of an
               advertising ploy than anything at this point, as it deeply
               confounds the situation and insults users' intelligence by
               making it seem like this is all some sort of mysterious
               magic, providing no explanation of what is \emph{actually}
               going on.}

    \item<2-> It's just someone else's computer---lots of them
      \lecture{There is no cloud---it's just someone else's computer.  Lots
               of them; on demand.}

    \item<2-> Difference: elasticity---servers/resources brought online only
              when needed
      \lecture{The primary difference between the quote-unquote ``cloud'' versus
               normal servers is that they are what is called ``elastic'',
               in that you bring new servers and resources online as needed,
               and get rid of them when they're not.  But otherwise---it's
               the same damn thing!}

    \item<3-> We can't talk about freedoms using terms that cloud understanding
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<4-> May as well call it the ``fog''
      \end{itemize}

      \lecture{Don't talk about the ``cloud'', because if you speak in such
               confusing and mysterious terms, then we can't even
               \emph{begin} to explain how you might exercise your freedoms
               on the web, because we first have to explain our way
               \emph{out} of the cloud.  We may as well call it the
               ``fog''!}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{\{Desktop,Web\} Software}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> To regain control, must host it yourself

    \item<1-> This means running the entire stack (server and client) on
               your own computer

      \lecture{Regaining control of our computing online means being able to
               run the entire software stack---both server and client---on
               our own computers.}

    \item<2-> Unweb
      \lecture{I call this ``unwebbing'', because you are eliminating your
               reliance on the Web to run the software, and treating it more
               like a desktop application.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Unwebbing}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> Cannot unweb a partially (or non-) free stack
      \begin{itemize}
        \item<2-> Webserver
        \item<2-> Programs/scripts that it runs to generate output
        \item<2-> Script dependencies
        \item<2-> Client
      \end{itemize}

      \lecture{We also can't unweb a \emph{partially free} stack---for
               example, if the client JavaScript is free, that doesn't help
               us, because we still can't host the server ourselves, which
               robs us of our freedom to do our own computing.  We need the
               whole stack to be free---that means the webserver, any
               output-generating software that it might run, any
               \emph{dependencies} for those programs, and then finally the
               client.  So if your server runs an external program like
               Imagemagick to process images, then that program must also be
               free so that we can run it.  Fortunately, Imagemagick is.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{The Affero GPL Doesn't Solve All Problems}
  \begin{itemize}
    \item<1-> If users can access a \emph{modified} version of the program
              over a network, that they must have access to the source code

    \item<1-> But even if you have the source code, you can't modify it on
              the server that's using it

      \lecture{Some point to the AGPL as a solution---but it's not.  Even if
               you have the changes that they made to the server software,
               you still can't change the code running on their
               servers---you need to host it yourself, and to do so, you
               need a full stack.}

    \item<2-> AGPL'd programs can be used in a pipeline with proprietary
              programs

    \item<2-> Doesn't cover works that the AGPL'd program might invoke
              externally

      \lecture{The AGPL also doesn't cover other programs invoked
               externally, or as part of a pipeline.}
  \end{itemize}
\end{frame}


\begin{frame}{Truly Unwebbed}
  \begin{enumerate}
    \item<1-> Download unwebbed package
    \item<2-> Invoke unwebbed program {\tt ./foo}
    \item<3-> Package creates an isolated environment (possibly with no
              network access)
    \item<3-> Package mounts persistent storage
    \item<3-> Package starts all necessary services
    \item<3-> Package invokes client (e.g. web browser, possibly in ``app''
              mode / SSB)
      \lecture{A client would then be invoked.  This will probably be a web
               browser, but it might be in some sort of ``app'' mode, or
               might be what's called a single-site-browser, to make it feel
               more like a desktop program.}
    \item<4-> Program terminates
    \item<4-> All services are stopped
    \item<4-> Environment is destroyed (but not persistent storage)
  \end{enumerate}

  \lecture{If this concept sounds familiar, that's because it is---I'm
           essentially describing what's called a ``container'', which is a
           common virtualization technique.  In fact, this is a task that
           would be handled quite well by GNU Guix.  But even if we didn't
           go the route of virtualization---even if the unwebbed package
           just ran services in the same environment like a normal
           program---the observed program would still be largely the same,
           if not identical.}
\end{frame}

\begin{frame}
  \begin{center}
    \only<1>{Web software works just as desktop software}
    \only<2>{End Goal: Just Run {\tt ./foo}}
  \end{center}

  \lecture{That web software works just like software on the desktop.  The
           end goal?  Just run foo.}
\end{frame}

%%%=== END TIMEBLOCK 6.5m ==============================================


\begin{frame}
  \begin{center}
    Mike Gerwitz

    {\url mtg@gnu.org}

    \medskip

    Interested in submitting your project to GNU?

    {\url https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html}

    \medskip

    Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0
    International License
  \end{center}
\end{frame}

\end{document}