Mike Gerwitz

Activist for User Freedom

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authorMike Gerwitz <mtg@gnu.org>2017-08-01 22:00:33 -0400
committerMike Gerwitz <mtg@gnu.org>2017-08-01 22:00:33 -0400
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:githubbub: minor wording update
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diff --git a/docs/about/githubbub.md b/docs/about/githubbub.md
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@@ -1,36 +1,43 @@
### GitHubbub! GitHub Does Not Value Software Freedom.
-<div class="inline-img octoflop">![GitHub](/images/octoright-large.png "GitHubbub!")</div>
+<div class="inline-img octoflop">
+ ![GitHub](/images/octoright-large.png "GitHub logo rotated 270° to resemble a Copyright symbol")
+</div>
-If you hit this page expecting to have been taken to my GitHub profile, then
-this is probably not what you were looking for. But let me tell you why
-you're here.
+If you hit this page expecting to have been taken to my GitHub profile,
+ then this is probably not what you were looking for;
+ but let me tell you why you're here.
-Before providing a link to something hosted on a service, it is wise to
-consider whether doing so is a good idea---whether the service or website
-is antithetical to the message you are trying to send to your
-readers/visitors, or whether it deserves clarification. There's a little
-bit of both here.
+Before providing a link to something hosted on a service,
+ it is important to consider whether the service or website is antithetical
+ to the message you are trying to convey to your readers/visitors,
+ and whether it deserves clarification;
+ there's a little bit of both here.
-If you're looking for a host friendly toward free software, take a look at
-the [GNU ethical repository criteria][gnu-repo], which sets standards for
-acceptable hosts of parts of the [GNU operating system][gnu].
+If you're looking for a host friendly toward free software,
+ take a look at the [GNU ethical repository criteria][gnu-repo],
+ which sets standards for acceptable hosts to parts of the
+ [GNU operating system][gnu].
#### Non-Free JavaScript
-[Free software][freesw] guarantees your freedom to study, modify, and share
-the software that you use. We value these freedoms on the desktop, so why
-should we compromise when websites serve proprietary JavaScript
-[just because it creates the illusion of remote execution][whyfreejs]? When
-you visit a website that serves JavaScript to the client, your web browser
-is automatically [downloading and executing (often without your permission)
-untrusted software][jstrap]. If that JavaScript is not
-[freely licensed][librejs], then the software running in your web browser
-is proprietary.
-
-**When you visit `github.com`, you download over 200kB of obfuscated code,
-much of which is proprietary.** This code provides many website features
-that are fairly essential, and *do not work with JavaScript disabled*:
+[Free software][freesw] guarantees your freedom to study,
+ modify,
+ and share the software that you use.
+We value these freedoms on the desktop,
+ so why should we compromise when websites serve proprietary JavaScript
+ [just because it creates the illusion of remote execution][whyfreejs]?
+When you visit a website that serves JavaScript to the client,
+ your web browser is automatically [downloading and executing][jstrap]
+ (often without your permission) ephemeral, unsigned, untrusted software.
+If that JavaScript is not [freely licensed][librejs],
+ then the software running in your web browser is proprietary.
+
+**When you visit `github.com`,
+ you download over 200kB of obfuscated code,
+ much of which is proprietary.**
+This code provides many website features that are fairly essential,
+ and *do not work with JavaScript disabled*:
- Change repository names or descriptions;
- Delete repositories;
@@ -43,40 +50,46 @@ that are fairly essential, and *do not work with JavaScript disabled*:
- And others.
That is---GitHub forces you to run proprietary software in order to use much
-of their website. This is unethical.
+ of their website.
+This is a bit startling for a host that owes its very existence to the
+ success and development of free software.
#### Desire To Remain Non-Free
-I contacted GitHub back in April 2014, pointing out these concerns and
-asking if they would be able to either liberate their JavaScript, or make
-GitHub's essential functionality work without JavaScript enabled. The first
-response I received was from one of their "JavaScript Developers":
+I contacted GitHub back in April 2014 pointing out these concerns and
+ asking if they would be able to either liberate their JavaScript or make
+ GitHub's essential functionality work without JavaScript enabled.
+The first response I received was from one of their "JavaScript Developers":
> Hi Mike,
->
+>
> Thanks for getting in touch with us here. Some of our internal projects are
> specific to running GitHub, and as such will probably remain closed. We do
> make an effort to open source projects that we create that we think would be
> beneficial to the community, some of which is JavaScript.
->
+>
> You can see a list of some of the open source projects that power GitHub
> here:
->
+>
> https://github.com/showcases/projects-that-power-github
-This response is unfortunately misguided: yes, it is good that GitHub
-produces free software, but it is a false assumption that their proprietary
-code would serve no benefit to the community: the very existence of
-their proprietary software
-[gives them unjust control over their users][unjust]. Relinquishing that
-control is of benefit to the community.
-
-I replied to the above message, clarifying my point. After receiving no
-response, I forwarded the e-mail to GitHub's original founders: [Tom
-Preston-Werner][tom], [Chris Wanstrath][chris], and [PJ Hyett][pj]. The
-response I received from Chris was blunt and discouraging:
+This response is unfortunately misguided---yes,
+ it is good that GitHub produces free software,
+ but it is a false assumption that their proprietary code would serve no
+ benefit to the community:
+ the very existence of their proprietary software [gives them unjust
+ control over their users][unjust];
+ relinquishing that control is of benefit to the community.
+
+I replied to the above message to clarify my point.
+After receiving no response,
+ I forwarded the e-mail to GitHub's original founders:
+ [Tom Preston-Werner][tom],
+ [Chris Wanstrath][chris],
+ and [PJ Hyett][pj].
+The response I received from Chris was blunt and discouraging:
> Hey Mike,
->
+>
> We have no plans to release github.com's JavaScript as free software at
> this time, nor do we have plans to remove the site's dependence on
> JavaScript. Thanks for the interest.