Re: Proposing libgdata as a new desktop module

On Thu, May 7, 2009 at 3:07 PM, Philip Withnall <philip tecnocode co uk> wrote:
> 2009/5/7 Johannes Schmid <jhs jsschmid de>
>> Hi!
>> While I certainly agree that accessing Google services is important for
>> our desktop I kind of think that it would be a bad signal to include a
>> module whose purpose to support a closed-source/non-free service. Or are
>> there any free services using the API?
> I'm not going to argue this too strongly, since I have no strong
> opinions either way and I think the community should decide whether
> they want this sort of thing in the desktop set. However, I will point
> out that plenty of our modules implement proprietary protocols,
> codecs, etc. which are more closed than GData.

Valid point.

> There aren't currently any free services using the protocol (and I
> can't foresee many appearing any time soon, though it's not beyond
> reason), but Google services are mostly free, if not open-source.

Lets not fall into the lazy trap of pretending that because something
is no-cost that it is effectively the same as being libre-free (or
even the same as being pragmatically open.)

Or to put it a different way: feel free to argue for it as a necessary
evil; that has been and will continue to be the kind of compromise
that GNOME has to make sometimes. But please don't pretend that
because it is no-cost that that somehow makes it OK.

Specifically to this point, things like flash and other codecs that we
have worked out support for are broadly used by hundreds of thousands
(millions?) of people and data providers. gdata... not so much. So
work with me here:

* is there any reason to believe that there is a trend towards
adoption here that we should be aware of? In other words, is this soon
going to be well beyond Google, and we should be ready for it? that
would be a good argument here; that's basically why we're OK with
libswf. Data points that one might muster to prove this would include
that open source CMSs (or other open source web-based software) has
libraries or plugins that publish gdata endpoints.

* if it isn't going to spread beyond google (or we have no reason to
believe so, at any rate) is there a reason to think that google is
special/important enough that we should compromise our values here? Is
there a good tactical reason for it? (I'd say that this, roughly, is
our relationship to SMB.) (There may be; I'm open to that possibility
but don't see it argued for yet.)

* alternately, are there ways to make this more general and support
alternatives? In other words, should this be a general purpose
web-data library (perhaps an atompub library?) in which gdata is but
one mode? Should it be integrated with some other, pre-existing
network connection or data protocol library?

The bottom line is that if we adopt this, we're implicitly encouraging
developers to use it, and we shouldn't do that unless there is a
strong case that it promotes freedom in some way, shape, or form. I
don't see that case made yet, but it certainly shouldn't be an
impossible case to make.


[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]