Re: Reboot: Strategic goals for GNOME

Hi Jim,

Actually at Igalia we share your view and concerns, and this is one of the
reasons why we are putting a lot of effort into bringing modern and solid
web technologies to the heart of GNOME, being WebKitGTK+ one of the
key components that can enable the integration that you mention.

On Fri, Mar 05, 2010 at 07:51:27AM -0500, Jim Gettys wrote:
> The point I was trying to make was  that HTML 5 (or more formally some 
> of the API's for javascript for accessing local storage), among other 
> things, enables offline use of web  applications.  Think google gears 
> use in google calendar and gmail or google air.  Note gears was just 
> formally abandoned by Google in favor of standards (a good thing, IMHO).
> It is becoming feasible to build applications with those technologies 
> that you *can* take with you.  In this sense, they become no different 
> than software we currently install in conventional ways based on GTK+; 
> just more convenient.  This is part of the inflection point I believe is 
> about to arrive.
> I've seen little discussion on how gnome should be thinking of becoming 
> part of an much larger ecosystem of applications that I believe will 
> form due to this capability.
> And yes, the end state may be that desktop environments do become 
> entirely browser based; this may or may not be a "good thing" (either 
> technically, or on software freedom grounds), depending on how the 
> process plays out.
> And without thinking this possible trend through, the probability of 
> influencing this trend in "good" directions for the social good is 
> greatly diminished.
> Let me give you a concrete example common practice in javascript 
> programs is to "obfuscate" the code
> 1) as a mechanism to "protect IP" (RMS, please don't jump on me here: 
> I'm parroting how the companies involved are thinking about it), -
> 2) but also to improve compression of the loading of such programs 
> initially. People like Google work *hard* on latency and understand 
> every byte counts (among many other things: go look at the google talks 
> by their engineers on the topic).
> Right now, these are two disincentives for the source code to be 
> available at all.
> As a solution to 2), Gnome (and/or the FSF) could work in the web 
> community to standardize mechanisms and code for making such source 
> available.  So long as solutions to 2) do not exist, we're in a much 
> poorer position; free and open source code should not work *worse* than 
> proprietary, IMHO.
> I'm concerned to have not seen this sort of strategic issue discussed 
> widely.

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