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Proprietary web apps (was: Re: Game content autodownloader)

Jeff Spaleta <jspaleta <at> gmail.com> writes:
> The content versus code debate isn't going to go away any time soon
> and sadly game data isn't going to be the greyest area in the futre.
> Once we start deeply integrating web services into our desktop
> experience and as a project start trying to make peace with the
> implications of relying on software as a service from non-open
> webservice providers.. we won't have enough time to worry about the
> ethics of needing to download copyright protected game data.

Indeed, I'm also worried about these developments, like GNOME's Online Desktop 
and KDE 4's plasmoids for various proprietary web apps. I think these are 
really bad ideas, they're slowly eroding what the Free desktop was supposed to 
be about. If the only Free Software you ever use is a web browser and all the 
apps you use are proprietary web apps, then are you really using Free Software?

Of course, it's hard to tell where to draw the line. But when something 
originally developed as a communication medium starts getting used to host your 
e-mail client, your picture gallery etc., IMHO that's really going too far. One 
criterion that you're a web service user and not just a web user is when you 
use the web to manage YOUR personal data, not just to communicate with others. 
(That also has privacy implications, by the way, not just licensing.) Another 
is when the browser starts becoming your client to everything. But there's of 
course a gray area everywhere, for example I'm writing this through the GMane 
web interface, is that a "web service" or "communication"? Even things like 
GMail could be argued to be communication, as can picture galleries as soon as 
picture sharing is involved.

        Kevin Kofler

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