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What do we have to do to set up an *independent organisation* in Europe with an endowment from our (EU taxpayers’) money to maintain a free/open, private-by-default web browser that we legislate must be included in all operating systems made available in the EU?

#freeTheBrowser

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If you manage to reach someone from Igalia, that could be a good avenue for that, because they already have experience and they are strong free software advocates (and a workers cooperative). I know them via Andy Wingo, a maintainer of GNU Guile.

https://www.igalia.com/
@ArneBab @ar.al
Are you aware that publishing (on fedi) link to Igalia, you have broke TOS listed on https://www.igalia.com/legal/ ? :-) Look:
Except for the signs forming part of the hyperlink itself, the page on which the hyperlink is established will contain no distinguishing sign of those acknowledged by current legislation as belonging to Igalia, S. L., except where the latter has given its express authorisation.
Mastodon/Friendica show me not only the link itself but also preview of logo etc... Without their authorisation... :-)
I really don't know if writing so stupid TOS, they differ somehow from big-corpos...
BTW I have also broke TOS because...
The hyperlink will only allow for access to the Web site HOMEPAGE
:-)
Since the preview-image is part of the link, I think any legal action would be on very shaky ground.
We would likely fork Firefox, remove all the Silicon Valley/commercial bullshit, and hire engineers from Mozilla and elsewhere who want to work somewhere where they have the freedom to work on a browser for the common good without any Silicon Valley/commercial interference.
The challenge here isn’t technical; it’s funding and independence.

To succeed, any such organisation must be free of political interference and its funding must be guaranteed via an endowment and not privy to the whims of short-term political posturing.
the #EU is full of political interference, and not in a good way so this aproch has its own problems.

I have been working with them a bit for the last few years...
#eu
sth like the financing of the public broadcasting system (in GER). but without politicians in advisory board but technical and social experts for #sufficience
Funding is the issue. I however lean in the direction that software should be crowd funded. That way, actual people are in the control of the project as opposed to organizations.

We need a paradigm shift. We expect everything from the internet to be free. But we need to normalize to give back to creators. We need systems that makes it easy, secure, private and convinient to tip. In a way that preserves autonomy.
If only there was a concept where we could all give a portion of what we make to crowdfund things for the common good… I don’t know, we could call it Raxes? Saxes… ? Something like that ;)
look, I think I understand you argument

but it's a purely theoretical arguments

We all knwo what taxes are, this soesn't make this idea more feasible

This is something that needs to be hacked through, I'm afraid

there are no shortcuts

Sorry if I sound pessimistic
eh

good luck 🙄
The challenge is also very much political, as well as it is societal.

EU is not that far from openly asking for the same tools/level of control and means to track its 'users', once upon a time called citizens. Maybe not to make gigantic piles of money but that doesn't change their willingness to access and use the exact same tools. And have them developed if need be.

The tracking (as much as our willingness to live with it) is the issue, more than it being commercial or not. Imho.
You are absolutely right, funding is the most challenging part. And you need it for two things - one is development, the other is basically lobbying or campaigning. You can start with either, but will need the other eventually:
  • if you secure initial funding, hire devs, and create a fork, you'll need to eventually invest in some form of monetization or marketing to convince EU citizens and/or politicians to fund the project.
  • if you secure initial funding and use it for lobbying/campaigning, you might eventually have enough funds to maintain the project in the long run but will then need to start hiring devs.
In either scenario you'll also have to overcome the overall community's reluctance to invest in the marketing/campaigning/lobbying part.

If you want it to be a robust, sustainable project, it's more about organizing and leading the effort than forking the code.
I'm not sure where to stand on this. Is forking the best option? Are there design baggage if we use firefox code? Wrong assumptions about how the browsing experience should be?

Perhaps by developing a browser from scratch we will have a better understanding of how the browser can be developed further?

If so, then in the long run it might be better to start from scratch.
Who is we?
Do they have $$$?
check history of Cliqz. They started as extension to develop browser (ff fork) to reach search engine. Many, many talented engineers and political contacts to highlight value of EU based solutions. It's full colour story: Dark abyss of financial background, wrong decisions but also interesting story about privacy. Next to lecture you will reach ppl from Mozilla land ;)
what's your pitch though?

* Ignore third party requests entirely
* Start an arms race to block all tracking
* Encourage websites to move away from using third party tracking links, and then remove them

Because the third option still sounds positive to me.
There is already some kind of fork, called #LibreWolf. I'm using since couple of months. It seems to be much more friendly in terms of privacy. And I think is European :-)
I'm with you almost all the way; right up until the "law that requires specific named software to be installed on countless computers". That's a security timebomb if I ever saw one.
@digitalcourage
would be nice if you support development and raising awareness in public opinion
@fsfe
#public_digital_infrastructure
https://sdeps.eu/
.
also nice if you would make it possible to make a clean net-adress-space (don't know if that is technically possible or senseful) where #no_dark_patterns and #no_excessive_cookies are used #httpc-c_as_clean
let away the "must be included in all operating systems made available in the EU" and replace it with something like "must be Installed as Default browser on every Work computer of the public administration" in that way System maintainers does not have to worry about that specific software but the Administration has a high interest for this to be the best possible Browser.
@cybercow @ar.al
The first step will be done if EU law enforce at least that:
- users can install ANY browser they want (not the case with Apple & iOS !)
- OS manufacturers will respect user choice and not convince ( with shady practices ) to use their own browsers
That would be amazing! Could it be worth a try to create some kind of petition, collect signatures and send them to the EU?
I don't know but I want that browser.
#freeTheBrowser great and important idea. I don't know how, but count on me.
Oh, excellent, how large is the endowment and when can we start hiring Mozilla engineers to start moving the fork in a different direction? :)

(As I said, the problem isn’t technical. I can fork Firefox in the next minute. And many forks exist. This is about building a browser for the commons from the commons. For that we need an independent organisation funded from the commons. That’s the challenge here.)
Doesn't "web browser that mustbe included in all operating systems" mean that making a GNU/Linux distribution that have other web browser preinstalled or no browser will be illegal? Even on command-line only systems running on servers or embedded devices? And mobile phones? Doesn't it break down sense of free software, take away freedom of choice and make a new, law-enforced web browser monopoly?
It can very easily be worded so that it applies only to commercial operating systems to ENSURE that a free and open browser that protects freedom is included by default.
What about generalizing enforcement to any free (libre) web browser, that is a web browser which respect user's freedom and privacy, and your browser would be just a recommendation, kind of standard to give an example for other competetive browsers how they should work and display web pages? I propose a statement that each web browser used in EU schools and government must meet the following conditions:

1. fit the FSF's definition of free software (best if licenced under copyleft license such as GPL3+)
2. does not contain neither binary blobs (eg. DRM) nor software designed to download them
3. does not recommend installing non-free addons or other non-free software
4. by default does not put restrictions on viewing pages, downloading files and installing addons
5. does not depends on centralized services (like Firefox sync)
6. use open web standards

What do think about it?
@anedroid @ar.al The browser created with all the above condition can be still full of tracking code and so on ... So the free and open software is not the only condition that we should expect.
If you consider telemetry as not a dependence of centralized services:

7. does not collect usage data, statistics, nor send them to any servers. Anonymous usage statistics can be implemented for a development purposes as a completely separate addon licensed under free software license, that is not included or suggested to install in the official builds.

My intention is to web browser not send any data to its developers or 3rd parties, unless the user want to help improve that browser and install the extension that will send usage data. I've written "not suggested to install" because I don't want the browser ask the user to install that extension, like Reddit does with their mobile app. Ideally, if browser itself does not send any requests until you open a web page or start typing search terms if autocomplete is enabled.
We will have to start somewhere..
Why should the EU support the creation of another browser, funded by taxpayer money? It is a lot cheaper to regulate existing browsers. The "digital identity framework" is a current example:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/12/eus-digital-identity-framework-endangers-browser-security

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/02/what-duck-why-eu-proposal-require-qwacs-will-hurt-internet-security
This is exactly why Greenpeace is funded by ExxonMobil today.

Oh, wait…
Except that Waterfox sold out to an adtech company in the end. This is why setting up the right governance is critical, to prevent the project from being co-opted.