It’s difficult to exaggerate the damage that has been caused to the original vision of the web through the commercialisation of domain names. Imposing artificial scarcity and the complexity of commerce systems on a fundamental identifier makes it orders of magnitude harder to self host. Domain names should be a public good. We should embrace in the EU and mandate that all browser vendors implement support and get Let’s Encrypt to provide TLS support.


@aral Under what legal theory can a liberal government micromanage all browser vendors?

@freakazoid @aral under the same theory that allows them to micromanage the ingredients in food, or medication, or.... regulation is common

@walruslifestyle @aral Food safety is explicitly included as a regulatable category. So far software has been relatively untouched.

And we're not just talking about commercial entities here, but open source developers as well.

Food safety laws have been used to squash independent food production fairly effectively. The same will happen with open source once we start regulating software.

@freakazoid @aral the majority of web users use Chrome, from Google, or Firefox, from Mozilla which takes large corporate donations. literally what's being proposed is regulating these large corporate entities to stop them from leveraging their power to wrest money from individuals. exactly what regulation is intended to do. I fail to see the issue, nor the novelty, in this aside from being astounded that it hasn't happened sooner given the level of harm caused

@Shamar @walruslifestyle @freakazoid @aral Isn't this what Anti-trust is for?

How I long for that concept to be taken seriously again.

@alcinnz @Shamar @freakazoid @aral yes. regulating monopolies used to be done more ime, but barely occurs now. when it has, eg to Microsoft, it had a beneficial effect

@Shamar @alcinnz @freakazoid @aral applying antitrust law to Microsoft did not result in the dominance of the Chrome web browser. that is a historically false suggestion. can you please at least try?

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle No, we'd have a much worse dystopia where every site uses ActiveX and you can't use most of the web without Windows.

@freakazoid @walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral

ActiveX weren't doing much well back then. The two contenders for the " as a Application Deployment Platform" were Applets and .
And later, Microsoft moved to .NET and WPF: they didn't consider the Web as a viable architecture for a distributed operating system. They were right, but nobody want to admit this now (not even them).

But mostly, back then, there was a huge movement towards the and that killed.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle WASM turns the web into a viable application deployment platform. Or will when it finally escapes JS's broken security model.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle It seems like the goalposts have moved from what application deployers view as a viable application deployment platform to what YOU view as a viable application deployment platform.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle I'm curious how the alternative you think we'd have had MS won their antitrust fight would improve on any of the things you've mentioned?

@walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral @Shamar And again, we're still talking about what YOU think is a viable platform versus what app deployers would be willing to use. I'm not arguing that it's not a shit show; just that WASM is an improvement over JS that in app deployers eyes will make it sufficient for their needs.

JS is no more transparent than WASM; obfuscated JS is no easier to read than disassembled WASM.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle I guess what I'm really trying to understand is why/how you think the computing world would have come with something better than the web for application deployment rather than just inventing an equally bad shitshow. All the other popular ones, they're all a shitshow on one or more axes.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle I know a bit about Plan 9 but not about their proposal for application deployment.

I agree about .Net. There was a lot of potential there. Through their embracement of Mono there still seems to be a lot, but it keeps moving too slowly to gain enough momentum.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle Ok, this makes a lot more sense to me, but I still have questions:

Why do you think an apt-like system would be the way people would install apps even on Windows, versus an even earlier appearance of the platform-specific app stores we have now?

In the absence of on-the-fly customization and spying through the web, why do you think the platform vendors wouldn't have turned the OS itself into a surveillance apparatus much sooner?

@walruslifestyle @alcinnz @aral @Shamar The problem is, the absence of surveillance via the web doesn't make people's data any less valuable. In the absence of control by online platforms like Facebook, control of the operating system itself would be way more valuable. I think computers would still be turning into appliances, just for services provided by Microsoft and Apple (Google probably wouldn't exist) instead of Facebook Google.

@Shamar @aral @alcinnz @walruslifestyle This is not to say that the web is great as it exists, just that the market forces that shaped it into the shitshow it is today would still have existed even if the web hadn't turned into an app deployment platform.

And frankly, I doubt stewardship of the web would have been significantly better. I think it's just as likely the web would have been overtaken by proprietary platforms in the same way messaging has.

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