If there is one big thing about the SOPA bill currently being discussed,
in Congress and pretty much everywhere else as well, it is that almost nobody
in Congress understands a damn thing about the Internet; or even how everday
businesses function. A bunch of engineers and FOSS/IP lawyers writing up an
open letter, discussing freedom and rights, may not be the best way to get
the attention of a Congress who are obviously so willing to put such things
aside, for the benefit of their corporate lobbies. People like
Rep. John Flemming,
may not quite understand such vague concepts as freedom, and rights. So, I
thought maybe I could help people out when trying to tell their Congressmen
to vote against SOPA/PIPA bills, by providing an analogy they might understand.
One that is based on money, and classic businesses.
So, if you want to know why SOPA/PIPA are bad, here is why. Imagine for a
moment, that you own a business; one which provides people with tasty sub
sandwiches. Now imagine that you have 30 million customers, and serve up to
20,000 of them every day. Your business is unique, and flourishing, because
you also have a feature which allows customers to create their own sandwiches,
and share the recipes with everyone else. About 60% of your customers, all
peruse this feature, and their custom recipes get posted into the electronic
menu system at your shop. Now, imagine that a competing store, has a special
recipe, which they pride themselves on. Several of your customers posted this
same recipe to your menu system, with slight alterations, to fit their own
tastes. The competing store finds out, but says nothing to you, or the
customers who posted the altered recipes. Instead, they report that your
store is violating their Copyright on the recipe, to the Department of Justice.
The Department of Justice issues a court order to the city, to remove the
road which is allowing all of your customers, to reach your store. You wake
up the next day, to go and open your store, but the road is gone, and you
can no longer get to it. Nor can any of your 30 million customers. Any money
you would make from having that store, is gone. You can't really move it to
any other location, anywhere in the United States, as you have been put on
a blacklist, and no cities are allowed to have roads leading to your store.
You can move out of country, but all your customers would have to travel much
further to get to your store. You will no longer make any money from having
Do you really want anyone to be able to shut down your entire
business, without any warning, whatsoever? I doubt it. This is exactly what
SOPA/PIPA would be like for businesses, of any size, on the Internet. We must
not allow this completely idiotic set of bills to pass. They are a complete
and utter violation of the Constitution of These United States of America.
Tell your Representative, and Senator, to throw this garbage in the trash,
where it belongs.
If you know me, you probably know I once wrote a web browser using the
gtkhtml widget for rendering pages, called Encompass. Well, after many years
of not touching that code at all, I've decided it's time to bring it back from
the dead. Web security has been an ever-growing issue over the past few
years, and browsers haven't really done anything to improve it. Rather, they
seem to only rapidly add very resource heavey features, and only deal with
minor security flaws in their own code. Nor have any really sought to make
drastic leaps in usability. Most all the UI differences across browsers is
all for the sake of being different from the others. Why is it so hard to find
a secure and usable browser, that integrates into the system?
Well, that's exactly what the new Encompass will do. Sadly, the gtkhtml
engines have fallen drastically behind, and aren't up to the task of dealing
with the modern era web. So I will unfortunately be required to use the webkit
engine, as I am not interested in building a new rendering engine right now.
Hopefully I will be able to build the browser how I want to, without having to
make many changes to webkit itself; though I suspect some will be required. And
hopefully it won't take too long to get a working version, as I am rewriting in
Vala, to speed things up and simplify the code.