Active content [was Re: A new Lisp-based OS that hearkens back to the old days of comprehensible computers]

Mouse mouse at Rodents-Montreal.ORG
Wed Sep 30 10:38:04 CDT 2015

> If you want to have a system that's network-capable, which is pretty
> much mandatory for a _really_ usable system in this day and age, i)
> that means Web-capable, and ii) if it's Web-capable today, it has to
> be able to handle what I dub 'active content' (JavaScript, etc) -
> i.e. content coming off the network which contains code, which runs
> in the local machine.

Fortunately, neither part of that is actually true, unless you swallow
today's mass-market propaganda that the Web is the Internet and the
Internet is the Web, the Web is the One True Interface for anyone to
anything, that the world is divided into content producers (large
companies) and content consumers (end users), and that the consumer is
obliged to tolerate whatever crap the producer feels like inflicting.

As a refutation to part (i), I offer two of the computers on my desk
today.  I don't know whether they're Web-capable, because I've never
even tried to do anything Web with either one (I know they're
HTTP-capable, but it's an abuse of HTTP, since it's used to transport
config files rather than hypertext, and is not the Web).  As I have
them configured, they speak SIP, RTP, FTP, and SNTP, and I think that's
it.  I find them highly useful.  (Well, one of them's broken at the
moment, but before it broke....)

As a refutation to part (ii), I point out that what little Web I do I
do with lynx, which (as I have it set up) does not support any kind of
active content - and I want it that way.

Perhaps you feel you "need" to do things that can't be done within that
paradigm.  If so, this is because of your idea of "usable", which not
everyone shares.

> To paraphrase a certain well-known SF work, IMO active content is
> probably the worst idea since humans' fore-fathers crawled out of the
> mud.

I agree.  That's why I will have no truck with it.

> I mourn the early days of the Web, when there was no active content -
> just text, images, etc, etc.

You can still live there, if you're willing to.  I am - and, watching
over others' shoulders, I believe I am far happier this way than I
would be if I had the likes of Facebook and YouTube infesting my
"experience".  (I do wish I could find a copy of Mosaic source,

Of course, like everything, it comes at a price.  I find that price far
lower than the prices that would be involved in putting up with today's
mass-market Web.

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