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

Sean Caron scaron at
Wed Sep 30 12:32:17 CDT 2015

Plus a million. You can still view my personal page and get the full
experience in Netscape 2.0, Mosaic and so forth :O



On Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 11:38 AM, Mouse <mouse at> wrote:

> > 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,
> though.)
> 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.
> /~\ The ASCII                             Mouse
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>  X  Against HTML                mouse at
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