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Date:      Fri, 9 Sep 2016 14:26:19 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        CK <>
Cc:        <>
Subject:   Re: X+webkit = Disgraceful
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>

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On Fri, 09 Sep 2016 01:19:40 -0800, CK wrote:
> I just fetched the recursive ports for:
> x11/xorg-minimal
> x11/xfd x11/xset x11/xterm
> x11-fonts/bdftopcf x11-fonts/pcf2bdf
> x11-wm/vtwm www/webkit-gtk2
> And that doesn't even include a web-browser
> (currently looking at surf + xombrero, essentially,
> "browsers" [...]

That's correct. The Gnome packages don't contain a
complete web browser anymore, and the included webkit
engine is "for internal use only" for Gtk, not for
the user. None of those ports contains a web browser.

> [...] that do little more than present a page
> from Google's webkit "www-engine"; apparently, the
> web is such an enormous piece of shit now that nobody
> can code decent web-page rendering anymore [Netsurf
> and Dillo seem to have been trying for over a decade]
> except for corporate giants - created+controlled by
> govt for the purpose of profiting govt and spying on
> behalf of govt.

That, as well as targeted advertising, seems to be the
primary goal of today's "modern web"...

> Still keeping Opera 12.16 since it's
> pretty much perfect with only a few fatal flaws in
> the current web-o-sphere.

So I am not the only person left on earth who does this. ;-)

> 250+ MB, 36+ hours of downloading, and I still
> can't even view the WWW, graphically.  It's just
> fucking disgusting.

It's called "bloat". Some people claim that it's the logical
and inevitable consequence of modern application development
and a key requirement to usability evolution. I'm not fully
sure about this...

> TODAY THAN THEN (with the exception of server-side
> font control - which - apparently, took a whole new
> fucking language to fix (CSS) instead of a trivial
> fix to the FONT SIZE attribute specification).

CSS aims to fix a problem that initially came with the HTML
markup which would primarily state what some element of
content within the web page _is_, and the browser would
then render it with its internal defaults to decide what
it _looks like_. Later on, the "what it looks like" elements
became part of the HTML markup. More and more, they move
out of the HTML again and into CSS. This separation is not
that bad at all. If you use Opera, there is a little button
that switches between "author mode" and "user mode", essentially
disabling CSS styling - and making certain web pages _readable_
for the first time!

But as any mechanism that enables abuse, abuse will happen.
Today CSS is used to "prevent" users from saving images from
web pages (hint: it doesn't work), or to do annoying overlays
(not as a separate browser window or tab).

> I
> guess I should say I am no fan of video or residential
> high-speed access of the Internet - for without it,
> we surely wouldn't have a mess like we have today
> (I'd guess it's all porn+entertainment driven).

It's mostly ad-driven, and porn + entertaiment are just the
best working "carriers".

> It's just fucking disgusting.  It's complexity merely
> for the sake of complexity - just pure wankerism without
> any essential additional quality.

Quality is not in the scope of the consumerism of the
masses, the target audience.

> I need ALL OF THIS SHIT just to turn some text and a
> few images into pixels?

Web pages often aren't just text and pixels anymore.
Instead, they are whole programs (including "program logic")
with embedded media, sometimes in DRM (Digital Restriction
Management) formats.

> 250+ MB of COMPRESSED code
> (expanded, it's surely GBs!!!  BILLIONS OF LINES OF
> CODE???)  Whoever is responsible for this needs to
> be rounded up and left deserted on some island in the
> middle of the ocean.  It's just pure insane.  This
> world has lost it's collective mind - and the outcome
> will not be pleasant.

The key for understanding is that a modern web browser is more
or less a whole operating system inside the operating system.
It's very complex, as it does so many things. Today it can even
control built-in webcams, microphones, access USB devices,
transmission encryption, integration with "could" services and
so on. It's a very complex piece of software, and this also
leads to complexity regarding user interaction: on one hand,
they emphasize easy use, on the other hand, "power users" should
be happy, and on a third hand, external control ("sensible
defaults") should avoid too much user control ("no, better
not make it easy to switch off JS, so we can track them more

> PS. my config-recursive tried to disable as much
> as possible ... which i am sure will cause
> compilation errors ...  and this is not really a
> "freebsd" thing, but it is part of the freebsd
> ports system ...  no real question here, just
> a question people should be asking themselves.

Again, it's important to understand that most software you're
dealing with on FreeBSD has been ported from Linux. This does
not just include certain software dependencies (build tools,
libraries, system interfaces etc.), but also a specific mindset
of developers toward (A) how people should obtain the software
and (B) how users should use the software. Switching of "unneeded"
dependencies can lead to unexpected results, such as program not
compiling, or compiled program not working (like "can't print
when not running CUPS, even if you don't need it").

> Somebody needs to develop an anti-JS "webkit"
> that destroys all of the JS-BS in webpages, and
> filters out the essential images+links+functionality,
> without regard to placement/organization for those
> websites that promulgate this garbage, and aid in
> some kind of return to the non-commericialization
> of the Internet.

That won't happen. :-(

Today's webpages consist of basically 4 parts:

1. HTML - basic markup
2. CSS - styling
3. JS - interaction
4. media content (text, images, video, audio)

The 3rd element controls all the others. There are even web pages
that do not contain any content - it's all fetched and arranged
by JS, so without JS, you will only get an empty page. When I
say "interaction", it's not just interaction with the user, but
obviously interaction with the web browser as well (disabling
and hiding scroll bars so some stupid scrolling pattern can be
forced on the user, incorporating images "inline" so they don't
appear as images to the user, but in the first place, open ads).

You can compare the situation with the times where "Flash" was king:
one single web page, containing one "Flash" element - as a substitute
for text, graphics, markup and style. Without "Flash", only an empty
page would have been shown. "Flash" has been happily abused as a
"HTML + content replacement", plus DRM ("no, you can't play this
video in your stupid country").

The many JS libraries in use today (related terminology: "framework
of the week", "turtles all the way down", "the new old thing")
are attracting developers, and the endless possibilities of user
tracking appeal to advertisers. Ad revenue attracts investors.
So without JS, the "start-up bubble" would have burst years ago. ;-)

> How can this not be seen as a
> govt/corporate takeover of the Internet and all
> "free" operating systems?

Even the following argument (or question) is possible: Is your
browser running non-free JS code? Can you examine "compiled"
(compressed and obfuscated) JS source code? Do you still control
what is does, apart from disabling JS interpretation?

> There is no way this
> could ever be supported by "free programmers"
> developing things "freely", out of their own
> desire and love for something of personal
> quality+satisfaction.

It is supported because it "creates" money.

What _you_ can do is to decide which web browser you want to
use. There are meny available, with different abilities and
goals. Check which one uses webkit as its renderer. In worst
case, you have to try some. Install them as a "top port"
(don't care about dependencies, just "pkg install <name>").

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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