Firefox will adapt closed source DRM

Polytropon freebsd at
Wed May 14 21:25:07 UTC 2014

On Wed, 14 May 2014 16:52:24 -0400, Antonio Olivares wrote:
> I dont have flash.  IT is a resource hog!  CPU hovers to 90%+ levels.
> If I want to see a youtube video, I use youtube script

I don't just see "Flash" of a way to serve (and restrict) video
content. To be honest, I usually use youtube-dl (from ports) and
mplayer, because it's less resource-hungry and much more comfor-
table to use, and of course I can watch videos while being offline.
Yes, that's hard to imagine, I know. ;-)

Still for the "normal" web user, built-in video has become a
promary demand. This is where "Flash" has been the first choice
on the desktop, but luckily this technology didn't really arrive
in the mobile world. On the other hand, requiring a proprietary
plugin that can turn today's powerful computers with plentycore
processors, infinite RAM and dualdouble-HD-graphics into a slow
snail seems to be quite strange. Furthermore: Do you require a
browser plugin for displaying JPEG graphics? Or for rendering
text centered? Or for having a link work? In my opinion, as video
(and media in general) has become as "basic" to the web as
rendering text, having references or embedding images, it should
be a normal part of the browser - including (!) the ability to
switch it off when desired!

Just imagine a lot of browser tabs with "Flash" being used
for advertising banners. No big deal, right? But open 50 - 100
tabs, and the system might start swapping, along with the CPU
cores being heavily in use, and the browser could even become
partially inresponsive. (Yes, I've actually tried that!)

	1  [||||                      7.9%]
	2  [|                         2.6%]
	Swp[||||||              404/2047MB]

But allow me to mention "Flash" also as an abusive way of
"replacing HTML". Concept: "Flash" is for interactivity.
Some "web geniuses" use it to avoid any normal navigation
within a page. No text, no images, no links. Nothing without
"Flash". Very "nice" to users who use a Braille readout.

You also find much more complex interactivity in web games,
written for "Flash", which are quite popular. Those kinds of
content can consume much more resources locally than a simple
video would require.

Of course, HTML 5 is an alternative. It _should_ be able to
completely obsolete "Flash". On the other hand: Those who create
content might want to control the content, and restrict it. So
they demand that there's a way so they can easily do that. This
way is usually present in the browser (either through a plugin,
or by the browser itself).

And again let me emphasize: When the user cannot see the dancing
bunnies, it's the browser's fault.

> I donț trust flash on my pc and I donț want to have flash enabled
> here.  So I wonder if firefox would give the option to enable that
> stuff or not.

When you take into mind that the plugin that plays a postage-stamp
sized video with crappy 8-bit like sound quality to you hooks so
deeply into your operating system, it's really scary:

	% kldstat
	Id Refs Address    Size     Name
	 1   17 0xc0400000 807aec   kernel
	 6    1 0xc6c14000 2000     linux_adobe.ko

Where's the kernel plugin for PNG images? And those for MP3 files?
And the one for text typeset in sans-serif fonts? ;-)

> I agree with you in the stay in the game part of firefox.  But could
> not they do it with HTML5?

Firefox implements HTML 5, but those who design the content that
will then be rendered _by_ Firefox might want to have abilities
that extend what HTML 5 offers, that's why "Flash" has been so
popular decades ago. Now that HTML 5 can do all this stuff, it
could also have DRM functionalities. And the nature of restriction
is that nobody should know how it works - "security by obscurity".
So proprietary blobs are required, and those who want them also
have influence on how the HTML 5 standard is being designed.

There are additional "goals" which DRM solutions want to provide:
It's not only to apply restrictions in who can view content, but
also in how far content can be used (downloaded, played). And
then there's surveillance: _who_ is watching this video stream?
What else is he watching? Can a "profile" be created with this
information? Can it add up to "big data"? Can it be monetized?
All this can be done when you don't know what a browser component
does because there is no source code for it.

That's why I'd also like to see an option at least for Firefox
building that would allow to omit all proprietary components,
resulting in a "limited" version of the program that would then
maybe just show a grey box with a text label "DRM restricted
content" when a DRM-infected content is encountered. We have
other, more comfortable means to access such content. :-)

> why is DRM so important that it is needed so much as to stain an
> otherwise decent web browser.

Because content providers want control over what people can do.
Just imagine a web where information would be free to view by
and user, where the user could download media and view it offline
as often as he likes! That would be a massive threat to democracy,
to growth, and the way of life in general! :-)

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

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