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posted by martyb on Sunday December 06 2015, @01:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the rethinking-closed-source-software dept.

Akkana reports via the Shallow Thoughts blog

I went to a night sky photography talk on Tuesday. The presenter talked a bit about tips on camera lenses, exposures; then showed a raw image and prepared to demonstrate how to process it to bring out the details.

His slides disappeared, the screen went blank, and then ... nothing. He wrestled with his laptop for a while. Finally he said "Looks like I'm going to need a network connection", left the podium, and headed out the door to find someone to help him with that.

I'm not sure what the networking issue was: the nature center has open wi-fi, but you know how it is during talks: if anything can possibly go wrong with networking, it will, which is why a good speaker tries not to rely on it. And I'm not blaming this speaker, who had clearly done plenty of preparation and thought he had everything lined up.

Eventually they got the network connection, and he connected to Adobe. It turns out the problem was that Adobe Photoshop is now cloud-based. Even if you have a local copy of the software, it insists on checking in with Adobe at least every 30 days. At least, that's the theory. But he had used the software on that laptop earlier that same day, and thought he was safe. But that wasn't good enough, and Photoshop picked the worst possible time--a talk in front of a large audience--to decide it needed to check in before letting him do anything.

Someone sitting near me muttered "I'd been thinking about buying that, but now I don't think I will." Someone else told me afterward that all Photoshop is now cloud-based; older versions still work, but if you buy Photoshop now, your only option is this cloud version that may decide ... at the least opportune moment ... that you can't use your software any more.

[...] I talked to the club president afterward and offered to give a GIMP talk to the club some time soon, when their schedule allows.

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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by maxwell demon on Sunday December 06 2015, @07:46AM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Sunday December 06 2015, @07:46AM (#272412) Journal

    That encrypted stuff was probably looking for updates for the browser and installed extensions, and possibly downloading a new version of the database for phishing site detection, and similar stuff. It also might be that you've got installed extensions that themselves download stuff (like an adblocker that loads a list of URL schemes to block). You also might have set up Firefox to share your bookmarks and/or other information between browsers, which means to store them on a Mozilla server. Firefox doesn't do that by default, so in that case it was your explicit decision.

    But as another reply to your post already told, you can read the source of the browser (and the source of any Open Source extension — if you installed any non-open one, well, it's you who are to blame for it) to find out what is happening.

    Or you can generate your own self-signed certificate for the Mozilla site and install it in the browser so you can MITM the encrypted traffic.

    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by DNied on Sunday December 06 2015, @09:35AM

    by DNied (3409) on Sunday December 06 2015, @09:35AM (#272437)

    All correct. Also, there's an option where a user can agree to send usage stats to Mozilla (in order for them to analyze performance, detect bottlenecks, etc).

  • (Score: 2) by opinionated_science on Sunday December 06 2015, @03:36PM

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Sunday December 06 2015, @03:36PM (#272491)

    and in support of Mozilla doing something sane - if you put the firefox browser in a user writable place, it will autoupdate *for that profile*. And restarting seems to work ok...

    Hence I have many profiles, and keep the main ones up-to date, and a system one I let the debian repos update...