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posted by takyon on Saturday July 08 2017, @11:20AM   Printer-friendly
from the implementation-is-voluntary dept.

Tim Berners-Lee approved Web DRM yesterday, but W3C member organizations have two weeks to appeal. This was the controversial Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) standard for the WWW known as Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). The last opportunity to stop EME is an appeal by the Advisory Committee of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). An appeal would then trigger a vote from the whole Committee to make a final decision to ratify or reject EME. As an added difficulty Tim Berners-Lee heads the Advisory Committee.

Also at Techdirt and EFF. W3C's "Disposition of Comments for Encrypted Media Extensions and Director's decision".


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @02:23PM (11 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @02:23PM (#536539)

    The problem is that web browsers are supposed to be open. At least to the extent that anybody that can cruise the internet should be able to partake in all of it. Obvious exception for text-only browsers, but few people have to use a text only browser, just about any modern device that can connect to the internet has a graphical browser available.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JNCF on Saturday July 08 2017, @05:29PM (5 children)

    by JNCF (4317) on Saturday July 08 2017, @05:29PM (#536580) Journal

    web browsers are supposed to be open [...] to the extent that anybody that can cruise the internet should be able to partake in all of it.

    Au contraire! The whole nightmare of developing complex web apps is making them look and function similarly enough on the myriad browsers. If you care about reaching as many users as you can, you serve up a page that has all the functionality it can in the markup without assuming that a script can even run. If you additionally care about doing things that can't be done with plain markup on browsers that can handle it, you have a script start violently replacing parts of the DOM as soon as the page loads if the script can run. This is called progressive enhancement, and it's done to varying degrees. You can also have the script actually do tests to see if the browser allows certain behavior, and add different versions of the same functionality conditionally -- like using Canvas as a fallback if WebGL isn't supported. If we insisted that all browsers implement every feature the same way at the same rate, we would either have to stop adding new features (ELinks does not negotiate with terrorists, and neither does Pale Moon) or we would have an incredibly small number of browsers to choose from, which raises security concerns. I don't think the current landscape is too bad; anybody can make a website, anybody can make a browser, and anybody can make a standards committee (given the resources). Even if a committee adds a feature we don't like and some cutting-edge browsers implement it we'll still have all of the other browsers and websites that don't use DRM. The web is already fragmented, and basically always has been -- Netscape and IE weren't in lock-step. This is both painful and desirable; we can't have evolution without mutations. If a mutation is horrible (like I expect DRM to be), let it die.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @05:42PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @05:42PM (#536583)

      I disagree, this is perfect example of something that shouldn't even be considered for a standard. This is something that has been done via plug-ins for ages and that's the way that makes the most sense. It makes no sense at all to standardize something that's going to be used by a relatively small number of websites. Especially, given that there's no guarantee that it's going to work on any given browser.

      Browsers have evolved to the point where the things that you can reasonably need to do are mostly supported in standards. The things people gripe about not working reliably are usually things that you shouldn't be doing in the first place. I remember back a couple decades ago where you couldn't do much of anything without coding in a ton of exceptions and special code for various browsers. These days, it's much, much better.

      Still, I fail to see how the fact that it hasn't been completely fixed is justification for introducing things like this that serve no purpose, don't belong in a browser and just introduce additional incompatibilities.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JNCF on Saturday July 08 2017, @06:20PM (3 children)

        by JNCF (4317) on Saturday July 08 2017, @06:20PM (#536598) Journal

        I disagree, this is perfect example of something that shouldn't even be considered for a standard.

        If you and I were magically put on the board discussing the inclusion of DRM in a specific standard, I would be in complete agreement with you. Mostly I'm arguing that you shouldn't be able to use every website in every browser, that the ones you can use in every browser should be allowed to drop functionality in some browsers, and that this is already the case and has been for a (relatively) long time.

        This is something that has been done via plug-ins for ages and that's the way that makes the most sense. It makes no sense at all to standardize something that's going to be used by a relatively small number of websites. Especially, given that there's no guarantee that it's going to work on any given browser.

        This is an excellent description of videos in 1995.

        Browsers have evolved to the point where the things that you can reasonably need to do are mostly supported in standards. The things people gripe about not working reliably are usually things that you shouldn't be doing in the first place. I remember back a couple decades ago where you couldn't do much of anything without coding in a ton of exceptions and special code for various browsers. These days, it's much, much better.

        I suspect there are things that will seem obviously necessary in a decade, but that we fail to see right now. MetaMask is still a plug-in. WebVR is in a state of infancy, and it leaks crazy amounts of biometric data. It might not look like these things belong in a browser right now, but we don't know what 2027 looks like. "Browsers" might be dead by then, or they might be radically different.

        Still, I fail to see how the fact that it hasn't been completely fixed is justification for introducing things like this that serve no purpose, don't belong in a browser and just introduce additional incompatibilities.

        On a case by case basis, I will agree to avoiding mutations which appear bad. I just understand that I can't see clearly, and I don't have the desire to stop an orgainization from going down a rabbit hole that looks dangerous to me. The W3C does not control the internet, they are just one standards body. Let them publish what they will. I doubt anything useful in the long-term will come from it, and I wouldn't expend resources on it, but I'm not concerned about them doing so. I'd rather the money be used exploring a bad rabbit hole than, say, producing a sitcom. It's not a great use of money, but it's maybe slightly useful.

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @07:28PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @07:28PM (#536613)

          Argh that is an annoying form of comment response.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @10:35PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @10:35PM (#536666)

            If you are referring to blockquoting and adding a reply and repeating for subsequent points, I totally disagree with you.

            The only problem I have with the style of JNCF is the text blob in his first comment in this (sub)thread.
            That deserved about 4 paragraph breaks.

            ...and one more nitpick:
            I don't approve of anyone giving Internet Exploder a free pass.
            In their software, MICROS~1 didn't/doesn't follow already-establish standards--even when they were a part of the committee that formalized those standards.

            Adding new stuff is one thing; breaking stuff is quite another.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Sunday July 09 2017, @05:00AM

              by JNCF (4317) on Sunday July 09 2017, @05:00AM (#536752) Journal

              The only problem I have with the style of JNCF is the text blob in his first comment in this (sub)thread.
              That deserved about 4 paragraph breaks.

              Yeah, that's totally fair.

              Adding new stuff is one thing; breaking stuff is quite another.

              That line is fuzzier than it first appears, but I understand what you're saying and I mostly agree.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Arik on Saturday July 08 2017, @05:43PM (4 children)

    by Arik (4543) on Saturday July 08 2017, @05:43PM (#536584) Journal
    There's no exception for text only browsers. The web was specifically designed to be agnostic about 'display device' - which might be a screen or a voder or even something tactile.

    In fact, text browsers are and remain your best test for accessibility. If you foul up your attempt at a web page badly enough that it doesn't work in a text browser, it's not a web page at all.
    --
    If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
    • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Saturday July 08 2017, @06:57PM (3 children)

      by JNCF (4317) on Saturday July 08 2017, @06:57PM (#536606) Journal

      If you foul up your attempt at a web page badly enough that it doesn't work in a text browser, it's not a web page at all.

      Ah, the old "no true web page..." fallacy.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @10:58PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08 2017, @10:58PM (#536675)

        If your web page won't work at all in a text-only browser, it won't work in a blind person's screenreader.

        That's a fail.

        I have repeatedly noted here how some pages don't Degrade Gracefully.
        It's a concept that every wannabe web developer should be taught on Day 1.

        Add all the bells and whistles you want AFTER the -basic- page works in ANY browser.
        ...and if that extra stuff doesn't work in someone's browser, add some code explaining what's supposed to happen and why it's not working for that visitor.

        N.B. I had a jury duty summons postcard that pointed to a web page which failed this last thing.
        Their goddamned widget[1] didn't work in my setup (even after whitelisting some things) and indicated that the site visitor was stupid--rather than giving a -useful- error message.

        [1] Xerox, Inc.   Assholes.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 2) by JNCF on Sunday July 09 2017, @04:57AM (1 child)

          by JNCF (4317) on Sunday July 09 2017, @04:57AM (#536750) Journal

          To be clear, I do value the ability to use a site with a text-only browser. I was only arguing that it is not a defining feature of a "web page." A horrible site that consists solely of one big "under construction" gif sans alt-text is still web page.

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @05:10AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 09 2017, @05:10AM (#536753)

            We clearly disagree.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]