Making DuckDuckGo's Javascript free

kzer_za kzer_za
Created: 3 years and 11 months ago • Updated: 3 years and 11 months ago
Hello,

I have been using DuckDuckGo html for some time because it was a decent search engine and it had no tracking. But I was unable to use DuckDuckGo (JavaScript version) because of the propietery JavaScript it uses. (LibreJS would block it) This is dissapointing because I miss out on DDG's features and that you are not respecting the user's freedom.

DDG already provides the source code and it is Free Software (a.k.a "Open Source") but your JavaScript is not due to licencing. To solve this just add a license to your JavaScript - Simple.

The FSF will probably be happy to help if you need any. You can contact them at campaigns@fsf.org to start a conversation about making DuckDuckGo work without any nonfree JavaScript.

More info about the need for free JavaScript on the Web is available at https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/javascrip..., and you can see http://www.gnu.org/software/librejs/free... for instructions on freely licensing your JavaScript.

I hope you can make DuckDuckGo free to all users.

This forum has been archived

Thank you all for the many comments, questions and suggestions. Particular thanks go to user x.15a2 for constantly monitoring, replying and helping so many users here. To continue these discussions, please head over to the DuckDuckGo subreddit.


anonymous
"Free Software (a.k.a "Open Source")"
Richard Stallman would kill you for this statement. ;)
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 11 months ago Link
kzer_za
I know he would, that's why I would not say "Open Source" to him. :P
And DDG likes to advertise itself as "Open Source" so I put it in there. "Open Source" is Free Software 99% of the time anyway. Maybe mentioning might have not been the best idea, but people that work on DDG will probably know what "Open Source" means, but might not know what Free Software means. I also put "Open Source" in inverted commas because I am not a supporter of "Open Source" in any way. It's just Free Software with the freedom part removed which I believe is the most important part of software.
posted by kzer_za 3 years and 11 months ago Link
x.15a2
Parts of DuckDuckGo are Open Source, as described here: https://duck.co/help/open-source/opensou...

The rest of DDG is non-Open Source and is defined here: https://duck.co/help/company/architectur...

DDG is free to all users, which is why non-JavaScript versions are available at:
https://duckduckgo.com/html
https://duckduckgo.com/lite
posted by x.15a2 Community Leader3 years and 11 months ago Link
kzer_za
I've mentioned that DDG is free software largely, but that does not cut it for me. I do use the HTML version and it is free, which is good, but most people do not use the HTML or lite versions. And the HTML and lite versions lack features that the JavaScript version has, such as theming. This is not the end of the world, since I will still have a fully functioning search enigne but it puts me under a disadvantage over the people who use the JavaScript version. We don't want freedom just for some hackers, but we want freedom for everyone and this will be a step in the right direction for the movement. So will you make the JavaScript free?
posted by kzer_za 3 years and 11 months ago Link
buckeye
i have some questions:

who is "we"

what is "the movement"

what are some other significant web sites including search engines that are "free" by your definition

since ddg does not collect any user identifiable information what is the harm

why do you think that a for profit company cannot have proprietary code
posted by buckeye 3 years and 11 months ago Link
kzer_za
Sorry that I confused you, let me explain.

I meant "we" as in the people that support Free Software, such as myself and "the movement" is reffering to the Free Software Movement to spread use of free software.

Well, it is difficult to give examples because not many websites have free JavaScript but sites such as stallman.org and fsf.org do, but they are sites promoting free software so they would. It is dissapointing that most websites are not free but we do try to convince them (which is what I'm doing at the moment). AFAIK there is no free search enigne except for the ones without JavaScript at all.

DDG does not collect personal information, which is good but freedom is a different to privacy (though they do connect closely). I believe that DDG should be 100% free software to the user (does not have to be the server though, that is up to the people who run the server) so that people could have a fully private engine and that they know what their search engine is doing.

Just because a piece of software is made commercially does not mean that it must be propietery. I believe that all software should be free, commercial or not. Most companies' excuses are that propietery software is better for the money. But that is just them hiding their greed. Making free software is a business and you can make money out of it if you wish.
posted by kzer_za 3 years and 11 months ago Link
This comment has been removed for violation of our forum rules.
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 9 months ago
Tirifto
> Companies have to make money somehow

I'm pretty sure they meant free as in freedom, not price. When we say "free software", people sometimes think that we mean that the software must be free of charge, which is not true. When we say "free", we mean that the software respects user's four basic freedoms: To use it, study it, modify it and share it. I support using the term "libre software", to avoid confusion.

> should *all products* be free?

That's an entirely different matter. I personally don't think it's a good idea and don't support it. Software needs to be libre because it's software, but it doesn't have to be free of cost. Non-software, obviously, doesn't have to be free of cost, nor libre.

> If you could explain why it would, that would be great.

I can see that making money from libre software might be different from proprietary software. But there are companies that do it and show that it's possible. For reference, the company "Red Hat", or the libre, yet commercial game "Sleep is Death".

> By making all software free, you're paying personal data instead of cash.

Sorry, but could you please elaborate? I don't see how libre software would be dangerous to users' privacy. On the contrary, you can never be sure what exactly is proprietary software doing, therefore you can't be sure that it doesn't collect data from you. Libre software is also open source, which means that anyone can check the code to make sure it doesn't do anything bad.

> I'm willing to pay for good products, and anyone else concerned about privacy probably should be too.

I would also be willing to pay for good products. If a program is libre, I'm still willing to pay for it, because I appreciate the developers' work.
posted by Tirifto 3 years and 9 months ago Link
This comment has been removed for violation of our forum rules.
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 9 months ago
Tirifto
> I meant free as in money, not free as in "libre".

Ah, yes. While some cases like that exist, I believe it's surely not a rule. A lot of libre and free of cost sofwtare is also very secure and respects your privacy. (I say libre because libre can be verified, but some proprietary free of cost software might also respect your privacy.)

Perhaps you refer to companies like Google, who don't charge you for their services, but track your every step in return. DuckDuckGo is a good example of company that gives you a gratis service, but still respect your privacy.

Of course, values like freedom and privacy come first. If someone provides a safe service for free, that's great! But if they can't afford to make it gratis without sacrificing freedom or privacy, it's better if they make it commercial and keep it moral. Perhaps I should learn to express myself more briefly, though.
posted by Tirifto 3 years and 9 months ago Link
kzer_za
Sorry, I never meants price. "Free" is a confusing word in the English language. (I should have used 'libre' instead) I am fine with people charging their programs, but their programs should be free/libre software.

I do like gratis things but I do agree that some things must have a price.
posted by kzer_za 3 years and 9 months ago Link
Gryllida
> DDG is free to all users, which is why non-JavaScript versions are available.

We're infringing users' software freedom rights by default, when they visit duckduckgo.com. This is a problem.

Another problem is that truly freedom-respecting service allows people to utilize the full set of features freely, but the html and lite versions are limited.
posted by Gryllida 3 years and 9 months ago Link
buckeye
no rights are being infringed by ddg and your arguments are are myoptic and ill-founded

if you don't like how this search engine works then use another one or better yet make your own so you can exercise what you perceive as freedom in your own way
posted by buckeye 3 years and 9 months ago Link
Gryllida
> no rights are being infringed by ddg

It is a common misconception that a right is not a right if it's not in the law, and a freedom is not a freedom if it's not enforced by legislative authorities. No, DuckDuckGo is not breaking the law. (This may have been what set you off and made you sound defensive; it should not have.)

What it is doing -- running non-free programs on users' computers -- is not ethical from the software freedom perspective.
posted by Gryllida 3 years and 9 months ago Link
anonymous
I totally agree, It sucks that I have to miss all the great features of DDG to have my freedom...
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 9 months ago Link
buckeye
you don't have to miss all the great features - you just choose to and for no good reason.
posted by buckeye 3 years and 9 months ago Link
Gryllida
buckeye,

You already said your opinion once. Everyone else will also say their opinion once, and there is no need to repeat yourself. Thanks.
posted by Gryllida 3 years and 9 months ago Link
buckeye
says the guy with 3 posts already in this thread
so much for freedom - it has to be on your terms - no thanks i'll continue to exercise my freedom as i see fit and not as others attempt to dictate
posted by buckeye 3 years and 9 months ago Link
x.15a2
The search results between the HTML and full versions of DDG are the same. The ongoing development will always go to the main (full) version of the product, which is the interface that the vast majority of users use and prefer.

Thanks
posted by x.15a2 Community Leader3 years and 9 months ago Link
Tirifto
I have used all three versions, but they are certainly not on par. While they all return the same websites, HTML and Lite are only capable of basic searching and lack other functions, such as finding Pictures, Videos, Recipes, or customizing the webpage. Or at least I didn't find any of these.

Since these functions depend on JavaScript and make DuckDuckGo much nicer and usable, I think it would be very good of you to make them free software. DuckDuckGo is a great search engine which works very well and protects users' privacy. If it also protected their freedom, it would truly be something to cherish and fully recommend to people!
posted by Tirifto 3 years and 9 months ago Link
This comment has been removed for violation of our forum rules.
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 9 months ago
anonymous
Nope, that is just for Instant Answers, here is the right section.
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 9 months ago Link
kzer_za
I am very happy that we are making this as popular as possible, hopefully we will get a reply from some people that work for DDG. I hope we will be able to make DDG fully free!
posted by kzer_za 3 years and 9 months ago Link
x.15a2
Maybe these posts will help shed light on what you are looking for.
https://duck.co/help/company/architectur...

http://highscalability.com/blog/2013/1/2...
posted by x.15a2 Community Leader3 years and 9 months ago Link
kzer_za
Sorry, but this is not what I am looking for. I don't want to know about the backend I just want to make the javascript, that loads on peoples computers, have free licenses.
posted by kzer_za 3 years and 9 months ago Link
zac
It's been brought up in the past but we're focusing on improving our Instant Answers community since that's where the most impact can be made. Growing a robust community around open source answers is the beginning of more and more progress in that area.
posted by zac Staff3 years and 9 months ago Link
Tirifto
Wouldn't the community be able to help you with liberating your JavaScript, perhaps? I have no experience with it myself, but I assumed it wouldn't be a very demanding task.
posted by Tirifto 3 years and 8 months ago Link
Gryllida
1) Open-source vs closed-source is not the main concern. The main concern is that _I_ should be able to modify and distribute every program I run on my computer. http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-sourc...

2) It is an ethical issue to release all programs running on my computer under a copyleft licence. Releasing only a part does not solve the problem: it's still impossible to use your upgraded website without subjecting myself to running non-free programs.

Please fix that.
posted by Gryllida 3 years and 8 months ago Link
psicoterapia
Really good job guys!
posted by psicoterapia 3 years and 8 months ago Link
anonymous
I do believe that it would be a relatively easy fix for the webmasters of DDG to allow a Libre use of Javascript on this fantastic search engine. I hereby attach a LibreJS report that outlines the main issues with the front page:

Please visit this following page to find out how to "free" your javascript by correctly licensing it:
http://www.gnu.org/software/librejs/free...

I thank you for reading.

```
List of blocked JavaScript in https://duckduckgo.com/

Whitelist

This script is detected as inline, nonfree, defining functions or methods, and the rest of the page as loading external scripts
settings_js_version = "/s1753.js";

Whitelist

This script is detected as inline, nonfree, defining functions or methods, and the rest of the page as loading external scripts

DDG.page = new DDG.Pages.Home();

Whitelist

NONTRIVIAL: innerHTML identifier

{function seterr(str) {
var error=document.getElementById('error_homepage');
error.innerHTML=str;
$(error).css('display','block');
}
var err=new RegExp('[\?\&]e=([^\&]+)');var errm=new Array();errm['2']='no search';errm['3']='search too long';errm['4']='not UTF\u002d8 encoding';if (err.test(window.location.href)) seterr('Oops, '+(errm[RegExp.$1]?errm[RegExp.$1]:'there was an error.')+' &nbsp;Please try again');};if (ip) setTimeout('nuo(1)',250);nip(1)

if (kurl) {
document.getElementById("logo_homepage_link").href += (document.getElementById("logo_homepage_link").href.indexOf('?')==-1 ? '?t=i' : '') + kurl;
}

Whitelisterror parsing: b4ba5a15de60b42f038236f2f49c87574a2898be
https://duckduckgo.com/locales/en_US/LC_...
Whitelisterror parsing: 7f1337c1b843ad9d03b151f9e2319857a592aa50
https://duckduckgo.com/d1753.js
```
posted by <hidden> • 3 years and 8 months ago Link
blobgo
Are there any news about this topic?
Personally I would also support this idea.
posted by blobgo 3 years and 8 months ago Link