[nSLUG] Re: Add yourself to the nSLUG member blogs wiki page

Mike mspencer at tallships.ca
Fri Jan 12 22:58:32 AST 2007

me> ...my own cranky idiosyncrasies: 
me> [....]
me> ...I continue to use Netscape Navigator 4.76, the last version of
me> Navigator for Linux.

JPB> You could try Netscape 7.2. and Wine.

Not sure I even know what that means.  Use a recent version of
Netscape for *Windows* and a Windows emulator?  Gak.

JPB> I have to use that when I need to Access parts of Government of
JPB> NS and Canada Post websites.

What does Canada Post do that requires special effort?

sg> Navigator 7?

AFAIK, 4.76 is the last version of Netscape for Linux that is
"Navigator", i.e. just a browser. Later versions are all
"Communicator", i.e. also a mail client, news client, HTML composer,
toenail clipper, dog-washer etc. Is there a Netscape Navigator 7.*?

sg> I would be curious to know why you would prefer to continue to use
sg> buggy, unsupported, propritery software. 

Buggy: Of course I don't opt for buggy per se. AFAICS, newer browsers
are buggy too.  At least I know, recognize and can usually cope with
the bugs. E.g., for sites I visit often but which do things that
trigger bugs, I put in my home page a link to
localhost/cgi-bin/whatever, where "whatever" is a perl script that opens
a connection to the site, parses the incoming, removes anything
that Netscape or I don't like and passes it on to me, all via Apache
on localhost.

Unsupported: I can't think off hand of any software I've ever gotten
support for outside of the academic environment or casual support such
as NSLUG dialog. I'm thinking.... No I can't think of a case.  Or did
you mean something else?

Proprietary: Well, in general, I'd prefer open source freeware.  OTOH,
the chief advantage of open source is that you can hack it to suit
yourself.  I do that occasionally but without even looking, I know the
source for Firefox is too complex for me to customize it, even if I
knew the language it's written in. (BTW, what language *is* it written
in?  Java?)

sg> From a security perspective the old Navigator likely contains a
sg> number of exploitable vunerabilities.

Likely, only all the bad guys are busy trying to crack the current
stuff and, from what little I've looked at closely, Windows is the
favoured target.  I know that's security by obscurity but I do other
stuff to try to stay secure, including turning off js, Java, flash &
images and not having a built-in mailer as well as running iptables etc.

sg> Possibly install squid with a rewrite rule?

What's squid? ...tikky..tikky..google...click, spop.  Oh, right.  Well
I guess that might work. What I really want is a hook into the browser
between arrival of the data stream and the processing of it where I can
insert a parser to chuck out or modify anything I don't like.  That's
sort of what I'm doing, awkwardly, with CGI scripts now.  Well, if I
get really annoyed, I might have a look at squid.

Oliver> Why not use Opera.

Sometime when I'm at a high speed connection or when I'm willing to
wait around for megabytes to come down over av. 38k dialup, I will try
it.  I'd even pay for the ad-free version if it was friendly enough.

Oliver> Since you have unfortunately elided your rant I don't know why
Oliver> you prefer NS 4.x...

Chiefly because it's familiar, (relatively) simple and doesn't suffer
from creeping featuritis.

jeff> Your client is broken.

Well, yes, of course. And if there's a clever hack that fixes a
particular brokeness that bothers me, I'll apply it.

jeff> ...And, with many orders of magnitude less users, not worth even
jeff> talking about.

Um, thanks for so kindly and helpfully talking about it anyway, Jeff.
But, you see, nearly everything I do, basic biology aside, is
somewhere out in the second or even third standard deviation.  Jeez,
any desktop Linux user is still an outlier of some kind.

jeff> Then you have a choice to make:
jeff> - continue using a broken client

A Swiss Army knife with a broken corkscrew and a good screw driver
isn't broken if you never want to pull corks.  Or until people start
hiding all their screw heads under corks.  Or they otherwise require
that your corkscrew be in good order before you're allowed to use the
screw driver.

jeff> - use a non-broken client, out of the box

Yeah, well you know that "broken" and "non-broken" are jargon, the
meaning of which is mutable, transient and both context- and user-
dependent. I think Stallman's notions regarding indentation in GNU
Emacs are broken. He thinks it's the right thing to do in a perfect
world. Elisp is tedious so I'll work around it til I get cranky enough
to grovel through the lisp and try to make it the way I want it.
That's about what I'd expect of anything "out of the box" that is
putatively "non-broken".

jeff> - use the same non-broken client, and turn off the features which you  
jeff>   are annoyed by.

More sessions of learning how to do that, determining that you
can't do that, that it's undocumented or whatever.  Ho hum.

jeff> UTF-8 is:
jeff> 1) the right thing to do in a perfect world
jeff> 2) necessary to do to make reasonable things work in the world we live in
jeff> 3) has support from >99% of the market

It's nice to have an authoritative statement like that.  By this
standard, any shop that will replace your car's muffler should have a
full machine shop, foundry, welding shop, body shop, wind tunnel,
hot-galvanizing tank and more.  "Muffler" is, after all, a proper
subset of "Everything".  Yup, they can balance your crankshaft and
cast & machine you a new engine block.  Just spectacularly great.  But
it's superfluous overhead if all they ever do is replace mufflers.

Thanks for the suggestions all,
- Mike

Michael Spencer                  Nova Scotia, Canada       .~. 
mspencer at tallships.ca                                     /( )\
http://home.tallships.ca/mspencer/                        ^^-^^


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