[OT] Free software versus software idea patents

Steven D'Aprano steve+comp.lang.python at pearwood.info
Thu Apr 14 10:02:06 EDT 2011

On Thu, 14 Apr 2011 19:15:05 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:

> 4) Assumes people aren't deliberately fiddling the figures. Yeah, that
> would be correct. We're in the realm of conspiracy theories here... does
> anyone seriously think that browser stats are THAT important that they'd
> go to multiple web servers with deceitful hits? 

Back in the day, not that many years ago, when it looked like Internet 
Explorer would never dip below 90% market share and web developers coded 
for IE quirks instead of standards as a matter of course, I used to 
fantasize of writing a Windows virus that (apart from propagating) did 
nothing but change the user-agent string on IE. It would have been 
awesome to witness the consternation among web developers.

But thanks to the EU doing what the US DOJ refused to do, and the grass-
roots popularity of Firefox (plus a fewer well-known even if not often 
used browsers like Safari and Opera), and then Google's scarily efficient 
way they can capture hearts and minds on the Internet, IE's market share 
has been whittled away to the point that there are places in the world 
where IE is a minority browser. A large minority, it is true, but still a 

Now, if only we could convince web users that having your browser execute 
untrusted code downloaded from the Internet is not such a good idea, 
supposed sandbox or not. What the world needs is a virus that silently 
removes Javascript and Flash from browsers...


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