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Re: Making GNUS continue to work with Gmail

From: Gregory Heytings
Subject: Re: Making GNUS continue to work with Gmail
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2020 07:51:51 +0000
User-agent: Alpine 2.21 (NEB 202 2017-01-01)

> With the solution used by Kmail, Thunderbird and others, when a user > adds a Google account to [per] mail client, a Google login page is > opened in a browser, on which [person indicates per] login and > password. This page is the https://accounts.google.com page, and it > uses nonfree JavaScript code.

Thank you for posting this information. About use of Google services I know only what people tell me.

Let's look at the implications of this for the situation we are in.

In short: it's a moral dilemma.

Again there are only two possibilities: either (1) each user creates their own OAuth credentials, as if they were a developer of a different app, or (2) the developer creates OAuth credentials and shares it with all users of the app. Neither of these two solutions seem compatible with the GNU ethical principles.

First, a question: does creating a Gmail account go through some Google page (perhaps the same one) that also requires nonfree JavaScript code?


If so, then anyone who starts using Gmail in the future will have had to run that same nonfree software to start.

"will have to run nonfree software to start": yes.

"will have to run _that same_ nonfree software to start": no. For solution (1), it is necessary to use https://console.developers.google.com to "create" an app (from Google's point of view), and this page runs a visibly different software. So solution (1) is not only impractical, but documenting it does not seem to be compatible with the GNU ethical principles, at it would mean to suggest users to run a nonfree software they would not have run if they had not been told to do so.

So I think it would be acceptable for GNUS to have an app key such that, IF a user does these things with Gmail, per Gmail account works with GNUS.

I fear not. Solution (2), which is used by Kmail and others, does not seem to be compatible with the GNU ethical principles either, as it would require someone from GNU, or on behalf of GNU, to use https://console.developers.google.com to create AOuth credentials to include them in the sources of GNUS. In other words, to run nonfree JavaScript code.

(Note that doing this (that is, including an app key in free software) also violates Google's terms of service. But apparently Google tolerates that these terms are violated by Kmail, Thunderbird and others, so would presumably also tolerate that they be violated by GNUS.)


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