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Re: Making GNUS continue to work with Gmail

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Making GNUS continue to work with Gmail
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2020 00:08:33 -0400

[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider    ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies,     ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

  > > 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

We are miscommunicaing here.  I am talking about option (2), where the
user only has to log in and permit access to per account via the
already-existing app.  (Or at least, that's what I think you said.)

I'm not talking about option (1) since it is totally unacceptable.

  > > 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.

If done the usual way, this would involve someone's running that
nonfree Javascript code.  But we don't say "GNU developers must never
run a nonfree program to do their work."  Until GCC was working well
enough to host itself forever, I compiled it lots of times with the
nonfree BSD compiler.

What we avoid on principle is the situation where use of our software
depends on running nonfree software.  For one person to run nonfree
software once, to make it unnecessary for others to run it, is the
sort of situation which we consider a legitimate exception.

Also, I am not convinced it has to be done by "someone from [the GNU
Project], or on behalf of [the GNU Project]".  It could be anyone who
wants to keep using GNUS with Gmail (and is willing to sometimes run
Gmail's nonfree JS code).  If someone does this and sends us some data,
we can use it.  If no one does this, well, not working with Gmail isn't
a disaster.

Meanwhile, I wonder if Chris DiBona could let us bypass that nonfree
JS code.  I would guess that what Google really cares about is not
whether we run that JS code, but rather the substance of that request.

This brings me to another issue that may be harder to work around.
What conditions would someone have to agree to when requesting Google's
approval for an app?  There could be something morally unacceptable in
that.  Though it does matter who would have to agree to it.

Here's an idea.  Is it possible to modify Kmail so that it does the
necessary low-level access, and nothing else?  Delete the code for
displaying an editing mail.  This drastically modified version of
Kmail would satisfy Kmail's license.  GNUS and Rmail could use it,
much as they used to use movemail.

Maybe it could be upward compatible with the old movemail.

Dr Richard Stallman
Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project (https://gnu.org)
Founder, Free Software Foundation (https://fsf.org)
Internet Hall-of-Famer (https://internethalloffame.org)

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