On December 4th, RMS, the founder of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU project, delivered a speech at the EmacsConf 2022 conference in an online format. The theme is“What I’d like to see in Emacs”.

RMS said that GNU Emacs was the first GNU program he released, and along the way he learned about software licenses and the defense of software freedom.

So RMS first emphasized the goals of the GNU operating system at the beginning of the speech. He said that GNU is not only to do a good job at the technical level and usage level, but its main goal—or even the overall goal—is to allow the public to use software freely and help them cherish and defend this freedom.

When it comes to programming languages ​​supported by GNU Emacs, RMS considers The language Emacs should least support is JavaScript. But he said it wasn’t because of a problem with the language itself.

RMS says he doesn’t know JavaScript, he’s heard people say it’s clumsy and poorly designed, but he doesn’t know that. Nor is he making the above statement because of these issues.

RMS believes that the worst thing about JavaScript is not the language itself, but the way people use it. In most cases, web servers unknowingly send programs written in JavaScript to the user’s machine. In this way, the program, whose author is unknown, can run on the user’s computer and do things that the user does not know. These actions undoubtedly violate the “freedom” that RMS has always advocated and pursued. He sees Emacs not supporting JavaScript as a way of defending freedom.

Of course, RMS knows that this problem is not caused by JavaScript, the “culprit” is modern browser vendors. He mentioned the Internet when it was just born. At that time, the web page was responsible for describing the content, and the browser was responsible for rendering the content. Users had the freedom to control the browser. But starting about two decades ago, browsers exploded in complexity as commercial companies wanted more and more control over what was displayed on users’ screens. They invented a lot of functions to control it, the user can’t really customize how certain things are displayed. Because the whole point of the problem is that commercial companies control the browsers, and the applications that run on the Web. These are all closely related to JavaScript.

In addition to talking about the “freedom” philosophy at this conference, RMS also talked more about Emacs itself. He expects Emacs to bring richer functions, such as integrating the advantages of LibreOffice and TeX. And simplify the command interface of Emacs, optimize the maintenance method, etc.

RMS Full Presentation

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