[Greasemonkey] Greasemonkey: an Historical Perspective

Matthew Gertner matthew at allpeers.com
Mon Apr 18 19:07:32 EDT 2005


Mark,

> If Greasemonkey makes any overtures towards allowing web publishers to
> "opt out" or override my browsing experience in any way, I will
> immediately fork it and make it my life's mission to maintain the fork
> as long as possible.

This statement makes me wonder if you read what I wrote. Nothing whatsoever
in my proposal prevents you from writing as many bombastic scripts as you
like, ripping the guts out of every website you visit and putting them back
together in exactly the form you want. No one would know what your scripts
are called, so (since my suggestion targets scripts by name) no one could
block them.

Once you start redistributing these scripts, however, the picture get
murkier. Suddenly you have a responsibility to the users of these scripts,
not all of whom are going to be software developers. The approach I
suggested would only kick in if a website owner either a) changes the
content of the site and wants to disable scripts that are now broken or b)
wants to block scripts for some other reason. I maintain that the former is
unequivocably, unambiguously a good thing.

As for the latter, if you think that anyone who cares enough about blocking
GM scripts won't find another way to do it, you're kidding yourself. I bet
$5 I could block every script out there without changing the appearance or
behavior of the targeted site by changing only a few characters in the
underlying HTML. I also bet that this could be mostly or completely
automated without much problem. Rather than stick our heads in the sand, I
believe that we should target this issue proactively.

The main reason I feel so strongly about this suddenly is that I am mortally
afraid of GM hampering Firefox uptake among corporate clients. GM is way
cool, but the future of my business depends on Firefox adoption. In fact, I
was actually thinking about forking GM myself to add the feature I suggested
to make a special corporate and/or non-developer version. Think about, what
would you rather adopt: "Greasemonkey"... or "Honeykitten"? :-)

Matt





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