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From: Daniil Baturin <>
Subject: Re: [Caml-list] Ask questions on the mailing lists too
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2022 21:56:33 +0700
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

On 1/17/22 21:30, Sam Kuper wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 17, 2022 at 04:33:49PM +0700, Daniil Baturin wrote:
>> Discourse is NOT a service-as-a-software-substitute.
> You are only partly correct, and not for the reason you gave below.
> I probably should have been clearer, so let me clarify my earlier claim.
>> It's free software distributed under GPLv2. See
> I was aware of the license before I made the statement about SaaSS.
> SaaSS does not imply "proprietary":
>      "SaaSS and proprietary software lead to similar harmful results, but
>      the mechanisms are different.  With proprietary software, the
>      mechanism is that you have and use a copy which is difficult and/or
>      illegal to change.   With SaaSS, the mechanism is that you don't
>      have the copy that's doing your computing. ...
>      Many free software supporters assume that the problem of SaaSS will
>      be solved by developing free software for servers.  ...  But if the
>      programs on the server are free, that doesn't protect the server's
>      users from the effects of SaaSS.  These programs liberate the server
>      operator, but not the server's users."[1]
> So, on that ground in isolation, I was not wrong to call hosted
> Discourse instances SaaSS.
> (If Discourse were licensed as AGPLv3 instead of GPLv2+, then I *might*
> have been wrong to do so.  I haven't examined that point here, though.)
> SaaSS implies a failure to do "your own computing on data in your own
> hands".[1]
> Insofar as Discourse facilitates exchange of data between people,
> therefore - e.g. to the extent that it replicates the functionality of
> traditional mailing list manager (MLM) software - it is *not* SaaSS.
> However, Discourse, like most forum software, doesn't just replace the
> MLM.  It also replaces the MUA and the features for local
> data-processing that the MUA provides: a UI for reading posts and
> composing replies, search/browse functionality, etc.
> Those (anti-)features, strictly speaking, constitute SaaSS.
> That might not be bad if, like good MLMs, Discourse instances also
> provided e.g. Mbox discussion archives for easy downloading and local
> usage, so that users could easily avoid the SaaSS.  But unfortunately,
> Discourse imposes accessibility and inconvenience barriers against
> downloading that data for local usage.
> Thank you for your patience and understanding,
> Sam
> [1]:

Discourse being (or not being) SaaSS and Discourse's email features 
being (or not being)
a complete replacement for a mailing list manager are separate issues, 
let's not conflate them. ;)

Discourse could be self-hosted relatively easily, it's just that the 
OCaml Foundation chose not to,
because there aren't any real benefits in that right now.

Discourse could also be improved to provide a better email interface.
It's technically possible to add pure email-based registration and 
enable email interface for all users
by default, and it will be functionally indistinguishable from a "real" 
mailing list.

If the OCaml Foundation was using using, let's say, Reddit for its 
official forum,
that would classic SaaSS at its worst—impossible to even migrate the 
data from and self-host it,
and obviously impossible for anyone but its operators to improve.

A Discourse-based forum could be made to run in a hybrid mailing 
list/forum mode,
the only question is if there's enough momentum to make it happen.

To me, as much as I hate to say it, any web UI beats a mailing list 
simply because
I don't have to wonder if the people I'd have wanted to see my message
can actually see it, or the Big Email™ companies they use using silently 
discarded it again.

It's a sad state of the ecosystem and it's incredibly ironic: email is 
more affected by the SaaSS issues
than web-based forums even though it's an open protocol stack. But we've 
got what we've got.

However, turning Discourse into a full-grown hybrid forum/MLM solution 
is technically and legally possible,
so being a hosted instance at the moment is not an 
unbreakable barrier,
as it would be if it was a proprietary SaaSS solution.

  reply index

Thread overview: 37+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2022-01-14 18:57 [Caml-list] Type Error in OCaml Code mukesh tiwari
2022-01-15 21:19 ` Nicolás Ojeda Bär
2022-01-16  9:40   ` [Caml-list] Ask questions on the mailing lists too orbifx
2022-01-16 14:32     ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-17  9:20       ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-17  9:34         ` Daniil Baturin
2022-01-17 14:30           ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-17 14:56             ` Daniil Baturin [this message]
2022-01-17 17:36               ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-17 21:08                 ` Gabriel Scherer
2022-01-18  1:51                   ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 15:46                     ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-18  9:49                   ` orbifx
2022-01-18 15:55                     ` Simon Cruanes
2022-01-19 16:31                       ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 17:55                         ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 18:09                           ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 19:09                             ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 20:53                               ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 18:43                           ` Simon Cruanes
2022-01-19 19:03                           ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 20:50                             ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-20 20:56                         ` Edwin Török
2022-03-11  8:46                           ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-03-11  9:38                             ` Vasilis Goumas
2022-03-11  9:43                               ` Gabriel Scherer
2022-01-19 15:33                   ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 21:43                     ` Gabriel Scherer
2022-01-19 22:02                       ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 22:38                         ` Sébastien Hinderer
     [not found]                 ` <>
2022-01-17 22:47                   ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-17  9:54         ` Alan Schmitt
2022-01-17 13:53           ` Sam Kuper
2022-01-19 15:18             ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-19 15:54           ` Sébastien Hinderer
2022-01-20  9:13             ` Alan Schmitt
     [not found]             ` <>
2022-01-20 14:16               ` Sébastien Hinderer

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