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The Free JavaScript campaign

by Zak Rogoff Contributions Published on Apr 06, 2015 01:26 PM
When looking to ensure that our computers are running free software, we usually turn our attention to the operating system and programs we install. Increasingly, we also need to look at the Web sites we visit. Simply visiting many sites loads software onto your computer, primarily JavaScript, that carry proprietary licenses. If we want to be able to browse the Web without running nonfree software, we need to work together to call for change.
Current focus:

Reddit is home to lots of awesome communities, and it's always been very supportive of free software and Internet freedom. Our latest Free JavaScript blog post asks Reddit to take the next step and stop serving users nonfree JavaScript.

Please send a message to the Reddit admins asking them to lead the Reddit community in taking this step.

For inspiration, see our sample message to the Reddit admins.

Amplify your action by encouraging your friends to join you! Please share this page with the hashtag #FreeJS.*

The Free JavaScript campaign persuades companies, governments, and NGOs to make their Web sites work without requiring that users run any proprietary software. We pick one site at a time and focus energy on it, working as a team to send many polite but firm messages to the site maintainers.

The JavaScript programs in question create menus, buttons, text editors, music players, and many other features of Web sites, so browsers generally come configured to download and run them without ever making users aware of it. Contrary to popular perception, almost no JavaScript runs "on the Web site" -- even though these JavaScript programs are hidden from view, they are still nonfree code being executed on your computer.

Join us in calling for a Web that respects our freedom by being compatible with free software. Use the action box on the right to contact the organization we're currently focusing on and ask them to make their site work without nonfree JavaScript.

We're currently working on a proud badge for Web sites that work without nonfree JavaScript. The ability to display this badge will be an incentive for sites to make the transition we request of them, and sites that already respect users' freedom will use it to distinguish themselves and to welcome free software users.

To receive updates and hear about the next site we'll focus on, please join the campaign's low-volume mailing list. You're also welcome to explore the campaign's area on the LibrePlanet community wiki, where you can help build the list of future sites to focus on. If you are an experienced JavaScript developer that's interested in helping with the campaign, we welcome you to submit a request to join our JavaScript Developers Task Force list. Please make sure to follow the instructions on the list info page.


Sites focused on previously

  • Greenpeace, a global environmental organization. Your messages to Greenpeace paid off! They sent the FSF a friendly response and are now looking in to making their Web site work without nonfree JavaScript.
  •, a Web site that American citizens can use to give feedback to their government about proposed regulatory changes.

This campaign was launched with the help of FSF campaigns interns Saurabh Nair and Sankha Narayan Guria. More information about the FSF's internship program is available at

  • We encourage users to do their microblogging with Web sites that do not include nonfree JavaScript, like instances of or GNU social. If you use Twitter, you can access the mobile version of the Twitter site, which works with JavaScript turned off, even on a desktop computer.
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