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      I’m all for open source maintainers getting paid for the time they’re putting in, but displaying advertisements on my terminal is something I really wish doesn’t turn into a monetization model here.

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        The next step is to add support for libsixel to all the terminal implementations so that they can display pictures!

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        Dunno; it seems a small price to pay for a healthy open source “economy” where deveopers actually not only get paid, but also get paid more than minimum wage.

        But on the other hand, yeah, not looking forwards to more noise in my terminal. I like “silent” commands.

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          Would you say the ever-increasingly intrusive ads and tracking on web pages is a small price to pay? Because that’s what an ad-based economy means. An economy which works based on annoying the customer as much as possible isn’t a particularly nice economy to be a customer in.

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            Completely different scenario. There is no tracking here. Advertising has been around for literally hundreds of years without problems. This is a Red Herring.

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              Completely different scenario. There is no tracking here


              The way that you get a competitive advantage in the advertising space is by offering advertisers improved tracking and better targeting. And on top of that, this code has, as far as I’m aware, no sandbox. Advertisers are often malicious.’

              And before you start accusing me of ‘not caring about open source developers’: I’m an open source developer, and would love to be paid enough to play with my toys full-time. Hell, I’m even unemployed (for the moment). Yes, I even used to work in adtech, on Google’s Doubleclick. Largely as a part of that experience, I don’t want to see anything like this take off.

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                The way that you get a competitive advantage in the advertising space is by offering advertisers improved tracking and better targeting.

                And this is done in the terminal, how?

                And on top of that, this code has, as far as I’m aware, no sandbox.

                Since when do you need a sandbox to echo something to stdout?

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                  And this is done in the terminal, how?

                  Techniques don’t exist until one day someone invents them.

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                  Since when do you need a sandbox to echo something to stdout?

                  Since someone decided you wanted to start adding personalization and tracking to the ads to increase revenue.

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                  And this is done in the terminal, how?

                  Unique URLs created per install, generated off any combo of identifiers on the machine would do it.

                  Since when do you need a sandbox to echo something to stdout?

                  Since npm and curl URL | bash.

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                  curl? wget? nc? telnet? I’m sure there are any number of ways for an ad to phone home available at the terminal.

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              In order to prove that the terminal advertisement was accessed, one has to track that. Period.

              The advertising ecosystem cannot function without some form of tracking in its current state. In fact, the increasing amount of privacy violating advertising code is, at least partly, driven to prove a human being (or enough of a convincing fraud of one) saw (the term is “impression”) the advertisement.

              An advertiser who does not verify impressions is quickly taken for an ad fraud ride. And then we see increasing surveillance to tell man and fraud apart.

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                The advertising ecosystem cannot function without some form of tracking in its current state

                So every time I see an ad in a newspaper or magazine I am being tracked? Right…

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                  If you subscribe to it? Yes. If you subscribe to it, and then buy a product that was advertised to you within? Double yes.

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                    Impressive. I didn’t realize they’d managed to embed trackers in paper that thin.

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                      You didn’t? “Use discount code fairly unique string to get a 10% discount!” In local flyers, you’re down to the tens of thousands level or less, and a purchase with a credit card can tie it right to a household.

                      “Register your serial number for a discount.”

                      “Here’s your all-access VIP card! Give this number for a discount.”

                      Any of these + a CC purchase ties you back to advertisement impression to conversion. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s close enough.

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                        So every time I see an ad in a newspaper or magazine I am being tracked? Right…

                        Amazing. I never knew merely passing my eyes over those things was enough.

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                          I mean, i put the conditions of subscription as a caveat, but if you really want to play this game, I’m down.


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                            This thread is a response to

                            advertising ecosystem cannot function without some form of tracking in its current state

                            The point arp242 made, which you seem to be carefully avoiding, is that we have an advertising ecosystem which functions without any tracking (beyond, perhaps, the ad buyer picking up their own copy of the newspaper to check out their own ad).

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                              My point when I responded to arp242 was that for some situations, yes, you absolutely are being tracked. You had more observations, so I switched to responding to those.

                              Print was being used as an example of an ecosystem without tracking, but it is clearly full of tracking, to the point that the tracking is advertised by the print ad companies and there are recommended techniques in small business advice. There are numerous ways to do coarse tracking via print, and a few ways to do direct, individually identifiable tracking that are very much in use today.

                              It’s like claiming that the internet is an ecosystem that functions without ad tracking because you can use it anonymously from a library computer and some websites don’t bother to track you.

                              I figured the eyeballs across the print ad thing was mostly going to be a thought exercise, since I don’t think it’s all that common for ads in the internet to use eye tracking either and doesn’t seem to support the contrast between internet vs. print tracking. Then I remembered the ad that literally detected when your eyeballs were facing it.

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              Forgot the /s

      3. [Comment removed by author]

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      Just what free software needs: advertisements. What’s next? User profiling? This is truly disgusting.

      Disclaimer: I am a free software maintainer myself and I also think it’s a tragedy of the commons that a lot of free software labour goes unpaid. But bugging users with obnoxious ads? That’s a bridge too far.

      In my mind at least, Free software differentiates itself from proprietary software by being about the user first, instead of putting commercial interest first.

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      Now someone can make an npm adblock in JavaScript.

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        Which is what has happened


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      It is a curious looking glass through which the author sees the world. Let’s start with their problem statement:

      Open source maintainers need income to fund their work.

      Get a job, a grant, a stipend, or an entitlement. Getting a job was not optional when I came into FLOSS, only a few years before them; I have had to be continuously employed and I can only write code when I have spare time. The author admits themselves that they’ve spent only around three kilohours over four years, or about two hours per day, on FLOSS.

      Starting in 2018, I began trying lots of different ways to raise funding so I could justify continuing to do open source full-time. The opportunity cost of forgoing a six-figure tech job are huge, especially when you live in the SF bay area.

      Move, unless you’re a SF native and love the place. The Bay is a land of corporate influence, corporate wealth, corporate code, and corporate employment. It is not a place for anti-corporate action. Why is the cost of living high in the Bay? Because the prices are driven up by corporate presence.

      It is easy to be a socialist and to advocate for social solutions. It sounds like the author disapproves of capitalism and corporate control:

      Right now, the status quo is that maintainers create massive amounts of value and then for-profit companies and SaaS startups capture almost all of it.

      And I must inform the author that this complained-about capture is partially because of the shape of the code that they craft. Their code is oriented around browsers, plumbing, portability, and velocity. Their code is written in JS, a language so popular that one in two developers specialize in it, and oriented around npm, a corporate package manager. Their code appears overwhelmingly licensed under the MIT license, rather than GPLv3. These are things that corporations value.

      I think we successfully pushed back against the entitlement to free labor that is pervasive in the interactions that open source consumers have with maintainers.

      I think that the author demonstrated a willingness to work with the corporate system of control and coercion. Pushing back against free labor is extremely easy; not only is it possible to tell people “no” online, but the disconnection from the real world often makes it easier to push back in cyberspace. If you want to see how easy it can be to get pushback, just ask for Windows support on your choice of popular FLOSS package, and see what happens.

      Folks who contribute nothing don’t get a seat at the table.

      I once wrote GPU drivers for some ATI/AMD hardware. At the time, I intended for my work to help enable Linux users to avoid nVidia hardware. (I also, selfishly, wanted to play video games on my laptop.) We must choose which wolves to feed.

      Which contributions are the valuable ones? Do we value contributors on their own, or only for their code output?

      Large numbers of the detractors seemed to come from the r/programming subreddit who are notoriously anti-JavaScript. A smaller number came from 4Chan and Hacker News. These drive-by condemners were eager to join in a pile-on in the standard issue tracker. But since these folks were neither users nor contributors to standard, I think their opinions should be discounted compared to those of actual users, fellow contributors, and fellow maintainers.

      Ah, we only value contributors to the author’s corner of the ecosystem, apparently! Right here the author demonstrates a deep and problematic bias: They cannot consider the arguments of people who they do not value. This casual discarding of people around them indicates that they are not open-minded as a programmer, but focused on monetizing their identity and promoting a sense of tribalism.

      Under the heading of “the future”, they write:

      One sponsor is particularly eager to start running their own terminal ad ASAP.

      See, this is why the author made a bad decision. Once a valued community member tries this sort of exploitation, if there aren’t sufficient repercussions, then the corporate suits think that it’s open season.

      Approximately 100% of the Fortune 500 use open source code. Maintainers are just starting to wake up to our own power. Expect to be surprised.

      The power that we have is precisely the responsibility of writing the code. No more, no less. Because we write the code, we choose how the code behaves. That is our power.

      As a closing thought, I cannot wait for universal basic income.

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        I couldn’t agree more (except maybe about UBI - I need to do more research on that).

        MIT/BSD licensing is great for corporations. They get high quality software for free - with source - and they don’t need to do anything in return apart from including a license text. There’s generally qualified people who do the grunt work of keeping the stuff up to date, and if those people were to dry up or quit in frustration, it’s easy enough to make the call to switch to another offering, or just hire someone to keep it going for themselves only. It’s basically like signing a contract for commercial software (which carries more or less similar risks) except it doesn’t cost any money.

        It’s also not as if this is unknown, or unforseen since decades - hence why the GPL is substantially different from MIT/BSD.

        What the open-source developer gets out it is another question. Exposure, I guess? Experience, sure. Personal satisfaction, no doubt. But the system and the license does very little to direct numeration in the developer’s/maintainer’s direction. And no-one should be surprised by this.

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      Really tired of link aggregator issue tracker outrage raids. It’s obvious how many people voicing how upset they are in the thread actually care about open source maintainers making money for their work. Sure, there are those whose comments are insightful and add something insightful but otherwise, it must be a really nice position to worry about how someone else is inconveniencing you before worrying about how to pay rent.

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        It’s obvious how many people voicing how upset they are in the thread actually care about open source maintainers making money for their work.

        I care about open source being sustainable. In large part because I have direct personal experience of it not being sustainable.

        I think this approach is not a good one.

        I also think it’s too convenient to issue a blanket dismissal of all criticism as “link aggregator issue tracker outrage raids”.

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          I actually think you’re right. In fact my comment purposely includes no value statement whatsoever on the actual original issue (ads in terminal). Because that’s not what my comment is about.

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        The anger is mostly about the project itself, which from what I’ve gathered is a lint config that tries very hard to look like it’s not, even calling itself “JS Standard Style” though it’s not standard.

        Also from the linked issue:

        The funds raised so far ($2,000) have paid for Feross’s time to release Standard 14 which has taken around five days

        Five days and 2k to update some lint options.

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          $50/hr is a reasonable rate no matter the project.

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        link aggregator issue tracker outrage raids

        Now there’s a sentence that would have been hard to parse just five years ago…

        Considering the inflammatory title of the submission to Proggit, that’s hardly surprising:

        A 3mil downloads per month JavaScript library, which is already known for misleading newbies, is now adding paid advertisements to users’ terminals.

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          I’m not familiar with the JavaScript/NodeJS/NPM ecosystem, but I did some looking around, and it seems … a very meagar project. Unless I’m mistaken, it’s essentially just an ESLint config: https://github.com/standard/standard/commit/e78c3280e9ec2443891498295aa244e7fd20b0b4

          Aside from whether or not this is a good model to start with, I can kind of understand people’s frustration it’s being added to such a basic (almost trivial) project.

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            When I saw the title here, I assumed it was referring to the entire Node.js ecosystem, not just one small part of it.

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      I’ve been reading the FSF’s advice for making money from free software, the lemonade stand repo’s advice, some of the ideas from the heated Github issues, and I feel we’re still really far from making open source a financially stable thing for most. It’s really sad, I personally wish I could just contribute to FOSS all day, but that’s just not practical these days.

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        It’s kind of like being an artist. You either need a trust fund or a wealthy patron or a day job or a willingness to live in poverty.

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      Suggesting folding this into https://lobste.rs/s/7aawbr