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    Launching Fig release fig.io

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    This seems kind of neat in concept but I’m befuddled by several aspects of this product/company(?).

    First, this blog post emphasizes that they’ll never sell our data, but I’m unclear why this terminal add on would need to connect to the internet or collect any end user data in the first place. They want to make money on hosting but uh what are we hosting exactly?

    Also, I thought to myself oh cool do postmodern terminal emulators like iterm2 and kitty provide enough wacky hooks through escape codes that you can build complicated software with them? Sadly no, this thing just uses macos’ accessibility APIs for now apparently. Which…isn’t a bad solution for certain problems, like at least we aren’t loading kernel modules with input managers in them anymore I guess, but it’s not, like, a terminal-centric solution. They should’ve written their own terminal after all.

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      They explain why they don’t want to build their own terminal on the linked page: https://fig.io/blog/post/launching-fig#-why-hasnt-fig-built-its-own-terminal

      If integrating with existing terminals works well that’s preferable. Getting people to switch terminals and integrating with everything that has a built in terminal (eg vs code) sounds hard. How many people have iTerm2 configured in some weird way to make mosh have a better scrollback buffer, for example? Who wants to support all that while adding friction to adoption?

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        I’d be curious about the market research that led them here. It sounds as if they are targeting people who are not familiar with the terminal and want a more discoverable interface. I would not have expected that set of folks to have a large intersection with the set of people who have weird iTerm2 configurations.

        Writing a custom terminal would also give them a potentially interesting target market: folks building products that need an integrated terminal but want something easier to use for novices. They mention the VS Code terminal, and that’s exactly the kind of thing where I can imagine a terminal with custom helpers for the programs that it wants to run being a differentiating feature and the tooling for building those being something that you could sell.

        That said, I type passwords into a terminal so an application that is network connected being able to snoop them makes me incredibly nervous.

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          That’s like suggesting intellisense is only for people who are not familiar with coding

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            The problem with a solution like “We’ll integrate using a custom terminal” is that the advantage breaks down when your users are inside SSH, GNU Screen, tmux, or mosh - potentially all at once. You need to either be a client of the user’s shell (there are a lot of shells, though…) or otherwise do your thing by querying a process tree and figuring out how to read an arbitrary process’s character data, ie by parsing a PTY. and if you need to query the process tree or parse a PTY… why build your own terminal?

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          but I’m unclear why this terminal add on would need to connect to the internet or collect any end user data in the first place

          Makes me very confident to use this for anything administrative.

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          Without commenting on the product itself, I’m concerned that this product got $2.2M in funding. Am I really to believe that there’s a huge market for a product like this?

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            $2.2M is peanuts. It’s like a side bet for a VC firm.

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              That people are willing to throw away $2.2M on a side bet concerns me for different, humanitarian, reasons.

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                It’s not like one person put in $2.2M, almost certainly a fair number of people put in much smaller amounts.

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              I can’t wait to pay a monthly subscription fee to use my terminal.

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              The build your own widgets part makes sense; apart, Fish does most of this out of the box (based on manpages, and custom scripts where needed). See here.

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                Commercial product page, flagged.

                Please don’t use Lobsters to advertise for services; it turns us into a marketing channel and that attracts scummy behaviors and posters.

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                  Apologies — hadn’t tried it out so I wasn’t aware it’s requiring an account nor phoning home.

                  I don’t believe simply linking to a release announcement counts as advertising. If that were the case, a lot of the posts here would be ads.

                  The About page’s list of “things that are off-topic here”, while not exhaustive, doesn’t include mentions of commercial software/services. Things like Sublime Text, GitHub, CloudFlare, iOS and Windows get covered here. I wouldn’t want lobste.rs to become a site that focuses only on open source.

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                  Tried it. It wants email address to ‘sign in’. Deleted.

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                    Eww. Did not know that was their fiendish plan. Sorry!

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                    This reminds me of another “reimagine the terminal” product that’s been discussed here before, https://www.warp.dev/. I haven’t used either of them but Warp looks more interesting to me than Fig. For now I’m very happy with Kitty.

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                      Yeah, I’m pretty curious about Warp, but I haven’t gotten into the closed beta yet.