I’d hesitate to call any of this stuff “useless”. It seems more accurate to say that I (and the author) prefer making stuff for fun, without any profit incentives or obligations, i.e. making things for fun because we find it enjoyable. Enjoyable to work on != useless, even if no one else finds any use for them.
I got the impression by “useless” the author means “has no intended use-value beyond it’s creation”. Which is sort of a specific case of the general term, but it’s one commonly found on forums where GitHub stars are seen as valuable.
Adding to your comment, just sharing the notes and code online might make it useful. From there, they might respond to questions or requests. They might also leave a notice it’s a read-only dump they did for fun that they won’t take comments or requests on. Sharing it was the good deed. Others might respond to them. The author made it useful by putting commented source on Github under MIT license. Maybe also by making some interesting stuff if one uses that metric.
The next level is the tooling they use. We know most F/OSS is made just scratching an itch. Someone needs or wants something to exist. They make it. If they use common tooling, then sharing that can go from useless to helpful to other people. More interesting stuff might be made from there. Common with C++/C#/Java, Python/Ruby/PHP, etc. If uncommon tooling, it might build up that ecosystem for the same purposes. We see that here with Myrddin and Zig. I think usefulness goes up more often with the common tooling, though.
Extra conclusion: doing your “useless” project on a well-known or growing platform might effortlessly make both more useful.
I prefer making useless stuff, too; mainly because it ensures that it will never be monetized by some soulless tech-bro or used to target third-world children with drone-bombs. Anyone familiar with my public projects will be able to testify to their uselessness.
In the near future, I may start licensing projects under the FAFOL v0.2 or higher, in order to make my projects even more useless.
As someone aware of the nascent Internet when I was too young, unfocused and stupid to play around, the risks on the contemporary Internet make me sad.
Anecdotally, it seems that building “useless stuff” is actually pretty popular among programmers, but it hasn’t received formal acknowledgment from the developer community.
I wish there were more communities and publications that focused on “useless software stuff” as a theme. It’s fun to build useless stuff, and it’s fun to see the useless stuff other people build.
You can find a lot of out of print magazines from the early 80’s (such as BYTE magazine) that had a heavy focus on software hobbyists. You can also find some decent publications for hyper-specific niches, like the demoscene and retrocomputing. I haven’t seen too much outside of that, though. I think the closest thing out there today would be the Tildeverse, which has a strong focus on software for fun.
Has anyone found any online communities or publications that follow the theme of “useless software stuff”?
Premise is totally valid but then the list doesn’t seem useless or simply “for fun”. Almost comes across as bragging of what the author can tag as “just for the lolz”.
i looked through the list and they’re all absolutely “for fun” projects. languages, game engines, etc. are the kind of thing that is really hard to make a full fledged, polished and production-ready version, but lots of fun to hack on a basic viable project.
That’s why I like doing retro-computing/programming. There is absolutely no expectation or obligation to make something useful but you have a wonderful community who might find it useful nonetheless.
“I made a C64 control a Robot that makes toast!”
There is so many reasons to make stuff. Among them it can be for fun, for learning, for money or because it solves a problem someone has and that’s only some of them.
I think they can all overlap, but there’s also ones that for example make money, solve zero problems (if you don’t consider making money the problem) or even creates them (spam, ransomware, answers to questions nobody ever asked, etc.).
Research is fairly often doing stuff beyond (yet) obvious usefulness.