Threads for Yetanfou

  1. 11

    No tone policing

    You saw what they were replying to, yes? You saw how useless of a comment it was? That tone policing was in addition to multiple commenters pointing out the flaws in the approach of the offending commenter. It was not an innocent question. It was not simply “Why are there no women in this list?”. The commenter is not a child and knows that asking such a question is inflammatory. Is that a stupid cause and effect combo? Yes. But they could’ve avoided the entire chain that you’re referring to and in fact helped both the women and men frequenting this site by putting forth a bit more effort into what they submitted. Instead of this:

    Why are there no women in this list?

    We could’ve had a fruitful discussion on female influential thinkers and programmers. A discussion that I would have relished on the many other people who could help us along in our collective programming slog. But instead we get a shitty one line question that is neither enlightening nor broadening of thought. Instead it’s just another injection of the same tired school yard to work place to life to internet argument.

    Just try harder and help us. I really don’t know any openly female open source authors that contribute a heck of a lot to anything. This is not an insult, this is an admission of my own ignorance and one that monokrome did not help to alleviate but was easily able to.

    So no, I don’t think tone policing should be banned. I have no issues with your other thing.

    1. 2

      What policy would you write to prohibit the parent comment? (Or would you?)

      1. 15

        We already have one, it’s trolling and I down voted that comment as such. It was purposefully controversial and low effort. I’m pretty sure that’s trolling even if it’s by accident.

        1. 5

          I wouldn’t, but if I had to I’d throw it under the bucket of bad faith questions that if genuine would make more sense to ask in private, unless the goal is to score points with onlookers.

        2. 2

          You saw what they were replying to, yes? You saw how useless of a comment it was?

          I don’t think that was a useless comment. I think it raised an excellent point via a pointed question.

          1. 9

            an excellent point

            I disagree. It was a interjection that derailed the discussion of possible members of an imaginary league of open source leaders. There was no discussion of gender anywhere near the remarks of the opening poster. The names, save RMS, were sprung from the mind of a single person. The comment that you’re defending didn’t help and didn’t add to the discussion. There was positivity in that chain before it was sucked out with 8 words.

            If it provided names or projects then maybe it would help but by the end of that short question what’s coming up in my mind is that they want to attack rather than help. I’m already defensive. That criticism is something a lot of other men feel as well. Is it really so difficult to approach the commenters with a guiding hand rather than a slap to the nuts?

            pointed question

            I disagree here as well. A pointed question would arrive at the core of the problem the opening poster was trying to solve which I can only assume would be to build a team of open source visionaries that get things done. The comment you’re defending is a quibble and considering the fallout from it includes the rest of that chain and this completely separate thread where most people seem to agree that we don’t need what’s being proposed is also inflammatory. The proposals of course support the kind of comments that you’re defending.

            I don’t want arguments. I don’t want to start or be in arguments. I want to educate and be educated. Sometimes arguments are helpful but that comment started a flame war, didn’t help solve the issue that it was a reply to and even got the mods involved on a 3rd party channel.

            It’s a fucking useless, low effort, troll comment. We don’t need them. The orange site and everywhere else is filled with them. If I wanted to read them I would go on twitter, which btw is where this meta (read: nearly off topic) thread found its launch pad. Take this comment for example. You see how upvoted it is regardless of the fact that it’s pointing out the same type of biases that the flame bait you’re defending is? That’s a useful comment. That’s what we should be trying to aspire to.

            I’m tired of this. I would like to ask you to stop defending flame bait because you very clearly are.

            1. 6

              It was a interjection that derailed the discussion of possible members of an imaginary league of open source leaders.

              I’ll disagree with you here for the very reason that I don’t believe it’s possible on the medium of this website to interject or derail.

              Consider the fact that you get to write a comment in your own time, edit it, and click the “Post” button without interruption. This is not a realtime chat app, nor is it linear; since discussions are in fact trees, if you don’t want to engage in a path through the comment tree, then you don’t have to. If you see others following a comment path in favor of one you’d rather engage with, then consider the fact that they’re doing so on their own free will. They might want to comment on something that you don’t. Who is policing who?

              There was no discussion of gender anywhere near the remarks of the opening poster.

              And so what? Suppose we have a comment thread discussing memory performance, and someone brings up security. There was previously no discussion of security. Are you going to be as angry with that poster as you are in this instance? Or what if, in the case of the thread at hand, the “interjecting” comment brought up natively spoken language instead. Would you be as upset, and as driven to engage in this case? Who is the judge of what is and is not relevant to a discussion? For a community nominally focused on intellectual pursuits, are you not interested in exploring associations, obvious or not, at the cost of some comments that you yourself don’t like?

              Further up the thread, you wrote:

              It was not an innocent question. It was not simply “Why are there no women in this list?”. The commenter is not a child and knows that asking such a question is inflammatory.

              You seem to pose that either: a) the poster is a “child” asking roughly: “excuse me I am confused that there no women on this list. could someone kindly clue me in?”, or b) the poster is an instigator, keen on “interjecting” and “derailing” discussion, someone who in bad faith wishes to expose the innocent wish-list parent comment as a misogynist. Since a) couldn’t be the case, it must be b) with evil intent!

              I’m not a mind reader either, but consider that the poster simply wanted to open up a discussion; that they actually meant what they wrote. Why are there no women in the list? This is a prompt for discussion. In fact, it’s one that we ought to be interested in. Why are the overwhelming majority of household open source names men? Prominent intellectuals, academics, and creatives in other fields seem to have a much more even distribution of gender. Why get defensive when we could think critically? It’s a good question.

              edit here’s a follow-up post clarifying intent.

              We could’ve had a fruitful discussion on female influential thinkers and programmers. A discussion that I would have relished on the many other people who could help us along in our collective programming slog. But instead we get a shitty one line question that is neither enlightening nor broadening of thought.

              We could have, and we still can. Since you’d “relish” a discussion of prominent women in tech, please go ahead and start that thread.

              1. 3

                I don’t believe it’s possible on the medium of this website to interject or derail.

                We’ll have to agree to disagree that it’s possible to derail a comment tree. When the branch is off topic even for the website that we’re on I would consider it derailing.

                Who is the judge of what is and is not relevant to a discussion?

                From the about page:

                Lobsters is a computing-focused community centered around link aggregation and discussion.

                From the wiki about Downvotes:

                Troll - These are used when a comment is made specifically to get a rise out of other users with no attempt at sharing new information or engaging in honest discussion.

                Why get defensive when we could think critically? It’s a good question.

                This is where there is a problem with the question’s framing. In the majority of online conversations you’ll see these types comments and would be justified in assuming the worse - that the commenter is going to start an argument with little for us to gain from it. In Lobste.rs from what I’ve seen is that the signal is missing because the questions are presented in a more developed manner. There’s typically context provided. Ideas are given along with the question for some sort of guidance on how they arrived there and why they’re asking it. Or hey, you know, the question is actually related to the topic of the site.

                We could have, and we still can. Since you’d “relish” a discussion of prominent women in tech, please go ahead and start that thread.

                I won’t because I don’t start threads on things I don’t know much about. If the thread comes up I’ll be asking questions though.

                1. 2

                  From the about page:

                  Lobsters is a computing-focused community centered around link aggregation and discussion.
                  

                  Right, and you’ll note that to many members, a “computing-focused community” centered around “discussion” should be prepared to discuss computing-focused communities.

                  1. 2

                    The community is prepared but the question doesn’t give the impression that it’s made in good faith. Like you said, we’re not mind readers. You’ve already seen that many of us will put effort in. You still haven’t answered my question btw.

              2. -5

                There was no discussion of gender anywhere near the remarks of the opening poster.

                That was indeed the point of the comment?

                I want to educate and be educated.

                Hmm, facts not in evidence ;)

                1. 3

                  That was indeed the point of the comment?

                  But why does it matter? In the criteria laid out in the opening comment we had:

                  1. They cannot be easily manipulated
                  2. They do not want to manipulate others
                  3. They are visionaries
                  4. They express themselves through software (on both technical and conceptual levels)
                  5. They work very hard, for very long time, based on a believe and passion alone
                  6. They are not afraid to challenge ‘status quo’

                  Please tell me which if any of these qualities is exclusive to either gender. Why would gender be a part of the equation rather than the content and caliber of their minds? I see no link, therefore I saw a useless derailing comment made by someone who ignored the list above.

                  1. 2

                    Could you point me to the rule of engagement describing the idea that in order to reply to a comment, you must respond to it within the framework of analysis that the OP has constructed?

                    1. 0

                      There is none. But why would you ignore it entirely when your answer probably lies in that list?

                      1. 2

                        your answer probably lies in that list

                        So in other words, you claim that the answer to “why are there no women in this list?” is “probably” because:

                        1. They are easily manipulated, or
                        2. They want to manipulate others, or
                        3. They are not visionaries, or
                        4. They do not express themselves through software (on both technical and conceptual levels), or
                        5. They do not work very hard, for very long time, based on a believe and passion alone, or
                        6. They are afraid to challenge ‘status quo’

                        Yikes

                        1. 0

                          THIS IS WHAT I WANT. Instead of that shitty little comment why couldn’t you have come along and said something?

                          I don’t know whether it’s probable or not. I haven’t done studies and I haven’t seen any either. It would stupid to think that all of the reasons there are no women on that list is because of one of those six reasons. But you still missed my question. Why would it be ignored entirely?

                  2. 4

                    Hmm, facts not in evidence ;)

                    Flagged unkind. This does not leave much room to build on, doesn’t cite relevant examples to learn from, and generally doesn’t seem (to me) to improve the discussion.

                    1. 1

                      That feels to me like an unreasonable response to a substantial (if pithy) reply to the comment + a clearly indicated joke as a post-script. Please re-assess your criteria for flagging.

                      1. 3

                        I too flagged your comment as unkind. It did not come across as a joke at all (more like sarcasm, which isn’t kind). Rather, as an unilteral “do this, or else!” vibe. OP also does the same, right now on Twitter:

                        many (likely vast majority) of the women programmers I know would not participate on http://lobste.rs after reading some of the threads there.

                        How does he know that “many (likely vast majority)” would not participate for this reason? Why don’t these women directly complain about it, so that we know for a fact that it is indeed “many (likely vast majority)” that are put off by the current discussion (and that it is not OP exaggerating it for whatever reason)? If you ask him that, we would probably be accused of being a sexist or a troll. I am actually glad that pushcx notices what’s going on.

                        I want this community to remain tech-focused, and not get dragged into culture wars.

                        1. 0

                          The fact that you dismiss topics and comments like this as “culture war” stuff rather than meaningful, topical, and endemic problems in tech-focused communities that need to be addressed is, I think, good evidence towards the OP’s Twitter point.

                          1. 2

                            So now merely mentioning the phrase “culture wars” is enough to be shouted down as sexist without even explaining why? None of the things you’ve said can be deduced from what the previous poster wrote, you made you own conclusions about that on no evidence what-so-ever.

                            This is incredibly toxic. And yes, even if you cause is a good one you can still be toxic.

                            1. 1

                              So now merely mentioning the phrase “culture wars” is enough to be shouted down as sexist without even explaining why?

                              No, but dismissing relevant points by handwaving “culture wars” is evidence that a community is immature in that dimension, and likely unwelcoming to the affected minority.

                              This is incredibly toxic.

                              “Toxic” isn’t a catch-all pejorative that can be used when someone advances an argument you don’t like.

                            2. 1

                              That’s a very uncharitable interpretation of my comment.

                              These things should be discussed, but with good faith assumptions, not by unjustly accusing others as “nazi” or “sexist” or “racist”, which only perpetuates an “us vs them” mentality (a telling characteristic of culture wars), that in turn divides the community with toxic influence rather than build it based on fellowship regard.

                  3. 4

                    The question was as pointed as it was irrelevant. It could just as well have been ‘why are there no left-handed people on this list’ or ‘why are there no Hindus on this list’ or ‘why are there no Freemasons on this list’. Identity politics is politics no matter whether the identity is sex, dextrality or religion. It only serves to split communities in factions and factions into a power struggle. As far as I can see this is far from an ‘excellent point’ unless you happen to be a competitor to the community or its goals.

                    1. 3

                      As far as I’m aware, there is no systemic under representation of left handed people or Hindus in software, so the comparison you’re drawing is not effective.

                1. 8

                  I do get some utility out of the banner–I’ve had stretches of days, even weeks, without it. When it appears, I usually do a quick check to see if I’m totally off-base.

                  For people that have only gotten it a few times, I’ll paraphrase Churchill:

                  You have flags? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your post history.

                  Obviously, this bromide doesn’t address the issue of pathological trolling.

                  1. 2

                    I got the original ‘close your account’ banner and promptly added a uBlock rule to hide the thing so I don’t have to see it again. The way comments are flagged is starting to resemble the way they are often downvoted on the orange site which I consider to be a sad thing since it has the potential to turn this place into the same type of echo chamber as HN hade become. I greatly prefer a true diversity of opinion with a possibly more grating discourse over a virtual kumbayah. It is outside your comfort zone where you’ll find opportunities to learn.

                    1. 1

                      I’ve never gotten the banner; this is the first I heard of it, or the ‘standing’ page. Looks like some heavy-handed Site Boss bullshit to me.

                      So, we have quotas now? And I’m under-performing? Oh dear. I conclude that I should be more outspoken.

                      1. 1

                        I’ve never gotten the banner; this is the first I heard of it, or the ‘standing’ page. Looks like some heavy-handed Site Boss bullshit to me.

                        I think the tone of the current warning is much softer than the original one, reproduced below:

                          <p>
                            If you are outraged by this notice from a site that's full of idiots and led by mods who are power-tripping assholes,
                            you can delete your account from the bottom of your <%= link_to 'settings', settings_path %>.
                          </p>
                        

                        (from a Jan 13 commit)

                        Maybe still a little aggressive, but much more constructive IMO.

                        1. 1

                          The first one is a little more in line with my own sense of humor, but you have a good point. The Mods in Their Wisdom (let’s be honest, we’re really talking about the One True Mod) are just trying to avoid the site becoming a pit of flames like some others we all know, but over-protective conformity-assurance measures can smother a community too – I’ve also seen that happen. There’s no easy answer, once we accept the basic idea of some people enforcing norms on behalf of everyone.

                          My own tastes may tend toward the laissez-faire maybe more than some, but I’m not going to run around calling people snowflakes either. I just want Lobsters to be a place where productive disagreement, with a variety of personal styles, is possible. These kinds of policies make me nervous because they seemed biased in favor of the intolerant. But if it gets too boring in here, at least I know how to go out with a bang!

                          More seriously, I think this meta post presents a valid criticism: thresholds discard nuance, and it’s not really a matter of where to set the threshold. Moreover, lumping all flag flavors together seems to defeat the purpose of having “reasoned” flags in the first place. All of this has been put in place with no prior public discussion that I’ve seen, which seems a little disrespectful. But I don’t doubt that the pavement is made of genuine Good Intentions!

                    1. 76

                      Telling people they’re “being aggressive” or “controversial” adds no meaningful information to a conversation.

                      It’s an important meta point to make, either signalling to them that they can say something more constructively or signalling to other users “hey this person is probably not going to engage in good faith, head’s up.”

                      No pretending systemic racism, sexism, and bias aren’t a thing.

                      I don’t think anybody seriously believes that in the abstract those aren’t things, or that concretely in other places they do not exist. However, we aren’t really prepared to talk about those things here with any sort of rigor and clarity, and if we were the discussions would take a whole bunch of space away from the bread and butter of the site. There are many, many places elsewhere that do a better job discussing these things.

                      Telling people their experiences aren’t real, or are caused by labels, or pretending that it just so happens that most people in our industry look a certain way just makes the problem worse.

                      My lived experience is that there is a concerted effort to politicize technical spaces and also to shutdown conversation in cases where people disagree with those politics. Is my experience not real to you?

                      When it comes to “most people in our industry looking a certain way”, this is a whole thing, right:

                      Times being what they are, though, I think that you probably meant “why are there so many cis white males in programming?” Not only is your statement loaded, it is reductionist and erases the unique identities of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people–something theoretically you are against!

                      There is gigantic implicit provincialism in the discussions around race in tech, which is understandable given that the background of the people talking can influence things so much (for example, Germans developers talking about the plight of blacks may be somewhat lacking in first-hand experience). Since Americans do represent a plurality (right now) of the software engineering demographics, it makes sense that the conversation is going to be heavily slanted in favor of the issues of race in the United States–but those issues are very different once you look at any other diaspora. Issues of racism in Japanese technology companies look very different from Oakland.

                      One can make similar arguments about perspective for any other problematic partitioning. On sex I’ll only point out that you have to really get deep into the demographics and sociology to make compelling points, and that’s again a lot of space to spend here away from our core content–and space that ultimately won’t fix anything. If you want just more women, fire some men and hire women; don’t post on Lobsters. If you want to be more inclusive, go counterbully the people that are directly bullying women on Twitter instead of freaking out here when somebody says “guys” instead of “folks”.

                      ~

                      I really dislike this suggestion because not only does it stifle discussion, it establishes a beachhead for politics in this community that isn’t deserved or earned, and perhaps most importantly it doesn’t even fix the problems those groups actually have.

                      1. 15

                        My only regret is that I have but one upvote to give to this comment. Thank you for putting it in succinct, respectful, terms.

                        1. 4

                          On sex I’ll only point out that you have to really get deep into the demographics and sociology to make compelling points, and that’s again a lot of space to spend here away from our core content–and space that ultimately won’t fix anything. If you want just more women, fire some men and hire women; don’t post on Lobsters.

                          This constitutes illegal gender-based discrimination under current American civil rights law. Talking about whether this kind of gender discrimination is good or bad is inherently political, since it necessarily involves questioning whether a specific body of law is good or bad.

                          1. 3

                            I don’t think anybody seriously believes that in the abstract those aren’t things, or that concretely in other places they do not exist.

                            I have seen people arguing exactly that, yes.

                            There are many, many places elsewhere that do a better job discussing these things.

                            I agree with this - infinite-nesting discussions are not good at discussing these topics.

                            1. 2

                              Bit offtopic, but thanks for those links, especially the qz one. I had been searching for such numbers more than once already.

                              1. 1

                                I am not trying to politicize lobste.rs. I am saying that everything is political (in terms of “how power is distributed”) and so it’s already political in a particular way.

                                I do not recall saying anything about the word “guys”, though.

                                1. 23

                                  I am saying that everything is political (in terms of “how power is distributed”)

                                  I strongly disagree with that idea (eg how “A simple to use Java 8 JWT Library”. is about power?).

                                  But even if it were true, the power dinamic could only be relevant in your circle and in your city/country, and the world is much much bigger than the USA.

                                  1. 0

                                    “A simple to use Java 8 JWT library” is not about power. Saying “this article is OK, this isn’t” is about power.

                                    1. 18

                                      No, it is about focusing the discourse on the target discipline. There are others places where things like the power struggle as described in critical theory can be discussed.

                              1. 2

                                First, seeing as you are in Oz (thus, loads of sun) I’d start by getting some PV panels plus an inverter to offset the power used by the rack. That is, assuming you have the space for such.

                                I would not get anything earlier than a Gen7 to reduce power consumption and noise levels - with fans running at full tilt the things sound like rack-mounted jet engines. The fans do spin down to a more manageable level on a well-configured machine but woe to thee who adds anything but official HP hardware in any of the slots since that will keep the fans running at full speed at all times.

                                I made a rack out of some dumpster-dived supermarket shelves, lumber, a truck air filter and a forced draft fan. The thing doubles as drying cabinet for produce (mint, mushrooms, fruit etc.) by having the equipment in the top half of the rack followed by an air flow divider and 8 rack-sized metal-mesh-covered drying frames. From top to bottom the thing contains:

                                • D-Link DGS-3324SR (managed switch, €35)
                                • HP DL380G7 with 2xX5675 @3.07GHz, 128GB (ECC) RAM and 8x147GB SAS drives (€450)
                                • NetApp DS4243 (24x3.5” SAS array, currently populated with 24x650GB 15K SAS drives, €400)
                                • the mentioned airflow divider
                                • 8 drying frames

                                It runs Proxmox on Debian and runs a host of services including a virtual router (OpenWRT), serving us here on the farm and the extended family spread over 2 countries. The server-mounted array is used as a boot drive and to host some container and VM images, the DS4243 array is configured as a JBOD running a mixture of LVM/mdadm managed arrays and stripe sets used as VM/container image and data storage. I chose mdadm over ZFS because of the greater flexibility it offers. The array in the DL380 is managed by the P410i array controller (i.e. hardware raid), I have 4 spare drives in storage to be used as replacements for failed drives.

                                The rack is about 1.65m high, noise levels are manageable for having it in a room adjacent to a bedroom. It looks like this, more or less:

                                https://imgur.com/a/M4Lbf1K

                                In the not-too-distant future I’ll replace the 15K SAS drives with larger albeit slower (7.2K) SAS or SATA drives to get more space and (especially) less heat - those 15K drives run hot.

                                I chose this specific hardware - a fairly loaded DL380G7, the DS4243 - because these offered the best price/performance ratio when I got them (in 2018). Spare parts for these devices are cheap and easily available, I made sure to get a full complement of power supplies for both devices (2 for the DL380G7, 4 for the DS4243) although I’m only using half of these.

                                On the question whether this much hardware is needed, well, that depends on what you want to do. If you just want to serve media files and have a shell host to log in to the answer is probably ‘no’, depending on the size of the library. Instead of using ‘enterprise class’ equipment you could try to build a system tailored to the home environment which prioritizes a reduction in power consumption and noise levels over redundancy and performance. You’ll probably end up spending about the same amount of money for hardware, a bit more in time and get a substantially lower performing system but you’d be rewarded by the lower noise levels and reduced power consumption. The latter can be offset by adding a few solar panels, the former by moving the rack to a less noise-sensitive location - the basement, the barn, etc.

                                1. 1

                                  Thanks for all the details! That’s plenty to read through and digest.

                                  If you just want to serve media files and have a shell host to log in to the answer is probably ‘no’, depending on the size of the library.

                                  The reason I was looking at fast hardware was for development - compiling Firefox, for instance (which grinds a bit on my W540).

                                  1. 1

                                    I have a build container on the machine which I start on demand for this purpose, it was one of my reasons for building this system. I don’t have a Pinebook, instead I use older Thinkpads like the T42p - with their single-core Pentium M @ 1.8GHz, 2GB, 110GB SSD they’re probably comparable to the Pinebook except for the (better) keyboard and screen and (worse) battery. One of the containers on the server (aptly named session) runs remote desktop or single application sessions (through x2go) for a number of users at home and abroad. It also hosts a Nextcloud instance with several apps, e.g. Collabora Online (web-based Libreoffice). It also hosts a mail server (Exim on Debian, Dovecot, Spamassassin through spamd, greylistd, managesieve - I’ve been hosting mail for my domain for about 24 years, going from Sendmail to Exim, from spam being nonexistent to spam not being a problem), web services, communications services (Jitsi Meet, Nextcloud Talk, XMPP services through Prosody), media services (Airsonic, mpd, Peertube), local and remote search services (Searx combined with the recoll engine for local search capabilities), some experimental services based on things like Pixelfed and more.

                                    While a fast build server is a good thing to have I do test and mostly use builds on other - slower - systems to not fall in the trap of building for fast hardware, forgetting that there are those who want/have to make do with slower systems.

                                1. 102

                                  I don’t know whether it’s appropriate to make this meta point here, or if it should be a separate thread. Defaulting to here, feel free to tell me it should’ve been a meta post.

                                  This post is being down-voted as off-topic because it mentions race and gender, but that’s just people pushing a political viewpoint. Posts about hiring practices and salaries are considered on-topic, and so posts about who gets hired by tech companies are also on topic.

                                  To confirm this, I did searches on “hiring”, “salary”, “compensation”, “ageism”, “age discrimination”, and clicked a bunch of links. I generally avoided stories that had only 1-3 upvotes, though I wasn’t completely systematic (I looked at titles to guess whether they were relevant to the title, and clicked through to the articles to confirm relevance–a few had side-notes like “I won’t talk about sexism/ageism” which I treated as not being on topic). I did not find more than 1 off-topic vote on any story.

                                  My conclusion is that a significant subset of lobsters are happy to discuss how hiring should work, what effective hiring practices look like, how pay should be determined, etc, including age discrimination, but view any discussion of how race or gender affects that process as unacceptable. This is cowardly and intellectually dishonest.

                                  Recruiting/Hiring Compensation Ageism Misc
                                  1. 31

                                    Thanks for doing this research to make your point, I think it’s the one of the best ways to advance meta conversations. (Also an excuse for me to remind that I’ll run queries so we can build these shared understandings.)

                                    1. 7

                                      One thing to consider is that almost all of your examples have either the “culture” or “practices” tag. People who would have down-voted these stories as “Off-Topic” might have actually hidden these tags. I know I’m one of these people (I’ve only discovered the story we’re currently discussing because someone pointed me to it out of band).

                                      It would be interesting if @pushcx could run statistics on the most hidden tags. I wouldn’t be surprised if “culture” and “practices” are the most hidden ones.

                                      1. 9

                                        I think that’s reading too much in to it. Something hiring practices is mostly just about hiring and doesn’t touch all that much on politics, whereas this is a broad political topic (which also affects hiring, among many other things). Something like compensation also touches on politics, but significantly less so.

                                        Additionally – and perhaps more importantly – this is also a topic that has been discussed … a lot, and that is also highly controversial. I think a lot of people are just tired of it, and even tired of the discussions which generally don’t really seem to go anywhere and pretty much always have the same arguments that we’ve all seem 20 times already.

                                        In all honesty, I think your reply is kind of an example of that: you’re trying to guess what people’s intentions are with their downvotes and sling out accusations and insults. It’s not really a very productive kind of discussion. Perhaps it’s correct for a few downvotes, but are you sure it’s for all of them (or even any of them?)

                                        1. 15

                                          I think there’s a key point here - a topic being political doesn’t disqualify it from being also technical or relevant to professional practices like hiring. Is the bar for lobste.rs that content be technical, or that it be non-political?

                                          It seems like a misuse of the off-topic tag to flag discussions readers are tired of or which have been had often before. Requesting a politics tag so it can be filtered may be more appropriate.

                                          1. 10

                                            a topic being political doesn’t disqualify it from being also technical or relevant to professional practices like hiring

                                            I agree, and I’m actually in favour of a broad and lax interpretation of the “no politics” rule (more so than the current interpretation). I don’t have a problem with this story (I even upvoted it), or a discussion about whether or not the off-topic flags are appropriate. It’s just the “you’re being cowardly”-stuff that I don’t like, as people may very well have valid other “non-coward” reasons to flag.

                                            1. 7

                                              I’m personally against political content on lobste.rs because I think that, despite the undeniable importance of the discussions this article means to engender, politics overwhelms technical content and attracts people with nothing to say about technology but lots of awful opinions. A politics tag is not going to stem the cultural change that implies. I have an image of a eugenicist hellscape that used to be a tech news aggregator, and I’m scared of it.

                                              1. 2

                                                As someone engaging in both of these kinds of arguments, I cannot see this effect. I see people who don’t engage with topics they consider political for lack of interest (I’m fine with that), but I have a hard time coming up with a particular person that does the reverse.

                                                1. 8

                                                  I see people who don’t engage with topics they consider political for lack of interest

                                                  How do you know it’s for lack of interest? That’s certainly not why I typically don’t engage in “political” topics. I mostly stopped, many many years ago, for a few reasons:

                                                  • It’s nearly impossible to have meaningful political discussions online because everyone is so embedded in their tribe.
                                                  • I have grown more and more fearful of expressing opinions against the zeitgeist. @friendlysock said it really well in this thread and I fully agree with him.
                                                  • I got frustrated because every time I had a political discussion, it just went in circles.
                                                  • Even people, like Scott Alexander, who dedicate their intellect (far superior to mine) and enormous portions of their time, have eventually succumbed to the Wrath of the Internet.

                                                  Overall, discussing politics had a dramatic impact on both my own personal well being and of the people around me.

                                                  In every forum the discusses “politics,” with perhaps maybe a couple exceptions, it’s been a complete and total shit show. And that includes forums that loosely match my own politics.

                                                  There are significant reasons for not discussing politics outside of a desire to maintain the status quo. I don’t like the status quo, even though I’ve benefited from it. I’d love to see oodles of things change. Making some forums have “no politics” rules seems perfectly in line with that. Political discussion doesn’t need to happen everywhere.

                                                  N.B. I use the word “politics” above in a narrow scope, and I do not mean “literally any action.”

                                                  1. 5

                                                    Making some forums have “no politics” rules seems perfectly in line with that. Political discussion doesn’t need to happen everywhere.

                                                    The difficulty here is that many forums with no politics rules find it hard to apply those rules evenly over the political spectrum: someone posts something with a political undertone or implication which is in line with the political preference on that forum. This post is left alone. When someone replies to the political aspects of the post in a way which does not align with the politics favoured on that forum the reply is ‘no politics’ and the post is moderated or voted down. I’ve seen this happen fairly often on the orange site.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      Yup. Enforcing it fairly and evenly is pretty difficult, if not impossible. I’ve moderated various things over the years, so I really understand how difficult it is. But the alternative is just so much worse IMO. You can’t escape the Overton window.

                                                      I’ve found that just being transparent, and at least making an effort to be even handed, goes a long way. But that doesn’t work every time either.

                                                      It’s a process.

                                                    2. 2

                                                      I was a little imprecise there (reminder in the future: don’t post with 2 hours of sleep in 36 hours). I’ll try to salvage that: first of all lets replace “lack of interest” with “lack of engagement for whatever reason”.

                                                      I don’t agree with your statements there.

                                                      It’s nearly impossible to have meaningful political discussions online because everyone is so embedded in their tribe.

                                                      I disagree there, strongly. The internet has challenges for debate, especially due to it’s nature of not being able to quit a debate. Still, it gives a wide variety of viewpoints.

                                                      I have an equal distaste for politics discussions as I have for many tech discussions. Arguments are often absolute and tribalism in tech is extremely strong. Naming dissenting opinions like “Rust could learn a bit from Java” easily gets you flamed down.

                                                      The lure of politics is that everyone feels entitled to speak of it, even if they are rarely practitioners or literally have no experience with the problem at hand. For example, I rarely talk about community management and running conferences with random people because they’ve grown very accustomed to ignoring the pragmatics. And not talking about structural problems makes it impossible for hackers to fix them.

                                                      I’ll give you an example of both: I had very good conversations with people questioning if projects like “Rails Girls” actually reach their goal of bringing more women into Rails development. This is a fair challenge and one I and other organisers can answer on many levels. I have terrible conversations with people who start by asking why CoderDojos (a project that offers hacking meetups for kids) is not open to adults. The absurdity knows no bounds.

                                                      The other problem is that people obviously flaming a debate with the very first post, which makes any start of a good debate impossible. I’m totally into the right of moderators to close bad discussions down, or calling people out for being obviously just in for the fist fight. I think it isn’t done often enough.

                                                      And yet, on this very platform, I had many pleasing conversations.

                                                      I regularly frequent non-tech venues (gaming and music boards) and similar issues exist, but boards are often more tightly and better moderated, with moderators having a much better lingo for that moderation.

                                                      I also believe that the discussion techniques we are tought are for person to person discussion and new ones should be derived for online debates (such as: checking for peoples locale before assuming they are in silicon valley, as a I frequently experience when people tell me that Germans wouldn’t hold that opinion…).

                                                      I have grown more and more fearful of expressing opinions against the zeitgeist. @friendlysock said it really well in this thread and I fully agree with him.

                                                      But this is commonplace and has always been the case in hacker communites. There’s a huge strive for consistency in them. I’ll give an example: I believe that the hacker communities are fighting a losing war on many fronts because there’s certain sacred opinions. I have a number of opinions I usually hold back (e.g. that E2E encryption is not always necessary or that the belief the hackers do not work for the military or the secret service is mistaken).

                                                      Also, all hacker circles often pose as having a unified ethos, a problem for example visible in the very common belief, that the military using open source is not its original intention. Nothing could be further from the truth and some of the important figures in the early times of our community are hardcore pro-military.

                                                      I got frustrated because every time I had a political discussion, it just went in circles.

                                                      I appreciate that you have this experience, though mine differs.

                                                      Even people, like Scott Alexander, who dedicate their intellect (far superior to mine) and enormous portions of their time, have eventually succumbed to the Wrath of the Internet.

                                                      Scott Alexander succumbed to the NY Times for wanting to publish his name. I don’t condone this practice, but I don’t feel like the relevance to this debate.

                                                      In my point of view, we are paying down the cost of trying to keep politics out of hacker discussion boards. Shielding it off leads to two problems: lack of ability to have productive discussions (no training) and lack of engagement rules for them. Also, it leads to a very biased decision on what is political or not. Even just presenting a statistic can be considered a political act, depending on the subject, even if its method and analysis are technically interesting.

                                                      I would even go as far and say that the FOSS and Open Source communities are inherently exploitable by avoiding or not having found a path for discussions and thinking about its politics - absurdly, by people who understand the mechanics of politics.

                                                      This is the reason why I have a very liberal view on this topic: I appreciate that some people don’t like politics posts here, but I still see no evidence that they in any way impact the viability or usefulness of a platform where it’s also easy to just click the link above or below it.

                                                      P.S.: I want to keep this out of the main post, but I can’t help that if I notice that when thinking of “Person I have dissenting opinions with but like to argue over the internet”, “burntsushi” is definitely a name that pops up.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        I was a little imprecise there (reminder in the future: don’t post with 2 hours of sleep in 36 hours). I’ll try to salvage that: first of all lets replace “lack of interest” with “lack of engagement for whatever reason”.

                                                        Ah I see. I guess my comment could then be re-interpreted as, “the reasons for my lack of engagement are pretty unfortunate and may provide some insight into why a ‘no politics’ rule is useful.”

                                                        There are some things you’re saying that I agree with, and some I disagree with. I think the biggest thing I disagree with in your comment is the—what appears to be—equivalency you’re drawing between “political” discussion and hacker culture. I think a number of statements in your comment seem to be implying that, with this one in particular:

                                                        But this is commonplace and has always been the case in hacker communites. There’s a huge strive for consistency in them. I’ll give an example: I believe that the hacker communities are fighting a losing war on many fronts because there’s certain sacred opinions. I have a number of opinions I usually hold back (e.g. that E2E encryption is not always necessary or that the belief the hackers do not work for the military or the secret service is mistaken).

                                                        Where “this” in “this is commonplace” is, I think, referring to my fear of expressing opinions against the zeitgeist. When it comes to hacker culture, I don’t really have the same kind of fear about expressing contrary technical opinions, despite the fact that hacker culture obviously has its religious zealots and things can get pretty heated.

                                                        Maybe me being more clear would be productive. I’m not too afraid of getting shouted down by hackers over differing technical opinions. Similarly, I’m also not too afraid of getting shouted down for having political opinions that differ from the zeitgeist. What I’m afraid of is getting doxxed, and that having real consequences on my life and ability to help support my family. This kind of thing happens pretty regularly in the realm of politics (I can think of several examples off the top of my head), but is comparatively more rare in hacker culture. I’m guessing here, but the disparity is likely rooted in the exact point that you brought up: “The lure of politics is that everyone feels entitled to speak of it.”

                                                        Maybe the underlying mechanisms of tribes themselves are similar when comparing hacker culture and political divisiveness, but the stakes and degree of severity are absolutely not. That changes things. It adds an intensity to the discussions, and that’s what fundamentally drives my fear.

                                                        Scott Alexander succumbed to the NY Times for wanting to publish his name. I don’t condone this practice, but I don’t feel like the relevance to this debate.

                                                        The act of publishing his name is not the Wrath I was alluding to. One needs only question why he doesn’t want his name published. Part of it is because it would be bad for his medical practice (and that’s not relevant to this discussion), but the other part of it is that he believes he would be doxxed. And that is relevant to this discussion, because it is deeply interwoven with the exact same reasons why I have largely stopped discussing politics on the Internet.

                                                        I used to discuss politics on the Internet many years ago. It sounds like you’ve found a way to do it that strikes a balance, but I couldn’t. And to be honest, I don’t really see how I could. (Please keep in mind that fear is not the only reason I stopped, but it is the one I’m focusing on in this comment, because I think it’s the best way to point out the difference between hacker culture and general politics.)

                                                        This is the reason why I have a very liberal view on this topic: I appreciate that some people don’t like politics posts here, but I still see no evidence that they in any way impact the viability or usefulness of a platform where it’s also easy to just click the link above or below it.

                                                        I’ve never really bought this sort of thinking to be honest. It just seems like it ignores the fact that it seeps into many conversations, and just flat out ignoring it is hard. I’ve thought about leaving lobsters, in part, at least a few times because of it. (To be clear, I’ve thought about leaving not just because of the politics that seeps into lobsters, but also because of the bad faith technical discussion that is tolerated here.)

                                                        P.S.: I want to keep this out of the main post, but I can’t help that if I notice that when thinking of “Person I have dissenting opinions with but like to argue over the internet”, “burntsushi” is definitely a name that pops up.

                                                        :-)

                                                    3. 1

                                                      What is the reverse, sorry?

                                              2. 2

                                                view any discussion of how race or gender affects that process as unacceptable. This is cowardly and intellectually dishonest.

                                                There is no technical content in this post do I flagged it. I will continue to flag posts with no technical content.

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                                                  Most of your posts are technical, but I also see:

                                                  I do not believe there is any obvious definition of “technical” (certainly not any agreed upon one) that divides things this way.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    the author’s personal experience maintaining an open source project

                                                    Clearly had technical content.

                                                    comment thread

                                                    And thus not relevant at all to this discussion… Comment threads drift in how on topic they are and that’s accepted and normal on forums.

                                                    In comparison, spamming a technical forum with highly politicised and totally non-technical submissions isn’t acceptable at all

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                                                I don’t quite agree with all of the analysis, but in the current political climate I don’t think the juice is worth the squeeze.

                                                1. 4

                                                  What part of today’s political climate would prevent you from voicing a rational, erudite argument on why you disagree with some parts of the analysis?

                                                  1. 25

                                                    What would be the benefit, do you think? To me, to you, to Dan, or to the community?

                                                    Dan presumably believes his (I think his, please correct me if the pronoun is incorrect) conclusions are correct, and additional argumentation on the point is unlikely to generate a retraction or a significant change.

                                                    You might enjoy going over the argument with me and spotting issues, but you might not. I don’t know.

                                                    The community doesn’t really gain anything if I point out some things I think Dan has missed.

                                                    For me, there’s not really any benefit in pointing out issues with methodology or cited papers or maybe unreasonable comparisons. I’m not getting paid, it won’t get me more dates, it won’t win me more friends, and such points are unlikely important enough to win me the golden Rationalist of the Year fedora or whatever.

                                                    And what of the costs?

                                                    Dan doesn’t lose much, since his original article is completely reasonable, and it’s not like anybody is realistically going to hold him to the fire for making an incorrect or imperfect argument in support of the zeitgeist of the times.

                                                    The community may in the ensuing discussion get really ugly. Gven the experience of past threads about Damore’s memo and other things suggests that the odds are high that we’ll just end up with unpleasantness if there is any genuine disagreement. Even assuming we can all have a polite and dispassionate reasoned discussion, it is quite a popular opinion these days that simply speaking of certain things constitutes violence–and I do not wish to accidentally commit violence against fellow Lobsters!

                                                    To you, I’d imagine there’s no real cost beyond continuing to burn cycles reading a discussion back and forth. Then again, think of all the creative, productive, or cathartic things you could be doing instead of reading a thread of me trying to well-actually Dan without spawning a dumpsterfire.

                                                    To me, it at the very least requires a time commitment in terms of research and writing. I need to go grab counterexamples or additional context for what he’s written about (say, additional statistics about how majors actually turn into careers, background research around why the mid 1980s has that change in CS, and so forth) and make that into a coherent argument. And that’s fine, and if that were all I stand to lose I chalk it up as the opportunity cost of performance art and the good fun of public debate.

                                                    Alas, that’s not the potential full cost at all. Even assuming I could put together a critique that cleared some arbitrarily high bar of rationality and erudition, it is entirely probable that it’ll be held against me at some time or another–just look at what happened to RMS, an author who surpasses me in ideological consistency and rationality as much as he differs from me in viewpoint. I may well be held liable for (as @nebkor put it) “garbage opinions” that have no textual or factual basis. This could cost me career opportunities, this could cost me friendships, this could cost me any number of things–and that just isn’t outweighed by the minor joy I get from debating online with people.

                                                    (And note: I bear this risk not only for taking a completely opposite position, but for taking a position probably in agreement but quibbling about the details and suggesting different arguments. My experience is that people get grumpier and more vicious over little differences than large ones.)

                                                    That’s the sad state of things today. People have made the already-marginal benefits of reasoned and civil public debate much less than the potential costs, and there is almost no goodwill left that one can argue in good faith (or in bad faith but with rigor as polite arguendo). We have lost a great deal of intellectual curiosity, freedom, and frankly ludic capacity–things are too serious and the stakes too high for playing around with different ideas and viewpoints!

                                                    Thus, I elect to politely protest.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      Yet, still, it is better to react and run the risk of being ostracised and shunned than it is to remain quiet in fear of retribution. Once enough people start doing this those who want to silence any and all who dare to voice a differing opinion will no longer be able to do so. They will be exposed for what they are, they’ll lose their power over others and with a bit of luck end up as a side note in the history books, taught to children in the same lesson where they learn about book burnings and state propaganda drives. Let’s hope that that is where it ends and that freedom of expression remains the norm.

                                                      I have voiced some differing opinions on this board and elsewhere yet I’m still here. For now the worst that will happen is a pink rectangle in the browser telling you that your posts have been flagged a lot recently and a reduction in whatever those karma points are called here. That pink rectangle is easily removed with a uBlock rule and those points don’t matter to begin with.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        For now the worst that will happen is a pink rectangle in the browser telling you that your posts have been flagged a lot recently

                                                        I had to re-read that, because I thought surely you were referring figuratively to the pink triangle. Ironic.

                                                      2. 3

                                                        What would be the benefit, do you think? To me, to you, to Dan, or to the community?

                                                        What was the benefit of your original reply, though?

                                                        1. 7

                                                          I don’t know what @friendlysock intended, but from my perspective, one benefit is that it draws attention to the fact that people disagree but for $reasons, don’t want to go into details.

                                                          1. 0

                                                            Or this 663 word treatise?

                                                          2. 3

                                                            To me, it at the very least requires a time commitment in terms of research and writing. I need to go grab counterexamples or additional context for what he’s written about (say, additional statistics about how majors actually turn into careers, background research around why the mid 1980s has that change in CS, and so forth) and make that into a coherent argument. And that’s fine, and if that were all I stand to lose I chalk it up as the opportunity cost of performance art and the good fun of public debate.

                                                            You opened up this thread by claiming that you don’t agree “with all of the analysis”. And yet you reveal here that you lack a “coherent argument”, and have neither counterexamples nor context to inspire your disagreement in the first place. This is one way of defining a bad faith argument. You can’t have it both ways. You either disagree because you’ve got a reasonable analysis yourself, or because you have an existing bias against what has been written. As you’ve expressed in many words, one of these is worth sharing and one is not.

                                                            1. 6

                                                              You either disagree because you’ve got a reasonable analysis yourself, or because you have an existing bias against what has been written.

                                                              I hold that it is entirely possible to disagree based on a rough analysis or by applying heuristics (for example, asking “what is missing from this chart?” or “are there assumptions being made about which population we’re looking at?”) that are in good faith but which require additional cleanup work if you want to communicate effectively. This is a third option I don’t believe you have accounted for here.

                                                              The nastiness in this thread somewhat underscores the importance of arguing coherently and choosing words carefully–I haven’t stated which points I disagree with Dan (nor how much!) and yet look at the remarks some users are making. With such understanding and charitable commentary, no argument that isn’t fully sourced and carefully honed can even be brought up with the hope of a productive outcome. That’s not a function of reasonable arguments not existing, but just being able to read the room and see that any blemish or misstatement is just going to result in more slapfighting.

                                                              We don’t have discourse, because people aren’t interested in exploring ideas even if they’re not fully-formed. We don’t have debate, because people are uncivil. What’s left then is argument and bluster, and better to protest than to participate.

                                                              1. 4

                                                                We don’t have discourse, because people aren’t interested in exploring ideas even if they’re not fully-formed.

                                                                No, we don’t have discourse because in most discussions that even remotely brush up against the intersection of tech with other currents in society, members such as yourself cry “politics” and immediately shut things down. And much more often than not these topics call us to engage in ethical problem solving i.e. what to do about toxic members of the tech community or how to address inequalities in open source. So by shutting down discussion, folks such as yourself – whether you mean to or not – send the message to those affected by these issues that not only are you not interested in solving these problems, but that you’re not even interested in discussing them at all. In this context, who do you think sticks around?

                                                            2. 1

                                                              Dan doesn’t lose much, since his original article is completely reasonable, and it’s not like anybody is realistically going to hold him to the fire for making an incorrect or imperfect argument in support of the zeitgeist of the times.

                                                              He wrote it in 2014 and updated it recently. I don’t think it’s entirely fair to tag that as “in support of the zeitgeist of the times.” Your turn of phrase makes it sound much more fleeting. That is not to call into question the other reasons you don’t want to differ; but I think the way you stated this does not give the piece enough credit.

                                                              1. 9

                                                                I don’t mean to make it sound fleeting–rather that things being what they are right now, I doubt that anybody is going to be terribly upset if there’s some flaw in his argument revealed through discussion at this time. I apologize for any confusion or disrespect that may have been parsed there.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  That’s fair. Thanks for clarifying.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          I like the idea, but it won’t work easily for multilingual websites. It will need something like /en/feeds, /de/feeds then, probably.

                                                          1. 4

                                                            Or you use the Accept-Language header which is tailor-made for this purpose. The advantage is that you’d only have to configure your client once and it should work for all sites, an added advantage is that it allows for a hierarchy of preference for languages. If, say, Swedish is not available it can take German as a second option, is that not available it can take English, etc.

                                                          1. 17

                                                            Honestly, I don’t get it. Why does it matter what the text looks like as long as it’s satisfactory?

                                                            1. 29

                                                              Different people have different thresholds for “satisfactory”, I guess?

                                                              1. 6

                                                                I don’t really buy this, it’s not satisfaction but habit. Sure, you realize there’s a difference when you change, it’s not like your brain has changed. It’s just the inverse effect of upgrading and admiring what’s better – but after a while you get used to it. Just like you’re not inhibited by this initial admiration, you won’t be by the initial annoyance.

                                                                In the end, it’s not pixels you’re looking at, but like art tells us, whatever we are looking at is in our head. And we’ve long passed the point where this kind of consumer scaring is necessary.

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  I don’t really buy this, it’s not satisfaction but habit. Sure, you realize there’s a difference when you change, it’s not like your brain has changed.

                                                                  What is “habit”, if not your brain changing to optimize itself for a particular use case?

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    Fair enough, my point is that this change isn’t permanent, and all it takes for someone to forget about what resolution the screen is is a week or two (except if actually inhibits your work, of course).

                                                                  2. 1

                                                                    But what is satisfaction if not informed by habit?

                                                                  3. 1

                                                                    Something inexplicably obvious about it just doesn’t occur to me, it seems.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      …. which is fine! My wife can’t see the difference, either.

                                                                  4. 16

                                                                    After using retina and 4k displays for several years, when forced to use a 1080p, 96dpi monitor I find I no longer consider any text on it “satisfactory”. To me, it all looks painfully bad now that I’m accustomed to a sharper, higher quality experience. The eye strain after 8 hours of staring at fuzzy, low res fonts takes a real toll.

                                                                    But others would be happy with a super low-res vt100, I’m sure. Everybody’s satisfactory is different.

                                                                    1. 6

                                                                      This reads to me like advice to avoid 4K as long as possible. If there’s no significant quantitative difference in efficiency/eyestrain between 4K and 1080p, and I’m currently happy with 1080p, switching to 4K will only make it more unpleasant for me to use perfectly useful 1080p monitors, pushing me to needlessly purchase more expensive monitors to replace those that I already have, and increasing consumerism.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        You’re certainly free to stick with what you’re accustomed to. I have no compunctions about spending a lot of money to get the absolute most comfortable experience possible out of something I’m probably going to spend a year or more of my life, cumulatively, staring at. It’s one of the cheapest possible investments in the pleasantness of my career on a dollars-per-hour-used basis.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          Explained that way, I understand where you’re coming from. Even if there’s no objective benefit to upgrading your monitor, and you already feel “perfectly comfortable”, making work slightly more pleasant is desirable.

                                                                          Now, you still need to make the decision as to whether the benefit gained from the monitor upgrade is worth the money you’re spending on it, but that’s much more personal. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

                                                                        2. 2

                                                                          The eyestrain is already there, you are just accustomed to it

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            Citation needed.

                                                                        3. 6

                                                                          Doesn’t the vt100 use a bitmap font? This being the actual true solution to get sharp fonts on a low res display - just use bitmaps at the correct size.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            The original VT100 is quite low-res and fuzzy. Later VT terminals used higher-resolution screens which looked better.

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              There’s this fascinating story about how DEC used the fuzz to good effect in their bitmap font, as a primitive form of anti-aliasing. ‘Dot stretching’, phosphor response curves… well worth a quick read!

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                This is wild. Thanks for the link!

                                                                            2. 2

                                                                              Bitmap fonts will avoid loss of sharpness due to antialiasing, but they’re not going to make an extremely low resolution screen any less low res, so I don’t know that I’d call 5 pixels arranged in a vaguely “e”-shape exactly “sharp”.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                There are bitmap fonts which are more high res than 5 pixels per “e”. Check out stuff like atarist for alternatives.

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  We’re talking about the vt100. You can have high resolution bitmap fonts, but you can’t fix a low resolution screen with a high res bitmap font.

                                                                          2. 2

                                                                            I concur. To my eyes text with a 1.5x scaled 4K looks better than text with a 2x scaled 4K. I think the psychovisual system is complex and subjective enough to warrant “if you like it then it’s good”.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              Some people fetishize over fonts, font rendering, font shapes, dithering, smoothing and more such visual trickery. The author of this piece has published a programming font so I assume he puts more weight on font-related things than the average font consumer. Other people have other fetishes, my own is to cram as much onto the screen as I possibly can while still being able to distinguish what is written from the fly poop which partially conceals some characters on the screen. This makes that I always have to guffaw a bit when I see people lamenting the bad state of high-dpi support in Linux since the first thing I end up doing is turning all the stuff off so I can get 16 terminals on a 15” display. To each his own, I guess…

                                                                            1. 5

                                                                              Y’all are spending more than $200 on monitors?

                                                                              1. 31

                                                                                My grandfather, god rest him, was a frugal man. But he often said the two things you should spend extra on are shoes and mattresses, because “when you ain’t in one you’re in the other!” Maybe monitors are shoes for programmers.

                                                                                But the ridiculously high end strikes me as maybe a bit much: my quality of life (legit, less squinting and headaches) improved with a 27” 4K monitor, but that was in the $300s.

                                                                                1. 14

                                                                                  I am a cheapskate. I am loathe to spend money.

                                                                                  My office chair costs $750. I sit in it for a minimum of eight hours a day.

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    I feel this way about monitors and keyboards. I’ll pay much more for good input/output devices, because that’s how I interact with the computer.

                                                                                    Personally, I would want a 60hz 5k at 27”, or a 60hz 8k at 32-34”. It annoys me that the screen on my computer (16” MBP) is better than any external monitor I could reasonably hope to use.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      The Dell UP3218K is 31.5” and 8K, but it’s also $3,300, and only works with computers that support DisplayPort Multi Stream Transport over two DisplayPort ports.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Yeah, it’s going to be a few years.

                                                                                    2. 1

                                                                                      Yeah, came here to mention you can get 4K for way less than any of the monitors suggested in the post. I got a matte LG for $250 a while back.

                                                                                      I have to admit I thought a game running at 30hz felt “smooth” so I’m not sure I could see 60 vs. 120 without a slow-motion camera. YMMV, of course.

                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                        Things with a lot of motion will appear smoother than things sitting completely still. A 30Mhz desktop, with most things not moving (wallpaper, etc) will flicker like crazy since there’s no movement to mask the flicker.

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                                                                                          A 30Hz desktop that’d be, we’re still a few centuries away from a 30MHz refresh rate.

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                                                                                            pft Your monitor takes longer than Planck time to draw a full frame? n00b.

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              Nah, mine is so fast the photons end up in a traffic jam trying to work their way out of the screen, talk about red shift. Or maybe the CCFT is going bad, who knows…

                                                                                          2. 1

                                                                                            Interesting. FWIW, I wasn’t trying to say anyone should go down to 30Hz (or up to 30MHz heh) just that I, personally, probably wouldn’t feel much benefit from 120, given I was able to mix up lower refresh rates.

                                                                                          3. 2

                                                                                            You will notice running a desktop at 30Hz. When I got my 4k monitor a few years ago, it turned out my USB-C <-> HDMI adapter could only do 4k@30Hz. It was disturbing ;).

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              Oh, yeah, I wasn’t arguing for actively downgrading to 30hz, just saying I probably wouldn’t feel much benefit from going to 120 given my rough perception of smoothness. I see how it reads different.

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                                                                                          I spend >$200 on frying pans, for the same reason others mention shoes and beds. It’s something I use every day, and the slight increase in cost per use is well worth it having a tool I enjoy using.

                                                                                          Edit I’d also like to add that I’m in an economic situation that allows me to consider $200 purchases as “not a huge deal”. I do remember a time of my life when this was emphatically not the case.

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                                                                                            Funny that, I also care about things like that… which is why I got them for free from abandoned houses and even, once, abandoned in a ditch by the roadside. That is where you’ll find old rusting cast-iron skillets in need of just a bit of TLC with a rotary steel brush, a coat of oil and a bake in the oven. The one I found in the ditch was quite fancy albeit rusty, a large Hackman with a stainless steel handle. How it ended up in that ditch in the Swedish countryside I have no idea, I never saw any mentioning of any unsolved murder case for lack of the evidence in the form of the obviously heavy blunt object used to bash in the skull of the unfortunate victim. It was slightly pitted but the steel brush made it almost like new. I use these on a wood-fired stove, just what they’re made for.

                                                                                            Beds I always made myself (including high wall-mounted rope-suspended sailing-ship inspired ones with retractable ladders which you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere) , shoes occasionally (basic car tyre sandals). I find it far more satisfying to spend some time in making something from either raw or basic materials (beds, sandals) or revive from abandonment (cookware, computing equipment, electronics, etc) than to just plunk down more money. Another advantage is that stuff you made yourself usually can be fixed by yourself as well so it lasts a long time.

                                                                                          2. 3

                                                                                            I just upgraded my home office monitor for about $30. Suffice to say it’s not 4k, IPS or any of these things considered ‘essential’ for developers. Fourteen years old, it is, however, significantly better and sharper than the monitors most programmers worked on until the 1990s. And they did better work than I ever did.

                                                                                            If you like spending money on monitors, be my guest, but if you write a blog insisting others should do the same, I think we should call this article out for what it is: promotion of conspicuous consumption.

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                                                                                              If you write graphical applications or websites it makes sense to have something reasonably good and at least with a high pixel density, because if you work on a website only with a loPDI display and try it on a hiDPI display later you will likely be surprised!

                                                                                              It doesn’t have to be top notch, the idea is just to get reasonably close to what Apple calls “Retina”. I can find IPS, 27” 4K displays around €400 on the web.

                                                                                              Also, it’s not exactly the same use case but a lot of entry-level phones and tablets have very nice displays nowadays.

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                if you work on a website only with a loPDI display and try it on a hiDPI display later you will likely be surprised!

                                                                                                does this not work both ways?

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  Not really in my experience. CSS units (px, em) are density-aware and scale nicely, browsers take care to draw lines thinner than one pixel properly, and even downscaling a raster image isn’t always a big deal given how fast modern computers are.

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                                                                                                    i can only speak for myself, but using a 1024x768 screen for the web has been a pretty poor experience in recent years. a lot of the time fonts are really large and there is a lot of empty space, making for extremely low information density and often requiring scrolling to view any of the main content on a page. sometimes 25-50% of the screen is covered by sticky bars which don’t go away when you scroll. it makes me think web developers aren’t testing their websites on screens like mine.

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      Some websites really suck, no doubts about it. But web standards are carefully designed to handle different pixel densities and window sizes properly, even if they can’t ensure that websites don’t suck.

                                                                                                      For example, many bad websites change the default size of the text to something ridiculously big or small. This is a really bad practice. Better websites don’t change the default font size much, or (even better) don’t change it at all, and use em and rem CSS units in order to make everything relative to the font size so the whole website scales seamlessly when zooming in and out.

                                                                                                      Note that if your browser/operating system is not aware of the pixel density of your display, everything will be too big or too small by default. Basically, zooming in/out is the way to fix it. If you want to test your setup with a reference, well-designed and accessible website you can use some random page on the Mozilla docs.

                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                        Some websites really suck, no doubts about it. But web standards are carefully designed to handle different pixel densities and window sizes properly, even if they can’t ensure that websites don’t suck.

                                                                                                        And you’re saying this means a web designer with a high DPI display can rest assured that his website will look good on a low DPI display, as long as he follows certain practices?

                                                                                                        Why doesn’t the same apply in the reverse case, where the designer has a low DPI display and wants their website to be usable on a high DPI display?

                                                                                                        I have to say even the MDN site wastes a lot of space, and the content doesn’t begin until half way down the page. There’s a ton of space wasted around the search bar and the menu items in the top bar, and around the headers and what appear to be <hr>’s.

                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                          And you’re saying this means a web designer with a high DPI display can rest assured that his website will look good on a low DPI display, as long as he follows certain practices?

                                                                                                          Yes I think so. In fact Chrome and Safari have low DPI simulators in their dev tools.

                                                                                                          Why doesn’t the same apply in the reverse case, where the designer has a low DPI display and wants their website to be usable on a high DPI display?

                                                                                                          Well it does to some extent, but typically you have to be careful with pictures. Raster images won’t look sharp on high DPI displays unless you’re using things like srcset. Of course it’s absolutely not a deal breaker but it is something to have in mind if you do care about graphics.

                                                                                                          In anyway, I think the vast majority of web designers are using high DPI displays nowadays.

                                                                                                          I have to say even the MDN site wastes a lot of space, and the content doesn’t begin until half way down the page. There’s a ton of space wasted around the search bar and the menu items in the top bar, and around the headers and what appear to be ’s.

                                                                                                          Indeed, and the header also wastes a lot of space (though not the half) on my high DPI 13” display. It’s a bit funny because I didn’t notice it earlier: When I’m looking for something on this website, my eyes just ignore all the large header and I start searching or scrolling immediately.

                                                                                                          But this “big header” effect is less present on “desktop mode” so you should try to zoom out if the font size isn’t too small for you. I’ve tested it with the device simulator in Safari at about 1220x780 and it does not look that bad to my eyes.

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            Well it does to some extent, but typically you have to be careful with pictures. Raster images won’t look sharp on high DPI displays unless you’re using things like srcset. Of course it’s absolutely not a deal breaker but it is something to have in mind if you do care about graphics.

                                                                                                            Yeah I guess this is the one area where low DPI displays could be easier to target without personally testing with one. A large image shrunk will look fine, while a small image enlarged will look like dog shit.

                                                                                                            The use of high DPI displays by most web designers probably explains why modern sites look so shitty on low DPI displays. But that also means you won’t get fired for making a site that looks shitty on low DPI displays. It also makes sense from a corporate perspective, as high DPI displays are more likely to be used by wealthier people who will be a larger source of revenue, even if low DPI displays are still in widespread use.

                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                A decent monitor lasts a good 3-5 years, possibly longer, but let’s say 3 and be pessimistic. What is a $1,000 monitor worth, as a percentage of your salary over three years? More to the point, what is it as a fraction of the total cost of employing you for three years? According to Glass Door, the average salary for a software developer in the USA is around $75K. Including all overheads, that likely means that it costs around $150K a year in total to employ a developer. Over three years, that’s $450K. Is a $1,000 monitor going to make a developer 0.2% more productive over three years than a $200 monitor? If so, it’s worth buying.

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                                                                                                • Spam email, even not opened : 0.3 CO2e
                                                                                                • A proper email : 4g CO2e
                                                                                                • An email with long attachment : 50g CO2e

                                                                                                i’m not really sure about these numbers.

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                                                                                                  The carbon footprint of email are approximately

                                                                                                  Where I live most power is from burning lignite, which is about as bad as it gets - 1.17 tonnes per megawatt hour.

                                                                                                  4g of carbon emission would be 14 kj.

                                                                                                  End-to-end delivery of an email from fastmail to gmail takes about half a second (counting from when I hit send to when it shows up in the gmail inbox).

                                                                                                  To consume 14kj of carbon emissions in that half-second, you would need to draw 28kw! My local colo will, if you have a really fat wallet, sell you a 6kw line for an entire rack. Worst-case, the cooling for a rack that draws 6kw will use 4kw, and there’s embodied energy in the products, and a control plane, networking gear etc. Lets say a really full rack ends up using 14kw.

                                                                                                  I don’t think 2 full racks of servers running at maximum power are strictly required to send an email.

                                                                                                  I’ve been quite generous in this analysis - using lignite for power, inefficient cooling - and I still can’t see how these numbers could be within 3-5 orders of magnitude of reality.

                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                    Two further comments:

                                                                                                    1. The “email with long attachment” is 12x more CO2; that’s some attachment! Given that this number is given just after complaining about “people put images in their signature” I feel it’s rather misleading.

                                                                                                    2. Email servers will run anyway; and the difference between the base power draw vs. maximum power draw in the context of processing emails is probably not going to be that great. While dealing with torrents of spam emails certainly increases the load significantly, it seems to me that an email with an image is unlikely to increase the power draw by 12x.

                                                                                                    Given that this person has their own hefty dedicated server for their blog and some projects it seems they’re not overly concerned about a few grams of CO2 more or less. The entire thing seems like a post-hoc argument to rationalize “I don’t like HTML email”.

                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                      The “email with long attachment” is 12x more CO2; that’s some attachment! Given that this number is given just after complaining about “people put images in their signature” I feel it’s rather misleading.

                                                                                                      I can definitely see this. An average text-only email is ~4kb from what I’ve seen. Images I’d expect to see in email signatures weigh ~100kb. It’s a long way from 4kb to 104kb. 26 times larger emails would definitely use more energy to transfer. The question is, is the CO2 emissions dominated by the processing of the email, or the transfer, and I’m pretty sure it’s the processing. Though, even in processing some things like spam processing can use more energy for larger emails.

                                                                                                  2. 4
                                                                                                    • a web page complaining about email plus the resulting discussion: XXXXXXgCO2e

                                                                                                    I’m fairly sure about this number although I’m not convinced about the relevancy of these ‘CO2e’ stories - not about the CO₂ itself, nor about the estimates. It makes a lot of difference whether that mail is sent between two people in Sweden - where electricity is largely CO₂-neutral due to the extensive use of hydro and nuclear (still, the so-called environmentalists want to get rid of it) with a bit of wind added in - or Poland where coal is used for ~85% of power generation.

                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                      As others have pointed out, these CO2 number are highly doubtful. Neither source nor methodology are given to back up this claim. But even if we believe the author, one important question remains: Applying the same methodology, what would be numbers for Signal? And no, I don’t buy that routing your communication through the central servers of a private enterprise makes it trustworthy in any way. It’s great that they open source both the client and server software, but you have to simply trust them that that’s actually what they’re running on their servers.

                                                                                                      In my opinion the biggest problem with Email nowadays is Gmail. And I’m not talking about the obvious privacy implications. I agree that email is kind of broken in that respect anyway, and that won’t change unless there’s a way of encrypting mail that’s end-user/non-techie friendly. I think the bigger problem is Gmail’s tendency to silently block mail from smaller providers. This, combined with their market share, is what breaks email for me.

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                                                                                                        I think the bigger problem is Gmail’s tendency to silently block mail from smaller providers. This, combined with their market share, is what breaks email for me.

                                                                                                        with anything else, these practices would be instant-lawsuit, but spam is the ideal front for them, as everybody dislikes it.

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                                                                                                          but spam is the ideal front for them, as everybody dislikes it

                                                                                                          Which is why we need to switch off of email, onto a communication channel that has spam-resistance baked in from the get-go.

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                                                                                                      In the issue comments I found repeatedly a proclamation that „All software is political“.

                                                                                                      This is generally not true. There might be some „political“ software, but usually software is simply a tool. It is not good or bad* – it can be used for good or bad or neutral purposes, just depending on who and how is using that software.

                                                                                                      And there is also software or development style that is explicitly apolitical – Sane software manifesto says:

                                                                                                      In order to contribute, it must not be required: … to sign any political, religious or other proclamation or agree with it.

                                                                                                      P.S. Yes, free software has some political undertone, or I would rather say ethical, but it is very strictly defined and there are clear boundaries that prevent bending and misusing this term. Free software can be used by anyone for any purpose.

                                                                                                      *) now I am not talking about code quality, but about the ethical dimension

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                                                                                                        The inception of the Free Software movement was inherently political, and the recuperation of that movement into a more business-friendly Open Source movement was also political. Licensing software using a FLOSS license is a political act.

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          Yet the success of the open-source movement in relation to the failure of the free software movement (at least, according to their goals) is almost 100% due to the FSF’s politics. Companies would rather use open-source software rather than free software because there’s less legal bullshit to go through. Additionally, companies have been less inclined to license their own software with the GNU GPL and have chosen alternative licenses that are more permissive and don’t place so much burden on the author to “give credit where credit is due”.

                                                                                                          I love the FSF, GNU, and the movement it all stands for. But in my opinion, the world has mostly left that concept of “freely available software that you have total control over” behind. Especially in the current “rental” climate where less software is actually owned by a user.

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                                                                                                            Companies would rather use open-source software rather than free software because there’s less legal bullshit to go through.

                                                                                                            You use company adoption as the yardstick for success here but I would counter that it is entirely irrelevant to the political goals of Free Software.

                                                                                                            (P.S. my use of the word recuperation above was deliberate.)

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                                                                                                              Open source is hardly a success. It’s companies struggling over control of software for their own interest (that very often is not aligned with the interest of the community) or bright people working for free for companies and be happy about the theft of time and energy. Corporate adoption and investments for control is their own metric of success but arguagly one that reflects the wellbeing of the commons.

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                                                                                                                hardly a success

                                                                                                                What? This makes very little sense. Most of the software running the Internet is open source. Throw a dart at the list of top 100 tech companies, they’ve probably open sourced major libraries that have gone on to spawn entire industries.

                                                                                                                The Linux kernel, ffs.

                                                                                                                I’m confused at your argument. What is it you define as “success?” Adoption? Growth? Longevity? Monetary return?

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                                                                                                                  Be useful to people, solve problems in the real world (ideally problems that aren’t created other open source software), make the world a better place.

                                                                                                              2. 0

                                                                                                                ‘Free’ and ‘open source’ are synonyms. Companies don’t use open source software instead of free software. Using open source software is using free software. Using free software is using open source software.

                                                                                                                Copyleft and permissive software licenses are all both free software licenses and open source software licenses.

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                                                                                                                  No, they are not synonyms. Free software does no need to be gratis, nor does open source software imply that you have the freedom to change and distribute that software - even in exchange for money - like free software gives you. This distinction has been made clear so many times by now that it is surprising to see the claim that these two are synonyms.

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                                                                                                                    No, they are not synonyms. Free software does no need to be gratis

                                                                                                                    Nor does open source software.

                                                                                                                    nor does open source software imply that you have the freedom to change and distribute that software

                                                                                                                    Yes it absolutely does imply that you have the freedom to change and distribute that software. The Open Source Definition requires:

                                                                                                                    “The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.”

                                                                                                                    This distinction has been made clear so many times by now that it is surprising to see the claim that these two are synonyms.

                                                                                                                    It’s been stated over and over again by everyone from the FSF to the Open Source Initiative that, ignoring some very idiosyncratic edge cases, ‘free software license’ and ‘open source software license’ are synonyms. The cases where the FSF approves and the OSI doesn’t or vice versa is generally because one of the them considers it too vague to be a valid license, such as with the Artistic License v1 or some issues with public domain licenses in Europe. Or to put it another way: if you put the FSF people in charge of evaluating licenses under the OSI definition and the OSI people in charge of evaluating licenses are free or not, they’d come to the reverse conclusions. The requirements for something to be a free software license are virtually identical to the requirements for something to be an open source software license.

                                                                                                                    RMS: The term “open source” software is used by some people to mean more or less the same category as free software. It is not exactly the same class of software: they accept some licences that we consider too restrictive, and there are free software licences they have not accepted. However, the differences in extension of the category are small: nearly all free software is open source, and nearly all open source software is free.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      “The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.”

                                                                                                                      If the original licence says the software can not be used for or distributed by individuals and companies who work in a certain industry - defence is an example which has come up several times, police would be another - that software is not free software.

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                                                                                                                        Nor would it be open source software.

                                                                                                                        Have you ever actually read the open source definition?

                                                                                                                        “The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.”

                                                                                                                        “The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.”

                                                                                                                        1. 0

                                                                                                                          OK, if that clause is part of the open source licence (there are many) the distinction gets less clear. This used to be a problem back in the day when ‘open source’ and ‘free software’ started to be recognised as two possibly distinct licence types. It still is for some licences (e.g. [1], “The license above does not apply to and no license is granted for any Military Use of the Licensed Patents.” but they do seem to be getting more rare.)

                                                                                                                          [1] https://www.cs.ucdavis.edu/~rogaway/ocb/license2.pdf

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            OK, if that clause is part of the open source licence (there are many) the distinction gets less clear.

                                                                                                                            That clause is a restriction on what constitutes an open source license. It applies to all open source licenses by definition.

                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                              Ah, but that is where the shoe wrings. Open source has become a generic term which is applied to any and all software for which the source is not hidden. The OSI has tried - and, as far as I can see, failed - to rein in the term to only encompass those licences which abide to the directions set forth in their licence, other software should be called ‘source-available’ or similar such constructs.

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                                                                                                                                the shoe wrings

                                                                                                                                I love this translation of “där skon klämmer”, but I think a better English is idiom is “there’s the rub”.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  It is actually a translation of “daar knelt de schoen”, an idiom which exists in many Germanic languages (the one cited being Dutch), English being one of them. Proverbs citing shoe-related woes have been used for many centuries, Shakespeare and his contemporaries were rather fond of these expressions which can be found scattered around their proze: I feare me theres s shooe wrings her i’th instep, of my yong [sic] Shooemakers making was a way of referring to a pregnant woman in a play from 1540.

                                                                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                                                                  Open source has a definition and is still being used according to that definition. I have never seen anyone refer to anything that isn’t open source as ‘open source’ without having many comments pointing out the incorrect use of language and then usually an apology.

                                                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                                                  Most developers who write open source (or free, if you will) software either aren’t very familiar with the politics of Free Software, or explicitly reject it. A well-known example of this is Linus Torvaldus, but there are many more.

                                                                                                                  Many who use the GPL simply want to ensure people contribute code back, nothing more. I think Free Software as a political concept is not particularly common, even among people who contribute to it, and even less common outside of it.

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                                                                                                                    Torvalds doesn’t reject Free Software, he rejects the tivoization clause(s) in GPLv3.

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                                                                                                                      He’s been pretty critical of the concept of Free Software, and sharply critical of Stallman and the FSF, and not just about the GPL3. He’s often said that he mostly sees open source and the GPL has a simple practical matter (“it just works best, and sending back your patches is just basic fairness”), and has also said that he doesn’t really mind that proprietary software exists (which is quite different than the political position of the FSF).

                                                                                                                3. 17

                                                                                                                  Nothing is apolitical, because nothing can exist outside of the political (social) climate in which it is created or consumed. Calls to keep politics out of X are political, however, because they distill down to a tacit defense and support of the status quo.

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                                                                                                                    This argument has no merit, as you could equally apply it to the choice of condiments you put on a hotdog.

                                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                                      It’s political in a very narrow scope; the one of producing the software. The reverse conclusion that some seem to make is that it is a justification to throw even more politics into software development. It is used as a strong-arming argument that disrespects the intent of the author.

                                                                                                                      1. 8

                                                                                                                        Calls to keep politics out of X are political, however, because they distill down to a tacit defense and support of the status quo.

                                                                                                                        You have to be trolling. Some people are just sick of everything being a political discussion.

                                                                                                                        1. 13

                                                                                                                          I think the counter here would be that, if you are sick of discussing a political issue, it is likely because the issue does not affect you, which is in some cases due to what might be described as social/cultural/whatever privilege: hungry people don’t often become “sick of” talking about food.

                                                                                                                          I’m a straight white upper class American male and I both empathize somewhat with your sentiment and do often get tired of every discussion becoming political (hence why I read lobste.rs 100x as often as the orange site) but I must concede some validity to the argument that my position in society is what lets these political discussions be just “boring” to me instead of terrifying and immediately relevant.

                                                                                                                          1. 13

                                                                                                                            I think the counter here would be that, if you are sick of discussing a political issue, it is likely because the issue does not affect you

                                                                                                                            And sometimes, you are powerless to affect it.

                                                                                                                            Racism exists everywhere in the world, but the form it takes in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the world is unlikely to line up with the American discourse. Imagine how you’d feel if people vehemently demanded you pick a side about the Indian citizenship law, and saw your unwillingness to comply as an indirect endorsement of the other side’s position? Because this is what the internet is like for non-Americans, at the moment.

                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                              if you are sick of discussing a political issue, it is likely because the issue does not affect you

                                                                                                                              Bear in mind that even activists and volunteers need to decompress.

                                                                                                                              One can’t be 24/7 involved in the same thing or you will burn out. Not every conversation can be about the same topic, over and over again.

                                                                                                                          2. 3

                                                                                                                            Nothing is apolitical

                                                                                                                            It’s not true. The action itself can be apolitical at the same time when analyzing the results of the same action can be political. If I stare at a tree because I find it relaxing, it’s not political. But the realization that I’m at the park staring at the tree instead of vandalizing public monuments in a name of some idea, can be political.

                                                                                                                            It’s similar to mathematics. If I eat an apple because I’m hungry, the action itself is not mathematical. But the number of apples in the area I live in will decrease by 1, so it will be a mathematical result only if you use mathematical reasoning when interpreting the situation.

                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                              Maybe this would help you understand:

                                                                                                                              … People are different and have various opinions on various topics. But the pure free software ideas are a common interest which leads people from different groups and with different backgrounds to cooperation and shows them the way how to talk each other and eventually build a friendly and respectful community. It is much better than if people from different groups stay in their own bunkers and just bark at each other.

                                                                                                                              Future of the Free Software Foundation

                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                If you want to make something political you can, not matter what it is. Eating a peanut butter sandwich can be political. Washing your hair can be political. Walking to your work can be political. Washing your hands can be political.

                                                                                                                                That does not mean these things are political, only that you choose to make them political. This is a personal choice which does not need to - and often does not - transfer to others who get to make their own choices about what they consider to be political and what not.

                                                                                                                                That last statement is political, it is the freedom of thought and expression which is one of the pillars most of our societies are built on. Think well before you demolish this pillar, it was built for a good reason.

                                                                                                                                1. 0

                                                                                                                                  Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, someone came into your supermarket and demanded you change the labels on the white pepper and black pepper (to, say, retted and unretted pepper, or pepperseed spice and peppercorn spice, or any other term that didn’t mention colours) because the words ‘white’ and ‘black’ are racist and political.

                                                                                                                                  You respond ‘no that’s ridiculous, there’s nothing political about white and black pepper’. They respond ‘everything is political’.

                                                                                                                                  Ponder that.

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                                                                                                                                    You think you’re making a point, but you’re not.

                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                      Well, for example, electron recently changed whitelist/blacklist to allowlist/blocklist, and Chromium did the same some time ago.

                                                                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                                                                        A blacklist is literally a list of bad things, which are clearly bad because they have the ‘black’ quality.

                                                                                                                                        Black pepper is a tasty spice.

                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                          Nonsense. Bookkeepers and accountants rejoice when the numbers are ‘in the black’ but shudder to see them go red. Here, black is good, red is bad. Is this a different black from the one used in the blacklist?

                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                            A blacklist is a list of bad things which are bad because the colour black is associated with negativity in our culture, while white is associated with good. That has nothing to do with skin colour. It’s honestly pretty cringe to try to force an association between the word ‘black’ and black people everywhere the word exists. ‘Blacklist’ has nothing to do with black people and black pepper has nothing to do with black people. Black MTG cards have nothing to do with black people. Whitelist has nothing to do with white people, white pepper has nothing to do with white people, white MTG cards have nothing to do with white people.

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              white pepper has nothing to do with white people

                                                                                                                                              No shit.

                                                                                                                                              It’s honestly pretty cringe to try to force an association between the word ‘black’ and black people everywhere the word exists.

                                                                                                                                              Sure.

                                                                                                                                              ’Blacklist’ has nothing to do with black people

                                                                                                                                              Nothing wrong with disagreeing with the majority of linguists if you’ve got an informed opinion.

                                                                                                                                              Perhaps demonstrating some familiarity with the relevant literature (or maybe even linked a source for this unfounded claim) would help people be a little more charitable in their reading of your ideas.

                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                Nothing wrong with disagreeing with the majority of linguists if you’ve got an informed opinion.

                                                                                                                                                It’s been used in the English language for hundreds of years (as far back as the mid 1600s, if I remember correctly), rarely, though its first popular use was in the 20th century in reference to blacklists of union members. It’s a blacklist in the sense that the list itself is black. A blacklist was originally two words (as with many compound words) and its first usages are in a more poetic sense: a ‘black list’ where ‘black’ is used poetically to mean dark or evil. ‘His black list’ i.e. ‘his evil list’. It is not a list of ‘blacks’, never has been. Its use far predates modern American conceptions of race.

                                                                                                                                                Now you might respond by saying that using a term that has its popular origins in the suppression of unionism to be ‘problematic’, but etymology is not the same as meaning. Words do not mean precisely what they were coined to mean, and it would be absurd to expect everyone to inspect the etymology of every word they speak to make sure it isn’t associated too closely with whatever topic has fallen under the gaze of the keyboard warriors on Twitter and is now considered ‘problematic’. There are probably heaps and heaps of completely normal terms people use all over the place that have their origin in something that, under close inspect without the proper context, might seem ‘problematic’.

                                                                                                                                                Should one not use the word bugger? Or hysterical? Are no can do and long time, no see racist? What about uppity or hooligan? Grandfather clause? Call a spade a spade? What about gypsy or Eskimo or American Indian where despite the popular view among white Americans that they’re racist or outdated terms, they’re actually preferred by many of the people they’re meant to describe over Romani (lots of whom aren’t Romani at all) or Inuit or native American?

                                                                                                                                                Maybe instead of being offended on behalf of others, you just leave it to them to raise issues if they are actually offended? Getting offended by the origins of terms that have been free of offensive connotation for decades or centuries because a couple of keyboard warriors on Twitter decided that the best way to solve an issue like systemically racist police violence in the USA is to police what variables people use on GitHub…

                                                                                                                                                Perhaps demonstrating some familiarity with the relevant literature (or maybe even linked a source for this unfounded claim) would help people be a little more charitable in their reading of your ideas.

                                                                                                                                                If you’re going to make such a significant claim you should back it up with sources from the relevant literature. Language is not problematic-by-default. The onus is on you to prove that the term was coined in reference to race if you wish to claim that it is “problematic”. I’m not telling people what to do or calling anyone racist. I’m not making any extraordinary claims. I don’t see why any burden of proof falls on me.

                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                  its first popular use was in the 20th century in reference to blacklists of union members

                                                                                                                                                  Says who? (The wikipedia page for an active political controversy is not a source).

                                                                                                                                                  Maybe instead of being offended on behalf of others, you just leave it to them to raise issues if they are actually offended?

                                                                                                                                                  Firstly, I’m not offended by it; secondly, what idea would you have whether it was on someone elses behalf or my own if I were.

                                                                                                                                                  I’m offended by longwinded, unsourced, nonsensical arguments on an otherwise-good-SNR technical forum.

                                                                                                                                                  I don’t see why any burden of proof falls on me.

                                                                                                                                                  You’ve asserted, without evidence, that ‘Blacklist’ has nothing to do with black people, which is sort-of the crux of the discussion. Not only are you raising flat assertions without a source, you’ve the gall to demand anyone who points out this is low-effort do the legwork for you. Generating bullshit is much easier than refuting it, and all that.

                                                                                                                                                  EDIT: Oh. It’s you, but you’ve changed your username again. I’ll update my killfile, as usual.

                                                                                                                                                  For anyone else as uninterested as I am in this inanity, a handy ublock rule is:

                                                                                                                                                  lobste.rs##:xpath(//div[contains(concat(' ', normalize-space(@class), ' '), ' comment ')][.//a[contains(@href,'/u/mrr')]])

                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                    You are a nasty piece of work.

                                                                                                                                        2. 3

                                                                                                                                          He is making a point though, even if you choose not to see it. You might not agree with it but that does not imply the point doesn’t exist. In other words, a single person or a group does not get to be the purveyor of truth in an open society which allows freedom of thought and freedom of expression.

                                                                                                                                      2. -2

                                                                                                                                        Excellent. Now these monsters who support the status quo have no place to hide.

                                                                                                                                    1. 101

                                                                                                                                      Requests of the form “I support $GOOD_THING, so please make $CHANGE” are often emotional manipulation and power plays, as they carry a subtext of “if you do not make $CHANGE, you support $BAD_THING and are therefore a bad person”.

                                                                                                                                      Statements like “all software is political” are used as a motte-and-bailey: the motte is the narrow sense in which a piece of software could be downloaded by almost anyone and applied to nearly any end; the bailey is “there can be no middle ground - you are either with us or against us”. The aim is to back the maintainer into a corner where a hasty decision gets made under pressure.

                                                                                                                                      Note also the rush to fork - that’s another power play and adds pressure to the existing project’s leadership. In addition to the emotionally-manipulative requests, there is the additional threat of “if you do not comply, we will attempt to take your work and community away from you”.

                                                                                                                                      Projects which allow these kinds of tactics to succeed increase the likelihood that they will be deployed again: both against the project itself and within the wider ecosystem. The correct response, IMHO, is to call out the manipulation for what it is, refuse to enter discussion, and wait for the storm to pass. Bozhidar, you did well.

                                                                                                                                      1. 7

                                                                                                                                        I agree that this PC virtue signalling manipulative game is bad.

                                                                                                                                        “if you do not comply, we will attempt to take your work and community away from you”.

                                                                                                                                        Work given in the spirit of free software, and community of free individuals, are not yours.They cannot be ‘taken’ away.

                                                                                                                                        I think forking should be encouraged. If you don’t like it, make your own, has always been in the spirit of Freedom.

                                                                                                                                        1. 9

                                                                                                                                          “if you do not comply, we will attempt to take your work and community away from you”

                                                                                                                                          What action do you feel would be reasonable for community members and users to express their discontent with the current name?

                                                                                                                                          1. 36

                                                                                                                                            None.

                                                                                                                                            If the name really bothers you – and I don’t believe that’s what’s going on here, it reads to me like a power play, as the GP states – but if it really does, then recognize your feeling as the personal idiosyncrasy it is, rather than interpreting it as a right to impose on others. Then either don’t use the gem, or fork it yourself and rename it without any fanfare.

                                                                                                                                            1. 8

                                                                                                                                              So would you agree that in light of maintainers’ unwillingness or inability to change, a fork is appropriate?

                                                                                                                                              1. 14

                                                                                                                                                I was referring to a personal fork, to satisfy one’s personal feelings. I think forking the project publicly with the intention of promoting the fork is petty, vindictive, and completely inappropriate. That said, people are free to do as they wish per the license.

                                                                                                                                                1. 15

                                                                                                                                                  I actually support this kind of public forking. I’ve said before that I would like to see more open-source projects publicly fork over political differences, rather than have political fights within the project over whose vision will prevail. Forking an open-source project, even publicly, is absolutely within the rights of anyone using open-source software and no one should feel dissuaded from doing so for any reason.

                                                                                                                                                  I do think that in this specific case the people who forked Rubocop are being petty and vindictive, but that’s because I disagree with them on the object-level political political issue, not because of the fact of forking. In fact, if the activists had succeeded in convincing the project to change their name, I would support a fork to restore the original name of Rubocop!

                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                    Fwiw, I upvoted this and don’t consider it incompatible with my post.

                                                                                                                                                  2. 6

                                                                                                                                                    Would you say that it is fine to fork the project over a difference in political point-of-view, just as long as it is kept quietly private and no one ever heard about it?

                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                      Yes. I think it’s fine to fork a project privately and do whatever you want for any reason whatsoever. That’s the beauty of OSS.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                        Under what circumstances should a fork be publicized?

                                                                                                                                                        1. 11

                                                                                                                                                          What are you aiming at?

                                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                                            It seems that @jonahx has some ideas about the normative standards of community behavior in OSS. I’m trying to understand what those are.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 11

                                                                                                                                                              I guessed so, but the whole thread started to look like an interrogation. Thus, and sorry for asking it so abruptly, I thought it would be better both for him, you, and us, the readers, to know what is the topic of the discussion.

                                                                                                                                                          2. 8

                                                                                                                                                            Common reasons I can think of:

                                                                                                                                                            • Original is no longer maintained.
                                                                                                                                                            • Fork was made for substantial technical reasons. Eg, the forkers want to support a new API and the original author does not.

                                                                                                                                                            This list is not exhaustive and I doubt any list could be. But that ambiguity does nothing to diminish the argument that a gem name containing the word “cop” in a playful, tongue-in-cheek way is not a good reason to fork and publicly promote someone else’s work.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                                              If this proposed fork began with a name change and subsequently diverged in function or API compatibility, would that be a good reason to publicize it?

                                                                                                                                                              1. 15

                                                                                                                                                                @jec Have you heard of “io.js”? it was a fork of Node.js that lasted for a few years, born from the dissatisfaction of how Node was being managed (at the time, by a single company, Joyent). Eventually, for a combination of reasons, Joyent would adopt the open governance model of io.js for Node, essentially giving up control to the community, and the fork was no longer necessary. In that time, io.js and node.js did have some significant differences in feature set, primarily in the realm of ES6 adoption. I think a lot of your questions could be answered pretty well by simply reading up on the history of that project, why it started, and why it ultimately no longer needed to exist.

                                                                                                                                                2. 20

                                                                                                                                                  No action. If you don’t like product A because of the way it works, use a different product.

                                                                                                                                                  If you don’t like product A because its name has a word that reminds you of something you feel the need to publicly perform against, stop what you’re doing, and go outside and publicly perform against the thing you’re actually mad at.

                                                                                                                                                  The idea that the existence of police brutality somehow gives you the right to demand a bunch of programmers you don’t know rename their entirely unrelated project is farcical and bad behaviour like this does nothing to aid your causes.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                                                    As soon as it’s publicly forked, it’s a different product. So what’s the issue?

                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                      It would seem that this means that OSS affords a community no additional freedoms over traditional software. Take it or leave it. Do I misunderstand?

                                                                                                                                                      1. 28

                                                                                                                                                        I’m not making any statement about OSS or community management. I’m making a statement that if your response to police brutality is harassing software developers about the name of a static analysis tool that’s clearly a pun on a 30 year old action film which is itself clearly extremely critical of police brutality then you’re being a jerk, and you’re being part of the problem.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, of course you misunderstand. If you don’t like the name Windows you can’t just take it and run with it under the name Doors . You can do this with free software if you so please.

                                                                                                                                                          An important misunderstanding is that you seem to think that the maintainers of free software have some sort of obligation towards you, the user of such software. While there are some obligations they do not exceed those you’d have in any interaction with other people, e.g. free software can not intentionally cause harm nor can it intentionally discriminate based on a bevy of things the extent of which varies by country. Otherwise there is no obligation, zip, nada, niente. Take it as it is, fork it and rename it if the licence allows you to do so or leave it.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                            So, to be clear, a public fork is an acceptable course of action in this case. Do you agree?

                                                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                                                              If the licence accepts it and - and this is a big and - if the rhetoric is free from the usual vitriol about how insensitive and *-ist and *-phobe those original maintainers are then I see no problems with a fork since that is one of the mechanisms used to promulgate free software. That part about rhetoric is important since another mechanism used in free software is voluntary cooperation, something which is made far less pleasant when you get accused of being a horrible person for volunteering your own time and effort to make something useful for the world to enjoy, all because a limited number of people insist on their own moral superiority. Just because others don’t blindly follow doesn’t make those others despicable -ists/**-phobes. Discuss the matter and be prepared to accept that you might be wrong in your assumptions. If there is true weight to the matter you want to discuss there is a good chance you can convince reasonable people. That does not mean those people need to act in any way since you do have the possibility to fork the project. When doing so, do not use smear tactics to try to get the other developers to jump ship to your fork. Again, if your position has merit and is of significant importance those developers will probably follow, if not immediately then after a while. Accept the fact that what you consider to be of utmost importance might not be important at all - or even valid - for others.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                I’m not following your point about rhetoric. Do you really mean that the tone with which a fork is made determines its allow-ability?

                                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                  Legally those who fork a project for these reasons are allowed to be as nasty as they want. Ethically they are not since that type of behaviour severely undermines the process which makes free software development possible. Nobody is helped by balkanisation of the development community, nothing is gained when people retreat behind rhetorical barricades and throw epithets at each other.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                    Can you give me an example of what you consider “nasty” behavior on the part of the activists here? I read many of the comments on the Github issue, and while most people on both sides of the discussion were respectful and measured in their tone, the most vitriolic language came from those who were opposed to the change. Here are some specifics:

                                                                                                                                                                    “this is a joke” https://github.com/rubocop-hq/rubocop/issues/8091#issuecomment-640170345

                                                                                                                                                                    “fuck off, grow up” https://github.com/rubocop-hq/rubocop/issues/8091#issuecomment-640172260

                                                                                                                                                                    “go eat dogs shit” https://github.com/rubocop-hq/rubocop/issues/8091#issuecomment-640184377

                                                                                                                                                                    encouraging abortion/suicide https://github.com/rubocop-hq/rubocop/issues/8091#issuecomment-640185317

                                                                                                                                                                    “fat and or ugly and/or seriously damaged” https://github.com/rubocop-hq/rubocop/issues/8091#issuecomment-640186576

                                                                                                                                                                    [ablist/heteronormative] “make children” https://github.com/rubocop-hq/rubocop/issues/8091#issuecomment-640173744

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                      Not in this thread, yet. In other threads on other projects I’ve been involved in, very much so. Peertube is a good example:

                                                                                                                                                                      the ridiculous responses from people who don’t seem to understand the need for this…

                                                                                                                                                                      https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube/issues/1179#issuecomment-427225447

                                                                                                                                                                      What exactly makes you think that you deserve respect? The fact that you’re some random dude on github who doesn’t understand the definition of harassment? The fact that you can’t empathize with the other people in this thread? Like, I don’t do this “respectful” bullshit. If you’re an asshole and being intentionally obtuse I’m going to tell you that you are, and you are.

                                                                                                                                                                      https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube/issues/1179#issuecomment-427259110

                                                                                                                                                                      On the issue of solutions, I’m pretty sure solutions were already given, but since you’re pretty much the posterchild of the average techbro, nothing’s gonna get done.

                                                                                                                                                                      https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube/issues/1179#issuecomment-427260328

                                                                                                                                                                      lmao. dude, can we like, not with the “submit a patch” thing? does this really need to be explained to you?

                                                                                                                                                                      https://github.com/Chocobozzz/PeerTube/issues/1179#issuecomment-433243619

                                                                                                                                                                      This is a sampling of some of the abusive comments in a thread which started by someone asking for a way to block others from following a Peertube (a federated video server for those who might wonder) channel. It started with a reasonable request but quickly turned into a shouting match with people from outside the project joining in on trying to shame the developers into submission. The thing is, there was no hostility from the developers, just the normal questions on the what - why - how of a feature request.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                        Four of those examples are egregious and vitriolic. Describing something as a joke is not.

                                                                                                                                                                        Most importantly, saying ‘make children and raise them well’ is not ‘heteronormative’ or ‘ableist’. Or if it is, then those terms have lost all meaning. That was a very respectful and reasonable comment. It was also clearly by a non-native English speaker, which means you have to forgive the particular choices of words. We’d say ‘have children’ and most people today are comfortable with the idea that homosexual people can have children by adoption or surrogacy.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                          Read the context of “this is a joke” and it is clearly disrespectful and dismissive. That comment does not belong in a constructive conversation. That person followed it up with “fuck off, grow up idiots.” https://github.com/rubocop-hq/rubocop/issues/8091#issuecomment-640172260

                                                                                                                                                                          As someone whose partner has struggled with infertility for several years, I would say yes that a suggestion to “make children” is indeed ableist. I listed it here because that was the only comment of all these that hit me personally. I can imagine my partner would be very hurt to hear someone say that she should go “make children” instead of speaking up for her sincere beliefs.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                            While for some individuals a remark like the reworded version of “go forth and procreate” might give bad vibes because that is just what they’d like to do but can’t for whatever reason (infertility, China’s single child policy, lack of a suitable partner, no financial means, dire outlook on the world, etc) this does not mean the remark itself is in any way bad. For the absolute majority of people this remark is either neutral, positive or maybe meddlesome or something similar.

                                                                                                                                                                            If someone were to say “have a good holiday” there will be people in the audience who have never had a holiday and won’t get one this time either. Say “listen to this, people” and there will be those who can’t because they’re deaf. Say “don’t worry, be happy” or “Hakuna matata” or something similar and there will be people who are depressed or manic or otherwise incapable of following this device. Say “enjoy your meal” and those who can’t because they have to lose weight, they have nothing to eat, they have no sense of taste or in any other way are kept from doing just that will be left out. Go and enjoy the sunshine? What about those with photophobia? Think of the children! Well, I guess that one was mentioned already.

                                                                                                                                                                            In short, nearly anything which is said will in some way leave out a fraction of the population. Policing speech (no pun intended) by attaching labels to all those cases will make it simply impossible to communicate as there will always be new categories to be added, new ways to split people, new lines of demarcation between the victims and the perpetrators, new barricades to throw up and defend.

                                                                                                                                                                            By the way, the mere fact that we’re discussing these issues in lengthy and sometimes complex sentences might be labelled as ‘ableist’ since it potentially excludes those with dyslexia. We still discuss, as we should, since not discussing would not do them any good nor does discussing really hurt them in the same way that an expression like “Teach your children well” (or, say, a song with those lyrics) does not really hurt anyone.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                              I like CSNY too but are they the type who you would consider model parental figures?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                I consider them to be musicians. They don’t need to be model parental figures nor do I need to take anything they say literally. Which more or less goes hand in glove with what I’m trying to convey, I can listen to the Ramones telling me to beat on the brat with a baseball bat without either getting the urge to start beating brats nor to feel insulted. I sometimes listen to the Red Army Choir performing the Soviet national anthem even though I consider Marxism-Leninism and Communism to be ideologies on the same level as Fascism and Nazism (and many other *-isms, I ’m not that much for any *-ism really). When they sing ‘Partija Lenina – sila narodnaja, Nas k toržestju Kommunizma vedët!’ I consider them to be misguided by their leadership but great musicians nevertheless and feel no urge to lead us under the guidance of Lenin towards the victory of Communism, nor do I refuse to listen to them because they want to doom us all to a future of toil and trouble without recompense.

                                                                                                                                                                                Are there no limits then? Yes, there are, but they’re not defined by any personal grievances I might have. I consider ‘gangsta’ to be off-limits since it does not only glorify a criminal lifestyle but actively promotes it - the more street cred (i.e. the larger the rap sheet) the better. That’d be like the Ramones gaining fame by piling up a stack of brats beaten with baseball bats or CSN(Y) actually selling tickets to their wooden ships to flee to some remote place where they’ll be eating purple berries for 6 or 7 weeks and not much more.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                  It’s pretty cool that you chose to tell that that the only music you consider off limits is gangta rap, as it just happens to be a Black American art form that arose in response to highly visible police violence in the early 1990s

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                    That is because a) it is immensely popular and b) it is the only popular music style which combines the glorification of something I consider to be bad - a life of violent crime with all the attitudes to women which are normally loudly protested but often ignored in this case - with the actual practice of many of those things. By the way, gangsta might have started in the black community but it is by no means limited to it. Glorifying crime in such a way that those who actually commit crime gain higher credibility as ‘artists’ is a bad thing, more fitting to the crime guilds in Ankh-Morpork than something I want to see thrive in our society. Violent crime is bad, no matter who commits it. Why mention race at all?

                                                                                                                                                                                    Stop doing that, identity politics only leads to balkanisation and segregation. It is not good. The original version of your post read “Ok whatever, see you in the next culture thread” which was a better response.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                      What year is it for you where gangsta rap is still immensely popular?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                        The year 2020, when the most streamed artist in Sweden, ‘Einar’, just was in the news for first being kidnapped and molested and then for not cooperating with the police to apprehend his kidnappers and also continues on the gangsta path? The year when the Swedish’ television ‘most promising artist’ (who is not the same as the above-named ‘Einar’) is now hiding for the police somewhere in Göteborg, being wanted for murder?

                                                                                                                                                                                        This conversation is getting way off-topic. If you have more questions on the phenomenon of gangsta send a PM.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                              You’re just much too easily offended. It was a list of things that are more effective than trying to rename a project with ‘Cop’ in the name, which is clearly a completely ineffective way to solve gun violence issues in the USA.

                                                                                                                                                                              Suggesting someone does something is not ableist just because some people can’t do that thing. “Go and protest” isn’t ableist against people stuck at home unable to leave the house for example.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                Having a hurt feeling is not the same as being offended and I haven’t claimed to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                Suggesting someone go off and do anything is rude, dismissive, presumptive, and uncalled for in this case. How would anyone know whether these folks are not already also doing these other suggested things?

                                                                                                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                Also, I don’t know if you are aware but adoption, surrogacy, and fertility treatments are very costly, on top of the expense of child-rearing. These aren’t options that are just available for everyone. I’m privileged to have a well-paying job and insurance that covers much of the costs.

                                                                                                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                  That is certainly the baseline - or if it was, I think we would all be a lot more relaxed. To take the four essential freedoms as an example (not because this is representative of all OSS, but because it’s a clear statement of intent), the benefits to the user clearly do not include having any influence over the development, or expecting the maintainer to do or not do any particular thing. What OSS offers is much more flexibility in how you “take it”. I wouldn’t call that “no additional freedoms over traditional software”.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                    The way I’m understanding comments here, some folks are willing to grant freedoms 0&1, but to exercise 2 or 3 with a political motive or without consent of mainstream crosses the line.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                      I see what you mean - I think there is confusion in both camps due to many maintainers who really want to build a community. If you’re someone who tries really hard to accommodate everybody in your development process, forks represent a cheap insult, a vote of no confidence in the unity you’re working so hard to build. In these projects I think forkability is viewed more of an “in case of emergency” circuit breaker in case the project really goes off the rails, and those who would pull it for seemingly minor reasons might be viewed as troublemakers. IMO the solution is to pay less attention - forkers are going to fork, and if it avoids some acrimonious arguments that might just be for the best.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                        due to many maintainers who really want to build a community

                                                                                                                                                                        There’s also some expectation to that end, otherwise “throw over the wall open source” wouldn’t be commonly considered pejorative.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                        There’s a difference between what is legal and what is right. Adultery is legal essentially everywhere but is also considered morally wrong almost everywhere, for example.

                                                                                                                                                                        Forking a project for this reason is stupid and wrong, in my opinion. That doesn’t mean that there can’t be good political reasons to fork: a bad governance model can be a good reason to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                          Adultery is in fact punishable by law in many places even in the US, Cf.https://www.womansday.com/relationships/dating-marriage/a50994/adultery-laws/

                                                                                                                                                                          It’s also admissible in court as grounds for at-fault divorce (effectively a breach of contract.) This doesn’t look like a good metaphor.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                            The point isn’t adultery but that legal and moral clearly aren’t the same thing because, for example, there are things that are legal but not moral and things that are moral but not legal. The random example I gave not applying in your backwards theocracy doesn’t make my analogy bad.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 0

                                                                                                                                                              I like how they effortlessly combine a user-unfriendly GUI with a user-unfriendly community.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 12

                                                                                                                                                                Most 9front users are not unfriendly in my limited experience, in fact some of the nicest, most knowledgeable and patient people I have seen use 9front.

                                                                                                                                                                1. 8

                                                                                                                                                                  I disagree. As a recent newcomer to Plan9, and 9front, I found their documentation and IRC support very friendly indeed.

                                                                                                                                                                  Edited: Also, their GUI is not at all user-unfriendly. It’s not terribly discoverable, but once you know how to drive it, it’s incredibly user-friendly and powerful. It may seem like a strange nit to pick, but user-friendliness is not the same as discoverability. They’re orthogonal, and conflating the two has led to years of brain-dead ‘consumer’ UIs.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                    user-friendliness is not the same as discoverability. They’re orthogonal, and conflating the two has led to years of brain-dead ‘consumer’ UIs.

                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I think there’s a missed opportunity somewhere that there’s a difference between newcomer-friendliness (as in “can anyone pick this up without studying the manual”) and user-friendliness (as in “is it consistent and doesn’t drive you nuts?”, “is it powerful?”, “does it save you time?” etc).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                      The most obvious missed opportunity is, as usual, the opportunity to learn from people who’ve been working hard at these very issues for, oh, fifty years or so. The relationship between the effort needed to use a system and the results that can be obtained with a given level of effort, and the learning curve that connects beginners and expert users, has been painstakingly studied from many angles in the HCI community. There are even slogans like “low floors, high ceilings”… yet ignorance abounds.

                                                                                                                                                                      If anybody’s going to actually empower actual users, it will have to be hobbyists like the 9front folks. Consumer technology has long been pulling in the opposite direction; computing professionals are largely caught up in geek machismo and rationalization while serving our corporate masters; and academics are a cowardly lot locked up behind paywalls and tenure politics.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                        computing professionals are largely caught up in geek machismo and rationalization while serving our corporate masters

                                                                                                                                                                        Not to mention fashion, and wanting to be identified as “creatives”.

                                                                                                                                                                        I remember when Microsoft lost their monopoly courtesy the Web, and almost unanimously, software developers up and handed that monopoly to Apple :(

                                                                                                                                                                        Now, maybe, with Apple’s move to ARM (and possibly almost-completely nerfed MacBooks), we’ll have another chance.

                                                                                                                                                                        (Sadly my current bet is that we’ll choose “Linux layer on MS Windows”, marking the completion of a truly epic embrace, extend, extinguish cycle).

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                          Until we’re a real engineering profession, like with mandatory membership in professional societies that can independently decide and enforce standards of ethical conduct and “best practices” that aren’t just fads, we’re all basically just overpaid labor. Craftspeople with contracts at best, unorganized day-laborers more often. I hope to see it happen in my lifetime, but I’m not exactly holding my breath.

                                                                                                                                                                          For an eye opening, read up on the history of the engineering professions, starting with civil engineering in the late 18th and early 19th century. We have a long way to go.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                            I’m quite well versed in the history, and I’m still not convinced that it’s the right approach. We’re not engineers, for the most part, and that’s entirely reasonable. (I have an entire soapbox rant about the use of the term engineer to describe programmers who don’t have engineering degrees, and who aren’t doing engineering. Like myself, for over two decades).

                                                                                                                                                                            There’s already been some discussion on licensing for programmers on Lobste.rs:

                                                                                                                                                                            https://lobste.rs/s/91khhj/why_are_we_so_bad_at_software_engineering#c_lirfgi

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                              Fair enough. I suppose I could respond with this other post or let you hash it out with @hwayne who has Strong Opinions on the matter.

                                                                                                                                                                              But I’m not saying every computing professional is (or should be) an engineer, any more than every medical professional is a doctor or every legal professional is an attorney. However, I do feel that the lack of an effective and independent governing body for those who are doing engineering, with all the consequences it entails, has inflicted an unfortunate amount of collateral damage on the general public. I had hoped that the ACM would fill that role, but so far they’re way too academic. In practice, inasmuch as any one has stepped up, it’s been the IEEE gradually colonizing our space.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                However, I do feel that the lack of an effective and independent governing body for those who are doing engineering, with all the consequences it entails, has inflicted an unfortunate amount of collateral damage on the general public.

                                                                                                                                                                                Serious question: what do you consider “doing engineering”?

                                                                                                                                                                                As one example of the difficulty: a litmus test could be working on life- or safety-critical software. So, say, not Kubernetes. But then you see the designers of B-series bombers using Kubernetes to run their system software. So … should anyone contributing to Kubernetes be a licensed engineer?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                  I doubt there’s a crisp line between engineering and mere “developing” (coding, sysadmin-ing, etc). Also, as you point out, trying to grade the seriousness of a job based on the potential consequences of a mistake, per-incident, is pretty intractable. But it’s relatively easy to measure adoption, and that at least gives a sense of the breadth (if not depth) of the responsibility. If everybody’s going to use k8s (shudder) then yeah, those devs are doing engineering and should be held to a higher standard than if they were doing a one-off bespoke automation suite internal to some firm. Regarding depth, individuals making the decision to adopt dependencies have heavier responsibilities too. The aerospace and defense industries have a staggering amount of bureaucracy in their engineering processes, I would say to compensate for inadequate professional governance.

                                                                                                                                                                                  (Longest and most off-topic thread EVAR!!!!1! Personal best)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                    Haha :). Derailing threads like the ARTC derails trains … anyhow …

                                                                                                                                                                                    How would you handle that transition? Imagine I produce an open source library that suddenly sees massive adoption. Goes from a few users to thousands, then maybe tens or hundreds of thousands, in quick succession.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Should I, as a non-engineer, be allowed to continue to support the project? Must I find registered engineers to join the project? Should I allow source contributions from non-engineers? Who fits the bill for all this?

                                                                                                                                                                                    It’d have a massive chilling effect on open source software and innovation in general.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                      Since at this point the party’s been over for a while, and I’m really just waving my naked opinion around… let me flip it back at you. Maybe we need more sustainable and responsible funding models, rather than just pillage-and-profit? And, is the sudden massive industrial adoption of hobbyist-grade software really something we want to encourage? Hell, for that matter, is “innovation”? I don’t really want a lot of rapid innovation in my critical infrastructure, thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                      But, you’re pointing out symptoms of an immature field under an unhealthy amount of pressure. My opinion doesn’t really matter, of course. I just think that rising public awareness (and inevitably “outcry”) about the inherent dangers, will eventually force some form of change. Again, probably not overnight. But it’s a pattern we’ve seen play out before.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. 7

                                                                                                                                                                    user-unfriendly community

                                                                                                                                                                    How so? Their brand of not holding your hand is pretty well-known.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 7

                                                                                                                                                                      Well, there was a long time that they ironically used Nazi imagery to promote their stuff. I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with this “joke”, but I also understand people who found this content at the very least extremely unnerving (as I do personally as Jew).

                                                                                                                                                                      It seems they added and anti-Nazi symbol that links to Nazi punks fuck off, which I applaud, but the fact that they’ve had to do this I think speaks volumes about who their artwork attracted.

                                                                                                                                                                      I happen to really like Plan 9 and the effort 9front has put in to expand on the system, but I think to a large extent the damage has been done in terms of attracting normal every day users.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 12

                                                                                                                                                                        As a grandchild of holocaust survivors, and a fairly active committer on 9front, I don’t recall anything that made me uncomfortable – though, there’s a relatively dark sense of humor about the project. You’re allowed to dislike dark humor.

                                                                                                                                                                        but the fact that they’ve had to do this I think speaks volumes about who their artwork attracted.

                                                                                                                                                                        Hm? I don’t recall any incidents that needed response – it’s just a general sentiment.

                                                                                                                                                                        I think to a large extent the damage has been done in terms of attracting normal every day users.

                                                                                                                                                                        The first image you’ll see if you look at our user-facing documentation is this: http://fqa.9front.org/goaway.jpg.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                          … which, to be perfectly frank, was one of the things that attracted me to 9front. That, and a quick browse through the propaganda page, convinced me that I’d likely enjoy the ambience.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. 7

                                                                                                                                                                          Plan 9 is an operating system that doesn’t support a web browser. Normal every day users should not under any circumstances try to use Plan 9, and their branding helps to discourage such users.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                            I think netsurf is now supported?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                              Cool, thanks for pointing out the netsurf port. Which is still a work in progress, according to the readme.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. 7

                                                                                                                                                                            but the fact that they’ve had to do this I think speaks volumes about who their artwork attracted.

                                                                                                                                                                            Seems more likely they did it to disambiguate the admittedly dark sense of humor for fellows like yourself than because of anyone being attracted to it. Or perhaps they added it because they do want Nazi’s to fuck off, not quite sure why this is being held against them.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                              I’m not personally holding anything against them, they can have their project with their inside jokes and I think that’s perfectly good for them. And for anyone who joins in on the joke.

                                                                                                                                                                              For the record, I happen to like extremely dark jokes. Even jokes about the Holocaust occasionally. But i don’t think that dark humor is going to attract a lot of people to your operating system. Also, I can like dark humor and find their jokes not funny. A picture of hitler with a joke I don’t find funny in the caption is just a picture of hitler, and to me that would seem weird and out of place.

                                                                                                                                                                              I just happen to think that it’s indicative of a laisez fair attitude towards being generally marketable or something that a majority of casual observers would feel enticed to use. And again, I don’t think there’s anything WRONG with this, just that the way the present themselves is slightly abrasive, and at one point was even more than slightly abrasive.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. 5

                                                                                                                                                                              Mozilla used loads of Soviet-styled artwork in their heyday, that did not seem to make people shun them?

                                                                                                                                                                              Note to 9front: use Genghis Khan-themed artwork next time. He killed more people than the Nazis (about 40 million which amounted to ~11% of the world’s population) but most people won’t know that. You can have edgy images of mass murderers without getting people all riled up.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, Mozilla took some flak for that. Which was hilarious, but some people definitely were offended.

                                                                                                                                                                                It’s worth reading the entire story, as told by jwz - here’s a central quote in this context:

                                                                                                                                                                                We had to convince them that these “open source” people weren’t just a bunch of hippies and Communists.

                                                                                                                                                                                To that end, the branding strategy I chose for our project was based on propaganda-themed art in a Constructivist / Futurist style highly reminiscent of Soviet propaganda posters.

                                                                                                                                                                                And then when people complained about that, I explained in detail that Futurism was a popular style of propaganda art on all sides of the early 20th century conflicts; it was not used only by the Soviets and the Chinese, but also by US in their own propaganda, particularly in recruitment posters and just about everything the WPA did, and even by the Red Cross. So if you looked at our branding and it made you think of Communism, well, I’m sorry, but that’s just a deep misunderstanding of Modern Art history: this is merely what poster art looked like in the 1930s, regardless of ideology!

                                                                                                                                                                                That was complete bullshit, of course. Yes, I absolutely branded Mozilla.org that way for the subtext of “these free software people are all a bunch of commies.” I was trolling.

                                                                                                                                                                                I trolled them so hard.

                                                                                                                                                                                I had to field these denials pretty regularly on the Mozilla discussion groups; there was one guy in particular who posted long screeds every couple of weeks accusing us of being Nazis because of the logo. I’m not sure he really understood World War II, but hey.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 27

                                                                                                                                                                          Software is complicated. The world is complicated. The tools we use to interact with the world are complicated. We are complicated. Though it’s generally good to get rid of inessential complexity, getting rid of essential complexity is counterproductive, and this is not something I see addressed by the suckless methodology.

                                                                                                                                                                          I use fvwm, which is a relatively simple X window manager (if a bit more complicated/flexible than dwm), and screen, which is a composable (and, again, relatively simple) terminal multiplexer. I also use linux, which is an enormous monolith. Ditto zfs, zsh, gcc, clang, firefox…

                                                                                                                                                                          Then again, for some purposes I use tcc, lynx, fat

                                                                                                                                                                          I do not see a huge amount of intrinsic value in my tools being simply made. They might be better if they had been written that way from the start, but that doesn’t matter very much. The question I ask is, what value do these tools bring to me now? Even if all my tools were simple and composable (as per the suckless philosophy), the computing environment would still be too complex for me to hack on all of it. Insofar as I do find my tools inadequate, it’s generally easier to configure the more complicated ones than to modify the simple ones. I use tcc because it has good compile times. But I also use gcc because, inside of all the inessential and redundant complexity, there are high-quality diagnostics and optimizations. That is essential complexity. You can’t hack tcc to add that (I actually took a look at tcc internals to see what that would take. It would require a big re-architecture.) That doesn’t mean gcc is well-made, but it does mean that, as a user, I derive value from gcc that I don’t from the hobbyist compilers.

                                                                                                                                                                          Minimalism is definitely something we should try to instill in the software we create. But that doesn’t mean we should attempt to use software because it’s minimalistic, nor that we should shy away from (essential) complexity in the software we write.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 20

                                                                                                                                                                            We are complicated.

                                                                                                                                                                            To expand on that, we don’t all have the same abilities. That’s why accessibility is important, though it adds complexity. So I get frustrated whenever I see a developer write their own simple, lean GUI toolkit because mainstream GUIs are too bloated. These simple, lean toolkits invariably don’t support their host platforms’ accessibility APIs, meaning that they can’t be used by blind people with screen readers, or people with mobility impairments who require alternate input methods. That’s why, whenever I encounter a thread about such a toolkit, I bring up the lack of accessibility support and plead with developers to not use that toolkit in any application that might be required in someone’s job or education, unless the task itself inherently requires sight and keyboard or mouse input. Unfortunately, this problem is big enough that I can’t solve it by casually sending patches on nights and weekends; I wouldn’t even know which project to start with.

                                                                                                                                                                            To be sure, mainstream software does have some accidental complexity, which translates to bloat. But not all of the complexity is bloat. Accessibility is one instance of necessary complexity. For many applications, internationalization is another.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                              To be sure, mainstream software does have some accidental complexity, which translates to bloat. But not all of the complexity is bloat.

                                                                                                                                                                              Indeed. I think it is unfair to say GNOME (or KDE) are bloated, suckless is lean and has fewer bugs, GNOME is doing it all wrong. They have vastly different target audiences. GNOME addresses a general audience, it is an environment that one could install on a non-techie’s desktop and they [sw]hould be able to manage themselves. This means deep integrated support for power management, disk/network mounts, setting up networking/VPNs, accessibility, fingerprint login, a uniform look & feel between applications, notifications, easy management of various display setups, integration of file dialogs with sandboxing (portals), graphical printer configuration, etc. You cannot ask this audience to compile a C file to do their configuration. Supporting such a wide variety of deep integrations just make the problem vastly more complex. You need a lot of communicating parts (IPC), a framework for configuration, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                              While I primarily used simple window managers (primarily WindowMaker and fluxbox) ~2 decades ago. I have made the conscious choice to use desktop environments (GNOME in my case), to save a large amount of time around managing VPNs, displays, etc. I am pretty happy with GNOME’s default settings and barely change anything (and the few extensions that I add are defined declarative with Nix).

                                                                                                                                                                              I can fully understand why someone would go the Sway, i3, dwm, etc. path. But I think we should avoid calling one or the other approach inferior.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                You can install XFCE on the laptop of a general audience too, though. It’s much less bloated than GNOME or KDE but it has all the things you talk about, as far as I am aware.

                                                                                                                                                                                The problem with GNOME is not that it’s bloated with features or functionality but that the way in which it is implemented makes it incredibly slow, sloppy and.. bloated. There’s really no other word for it. It uses enormous resources, it runs a million background processes and daemons doing unknowable things, it doesn’t work at all on older laptops, it requires systemd, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                There’s nothing inherently ‘bloated’ about floating window managers or accessibility. What’s bloated is how they’ve gone about all of it.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                  You can install XFCE on the laptop of a general audience too, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Can’t say, I haven’t used Xfce in years. For me the most important missing feature would be Wayland support, which drastically simplifies mixed DPI support.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The problem with GNOME is not that it’s bloated with features or functionality but that the way in which it is implemented makes it incredibly slow, sloppy and.. bloated.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I use a fairly modest Intel NUC as may daily driver and GNOME is very fast, I never encounter any slowless. Our daughter has a baseline Intel NUC that cost ~120 Euro excluding RAM and SSD, same story, I never saw any delays in GNOME.

                                                                                                                                                                                  It uses enormous resources,

                                                                                                                                                                                  My current GNOME session, which has been running for several days is using 400MB RAM with a HiDPI screen, which is merely a blip compared to Firefox with several tabs open. Won’t be a problem with a machine >= 2GB RAM. Oh, and gnome-shell and mutter have its own Wayland compositor, so that 400MB RAM includes more or less what would be the overhead of X11 itself on Xfce or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                  it runs a million background processes

                                                                                                                                                                                  ~30 on my machine. yay

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                    Can’t say, I haven’t used Xfce in years. For me the most important missing feature would be Wayland support, which drastically simplifies mixed DPI support.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Wayland seems to me like a big step in the wrong direction, optimised for DEs that are going to implement everything themselves anyway, but horrible for the ecosystem of small window managers because they need to become much bigger and cover a much bigger range of functionality. I believe ddevault’s wlroots stuff helps here but surely doesn’t fix everything. At least initially, every Wayland compositor needed to implement things like screenshots themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                    It’s not clear to me why the problems with X couldn’t have been solved without moving huge amounts of functionality into the compositor.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I use a fairly modest Intel NUC as may daily driver and GNOME is very fast, I never encounter any slowless. Our daughter has a baseline Intel NUC that cost ~120 Euro excluding RAM and SSD, same story, I never saw any delays in GNOME.

                                                                                                                                                                                    My current GNOME session, which has been running for several days is using 400MB RAM with a HiDPI screen, which is merely a blip compared to Firefox with several tabs open. Won’t be a problem with a machine >= 2GB RAM. Oh, and gnome-shell and mutter have its own Wayland compositor, so that 400MB RAM includes more or less what would be the overhead of X11 itself on Xfce or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I’ve tried using GNOME vs XFCE on older laptops and the battery drain on GNOME was much higher than on XFCE, and GNOME always had this lagginess and clunkiness that XFCE didn’t have. I don’t know why, it just seems to.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I don’t see why desktop environments shouldn’t be able to run fine on 10-year-old laptops. People shouldn’t need to update their computers with gigabytes upon gigabytes of RAM to run basic stuff like web browsers and desktop environments.

                                                                                                                                                                                    ~30 on my machine. yay

                                                                                                                                                                                    Including all of GNOME’s dependencies?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                      Wayland seems to me like a big step in the wrong direction,

                                                                                                                                                                                      Well at least not every process can read my keystrokes or do screen grabs anymore, without resorting to nested X servers and whatnot.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Including all of GNOME’s dependencies?

                                                                                                                                                                                      My whole user session currently has 71 processes, which includes the 11 processes that Firefox creates, a bunch of terminals, mosh, gpg-agent, scdaemon, Xwayland for those legacy X11 applications, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Again, on my system GNOME is never the problem, it is fast and takes a reasonably amount of memory. Moreover, most processes that it spawns have descriptive names such as gsd-power (there are very few processes where I don’t know from first sight what it’d do).

                                                                                                                                                                                      The problems are the browser, which takes more memory per tab than GNOME itself for some web sites, the Slack client which again takes more than a whole desktop environment and gets terrible latencies over time, Skype, etc. Unfortunately, I need those programs for work. (Though at least for Slack there is Discord, which is a nice and fast Qt application.)

                                                                                                                                                                              2. 8

                                                                                                                                                                                Indeed; I have come to feel a little uncomfortable with some of advocates of “the suckless philosophy” (Christine excluded, of course) for the reasons you mention. I wrote up my thoughts on the matter a while ago and have become more gun-shy of even the use of the term “bloat” since then.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 8

                                                                                                                                                                                  I downvoted your comment as ‘troll’ because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better example of someone assuming bad faith in the discourse on this website ever. There are good arguments for the use of some of the software commonly described as ‘bloated’. They do not include that everyone that advocates for non-bloated is just a neo-Nazi that wants to subjugate women. These bogeymen probably exist somewhere but they’re not arguing on lobsters they’re on Stormfront or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Rather than opening yourself up to the possibility of actually being wrong about something by having a proper discussion around a thorny technical issue on which there are no right answers, you just dismiss anyone that favours simple software as being alt-right men who have had stockholm syndrome because of suffering through tools with bad user interfaces.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I’m not going to go into the details of why your post is filled with incorrect ideas and offensive stereotypes for the same reason none of us would go into detail explaining why a racist is wrong: they’re not going to respond in good faith, and I’m sure you won’t respond in good faith either.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The irony that you end your bad faith post with a snide aside dismissing a genuine concern raised as just an ‘unfounded assertion’ that’s ‘made in bad faith’.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                    They do not include that everyone that advocates for non-bloated is just a neo-Nazi that wants to subjugate women

                                                                                                                                                                                    From my post:

                                                                                                                                                                                    While I think this is a big part of the impetus for the more virulent misogynists and “alt-right” members, it’s not the whole picture.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The other aspect is the one that I think is more important to talk about, because it’s less obviously wrong, more subtle, and much more widespread.

                                                                                                                                                                                    So no, that’s not my assertion; I’m just saying that places that harbour those sorts of people – I’m thinking more of 4chan than Lobsters here – also tend to be places that are most vocal opponents of “bloat”. The rest of what I wrote about there is a more subtle cognitive bias that doesn’t assume ill will on behalf of the minimalism proponents, just a very human sort of loss aversion.

                                                                                                                                                                                    But sure, I’m also a troll that wrote my thoughts down more than a year ago and didn’t link them anywhere until now for the sole purpose of offending Lobsters.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                    The sibling comment put it very well, but it is missing some data that puts things into perspective

                                                                                                                                                                                    You write:

                                                                                                                                                                                    both of those organization are also frequently seen railing against “political correctness” and “SJWs”, What is it about the seemingly-reasonable desire for software to not be “bloated” that seems to have this correlation with anti-social-justice view points?

                                                                                                                                                                                    You are going to see this correlation to anti-PC and anti “Social Justice” in just about any group you care to look at, because the vast majority of people reject PC and the capital-letter Social Justice of the SJWs.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Americans Strongly Dislike PC Culture (The Atlantic)

                                                                                                                                                                                    a full 80 percent believe that “political correctness is a problem in our country.”

                                                                                                                                                                                    80%. That’s about as close to unanimous you’re going to get on any issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Heck, if xkcd is to be believed, that’s more than “feel positively about kittens” and only 1 point below “enjoy apple pie’

                                                                                                                                                                                    And no, this isn’t “old white men” either, subtitle: Youth isn’t a good proxy for support of political correctness, and race isn’t either.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Even young people are uncomfortable with it, including 74 percent ages 24 to 29, and 79 percent under age 24. On this particular issue, the woke are in a clear minority across all ages.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Race? Nope.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Whites are ever so slightly less likely than average to believe that political correctness is a problem in the country: 79 percent of them share this sentiment. Instead, it is Asians (82 percent), Hispanics (87 percent), and American Indians (88 percent) who are most likely to oppose political correctness.

                                                                                                                                                                                    In fact:

                                                                                                                                                                                    Progressive activists are the only group that strongly backs political correctness: Only 30 percent see it as a problem. [..] progressive activists are much more likely to be rich, highly educated—and white.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                      That’s a very good point! I will think about that.

                                                                                                                                                                                      My immediate thoughts on that would be:

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I’m not American, I wonder what those numbers would look like in my country?

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I wonder what those numbers would be like if you asked people about more granular, actionable topics, instead of blanket “political correctness” or “social justice”. I will definitely admit that there are many that just like to use those concepts as cudgels against people they don’t like, so they absolutely have pretty negative connotations. However, I wonder what the numbers would look like if asked, for example, “people should be addressed in they manner of their choosing”?

                                                                                                                                                                                      In any case, in my above-linked diatribe, it really was the latter half that I was more interested in, wondering what the other reasons are for people to promote that “minimalist” code aesthetic.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The other aspect is the one that I think is more important to talk about, because it’s less obviously wrong, more subtle, and much more widespread.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am not American either, but lived in the US for close to a decade. As far as I know, other countries are similar:

                                                                                                                                                                                        UK:

                                                                                                                                                                                        New polling suggests Britain is “less PC” than Trump’s America

                                                                                                                                                                                        2 out of 3 people believe others are too offended by language use, while nearly half say they’re not allowed to say what they think about key issues

                                                                                                                                                                                        Germany:

                                                                                                                                                                                        Political Correctness und Sprachtabus “gehen der Mehrheit auf die Nerven”.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Why people promote non-bloated code aesthetic: as a counter to the overwhelming trends in our industry? Wirth’s Law: Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Or Alan Kay:

                                                                                                                                                                                        A twentieth century problem is that technology has become too “easy”. When it was hard to do anything whether good or bad, enough time was taken so that the result was usually good. Now we can make things almost trivially, especially in software, but most of the designs are trivial as well. This is inverse vandalism: the making of things because you can. Couple this to even less sophisticated buyers and you have generated an exploitation marketplace similar to that set up for teenagers. A counter to this is to generate enormous dissatisfaction with one’s designs using the entire history of human art as a standard and goal. Then the trick is to decouple the dissatisfaction from self worth—otherwise it is either too depressing or one stops too soon with trivial results.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The Early History of Smalltalk

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you for writing that up; it’s something I’ve felt myself for a while but never really put into words.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I’ve been thinking about some of the things Bryan Cantrill has said about values in software projects — fore example, “minimalism” and “usefulness” are both positive things, and anytime a project can choose both, it should. But if the project must choose between them, its values (or rather, the values of its maintainers, and hence the values of its community) determine which direction it chooses.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Minimalism is a positive thing, but when I read about suckless I get the impression they regard it as a moral imperative that everyone should follow, not just a personal choice. I think it’s that unwillingness to engage with other view-points of view that really pushes me away.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks, I appreciate that!

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it’s that unwillingness to engage with other view-points of view that really pushes me away.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Exactly, it’s the moralizing around the issues of minimalism vs “bloat” that bother me. Really, if they just said “featureful” vs “minimalist” and used less value-laden terminology, I think it would be a lot less contentious.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                          It’s not like they came up with the term software bloat.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Software Bloat

                                                                                                                                                                                          You recasting it as only minimalism vs. featurefulness is not accurate, they say that minimalism is a way they feel they can achieve higher quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And I wouldn’t agree with your recasting either. Most software is horrendously bloated, even if it is not particularly featureful, and the bloat appears to increase superlinearly with features.

                                                                                                                                                                                          A “small” example: Xerox PARC in the 70s had their “Interim Dynabooks”, the Altos, with a version of what we now call “personal computing”. WIMP interface, word-processing, e-mail, networking, laser-printers, IDE. 20KLOC. One of today’s incarnations of “personal computing” is MS Office. This does more. Lots more. Let’s say it’s 100 times better at “personal computing”, which I personally find generous. However, it is in the vicinity of 400MLOC, which 20,000 times more code. That’s a lot of code. In fact the increase in code bulk s 200x the increase in “better personal computing”. In other words, what’s 99.5% of the code doing?

                                                                                                                                                                                          And for a craftsman, the quality of their work should be something that its a value to aspire to.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Workmanship Software Craftmanship

                                                                                                                                                                                          Now you may disagree with that, but I find it not just defensible but commendable.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your thoughts on the matter sound very much like a rehash of the age-old vi vs emacs debate to me, put in more modern and somewhat more overtly political terms with appeals to humane interfaces instead of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink (upon which someone made a kitchen-sink package) and as such seems to run on the same circuits as that discussion did - and does, with a whole host of Electron-based editors thrown in. By now I’d assume someone has proven vi vs emacs to be NP-hard and as such unsolvable, only approximated.

                                                                                                                                                                                        (By the way, vi. Non-bloated interfaces)

                                                                                                                                                                                      3. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                        There’s nothing inherent to accessibility that makes software bloated. People are sick of incidental, inessential complexity or complexity that exists only to allow minute configuration options that would be better offered in a different way (like composing with other tools). That’s the complexity that is being railed again.

                                                                                                                                                                                      4. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think exactly because all those things are complex you want to avoid adding more complexity on top, causing more headaches and less understanding.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Also there are some non-inherent benefits of simple software. It usually takes good understanding of a subject to create something simple. One can see that when programming, first solving some problem, maybe making a prototype usually leads to being able to flesh out the mental picture and once that is more clear allows for a pass where things can be - sometimes significantly - simplified.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Of course depending on the complexity of a problem there is bound to be limits to how simple a solution can be, but I think simplicity of software is not some fixed value of lines of code or something along that, but that the presented solution is simple in regards to the problem you face.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Metrics, such as lines of code an be indicators, especially when comparing multiple solutions to the same problem, but it does not necessarily mean a solution is also easy to comprehend.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The problem at hand I think is also usually not “software of category X”, but a set of goals that one wants to achieve. That’s something that sometimes is very much missing in software projects resulting in them implementing everything a developer feels like adding on a given day. While I don’t think there’s something wrong with this a set of goals can help ensuring to keep in mind what your goals are and thereby keeping the direction in which a project is heading focused, by making it easier to see when something is out of scope or might only be related to the topic, but doesn’t really fit the project for other reasons.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Another benefit here is that simplicity then usually allows for reaching maturity faster. If goals are clearly defined and there’s a limit to what you want to achieve you can go over to get rid of bugs and rough edges earlier, then when you are busy implementing features bringing new bugs and rough edges. Now of course that doesn’t mean that you will actually use that time for this, after all adding a new feature usually feels more fun, but you could.

                                                                                                                                                                                        So in short: I think essential complexity is not something that goes against complexity. After all people writing minimalist software don’t completely abstain from writing software and one could argue that every line of code and every bit of logic adds complexity.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                          I also use linux, which is an enormous monolith

                                                                                                                                                                                          That one actually solves an avoidable problem: the insane diversity of hardware interfaces. While diverse hardware interfaces might be needed for exploration at first, there comes a point where we more or less understand the goals of limitation of said hardware, and can settle on a fixed, relatively simple interface. Imagine a world where you’d have one graphics driver, one printer driver, one webcam driver, one spinning hard drive driver, one SSD driver, one network card driver…

                                                                                                                                                                                          That would simplify things quite a bit. To the point that maybe we’d be less willing to tolerate sprawling complexity at every level.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                            I believe he’s contrasting linux against (e.g.) a microkernel. Microkernels tend to be much simpler (inside the kernel), and to allow for more composable drivers.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 33

                                                                                                                                                                                          When content recommendation becomes the most important highlight of a privacy-friendly browser’s new release.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I love Firefox, but sjeesh

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 13

                                                                                                                                                                                            It is infuriating that the developers of a web browser consider it acceptable to implement any “content recommendation” on their program.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 7

                                                                                                                                                                                              Why? As stated up-thread, browsing data is never uploaded. Content recommendation happens locally only. What is so wrong with this?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                                                                                                                Because it’s a browser. It should empower me to search the internet for the stuff I want to see, not they think I want to see. I gain no user experience whatsoever. It’s a slippery slope downhill from any recommendation system, no matter how privacy friendly they claim it to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Imagine your new FM radio “recommended” which station to tune to when you turned it on. Would it really be any comfort if the manufacturer assured you that that this recommendation had nothing to do with your own preferences, because they don’t know and definitely don’t care? Bookmarks have been part of browsers since the beginning. This is something else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  People only put up with this nonsense because it’s free-as-in-beer. That’s why I’d be happy to pay for a fork that treated me like a paying customer rather than a set of eyeballs to sell through some convoluted scheme papered over with a lot of patronizing rhetoric.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe a car analogy is useful for you. It’s as if your car “recommended” which restaurant to go when you drive it on Saturday afternoon, and actually drove you there without asking, until you overrade it. A minimal amount of fuel would be lost at the beginning of the journey; this is no problem, you can override it at any time. Would you be OK with that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do not want my web browser to make any network request when I open it, unless I ask for it explicitly. As other posts in this thread explain, this is actually impossible with firefox. This is what infuriates me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 0

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Though they say the browsing data is never uploaded, it’s trivial to match the IP and the time of when the content was recommended. That info can then be correlated with the site serving the recommended content. Several ways exist in which to deanonymize browsing history.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. 10

                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the first things - besides installing uBlock and friends - I do with a new FF installation is the disabling of all these spurious ‘services’ - content suggestion, dangerous content warnings, the various telemetry bits apart from bug reports, those I do send seeing as I run nightly and as such can provide useable reports.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would be grateful if you could share the configurations that you are doing. I am asking so that I could note them down and set them too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would like if NixOS would provide firefox configuration options that could be configured centrally, or per user, to make sure that every upgrade applies them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                        home-manager allows you to declaraticely configure which Firefox add-ons to install (although you still need to enable them manually the first time you start Firefox for security reasons). And you can set Firefox options declaratively using their enterprise policies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don’t use much magic to configure it, most is by hand. The only ‘automatic’ thing I do is install a policies.jsonfile (in distribution/policies.json in the FF install directory, in my case that is /opt/APPfirefox/bin/distribution/policies.json) which disables automatic updates since I handle those using a script. I do not want to have binaries writeable by users so these automatic update policies are out of the question. The update script pulls new nightlies from the server and installs them, installs the policies.json file in the correct location and sets ownership and permission so that regular users can execute, but not modify the distribution. I used to have a FF sync server when that was still a thing but eventually it got too hard to reinstate ‘old’ sync support. I do not have, nor do I want to have a ‘Firefox account’ since I do not use any such external services if I can in any way avoid them. I might look into building a ‘new’ FF sync server some time but other matters are more important for now. Until such time I will simply install the following extensions:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • uBlock origin (set to ‘expert user’ mode)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • uMatrix (disabled by default)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Nuke Anything (to get rid of annoying overlays which uBlock can not filter out)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Open With (to open e.g. media files through a local script)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Containers with Transitions (to always open certain sites in site-specific container tabs)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Foxyproxy Standard (disabled, sometimes used to redirect sites through a local Tor node)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. 13

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It seems to me it’s just a “here are the most popular articles”-list; don’t see anything wrong with that, or any fundamental privacy-concerns. Also from the expanded announcement on it:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Recommendations are drawn from aggregate data and neither Mozilla nor Pocket receives Firefox browsing history or data, or is able to view the saved items of an individual Pocket account. A Firefox user’s browsing data never leaves their own computer or device.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        And from the FAQ:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        [N]either Mozilla nor Pocket ever receives a copy of your browser history. When personalization does occur, recommendations rely on a process of story sorting and filtering that happens locally in your personal copy of Firefox.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 11

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I see something wrong with that, that being giving the user an experience that they have not ask for nor had any control over. Also, what news site, and what collection of news given to the user is trustworthy in a general sense?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I feel about it as if I got public broadcasting in my new tab, not something I want nor I am interested in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 9

                                                                                                                                                                                                            that being giving the user an experience that they have not ask for

                                                                                                                                                                                                            How can you be so sure? I’m a Firefox user, and I find those articles occasionally useful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            nor had any control over

                                                                                                                                                                                                            You can switch it off easily in preferences or directly on the New Tab page (three dots in the upper right corner).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                              “nor had any control over” is a terrible way to word it (it is your computer and you are definitely in control). My first reaction was “this person is entitled as heck”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              However, there is an implied social contract (because firefox existing makes it socially/politically almost impossible to get an alternative off the ground). I still disagree with lich, but their argument has legs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I see something wrong with that, that being giving the user an experience that they have not ask for nor had any control over. Also, what news site, and what collection of news given to the user is trustworthy in a general sense?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don’t feel that’s a fair characterization. Any new feature can be described as giving the user an experience they did not asked for. And as other commenters note, it can be disabled. Which grants control.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              As to a user experience, I have lobsters show up in my recommended list, probably because I visit it so often. It does make some sense that I would be recommended what I like to habitually visit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I even removed the suggestion a few times and timed how long and how many visits made it reappear. For me, it learned the association in a day and ten visits to the front page because my habit is to close the tab after quickly reviewing the stories posted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Where does the aggregate data come from?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            4. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I cannot use Firefox and feel safe without ghacks user.js. It is kind of absurd that there is no real community-lead option for browsers. You could put the blame on standards bodies for creating bloated standards, but now more than ever they are just a facade commanded by corporate interests. I don’t know much about it but Project Gemini (along with gopher) seem to be closer to achieving the goals of free software and the “original dream of the web” (whatever that means).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Edit: typo

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I totally get your point. Would something like Pale Moon feel better to use?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I used to have a MediaWiki instance about a decade ago document processes here around the farm for use by various official instances who like to have things documented (in triplicate, lost, found again, stored in a disused cabinet for a few months, then buried under a layer of peat to be used for domestic heating purposes). I got quite a bit of wiki spam until I closed of all editing for non-logged-in users - and still some spammers managed to add content. The spammers kept on trying and they still keep hitting the domain even though the wiki has been offline for close to 3 years now. Things might be better now but back then it was easy to end up with a spam-ridden stinking pile of excrement instead of a useable wiki.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I feel like allowing self-service-sign-up for any ‘in house’ system leads quickly to spam. OTOH, I’ve had zero trouble from the systems I run where I manually provision accounts (other than being bothered for accounts).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That was the thing, account registration was closed. The spammers must have used a bug to get access.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Exclamation Points! Get them cheap here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry! We just ran out!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I found some half-price, they’re upside-down but for this price that shouldn’t matter¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ƖƖ¡¡¡¡Ɩ¡¡¡¡¡

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A fun exercise which manages to show the power of…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  …regular, linear writing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, that. Imagine how useful a concept this is, a system in which you can use a limited, deterministic set of symbols to express anything and everything. Sometimes it might take a bit more space than hieroglyphs, sometimes you might need to explain a concept which can be made clear in a single ideogram but space is cheap and the system is infinitely malleable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 18

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I applaud Apple’s approach to privacy, http://www.apple.com/privacy I was shocked to learn that coming from one of the largest corporations in the world, they are pushing the correct approach to privacy. Control of the private key.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Zoom has been caught lying the past and has very fishy claims and ostensible practices. https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2020/04/security_and_pr_1.html So this is not a fair comparison in my opinion, but I do agree with the author’s principals and reasoning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 10

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The exact problem is that in this case Apple does not give ‘control of the private key’ to the consumer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (It’s not clear in this article, but I believe this is specifically limited to iCloud backups of iOS devices, and that it can be resolved by turning that feature off. This is an important issue to me and I’d appreciate more info if anyone has some.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I understand, iOS does not give control of the private key to the user, even more, the software used for messaging is highly proprietary and locked down. thanks for the correction, I was jaded by their slick marketing webpage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Does apple have the ability to decrypt user’s imessages? Up until now, I was going on the assumption that imessages were encrypted similar to signal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Apple has the ability to remotely install any software on your phone that they want, and therefore exfiltrate any data that they want.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don’t think that quite follows… Apple has the ability to install a new OS, and it has the ability to install apps, but both have limitations. I’ll deal with each.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. OS. If Apple is willing to build a custom version of the new OS and serve that to you when it serves a new OS to other people, then your custom OS can do exfiltrate anything. That’s a high bar though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Apps. Apple can install apps on your device at any time and perhaps silently, but those apps are subject to the security regime enforced by the OS version your phone already runs, which is one that countless researchers have checked as carefully as they can. The installled app won’t have the ability to exfiltrate any and all data belonging to the system or other apps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The past is immutable. Apple can write any code, but noone, not even Apple, can travel into the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OS. If Apple is willing to build a custom version of the new OS and serve that to you when it serves a new OS to other people, then your custom OS can do exfiltrate anything. That’s a high bar though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why would it have to be a custom version, and why would it have to be timed with the release of some other version?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Apps. Apple can install apps on your device at any time and perhaps silently, but those apps are subject to the security regime enforced by the OS version your phone already runs, which is one that countless researchers have checked as carefully as they can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Which is not carefully at all because they can’t audit the code.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Apps. Apple can install apps on your device at any time and perhaps silently, but those apps are subject to the security regime enforced by the OS version your phone already runs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Security engine works with rules, and those rules on apps are set by Apple. Safari is the only app that has JIT permissions, there is no reason why they couldn’t do that for a rogue app.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Are you saying that iOS has a permission that permits apps to read other apps’ data? Or rather that some future version of the OS could hypothetically add such a permission that would, further in the future, enable silently installed apps to read other apps’ data?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If the latter, then it’s a special form of the statement “product X is bad, because it could in the future be modified to do bad things”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cursory search says that it does exist. Though I’m not a iOS developer by any means.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I’m not either. A friend who is says that capability doesn’t really exist any more. It once did and still has a name, but since deprecation the name is all it has.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And they have done this before. For example, the “Clips” app which is distributed through the AppStore has immediate camera access without prompting the user, I believe, because the app ships with a code sign entitlement that grants unprompted camera access. A regular iOS developer would never get Apple to sign such an entitlement, but as the Uber screen capture entitlement scandal proved, some developers are more equal than others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                From Apple’s own iCloud security overview page:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If you have iCloud Backup turned on, your backup includes a copy of the key protecting your Messages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Apple has the key to your backups, so they can access the iMessage key, rendering the so-called E2EE useless. If you disable iCloud backups, your messages can still end up in other people’s backups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You’re correct. iCloud backups can be retrieved by Apple. Using iTunes for backups is still safe. iCloud Photo Library is not end-to-end encrypted either, but that provides major usability benefits (like being able to see your photos from iCloud.com just like the competitor, Google Photos).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is the one major flaw with Apple’s privacy strategy for “average Joe” users. I think that having iCloud Backup on by default is great (losing your phone isn’t such an issue anymore), but it would be great if there were at least an option to encrypt it. Is the idea that people who lost their phone and forgot their password (because they never use their password after setting up their phone) would want access to the backups? That’s my only guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why would they? An average customer does not understand what a private key is. If you give out private keys to end-users and they lose them you are going to end up with massive data loss. Apple does the right thing. This is not perfect but it works for most cases. The other end (no unauthorized access to private keys) of this should be guaranteed by the law like in the EU. It is unfortunate that the US has the Patriot Act but it does not mean that you could have a chance against the US gov agencies even in the case of privately stored private keys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was shocked to learn that coming from one of the largest corporations in the world, they are pushing the correct approach to privacy. Control of the private key.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I’m shocked that you trust one of the largest corporations in the world to live up to their promises on this - or any other - issue. That implies you ascribe morals to the corporation, an organisation without morality. In the end it implies you assume Apple corp. would rather go down in flames (i.e. be forced to pay fines even they could not shoulder, being forced to split the company, etc.) than allow a bunch of TLA’s to do some harvesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It isn’t that single out Apple here, I don’t think you can trust any of these entities and should act accordingly with data you don’t want to get in the wrong hands. For most people this won’t matter but if, say, you’re a dissident writer in Hong Kong or you happen to have proof of what really happened to Epstein it would be foolish to simply trust those data to an iDevice in the assumption that they’re safe for any adversary.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was shocked to learn that coming from one of the largest corporations in the world, they are pushing the correct approach to privacy. Control of the private key.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The reason gigacorps don’t care about privacy is because most of them rely on siphoning your information for profit. Apple don’t, since they sell premium hardware and fashion accessories. That’s why Apple can give users more privacy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They are still trying to maximize their profits, and data is “the new oil,” so giving users privacy is not a viable path even for Apple. Marketing the idea of privacy on the other hand is a viable strategy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Am I missing some substantive difference between Apple’s privacy policy and that of other tech companies?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This makes so little sense to me, I think I might be parsing it wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Who has control over the private key? Steve has always been a pioneer in taking control away from users. Even if they claim the key resides on the device, this is far from the user controlling the key. The actual correct approach to privacy would have to give real control to users, and Steve could not be farther from this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I see a few people asking for 3 month later reviews. I’ve had mine now for what I would guess is 6 months. I don’t remember when it was shipped.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The machine works out of the box, and it’s fine for the most part. I replaced the OS with Manjaro because it felt snappier (and still does). Again. for the most part, things just work. All of the typical laptop things work - sleep, keyboard, display, wireless, etc. The keyboard is probably my favorite part. I find it very satisfying to type on, which is unusual on a smaller form factor like this, and even more impressive given the price point. I wish this keyboard were on my work Macbook pro (I’m still on the butterfly keys from the early 2019 generation).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The only complaints I have about the Pinebook Pro are related to arm support. That is to say, there’s really nothing I can find to complain about. I compiled code in Java, ran some JS with Node, ran some Python. I don’t have very demanding needs when it comes to those things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Let me go back on what I just said, though. There is one place that the Pinebook Pro is pretty terrible: watching videos. I put some “How To” videos on when I was setting some things up on another computer and A) the speakers are tinny, quiet, and pretty awful and B) there is significant tearing on the video itself. If you’re thinking of getting one of these for watching video, don’t. That said, I turned mine into a local Plex server (i.e. not transcoding files) and it works like a charm. We’ve only tried 3 simultaneous streams, but they all worked without issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And that’s where mine stands right now. It’s a plex media server for my house. I had built a media server that had the ability to transcode multiple files at once, but since I never stream outside of my house, I repurposed it for other things and slid the pinebook pro into its spot instead. It works great for that, but if you’re looking for a cheap local Plex server, I’d just grab a raspberry pi for a fraction of the price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hm; in a way, I personally could see this as an advantage: that I would have harder time to get pulled into slacking on youtube :P

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did you try to play video with a dedicated player - mpv, mplayer, vlc et al - instead of a browser? On my relatively ancient and similarly anaemic Thinkpad T42p playing video in a browser - no matter whether that be Gecko or Blink-based - is suboptimal, the thing doesn’t go much further than 480p without stuttering. Playing the same video in one of the mentioned programs is no problem at 720p or - depending on the video - 1080p. Of course something similar goes for the Raspberry Pi where the dedicated player offloads decoding to the GPU while browsers fail to do so. I don’t know whether there is such a player for this machine but if it does exist it will make a world of difference. If it doesn’t exist it should be made…

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It seems better when playing media in VLC. I did notice some screen tearing still, but it’s not very frequent and not really a showstopper.