Threads for alexwennerberg

  1. 17

    Can we please not start posting random wikipedia articles on lobste.rs? It’s extremely low effort..

    1. 6

      Voting is supposed to take care of uninteresting/low-effort posts. Seems like people like this post anyways. I love ncdu! Cuts through disk cruft like a laser-sword.

      1. 3

        As an aside, this Wikipedia article definitely doesn’t meet their notability guidelines as written. Not criticizing the tool itself, but the article has 0 secondary sources

          1. 1

            Was the screenshots link on the tool’s homepage not working? That includes many screenshots including a better version of the one attached to the wikipedia article.

            1. 1

              Ah, I was only looking at the homepage and missed that page. Those are great. Thanks

        1. 9

          I wish Rust had a bigger standard library (“batteries” included, like python in some degree)

          See for example sort. I realise all of us download and run programs with lots of dependencies most days but I feel like core utils should not pull non-standard dependencies.

          1. 13

            Note that among those 12 direct dependencies, Python’s stdlib has direct equivalents only to 4: clap, itertools, rand, tempfile. Things like unicode-width, rayon, semver, binary-heap-plus are not provided by Python. compare, fnv, memchr and ouroboros are somewhat hard to qualify Rust-isms.

            1. 2

              In addition, it’s worth noting that a lot of projects eschew argparse (what the alternative to clap would be) for click. If a similar project was done in python, I’d almost bet money that they’d use click.

              rand being separate has some advantages, largely that it is able to move at a pace that’s not tied to language releases. I look at this as a similar situation that golang’s syscall package has (had? the current situation is unclear to me rn). If an OS introduces a new random primitive (getrandom(2), getentropy(2)), a separate package is a lot easier to update than the stdlib, which is tied to language releases.

              Golang’s syscall package has (had?) a similar problem, which led to big changes being locked down, and the recommended pkg being golang.org/x/sys. There’s a lot more agility to be had to leverage features of the underlying OS if you don’t tie certain core features to the same cadence as a language release. (this is not to say that this is the only problem with the syscall package being in the stdlib, but it’s definitely one of them. more info on the move here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QXzI9I1pOfZPujQzxhyRy6EeHYTQitKKjHfpq0zpxZs/edit)

              1. 1

                argparse

                I’d use getopt over argparse. argparse just has really abysmal parsing which is different from other shell tools, especially when dealing with subcommands.

              2. 1

                True. Could be just rust-lang crates like futures-rs or cargo instead of being in the stdlib.

              3. 12

                This problem is Software Engineering Complete (like NP-Complete - transformable to any other SW Eng Complete thing). As just one other example, Nim also struggles with what should be in the stdlib vs. external packages. Rust has just about 1000x the resources than Nim for a much more spartan core stdlib, but of course the Nim stdlib almost surely has more bugs than that Rust spartan core. So, a lot of this boils down to A) tolerance for bugs, B) resources to maintain going forward, and C) the cost of complexity/generality in the first place, and probably a factor or two I’m forgetting/neglecting. ABC relate far more to community & project management/attitudes than language details themselves. Also, presence in the stdlib is not a panacea for discoverability because as the stdlib grows more and more giant, discoverability crashes.

                Note this is neither attack nor defense but elaboration on why this is not an easy problem.

                1. 2

                  I wonder if the reason nim has to have a big standard library is to attract people. Rust already has the following, as you said, and people are sure to create an kinds of things. Whereas, if one was to try nim, if there wasn’t the stdlib, they would have to do everything on their own.

                2. 3

                  Same. A big part of the learning curve for me was discovering modules like serde, tokio, anyhow/thiserror, and so on that seem necessary in just about every Rust program I write.

                  1. 3

                    Not providing a standard executor was the only complaint I had from async Rust.

                    1. 2

                      I like that there is no built-in blessed executor - it keeps Rust runtime-free.

                      I’ve worked on projects where using an in-house executor was a necessity.

                      Also gtk-rs supports using GTK’s event loop as the executor and it’s very cool to await button clicks :)

                      1. 1

                        Yeah i’ve used it and it felt refreshing :) But for other small tools perhaps having a reference and minimal implementation would be good. I like the smol crate and I think would be perfect for this

                    2. 3

                      All of them developed over time and became a de-facto standard. But it was always the intention that the std doesn’t try to develop these tools as you need some iterations, which won’t work on with a stability guarantee. tokio just went to 1.0 this? year, I’ve got code lying around using 0.1,0.2 and some 0.3 (and don’t forget futures etc).

                      anyhow/thiserror ? Well there is failure,error-chain,quick-error,snafu,eyre (stable-eyre,color-eyre), simple-error….. And yes, some of them are still active as they solve different problems (I specifically had to move away from thiserror) and some are long deprecated. So there was a big amount of iteration (and some changes to the std Error trait as a result).

                      You don’t want to end up like c++ (video) where everybody treats the std implementation of regex as something you don’t ever want to use.

                    3. 3

                      There is problem with such approach of “batteries included” in the standard library - development of such libraries slows down or stagnates. Actually I prefer to use set of well behaved external libraries than need to replace “built-ins” because these are too simplified for any reasonable usage.

                      1. 3

                        The thing is that as a user I “trust” standard rust-lang crates at first glance; surely if I check the external libraries out or recognize them I will know they are well behaved and performant. Trust and trusting trust is such a big problem in software in general.

                        1. 5

                          Yes, that why there are some “blessed” crates as well as there is Crev project to expand the trust.

                        2. 1

                          just version the standard library interface, though

                          1. 4

                            And point me to one, just one, example where it worked? If something is merged into the core, then it will die there. Python has examples of such code, Ruby has examples of such code, etc. How often for example built in HTTP client is good enough to be used in any serious case? How often instead you pull dependency to handle the timeouts, headers, additional HTTP versions, etc. better/faster/easier?

                        3. 2

                          The rust ecosystem, IMO, is far too eager to pull in third party dependencies. I haven’t looked deep into this tool, but a quick glance leads me to believe that many of these dependencies could be replaced with the standard library and/or slimmed down alternative libraries and a little extra effort.

                          1. 2

                            Unfortunately it’s not always that simple. Let’s see the third party dependencies I pulled for meli, an email client, which was a project I started with the intention of implementing as much as possible myself, for fun.

                            xdg = "2.1.0"
                            crossbeam = "0.7.2"
                            signal-hook = "0.1.12"
                            signal-hook-registry = "1.2.0"
                            nix = "0.17.0"
                            serde = "1.0.71"
                            serde_derive = "1.0.71"
                            serde_json = "1.0"
                            toml = { version = "0.5.6", features = ["preserve_order", ] }
                            indexmap = { version = "^1.6", features = ["serde-1", ] }
                            linkify = "0.4.0"
                            notify = "4.0.1"
                            termion = "1.5.1"
                            bincode = "^1.3.0"
                            uuid = { version = "0.8.1", features = ["serde", "v4"] }
                            unicode-segmentation = "1.2.1"
                            smallvec = { version = "^1.5.0", features = ["serde", ] }
                            bitflags = "1.0"
                            pcre2 = { version = "0.2.3", optional = true }
                            structopt = { version = "0.3.14", default-features = false }
                            futures = "0.3.5"
                            async-task = "3.0.0"
                            num_cpus = "1.12.0"
                            flate2 = { version = "1.0.16", optional = true }
                            

                            From a quick glance, only nix, linkify, notify, uuid, bitflags could be easily replaced by invented here code because the part of the crates I use is small.

                            I cannot reasonably rewrite:

                            • serde
                            • flate2
                            • crossbeam
                            • structopt
                            • pcre2
                            1. 1

                              You could reduce transitory dependencies with:

                              serde -> nanoserde

                              structopt -> pico-args

                              Definitely agree that it isn’t that simple, and each project is different (and often it’s not worth the energy, esp for applications, not libraries), but it’s something I notice in the Rust ecosystem in general.

                              1. 4

                                But then you’re getting less popular deps, with fewer eyeballs on them, from less-known authors.

                                Using bare-bones pico-args is a poor deal here — for these CLI tools the args are their primary user interface. The fancy polished features of clap make a difference.

                          2. 1

                            Why do you think an external merge sort should be part of the Rust stdlib? I don’t think it’s part of the Python stdlib either. Rust already has sort() and unstable_sort() in its stdlib (unstable sort should have been the default, but that ship has sailed).

                          1. 2

                            What’s the story with regards to delivery to major providers and self hosting email these days?

                            1. 3

                              I can’t speak for others, but I’ve been self hosting my email for a few months now, with no delivery problems whatsoever. Configuring the server to get messages to actually send and not end up in spam was difficult, but once it was done, things basically worked without issue.

                              1. 3

                                you don’t always know when mails you sent end up in the recipient’s spam folder.

                                1. 2

                                  Or when Gmail silently throws them away with no error or warning. Don’t even show in spam. Just <poof> and … gone.

                                2. 2

                                  I’ve had the same experience running Maddy on Hetzner.

                                  1. 1

                                    Considering how much of my life depends on a working email address and seeing all the horror stories of Gmail blocking accounts apparently for no good reason and with limited ability to appeal, I’m seriously considering hosting email myself too.

                                    Could you elaborate what were steps you needed to do for outgoing messages not to end up in the receiver’s spam folder?

                                    1. 2

                                      It mostly came down to properly setting up the DNS records for authentication. The Arch Wiki page for setting up a mail server is a very useful resource for this. For the most part, setting things up was just trial and error, troubleshooting until things worked. In my experience, hosting email actually isn’t that difficult. It’s definitely not easy, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s definitely doable, and it’s far from the hardest thing I’ve hosted in the past. Of course, this is just my experience, and obviously others have had experiences that differ a lot from mine, so definitely do your research before committing. Especially if you’re extremely dependent on having a working email address, it may be safer to either keep your current email, or just migrate it to a service other than Gmail if you feel uncomfortable with them.

                                      One other thing to note is that if you’re using a VPS, make sure your VPS provider actually allows you to self host email. Many VPS providers block crucial ports such as port 25. The process for getting these port(s) unblocked for your server differs from host to host; some don’t let you unblock it at all, for others you just have to open a support ticket and request it.

                                      1. 2

                                        Using some form of domain authentication is crucial. https://explained-from-first-principles.com/email/#domain-authentication

                                  1. 2

                                    Half way down the screen and I still don’t know what it is you are actually talking about. Now having read the whole thing, I get what you are trying to say about it, but still have no idea what it is.

                                    1. 3

                                      Hi, I wrote this post with this assumed knowledge (its hosted on Gemini and I didn’t submit it here, when I wrote it I assumed only people familiar with gemini would see it) https://gemini.circumlunar.space/

                                      I’ll add this link to the post!

                                    1. 20

                                      Gemini’s obscurity and lack of utility means that there are no analytics, no metrics, no ways to go viral, to monetize people’s attention, build a career or even a minimally-functional web platform.

                                      It’s just not worth it. If I want “no analytics, no metrics”, etc, then I’d install adblock, avoid Twitter and Facebook, and disregard SEO-optimized blogspam, which I do. I don’t want to be forced to use an extraordinarily dumbed-down markup language for that. [0] I still don’t understand why the author thinks that leaving out tables, text styling, images, and forms was necessary in order to avoid Gemini becoming another corporate-monetized cesspool.

                                      [0]: And yes, I could use Markdown with Gemini… but then that kind of misses the point of using Gemini in the first place.

                                      1. 8

                                        Yeah, I guess I don’t understand how resistance-in-place is referenced in the article. If I limited myself to Gemini, I would be able to consume only a small subset of content. That’s fine. But why is a whole new protocol (and the corresponding new software) required?

                                        Why not only consume parts of the web that aren’t gross? In fact, someone could create a standard subset of HTML and an index that only lists pages that follow it. The most serious adherents could even use simpler web browsers to access it (but it would still work fine for everyone else).

                                        Resistance-in-place is about keeping oneself from being appropriated. We don’t need a protocol that itself cannot be appropriated, or one that forcibly prevents use that would be appropriative. We just need individuals who wish not to be appropriated (as best they can). But the web is flexible (in fact, that might be its biggest problem), it can already be used in ways that defy appropriation.

                                        Edit: clarity

                                        1. 8

                                          But why is a whole new protocol (and the corresponding new software) required?

                                          It’s not! There’s all sorts of opportunities for ‘resistance-in-place’ on the web (most of which I don’t do) – opting out of social media, opting out of Google, creating a plain-HTML website with no analytics, etc. Gemini is just a more radical opting out than that, but I think that people who keep RSS and HTML blogging alive online or self-host git or still use mailing lists, etc to be doing the same sort of thing.

                                          Section 2.5 of the FAQ covers the “subset of HTML” idea https://gemini.circumlunar.space/docs/faq.gmi

                                          1. 1

                                            Why not only consume parts of the web that aren’t gross?

                                            I’d love to hear everyday thoughts from ordinary people around the world (that I have no connection to). That’s a great way to understand different cultures a bit more. How do I do that on the web?

                                            On the web, one issue is that everything is optimized for engagement and whatnot. It’s very difficult to find unpopular content. Another issue is that the content on the web is basically eternal, so most people are smart enough not to share their thoughts.

                                            Gemini is no silver bullet, but its uselessness seems to have its uses at the moment.

                                          2. 6

                                            I still don’t understand why the author thinks that leaving out tables, text styling, images, and forms was necessary in order to avoid Gemini becoming another corporate-monetized cesspool.

                                            (author here) Everyone wants something added to Gemini but disagrees what that something is. Personally, I think it should be in-line images and footnotes, but if Gemini became more complex, it would lose many of the traits that make it interesting. Gemini is a technology that invites us not to try and improve or optimize it, but to accept it as it is and work around its limitations – it is intentionally austere, and this is a feature, not a bug.

                                          1. 15

                                            Hey, I’m quoted!

                                            I think it’s a tiny bit out of context though; the part that’s missing is that the article I commented on advocated for Gemini as a feasible replacement of the web, which is very different from @alexwennerberg’s outlook of “Gemini as a tech experiment” (at least, I think that’s how they see it). In the thread my quote was taken from the author of that article simply responded to “You cannot replace the web without inline links, formatting, or inline images, full stop.” with just “As a matter of fact, you can. Full stop.” to Hmmkay…

                                            I could perhaps have worded that better. It’s “useless” for the purposes of “replacing the web”, but if people find it useful then it’s clearly not useless in its entirety.

                                            As I pointed out in my other comment earlier today, hacking around with Gemini is cool. I hacked around a bit with Gemini as well. Just don’t fool yourself in to thinking it will somehow replace anything because for that it’s useless

                                            1. 7

                                              Hey, I’m quoted!

                                              Hey! I wrote this a while ago and it’s been more popular than I expected, didn’t mean it as a public criticism :) – in fact, my point is that I essentially agree with your point, which I thought was well-expressed (hence the title), but that if it was not “useless” in this sense (awkward, deliberately austere, backwards-looking, lacking material utility, etc), it wouldn’t be what it is.

                                              1. 3

                                                didn’t mean it as a public criticism

                                                No worries; that’s not how I took it at all; was mostly just amused by it. “Hey, that post looks familiar”, “oh, it’s from Lobsters so I probably saw it there”, “ah wait, I wrote that” 🙃 Reminds me of the few times when I found an old Stack Overflow answer through an internet search, wanted to upvote it, and got an “you can’t upvote you own answers” error.

                                            1. 5

                                              I really enojoyed reading the passage quoted from Jenny Odell in this article; I think it hits the nail on the head when it comes to Gemini and is an interesting viewpoint from which to see other things in life.

                                              1. 5

                                                (Author here) – “How to Do Nothing” is a fantastic read. She has a lot of interesting things to say about technology, especially alternative social networks like Scuttlebutt, Mastodon, etc. I would be very interested in her thoughts on Gemini.

                                                1. 2

                                                  Heh, I just wanted to bring up Scuttlebutt as a much more useful alternative to all the corporate web bullshit that people hate. Reliable replication of posts to client devices – seamless support for going offline, connecting directly p2p maybe – seems like a powerful idea, rethinking the whole client-server web model in favor of the client, i.e. in favor of the devices people have (phones/PCs) rather than the devices corporations have (big datacenters). While an overly simplified web just doesn’t seem like a powerful idea to me.

                                              1. 11

                                                a bespoke hairshirt protocol

                                                Yup. I really don’t see the point, besides a weird nostalgia for a past I’ll bet most of its adopters never really experienced. I get it, the Web stack has become super complicated and advancing it isn’t the kind of thing you can do as a fun hobby. But there are genuinely novel and different network things that aren’t Google-sized that people could put their resources into instead of recreating Ye Olde Gophere Browser for some kind of 90s RenFaire. Some that I think are cool are Dat, IPFS, Aether … hell, even Urb*t is doing something new even if it’s batshit crazy (ok, and possibly evil.)

                                                1. 5

                                                  Hell, if you’re going to be a revanchist, at least be for something that’s interesting like say, Xanadu.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    You’re not gonna believe this but Xanadu is still as alive and kicking as ever*: the homepage ( https://xanadu.com/ ) even includes a Youtube link!


                                                    * This is either a compliment or not, depending on how you read it :P

                                                  2. 4

                                                    Completely agree. And I’d also argue that the Fediverse has been a massive new development. Sure it didn’t solve world hunger or anything, but it’s here, used by many people actively, and has lots of developer enthusiasm behind it.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      I think that Gemini makes sense if you understand it as a fundamentally techno-skeptic or techno-phobic project (whether all the people associated with it would admit this or not). There is a lot more possible on the web than there was in the 1990s, and it seems that the only drive is to put computers and the web in more places, making them consume an ever-greater amount of our social and psychic lives. Gemini proposes an alternative relationship with computers and the internet: one focused on moving slowly, where computing is a much smaller part of your life, as well as the content you produce. One that is focused on small networks and directories curated by humans, not algorithms or big tech companies. One that is completely resistant to commercial exploitation due to its insane and impractical simplicity, and one that is designed, from its outset, for longevity and stability.

                                                      The problems Gemini and those other protocols are trying to solve are fundamentally different (based on my limited understanding of them). These other protocols focus on privacy, anonymity, decentralization. Gemini (in as much as it is a political project) is focused on resisting commercial exploitation and aimless technological growth.

                                                      1. 9

                                                        That’s why the term hairshirt is so appropriate for this stuff. It’s an ascetic gesture of renunciation, so you can feel good that you’re sacrificing and rejecting the sins of worldliness … without actually having to do anything to make the world better.

                                                        Gemini is not going to do a damned thing about these problems people whine about. It’s still running on complicated capitalist networks, still dependent on servers, and will deliberately never become popular enough to make the world any better. Meanwhile, a bunch of smart people are using this to distract themselves from the possibility of actually making a difference.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          That’s why the term hairshirt is so appropriate for this stuff. It’s an ascetic gesture of renunciation, so you can feel good that you’re sacrificing and rejecting the sins of worldliness … without actually having to do anything to make the world better.

                                                          I don’t really disagree, but perhaps I am more cynical than you – I don’t see anything that “smart people” can do to fix the web from a purely technological perspective – I have no reason to believe any of the alternative protocols you listed will make the world a better place. The problems with the internet and their solutions are purely political, and that’s a totally orthogonal question, it’s not like the existence of Gemini is somehow suppressing activism around privacy regulations or right-to-repair initiatives, etc.

                                                    1. 6

                                                      The solution is widespread legislation that makes using people’s personal data for targeted advertising illegal or very expensive. (This is not limited to Gemini. A great many influential Internet people are convinced politics is utterly broken, so “technical solutions” are all that’s left).

                                                      I don’t disagree with this, but I don’t really see Gemini as a “solution” to any political problem, nor do I have any reason to believe it was conceived as such. Rather, it is a space in which one can choose to go to opt out of the modern web – it’s a subculture, a niche, not trying to take over anything. Using Gemini in 202X is very different from using the web / gopher in 199X, the social and technological conditions are completely different. To use Gemini is to consciously reject the modern web and its trajectory – there is no money in it, no power, no real reason to use it except out of curiosity and interest. So much of social media is about metrics, engagement, advancing your career, etc – here is a space where you can explicitly reject that.

                                                      https://alex.flounder.online/gemlog/2021-01-08-useless.gmi

                                                      Gemini’s killer feature is that its extreme simplicity means that you can do these things with complete independence, knowing that every piece of software (client, server) is free software, easily replaceable, and created to serve the interests of the community, with no ulterior profit motive. 1 person working alone could write a basic client and/or server in a weekend, which means that production of the software ecosystem doesn’t have to be centralized. Again, I want to clarify – this isn’t to say this is the only way that software should be written, but it is allowing a space to exist that is genuinely novel and interesting.

                                                      Many Gemini users are CS students in college, who are young enough to not directly experience the web as it was before “web 2.0”. Gemini is not a return to web 1.0, but a revitalization of something that was lost in the web 1->2 transition.

                                                      proportionally even more white dudes.

                                                      I run https://flounder.online (gemini://flounder.online), and I haven’t done a demographic survey, but from reading people’s self-descriptions on their pages, I have no reason to believe it is less diverse than tech spaces like this forum, GitHub, etc.

                                                      1. 7

                                                        I came here to write this. I wrote Gemini off for many of the reasons @gerikson did at first, but after actually using it, I came to realise the value wasn’t necessarily in the protocol or markup tradeoffs (which I have mixed feelings about, as a user and implementer), but in the subculture that’s developed there. I use Gemini every day, for a few different reasons, and what’s there is lovely to me.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          Note that the article used “proportionally even more white dudes” to describe “the halcyon days of the Internet” as compared to “today’s internet”. It wasn’t saying the Gemini community has proportionally more white dudes.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            My bad, I slightly misread that paragraph.

                                                        1. 78

                                                          It would help if Firefox would actually make a better product that’s not a crappy Chrome clone. The “you need to do something different because [abstract ethical reason X]” doesn’t work with veganism, it doesn’t work with chocolate sourced from dubious sources, it doesn’t work with sweatshop-based clothing, doesn’t work with Free Software, and it sure as hell isn’t going to work here. Okay, some people are going to do it, but not at scale.

                                                          Sometimes I think that Mozilla has been infiltrated by Google people to sabotage it. I have no evidence for this, but observed events don’t contradict it either.

                                                          1. 24

                                                            It would help if Firefox would actually make a better product that’s not a crappy Chrome clone. The “you need to do something different because [abstract ethical reason X]” doesn’t work with veganism, it doesn’t work with chocolate sourced from dubious sources, it doesn’t work with sweatshop-based clothing, doesn’t work with Free Software, and it sure as hell isn’t going to work here. Okay, some people are going to do it, but not at scale.

                                                            I agree, but the deck is stacked against Mozilla. They are a relatively small nonprofit largely funded by Google. Structurally, there is no way they can make a product that competes. The problem is simply that there is no institutional counterweight to big tech right now, and the only real solutions are political: antitrust, regulation, maybe creating a publicly-funded institution with a charter to steward the internet in the way Mozilla was supposed to. There’s no solution to the problem merely through better organizational decisions or product design.

                                                            1. 49

                                                              I don’t really agree; there’s a lot of stuff they could be doing better, like not pushing out updates that change the colour scheme in such a way that it becomes nigh-impossible to see which tab is active. I don’t really care about “how it looks”, but this is just objectively bad. Maybe if you have some 16k super-HD IPS screen with perfect colour reproduction at full brightness in good office conditions it’s fine, but I just have a shitty ThinkPad screen and the sun in my home half the time (you know, like a normal person). It’s darn near invisible for me, and I have near-perfect eyesight (which not everyone has). I spent some time downgrading Firefox to 88 yesterday just for this – which it also doesn’t easily allow, not if you want to keep your profile anyway – because I couldn’t be arsed to muck about with userChrome.css hacks. Why can’t I just change themes? Or why isn’t there just a setting to change the colour?

                                                              There’s loads of other things; one small thing I like to do is not have a “x” on tabs to close it. I keep clicking it by accident because I have the motor skills of a 6 year old and it’s rather annoying to keep accidentally closing tabs. It used to be a setting, then it was about:config, then it was a userChrome.css hack, now it’s a userChrome.css hack that you need to explicitly enable in about:config for it to take effect, and in the future I probably need to sacrifice a goat to our Mozilla overlords if I want to change it.

                                                              I also keep accidentally bookmarking stuff. I press ^D to close terminal windows and sometimes Firefox is focused and oops, new bookmark for you! Want to configure keybinds for Firefox? Firefox say no; you’re not allowed, mere mortal end user; our keybinds are perfect and work for everyone, there must be something wrong with you if you don’t like it! It’s pretty darn hard to hack around this too – more time than I was willing to spend on it anyway – so I just accepted this annoyance as part of my life 🤷

                                                              “But metrics show only 1% of people use this!” Yeah, maybe; but 1% here and 5% there and 2% somewhere else and before you know it you’ve annoyed half (of not more) of your userbase with a bunch of stuff like that. It’s the difference between software that’s tolerable and software that’s a joy to use. Firefox is tolerable, but not a joy. I’m also fairly sure metrics are biased as especially many power users disable it, so while useful, blindly trusting it is probably not a good idea (I keep it enabled for this reason, to give some “power user” feedback too).

                                                              Hell, I’m not even a “power user” really; I have maybe 10 tabs open at the most, usually much less (3 right now) and most settings are just the defaults because I don’t really want to spend time mucking about with stuff. I just happen to be a programmer with an interest in UX who cares about a healthy web and knows none of this is hard, just a choice they made.

                                                              These are all really simple things; not rocket science. As I mentioned a few days ago, Firefox seems have fallen victim to a mistaken and fallacious mindset in their design.

                                                              Currently Firefox sits in a weird limbo that satisfies no one: “power users” (which are not necessarily programmers and the like, loads of people with other jobs interested in computers and/or use computers many hours every day) are annoyed with Firefox because they keep taking away capabilities, and “simple” users are annoyed because quite frankly, Chrome gives a better experience in many ways (this, I do agree, is not an easy problem to solve, but it does work “good enough” for most). And hey, even “simple” users occasionally want to do “difficult” things like change something that doesn’t work well for them.

                                                              So sure, while there are some difficult challenges Firefox faces in competing against Google, a lot of it is just simple every-day stuff where they just choose to make what I consider to be a very mediocre product with no real distinguishing features at best. Firefox has an opportunity to differentiate themselves from Chrome by saying “yeah, maybe it’s a bit slower – it’s hard and we’re working on that – but in the meanwhile here’s all this cool stuff you can do with Firefox that you can’t with Chrome!” I don’t think Firefox will ever truly “catch up” to Chrome, and that’s fine, but I do think they can capture and retain a healthy 15%-20% (if not more) with a vision that consists of more than “Chrome is popular, therefore, we need to copy Chrome” and “use us because we’re not Chrome!”

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                                                                Speaking of key bindings, Ctrl + Q is still “quit without any confirmation”. Someone filed a bug requesting this was changeable (not even default changed), that bug is now 20 years old.

                                                                It strikes me that this would be a great first issue for a new contributor, except the reason it’s been unfixed for so long is presumably that they don’t want it fixed.

                                                                1. 9

                                                                  A shortcut to quit isn’t a problem, losing user data when you quit is a problem. Safari has this behaviour too, and I quite often hit command-Q and accidentally quit Safari instead of the thing I thought I was quitting (since someone on the OS X 10.8 team decided that the big visual clues differentiating the active window and others was too ugly and removed it). It doesn’t bother me, because when I restart Safari I get back the same windows, in the same positions, with the same tabs, scrolled to the same position, with the same unsaved form data.

                                                                  I haven’t used Firefox for a while, so I don’t know what happens with Firefox, but if it isn’t in the same position then that’s probably the big thing to fix, since it also impacts experience across any other kind of browser restart (OS reboots, crashes, security updates). If accidentally quitting the browser loses you 5-10 seconds of time, it’s not a problem. If it loses you a load of data then it’s really annoying.

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                                                                    Firefox does this when closing tabs (restoring closed tabs usually restores form content etc.) but not when closing the window.

                                                                    The weird thing is that it does actually have a setting to confirm when quitting, it’s just that it only triggers when you have multiple tabs or windows open and not when there’s just one tab 🤷

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      The weird thing is that it does actually have a setting to confirm when quitting, it’s just that it only triggers when you have multiple tabs or windows open and not when there’s just one tab

                                                                      Does changing browser.tabs.closeWindowWithLastTab in about:config fix that?

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        I have it set to false already, I tested it to make sure and it doesn’t make a difference (^W won’t close the tab, as expected, but ^Q with one tab will still just quit).

                                                                    2. 2

                                                                      I quite often hit command-Q and accidentally quit Safari

                                                                      One of the first things I do when setting up a new macOS user for myself is adding alt-command-Q in Preferences → Keyboard → Shortcuts → App Shortcuts for “Quit Safari” in Safari. Saves my sanity every day.

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                                                                        Does this somehow remove the default ⌘Q binding?

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          Yes, it changes the binding on the OS level, so the shortcut hint in the menu bar is updated to show the change

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            It overrides it - Safari’s menu shows ⌥⌘Q against “Quit Safari”.

                                                                          2. 1

                                                                            You can do this in windows for firefox (or any browser) too with an autohotkey script. You can set it up to catch and handle a keypress combination before it reaches any other application. This will be global of course and will disable and ctrl-q hotkey in all your applications, but if you want to get into detail and write a more complex script you can actually check which application has focus and only block the combination for the browser.

                                                                          3. 2

                                                                            This sounds like something Chrome gets right - if I hit CMD + Q I get a prompt saying “Hold CMD+Q to Quit” which has prevented me from accidentally quitting lots of times. I assumed this was MacOS behaviour, but I just tested Safari and it quit immediately.

                                                                          4. 6

                                                                            Disabling this shortcut with browser.quitShortcut.disabled works for me, but I agree that bug should be fixed.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              Speaking of key bindings, Ctrl + Q is still “quit without any confirmation”.

                                                                              That was fixed a long time ago, at least on Linux. When I press it, a modal says “You are about to close 5 windows with 24 tabs. Tabs in non-private windows will be restored when you restart.” ESC cancels.

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                                                                                That’s strange. I’m using latest Firefox, from Firefox, on Linux, and I don’t ever get a prompt. Another reply suggested a config tweak to try.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  I had that problem for a while but it went away. I have browser.quitShortcut.disabled as false in about:config. I’m not sure if it’s a default setting or not.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    quitShortcut

                                                                                    It seems that this defaults to false. The fact you have it false, but don’t experience the problem, is counter-intuitive to me. Anyway the other poster’s suggestion was to flip this, so I’ll try that. Thanks!

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      That does seem backwards. Something else must be overriding it. I’m using Ubuntu 20.04, if that matters. I just found an online answer that mentions the setting.

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                                                                              On one level, I disagree – I have zero problems with Firefox. My only complaint is that sometimes website that are built to be Chrome-only don’t work sometimes, which isn’t really Firefox’s problem, but the ecosystem’s problem (see my comment above about antitrust, etc). But I will grant you that Firefox’s UX could be better, that there are ways the browser could be improved in general. However, I disagree here:

                                                                              retain a healthy 15%-20% (if not more)

                                                                              I don’t think this is possible given the amount of resources Firefox has. No matter how much they improve Firefox, there are two things that are beyond their control:

                                                                              1. Most users use Google products (gmail, calendar, etc), and without an antitrust case, these features will be seamlessly integrated into Chrome, and not Firefox.
                                                                              2. Increasingly, websites are simple not targeting Firefox for support, so normal users who want to say, access online banking, are SOL on Firefox. (This happens to me, I still have to use Chrome for some websites)

                                                                              Even the best product managers and engineers could not reverse Firefox’s design. We need a political solution, unless we want the web to become Google Web (tm).

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                                                                                Why can’t I just change themes?

                                                                                You can. The switcher is at the bottom of the Customize Toolbar… view.

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  Hm, last time I tried this it didn’t do much of anything other than change the colour of the toolbar to something else or a background picture; but maybe it’s improved now. I’ll have a look next time I try mucking about with 89 again; thanks!

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                                                                                    You might try the Firefox Colors extension, too. It’s a pretty simple custom theme builder.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      https://color.firefox.com/ to save the trouble of searching.

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                                                                                  I agree with Firefox’s approach of choosing mainstream users over power-users - that’s the only way they’ll ever have 10% or more of users. Firefox is doing things with theming that I wish other systems would do - they have full “fresco” themes (images?) in their chrome! It looks awesome! I dream about entire DEs and app suites built from the ground up with the same theme of frescoes (but with an different specific fresco for each specific app, perhaps tailored to that app). Super cool!

                                                                                  I don’t like the lack of contrast on the current tab, but “give users the choice to fix this very specific issue or not” tends to be extremely shortsighted - the way to fix it is to fix it. Making it optional means yet another maintenance point on an already underfunded system, and doesn’t necessarily even fix the problem for most users!

                                                                                  More importantly, making ultra-specific optionss like that is usually pushing decisions onto the user as a method of avoiding internal politicking/arguments, and not because pushing to the user is the optimal solution for that specific design aspect.

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                                                                                    As for the close button, I am like you. You can set browser.tabs.tabClipWidth to 1000. Dunno if it is scheduled to be removed.

                                                                                    As for most of the other grips, adding options and features to cater for the needs of a small portion of users has a maintenance cost. Maybe adding the option is only one line, but then a new feature needs to work with the option enabled and disabled. Removing options is just a way to keep the code lean.

                                                                                    My favorite example in the distribution world is Debian. Debian supports tries to be the universal OS. We are drowning with having to support everything. For examples, supporting many init systems is more work. People will get to you if there is a bug in the init system you don’t use. You spend time on this. At the end, people not liking systemd are still unhappy and switch to Devuan which supports less init systems. I respect Mozilla to keep a tight ship and maintaining only the features they can support.

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                                                                                      Nobody would say anything if their strategy worked. The core issue is that their strategy obviously doesn’t work.

                                                                                      adding options and features to cater for the needs of a small portion of users

                                                                                      It ’s not even about that.

                                                                                      It’s removing things that worked and users liked by pretending that their preferences are invalid. (And every user belongs to some minority that likes a feature others may be unaware of.)

                                                                                      See the recent debacle of gradually blowing up UI sizes, while removing options to keep them as they were previously.

                                                                                      Somehow the saved cost to support some feature doesn’t seem to free up enough resources to build other things that entice users to stay.

                                                                                      All they do with their condescending arrogance on what their perfectly spherical idea of a standard Firefox user needs … is making people’s lives miserable.

                                                                                      They fired most of the people that worked on things I was excited about, and it seems all that’s left are some PR managers and completely out-of-touch UX “experts”.

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                                                                                        As for most of the other grips, adding options and features to cater for the needs of a small portion of users has a maintenance cost. Maybe adding the option is only one line, but then a new feature needs to work with the option enabled and disabled. Removing options is just a way to keep the code lean.

                                                                                        It seems to me that having useful features is more important than having “lean code”, especially if this “lean code” is frustrating your users and making them leave.

                                                                                        I know it’s easy to shout stuff from the sidelines, and I’m also aware that there may be complexities I may not be aware of and that I’m mostly ignorant of the exact reasoning behind many decisions (most of us here are really, although I’ve seen a few Mozilla people around), but what I do know is that 1) Firefox as a product has been moving in a certain direction for years, 2) that Firefox has been losing users for years, 3) that I know few people who truly find Firefox an amazing browser that a joy to use, and that in light of that 4) keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing for years is probably not a good idea, and 5) that doing the same thing but doing it harder is probably an even worse idea.

                                                                                        I also don’t think that much of this stuff is all that much effort. I am not intimately familiar with the Firefox codebase, but how can a bunch of settings add an insurmountable maintenance burden? These are not “deep” things that reach in to the Gecko engine, just comparatively basic UI stuff. There are tons of projects with a much more complex UI and many more settings.

                                                                                        Hell, I’d argue that even removing the RSS was also a mistake – they should have improved it instead, especially after Google Reader’s demise there was a huge missed opportunity there – although it’s a maintenance burden trade-off I can understand it better, it also demonstrates a lack of vision to just say “oh, it’s old crufty code, not used by many (not a surprise, it sucked), so let’s just remove it, people can just install an add-on if they really want it”. This is also a contradiction with Firefox’s mantra of “most people use the defaults, and if it’s not used a lot we can just remove it”. Well, if that’s true then you can ship a browser with hardly any features at all, and since most people will use the defaults they will use a browser without any features.

                                                                                        Browsers like Brave and Vivaldi manage to do much of this; Vivaldi has an entire full-blown email client. I’d wager that a significant portion of the people leaving Firefox are actually switching to those browsers, not Chrome as such (but they don’t show up well in stats as they identify as “Chrome”). Mozilla nets $430 million/year; it’s not a true “giant” like Google or Apple, but it’s not small either. Vivaldi has just 55 employees (2021, 35 in 2017); granted, they do less than Mozilla, but it doesn’t require a huge team to do all of this.

                                                                                        And every company has limited resources; it’s not like the Chrome team is a bottomless pit of resources either. A number of people in this thread express the “big Google vs. small non-profit Mozilla”-sentiment here, but it doesn’t seem that clear-cut. I can’t readily find a size for the Chrome team on the ‘net, but I checked out the Chromium source code and let some scripts loose on that: there are ~460 Google people with non-trivial commits in 2020, although quite a bit seems to be for ChromeOS and not the browser part strictly speaking, so my guestimate is more 300 people. A large team? Absolutely. But Mozilla’s $430/million a year can match this with ~$1.5m/year per developer. My last company had ~70 devs on much less revenue (~€10m/year). Basically they have the money to spare to match the Chrome dev team person-for-person. Mozilla does more than just Firefox, but they can still afford to let a lot of devs loose on Gecko/Firefox (I didn’t count the number devs for it, as I got some other stuff I want to do this evening as well).

                                                                                        It’s all a matter of strategy; history is littered with large or even huge companies that went belly up just because they made products that didn’t fit people’s demands. I fear Firefox will be in the same category. Not today or tomorrow, but in five years? I’m not so sure Firefox will still be around to be honest. I hope I’m wrong.

                                                                                        As for your Debian comparison; an init system is a fundamental part of the system; it would be analogous to Firefox supporting different rendering or JS engines. It’s not even close to the same as “an UI to configure key mappings” or “a bunch of settings for stuff you can actually already kind-of do but with hacks that you need to explicitly search for and most users don’t know it exists”, or even a “built-in RSS reader that’s really good and a great replacement for Google Reader”.

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                                                                                          I agree with most of what you said. Notably the removal of RSS support. I don’t work for Mozilla and I am not a contributor, so I really can’t answer any of your questions.

                                                                                          Another example of maintaining a feature would be Alsa support. It has been removed, this upsets some users, but for me, this is understandable as they don’t want to handle bug reports around this or the code to get in the way of some other features or refactors. Of course, I use Pulseaudio, so I am quite biased.

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                                                                                            I think ALSA is a bad example; just use Pulseaudio. It’s long since been the standard, everyone uses it, and this really is an example of “147 people who insist on having an überminimal Linux on Reddit being angry”. It’s the kind of technical detail with no real user-visible changes that almost no one cares about. Lots of effort with basically zero or extremely minimal tangible benefits.

                                                                                            And ALSA is a not even a good or easy API to start with. I’m pretty sure that the “ALSA purists” never actually tried to write any ALSA code otherwise they wouldn’t be ALSA purists but ALSA haters, as I’m confident there is not a single person that has programmed with ALSA that is not an ALSA hater to some degree.

                                                                                            Pulseaudio was pretty buggy for a while, and its developer’s attitude surrounding some of this didn’t really help, because clearly if tons of people are having issues then all those people are just “doing it wrong” and is certainly not a reason to fix anything, right? There was a time that I had a keybind to pkill pulseaudio && pulseaudio --start because the damn thing just stopped working so often. The Grand Pulseaudio Rollout was messy, buggy, broke a lot of stuff, and absolutely could have been handled better. But all of that was over a decade ago, and it does actually provide value. Most bugs have been fixed years ago, Poettering hasn’t been significantly involved since 2012, yet … people still hold an irrational hatred towards it 🤷

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                                                                                              ALSA sucks, but PulseAudio is so much worse. It still doesn’t even actually work outside the bare basics. Firefox forced me to put PA on and since then, my mic randomly spews noise and sound between programs running as different user ids is just awful. (I temporarily had that working better though some config changes, then a PA update - hoping to fix the mic bug - broke this… and didn’t fix the mic bug…)

                                                                                              I don’t understand why any program would use the PA api instead of the alsa ones. All my alsa programs (including several I’ve made my own btw, I love it whenever some internet commentator insists I don’t exist) work equally as well as pulse programs on the PA system… but also work fine on systems where audio actually works well (aka alsa systems). Using the pulse api seems to be nothing but negatives.

                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                        Not sure if this will help you but I absolutely cannot STAND the default Firefox theme so I use this: https://github.com/ideaweb/firefox-safari-style

                                                                                        I stick with Firefox over Safari purely because it’s devtools are 100x better.

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                                                                                        There’s also the fact that web browsers are simply too big to reimplement at this point. The best Mozilla can do (barely) is try to keep up with the Google-controlled Web Platform specs, and try to collude with Apple to keep the worst of the worst from being formally standardized (though Chrome will implement them anyway). Their ability to do even that was severely impacted by their layoffs last year. At some point, Apple is going to fold and rebase Safari on Chromium, because maintaining their own browser engine is too unprofitable.

                                                                                        At this point, we need to admit that the web belongs to Google, and use it only to render unto Google what is Google’s. Our own traffic should be on other protocols.

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                                                                                          For a scrappy nonprofit they don’t seem to have any issues paying their executives millions of dollars.

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                                                                                            I mean, I don’t disagree, but we’re still talking several orders of magnitude less compensation than Google’s execs.

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                                                                                              A shit sandwich is a shit sandwich, no matter how low the shit content is.

                                                                                              (And no, no one is holding a gun to Mozilla’s head forcing them to hire in high-CoL/low-productivity places.)

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                                                                                            Product design can’t fix any of these problems because nobody is paying for the product. The more successful it is, the more it costs Mozilla. The only way to pay the rent with free-product-volume is adtech, which means spam and spying.

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                                                                                              Exactly why I think the problem requires a political solution.

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                                                                                            I don’t agree this is a vague ethical reason. Problem with those are concerns like deforestation (and destruction of habitats for smaller animals) to ship almond milk across the globe, and sewing as an alternative to poverty and prostitution, etc.

                                                                                            The browser privacy question is very quantifiable and concrete, the source is in the code, making it a concrete ethical-or-such choice.

                                                                                            ISTR there even being a study or two where people were asked about willingness to being spied upon, people who had no idea their phones were doing what was asked about, and being disconcerted after the fact. That’s also a concrete way to raise awareness.

                                                                                            At the end of the day none of this may matter if people sign away their rights willingly in favor of a “better” search-result filter bubble.

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                                                                                              I don’t think they’re vague (not the word I used) but rather abstract; maybe that’s no the best word either but what I mean with it is that it’s a “far from my bed show” as we would say in Dutch. Doing $something_better on these topics has zero or very few immediate tangible benefits, but rather more abstract long-term benefits. And in addition it’s also really hard to feel that you’re really making a difference as a single individual. I agree with you that these are important topics, it’s just that this type of argument is simply not all that effective at really making a meaningful impact. Perhaps it should be, but it’s not, and exactly because it’s important we need to be pragmatic about the best strategy.

                                                                                              And if you’re given the choice between “cheaper (or better) option X” vs. “more expensive (or inferior) option Y with abstract benefits but no immediate ones”, then I can’t really blame everyone for choosing X either. Life is short, lots of stuff that’s important, and can’t expect everyone to always go out of their way to “do the right thing”, if you can even figure out what the “right thing” is (which is not always easy or black/white).

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                                                                                                My brain somehow auto-conflated the two, sorry!

                                                                                                I think we agree that the reasoning in these is inoptimal either way.

                                                                                                Personally I wish these articles weren’t so academic, and maybe not in somewhat niche media, but instead mainstream publications would run “Studies show people do not like to be spied upon yet they are - see the shocking results” clickbaity stuff.

                                                                                                At least it wouldn’t hurt for a change.

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                                                                                                  It probably wasn’t super-clear what exactly was intended with that in the first place so easy enough of a mistake to make 😅

                                                                                                  As for articles, I’ve seen a bunch of them in mainstream Dutch newspapers in the last two years or so; so there is some amount of attention being given to this. But as I expended on in my other lengthier comment, I think the first step really ought to be making a better product. Not only is this by far the easiest to do and within our (the community’s) power to do, I strongly suspect it may actually be enough, or at least go a long way.

                                                                                                  It’s like investing in public transport is better than shaming people for having a car, or affordable meat alternatives is a better alternative than shaming people for eating meat, etc.

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                                                                                              I agree to an extent. Firefox would do well to focus on the user experience front.

                                                                                              I switched to Firefox way back in the day, not because of vague concerns about the Microsoft hegemony, or even concerns about web standards and how well each browser implemented them. I switched because they introduced the absolutely groundbreaking feature that is tabbed browsing, which gave a strictly better user experience.

                                                                                              I later switched to Chrome when it became obvious that it was beating Firefox in terms of performance, which is also a factor in user experience.

                                                                                              What about these days? Firefox has mostly caught up to Chrome on the performance point. But you know what’s been the best user experience improvement I’ve seen lately? Chrome’s tab groups feature. It’s a really simple idea, but it’s significantly improved the way I manage my browser, given that I tend to have a huge number of tabs open.

                                                                                              These are the kinds of improvements that I’d like to see Firefox creating, in order to lure people back. You can’t guilt me into trying a new browser, you have to tempt me.

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                                                                                                But you know what’s been the best user experience improvement I’ve seen lately? Chrome’s tab groups feature. It’s a really simple idea, but it’s significantly improved the way I manage my browser, given that I tend to have a huge number of tabs open.

                                                                                                Opera had this over ten years ago (“tab stacking”, added in Opera 11 in 2010). Pretty useful indeed, even with just a limited number of tabs. It even worked better than Chrome groups IMO. Firefox almost-kind-of has this with container tabs, which are a nice feature actually (even though I don’t use it myself), and with a few UX enhancements on that you’ve got tab groups/stacking.

                                                                                                Opera also introduced tabbed browsing by the way (in 2000 with Opera 4, about two years before Mozilla added it in Phoenix, which later became Firefox). Opera was consistently way ahead of the curve on a lot of things. A big reason it never took off was because for a long time you had to pay for it (until 2005), and after that it suffered from “oh, I don’t want to pay for it”-reputation for years. It also suffered from sites not working; this often (not always) wasn’t even Opera’s fault as frequently this was just a stupid pointless “check” on the website’s part, but those were popular in those days to tell people to not use IE6 and many of them were poor and would either outright block Opera or display a scary message. And being a closed-source proprietary product also meant it never got the love from the FS/OSS crowd and the inertia that gives (not necessarily a huge inertia, but still).

                                                                                                So Firefox took the world by storm in the IE6 days because it was free and clearly much better than IE6, and when Opera finally made it free years later it was too late to catch up. I suppose the lesson here is that “a good product” isn’t everything or a guarantee for success, otherwise we’d all be using Opera (Presto) now, but it certainly makes it a hell of a lot easier to achieve success.

                                                                                                Opera had a lot of great stuff. I miss Opera 😢 Vivaldi is close (and built by former Opera devs) but for some reason it’s always pretty slow on my system.

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                                                                                                  This is fair and I did remember Opera being ahead of the curve on some things. I don’t remember why I didn’t use it, but it being paid is probably why.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    I agree, I loved the Presto-era Opera and I still use the Blink version as my main browser (and Opera Mobile on Android). It’s still much better than Chrome UX-wise.

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                                                                                                    I haven’t used tab groups, but it looks pretty similar to Firefox Containers which was introduced ~4 years ahead of that blog post. I’ll grant that the Chrome version is built-in and looks much more polished and general purpose than the container extension, so the example is still valid.

                                                                                                    I just wanted to bring this up because I see many accusations of Firefox copying Chrome, but I never see the reverse being called out. I think that’s partly because Chrome has the resources to take Mozilla’s ideas and beat them to market on it.

                                                                                                    Disclaimer: I’m a Mozilla employee

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                                                                                                    One challenge for people making this kind of argument is that predictions of online-privacy doom and danger often don’t match people’s lived experiences. I’ve been using Google’s sites and products for over 20 years and have yet to observe any real harm coming to me as a result of Google tracking me. I think my experience is typical: it is an occasional minor annoyance to see repetitive ads for something I just bought, and… that’s about the extent of it.

                                                                                                    A lot of privacy advocacy seems to assume that readers/listeners believe it’s an inherently harmful thing for a company to have information about them in a database somewhere. I believe privacy advocates generally believe that, but if they want people to listen to arguments that use that assumption as a starting point, they need to do a much better job offering non-circular arguments about why it’s bad.

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                                                                                                      I think it has been a mistake to focus on loss of privacy as the primary data collection harm. To me the bigger issue is that it gives data collectors power over the creators of the data and society as a whole, and drives destabilizing trends like political polarization and economic inequality. In some ways this is a harder sell because people are brainwashed to care only about issues that affect them personally and to respond with individualized acts.

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                                                                                                        There is no brainwashing needed for people to act like people.

                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                          do you disagree with something in my comment?

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                                                                                                            In some ways this is a harder sell because people are brainwashed to care only about issues that affect them personally and to respond with individualized acts.

                                                                                                            I’m not @halfmanhalfdonut but I don’t think that brainwashing is needed to get humans to behave like this. This is just how humans behave.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              Yep, this is what I was saying.

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                                                                                                                things like individualism, solidarity, and collaboration exist on a spectrum, and everybody exhibits each to some degree. so saying humans just are individualistic is tautological, meaningless. everyone has some individualism in them regardless of their upbringing, and that doesn’t contradict anything in my original comment. that’s why I asked if there was some disagreement.

                                                                                                                to really spell it out, modern mass media and culture condition people to be more individualistic than they otherwise would be. that makes it harder to make an appeal to solidarity and collaboration.

                                                                                                                @GrayGnome

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  I think you’re only seeing the negative side (to you) of modern mass media and culture. Our media and culture also promote unity, tolerance, respect, acceptance, etc. You’re ignoring that so that you can complain about Google influencing media, but the reality is that the way you are comes from those same systems of conditioning.

                                                                                                                  The fact that you even know anything about income inequality and political polarization are entirely FROM the media. People on the whole are not as politically divided as media has you believe.

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                                                                                                                    sure, I only mentioned this particular negative aspect because it was relevant to the point I was making in my original comment

                                                                                                                  2. 1

                                                                                                                    to really spell it out, modern mass media and culture condition people to be more individualistic than they otherwise would be. that makes it harder to make an appeal to solidarity and collaboration.

                                                                                                                    I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree. I can make a complicated rebuttal here, but it’s off-topic for the site, so cheers!

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      cheers

                                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                                        I agree with everything you’ve written in this thread, especially when it comes to the abstractness of pro-Firefox arguments as of late. Judging from the votes it seems I am not alone. It is sad to see Mozilla lose the favor of what used to be its biggest proponents, the “power” users. I truly believe they are digging their own grave – faster and faster it seems, too. It’s unbelievable how little they seem to be able to just back down and admit they were wrong about an idea, if only for a single time.

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          Firefox does have many features that Chrome doesn’t have: container tabs, tree style tabs, better privacy and ad-blocking capabilities, some useful dev tools that I don’t think Chrome has (multi-line JS and CSS editors, fonts), isolated profiles, better control over the home screen, reader mode, userChrome.css, etc.

                                                                                                        1. 18

                                                                                                          IMO, give up on the bizarrely macho idea that hjkl is uniquely amazing and use the arrow keys.

                                                                                                          1. 18

                                                                                                            To me the advantage of using hjkl instead of the arrow keys is that I don’t have to move my fingers away from the home row to move the cursor around. I don’t see how that is a “bizarrely macho idea”.

                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                              I cannot imagine how that helps. Can you explain?

                                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                                You can keep your fingers in the middle of the typing area (home row) instead of going over to the cursors.

                                                                                                                1. 0

                                                                                                                  Oh, hi ane!

                                                                                                                  You can keep your fingers in the middle of the typing area (home row) instead of going over to the cursors.

                                                                                                                  I cannot imagine how that helps. Can you explain?

                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                    Hi!

                                                                                                                    I cannot imagine how that helps. Can you explain?

                                                                                                                    You… move around less? It saves time. Like a keyboard shortcut or macro does, basically. It depends on the form factor of the keyboard, but usually the arrow keys are further away from the regular text input keys.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      Perhaps 10 years of active piano practice makes this a moot point for me but not so much for others. Or I’m just being an asshole. Could be both ;)

                                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                                      What I find helpful about it, is that I don’t have to look away from the screen to see where the arrow keys are, and likewise when going back to the home row. If there’s a lot going on on your screen it’s easy to lose your place, especially when reading lots of text.

                                                                                                                      Also it avoids the physical motion of moving your hand, it just feels more comfortable I think.

                                                                                                              2. 16

                                                                                                                I use a 60% keyboard without arrow keys

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  By choice, though?

                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                    Yes, it’s more portable and means i don’t have to reach as far for my mouse

                                                                                                                2. 10

                                                                                                                  I used to think this way. Then I learned hjkl. Now I am in the cult of the ancient keyboard warriors

                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                    Ancient keyboard warriors who didn’t have arrow keys? I used arrow keys, learned hjkl, thought it was nice, moved to dvorak, ditched hjkl for arrow keys. Nothing is magic about it. Why contort yourself to use hjkl on non-qwerty? Would hjkl be dhtn if the standard were dvorak at the time? Probably, but you can’t just remap dhtn now.

                                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                                      There was once a really good reddit thread of a guy playing counter-strike with zqsd movement keys on a qwerty keyboard cause he copied a French (AZERTY) player’s keybinds. He did not realize this and posted about how much better these movement keys made him.

                                                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                                                        Pedantic note: ScreaM is a Belgian, not French, player. The keyboard layout is still French though

                                                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                                                        Would hjkl be dhtn if the standard were dvorak at the time? Probably, but you can’t just remap dhtn now.

                                                                                                                        If you’re using Dvorak in the “suggested sense”, even dhtn would be awkward since you’d be using your right index finger for both d and h. Maybe htns (or QWERTY jkl;) would be better.

                                                                                                                    2. 9

                                                                                                                      How did you come to the conclusion hjkl is “bizarrely macho”?

                                                                                                                      1. 8

                                                                                                                        Why is that macho?

                                                                                                                        I mean some people tried it, liked it and share the good experience of how great it feels when you get used to it.

                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                          I used to use hjkl. Then I started getting RSI. Now I appreciate the break my fingers naturally get every time I have to move my hands to the arrow keys.

                                                                                                                          I can still use hjkl at a pinch, and probably use them many times a day without noticing. But yeah, it’s not worth getting worked up about.

                                                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                                                            I can see this being the case, but I think it’s worth noting that RSI covers a large number of distinct problems, and that most RSI would only get worse by more frequently moving your hands away from the home position.

                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                          I definitely agree with this perspective. I played around with a lot of the tools you mentioned, and came to the same conclusion. I think that if I was producing a lot more content, or was concerned about SEO, I would want a more sophisticated tool. But I think that for my case and for most of what we use the web for, plain HTML is a great solution. My version is at https://alexwennerberg.com/ – I don’t even have a navbar, I just keep all the links on the homepage and have pages link back home.

                                                                                                                          https://neocities.org is a great example of this in practice, and I think it creates a much more pleasant web experience.

                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                            I’ve worked a bit with ActivityPub, and what concerns me more than centralization around a few Mastodon servers is centralization around Mastodon’s specific ActivityPub implementation. AP is a loose and flexible spec and most ActivityPub implementations basically just implement Mastodon’s API, which leaves me wondering what the value of the protocol is?

                                                                                                                            1. 32

                                                                                                                              I’m not sure if I’ve yet seen a good e-mail client. Thunderbird is what I’m using right now, but it kind of sucks. All the webmail clients are ridiculously heavy, confusing, and have long loading times. Maybe Outlook is good.

                                                                                                                              Everyone, and every e-mail client, has a different idea of how e-mail works. Does the quoted text go at the bottom or the top? Is text hard or soft wrapped? If hard wrapped, is it wrapped at 80 or 72 columns? You end up with person A sending something with hard wrapping set to 80 columns, then person B quotes parts of that with 72 column hard wrapping, and you get alternating 72 and 8 column lines.

                                                                                                                              E-mail is a terrible medium for sending code. Most programmer types insist on hard wrapping, but e-mail clients configured to hard wrapping will break code by inserting newlines. Most people recommend hard wrapping at 72 lines; most code is wrapped at around 80-100 lines if at all.

                                                                                                                              E-mail is barely decentralized. Good luck hosting your own e-mail server without being overrun by spam and without being marked as spam by the big providers. Pray you don’t ever get your IP address globally blacklisted; pray your IP address has never been used for mail spam in the past.

                                                                                                                              An e-mail client is about as hard to implement as a web browser, since an e-mail client needs to parse and display HTML and CSS like a browser would (or at least like Outlook would).

                                                                                                                              E-mail discussion chains inevitably end up with a messy mix of hard wrapping at 80, hard wrapping at 72, HTML, plaintext, quoted text above the message, quoted text at the bottom of the message, and messages using symbols from proprietary Microsoft fonts.

                                                                                                                              E-mail is a terrible discussion platform.

                                                                                                                              1. 9

                                                                                                                                Everyone, and every e-mail client, has a different idea of how e-mail works. Does the quoted text go at the bottom or the top? Is text hard or soft wrapped? If hard wrapped, is it wrapped at 80 or 72 columns? You end up with person A sending something with hard wrapping set to 80 columns, then person B quotes parts of that with 72 column hard wrapping, and you get alternating 72 and 8 column lines.

                                                                                                                                There’s format=flowed for that now. Mailing list etiquette ended up against top-posting, which means quoted text shouldn’t to go the bottom.

                                                                                                                                E-mail is a terrible medium for sending code. Most programmer types insist on hard wrapping, but e-mail clients configured to hard wrapping will break code by inserting newlines. Most people recommend hard wrapping at 72 lines; most code is wrapped at around 80-100 lines if at all.

                                                                                                                                You should use git send-email, not pasting git format-patch output into your mail client.

                                                                                                                                An e-mail client is about as hard to implement as a web browser, since an e-mail client needs to parse and display HTML and CSS like a browser would (or at least like Outlook would).

                                                                                                                                Email shouldn’t have gotten HTML support in the first place, thank Microsoft for that. Also, almost all HTML email is sent for advertisement. How often do you see an email from a person that actually needs HTML? I haven’t seen one yet.

                                                                                                                                1. 15

                                                                                                                                  There’s format=flowed for that now

                                                                                                                                  Ah, that famously super well-supported feature which every e-mail client can use.

                                                                                                                                  Mailing list etiquette ended up against top-posting, which means quoted text shouldn’t to go the bottom.

                                                                                                                                  I don’t think I’ve used many e-mail clients which don’t default to putting quoted text at the bottom. When “mailing list etiquette” goes against most mainstream e-mail clients’ defaults, you guarantee that at least a large portion of the users won’t follow “mailing list etiquette”.

                                                                                                                                  You should use git send-email, not pasting git format-patch output into your mail client.

                                                                                                                                  Ah, so I can’t even use my preferred e-mail client to send patches.

                                                                                                                                  Email shouldn’t have gotten HTML support in the first place, thank Microsoft for that.

                                                                                                                                  Well, it’s here now. “E-mail sucks because Microsoft” isn’t a counter-argument to “e-mail sucks”.

                                                                                                                                  Also, almost all HTML email is sent for advertisement.

                                                                                                                                  Nope, I receive lots of HTML e-mail which isn’t advertisements.

                                                                                                                                  How often do you see an email from a person that actually needs HTML?

                                                                                                                                  Not many? Still, when I receive HTML e-mail, my client needs to support HTML.

                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                    Ah, that famously super well-supported feature which every e-mail client can use.

                                                                                                                                    I don’t think I’ve used many e-mail clients which don’t default to putting quoted text at the bottom. When “mailing list etiquette” goes against most mainstream e-mail clients’ defaults, you guarantee that at least a large portion of the users won’t follow “mailing list etiquette”.

                                                                                                                                    Ah, so I can’t even use my preferred e-mail client to send patches.

                                                                                                                                    If your client can’t support basic features use a different one.

                                                                                                                                    And of course you can use your preferred email client to send patches, as long as it’s able to be configured to send patches properly. git send-email is just much more reliable than arbitrary shitty client number 72.

                                                                                                                                    Well, it’s here now. “E-mail sucks because Microsoft” isn’t a counter-argument to “e-mail sucks”.

                                                                                                                                    Email with people that use shit Microsoft products is, like most interactions with those people, pretty crap. It doesn’t matter what communication method you use with Microsoft-using people, you’re still going to get proprietary formats of one kind or another. At least with Email there’s a nice smooth transition path away from Microsoft crap towards much more functional alternatives.

                                                                                                                                    Nope, I receive lots of HTML e-mail which isn’t advertisements.

                                                                                                                                    All HTML email I receive is in one of three categories:

                                                                                                                                    1. Actual spam spam
                                                                                                                                    2. “Spam” in the form of email advertisements from websites I’ve signed up to at one point or another, so not unsolicited but not really wanted
                                                                                                                                    3. People using HTML email because their client defaults to it or because they want an image in their signature, where the email could easily have been in plain text with no loss of functionality

                                                                                                                                    Is there a different kind of HTML email you receive? I’m interested to hear this because everyone I’ve spoken to is in the same situation I’m in with HTML email.

                                                                                                                                    Not many? Still, when I receive HTML e-mail, my client needs to support HTML.

                                                                                                                                    Your browser supports HTML. Why can’t your client just open the HTML email in a browser window? It could even be a browser window embedded in the client window if that’s your preference.

                                                                                                                                    1. 8

                                                                                                                                      Email with people that use shit Microsoft products is, like most interactions with those people, pretty crap.

                                                                                                                                      This sounds quite harsh to me. I don’t use windows or ms office or anything at home, but I have to useit all at work. Some purpl people don’t have a lot of choice.

                                                                                                                                      Regular folks will typically buy a laptop with Windows and stiff pre-installed. How many consumer-laptops with lowprice with Linux pre-installed are there? Some people don’t have a choice in this as well.

                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                        Rant incoming, be forewarned:

                                                                                                                                        My patience has slowly run out with people that choose to stick their head in the sand and ignore the bajillions of reasons that Windows is a harmful platform designed by harmful people to harm. It’s spyware, it’s anti-standards, it’s buggy, it’s just crapware. I don’t mean to be inflammatory, I’m just sick of it. I’ve spent enough time trying to explain the issues with Microsoft products to various family members over the years. They just don’t care about privacy. They don’t care about supporting an American defence contractor. They just don’t care. They’ll complain about the decline of local bookstores and use Amazon. They’ll complain about their local butchers and grocers closing while spending most of their disposable income at the supermarket. They’ll complain about the quality of their computer and about how much they hate computers and computing, all of it Microsoft-specific annoyances and bad UI, and they’ll just keep on giving money to Microsoft. “Regular folks” can deal with their privacy issues and crap spyware software themselves. People choose to be ignorant, to not explore alternatives, to not learn anything new or unfamiliar. I’ve had enough.

                                                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                                                      Ah, so I can’t even use my preferred e-mail client to send patches.

                                                                                                                                      You can use more than one client. Some are better at some things than others.

                                                                                                                                      Still, when I receive HTML e-mail, my client needs to support HTML.

                                                                                                                                      I haven’t seen any mail client that wouldn’t send text when sending HTML alternative. Only time I’ve seen HTML emails without text is advertisements.

                                                                                                                                    3. 4

                                                                                                                                      There’s format=flowed for that now.

                                                                                                                                      Which basically nothing supports.

                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                        Really? How sad. It’s dead simple to implement. I know Apple Mail has supported it since 2000.

                                                                                                                                        1. 8

                                                                                                                                          FastMail wrote an article detailing why they don’t support it: https://fastmail.blog/2016/12/17/format-flowed/

                                                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                                                            As noted in common mailing list etiquette guides, you should disable format=flowed to avoid any software patches getting broken

                                                                                                                                            Wow.

                                                                                                                                      2. 4

                                                                                                                                        Mailing list etiquette ended up against top-posting, which means quoted text shouldn’t to go the bottom.

                                                                                                                                        I used to think so too, until I found out even Theo de Raadt seems to have given up on bottom-posting:

                                                                                                                                        https://marc.info/?l=openbsd-misc&m=159128694514674&w=2

                                                                                                                                        (The above link is just a random email I found when trying to see if navigating some mailing list arcives was as unintuitive as I remembered it to be. Conclusion: it is.)

                                                                                                                                      3. 8

                                                                                                                                        I’m not sure if I’ve yet seen a good e-mail client.

                                                                                                                                        I’ve been extremely happy with aerc: https://aerc-mail.org/

                                                                                                                                        It has readability issues sometimes for some HTML emails, but for personal communication I’ve found it to be a joy to work with. I’ve used it daily for nearly a year.

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          I really want aerc to replace mutt for me, but it’s missing some crucial features: pgp mail encrypt/decrypt and signing support, and email threads. I learned enough golang when aerc was first started to contribute a tiny number of patches, but implementing these things are beyond what I have time/patience for at the moment. I hope one day I can drop mutt for good, and use aerc full-time.

                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                            email threads

                                                                                                                                            This is the actual killer feature of email for programming projects. A good client with threads and a mailing list is better than most web-based forums.

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              I’ve never missed email threads (although I’ve never used Mutt so I can’t compare), but I agree that PGP is a big missing feature. Currently, it’s WIP: https://todo.sr.ht/~sircmpwn/aerc2?search=label:%22pgp%22

                                                                                                                                          2. 6

                                                                                                                                            An additional problem is that you never know if someone is going to read your email in monospace or proportional fonts. If it’s the latter, then there’s no real way to send tabular data for example, or otherwise aligned text. Other than HTML of course, but some people are rabidly opposed to that as well, so you never know if that works for them, either 🤷‍♂️

                                                                                                                                            Also, when you use email lists are the primary way to get in touch for bug reports an the like, you’re actually adding quite a barrier IMO. You often need to be subscribed and you’re spammed with emails you don’t care about. Even if you don’t need to subscribe, you may get CC’d for a long time and get emails you may not care at all about.

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              you never know if someone is going to read your email in monospace or proportional fonts. If it’s the latter, then there’s no real way to send tabular data for example, or otherwise aligned text. Other than HTML of course, but some people are rabidly opposed to that as well, so you never know if that works for them, either 🤷‍♂️

                                                                                                                                              You send HTML with the tabular/code/etc. stuff in a <tt> block. (Except the editor will probably instead use an inline CSS style, but same difference.) The luddites will be reading the plain-text alternate body in a monospaced font anyway, so everyone’s happy.

                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                Most non-terminal email clients display the text version as proportional, and there’s almost always an option to prefer the text version over HTML, so some people must be enabling that (perhaps not many, but not 0 either, especially among the tech crowd).

                                                                                                                                                I actually enable it myself in FastMail, mostly so that I have a consistent experience reading text. I just enabled and went through some of my recent email conversations, and for some reason loads of email clients set weird fonts, colours, line-heights, and that kind of stuff on their outgoing emails. I don’t really mind HTML email as such but having the entire UI and my email in 14px fonts, and then getting an email with a huge 22px font does not exactly make for a great reading experience.

                                                                                                                                                At least it looks like Outlook stopped sending their emails in fecking blue text by default, so that’s an improvement.

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  luddites

                                                                                                                                                  Ironically the luddites are the ones using Outlook and Gmail and other useless wrong-by-default email clients.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                                                                                    A random historical note, since I think the community will appreciate it:

                                                                                                                                                    The Luddites were not anti-technology (other than machines that harmed them by existing).

                                                                                                                                                    The closest analogue to the Luddites I can think of today are the people deliberately feeding bad data into adtech.

                                                                                                                                              2. 5

                                                                                                                                                Outlook is awful and doesn’t implement email according to the specs or the way anyone else implements it. It’s just broken. It’s the classic ‘EEE’ strategy of Microsoft.

                                                                                                                                                On quoting, I don’t know if it’s Gmail or Outlook or something else that started ruining it for everyone else by defaulting to this top-posting style but it’s wrong. Bottom-posting and eliding parts of the email you’re not replying to (interspersed quotes with your message) is standard, but to be honest most of the time you really don’t need to quote anything at all. When writing a letter you don’t photocopy or cut up parts of the original letter, paste them to the page and write your responses in between the bits of the original letter. You just reply. You say ‘in relation to X, I think [blah blah]’. I’ve been trying to get out of the habit of quoting posts I’m replying to on threaded forums, it’s really unnecessary when anyone can read the post I’m replying to directly above it. It’s mostly useful when you want to reply to a specific point.

                                                                                                                                                For sending code, there are two options. You can attach code, or you can put the code inline. Inline, code shouldn’t be hard wrapped. It’s not hard to configure a client to not wrap code, and frankly if you can’t configure your client to do this it’s just a bad client and you should find a new one or someone should fix the old one. How many widely used non-webmail email clients are not free software? Outlook is the only one I can think of.

                                                                                                                                                Email is super decentralised. It’s frankly just a myth that it’s hard to set up an email server that won’t get blacklisted or that you get heaps of spam. Spam filtering is really accurate these days.

                                                                                                                                                If you want to look at HTML, use a web browser. Email clients are for reading and dealing with email. Open a web browser window, embed a web browser, whatever.

                                                                                                                                                Stop having email discussion with people still using Outlook in 2020 and 99% of your issues with email disappear.

                                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                                  An e-mail client is about as hard to implement as a web browser, since an e-mail client needs to parse and display HTML and CSS like a browser would (or at least like Outlook would).

                                                                                                                                                  This is what eventually drove me to give up and use webmail (helped by fastmail actually having quite a good/fast webui with only a small number of mildly annoying bugs).

                                                                                                                                                  1. 10

                                                                                                                                                    I have been using email clients that don’t display HTML at all beyond stripping out tags so it’s readable as plain text, and I haven’t been missing anything. The only HTML-only emails I get are spam. And because HTML is an attachment, if I really need to view it, I can open it in a browser.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 7

                                                                                                                                                      The FastMail web UI is one of the few (non-trivial) SPA apps that I actually enjoy using. I think it got a lot of subtle things right that a lot of other SPAs didn’t.

                                                                                                                                                      One of the bigger pain points is that it’s almost unusable with email discussions: you get a lot of duplicate messages (including those that you sent) and there’s no threading. It was probably never designed with that use case in mind, so that’s okay. But it does go to show that “you can just use email client” isn’t exactly true: you can use “any email client with specific features to deal with mailing lists”, and a lot of those features seem quite unnecessary outside of mailing lists. I’ve happily used FastMail for 7 years and it works perfect for everything else.

                                                                                                                                                      I have a simple solution for this problem: don’t participate in mailing lists, which goes to show that things are perhaps not as easy and accessible and easy as claimed in this article.

                                                                                                                                                      I’ve used many different email client over the years: probably all of the mainstream webmail, GUI, and terminal ones; the first part of the mutt tagline is completely accurate IMO, the second part … meh. Again, this seems further evidence to me that email is not as easy as it made out to be here.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                                                        FastMail does threading if you enable it in the preferences. I subscribe to multiple mailing lists and use a single UI, fastmail, to read and manage the messages from all of the lists. A single inbox is the reason I prefer email to web forums.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                          I think you mean the message grouping? It’s nice, but not quite the same as threading shows threads within a conversation, whereas the message grouping just shows everything from old to new. IMO it doesn’t work very well for mailing lists beyond reading.

                                                                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                                                                      I’m not sure if I’ve yet seen a good e-mail client

                                                                                                                                                      Apple’s mail client (the macOS version, not the horrible iOS one) is pretty decent. It’s about the only Mac app I actually miss on other platforms. It handles a few tens of GBs of messages, searching is fast and works well, it does quoting sensibly, lets you reply to a part of a message the same way lobste.rs does (select the part you want to quote and hit reply), and so on. Thunderbird is just about okay. Both handle sending with multiple email addresses from the same account nicely (iOS mail doesn’t, for example). Thunderbird has slightly better threading support (Apple Mail renders threads as lists, not trees, so can be confusing for threads that split into subdiscussions).

                                                                                                                                                      Outlook really struggles with non-HTML mail (it uses a Rich Text control for editing and then strips the formatting, often in surprising ways such as removing the quote bars, Apple Mail uses leading >s for quoted sections but renders them as coloured bars). My favourite Outlook bug arising from this is that, if you set your default to plain text and hit the ‘Make Teams Meeting’ link, it puts rich text with links to join your meeting and then silently strips them when you send so the recipient has no idea what they’re supposed to do to join.

                                                                                                                                                      There are a few things that make email really bad. The first is archive storage. I have hundreds of MBs of LLVM mailing list archives. I keep my own copy because that’s the only way of being able to reply to or forward an old post easily. Dovecot avoids this by having a central IMAP folder for their mailing list history that anyone can subscribe to, but configuring that looks sufficiently annoying that I’ve never done it (I don’t want to add a new mail account to every mail client I use just to view it). Most of the time, I find posts on other projects from their web archives, but if I want to add a follow-on question then I have no mechanism to get that post in a form that I can hit reply to. Instead, I have to create a new thread and quote it, which breaks everyone else (and often doesn’t add the original sernders to the cc list correctly because most mailing list archives anonymise the sender addresses to avoid spammers harvesting them).

                                                                                                                                                      Email is fine for a project that I’m actively engaged with. It’s far more annoying for projects that I’m casually contributing to. Things like GitHub issues are far better for that. They’re archived by search engines and if I find the issue and have more questions / comments I can hit reply and add them in the same thread.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                                        pray your IP address has never been used for mail spam in the past.

                                                                                                                                                        To be fair, you don’t have to pray, you can query the spam databases.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, but there’s usually not that much you can do if you find your IP address in a spam database.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                                            You could simply switch your instance or server.

                                                                                                                                                            Running it in the address space of cloud VM providers is a bad idea indeed, but at a normal hoster it should be no problem. Maybe find one that is paid monthly and you can just cancel it.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                              If you can’t host with a VM provider (because their block is probably banned) and you can’t host on your own (because of residential IP address reuse), won’t hosting be very expensive?

                                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                that was not the question. I know people who wouldn’t trust their emails on a VPS/shared host anyway, so I’d say a good portion of people having their own mailserver do it on dedicated hardware anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                Also while sometimes whole blocks are banned, often it’s really just single IP addresses on the blacklist. Also maybe the same hoster has a different data center and then maybe a different block. As I said, if this is your concern you might not have success on the first try.

                                                                                                                                                                And that’s also the reason I have stayed with my current hoster, upgrading the same VPS contract with the same IP every few years, because I’ve been running my mailserver off of this IP for ~10 years and don’t have any of these problems.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                                                                                          Honk was a big inspiration for me, especially Ted’s ActivityPub blog posts, which were the best I’ve read about ActivityPub “in practice”. His implementation is far more mature than mine, but there are a couple of differences. Engineering wise, there is a lot of overlap, and I probably could have forked Honk and saved myself a lot of time.

                                                                                                                                                          My primary difference is that I’m trying to build a social network that functions a bit different than Mastodon or existing AP implementations. The main distinction being that there isn’t much meaningful difference between being on mastodon.social, some Pleroma instance, or self-hosted Mastodon. With Gourami, the server and community itself is the most important abstraction – the server is the only ActivityPub actor, and all users on the server see a shared timeline. Being on X server vs Y server is a distinct experience.

                                                                                                                                                          In addition, federation is a component, but a non-federated server is also a key use case I want to support. This led me to support private instances, invite-only servers, etc, as well as the vision that someone could run Gourami on a completely private network tied to a physical location (e.g. a Mesh network)

                                                                                                                                                          This could be a futile effort and not what people are looking for in an AP server, in which case this might just end up as a lighter-weight Pleroma, with a standard Mastodon-like ActivityPub implementation. I definitely am open to changes and suggestions based on what users are looking for, this is very experimental at this point.

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                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for taking the time to respond and welcome to lobsters!

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                                                                                                                                                              Of course! I’m glad to be here – this site is really cool. I was wondering where the GitHub stars were coming from!