1. 4

    This is progressing towards the rediscovery of regular expressions.

    1. 4

      Indeed. If anyone finds this article interesting and doesn’t know regular expressions (“regexes”) yet, I recommend reading regular-expressions.info/tutorial.html. When I learned regexes from that site I found it to be well-written. The site plugs the author’s own regex-testing tool in between explanations, but you can just use regex101.com, which is free and equally powerful.

      Here’s an example of using a regex in Python to extract text within square brackets:

      import re
      string = "123[4567]890"
      re.search(r'\[(.*)\]', string).group(1)  # evaluates to '4567'
      
      # You could also write the regex with whitespace for readability:
      # re.search(r'\[ (.*) \]', string, re.X).group(1)
      

      Regexes have some advantages over the extract DSL defined in the article. They support powerful features such as extracting multiple parts of the text with one search. They are supported by all major programming languages. Most text editors let you use them to search your text. They are also very concise to type. However, they have flaws of their own, particularly how hard they can be to read. So though regexes are useful to learn, they are not the ultimate way of extracting parts of text.

      Here are some projects that aim to improve on regexes (but are much less widespread):

      • Regexes in the Raku language. Raku, formerly known as Perl 6, breaks compatibility with Perl 5’s regex syntax (the same syntax used by most regex engines) in an attempt to make regexes more readable.
      • Egg expressions, or eggexes, are a syntactic wrapper for regexes that will be built into the Oil shell.
      1. 2

        And Parse in Red is also a nice alternative to regexes.

        1. 2

          I’d prefer r'\[(.*?)\]' or r'\[([^]]*)\]' to avoid multiple square brackets in the string matching more than expected. Also, in newer versions of Python, you can use [1] instead of .group(1)

          https://www.rexegg.com/ is another great site for learning regexp. And https://github.com/aloisdg/awesome-regex is a good collection of resources for tools, libraries, regexp collections, etc.

        2. 3

          Perhaps we can coin a new aphorism! Greenspun’s Tenth Zawinski’s Law: Any sufficiently complicated Lisp text processing program contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of regular expressions.

          Edit: Or perhaps ‘Every Lisp program attempts to expand until it contains an ad hoc, informally-specified, bug-ridden, slow implementation of half of regular expressions. Programs which cannot so expand are replaced by those which can.’

          1. 9

            This exact problem had plagued me for so long and it is so annoying. It was pretty much the final straw that made me move back to MacPorts.

            1. 6

              Similar issues are what sent me to nix.

              1. 2

                100% Agreed regarding Nix!

                My current home setup is Nix for everything & MacPorts for things I can’t get on Nix yet.

                1. 2

                  I’ve been experimenting with Nix too. It’s nice, although port is so simple to use, whereas nix-env feels clunky/complicated in a very rpm way and the Nix language is… not straightforward :-)

                  1. 2

                    Yeah, nix-env is super clunky. I never use it unless I have to. I’ve got everything built declaratively. Nix the language definitely takes a minute to onboard, agreed.

                    1. 1

                      Last time I try it, I got oom.

                2. 3

                  Agreed! There a lot of good things about MacPorts.

                  1. 1

                    Why did you migrate to Homebrew in the first place?

                    1. 9

                      Good question, and one to which I don’t really remember the answer. I’ve been using MacOS since 10.3 and had tried both Fink and MacPorts in the early days. My vague memory of both in the early days was they were fairly clunky, but Homebrew just worked.

                      Homebrew has since morphed into this huge, slow thing that has become pretty annoying to use, whereas MacPorts now feels fast and slick in comparison.

                      1. 4

                        Yeah. It feels like with this and other changes made over the last few years, Homebrew is coming close to falling off the back of the package manager treadmill.

                        Homebrew in its early days was good because it was lightweight, fast (for (as it was then) a package manager that could only build from source, at least), didn’t try to do stuff that was too clever, and also acquired a fairly nice and large package library fairly quickly thanks, I think, to a relaxed contribution policy that didn’t require individuals to take complete responsibility for packages. (I don’t know if Max Howell explicitly realized that keeping a package manager up to date with new versions of packages would be something a whole user community could do together if it were made easy enough, or if it just happened to work out like that, but in any case it did work very well in practice.)

                        Now it insists on automatically refreshing the package index every. time. I. do. anything. which makes startup slow, and is also doing this too-clever-by-half thing of trying to work out which packages I actually wanted to install and which just came along for the ride as dependencies. (Which isn’t how humans work: if one day I type ffmpeg and it happens to be there, it’s not necessarily clear to me that I only have it because I installed get_iplayer and it brought ffmpeg along, rather than having installed it myself explicitly on some now-forgotten date in the past. Computers have a far better memory for why things are installed than humans do, and humans will always get confused when things change because of implicit rules based on the computer’s perfect recall.) Meanwhile it’s also got stupider in some other ways, such as no longer being able to do builds from source with custom ./configure options etc.

                        I have similar memories of MacPorts being a pain to use, but who knows? It’s been ten years or something now. Maybe it’s worth another look.

                      2. 3

                        I’ve been a FreeBSD user for a while so MacPorts always fit better for me. If my memory is correct, Homebrew had an initial learning curve that was shallower than the curve for MacPorts back in the day.

                      1. 12

                        For all those who don’t understand what Hamburg has to do with it, the justification of this DMCA takedown request is based on a decision of a German court (Hamburg Regional court) that took down a service similar to youtube-dl, and the law in question is materially the same as a US law, if I understood the wording right.

                        1. 10

                          That, and that particular Hamburg court is known to be heavy-handedly in favour of major copyright owners, so that’s where they invariably go to sue when they make a claim under German law.

                          1. 2

                            hmm is that court responsible for many more YouTube videos being unavailable in Germany than anywhere else?

                            1. 2

                              No, that’s about GEMA being more zealous than other right holder associations about the terms they license music videos to YouTube.

                              1. 3

                                Ehm. No. No love for the GEMA (as an event organiser that likes musical interludes and someone who had to implement their “API” for clients, I hate them with a passion). YouTube/Google has run an effective campaign against them, though by… telling only what was interesting to them. And I also have no love for them.

                                GEMA, in contrast to the RIAA, is state-regulated. They are a special private entity. This means they are strictly disallowed to favor a party, by law. The sticking point in the negotiations with GEMA was that YouTube wanted essentially “mass rebates” - and they get them everywhere, except in Germany. And the GEMA is not allowed to give them. There was even a 2 year trial run with YouTube to test such a model out, which was later not accepted by the regulators. YouTube then chose to not have the videos available. It’s not like the GEMA didn’t license them (in fact, they must license them to anyone who agrees with the common terms), YouTube just didn’t want the conditions and tried to strong-arm.

                                And that’s good, because every smaller player around them cannot get this advantage.

                                Also note that GEMA, in contrast to the RIAA, represents artists, not labels, due to the way copyright in Germany works.

                                The GEMA is fucked on how it has no modern management and its distribution is unfair and how they are so big that they don’t have to move. Also, how they assume that everything needs to be paid for except if proven otherwise. Deeply so. But please light a fire under their arse for the right reasons.

                                But all people see is “I don’t get my music on the internet and YouTube says it’s GEMAs fault”. It’s also YouTubes fault. Rule of thumb: if 2 big players in the media industry battle, look closely, they will probably try to sway you on your emotions.

                                1. 2

                                  I had my own run-ins with GEMA, and I’m pretty sure that they could have decided on a schedule that includes better rates for high volume customers (just: for all high volume consumers). Not saying that YT didn’t try to strongarm them (they probably did), but where GEMA is involved, I default for the other side:

                                  The state regulation part is legally correct, but misleading: These days it’s wielded more as a weapon to prevent competition (to GEMA) from appearing, because the regulator is (for whatever reason) strongly interested in keeping the situation GEMA-only (even though the law doesn’t say that there must be only one such organization).

                                  Why is there interest in creating competition to GEMA? Because while it’s supposed to serve all musicians (they also collet for other right holder organizations, but that’s just an invoicing service) it does not: Its internal pay schedule is twisted towards having a relatively small set of folks benefit financially - who are, incidentally, the same that have voting rights within the organization (most artists do not). It’s interesting to note that this kind of corruption (which exists for a really long time) doesn’t matter to the regulatory body (so what exactly do they regulate again?).

                                  Finally, the regulatory body in question is the German patent and trademark office (DPMA). Since I also default to the other side whenever they come up (except when it’s the European Patent Office in which case I can only hope for divine intervention that eradicates them both), that side of the story really has no chance for my sympathy, like, at all.

                                  edit to add a point that brings us back on topic: The original question was if the Hamburg court is responsible for the wide-spread blocks of music videos in Germany. They’re not, but I guess I can clarify my original statement in that it’s due to YouTube and GEMA fighting over fees. Even without declaring who’s in the right or wrong here (likely: both wrong), it’s the origin of limited music video availability on German YouTube.

                                  (Full disclosure: I work at Google, but never had anything to do with artists, their collection agencies, labels, YouTube or the DPMA or EPO through my employer. This is personal.)

                                  1. 1

                                    I agree with most of your points, but they are not of interest in the YouTube/GEMA relationship. Its broken payout structure towards its artists is not of interest for YouTube, not was it addressed in that dispute, because that’s not in play here. It’s dominance and assumption that they can claim all music until proven wrong is bad, but was also not challenged by YouTube.

                                    I have worked for competitors to YT, and its behavior was hugely damaging in the space from our point of view.

                                    This is no question of who’s more fucked up. YouTube ran a very expensive sway campaign and lost (and in the process, may even have strengthened the hold of GEMA more.

                                    They’re not, but I guess I can clarify my original statement in that it’s due to YouTube and GEMA fighting over fees.

                                    Yes, you should.

                      1. 33

                        Hey, so… Speaking on behalf of the mod team, we aren’t quite ready to make a rule “no sex toys” or anything like that, but this post is on our radar as being borderline. I’m letting you all know so the community can think about what standards make sense for a place like this.

                        I personally believe in sex-positivity, but I can imagine that we have many readers who work in corporate environments and wouldn’t particularly want their managers to see them reading this article. Also it seems to have brought out the worst in everyone humor-wise, so that’s a point against it… I’m removing the worst comments (mostly just sex jokes).

                        We’ve had feedback recently, by the way, that people don’t realize we have a full team of moderators who coordinate on decisions. So we’re all trying to be a bit more visible - that’s why I’m the one posting this.

                        1. 29

                          I’m absolutely in favour of on-topic sex-related content here. But even TechCrunch, hardly known for sober and sensible reporting, was able to cover this story without sniggering. And in my opinion, if managers have a problem with their software developers reading a serious, objective article about computer security like this one just because it’s about a problem with a sex toy, the problem is with the manager/company, not with the employee.

                          If people aren’t able to discuss stories like this without making content-free comments with crude jokes, though, it doesn’t speak well for the community here.

                          1. 19

                            The problem with bawd is that it is even more subjective than normal humor…and given the quality of jokes that were removed, I can’t disagree with a sort of broken windows approach.

                            But, like, I can’t get behind the pearl clutching amd serious business aspect of this. The story is about an exploit wherein a dick gets stuck in a poorly programmed cage. That’s pretty fucking funny. Let us not give up our ability to laugh at the absurd.

                            1. 8

                              Most of those jokes were dumb and disposable, but yours (at roughly 28 upvotes when I saw it) was very well done. Maybe a little crass, but given the subject matter hardly crude or offensive. I’m sure it was removed out of “fairness” or some high-minded ideal like that. Not a pearl to be clutched, but the site lost a tiny little… sparkly rhinestone or something, with the loss of that joke.

                              (All you late-comers missed it, sorry. Please direct any feedback you may have to our hard-working mod dom team.)

                              EDIT: typo fix

                              1. 11

                                The problem with my joke–and thank you for the kind words–is that it shifts the Overton window a bit far on a direction that isn’t sustainable.

                                I get pissy about advertising and marketing here for the same reason, even with submissions that are of themselves high quality.

                                If a bawdy joke of mine has to be removed to spare us legions of copycats citing it as precedent, I can’t really in good conscience object.

                                1. 2

                                  All you late-comers missed it, sorry.

                                  I’d love to receive a copy in my email inbox if you don’t mind. First two letters and last six letters of my username at the big search engine’s mail domain.

                                2. 5

                                  Oh, I agree that it’s hilarious. I just think jokes like this have an effect, probably unintended for most people, of reinforcing the perception that the site is only for men. I don’t want that outcome, so I felt the need to step in.

                                  1. 16

                                    As a woman myself, I don’t feel excluded by the particular sex jokes that were shared here because of my gender. I’m more concerned about the stigma that the jokes reinforce and the culture of mandatory conformity to conservative sexual standards they strengthen.

                                    To get personal, I’m involved in the BDSM community myself. (In my case, this isn’t a secret, but it’s also not something I tend to bring up in other social circles.) I know men, women, and those that lieth betwixt who enjoy both sides of this particular kink. I also know plenty of people in the community who are absolutely terrified that their work might find out about this part of their private life, because they’d lose their job (and possibly their entire career), have their children taken away from them by social services, etc. In most cases, even if sexual orientation (that is, basically, whether you fall under the LGBT+ umbrella) is a protected category under anti-discrimination laws, other kinds of sexual interests are not.

                                    Allowing jokes like these makes people feel like they’re a fair target for jokes when they’re already under serious and massive pressure about this aspect of their lives. We’re not asking to be ‘out and proud’ — we know that for most people in most contexts, an interest in kink is just TMI. We’re just asking for an environment where, if it does come out by accident, we know our colleagues and our bosses will just shrug and say ‘it’s your private life, whatever’ and not start making jokes at our expense. And if there’s one thing we can learn from the struggles against sexism and homophobia in the workplace, it’s that the road from stigma expressed through humiliating jokes to stigma expressed through firing someone is shorter than you’d think.

                                    1. 15

                                      I am unsure that ceding the space of sexual humor to males assigned st birth is anything but sexist, but here is not the place to litigate it.

                                      1. 4

                                        I’ve recently started spending more time on IRC, please feel free to send me a DM over there if you’d like to discuss that. I don’t expect that we’d necessarily come to agreement but if you want to know more about how I think about this topic, I’m happy to go into detail.

                                        1. 9

                                          I feel like your admission that you removed a bit of humour that you yourself found funny because you want to attract more women to the site reinforces the perception of (at least a contingent of) women as spoilsports of male humour, which is probably not going to do much to endear the people here to the new guests that are attracted here for that reason; you seem to have gone against your original goal.

                                          I also find it quite unnerving that individual mods have the power to shift the direction of a thread for activism purposes. If it becomes a stated goal of this site to cater more to women and it achieves that by cleaning up what men like about the site… well, I’m a man. How far will this go? What kind of incentives for women that ruin the site for us men can we expect? It can’t just be down to individual mods with no checks in place.

                                          1. 12

                                            It is fair enough to raise those topics for discussion. There’s three things in it that I’d like to reply to.

                                            First, it’s not down to individual mods. The mod team talked this over privately before doing it. I’m handling the public-facing communication today because I am closest to the issue and because I have the time. I understand that it’s not very visible to site members that that happens, which is why we’re trying to be more explicit about it, such as my remark that I was “speaking for the mod team” up-thread. To whatever extent things here are matters of my personal opinion and not the site’s position, I have tried to be extremely clear about that, as well.

                                            Second, I’m trying to retain the women we already have by not driving them away with unchecked, gendered, sexualized humor. As a trans woman I promise that I have many hilarious observations to make about genitals, but I also recognize that were I to start doing that in a professional space, it would make many people uncomfortable. I think highly of lobste.rs community members, and I’m sure most people here can recognize that some topics are for private conversations where you know everyone involved. In a private setting, you can be sure you aren’t violating people’s boundaries and expectations. In a semi-public space such as this, you don’t really know who’s reading or how they feel about it.

                                            Third, I don’t think this is a zero-sum thing. I think everyone benefits from trying to have a civil community where nobody has to be confronted with jokes about genitalia unless they want to. I think that makes things better for everyone, regardless of gender. If I truly viewed this as a thing with winners and losers, with one group’s happiness being possible only at the cost of another group’s unhappiness, I wouldn’t be taking the time to justify the decision and engage with discussion about it. I would simply have deleted the page - it would have saved several hours of work.

                                            1. 12

                                              Thanks for taking the time to respond.

                                              First, it’s not down to individual mods. […]

                                              Fair enough. I still have my apprehensions about the implicit activism angle, but you’re right, you were clear on the fact that this wasn’t just you and what was your opinion. I guess I just inferred from some of the comments that this would have probably gone differently without your influence; the rule applied seems arbitrary until you realise the views that are probably being represented in ‘the cabal’s secret meetings’ ;).

                                              Second, I’m trying to retain the women we already have by not driving them away with unchecked, gendered, sexualized humor.

                                              Just curious, is this something the women we already have (or used to have and then left) tell you is driving them away, or are you basing this on prior research/knowledge/beliefs of how women react to bawdy jokes?

                                              As a trans woman I promise that I have many hilarious observations to make about genitals, but I also recognize that were I to start doing that in a professional space, it would make many people uncomfortable.

                                              Sure, but lobste.rs isn’t really a professional space in the same way your average office workplace is. Most people understand the limits at a workplace are necessary to some degree to avoid making people uncomfortable, but restrictiveness in humour is itself often uncomfortable, and I don’t understand why you’d prefer that discomfort over the other in an online community like lobste.rs.

                                              The community itself as it stands were apparently reacting quite favourably, so I’m not sure why we would restrict the community’s humour to appeal to some outsiders.

                                              I’m sure most people here can recognize that some topics are for private conversations where you know everyone involved.

                                              Yes, like swear words, some would say. But we don’t have to care about those people’s sensibilities. This site happily accepts swear words like “fuck” in submission titles, comments, etc, even though it makes some people uncomfortable.

                                              The reality is that you’re implicitly saying that the set of people made uncomfortable by sexual jokes are more worthy of catering to than the set of people made uncomfortable by swear words, whether it’s because they are a (net) bigger set (big enough?) or because they seem to you subjectively to have a more ‘valid’ reason for being uncomfortable or whatever other reason.

                                              If it were just about not making people uncomfortable, you wouldn’t be able to say almost anything interesting. When choosing whose discomfort to prioritise, you’re revealing your values or sympathies or allegiances (either it makes you uncomfortable, or you sympathise with those made uncomfortable by the joke more than by the restrictiveness in humour or other things you could have removed, or you are just catering to the biggest or loudest group).

                                              In a private setting, you can be sure you aren’t violating people’s boundaries and expectations.

                                              Not really. You can make an educated guess, but you never really know how someone might react to something. But we don’t let that stop us. Talking or joking about taboos or controversial topics or breaking taboos in general is always risky. Someone often has to be the first to set the tone to a riskier level (bit by bit) and the other person may always react negatively.

                                              In a semi-public space such as this, you don’t really know who’s reading or how they feel about it.

                                              Sure, I just don’t see how that’s relevant. There are people that feel offended when they read swear words, but the tone of this site is such that we allow them. The question isn’t why should we set rules around what’s acceptable and what isn’t, the question is why this particular rule? Why should we cater to people who find bawdy jokes uncomfortable over those who find they brighten their day?

                                              Third, I don’t think this is a zero-sum thing. I think everyone benefits from trying to have a civil community where nobody has to be confronted with jokes about genitalia unless they want to.

                                              Or stories about genital instruments? I’m sure there are lots of people that are quite disgusted by this story, or at least made uncomfortable by it. Why are jokes about genitalia any more uncomfortable than stories about genitalia? Hell, the title of this submission makes a genital joke (“cock-up”).

                                              I don’t think everyone benefits. Not all the people missing out on the humorous comments that were removed are going to be happy about it or would have been made uncomfortable by them. That’s why we’re having this conversation. It quite literally is zero sum, at least in the way it’s been implemented currently.

                                              If I truly viewed this as a thing with winners and losers, with one group’s happiness being possible only at the cost of another group’s unhappiness, I wouldn’t be taking the time to justify the decision and engage with discussion about it. I would simply have deleted the page - it would have saved several hours of work.

                                              You can justify the decision all you want, it’s not going to make everyone on the other side of the debate happy. If you’re talking about fielding compromises, then perhaps instead of removing these kinds of comments entirely, they could be quarantined in some way. Still not gonna make everyone happy, but might go a good way.

                                              1. 5

                                                Thanks for your patience. This is a lot to respond to!

                                                Ultimately, yes, some people are clearly unhappy with this decision. To those people, I say that I encourage you all to view this as a chance to reflect about how important sex jokes are to you, and treat it as an opportunity to change course.

                                                Once again, I believe that this isn’t zero-sum and that everyone benefits. However, to whatever extent there has to be a choice between priorities, I am choosing to side against people who feel that making sex jokes on this site is a fundamental attribute of who they are, which they are not willing to surrender.

                                                I think the unifying theme in your concern was really that I can’t make everyone happy. To whatever extent that turns out to be true, I take full responsibility for it. I think that cost would be worth it in this particular case.

                                                I think that addresses most of the substance of your long comment. What it doesn’t address, I’m not sure I have anything particularly interesting to say about, that I haven’t already said. There’s one exception, which I’ll respond to directly:

                                                Just curious, is this something the women we already have (or used to have and then left) tell you is driving them away, or are you basing this on prior research/knowledge/beliefs of how women react to bawdy jokes?

                                                Both.

                                                1. 2

                                                  This doesn’t address the meat of my comment (or my other comments), which is about the seeming inconsistency in reasoning:

                                                  However, to whatever extent there has to be a choice between priorities, I am choosing to side against people who feel that making sex jokes on this site is a fundamental attribute of who they are, which they are not willing to surrender.

                                                  This trivialises one side’s feelings on this. No one feels it’s a fundamental attribute of who they are. Some people are reacting strongly because it’s an application of a nonsensical rule in pursuit of a gender activism agenda that degrades the quality of their experience. People can deal with limiting rules, but it stings more when it’s done in the name of reasons that would be shot down in any other context.

                                                  I could just as well say, ‘however, to whatever extent there has to be a choice between priorities, I am choosing to side against people who feel that swearing on this site is a fundamental attribute of who they are, which they are not willing to surrender’. People would be bemoaning how stupid these rules are and all to please some dumb puritanical and/or religious agenda, why should we acquiesce to this?, etc.

                                                  I think there’s a certain contingent of people who see certain activist rules as just as nonsensical as certain bureaucratic rules and their mind rebels just as it does when faced with silly rules in any other context; they react quite strongly to what they see as the inability of humans to think clearly when their mind has been infected by bureaucracy/activism/religion/patriotism/whatever.

                                                  I’ve responded to your other comment on bitrot and dpk having articulated your reasoning clearer, so that’s where I’ve addressed that.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    The point I’m trying to make is that I’m not taking a side against “men” or any larger group. I’m specifically only taking a stance against the making of sexual jokes here on lobste.rs. Whether you’re part of that group - of people who make those jokes, here on this site - is entirely within your control.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      Just to be clear, when I say that people don’t like nonsensical rules that come from a gender activism agenda, I’m not insinuating that you’re taking a stance against men.

                                                      I’m saying that (a few) people are reacting strongly because they’re pattern matching on [imposition of annoying new rule that prioritises some outcome that they struggle to care about] [with justifications that they believe make no sense, and were they applied to anything else, would not fly] [for a cause they’ve had previous experience with that seem to constantly do this].

                                                      1. 4

                                                        I do appreciate the clarification. I feel like I’ve done everything I know how to do to defuse such fears, by explaining the rule and why it’s important.

                                                        I do believe that the rule is straightforward; I note that the people who are objecting are not the people whose jokes were removed.

                                                        If there are truly people out there for whom this is complicated or ambiguous, I’m happy to continue to clarify, but it kind of sounds like you’re expressing concern about the possible fears of a group that’s mostly hypothetical. I’m trying my best to help, regardless, because I feel an obligation to, but at this point I don’t have much to say that isn’t just repeating myself.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          Yes, you have (explained). People (including myself) will disagree strongly, but as you said, there’s not much left to be said.

                                                          I do believe there are deeper layers of thinking and disagreement we could take this to, but I’ve been avoiding that, as I don’t think it’ll do much good for me to make this even more protracted than it already is, especially as I’m quite new to the community myself. I also don’t have enough information to make an informed case tailored to you.

                                                          I will say, I don’t think it’s much relevant that the rule is straightforward; I mean, better than it being a contradictory or hard-to-follow mess, but it’s only necessary, not sufficient, for a good rule.

                                                          I also don’t think it’s much relevant that the people complaining aren’t those who made the jokes. Just as the rule is being implemented for the sake of people who might read the comments and be negatively affected, the people complaining want the rule to not be implemented for the sake of people who might read the comments and be positively affected (people like themselves), not just for the people who write the comments (who they might be among in the future).

                                                          If anything, by that metric, it’s worse for you; you, the person pushing for, implementing, and enforcing the rule, are not someone who is negatively affected by the jokes, as per your admission elsewhere in this thread. It doesn’t make your position any less valid or important, so why should it make ours (if we even were unaffected by the rule just because we’re readers not writers)?

                                                          1. 2

                                                            I haven’t argued that your position is invalid or unimportant. I consider it, at the very least, important enough to merit a response.

                                                            On the other topics: Fair enough.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Okay, I may have misunderstood your intent.

                                                              What’s the relevance of the people complaining not being those whose jokes were removed? Why’s it noteworthy?

                                                              1. 3

                                                                It’s noteworthy in that you’re arguing about a harm that, as far as I can tell, is entirely theoretical.

                                                                Just to restate my understanding as fairly as I can, the harm you’re talking about is a loss of trust. Correct me if I’m wrong?

                                                                I do ultimately have to make my own assessment of what I see evidence for and what I don’t. We appear to have a factual disagreement about the degree of harm and the size of the affected group, and I think that’s relevant.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Loss of trust would be a problem if, for example, mods were removing posts simply for holding or arguing a position that people didn’t like. I wouldn’t trust this place to give me all the facts.

                                                                  We’re talking about jokes; I actually thought you were at least on the same page here, that there is a harm to removing jokes. People derive pleasure from jokes, therefore removing them denies them that pleasure. It’s pretty direct.

                                                                  Again, it’s just the flipside of what you’re saying. You’re saying there are people who derive discomfort from these jokes, so you’re removing them to prevent that discomfort.

                                                                  The harm is a simple dulling of the culture, a shifting of the dynamic, sucking the humour out of certain threads. Even if I never consciously notice for the rest of my stay on this site, the impact is felt. A joke is removed, and I never knew it was removed, but it still means I’m a chuckle, a giggle, a belly laugh, a snicker poorer that day. Compound that across threads.

                                                                  Just as I imagine you might say the harm to keeping these jokes is a simple juvenilising of the culture, a shifting of the dynamic, sucking the comfort out of certain threads. Even if a woman never consciously notices for the rest of her stay on this site, the impact is felt. A joke is made, and she never imagines the site without it, but it still means it’s just another discomfort she has to go through that day. Compound that across threads.

                                                                  (Now I’m thinking of looking into the intersection of juvenile and sexual humour and gender differences around them; there are certainly stereotypes. As a man, I’ve never observed women being asked to change their style of humour to make men comfortable, except for the sake of equality as opposed to the humour intrinsically making men uncomfortable.)

                                                                  The fact that this was motivated by gender activism does also make me suspicious of what future changes could be coming that are a problem beyond just jokes, since that motivation does often lead to extreme censoriousness, IMO. That’s just not what I was arguing here, since that is genuinely theoretical.

                                                                  But since you brought it up, would the Damore memo be allowed on here, for example? That made a lot of women uncomfortable, even mad, but I read through that, and I don’t think he said anything worthy of ostracism or job loss.

                                              2. 5

                                                Thank you for trying to shift the culture.

                                    2. 13

                                      Coming to this from when I posted the comment, likely after some pruning has been done: I think the post itself is very on-topic and worthy of discussion. If objectionable comments were made, that’s a shame, but I can understand the tendency to go after “trivial points scoring” for internet funbucks karma. I’d hate to see this type of submission removed/censored.

                                      To bring some level of technical discussion: I’m reminded, amusingly enough, of nuclear reactors. AIUI, to keep the rate of reaction low, you insert/remove control rods into the reactor core. Those rods are made of boron and other elements that are very good at hoovering up neutrons. That’s an obvious need because too many neutrons make nuclear reactors get spicy.

                                      In these reactors, your fail safe is gravity: the rods are lifted away from the core with electromagnets. Something goes wrong, power gets cut, and all the rods slam down into the core and quench the neutrons, halting the reaction. And in many reactors, the routine shutdown process is “press the button to release the electromagnets”: a safety critical system becomes integral to routine operation.

                                      We could learn from this in software. We could certainly learn from it with locking sex toys, and it’s remarkable that someone didn’t say “do we want this to fail open or fail closed” at the very beginning of the design process.

                                      1. 5

                                        it’s remarkable that someone didn’t say “do we want this to fail open or fail closed” at the very beginning of the design process.

                                        Unfortunately, I think this is a case of fantasy getting the better of reality. ‘100% inescapable!!’ is a sexy marketing point for the device’s target market. Safety, on the other hand, is just a spoilsport.

                                        (Not that this excuses the manufacturers, who should certainly have known better.)

                                      2. 9

                                        I would like to express both that I am in favor of such subjects being posted here and my displeasure of the perceived inability of the community and the security community to discuss them in an appropriate fashion.

                                        The teledildonics industry has bad security standards and this should be as openly discussed as security flaws in other industries. We should also discuss the particular space these suppliers are in, in which they operate in an environment where high trust is needed and consent on all levels is necessary. But we, as a community, on the other side should not use this as a “finally, a place to make dick jokes for fun”, but rather make an effort to discuss the underlying issues in a sober and direct fashion to allow people the space to discuss in a space that is full of emotions, fear and literally things that people keep secret for good reasons. Every joke here about chastity locks rules out discussions with people that do for example use them and get pleasure from them. This makes the conversation not only worse, but impossible.

                                        1. 4

                                          This. The whole product sounds like an ethical failure from the get go: How can one not have hardware fallback? How can one willingly write software knowing the consequences of bugs lacking that fallback? And that’s even before you get to this security issue.

                                          1. 2

                                            I couldn’t agree more. Thank you.

                                          2. 7

                                            I understand. I posted this because it was an actual on-topic technical analysis; not the possibly bawdy blogspam that pops up around this kind of thing.

                                            1. 2

                                              Thanks for replying. Yeah - when I saw the post I also didn’t immediately know whether it belongs here or not. It’s a judgement call, and I can see several defensible positions about it.

                                            2. 5

                                              people don’t realize we have a full team of moderators who coordinate on decisions

                                              Um, how big is this “full team” honestly? I read the mod log as often as I read anything else on this site, and I only ever see you and The Boss in there. You tidy things up and occasionally make high-minded statements while wearing your Sysop hat; he’s a bit more terse, deletes stories he doesn’t like and bans people. I think that’s all there is to your team. Everything else is automatic from “user suggestions”.

                                              1. 7

                                                There’s three of us who make decisions pertaining to the site, and a couple more who focus on the IRC channel. I think that’s exactly the right size for a community like this. It’s enough to provide redundancy, but not so many that we can’t talk things over and make sure there’s consensus on big decisions. Your tone is accusatory, but I’m not seeing anything in what you described that I consider to be misconduct. Everything you mentioned is working as intended. Thank you for taking an interest.

                                              2. 5

                                                Maybe it’s worth having some sort of nfsw tag. Then if people don’t wish to see this type of content they can filter the it out.

                                                1. 1

                                                  This to me feels like the most practical way forward.

                                                2. 4

                                                  I don’t understand:

                                                  Regarding the link: I think that simply displaying the post title cannot be considered not safe for work, and it is up to each of us to choose whether or not to open the link.

                                                  Regarding the comments: they are not adding information to the link, so I assume they do not meet the rules, and it is fair to remove them, but how are they excluding? If I remember correctly they were mere puns: their only comical value was in the double meaning of words, not in some judgement of value on this or that practice,

                                                  Maybe we should envision having a “NSFW” tag, or by default blur, but saying this is borderline for a tech website feels wrong. This is dealing with security, ethics and the impact our decisions can have on users.

                                                  1. 6

                                                    I tried to engage with this a bit in my longer comment responding to habibalamin, but briefly, when people see a community tolerating sexually explicit remarks they have to also wonder whether that community would tolerate more targeted forms of sexual harassment, should they receive any. It’s a safety issue.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      when people see a community tolerating sexually explicit remarks they have to also wonder whether that community would tolerate more targeted forms of sexual harassment

                                                      Are we to understand that bawdy jokes are a less targeted form of sexual harassment? Please tell me this is just a poorly phrased sentence.

                                                      Also it seems to have brought out the worst in everyone humor-wise, so that’s a point against it… I’m removing the worst comments (mostly just sex jokes).

                                                      The worst comments, mostly just sex jokes. They’re the worst, yet they’re just sex jokes.

                                                      “They were the worst comments.”
                                                      “Why, what was so bad about them?”
                                                      “Nothing, they were just sex jokes.”
                                                      “Why’d we remove them?”
                                                      “It was the combination of the fact that they were about sex and they were jokes. The story’s about sex, but it’s fine. We allow jokes in comments, too. But don’t ever put them together.”

                                                      We’re not talking about the quality of humour here or how mean they were, since friendlysock’s joke was removed, which, rumour has it, was pretty hilarious, and most of the jokes were just puns.

                                                      Now I’m wondering how mean friendlysock’s joke was; it can’t have been that bad, right? It was just a sex joke. You yourself didn’t say any of them were mean or anything like that. Just the fact that they were jokes about sex was enough. Were the puns not funny enough and friendlysock’s joke hilarious, but a little too mean?

                                                      1. 3

                                                        I apologize for not replying at length today, I’m still trying to find time and hope to get to you on the other stuff. This part I can address quickly:

                                                        Are we to understand that bawdy jokes are a less targeted form of sexual harassment? Please tell me this is just a poorly phrased sentence.

                                                        Yes. In the legal sense, if you made those jokes in a workplace they would constitute sexual harassment in most jurisdictions. That has been upheld many times. Lobsters, obviously, is not a workplace, but if it makes sense to talk about sexual harassment outside of that context at all, it makes sense to let that understanding inform these discussions.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          No worries, I’m not in any rush.

                                                          I would say that bawdy jokes are legally sexual harassment in the same sense that a corporation is legally a person. I was asking for your opinion, not a particular legal system’s (or family of legal systems’).

                                                          I could pull out all sorts of definitions from legal systems that would define rape as only penis in vagina, but outside the legal system, I think there are a lot of people who would object if someone said, “well, he penetrated her mouth, not her vagina, so it’s sexual assault, not rape” even if they weren’t saying so to downplay the crime (maybe they were asked why they don’t use the term that activists might want them to use in their coverage of the event).

                                                          Of course, for people who care about men’s rights, there’s all sorts of bias in strictly technical definitions, such as the fact that, until as recently as 2011, by the FBI

                                                          “Forcible rape” had been defined by the UCR SRS as “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.” That definition, unchanged since 1927, was outdated and narrow. It only included forcible male penile penetration of a female vagina.

                                                          An Updated Definition of Rape | OPA | Department of Justice

                                                          From your own opinion, would you really say that what friendlysock said could be defined as sexual harassment without doing some injustice to the concept or to friendlysock?

                                                          1. 3

                                                            I phrased it in the careful way that you noted, precisely because I have no desire to take any firm stance for or against that position. I think a full answer would involve a lot of work parsing out the context of what power dynamics exist here on the site, vs. what power dynamics exist in a workplace. The situations have some similarities but they are not the same and I certainly don’t think it makes sense to pull rules from the one context into the other without some examination of the degree to which it makes sense.

                                                            No decision that I made on this thread required me to come to a conclusion on that question, nor do I expect that any moderation decision ever will. So the site has no official position on it, and doesn’t need one. I have my personal views, which I’m still happy to talk about.

                                                  2. 2

                                                    Honestly I think most people would react much better to a “no sex toys” rule than a “no dick jokes” rule, because humor is a much more personal thing than topics. Having your joke removed might feel like a personal offense, having your link removed because the topic is banned is much more “oh okay whatever”. So not even having the link (the context for the jokes) in the first place would prevent more anger.

                                                    1. 5

                                                      I disagree and am quite on the opposite of the spectrum: humor is a function of the group and setting you are in and negative reactions from the group are on you.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        That doesn’t contradict anything I said? Sure, yeah, that’s the group side of things. I was talking purely about how whoever writes a post perceives moderator action against that post. (Especially when the group reaction was positive generally)

                                                  1. 1

                                                    I love rc for shell programming, but as an interactive shell (even in the various currently-existing forks) it’s long been overtaken in features. I’ve long wished for a shell I’ve informally called zrc: the syntax and programming features of rc with the interactive usability of zsh (or even better, the usability of fish). Some day, I hope!

                                                    1. 5

                                                      Have you considered using rc within something that is not a traditional terminal emulator?

                                                      Most folks who use rc use it within acme. I personally use it within emacs. Once you are depending on a larger editing tool for things like completion, copy pasta, etc and not just readline, you care less about what you were missing from zsh.

                                                      This wrapping environment is why a lot of folks don’t care to change much of rc’s interactive experience.

                                                      1. 4

                                                        If you’re ever so inclined, I imagine a video or blog post explaining your routine with rc in Emacs would go over well here. :)

                                                    1. 12

                                                      The comments in this thread are a shame to this website. Come on, people, grow up.

                                                      Just having to post this makes me feel like an advertisement on a London bus. ‘Some people have kinks, get over it!’

                                                      1. 3

                                                        Some people will laugh at your kinks, get over it. FWIW, I think your underdeveloped sense of humor is itself just a little too funny to be shameful.

                                                        1. 9

                                                          I deleted the sex jokes. I agree - they’re no credit to anyone here. Whatever my own beliefs about taboos on sex, this kind of humor is unprofessional and doesn’t belong in a place as public as lobste.rs. It’s important to know the difference between joking behind closed doors, and joking in a public way that excludes people.

                                                          With that said, it is also legitimate to disagree on that point, and to discuss that disagreement. Try to be polite about it please.

                                                          1. 11

                                                            this kind of humor is unprofessional and doesn’t belong in a place as public as lobste.rs

                                                            This seems to imply that professional conduct should be adhered to in any public place, not just work. I bet there are people here that do drugs, even publicly, that they wouldn’t do at work. I don’t think professional conduct is about what you do in public vs. private (even though, of course, there are certain ways you might conduct yourself in private that you wouldn’t in public).

                                                            More seriously, it seems like personal opinion masquerading as professionalism. What makes something unprofessional or not? Because if professionalism is the standard for lobste.rs, there are a lot of people who would say that swearing is unprofessional, so should we get rid of all the submissions that use the word, “fuck”, like these?:

                                                            (I’m not accusing you of being inconsistent per se, maybe you’re a new mod; I don’t know, since I’m relatively new myself.)

                                                            A lot of professional conduct is just about making sure to be inclusive to the lowest common denominator that has enough sympathy or political power, and sometimes about not offending or disgusting. Someone who might do certain drugs, even while working as a lone wolf in a bootstrapped startup of one, might not do them in a company where he’s working with others, so as to allow the office environment to be palatable to good workers who can’t be around drugs.

                                                            I think that’s the kind of professionalism that people are talking about when they say, ‘that’s unsuitable for this place because it’s unprofessional’. Obviously, professionalism demands not writing obfuscated code, for example, but no mod here would remove a submission for an entry to the Obfuscated C Code Contest.

                                                            That said, when people say, ‘this is unprofessional and therefore not suitable for this place’, what I hear is, ‘this seems like behaviour a professional person — i.e. a member of polite society — wouldn’t stoop to or do in polite company, as judged by my standards of what’s acceptable for polite company or at all[; at all if I’m the lowest common denominator being catered to]’. (I don’t mean “lowest common denominator” as an insult; we’re not necessarily talking about desirable traits here, such as intelligence, just anything that affects compatibility with others.)

                                                            In that sense, simply justifying something as unacceptable in polite company or at all due to its unprofessionalism can be quite circular, like justifying something because of policy; okay, but why is that the policy or why is that what should be accepted as professional? You’re essentially just saying, ‘this doesn’t belong here because it’s either unacceptable or unsuitable for present company in this context’. For that reason, to me, it sounds like a smokescreen for a personal or political opinion the person has who’s removing the offence citing professionalism.

                                                            Please bear in mind, I’m not necessarily opposed to there being a rule against immature jokes. I just think your current stated reasoning of professionalism is shallow.


                                                            Also, the stated reason left for removing sex joke comments:

                                                            Sex jokes exclude people

                                                            Do they? As a matter of course?


                                                            Try to be polite about it please.

                                                            Is this in reference to @minimax’ statement?:

                                                            Some people will laugh at your kinks, get over it.

                                                            1. 3

                                                              Ah - I replied to your other lengthy comment before I saw this one. I think you raise some good philosophical points, but I’d prefer to not have two open discussions between us, it could be hard for others to follow.

                                                              I will say at least that I think figuring out how to define “professionalism” - or any other policy - is an exercise in making choices about a particular space. In some cases there are several right choices, but you still need to make a choice. We can get into that in more depth another time if you want.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                I will say at least that I think figuring out how to define “professionalism” - or any other policy - is an exercise in making choices about a particular space.

                                                                Yes, this is my point. But I’m not just asking in general, I’m asking why this choice was made in particular? Why are we setting the bar for professionalism to removing genital jokes?

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  I think that’s been addressed at this point. I would particularly draw your attention to the comments by bitrot and dpk, who I thank for saying that stuff better than I could have.

                                                                  In response to your remark that “This seems to imply that professional conduct should be adhered to in any public place, not just work.”, I do not agree with that stronger proposition and will not attempt to defend it. However, I think that significant aspects of professionalism in the workplace are worth importing to Lobsters in particular. That’s because we are trying to be a place for nuanced conversations among people with deep knowledge of technical subjects, and that sort of thing is significantly easier when people behave professionally.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    I’ve read all of both bitrot and dpk’s comments already, they both say quite a few things. What, in particular, do you want to draw attention to?

                                                                    I understand dpk’s reasoning of feeling excluded when the jokes stigmatise a kink that the reader happens to have. I don’t see how this is relevant to your gender-based reasoning, which she specifically said does not apply to her.

                                                                    I don’t quite understand bitrot’s point about making gendered jokes being alienating to gendered minorities without qualification. Surely, that’d depend heavily on the joke (or the person, but recall the rule about catering to the lowest common denominator)? No one is the butt of a joke in a pun, which is what most of these jokes were, according to other comments. I guess we’re just doing a blanket ban on gendered jokes just so there’s no grey area, which… okay, I guess.

                                                                    I’ll ignore the comments about the biases of the users here, except to say that I don’t know why technical ethics would be off-topic here, and if it is, I’m against that as well.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      I think the entire comments are worth reading; all the background they discuss was in my mind and informed this decision.

                                                                      The reference to technical ethics was because there have been a lot of previous conversations as to whether it’s a subject that belongs on lobste.rs. My personal opinion (not the site’s official position) is that it does. I am, I think, in the minority with that view, so I’m pleased to learn that I agree with you. However, with that topic we are trying to wait until there’s something closer to a consensus among community members; if we ever impose any top-down rules about it they will be informed by those discussions.

                                                            2. 6

                                                              Well, I’m glad to have had a chance to appreciate them before you “tidied up”.

                                                              Your (and I do mean the plural “you mods”, although anyone here can read the mod log and see who the “mod team” really is) tireless efforts at sanitizing, “professionalizing”, and generally gentrifying this site will be its eventual demise, because you are quite literally excluding people. I find it quite ironic.

                                                              Carry on, though. I’m sure whatever remains will be quite to your taste.

                                                              1. 6

                                                                You are entitled to have those positions.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  And you are so very entitled to tell me how entitled I am while wearing your big hat. What a nice discussion this is turning out to be.

                                                                  EDIT: I think what I meant is “THANK YOU MA’AM MAY I PLEASE HAVE ANOTHER”

                                                                  1. 6

                                                                    Hey man, let’s not do it this way. It’s beneath you.

                                                                    1. 6

                                                                      Telling someone they are entitled to their opinion is just passive aggressive — they know that, so you’re obviously trying to communicate something else — and I think an aggressive response is no worse than a passive aggressive one.

                                                                      To be fair, minimax’ initial comment was itself quite harsh, but really, if you don’t want to engage with the person, just don’t engage; never close with a “you’re entitled” as the sole response, that’ll definitely fan the flames.

                                                                      1. 5

                                                                        I see your point, but unfortunately it’s part of being a mod that you don’t always get to simply “not engage”.

                                                                        Sometimes you need to acknowledge that somebody has raised points for consideration, but that continuing the current discussion is unlikely to add anything new.

                                                                        I think that’s especially true when you have the unenviable job of moderating a thread on a contentious topic like this and are responding to multiple people on different fronts.

                                                                        Personally I didn’t read it as passive aggressive, but hey! Communication on the internet is hard, so let’s give people a little room for error.

                                                                        1. 4

                                                                          What would have been lost if Irene had simply not responded to that particular comment of minimax’? Her comment doesn’t acknowledge that minimax has raised points for consideration.

                                                                          I’m sure she didn’t mean to be passive aggressive, but I don’t think passive aggression requires intention. It’s just a way of communicating explicitly politely but implicitly sending messages of contempt, either deliberately or accidentally (though of course, it’s possible to misread the implicit).

                                                                          In this case, Irene’s comment explicitly communicates that minimax is entitled to his position. Well, we all know that, so of course, her comment explicitly communicates nothing new and therefore might as well have communicated nothing except the implicit.

                                                                          What’s the implicit? Well, she’s communicated that she’s seen the comment. She’s communicated that after seeing it, she decided it’s not worth her time to truly engage with the points that minimax raised. She’s communicated that she still felt compelled to respond. She hasn’t communicated the reason she felt compelled to respond, but it’s not a major leap — for someone maybe struggling with applying the principle of charity due to being in a bad mood caused by her own mod actions in this very thread — from there to, “she has contempt for me or my position and wanted to communicate that fact and even wanted to do so in a dishonest way”.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            I was probably too terse, and I regret that. My goal was to communicate that dissent is welcome. (Edit to add: I also wanted to communicate that I disagree with the position I was responding to, of course.)

                                                                            There was nothing else to say; I wasn’t going to change anybody’s mind by continuing to argue.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              I think that’s communicated by just not removing minimax’ comments.

                                                                              It’s all good.

                                                                              I don’t mean to attack your comment — I’m not that angry, and I understand that you are dealing with a lot of comments and a response here or there can easily come out in a way that can be misunderstood — merely explain minimax’ response, since he doesn’t seem to be doing a good job of humanising himself judging by friendlysock’s response to him, and he’s roughly representing my position on this matter.

                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                That makes sense. The exploration of why it was received badly was helpful, thank you.

                                                                                I also realized belatedly that there’s two meanings to “entitled”; I wasn’t trying to comment on minimax’s mental state. I’ll know to avoid that word next time.

                                                                2. 2

                                                                  “Gentrifying”?

                                                          1. 1

                                                            This is incredible. I wonder if there is a legal effort to produce specs for Wine to have clean-room code.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              Most likely, but it might be good to stay under the radar until the dust settles since Microsoft is already going after the guy who compiled the source code (see Glaeqen’s comment above).

                                                              1. 2

                                                                They like to picture themselves as nice and open source friendly.

                                                                But they do not hesitate to enforce copyright on 15+ yo software.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Would you not seek to enforce copyright on a book you wrote fifteen years ago? Or song?

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    I mean, MS aren’t selling XP any more, while books and songs still have value. I guess the most charitable explanation is that parts of this are still in Windows 10. Still, this angers my inner rms

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      XP is (probably) full of source code that MSFT paid other companies for and used with their permission. Even if they wanted to, they probably can’t release a working source tree of Windows XP without getting permission to do so from the other license holders. And for what? Giving people explicit permission to use a product that they no longer are interested in supporting? It’s all downsides.

                                                                      Still, this angers my inner rms

                                                                      I’m pretty sure RMS would see the unauthorized release of proprietary source code as wrong and unethical.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        I’m pretty sure RMS would see the unauthorized release of proprietary source code as wrong and unethical.

                                                                        Sorry, but this is my RMS, not yours

                                                                        Anyway, I don’t care much really, but no-one is asking MS to support anything or give permission.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          no-one is asking MS to support anything or give permission.

                                                                          Indeed not, this is just a childish prank. Anyone with a cursory knowledge about how software licensing works (both proprietary and FLOSS) will steer well clear of this.

                                                                        2. 2

                                                                          I’m pretty sure RMS would see the unauthorized release of proprietary source code as wrong and unethical.

                                                                          I have my doubts, particularly if the binaries have been released beforehand.

                                                                          Now, personally, in the case of Windows XP, and considering the amount of computers that depend on it (and were abandoned when Microsoft abandoned XP), I believe the regulator should step in and actually force microsoft to free the source code, in the name of balance of power between Microsoft and its users.

                                                                          Creator rights and business rights should be protected, but not beyond what’s reasonable. In this situation, the public interest should weight far more, and the government should act thus.

                                                                          This would be a compromise already, an alternative to forcing Microsoft to maintain Windows XP forever. With the freed source. Windows XP users could pool their money into maintaining XP themselves.

                                                                      2. 2

                                                                        15 years

                                                                        No, as I actually like the EU green’s proposal regarding copyright terms (5 year, extendable twice to 15yr by registering and paying a fee).

                                                                        15 years is already plenty, in keeping the original spirit of copyright, which was to give authors a temporary monopoly, in the interest of the public domain.

                                                                        With excessive copyright terms, the author gets little to no benefit, while the public domain suffers greatly.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          the EU green’s proposal regarding copyright terms (5 year, extendable twice to 15yr by registering and paying a fee)

                                                                          Do you have a source for that? A cursory Google shows up nothing of relevance.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            Unfortunately not. And this is easily from 5~10 years ago.

                                                                            I do not know what their current stance is, nor have I seen much activity in the topic (“copyfight”, pirate parties, etc) in a long time. Which saddens me.

                                                                            I do however see that the greens still seem to care about the topic.

                                                                            1. 1

                                                                              OK, I found something related but UK rather than EU.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                Yeah, that actually meant “life + 14”:

                                                                                The vision then goes on to propose “generally shorter copyright terms, with a usual maximum of 14 years”. By this, we mean that rather than the current maximum of 70 years after the creator’s death, it should only be 14 years after their death. Unfortunately, as written, this appears a bit ambiguous and has caused confusion, so it needs clearing up!

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  life+

                                                                                  Madness.

                                                                  1. 4
                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      Newton OS had a lot of clever ideas that I wish were revisited.

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        The one that bugs me the most: copy and paste. On the Newton, you selected something and dragged it to the edge of the screen. It then gets attached as a little label. You can switch application and drag it back. This is, hands down, the nicest way I’ve seen of transferring snippets between full-screen applications on a touchscreen device. I think Apple even had a patent on this that was still valid when the first iPhone came out, yet it shipped without copy and paste because Steve Jobs hated the Newton. I hoped that, after he died, they’d reintroduce this, but they didn’t and the copy-and-paste support on iOS is still unbelievable clunky in comparison to the Newton.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Agreed!

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        The WHATWG charter has said as much for 15 years (priority of constituencies). Google has still stomped all over everyone.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          I hope we’re winning back an independent, distributed web.

                                                                          I fear that this is a niche phenomenon, and ultimately a mere Indian summer of the indie web before we lose it completely. I still don’t see non-technical people (defined for the moment, perhaps, as ‘people for whom using Jekyll is too technically complicated’) making their own sites outside of major centralized platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Medium etc.

                                                                          I don’t know what we can do about this. I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently because I want to run a workshop on how to set up a website, for people who risk getting kicked off a lot of mainstream web hosts for political reasons. I believe the best way to combat this is to use a static site generator, because then, if you do get kicked off, you can switch overnight by just FTPing your site to a new host (and you can back up your site by just copying files instead of messing with SQL database dumps, etc.). But many of these people are not technically minded and SSGs are significantly more complicated to set up and publish with than, say, WordPress. Unless that can be fixed, I think we’re doomed, at best, to an indieweb equivalent of 2000s ‘year of Linux on the desktop’ jokes.

                                                                          1. 18

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

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

                                                                            1. 10

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

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

                                                                              1. 5

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

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

                                                                                1. 7

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

                                                                                  1. 2

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

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

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

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

                                                                                    1. 2

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

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

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

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

                                                                                      1. 2

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

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

                                                                                        1. 1

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

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

                                                                                          1. 1

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

                                                                                            1. 1

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

                                                                                          2. 1

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

                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                        From Apple’s own iCloud security overview page:

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

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

                                                                                      3. 4

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

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

                                                                                        1. 3

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

                                                                                        2. 5

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

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

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

                                                                                          1. 3

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

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

                                                                                            1. 1

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

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

                                                                                            2. 4

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

                                                                                              1. 2

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

                                                                                              1. 26

                                                                                                It’s bloody disappointing that we’ve reached the stage where this is necessary.

                                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                                  We should also standardize a DNT for face scanners, like an invisible ink tattoo on your forehead. Then we can say “at least we did what we could” when bad actors do not respect it.

                                                                                                  1. -1

                                                                                                    why assume that all programs performing opt-out analytics are inherently bad actors?

                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                      There is no such assumption in my comment.

                                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                                  djb, 1997 or so:

                                                                                                  I have discovered that there are two types of command interfaces in the world of computing: good interfaces and user interfaces.

                                                                                                  The essence of user interfaces is parsing—converting an unstructured sequence of commands, in a format usually determined more by psychology than by solid engineering, into structured data. When another programmer wants to talk to a user interface, he has to quote: convert his structured data into an unstructured sequence of commands that the parser will, he hopes, convert back into the original structured data.

                                                                                                  This situation is a recipe for disaster. The parser often has bugs: it fails to handle some inputs according to the documented interface. The quoter often has bugs: it produces outputs that do not have the right meaning. Only on rare joyous occasions does it happen that the parser and the quoter both misinterpret the interface in the same way.

                                                                                                  (SECURITY, included in the qmail tarball.)

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    I’d like <ISINDEX> support back, please, besides any other backwards compatibility they may have broken recently for no real reason.

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      I assume your objection is to the removal of any functionality, rather than that one in particular? Because that one 1) depends on server interaction and therefore isn’t very relevant archivally, and 2) can easily be replaced by a form.

                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                      Mark Rosenfelder’s https://www.zompist.com/ is a gold mine for the armchair linguist, anthropologist, political analyst, etc. etc.

                                                                                                      1. 9

                                                                                                        I don’t know much about the VMS (although I have close friends who do who refute this on other grounds), but this is, alas, complete crap from the perspective of an historical linguist.

                                                                                                        The 14th century is at least 500 years too late for any real record of ‘Proto-Romance’ (which is a real language, despite what some mediaevalists apparently not aware of Indo-European studies are saying). And like most efforts at historical linguistics by people who are not historical linguists, there is not even the slightest attempt to create a systematic theory of how this supposed record of a proto-language relates either to later recorded Romance languages, or to our existing knowledge of Vulgar Latin and comparatively-reconstructed Proto-Romance. (The idea put forward that we need to use the pictures to decipher the meanings of words is sign enough that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about: there’s no guarantee that the pictures have anything at all to do with the words, and most semantic reconstruction is done comparatively — which would certainly be possible if this were a real record of Proto-Romance, because of our extensive knowledge of ancient and modern Romance languages.)

                                                                                                        This is a pretty good blog post giving details from someone who knows a lot about the VMS.

                                                                                                        1. 11

                                                                                                          Apologies for the excessively cynical response, but I was expecting to get to the part of the article where it would talk about how the security bugs in the comparison operators have been fixed, the C-based APIs are being tidied up into modern libraries, etc. Instead it’s stuff about performance and new features/frameworks.

                                                                                                          A badly-designed pile of crap that’s fast and has some interesting new gizmos is still, at core, a badly-designed pile of crap. And I don’t see anything being done about that.

                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                            This strikes me as a bad design. I don’t really see why this is any different/better for maintainability than stuffing JS into onclick/etc attributes and using javascript: links.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              But stuffing HTML and CSS in Javascript is OK? 😏

                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                HTML and CSS don’t execute, they’re parsed.

                                                                                                            1. 14

                                                                                                              This is a good thing, right? DRM is bad, so a browser that can’t include it is better than one that does. I think there’s a certain irony in complaining that you aren’t free to make an unfree browser.

                                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                                This isn’t quite true. Firefox, for instance, sandboxes widevine out of the host system. Although it’s shitty that DRM is now standard, there are ways to avoid it becoming a mess.

                                                                                                                As the web continues to be so focused on video, this requirement will continue to be more and more pervasively fighting against peoples’ ability to make a free browser.

                                                                                                                This is standard now, so even a free browser requires it.

                                                                                                                1. 16

                                                                                                                  This is standard now, so even a free browser requires it.

                                                                                                                  Yes. Unfortunately. Because we have DRM/EME, the Dutch Public TV organization, NPO, thought it was acceptable to turn on DRM for all their content. Because the technology is there, they decided to use it. Had Firefox not supported EME/DRM it would have been easier to argue against them enabling it, or they may even have decided not to do that… Now that ship has sailed I afraid and people using “obscure” platforms or plain don’t want to enable the DRM plugin in their browser are just out of luck… This really sucks.

                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                    Some context: NPO/Uitzending gemist has been trying to hide/“poor man DRM” their content for years. I maintained a NPO download script for years and they’ve been using they’ve been using some JavaScript-fu for as long as I recall. It was always trivial to circumvent.

                                                                                                                    It’s also been against their ToS for as long as I know, although I’ve always felt their ToS were against Dutch law, since it states that public television should be available to as much of the population as possible according to the mediawet.

                                                                                                                    Fun fact: trying to use the old (obfuscated but non-DRM) method will result in downloading a clip from the Office Space film.

                                                                                                                    Also find it somewhat funny that people are saying “DRM doesn’t work” here, while others are complaining they can no longer download stuff :-)

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      Fun fact: trying to use the old (obfuscated but non-DRM) method will result in downloading a clip from the Office Space film.

                                                                                                                      I wonder if they got copyright clearance to distribute that clip …

                                                                                                                    2. 5

                                                                                                                      I did some more digging, and it seems to be against the law

                                                                                                                      Artikel 2.1

                                                                                                                      1 Er is een publieke mediaopdracht die bestaat uit:

                                                                                                                      a. het op landelijk, regionaal en lokaal niveau verzorgen van publieke mediadiensten door het aanbieden van media-aanbod dat tot doel heeft een breed en divers publiek te voorzien van informatie, cultuur en educatie, via alle beschikbare aanbodkanalen;

                                                                                                                      b. het verzorgen van publieke mediadiensten waarvan het media-aanbod bestemd is voor Nederlanders die buiten de landsgrenzen verblijven; en

                                                                                                                      [..]

                                                                                                                      2 Publieke mediadiensten zijn in overeenstemming met publieke waarden, waarbij zij voorzien in democratische, sociale en culturele behoeften van de Nederlandse samenleving. Zij verzorgen daartoe media-aanbod dat:

                                                                                                                      [..]

                                                                                                                      f. voor iedereen toegankelijk is.

                                                                                                                      Summary for non-Dutch: the law governing the public broadcast system states it should be “accessible for everyone” and states that “public media services should be available for citizens outside of the Dutch borders”. So for me, a Dutch citizen residing in New Zealand, I have no option to use cable, and no option to use the website unless I stick to a limited set of Google-prescribed platforms, which is a rather narrow definition of “everyone”.

                                                                                                                      Unfortunately, the petition misses this point.

                                                                                                                      I think the only way to reverse this is either to find a sympathetic MP to ask questions (kamervragen stellen), or take legal action.

                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                        Firefox pushed hard to argue against DRM and it didn’t work out. The implication here that Firefox had an option isn’t really fair.

                                                                                                                        Edit: Wait…. How did we end up talking about some random news agency?

                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                          Edit: Wait…. How did we end up talking about some random news agency?

                                                                                                                          It’s not a random news agency, it’s the Dutch public television (i.e. Dutch BBC). They’ve made their broadcasting available online for many years (like BBC iPlayer); first using Windows Media Player plugins, then Silverlight, then HTML5, and now HTML5+EME DRM.

                                                                                                                          fkooman’s argument is that now DRM is widely available, people will start using it because “why not?” The pre-HTML5 versions were obscure/annoying, but not DRM protected, so you could still download it for platforms that didn’t support DRM.

                                                                                                                          Especially for public broadcast systems this is rather objectionable, since it’s not easily available through other means (e.g. DVDs). In my opinion, it’s even against the Dutch law (see other comment).

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            tbh I don’t have a problem with DRM aside from the fact that it requires closed source software. If someone is using it because “why not?”, it’s most likely due to bigger issues in their decision making.

                                                                                                                            Maybe they just want to be the distributor for their own content? This is probably not a popular opinion, but I think that is a right that a lot of people should have the choice to make.

                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                              I suspect the chief motivation is that they want to display ads, which aren’t “baked in” but added with a different system (like YouTube).

                                                                                                                              My general attitude towards DRM is fairly relaxed, especially for streaming content (see my other comments on this page), but in this case it’s a bit different as it’s public television with critical content that is not easily available elsewhere, such as political debates for example. This is why the Dutch law explicitly states that the broadcasts “should be accessible for everyone”.

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                I guarantee you that nobody cares even the slightest bit whether you copy and share someone’s ads. That’s only free marketing. Ads are absolutely not going to necessitate DRM.

                                                                                                                                It’s more likely that they moved to a new video service that does DRM by default.

                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                  No, the problems is you don’t get to see the ads, as they’re not part of the video itself but a separate played beforehand (like YouTube does).

                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                    Ah. Well, lucky you then I’d you get the videos and not their ads. :)

                                                                                                                                    A lot of video providers that ads are distributed on video providers that do DRM. I still feel like we’re neck deep in a tangent here, though. 🤷🏻‍♀️

                                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                                          FWIW, the same happened at their southern neighbors. vrtnu requires it as well.

                                                                                                                      2. 4

                                                                                                                        But is DRM worse than restricting people’s choice of browser and operating system?

                                                                                                                        The fact of life is that DRM is required for most mainstream content services. I agree this is not a good thing, but I also don’t think it’s going away any time soon. Dealing with it in the best possible way is (e.g. a truly open standard) is better than not dealing with it.

                                                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                                                          But is DRM worse than restricting people’s choice of browser and operating system?

                                                                                                                          yes, it is. it is a random binary blob doing unknown things.

                                                                                                                          The fact of life is that DRM is required for most mainstream content services. I agree this is not a good thing, but I also don’t think it’s going away any time soon. Dealing with it in the best possible way is (e.g. a truly open standard) is better than not dealing with it.

                                                                                                                          DRM doesn’t even work, it never did. it has no value other than comforting decision makers and lawyers who have no idea about how technology works.

                                                                                                                          1. 15

                                                                                                                            DRM doesn’t even work

                                                                                                                            It does. I have no idea how to save a video from Netflix. Perhaps it can be done, but it doesn’t seem trivial (like regular HTML5 in browser, or using youtube-dl). This is like saying your front door “doesn’t work” because it can be lock-picked, or the window can be thrown in. Just because it’s not 100% fool-proof doesn’t mean it “doesn’t work”.

                                                                                                                            I think this kind of inflexible position is exactly why we’re stuck to the whims of Google now.

                                                                                                                            it is a random binary blob doing unknown things.

                                                                                                                            I’m sorry, but almost no one cares. Proof: popularity of Windows, macOS, a number of binary Linux applications (Spotify, Steam, etc.) And it’s not a kernel module, so can be isolated reasonably easily (Firefox already does this, I believe).

                                                                                                                            And if you don’t want to use it: no problem, your choice. But please don’t take away my option to make a different choice.

                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                              just like almost no one cares about any browser other than chrome. wanting a nonfree alternative browser is just as niche as wanting a free alternative browser. more so, in fact.

                                                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                                                We could have said the same thing about Internet Explorer not too long ago, yet here we are.

                                                                                                                                In any case, it’s not a comparable situation at all. The problem with Widevine is that new browsers will have an extra catch-22 hurdle to pass. To be considered by the Widevine/Google gatekeepers they must achieve some popularity, but to achieve this popularity they must work well with all major sites – including DRM-protected ones.

                                                                                                                                So if I have a whizbang new idea for a browser – like the Metastream thing from the OP – then I must first convince my major competitor to allow me to enter the market. This is, crudely put, all sorts of fucked up.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  your argument in favor of binary blobs was that “almost nobody cares.” if you think that argument applies to the free software question, why doesn’t it apply to the DRM for all question?

                                                                                                                                  if google was nice and let you integrate their malware into your application, we still have a situation where developing a maximally compatible browser requires running a competitor’s code which could be doing god knows what. i don’t claim that people care about it, but i feel it’s more intolerable than restricted distribution of digital restrictions.

                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                    I am not in “favour” of binary blobs in browsers; I said that it’s better to at least have the option, rather than not having it, which was in reply to tedu’s comment that “a browser that can’t include it is better than one that does”.

                                                                                                                                    developing a maximally compatible browser requires running a competitor’s code which could be doing god knows what. i feel that this is more intolerable.

                                                                                                                                    As I understand it, Widevine is implemented as a decryption module for the EME standard. I don’t think that can do “god knows what” since at a glance it seems to have a clear API and, as mentioned before, Firefox already sandboxes this code. Not all binary blobs are the same.

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      in principle developers would have marginally more freedom for the time being if DRM were easier to include. but in practice, enabling the use of DRM enables more money to flow to companies that have a stake in DRM, and accelerates the process of closing down the web. resisting this requires that we draw a line in the sand and create our own alternatives that do not depend on the consent of our enemies.

                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                        I don’t share your “enemies”. This also shows the problem with the entire DRM debate, because you end up in a “we must radically change the way society works”-kind of debates real fast. This is not a battleground for massive social change as far as I’m concerned; I just want to use Netflix on my OpenBSD laptop.

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          There is a hint right there: You can’t use Netflix on your OpenBSD laptop right now, and it is unlikely you will ever be able to. To use Netflix on your OpenBSD laptop, society needs to radically change. Or, OpenBSD people can implement (resurrect?) Linux system call emulation and you can run emulated Linux binary.

                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                            Or we can just change the tech so it can run on all platforms. There are a few concerns, but it’s all doable if we’d try.

                                                                                                                                            What is Google, Widevine, w3c, or any other party interested in making a DRM system that works well to do with comments like yours? “lol”, shrug, and ignore. Unfortunately far too much “community feedback” consist of non-constructive and off-topic noise like yours.

                                                                                                                                            I wonder what would have happened if we had fought for an as open DRM system as possible, instead of just an inflexible and unrealistic “#NeverDRM (and oh btw, down with capitalism)” attitude. I think we’d have a system that would be a whole lot better than what we have now.

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              Or we can just change the tech so it can run on all platforms. There are a few concerns, but it’s all doable if we’d try.

                                                                                                                                              I am very interested in your concrete proposal for this, because it seems to me it’s not very doable, or, even if doable not clearly superior to Linux system call emulation on OpenBSD.

                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                An open source solution would be ideal. I realize that open source DRM is tricky as allowing modification of the code allows you to do, well, anything that DRM is supposed to stop you from doing. One possible solution to that might be to create a system that verifies that the binary was compiled from the unmodified source. I’m not sure if something like this exist already; anti-cheating systems for games are probably something to start investigating for this.

                                                                                                                                                Another possibility would be a “mostly open” solution with a platform-independent closed part. The current EME is kind of already that, except without the platform-independent part.

                                                                                                                                                Like I said, there are a few concerns, and it’s not something we can just pick up from the shelf today. But I’m reasonably confident it’s possible.

                                                                                                                                          2. 0

                                                                                                                                            so all you care about is using openbsd? would it bother you if your facebook and reddit and twitter started depending on DRM? your email? online vendors? banking website?

                                                                                                                                            1. 7

                                                                                                                                              We are not talking about DRM on Facebook, banking, or email. This is a pretty disingenuous “argument”.

                                                                                                                                              I believe I have stated my position clear enough, but to summarize: like it or not, copyright holders want DRM for streaming media. I have little hope in changing that any time soon, and they will add it one way or the other. I am merely concerned in making sure this DRM is done well so it’s available on a wide range of browsers, operating systems, and other platforms, so maximize consumers freedom in choosing their platform of choice, instead of being locked to a limited set of software.

                                                                                                                                              This is not an endorsement of DRM. It’s just accepting that you can’t always have your way, and that it’s usually best to work within the confines of what’s achievable.

                                                                                                                                              If you want to convince people that we don’t need DRM: go for it. But in the meanwhile, let’s use some DRM that doesn’t completely suck.

                                                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                                                how do you propose we control the scope of DRM in a browser? if we’re fine with DRM for some aspects of the web, where do we draw the line so that we as users won’t accept a browser with DRM for other things? if you’re not okay with DRM for uses other than streaming video or music, you will eventually have to argue against the idea of “let’s just get this working on OpenBSD so I can at least check my bank account”

                                                                                                                                                or do you not think this issue will arise? surveillance companies will stop pushing for more control over our computing?

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  Can you use Widevine to “DRM your bank”? No. So it’s already “scoped”. What would “DRM for banks” even look like?

                                                                                                                                                  This entire preposition is unrelated to what we’re discussing and hypothetical. Show me someone actually making a case for “DRM for banks” and we can continue. Until that time, I will dismiss that argument as a non-argument.

                                                                                                                                                  If that’s really the best argument you can make then you have only re-affirmed my thinking that DRM for streaming content is, at least in principle, not all that bad.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                    it is in the interest of companies to have fuller control over how we interact with them, including being able to show us ads and measure our response. if you don’t want to consider the possibility that a company would pursue its interest, so be it.

                                                                                                                                                    if i thought the consolidation of capital and the closing of the digital systems we use would stop on its own accord, i would not be concerned about this either.

                                                                                                                                2. 5

                                                                                                                                  I have no idea how to save a video from Netflix

                                                                                                                                  That’s irrelevant. Enough people do know how to do that that their stuff is all over the torrent sites. A bunch of potential customers now go there. For the onss that went there anyway nothing changed. So DRM doesn’t achieve anything, except make it more annoying for paying customers and excluding some other customers.

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                                                                                                                                    DRM does achieve the result that you have to use BitTorrent to save a video. This is inconvenient enough to motivate DRM pushers to push it. “DRM doesn’t achieve anything” is wrong.

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                                                                                                                                      Having to pay actual money is arguably less convenient than using BitTorrent :)

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                                                                                                                                        Depends on how much money you have. The ones with zero disposable income were never going to be Netflix’s customers anyway.

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                                                                                                                                        DRM does achieve the result that you have to use BitTorrent to save a video. Without DRM those that wanted to view the content without being subscribed go to torrent sites as well.

                                                                                                                                        Even if my neighbour, Joe Random, could easily record a Netflix film from his account, I wouldn’t inconvenience him to copy a whole series of episodes he wasn’t interested in. I would just go to a torrent site. ‘Personal’ ‘direct’ sharing also doesn’t scale. [1]

                                                                                                                                        This is inconvenient enough to motivate DRM pushers to push it.

                                                                                                                                        That may be what DRM pushers argue, and perhaps actually believe, but per the previous point it is actually false.

                                                                                                                                        [1] This is hypothetical: I’m actually a paying Netflix customer

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                                                                                                                                          Don’t move the goalpost. You claimed DRM doesn’t achieve anything. I gave an example of what DRM achieves. You backtrack and claim DRM doesn’t really achieve what DRM pushers want, which is a different statement.

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                                                                                                                                            What?! You’re the one moving goalposts by making it about what DRM pushers claim it achieves, what they would like to achieve, instead of what it actually achieves. It doesn’t achieve what the DRM pushers want, because it achieves nothing.

                                                                                                                                            It’s really very simple: if DRM achieved something, there would be less pirating, less unauthorized sharing. There isn’t less pirating or less unauthorized sharing due to DRM. Pirated content is as easily accessible and as widely available as it was five years ago.

                                                                                                                                            There’s vastly less pirating and unauthorized sharing for one simple reason: the affordability and convenience of Spotify, Netflix and other streaming services.

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                                                                                                                                        Copyright holders will respond to that by saying that torrent sites are illegal, and that something should be done about that, and they are doing something about it, with varying degrees of success. Also see my comment from last week regarding torrent sites.

                                                                                                                                        DRM doesn’t achieve anything, except make it more annoying for paying customers

                                                                                                                                        I think that for a lot of people DRM for streaming media doesn’t affect them all that much (it’s a bit different for purchased media).

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                                                                                                                                          I view that response by content providers as burying their heads in the sand. Torrent sites will still be here a decade from now.

                                                                                                                                          I think that for a lot of people DRM for streaming media doesn’t affect them all that much

                                                                                                                                          When it works flawlessly that is true. When it sometimes prevents them from using the service due to location, device or some other detail…

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                                                                                                                                        As an aside you can simply take a capture card, hook it to the output of your video, record. It’s borderline trivial to bypass the whole point of DRM. A digital watermark would be more effective at accomplishing the goals and aims you set out to achieve.

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                                                                                                                                          simply take a capture card, hook it to the output of your video, record

                                                                                                                                          None of this is simple; it requires specialised equipment, knowledge, time.

                                                                                                                                          “I can ‘simply’ throw a brick through your window and steal your laptop. It’s borderline trivial to bypass the whole point of your front door.”

                                                                                                                                          A digital watermark would be more effective at accomplishing the goals and aims you set out to achieve.

                                                                                                                                          They’re not my goals; they’re the content holders’ goals. I’m just trying to be pragmatical and make sucky things suck a bit less, rather than refuse to any cooperation because it sucks (which, thus far, has been spectacularly ineffective, and probably counter-productive).

                                                                                                                                          As for watermark, sure I guess? But I’m not the one you need to convince.

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                                                                                                                                            Actually it’s uh extremely simple, you can get an external capture card and it’s basically plug in and press record. A VCR recorder by this definition is also “special equipment”. If you tried to act on the analogy of throwing a brick through a window you might understand what the differences are, and why a watermark might actually help you achieve your content holder’s goals. If you threw a brick through my window, my security system would go off, my neighbors might call the cops, I might be armed and waiting. If you record a video there won’t be any security system, or neighbors, or firearms. There’s nothing you the content holder can do short of a panopticon surveillance state to prevent me from recording the video. Instead you should focus on the thing you can better control which is the sharing of recorded video.

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                                                                                                                                              err, HDCP is supposed to prevent any random capture card from recording DRM’d video. Devices that can break HDCP are a bit more “special” than regular capture cards.

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                                                                                                                                                I mean sure I guess but any analog output can be recorded anyway so it’s somewhat moot. HDCP has been cracked since 2012 as well, so it’s mostly just “Security through obscurity”. I think it’s reasonable to infer through the repeated failure both economically and technologically that it’s a big sham to trick shareholders.

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                                                                                                                                                  analog output

                                                                                                                                                  DRM players won’t output high quality video to your analog output. Low resolution versions of videos are usually not protected by DRM anyway. (I think Netflix does <=720p without DRM?)

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                                                                                                                                                  there are some rather cheap devices now to capture HDMI signals >720p, non shady reference: https://lars.ingebrigtsen.no/2019/02/14/adventures-in-netflix/

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                                                                                                                                            No one cares until it becomes a national security issue and then everyone cares.

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                                                                                                                                            DRM totally works. Saying DRM doesn’t work is like saying security hardening doesn’t work. It’s all about increasing cost.

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                                                                                                                                              DRM totally works, but I don’t think it works in the way it’s presented. It’s completely ineffectual at stopping copyright violation, but it opens up new revenue streams to selling patented technologies, signed keys and other DRM implementing technology to vendors of playback devices.

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                                                                                                                                                If something costs more that the revenue it nets you I think it’s safe to say it doesn’t work. If you want to know why the content provider purposely takes a loss here it’s to pull wool over the eyes of the shareholders. DRM doesn’t work, it’s a genuine risk to national security, and possibly more importantly it puts pain on the honest consumer and none on those who are breaking the law. DRM can’t meaningfully work as long as someone still needs to record new content, because those recording tools can simply record existing content.

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                                                                                                                                                  Something can be unprofitable and working. As a technology, DRM totally works. Whether DRM is net gain or net loss to content providers is a separate question with unclear answers.

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                                                                                                                                                    DRM can be defeated trivially with a capture card 100% of the time as I stated in a previous comment. Any technology that relies on projecting a sensory experience is completely unprotected from technologies that record sensory experience. If I can perceive it, I can use a device that records it. There actually have been many impartial studies that have evidenced pretty firmly that it is a net loss to content providers, however I’m at work and I really can’t afford to enumerate them right now. If someone is feeling particularly generous maybe they’ll link some here. One of the studies I can grab offhand suggests that DRM actually increases the rate of infringement due to the undue pain it puts on legitimate consumers.

                                                                                                                                                    http://static.arstechnica.net/2011/10/11/mksc.1110.0668-1.pdf

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                                                                                                                                                      Something can be defeated and working. ASLR comes to mind.

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                                                                                                                                              Practically speaking, Widevine team does need to draw the line somewhere. It does sound reasonable to me that Widevine should support FreeBSD, but what about Haiku? If supporting FreeBSD and not supporting Haiku is okay, how is that different from supporting Linux and not supporting FreeBSD?

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                                                                                                                                                Ideally the Widevine team shouldn’t have to draw any lines; the technology should be built in such a way that FreeBSD and Haiku can make their own ports/implementations, as can browser vendors.