1. 10

    “small performance investigation”, with TOC alone taking a whole page :-)

    1. 6

      The original post rewriting in rust is of comparable length.

      1. 3

        The proper comparison might be the time it takes a Javascript programmer with no VM or assembly knowledge (just common heuristics) to do what he did vs Javascript programmers of similar skill to rewrite same code in Rust. I’d say the latter should also be people who already got past the fight-the-borrow-checker phase so those slowdowns don’t contaminate the measurements of the port.

        1. 2

          Indeed, performance shootouts between languages practically always forget to account for the developer :)

          1. 2

            While we’re at it, might do an extra experiment to see how people modifying unfamiliar codebases in a time crunch improve their performance and safety together. That represents the rush it out the door mindset in many companies. Languages like Ada and Rust will be way ahead if proponents are correct.

    1. 2

      Oh just wait till you have to deal with other people’s code (i.e. libraries). That’s when the idea of only confining yourself to a nice subset of the language goes out the window :-)

      1. 3

        That prompted me to make another donation to The Guardian. Mostly because they publish good articles, of course, but that technical post was surprisingly nice :-)

        Consider donating too, if you can!

        1. 7

          I thought the conspiracy theory folks were wrong. It’s looking like they were right. Google is indeed doing some shady stuff but I still think the outrage is overblown. It’s a browser engine and Microsoft engineers have the skill set to fork it at any point down the line. In the short term the average user gets better compatibility which seems like a win overall even if the diversity proponents are a little upset.

          1. 10

            I thought the conspiracy theory folks were wrong. It’s looking like they were right. Google is indeed doing some shady stuff

            If it’s an organization, you should always look at their incentives to know whether they have a high likelihood of going bad. Google was a for-profit companies aiming for IPO. Their model was collecting info on people (aka surveillance company). These are all incentives for them to do shady stuff. Even if they want Don’t Be Evil, the owners typically loose a lot of control over whether they do that after they IPO. That’s because boards and shareholders that want numbers to go up are in control. After IPO’s, decent companies start becoming more evil most of the time since evil is required to always make specific numbers go up or down. Bad incentives.

            It’s why I push public-benefit companies, non-profits, foundations, and coops here as the best structures to use for morally-focused businesses. There’s bad things that can still happen in these models. They just naturally push organizations’ actions in less-evil directions than publicly-traded, for-profit companies or VC companies trying to become them. I strongly advise against paying for or contributing to products of the latter unless protections are built-in for the users with regards to lock-in and their data. An example would be core product open-sourced with a patent grant.

            1. 9

              Capitalism (or if you prefer, economics) isn’t a “conspiracy theory”. Neither is rudimentary business strategy. It’s amusing to me how many smart, competent, highly educated technical people fail so completely to understand these things, and come up with all kinds of fanciful stories to bridge the gap. Stories about the role and purpose of the W3C, for instance.

              Having read all these hand-wringy threads about implementation diversity in the wake of this EdgeHTML move, I wonder how many would complain about, say, the lack of a competitor to the Linux kernel? There’s only one kernel, it’s financially supported by numerous mutually distrustful big businesses and used by nearly everybody, its arbitrary decisions about its API are de-facto hard standards… and yet I don’t hear much wailing and gnashing, even from the BSD folks. How is the linux kernel different than Chromium?

              1. 16

                While I actually am concerned about a lack of diversity in server-side infrastructure, the Linux kernel benefits, as it were, from fragmentation.

                There’s only one kernel

                This simply isn’t true. There’s only one development effort to contribute to the kernel. There is, on the other hand, many branches of the kernel tuned to different needs. As somebody who spent his entire day at work today mixing and matching different kernel variants and kernel modules to finally get something to work, I’m painfully aware of the fragmentation.

                There’s another big difference, though, and that’s in leadership. Chromium is run by Google. It’s open source, sure, but if you want your commits into Chromium, it’s gonna go through Google. The documentation for how to contribute is littered with Google-specific terminology, down to including the special internal “go” links that only Google employees can use.

                Linux is run by a non-profit. Sure, they take money from big companies. And yes, money can certainly be a corrupting influence. But because Linux is developed in public, a great deal of that corruption can be called out before it escalates. There have been more than a few developer holy wars over perceived corruption in the Linux kernel, down to allowing it to be “tainted” with closed source drivers. The GPL and the underlying philosophy of free software helps prevent and manage those kinds of attacks against the organization. Also, Linux takes money from multiple companies, many of which are in competition with each other. It is in Linux’s best interest to not provide competitive leverage to any singular entity, and instead focus on being the best OS it can be.

                1. 3

                  Performance tuning is qualitatively different than ABI compatibility. Otherwise, I think you make some great points. Thanks!

                2. 7

                  If there is an internal memo at Google along the lines of “try to break the other web browsers’ perf as much as possible” that is not “rudimentary business strategy”, it’s “ground for anti-trust action”.

                  It’s as good of a strategy as helping the Malaysian PM launder money and getting a 10% cut (which… hey might still pay off)

                  1. 5

                    Main difference is that there are many interoperable implementations of *nix/SUS/POSIX libc/syscall parts and glibc+Linux is only one. A very popular one, but certainly not the only. Software that runs on all (or most) *nix variants is incredibly common, and when something is gratuitously incompatible (by being glibc+Linux or MacOS only) you do hear the others complain.

                    1. 2

                      Software that runs on all (or most) *nix variants is incredibly common

                      If by “runs on” you mean “can be ported to and recompiled without major effort”, then I agree, and you’re absolutely right to point out the other parts of the POSIX and libc ecosystem that makes this possible. But I can’t think of any software that’s binary compatible between different POSIX-ish OSs. I doubt that’s even possible.

                      On the other side of the analogy, in fairness, complex commerical web apps have long supported various incompatible quirks of multiple vendor’s browsers.

                      1. 6

                        Multiple OSs, including Windows, can run unmodified Linux binaries.

                    2. 4

                      How is the linux kernel different than Chromium?

                      As you just said it,

                      financially supported by numerous mutually distrustful big businesses

                      There’s no one company making decisions about the kernel. That’s the difference.

                      1. 4

                        There’s no one company making decisions about the kernel. That’s the difference.

                        Here comes fuchsia and Google’s money :/

                      2. 1

                        I am disgusted with the Linux monoculture (and the Linux kernel in general), even more so than with the Chrome monoculture. But that fight was fought a couple decades ago, it’s kinda late to be complaining about it. These complaints won’t be heard, and even if they are heard, nobody cares. The few who care are hardly enough to make a difference. Yes we have the BSDs (and I use one) and they’re in a minority position, kinda like Firefox…

                        1. 2

                          How much of a monoculture is Linux, really? Every distro tweaks the kernel at least to some extent, there are a lot of patch sets for it in the open, and if you install a distro you get to choose your tools from the window manager onwards.

                          The corporatization of Linux is IMO problematic. Linus hasn’t sent that many angry emails percentually, but they make the headlines every time, so my conspiracy theory is that the corporations that paid big bucks for board seats on the Foundation bullied him to take his break.

                          We know that some kernel decisions have been made in the interest of corporations that employ maintainers, so this could be the tip of an iceberg.

                          Like the old Finnish saying “you sing his songs whose bread you eat”.

                      3. 3

                        It’s a browser engine and Microsoft engineers have the skill set to fork it at any point down the line.

                        I think this is true. If Google screws us over with Chrome, we can switch to Firefox, Vivaldi, Opera, Brave etc and still have an acceptable computing experience.

                        The real concerns for technological freedom today are Google’s web application dominance and hardware dominance from Intel. It would be very difficult to get a usable phone or personal server or navigation software etc without the blessing of Google and Intel. This is where we need more alternatives and more open systems.

                        Right now if Google or Intel wants to, they can make your life really hard.

                        1. 8

                          Do note that all but Firefox are somewhat controlled by Google.

                          Chrome would probably have been easier to subvert if it wasn’t open source; now it’s a kind of cancer in most “alternative” browsers.

                          1. 5

                            I don’t know. MIPS is open sourcing their hardware and there’s also RISC-V. I think the issue is that as programmers and engineers we don’t collectively have the willpower to make these big organizations behave because defecting is advantageous. Join the union and have moral superiority or be a mercenary and get showered with cash. Right now everyone chooses cash and as long as this is the case large corporations will continue to press their advantage.

                            1. 9

                              “Join the union and have moral superiority or be a mercenary and get showered with cash. Right now everyone chooses cash and as long as this is the case large corporations will continue to press their advantage.”

                              Boom. You nailed it! I’ve been calling it out in threads on politics and business practices. Most of the time, people that say they’re about specific things will ignore them for money or try to rationalize how supporting it is good due to other benefits they can achieve within the corruption. Human nature. You’re also bringing in organizations representing developers to get better pay, benefits, and so on. Developers are ignoring doing that more than creatives in some other fields.

                              1. 3

                                Yup. I’m not saying becoming organized will solve all problems. At the end of the day all I want is ethics and professional codes of conduct that have some teeth. But I think the game is rigged against this happening.

                              2. 2

                                I don’t think RISC-V is ready for general purpose use. Some CPUs have been manufactured, but it would be difficult to buy a laptop or phone that carries one. I also think that manufacturing options are too limited. Acceptable CPUs can come from maybe Intel and TSMC and who knows what code/sub-sytems they insert into those.

                                This area needs to be more like LibreOffice vs Microsoft Office vs Google Docs vs others on Linux vs Windows vs MacOS vs others

                              3. 2

                                They already are screwing us over with chrome, this occurrence is evidence of that.

                            1. 11

                              Google is out-Microsofting* Microsoft.

                              *Microsoft 20 years ago, at least.

                              1. 18

                                If Google threatens Purism over the Librem5 using their Motorola patents, that’ll be the true Microsoft

                                1. 2

                                  when

                              1. 38

                                Wow. Microsoft engineer complains about “some seemingly anti-competitive practices done by Google’s Chrome team”. Now that is some piquant irony.

                                Also, the page’s YouTube video appears to be blocked. Icing on the cake?

                                1. 37

                                  …one of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn’t keep up…

                                  I can appreciate the shadenfreude of Microsoft’s new position, but this is a pretty legitimate concern. Especially if Google is/was doing that intentionally. What we need is a good incentive for Google to care about web standards and performance in non-Chrome browsers, but this move by Microsoft only drives things in the opposite direction.

                                  1. 12

                                    I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but I am almost never able to complete reCaptchas in Firefox, it just keeps popping up ridiculous ones, like traffic lights that are on the border of three squares, and it keeps popping the same unsolvable ones for 2-3 minutes until I get tired/locked out of it and just use Chrome to log in, where somehow I always get sane ones and it lets me in first try. Anyone had the same?

                                    This video sums it up very well, although not Firefox specific: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGW7TRtcDeQ

                                    (Btw I don’t use Tor, or public VPNs or any of the like.)

                                    1. 4

                                      This is known to happen: Blocking via an unsolvable CAPTCHA.

                                      1. 1

                                        Ha! Thanks for this, I won’t keep trying anymore :)

                                    2. 17

                                      Especially if Google is/was doing that intentionally.

                                      I disagree that intention has anything to do with it. We have to judge these kinds of situations by the effect they have on the web, not on good feelings.

                                      1. 7

                                        Spot on. Intent only matters when it is ill. Even if not intended, the outcome is what matters materially.

                                        1. 6

                                          One reason intention matters: if the intention is to handicap edge, then it’s probably not serving some other purpose that’s good for all of us. If handicapping edge is a side-effect of some real benefit, that’s just a fact about the complexity of the web (it might still be a bad decision, but there are trade-offs involved).

                                        2. 7

                                          OK, let’s put aside the schadenfreude as best we can and examine the consequences. I think it’s fair to assume, for the sake of argument, that Alphabet Inc absolutely will do everything in its power, dirty tricks included, to derive business value from it’s pseudo-monopolist position. If Microsoft were to dig in their heels and ship a default browser for their desktop OS that didn’t play YouTube videos as well as Chrome does, would that harm Alphabet, or just Microsoft at this point?

                                          I don’t really understand your talk of “a good incentive”. Think of it this way: what incentive did Google, an advertising company, ever have to build and support a web browser in the first place? How did this browser come to its current position of dominance?

                                          1. 15

                                            Google built a web browser because Microsoft won the browser wars and did nothing with IE for 10 years.

                                            Their entire suite of products were web based and their ability to innovate with those products was severely hampered by an inadequate platform.

                                            https://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/fresh-take-on-browser.html

                                            Chrome was revolutionary when it was released and many of the web technologies we take for granted today could never have happened without it.

                                            I’m not entirely thrilled with everything it led too but whatever their motives now, Google had good reasons to build Chrome in the first place.

                                            1. 23

                                              I’m sure whichever visionaries were at Google at that point had great reasons to build Chrome. But Google isn’t the same company anymore, and Chrome doesn’t mean what it once meant.

                                              “You could not step twice into the same river.” —Heraclitus

                                              1. 11

                                                That’s certainly ONE factor. The other is that Chrome by default makes “address bar” and “search bar” the same thing, and sends everything you type into the search bar to Google.

                                                Same as Google Maps, or Android as a whole. I often navigate with Google Maps while driving. The implication is that Google knows where I live, where I work, where I go for vacation, where I eat, where I shop. This information has a monetary value.

                                                If there is something Google does that is not designed to collect information on it’s users that can be turned into ad revenue, that something will eventually be shut down.

                                                1. 9

                                                  “This information has a monetary value.”

                                                  Exactly. They are trying to build accurate profiles of every aspect of people and businesses’ existences. Their revenue per user can go up as they collect more information for their profiles. That gives them an incentive to build new products that collect more data, always by default. Facebook does same thing. Revenue per user climbed for them year after year, too. I’m not sure where the numbers are currently at for these companies, though.

                                                2. 8

                                                  Google built a web browser because Microsoft won the browser wars and did nothing with IE for 10 years.

                                                  No, that was Mozilla. They together with Opera were fighting IE’s stagnation and by 2008 achieved ~30% share which arguably made Microsoft notice. Chrome was entering the world which already was multi-browser at that point.

                                                  Also, business-wise Google needed Chrome as a distribution engine, it has nothing to do with fighting browser wars purely for the sake of users.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by a distribution engine. For ads? Or for software?

                                                    I think business motives are extremely hard to discern from actions. I think you could make the argument that Google has been trying for years to diversify their business, mostly unsuccessfully, and around 2008 maybe they envisioned office software (spreadsheets, document processing, etc) as the next big thing. GMail was a surprise hit, and maybe they thought they could overthrow Microsoft’s dominance in the field. But they weren’t about to start building desktop software, so they needed a better browser to do it.

                                                    Or maybe they built it so that Google would be the default search engine for everyone so they could serve more ads?

                                                    Or maybe some engineers at Google really were interested in improving performance and security, built a demo of it, and managed to convince enough people to actually see it through?

                                                    I realize the last suggestion may sound helplessly naive, but having worked as an engineer in a company where I had a lot of say in what got worked on, my motives were often pretty far afield of any pure business motive. I got my paycheck regardless, and sometimes I fixed a bug or made something faster because it annoyed me. I imagine there are thousands of employees at Google doing the same thing every day.

                                                    Regardless, the fact remains that the technology they built for Chrome has significantly improved the user experience. The reason Chrome is now so dominant is because it was better. Much better when compared to something like IE6.

                                                    And even ChromeOS is better than the low-price computing it competes with. Do you remember eMachines? They were riddled with junk software and viruses rendering them almost completely useless. A 100$ Chromebook is such a breath of fresh air compared to that experience.

                                                    I realize there’s a cost to this, and I get why there’s a lot of bad press about Google, but I don’t think we need to rewrite history about it. I think we’re all better off with Google having created Chrome (even if I don’t agree with many of the things they’re doing now).

                                                    1. 5

                                                      The reason Chrome is now so dominant is because it was better.

                                                      There are two reasons why Chrome became so dominant:

                                                      • Google makes deals with OEMs to ship Chrome by default on the new desktops and laptops. Microsoft cannot stop them because of historical antitrust regulations.

                                                      • Google advertised Chrome on their search page (which happens to be the most popular web page in the world) whenever someone using another browser visited it. It looks like they’ve stopped, though, since I just tried searching with Google from Firefox and didn’t get a pop-up.

                                                3. 3

                                                  The incentive to play fair would come from Google not wanting to lose the potential ad revenue from users of non-Chrome browsers due to them deliberately sabotaging their own products in those browsers. Not trying to imply that EdgeHTML was the solution to that problem or that it would somehow be in Microsoft’s best interest to stick with it, just that its loss is further cementing Google’s grip on the web and that’s a bad thing.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    All the user knows is “browser A doesn’t seem to play videos as good as browser B”. In general they can’t even distinguish server from client technologies. All they can do about it, individually, is switch browsers.

                                                    Now that Alphabet has cornered the market, their strategy should be obvious. It’s the same as Microsoft’s was during the Browser Wars. The difference is, Alphabet made it to the end-game.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      The end game being anti-trust action? I’m not following your line of argument. Are you examining that particular consequence?

                                                      1. 2

                                                        The antitrust case against Microsoft ended up with not much happening, and that was 18 years ago. Do you have much confidence that there is likely to be an effective antitrust action against Google?

                                                        1. 1

                                                          I’m not the one making a case here.

                                                          Your interpretation[1][2] of how a single historical case went doesn’t change the fact that antitrust action is bad for a company’s long-term prospects and short-term stock price. The latter should directly matter to current leadership. Companies spend a reasonable amount of time trying to not appear anti-competitive. @minimax is utterly ignoring that consequence of “dirty tricks”.

                                                          [1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/opinion/microsoft-antitrust-case.html illustrates the opposite perception. [2] https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2010/09/the-eternal-antitrust-case-microsoft-versus-the-world is more balanced, and points out the effect of the lawsuit on Microsoft PR, leadership focus and product quality.

                                                      2. 1

                                                        What makes Chrome’s position more of an end-game than what IE had in the early 2000s?

                                                        1. 4

                                                          You’re looking at it wrong. The question you really need to consider is:

                                                          What makes Google’s position more of an end-game than what Microsoft had in the early 2000s?

                                                          Microsoft was the dominant OS player, but the Internet itself was undergoing incredible growth. What’s more, no one existed solely within what’s Microsoft provided.

                                                          Today, the Internet is essentially the OS for many (most?). People exist in a fully vertically integrated world built by Google - operating system, data stored in their cloud, documents written on their editor and emails sent through their plumbing… all of it run by the worlds most profitable advertising company, who just built themselves mountains of data to mine for better advertisements.

                                                          Microsoft in the 00’s could only dream of having that.

                                                          1. 4

                                                            Your assessment of Google today strikes me as not completely unreasonable, although it does neglect the fact that only a small fraction of Internet users live so completely in Google’s stack; I suspect far more people just use Android and Chrome and YouTube on a daily basis but don’t really use Gmail or GSuite (Docs, etc.) very frequently, instead relying on WhatsApp and Instagram a lot more.

                                                            And back in the 2000s there were definitely a large group of people who just used Windows, IE, Outlook, Hotmail, MSN & MS Office to do the vast majority of their computing. SO it’s not as different as you seem to believe. Except now there are viable competitors to Google in the form of Facebook & Apple in a way that nobody competed with MS back then.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              SO it’s not as different as you seem to believe.

                                                              It’s incredibly different.

                                                              When I used IE5 Microsoft’s tactic was to bundle it with Windows and use Microsoft-specific APIs to boost its performance, killing Netscape. If I used Chrome today, I’d find dark UI patterns are used to ensure my data is captured.

                                                              Similarly, Office/Outlook/Windows in 2000 didn’t mine the files I was working on to enrich an advertising profile that would follow me across the internet. If memory serves, while Hotmail did serve advertisements, they were based on banner advertisements / newsletters generated by Microsoft, and not contextually targeted.

                                                              The real risk here, I believe, is in both the scope and ease of understanding what’s happening today versus what Microsoft did. Microsoft’s approach was to make money by being the only software you run, and they’d use any trick they could to achieve that - patently anticompetitive behavior included.

                                                              Google, on the other hand… at this point I wonder if they’d care if 90% of the world ran Firefox as long as the default search engine was Google. I think their actions are far more dangerous than those of Microsoft because they are much wider reaching and far more difficult for regulators to dig into.

                                                              I suspect far more people just use Android and Chrome and YouTube on a daily basis but don’t really use Gmail or GSuite (Docs, etc.) very frequently, instead relying on WhatsApp and Instagram a lot more.

                                                              Even if we take that as a given, this means most people are sending:

                                                              • their location
                                                              • the videos and pictures from their phone’s camera
                                                              • their search history
                                                              • a list of content they watched

                                                              up to Google.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Your assessment that Chrome is only a means to an end, the end being to have people continue using Google’s web search, seems dead on. But then you follow that up with a claim that doesn’t seem to logically follow at all.

                                                                The reach of Google now relative to Microsoft 15 years ago is lower as a fraction of total users; it only seems higher because the absolute number of total users has grown so much.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  Doesn’t this depend on how you define a “user”, though? Google has a grip on search that would be the envy of IBM back in the day. Android is by far the most popular operating system for mobile phones, if not for computing devices writ large. They pay for Mozilla because they can harvest your data through Firefox almost as easily as via Chrome, and they prop up a competitor, in case the US DOJ ever gets their head out of their ass and starts to examine the state of the various markets they play in.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    Depends on how narrowly you define “search” too; Do you include all the searches people conduct directly on Amazon or Facebook or Siri?

                                                                  2. 1

                                                                    The reach of Google now relative to Microsoft 15 years ago is lower as a fraction of total users; it only seems higher because the absolute number of total users has grown so much.

                                                                    Android’s global smartphone penetration is at 86% in 2017[1]. And while the “relative reach” might be lower, the absolute impact of the data being Hoovered up is significant. In 2000, annual PC sales hit 130 million per the best figures I could find[2] … that’s less than a tenth of smartphone sales in 2017 alone.

                                                                    What does it matter that Google’s relative reach is lower when they control nearly 9/10 smartphones globally and proudly boast over two billion monthly active devices?

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      The level of control isn’t directly comparable. Microsoft sold Windows licenses for giant piles of money while Google licenses only the Play Store and other apps that run on Android. Android in China is a great example of the difference, although I guess Microsoft probably lost revenue (but not control over the UX) there via piracy.

                                                      3. 1

                                                        Think of it this way: what incentive did Google, an advertising company, ever have to build and support a web browser in the first place?

                                                        Is this a real question asked in good faith? Maybe it’s just been a long day but I really can’t tell.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I was going for Socratic. You’re quite welcome to assume anything you like about the goodness of my faith.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Got it - always happy to play along with Mr. Socrates ;) I mostly wanted to be sure I wasn’t just biting on an obvious troll.

                                                    2. 11

                                                      That’s just a picture of a blocked YouTube video to emphasis their point.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      I feel like the source of anguish is in part from thinking of consumer tech (smartphones and tablets) as an evolution of computers. They aren’t. They are a mass market spin off specifically intended for things not related to creativity. People who want to be creative are still going to use actual computers. Apple and others simply realized the fact that the vast majority of people couldn’t care less about being creative (or even self-organized) most of the time. While Stallman and others keep consistently missing this point by insisting that all users of computer should want the freedom of being creative.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        I have luckily never met a person (of any level of technical capacity) who has no desire to be creative – and I hope I never will.

                                                      1. 19

                                                        The best thing about Electron is that Linux is finally becoming a first class platform for desktop apps. Slack, Git Kraken, Atom, Mailspring and so on likely would’ve never seen the light of day on Linux if not for Electron. Electron drastically lowers the barrier for writing and maintaining cross-platform applications, and I think that far outweighs its disadvantages. I don’t really see any insurmountable problems with Electron that can’t be addressed in the long run as the adoption grows.

                                                        The reality is that maintaining multiple UIs for different platforms is incredibly expensive, and only a few companies have the resources to dedicate separate development teams for that. The value of having a common runtime that works reasonably well on all platforms can’t be overstated in my opinion. This is especially important for niche platforms like Linux that were traditionally overlooked by many companies.

                                                        1. 24

                                                          I think a more accurate description would be that Electron makes every platform second class.

                                                          It is certainly more egalitarian and even an improvement for platforms previously overlooked, but better than before is not necessarily good.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            On the other hand, if the web stack becomes the standard then all the platforms improve together in the long run.

                                                          2. 15

                                                            In a better universe there would be no reason to maintain cross-platform apps. Ideally we would use independently maintained platform tailored apps talking to common protocols. Like, a hypothetical Ubuntu-native VoIP app that could talk to Skype on Windows. Protocols as the point of commonality is far more desirable than a UI toolkit, because a common UI toolkit means that every app works in its own peculiar way on every platform, which sucks.

                                                            Unfortunately, we’re living in this universe…

                                                            1. 4

                                                              Most people prefer applications that are unconstrained by stagnant standards. For example, consider Slack or Discord versus IRC, or web forums versus newsgroups or mailing lists.

                                                              At least when the applications are open-source and API-driven, there’s hope for alternative clients for those who want or need them.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                Most people prefer applications that are unconstrained by stagnant standards.

                                                                That’s an interesting thought, thanks.

                                                                Although I still think that a single entity evolving a standard is better than every app inventing their own UI conventions.

                                                          1. 5

                                                            The “Marzipan” apps on MacOS 10.14 Mojave [..] are dreadfully bad apps. [..] I honestly don’t understand how Apple decided it was OK to ship these apps.

                                                            and

                                                            Things like this are canaries in the coal mine regarding the state of the Mac.

                                                            I’m sorry but that canary has been dead for about 10 years now. Right after Apple released iOS, OS X ceased to be a priority for them and Mac turned into a pretty dreadful thing pretty quickly. I’m honestly surprised that despite all evidence, John Gruber still believes that things are only about to get bad every time there’s a new development in this direction.

                                                            1. 7

                                                              One thing I would love to read more about is how to determine the cutoff between scaling horizontally and investing time/money in optimizing your software.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                Oooo, that’s a good one. I have a couple hand-wavey heuristics. I’ll think more about trying to turn that into something more real.

                                                                I have the next 2-3 posts vaguely planned out. But, I’ll definitely be thinking about your idea @hwayne.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Doesn’t it boil down to, basically, “it’s a knack, spend 10 years doing it and you’ll get good at judgment”?

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    I’d definitely take a more “business” driven approach to that problem. Optimizing your software for cost should only be done if the money it saves is superior to what it costs to optimize it.

                                                                    You also have to take into account indirect costs like when using weird optimization tricks can make code less readable sometimes and also has a cost for future development.

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      On the other hand, scaling horizontally adds costs of coordinating multiple servers, which includes load balancing, orchestrating deployments, distributed system problems, etc.

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        The business-driven approach is not always the best for society as a whole. It doesn’t take into account negative externalities like the environmental cost of running inefficient programs and runtimes.

                                                                      2. 2

                                                                        I had a few that helped a lot:

                                                                        1. Use the fastest components. Ex: Youtube used lighttpd over Apache.

                                                                        2. If caching can help, use it. Try different caching strategies.

                                                                        3. If it’s managed, use a system language and/or alternative GC.

                                                                        4. If fast path is small, write the data-heavy part in an optimizable language using best algorithms for that. Make sure it’s cache and HD-layout friendly. Recent D submission is good example.

                                                                        5. If it’s parallelizable, rewrite the fast path in a parallel, programming language or using such a library. Previously, there was PVM, MPI, Cilk, and Chapel. The last one is designed for scale-up, scale-out, and easy expression simultaneously. Also, always use a simpler, lighter solution like that instead of something like Hadoop or SPARK if possible.

                                                                        6. Whole-program, optimizing compilers (esp profile-guided) if possible. I used SGI’s for this at one point. I’m not sure if LLVM beats all of them or even has a profile-guided mode itself. Haven’t looked into that stuff in a while.

                                                                        Notice that most of this doesn’t take much brains. A few take little to no time either. They usually work, too, giving anything from a small to vast improvement. So, they’re some of my generic options. Via metaprogramming or just good compiler, I can also envision them all integrated into one language with compiler switches toggling the behavior. Well, except choosing fastest component or algorithm. Just the incidental stuff.

                                                                  1. 5

                                                                    Rich has said a lot of nonsense about type systems over the years, but I think “you should be able to change a function so that it returns an Option without modifying the callers” takes the cake. Really glad I didn’t watch that keynote.

                                                                    1. 13

                                                                      He said that you should be able to modify a function so it can take an optional instead of a mandatory without modifying the callers. It’s a standard example of “weakening preconditions” that most languages support.

                                                                      1. 12

                                                                        He said you should be able to modify a function from returning an option to returning a guaranteed non-null value. You have it backwards.

                                                                        1. 6

                                                                          Ah, OK; I misread the first example. Still wrong, but not blindingly, searingly wrong.

                                                                          1. 7

                                                                            I’m not sure I see how it’s wrong. It’s a semantically equivalent change and a small user interface boon. Tagged unions are not the only way to do unions.

                                                                            1. 5

                                                                              How is it semantically equivalent? It seems to me the former is widening the possible domain of result values, whike the latter is restricting the possible domain of result values. The former is, in general, impossible to safely accommodate without checking all callers, while the latter might conceivably not require any changes in callers.

                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                The comment I was replying to said that the example was “still wrong”.

                                                                              2. 4

                                                                                You’ll notice that on lobste.rs a suggestion that type systems may not be as useful in general is often conveniently interpreted as simply being ignorant about type systems :-)

                                                                                1. 13

                                                                                  We’re talking about someone who has a long and well-documented history of straw-mans on this topic. If it were someone other than Rich I’d probably cut them more slack.

                                                                          2. 1

                                                                            I think what he’s proposing for spec is pretty interesting, independent of his ideology regarding types. That starts around 30 minutes in.

                                                                          1. 6

                                                                            My favorite quote from the video so far:

                                                                            like all design things […] what was wrong, two things were combined that shouldn’t have been combined

                                                                            Yes. Yes, indeed!

                                                                            1. 37

                                                                              Such irony in the title here–“open source” is not about you; it’s a movement to hijack the free software movement and turn it into something a company can profit from, riding on free software goodwill and stripping the political aspects that are hard to reconcile with shameless capitalism.

                                                                              I don’t think it’s what Rich meant here, but it does nicely serve to underscore the vast gulf between the oss and free software camps; if you are in software because you want to make the world a better place, move right along.

                                                                              1. 26

                                                                                it’s a movement to hijack the free software movement

                                                                                There’s a problem with this statement, it doesn’t apply to me.

                                                                                When I was open-sourcing my project I wasn’t joining any movement. I didn’t sign any contract. I use the words “open source” in a plain sense: this is a source code that someone can get and use according to the posted license. I’m totally fine with any company making profit off of this code. No company ever indoctrinated me into thinking this, and I deliberately chose BSD license over GPL exactly to not having to be associated with Free Software movement (I don’t hate it, I just didn’t want to). Yes, for real. People like me exist.

                                                                                What I’m saying is, we already have a term meaning “open source + a particular ideology”. It’s Free Software. Please don’t try to appropriate “open source” to mean anything more than “available source code”. And no, I don’t really care what OSI thinks about this “term”. It’s their idea, not mine. I need some words to describe what I’m doing, too.

                                                                                1. 9

                                                                                  When I was open-sourcing my project I wasn’t joining any movement

                                                                                  That’s exactly the difference between the “free software” movement and Open Source. You made @technomancy’s point for him.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    It’s contradicting the framing that he’s somehow been duped out of believing in the fsf’s ideology by an open source movement.

                                                                                  2. 9

                                                                                    P.S. In fact, there was a time when “Free Software” also wasn’t associated with not letting companies profit from it. Here’s a classic Mark Pilgrim on this: https://web.archive.org/web/20091102023737/http://diveintomark.org/archives/2009/10/19/the-point

                                                                                    Part of choosing a Free license for your own work is accepting that people may use it in ways you disapprove of.

                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                      Check Selling Free Software from 1996.

                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                        I came here to share this link. the GPL, and free software, was never about gratis, was never about not paying for software. It has always been about liberty and the freedom to control one’s own software.

                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                        2009 is classic? Am I old?

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          “Classic” in a sense “explains well”, has nothing to do with being old :-)

                                                                                      3. 5

                                                                                        Just because you use a term doesn’t mean you get to define it. Saying “I don’t care what OSI thinks or why the term was invented” seems pretty strange to me… it’s their term and has a history, like it or not.

                                                                                        1. 8

                                                                                          What word should I use if I publish source code so people can use it but don’t care about furthering the cultural revolution?

                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                            “Open source”.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              Billionaire. In a historical interview, that’s what the CEO of Apple believed he’d become if a lot of things lined up, one being getting a whole, networking stack for free from BSD developers. The other thing he envisions is them begging for money at some point so their projects don’t close down. He bragged his main competition would be contributing their fixes back since they got themselves stuck with la licence de la révolution. Attendees were skeptical about such a one-sided deal going down.

                                                                                            2. 4

                                                                                              No :-) The only way a natural languages is defined is through use, and the most common usage becomes a definition. OSI didn’t make this term theirs by simply publishing their definition, they just joined the game and have as much weight in it as every single user of the word.

                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                True, but also like it or not language evolves over time (always to the chagrin of many). This is not unique to technology or English. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what either OSI or /u/isagalaev thinks, society at large makes the definitions.

                                                                                                Having said that, if you step outside of the FOSS filter bubble, it seems pretty clear to me that society leans towards /u/isagalaev’s definition.

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  Also, as a sensible dictionary would, Merriam-Webster defines both current interpretations of it: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/open-source

                                                                                              2. 4

                                                                                                we already have a term meaning “open source + a particular ideology”. It’s Free Software.

                                                                                                You can’t remove politics from this question; the act of pretending you can is in itself a political choice to support the status quo.

                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                  You can remove “politics” from open source, and that is precisely what open source has done.

                                                                                                  The term open source can be operationally defined (i.e., descriptive, constructed, and demonstrable). From Wikipedia, citing the book “Understanding Open Source & Free Software Licensing.” (Though feel free to use Merriam Webster or the OED as a substitute): “source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.”

                                                                                                  The license terms are selected that most parsimoniously accomplish the stated definition. (i.e., make it possible for the stated definition to become externally correspondent and existentially possible). The fewest number of rules (formula, statements, decisions) possible to accomplish the work–producing a limited number of legal operations (rights, grants, privileges) that can be fully accounted for.

                                                                                                  It is the deflationary nature of the process that removes “politics.” Making the license commensurable and testable while removing suggestion, loading, framing, or overloading. BSD/MIT are small and shrinking, whereas GPL 2/3 are large and growing. That’s the difference.

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    “source code is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.”

                                                                                                    You can still get patent sued for that due to laws paid for by lobbyists. The effects of politicians on what we can and can’t do with open-source mean it’s inherently political. The people who say they want its benefits with no interest in politics or whose licenses don’t address it are still involved in a political game: they’re just not players in it.

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      I’m not sure why do you think I’m trying to “remove politics”. Of course I do have some political view on this, however vague it might be. This is totally beside the point. The point is that I don’t want to proclaim/discuss my political views every time I want to say that the code is available. It’s a completely valid desire.

                                                                                                    2. 1

                                                                                                      Why BSD license over public domain? The latter makes the source code more “available”, does it not?

                                                                                                      (If you wonder how I feel about the GPL, check my repos.)

                                                                                                      1. 11

                                                                                                        The latter makes the source code more “available”, does it not?

                                                                                                        No. In jurisdictions that don’t recognise public domain (e.g. France) and in which authors cannot give up their copyright, giving it to the public domain is meaningless and it’s as if the code has no free license at all. It’s the same as “all rights reserved”.

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          That’s very interesting. Would folks in such jurisdictions be interested in working together with others to reform copyright law? Perhaps among .. other things?

                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                            Why? It’s a different branch of copyright law and the idea of authorship being something you cannot give up is fundamental to those. You can only perpetually license.

                                                                                                            CC0 is a great license to use in those cases, btw.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              Why?

                                                                                                              One reason being that some people think copyright, or perhaps even more generally, intellectual property, is unethical. Another reason could be a desire for a single simple concept of “public domain,” perhaps similar to what we have in the US.

                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                          I like the idea of retaining an exclusive right to the project’s name, BSD is explicit about it.

                                                                                                      2. 10

                                                                                                        Companies are profiting massively from both. The License Zero author figured out the reason is the FOSS authors focused on distribution methods instead of results. That’s why Prosperity straight up says commercial use like many non-free licenses mention. The other one says any change has to be submitted back.

                                                                                                        The license needs to explicitly mention them making money or sharing all changes to achieve what you’re describing. That plus some patent stuff. The “free” licenses trying to block commercial exploitation are neither believably free nor stopping commercial exploitation after companies like IBM (massive capitalist) bet the farm on them. I mean, the results should prove they dont work for such goals but people keep pushing old ways to achieve them.

                                                                                                        Nope. Just reinforcing existing systems of exploitation by likes of IBM. We need new licenses that send more money and/or code improvements back.

                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                          It should not be the job of a license enforced by copyright to extract rents. That’s the playbook we are fleeing.

                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                            ““open source” is not about you; it’s a movement to hijack the free software movement and turn it into something a company can profit from”

                                                                                                            The commenter wrote as if they expected whatever license or philosophy was in use to prevent companies from using the software for profit or with exploitation central focus. Several companies are making billions leveraging FOSS software. One even lobbies against software freedom using patent law since suits won’t affect it. So, if the goal is stopping that and spreading software freedom, then the so-called “free” licenses aren’t working. Quite the opposite effect moving billions into the hands of the worst, lobbying companies imaginable.

                                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                                          I just don’t see “open-source” being an hijack of “free software” for corporate purposes. Why would corporate care, they can exploit the free labor of free software just as much, the politics are not visible in the final software product. If anything, it seems like the social goals of free software have been diluted by other programmers who like the technical side of it, but neither care or agree about the politics.

                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                            Why would corporate care, they can exploit the free labor of free software just as muc

                                                                                                            Depends on the market. If it’s software they sell directly, the copyleft requirement means they have to give up their changes. Those changes might be generating the customers. They might also be causing lock-in. Better for them to keep their changes secret.

                                                                                                            Your point remains if it’s anything that lets them dodge the part about returning changes, esp SaaS.

                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                              I just don’t see “open-source” being an hijack of “free software” for corporate purposes.

                                                                                                              It’s not really a matter of opinion. That hijacking is exactly what happened in 1998. The fact that today you forgot that this is what happened means that it worked: you stopped thinking about free software, as the OSI intended to happen in 1998.

                                                                                                              OSI was created to say “open source, open source, open source” until everyone thought it was a natural term, with the goal of attracting corporate interests. They even called it an advertising campaign for free software. Their words, not mine.

                                                                                                          1. 13

                                                                                                            Upvoted almost automatically :-) The problem of “contributor entitlement” is understood by most maintainers, and by many other participants in open source projects, but we should keep saying it over and over, until the idea that a maintainer doesn’t owe you anything becomes completely ingrained in our culture.

                                                                                                            1. 33

                                                                                                              RSS is an ancient technology from Web 1.0 (“the naïve Web?”)

                                                                                                              I’m sorry, but blogging, as an early social network based on RSS, was the hallmark of what people started to call “Web 2.0”, as opposed to “Web 1.0” which consisted of simply human-readable web sites.

                                                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                                                Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. The RSS was the new stuff. Old stuff were hyperlinks and CSS menus.

                                                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                                                  Wasn’t Web 2.0 about AJAX and XMLHttpRequest? i.e making the web page interactive with asynchronous requests? I would consider gmail to have started web 2.0 in 2004, which was much later than RSS

                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                    I don’t think there was ever a definitive definition of Web 2.0. Part of it was the flashy client parts, but part was also APIs that made it possible for others to interact to services.

                                                                                                                    For me, the quintessential Web 2.0 site was/is Flickr, where you have a content organizer, rich API, tagging, and social features. And there’s RSS too, I still subscribe to some seldom-updated streams in my feed reader.

                                                                                                                    We’ve moved past that now. The site/service that defeated Flickr is Instagram, which disables a lot of stuff that Flickr enabled - except tags. You can’t organize your images in folders, you can’t even decide in what order to show them, and you cannot upload other than through the app. The app is the service, the web view is basically read-only.

                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                      That is true as well! Here’s what I vaguely remember.

                                                                                                                      Even though RSS as a format was invented earlier, the “blogosphere” exploded in popularity at about 2005-2006 (with popular services like Wordpress, Technorati). And at that point people loosely used the moniker “Web 2.0” for everything that elevated the Web platform above the old boring (D)HTML tag soup:

                                                                                                                      • separation of (X)HTML and CSS
                                                                                                                      • AJAX and first Web apps
                                                                                                                      • Content aggregation through RSS/Atom
                                                                                                                      • Microformats
                                                                                                                      • “Semantic Web” (nobody knew what that was, and it never materialized)

                                                                                                                      (Now we back to the tag soup, although it now includes all of HTML, CSS, JS and a lot of ads.)

                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                    That we spend a ridiculous amount of time setting up builds, releases and general tooling.

                                                                                                                    That’s my pet peeve right now. What’s worse, every time I tried to fix it using my experience as a programmer and knowing how to abstract and DRY, I met a very hard push back from people insisting that everything should be left as is and there’s nothing wrong in writing tons of configs for every project.

                                                                                                                    /vent

                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                      This is probably the main reason I love coding with C. I can write a simple mkfile (plan9’s mk(1) is FAR superior to GNU Make, honestly) that’s about 20 lines and it compiles the whole project. While you can do this with other languages (rustc, as the rustaceans keep on mentioning to me), the dependencies usually are not so clean and it’s… generally more difficult.

                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                        Dependencies are the reason I despise building C/C++ with Makefiles. If you want it to work reliably, you need to extract references to header files, find where the libraries you link to are located, and store all these paths as dependencies for future runs. And then you’re in CMake land and it’s no longer pretty.

                                                                                                                        The Go build tool has this resolved. Go + mk would be love-worthy. They have the same people behind them, too.

                                                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                                                        I’m merely a dabbler in Rust for now, but rustup + cargo are so much nicer than the competition, IMO

                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                        All that sounds pretty damning for Apple maps.

                                                                                                                        1. 10

                                                                                                                          Kent Beck… Partly for his earlier work on XP…. but especially for the honesty to give this talk https://www.infoq.com/presentations/self-image/

                                                                                                                          Rich Hickey. Because he is thinking deeply about what we are doing… https://changelog.com/posts/rich-hickeys-greatest-hits

                                                                                                                          Martin Fowler, his Refactoring book was hugely influential, and he is also trying to think about what is good software.

                                                                                                                          Brendan Gregg…. because he measures, and knows where to measure (has big picture), and knows how to explain what he is doing and why.

                                                                                                                          J. B. Rainsberger : Because he directly calls bullshit on some of the biggest and stinkiest mounds of shit the industry has served up. (And because he is honest enough in one of his talks to admit that he started doing TDD in desperation to dig him personally out of a deep pit of failure.)

                                                                                                                          If there is a common theme it’s thinking deeply about what is good software, thinking about the human side of software, and attempting to articulate these thoughts.

                                                                                                                          I really dislike technocrats that neither consider (empathetically) the human side, nor articulate what they are thinking and why. If you want to instantly piss me off…. tell me I’m doing wrong… but then fail to articulate what right is and why.

                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                            Thank you for the Hickey’s greatest hits link! Didn’t know anyone compiled it, but now I think it should’ve obviously been done by now :-)

                                                                                                                          1. 21

                                                                                                                            Well, one of my pet hates about phones these days is the sheer size of them – they’re basically a tablet in your pocket. I want a phone.

                                                                                                                            And I thought I was the only one on the planet going nuts about this. I also bought an iPhone SE 2 years ago for exactly the same reason. I don’t get what the fascination with large sized screens is. You can’t even operate the phone with one hand.

                                                                                                                            Anyway, I switched to iOS for similar reasons. Personally for me, the final straw was the Android permission system. Once an app has all the permissions, it has them all the time. Not sure if things have changed in the meanwhile, but I’m super happy that I switched.

                                                                                                                            1. 10

                                                                                                                              Once an app has all the permissions, it has them all the time. Not sure if things have changed in the meanwhile, but I’m super happy that I switched.

                                                                                                                              It has

                                                                                                                              1. 8

                                                                                                                                The size of phones is just killing me, and they seem to be getting bigger. Hopefully the fashion will change soon.

                                                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I cannot understand why smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. It’s like sane phone sizes ended with end of 2014-2015, especially if you want some good specs.

                                                                                                                                  In 2014 you could buy Z1 Compact (dimensions: 127 x 64.9 x 9.5 mm (5.0 x 2.56 x 0.37 in); screen: 4.3 inches, 51.0 cm2 (~61.8% screen-to-body ratio)), now it’s practically impossible to buy similarly sized high-end smartphone.

                                                                                                                                  ~4.5” screen seems to be what is the limit of being able to somewhat comfortably operate smartphone in one hand using your thumb (unless you have some big hands, of course, but I don’t). With Redmi 2 (dimensions: 134 x 67 x 9 mm (5.28 x 2.64 x 0.35 in); screen: 4.7 inches, 60.9 cm2 (~67.8% screen-to-body ratio)) I’m actually already unable to reach top of the screen and 3 buttons below the screen with my thumb without slightly readjusting hand position.

                                                                                                                                  BTW It’s equally ridiculous for me to put 3K screens in such a small size factor like smartphones (well, they’re reaching 6” screens already, but even including that). Going over FullHD seems quite wasteful and brings only more battery drain. I doubt there are people using their phones with magnifying glass…

                                                                                                                                  1. 10

                                                                                                                                    My guess: more and more people are using phones as their only computer, so sizes will continue to increase in order to accommodate them.

                                                                                                                                    1. 8

                                                                                                                                      Exactly this – me and my partner are basically polar opposites on this front. When I need to do anything beyond simple, brief content generation (text messages, and only short ones) – I reach for my laptop. The time to take it out of my bag, tether it to my phone, get online and do the work then put everything away is less than my slow speed on a phone.
                                                                                                                                      Work wise – the phone is an accessory to my computer(s)… and mostly I use it as a well, phone, click, alarm and message receiving device.

                                                                                                                                      My partner legitimately runs two businesses from their phone. The phone is the primary content generation device, email, texts, taking photos, editing images, scheduling, planning, online resources, looking at sales data, ordering new products for the workplace, etc, etc – everything is done on the phone first, and begrudgingly done on a laptop if a product just won’t work from their phone. That product is likely to have a short shelf life because having a great phone experience is probably the most important feature to them.

                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                        And I know people who use 17” laptops for impromptu presentations. Harder to find those these days.

                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                          For small table presentations (impromptu or otherwise), I love mirror mode to a 15.6” USB powered monitor, so I can sit behind my computer when presenting. Specifically great for like live coding / pair coding.

                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                            Do any of those monitors have Linux support?

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              Yep. I think almost all of them use the generic DisplayLink USB 3 stuff – which works (might need to install a Displaylink generic driver).

                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                The DisplayLink story wasn’t so good as of 4.1, have you noticed it getting better?

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  I am not sure if I got lucky or what, but I haven’t had a major issue with it and been using them for a few years now on Ubuntu 16.04 and now 18.04 (various spins of it). I don’t use too many of the DisplayLink features (rotation, sound support, etc – so maybe that is where stuff gets hung up?).

                                                                                                                                    2. 1

                                                                                                                                      ~4.5” screen seems to be what is the limit of being able to somewhat comfortably operate smartphone in one hand using your thumb (unless you have some big hands, of course, but I don’t).

                                                                                                                                      I agree. I switched from an iPhone SE to an iPhone 6s with its 4.7” screen, which is just a bit too large. Luckily, iOS has this handy feature where if you double tab (not press) the home button, it will move the image 50% down, making it easier to reach top buttons. I’d still love a 4.3 or 4.5” iPhone though. But it’s not where things are moving, so unlikely to ever happen (they even abandoned 4.7” on new models, yes I know, newer models have smaller bezels).

                                                                                                                                    3. 1

                                                                                                                                      Americans like phones they way they like their cars – the bigger the better.

                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                        Funny enough the giant phone trend is being driven by Asians, specifically Chinese and Korean customers. They all want massive screens for some reason. Americans don’t really help the trend much but for once were not actually driving the bus.

                                                                                                                                    4. 1

                                                                                                                                      That part was music to my ears as well :-) https://mastodon.social/@isagalaev/100981223084458245

                                                                                                                                      We should start a consumer group or something (oh well, who am I kidding?)

                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                      I was thinking of posting this here, but felt it was pretty Rust specific.

                                                                                                                                      Also, hi Anish! How are things going these days? (I hosted Anish as an intern on Android, he did great work on line breaking)

                                                                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                                                                        it was pretty Rust specific

                                                                                                                                        FWIW deep dives on any technical topic are considered on-topic here, so post to your heart’s content. ❤

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          That’s even without mentioning Rust specifically as one of the most frequent recurrent topics on lobste.rs.

                                                                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                                                                            Yeah. But even if it was a deep dive on how, say, MUMPS on the IBM System/360 passed arguments between procedures or did register allocation or something, we’d still be glad to see it. ❤

                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                              Someone please write this

                                                                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                                                                          He also has interesting projects on his site. Plus, a great explanation for why people use LaTeX over alternatives in this post.