Threads for jrw

    1. 2

      Yep. Sorry :-(

    1. 1

      I’m currently running an OS-managed Firefox 95.0 on Linux Mint. Mint doesn’t use snaps by default, so I’m not sure how they manage this, but I’m very thankful that they do.

      1. 1

        I just use a short script which prompts me (once, with a list) if I’m trying to remove 2+ files. That handles all my use cases with file globs picking up more files than I intended.

        1. 3

          It’s interesting that this doesn’t mention that the shell language is… well, bad. Even one of their examples has a bug: grep $CWD -in ~/.*shrc (which I assume has a typo for $PWD) won’t behave correctly if your pwd has spaces in it!

          This is why I’m considering switching to something like Elvish as my day-to-day; it has a lot of the same nice properties that POSIX shells does, but without all the badness. It also lets you pass around structured objects between commands, as opposed to forcing everything into text, which is one of my other big complaints with shells.

          1. 2

            The first sentence does contain the word “reviled”. (However, your comment made me want to at least glance at it.)

          1. 6

            According to Wikipedia, “Separating date and time parts with other characters such as space is not allowed in ISO 8601”, so the core date format would be not yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss, but yyyy-mm-ddThh:mm:ss.

            However, the profile defined in RFC 3339 allows the space: “NOTE: ISO 8601 defines date and time separated by “T”. Applications using this syntax may choose, for the sake of readability, to specify a full-date and full-time separated by (say) a space character.”

            1. 30

              Not really a blog, but by far. Some of the best reporting on current events regarding Linux. Also the only site where I pay to read articles, well worth it.

              1. 4

                only site where I pay to read articles


              1. 13

                Posts from are frequently posted here.

                1. 1

                  Forgot to mention that Chris writes a post every day (very few exceptions).

                1. 2

                  I wrote a small and simple password manager in Go. Cryptography is provided by x/crypto/nacl/secretbox, x/crypto/scrypt, and crypto/rand. It does what I want it to do. Synchronization is easy, just use rsync over ssh or sftp.

                  I highly recommend using a password manager – it increases security and convenience at the same time. And you can put all kinds of things in it, not just passwords/passphrases. For example I save DNSCurve keys, WireGuard keys, etc. You can put anything you want in there.

                  Also interested in hearing what non-technical people are known to like and use. Would love to get my wife to use a password manager but I don’t know what’s both secure and frictionless.

                  1. 1

                    I also use my own custom password safe, kept in a plain text file and secured by ccrypt. Access is via a shell wrapper around vim on my desktop and imported via another script into keepass2android for my smartphone. The text file itself is in a completely unstructured format, containing not just passwords but all personal details that I need to track, for everything that I deem needs to be kept private. The script which wraps my access to the file also keeps a local RCS revision history of all changes to the file (also encrypted). The shell wrapper around vim disables features which might leak information out of vim, such as the search history (.viminfo) and the swap file. All my passwords (except a small handful) are unique, random strings generated from my own template. My template is currently:

                    1. 1+ chars from each of upper/lower/num/symbols
                    2. no confusing chars (0OolI1)
                    3. no 3 sequential identical chars or 3 sequential ascending/descending chars
                    4. symbols chosen to be double-click-to-select friendly
                    5. symbols not first/last char
                    6. 20 chars long.

                    The benefits of using a free-form (unstructured) text file are:

                    1. You don’t have to deal with the clunkiness of someone’s idea of a GUI which stores fields in a database. Instead you get to store whatever you want text-wise, without having to figure out how it fits into some structure.
                    2. You can use your normal editor for editing and searching the data.
                    3. If you like reStructuredText or org-mode, you can use that.
                    4. It’s portable and shareable in whichever way seems best to you (ssh/rsync, encrypted thumb drive, Dropbox-alike).
                    5. You don’t have to store it on someone else’s server if you don’t want to. No worrying about trusting someone else’s server or infrastructure or code.
                    6. You’re extremely unlikely to be compromised, since you’re a one-off. You don’t have to worry about compromises in anyone else’s app or infrastructure, unless you’ve bought into that framework.

                    The drawbacks are:

                    1. Less convenience. No clever features built into someone else’s app.
                    2. There is less integration into the clipboard or your browser.
                    3. You have to maintain it yourself.
                    4. The features are only as good as you make them.
                    5. The security is only as good as you make it.
                    6. The backups are only as good as you make them.
                    1. 1

                      “Secure and frictionless” pretty well describes 1Password, it’s well supported on most platforms now via 1Password X for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Brave, and native apps for macOS, Windows iOS and Android, with a command line app for linux (and I believe they are working on a Rust based GUI app for linux, but I might be misremembering their podcast about it). All data is encrypted client side, autofill works incredibly well, and makes life easier than having to remember anything. I haver no affiliation with them, I just think they make a fantastic product that is worth the money.

                    1. 10

                      It feels like this article is trying to have it both ways regarding encryption and compatibility. It touts it as a feature that “Delta Chat encrypts messages automatically” but then says that “Delta Chat allows you to communicate even with people who don’t use Delta Chat at all, all you need is an email address!” That’s great, but it implies not only that (1) Delta Chat can be used in an unencrypted mode, which is not even possible with e.g. Signal, but also that (2) people are being encouraged to use it in an unencrypted mode while also being told that the service is encrypted. Is there UI clarifying which connections are encrypted and which are cleartext? If not, technical users will understand that if you send an email to some arbitrary address then of course it’s going to be unencrypted, but ordinary users are being set up for failure.

                      The article seems to allude to this when it says that “it would be advisable not to use Gmail, Outlook or GMX as email service”. You can have an encrypted chat channel, or you can have a backward-compatible unencrypted channel that your email provider can read, but you can’t have both. (Or if you can, then this article doesn’t explain how that would work.)

                      Edit: I feel bad about posting such a negative comment. I too have been annoyed at the proliferation of incompatible messaging services. I like federation, and I like the idea that someone would be able to use this without creating yet another account. But I’m worried that people are going to misunderstand the limits of Delta Chat’s opportunistic encryption.

                      1. 3

                        There’s UI to show whether a chat is encrypted or not, encrypted messages will have a lock symbol. But you’re right, it’s possible to use it without encryption too. There are three options: 1. Message someone without support for autocrypt - the chat will be unencrypted, 2. Message someone with autocrypt (i.e. DeltaChat) - only the first message will be unencrypted, 3. Scan someone’s QR code - all messages will be encrypted.

                        1. 3

                          encrypted messages will have a lock symbol

                          As unencrypted HTTP has become less and less common, browsers have switched from highlighting when a page is encrypted to highlighting when it isn’t encrypted. How obvious does Delta Chat make it when a chat is plaintext?

                        2. 2

                          BTW, Signal can be used to send normal SMS to your non-Signal contacts, so it can be used in unencrypted mode.

                          1. 1

                            Ah, I forgot about that. (This is an Android-only feature of Signal, IIUC, and I use iOS.)

                          2. 2

                            I clicked to the comments because very similar thoughts occurred to me.

                            I don’t think having insecure messages go through the “secure” chat interface is a good idea at all. A decent compromise might be:

                            • user attempts to send a secure chat message to someone whose email address they have
                            • delta alerts them that secure messaging is not possible and offers to send them an insecure message instead
                            • if the user opts to send an insecure message, it uses the system’s mailto: url handler to open the default mail client so that this looks like every other insecure message the user sends.

                            Sending plaintext from your secure tool should be scary and involve extra steps, IMO.

                            I have other reservations about selecting email as the substrate for this, but those aren’t security related.

                            1. 1
                            1. 8

                              Counterpoint on thin: After years of using ThinkPads, I’m much happier with my MacBook Air as a laptop. I don’t need ports or performance on the go, I want battery life and lightness. It’s nice having a laptop I can lift effortlessly with one hand. The MBA makes appropriate compromises for a laptop; one of the few things I miss from my ThinkPad is a nub. If it’s your only system, then it probably isn’t an appropriate choice, but I have faster computers (my desktop at home and many servers) if I need more .

                              1. 5

                                One of the authors points is that companies are trying to take away computing power on move it to their cloud. Working on a beefy server in a data center somewhere is kinda similar though. In the end, it is (most likely) not your computer you can’t be sure nobody is interfering with.

                                Not that I am not guilty of doing it myself.

                                1. 2

                                  Does that really hold true for Apple though, who doesn’t have their own cloud business? I mean, most of the laptop hardware manufacturer’s aren’t directly involved in cloud services either, so I’m not sure that argument holds up. It’s not like most aren’t still offering beefy ‘portable workstation’ types, it’s just a tradeoff of battery/portability and power.

                                  1. 1

                                    This point might not be true for Apple, however they are going in a direction which is problematic in other ways: To me it feels like macOS is becoming more restricted with every major OS release. My guess is that sooner or later they will take away the possibility to run unsigned code on their computers. My prediction is that with the advent of ARM Macs iOS and macOS will eventually merge into the same product, leaving you with a powerful device and not a computer anymore.

                                    1. 3

                                      Given how many of the MBP devices get sold to developers, I think it’s unlikely they’ll restrict unsigned code entirely. They will almost certainly make it more of a pain, but tbh, I’m personally fine with that. The “average” Mac OS user generally needs their hand held and is better served having safety nets to prevent them from doing something dangerous. Power users, who know what they’re doing, can figure out the mechanisms to do whatever they want. iOS and Mac OS may merge in the future, but I think it would result in iOS becoming more ‘open’ than Mac OS being more closed. Even the most recent releases of iOS have things like scripting automation, (finally!) decent file handling, changing default browser (still webkit afaik, uhg), etc..

                                  2. 1

                                    I have that computing power at home. I can SSH into it, or if I’m at home, just use it, right there.

                                    You’d be surprised how performant low voltage designs can be anyways.

                                    1. 1

                                      Some people don’t feel comfortable or cannot afford to leave their computer running 24/7

                                      1. 1

                                        So that’s when you leave a rpi running 24/7, hooked up to a USB-controlled finger which presses a key on your desktop’s keyboard and wakes it up when you want to ssh to it

                                  3. 2

                                    Nothing portable about having to carry an additional “real” keyboard around …

                                    1. 2

                                      I’ve never needed to carry around a keyboard. Unless you actually have a disability that prevents you from using a traditional keyboard layout, I actually like the keyboard on my ThinkPads and don’t think mechanical keyboards are a huge leap. The MBA is a slight downgrade on that front, but it’s perfectly usable.

                                      1. 3

                                        I think the previous commenter is talking about Mac keyboards vs external keyboards. Employer requires me to use a Mac, and I’ve used the built-in keyboard for maybe thirty hours, and it’s starting to act weird already.

                                        While I’m able to write code on my personal ThinkPad keyboard, the work Mac keyboard sacrifices usability for smaller size to the point that I find it unusable. I think that’s what the previous poster is trying to say.

                                        1. 1

                                          And you are so right. What a horrendous keyboard (and laptop in general). I’m shocked and disgusted by how bad it is.

                                  1. 32

                                    The main content of this post does not seem, to me, to support the primary claim.

                                    The framing of this primary claim, is whether (or not) people can collectively can use Firefox “for the sake of the web”. Put differently: whether the collective choices of users can provide a marketshare-derived bulwark against a complete Google monopoly (on standards, on the web experience, etc.). The article then complains that using Firefox has become burdensome, and that Mozilla behaves poorly in their opinion.

                                    Those complaints are fine enough to be an article on their own. Certainly there is nothing wrong with expressing how one feels. However, neither the individual pain points, nor disingenuous behavior by Mozilla, actually speak to the premise: whether or not the collective choices of users can provide a marketshare-derived bulwark against a complete Google monopoly. As an overall framing question, the article leaves it unaddressed, except a few moments of unsupported nihilism.

                                    I should be clear: I do not think the complaints listed are invalid. An actual consequence of these complaints, is that the people who are part of that bulwark are probably subjected to a worse web browsing experience than they otherwise could be (e.g. if Mozilla acted differently). That is not good.

                                    A conclusion the article does not draw, but which follows from the previous, is that having a worse experience will likely erode that marketshare over time. This will lead it to be a less effective barrier against Google doing whatever-they-please. That is also not good.

                                    Ultimately, while I understand the criticisms (and agree with some), they don’t actually critique the idea of collective action. Instead there are just appeals to despair and powerlessness. “Nothing here is new”, “we are past the point of no return”, “we are entering a dark age”, and then the sentence that bothered me the most:

                                    And does anyone actually believe, that that sub-segment of all web users, that believe in browser engine diversity, can save anything?


                                    And nothing in this article seems to refute that.

                                    1. 7

                                      The framing of this primary claim, is whether (or not) people can collectively can use Firefox “for the sake of the web”.

                                      My intention was to ask whether people should individually use Firefox, “for the sake of the web”, at the expense of accepting anything Mozilla decides. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

                                      Considering the current trends, the increasing popularity of Chrome and of mobile platforms (ie. Android and iOS), I dismiss the possibility of a collective effort to turn the tides, a priori. You’re right that I don’t argue the point why it’s not possible, it just seems like such a pointless debate, that depends on entirely contingent factors. I just wanted to offer a pessimistic response to all the “Use Firefox to save the web” articles I have been seeing over the last few months.

                                      1. 10

                                        Fair enough, in so far as you acknowledge the a priori dismissal. If we sat here and ran through all those contingent factors, I would probably agree with you more often than not.

                                        FWIW I do not use Firefox as some civic duty on behalf of the web, and I have not found myself arguing that people should (thus far). But nor do I find the “anti-monopoly bulwark” angle implausible. I use Firefox almost entirely because of the Multi-Account Containers add-on. I legitimately do not know how I would use the web without it. Or at least do not know how I could use it as effectively as I am used to.

                                        I did stubbornly use Firefox mobile for a two year span, despite it feeling like a worse experience. But as of some time this year, it has been markedly better, in that way that goes unnoticed–so much so that I had not reflected on it until typing this paragraph. It’s that natural tendency to take tools/systems for granted, once they have been working smoothly for long enough.

                                        1. 13

                                          FWIW, I do use Firefox as some civic duty on behalf of the web, and it’s becoming a more miserable experience with almost every release.

                                          I’ll definitely have a look at Edge when the Linux version ships with vertical tabs, because I really had enough of the abusive relationship with Mozilla.

                                          1. 6

                                            Seeing as it is roughly on-topic, what are the changes that have made you miserable?

                                            In my text editors, terminal, file manager, and some others, when a sub-option-of-a-sub-option changes, I notice immediately. This article and thread have caused me to realize browsers are an odd exception: I am not that sensitive to little changes in options or details.

                                            I use Firefox primarily (90-95% of browsing), but I do use Chrome partially for work. Aside from (a) Chrome lacking a plugin akin to Multi-Account Containers, and (b) Google blatantly not caring that G Suite runs poorly in Firefox, my experience on web pages feels basically comparable.

                                            1. 6
                                              • Extension system can’t support vertical tabs.
                                              • User styles being on their way out.
                                              • Extensions not working on “special” domains.
                                              • Constantly having to fix styling (e. g. dickbar).
                                              • “Restart Firefox” button doesn’t restart Firefox, broken for years.

                                              It’s a death by thousand cuts.

                                              1. 5

                                                For your first point, I use “Tree Style Tabs”, which I’ve been happy enough with. It’s not quite as seamless as the pre-webextentions version, but it does give vertical tabs.

                                                1. 2

                                                  I’m aware of all options, and they are all crap. (TST is worse than other options though.)

                                                  Sure we can hack tabs into a sidebar, but the extension can’t even disable the “real tab bar”.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    A bit of css removes the real tab bar for me. What other options do you think are better thank TST?

                                                    1. 2

                                                      A bit of css removes the real tab bar for me.

                                                      That “bit” of CSS has grown to 100 lines at my machine. Plus, userChrome.css is on Mozilla’s kill list anyway, so it’s not something that can be relied upon.

                                                      What other options do you think are better thank TST?

                                                      Sidebery is better.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        100 lines? I have this:

                                                        #TabsToolbar, #sidebar-header {
                                                            visibility: collapse !important;
                                                        #TabsToolbar {
                                                            margin-bottom: -21px !important;

                                                        Now, if mozilla does kill userChrome.css and it stops working, I’ll have to move to another browser. It isn’t any love for mozilla, at this point, that keeps me with it, just that I’m used to TST and containers. I’ll check out Sidebery (though I am perfectly happy with TST as it is).

                                                      2. 1

                                                        This bit of CSS needs to be updated once every couple releases, because they keep breaking it. And it’s going to stop working anyway, as @soc wrote in a sibling comment.

                                                      3. 1

                                                        I’m OK with Tab Center Redux’s vertical tabs in the sidebar. I have no horizontal tab bar. I also have my bookmarks bar in the same horizontal space next to the URL bar. For added usability, I have the normal toolbar (File/Edit/View/…) in the titlebar.

                                                    2. 4

                                                      For comparison: Out of all of them only the restart option bothers me. And that’s broken only on my linux box.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        I rather like All Tabs Helper’s vertical tabs functionality.

                                            2. 3

                                              many of these changes are in line with Google’s vision for the web, and reflect Mozilla’s reliance on Google. while Mozilla may be the lesser of two evils, it is still evil, and only voting for the lesser evil won’t be enough to improve things.

                                              not to mention that using Firefox is much less significant even than a vote. it helps Mozilla charge more for partnerships where they show their users ads, but if you don’t click on these ads then you aren’t actually helping Firefox because you are reducing the per-user effectiveness of their ad space. rambling now…

                                            1. 1

                                              FYI: Recent post with paywall problems reported:

                                              1. 10

                                                We could also remove medium-hosted sites entirely. I hadn’t realized they have a quota paywall when I made that last comment, I thought it was only tacky position: absolute footers and such. I sent Medium a note around then saying we were considering it to ask them to respond, but I never heard back.

                                                We’ve previously removed links that don’t have anything to read like an ad for a book or a lead gen form that offers a report in exchange for an email address, and a paywall that appears after a few clicks seems like it may fit in the same bucket. The partner program carrying poor incentives is a bit more reason to ban. Any more reasons to? Any reasons not to?

                                                (Related: We strip Medium’s undocumented “friend links” because the parameter looks like ad attribution and we have no idea what its effects or limitations are. Absent a compelling answer from Medium I’m reluctant to permit it.)

                                                1. 3

                                                  We strip Medium’s undocumented “friend links” because the parameter looks like ad attribution and we have no idea what its effects or limitations are. Absent a compelling answer from Medium I’m reluctant to permit it

                                                  LWN Subscriber Links are allowed, so there’s precedent. The only difference is that Medium’s friend links use a query instead of being part of the path.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    I think that @pushcx’s view is that the difference between LWN and Medium is that LWN has documented its Subscriber Links ( whereas Medium apparently has not.

                                                  2. 1

                                                    Stripping Medium’s friend links functionally adds a paywall where one previously (with an unmodified URL) would not exist. So, in my opinion, the problems people have with medium links on comes not from medium but from the automatic stripping of friend links. Were the situation inverted – i.e., if a parameter, when present, produced a paywall on some site – it would be obvious that it would not be acceptable for to add this parameter automatically to all submitted links.

                                                    We could quite reasonably ban medium links that do not have a friend link parameter attached – i.e., links that go to paywalled sites but do not allow readers to bypass that paywall. This gets around the primary problem people have with medium – that some articles are subject to the metered paywall. (It does not solve the other problems people have, which seem to revolve around the use of javascript, but we don’t ban other javascript-heavy sites either.)

                                                    1. 1

                                                      I think you’re right. Medium links without a Friend Link parameter are the problem. I think @pushcx is taking the stand that, without documentation, Friend Links are indistinguishable from ad attributions, and ad attributions should be stripped. Maybe the desire to strip something that looks like an undocumented “Friend Link parameter” should be relaxed?

                                                      1. 2

                                                        From what little we know, only the original author can create them. So allowing them certainly wouldn’t flip all Medium links to work because only a minority are submitted by the author, who may not even think to generate one.

                                                        Banning Medium links without the parameter might work but feels like it would exacerbate the poor incentives of the partner program. I dunno, it’s hard to feel confident here when we can’t know much. I lean away from coding a feature to help a single site that pays for distribution to attribute our traffic when I’ve been putting work into making Lobsters less attractive to marketers. How is the error message for a non-author going to explain the situation, and what next steps would it suggest? How would we justify blocking other attribution methods if we privilege Medium’s?

                                                        1. 1

                                                          I mean, doesn’t block sites that host ads, nor does it block other sites where authors get paid based on number of views.

                                                          Our goal is just to prevent spam, right? In other words, the problem here is a visible paywall that keeps users from viewing perfectly good content – and if the content isn’t good, then it should be blocked for that reason and not because of the host.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Are the criteria/goals documented somewhere? I don’t think the goal is just to prevent spam. There is also a goal of making less attractive to marketers /marketeers (serving some larger goal of preventing spam?). Maybe having a well defined set of goals (if there isn’t one already) would help clarify how to approach these issues?

                                                            1. 1

                                                              I’m not sure.

                                                              How is reducing spam not the same thing as being unattractive to marketers, in this case? (Unless one makes the relatively-weak claim that some advertisements are ‘desirable’ and therefore ‘not spam’ – but this would have the opposite affect and result in a culture more like HN’s.) If you squash advertising, then advertising (including all spam) is squashed.

                                                              I’m trying to figure out why would want a policy that makes people pay for things over a policy that makes people not pay for things.

                                                              The claim that a friends link would aid in tracking is dubious: there’s only one friends link code per story, created by the author; while medium’s stat page shows the number of views through a friends link, it does not allow you to cross-reference that information with referer, date, read versus view, or anything else. As far as I can tell, this feature exists solely to allow people who get the link from the author (rather than a google search or an internal medium recommendation) to bypass the paywall as though they were paying members of the site – the rough equivalent of the token parameter added to private google docs to allow people with a particular link to view the document. (Surely if somebody discovered that was being stripped, we’d add an exception, right?)

                                                  1. 21

                                                    As a submitter in the table here, I’m happy to stop submitting my own site. I kinda naturally stopped doing that on HN as the community grew and the conversation quality dropped.

                                                    As a reader I think this analysis of majority-submission by one user badly needs a time threshold. It seems too much to wait indefinitely for someone else to post a site before one can do so again.

                                                    My entire RSS feed consists of low-volume stuff by less well-known people. And for most people, if they don’t submit their own site nobody will. I consider that a loss to myself as a reader.

                                                    I’ll play with some queries.

                                                    1. 9

                                                      I haven’t run it, but maybe an extra condition like this would help the query?

                                                      select domain, count(*) as submitted, count(distinct stories.user_id) as submitters,
                                                            (select count(*) from stories s where s.domain_id =
                                                               group by s.user_id order by 1 desc limit 1) as from_one_submitter
                                                        from domains join stories
                                                        on = stories.domain_id
                                                            and stories.created_at > date_sub(now(),INTERVAL 1 MONTH)   -- <=======
                                                        group by domain
                                                        having count(*) > 5
                                                            and (from_one_submitter + 1) * 2 > count(*)
                                                        order by 2 desc;

                                                      Link to schema for convenience. I’m not sure what the query performance would be with the given indexes..

                                                      1. 5


                                                        | domain                 | submitted | submitters | from_one_submitter |
                                                        |             |        55 |         40 |                187 |
                                                        |             |        29 |         20 |                245 |
                                                        |            |        25 |         21 |                151 |
                                                        | |        12 |          5 |                 42 |
                                                        |       |        12 |          2 |                 26 |
                                                        |                |         9 |          1 |                 32 |
                                                        |        |         7 |          2 |                 10 |
                                                        |                 |         7 |          6 |                 14 |
                                                        |        |         6 |          5 |                 16 |
                                                        |            |         6 |          6 |                 19 |
                                                        10 rows in set (0.89 sec)
                                                        1. 9

                                                          Ah yes, Forgot about that one. Haven’t seen much high-quality content from there. I think if I really wanted to see stuff from there, I’d just create an account.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            So that idea was a bust :D

                                                            Maybe we should filter common domains out of these results? Did you say the topical miscreants created 10 stories? How far down do we go before we get to their domain?

                                                            1. 2

                                                              The featured spammers posted 6 stories (now removed) from ten accounts.

                                                            2. 1

                                                              Oh my I do recognise some domains I frequently post.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                Maybe I should start recommending Chris Siebenmann’s Wandering Thoughts ( posts. He has such a high quality and on-topic blog.

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  You were invited by him, so you might trip a wire somewhere as a possible alt account…

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    True. But I could do it occasionally and that would take the pressure off of you. Also, the fact that I invited corbet from LWN might count in my favor for being a legit non-sock-puppet account ;-)

                                                                    It really is a great *nix/sysadmin blog and Chris must have made some kind of pact with himself, because he writes a new post almost every single day.

                                                                    I used to mostly lurk on, but occasionally I’d want to comment. Eventually I decided to get myself invited. I originally tried getting an invitation though chat, but no one responded there. Chris’s name was the only one I recognized as a member, so I sent him an email requesting an invitation. My email managed to get lost for a couple months, but eventually he saw it and invited me. As a “proof of trustworthiness”, I mentioned that I had, several times, posted comments on his blog. Maybe he checked out my comments.

                                                                    So, did need to get special dispensation to get around some of the posting limitations? Or is it just squeaking by under the limits?

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      Those domain limitations didn’t work and I dropped them.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I don’t really have any strong stance about the specifics of whether or not we have a medium or a paywall tag, but I very much like to see a way to remove all content published on a Medium website from my feed.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            See for some techniques to filter domains.

                                                          1. 3

                                                            Failed almost immediately on Mint:

                                                            $ build/ minimal
                                                            build/ ->
                                                            native/libc.c:22:10: fatal error: Python.h: No such file or directory
                                                               22 | #include <Python.h>
                                                                  |          ^~~~~~~~~~
                                                            compilation terminated.
                                                            error: command 'x86_64-linux-gnu-gcc' failed with exit status 1

                                                            Installed python2-dev package. Failed next with:

                                                            build/ ->
                                                            native/line_input.c:64:10: fatal error: readline/readline.h: No such file or directory
                                                               64 | #include <readline/readline.h>
                                                                  |          ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                            compilation terminated.
                                                            error: command 'x86_64-linux-gnu-gcc' failed with exit status 1

                                                            Installed libreadline-dev. Next failure:

                                                            $ build/ minimal
                                                            Removing _devbuild/gen/*
                                                            build/ ->
                                                            Ran 13 tests in 0.001s
                                                            build/ ->
                                                            Ran 1 test in 0.000s
                                                            build/ ->
                                                            Ran 8 tests in 0.000s
                                                            py-yajl/ ->
                                                            python2: can't open file '': [Errno 2] No such file or directory


                                                            1. 3

                                                              Thanks for trying it and for the report!

                                                              Yeah I guess the “quick start” isn’t really that great if you don’t have those 2 packages. The longer Contributing page has the ubuntu-deps shell function, but it’s unclear if everyone can use that. I think it would work on Mint because it’s ubuntu derived ?


                                                              I’m not sure what the next error is. Maybe py-yajl/ doesn’t exist because the submodule isn’t there? The

                                                              git submodule update –init –recursive

                                                              command should do that.

                                                              In any case, this is useful, I will think about how to smooth over the process … Ironically Oil is running into the “shell script portability” problem, which “Linux Standard Base” was trying to fix (but failed)! I think we need something like that …

                                                              1. 1

                                                                My first try (above) was using your original instructions given here, but without the git clone (just downloading the git .zip file). My next try below was using the instructions at your Contributing page. That fared better, but there were issues:

                                                                1. I noticed that the packages python-dev-is-python2 and python-is-python2 were required by build/ ubuntu-deps. This sounds like a no-no (everything should be explicitly labelled as either python2 or python3).
                                                                2. The build seemed to go OK (with warnings) and bin/osh ran without error, but many of the tests are failing.
                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Yeah unfortunately both I and our Travis build are on Ubuntu 16.04 (default for Travis), and it doesn’t have a python2-dev package. Looks like that came about in 20.04 :


                                                                  I have a TODO to upgrade the Ubuntu version …


                                                                  I just fixed a couple shebang lines that aren’t explicitly python2, and there is now a lint check for it in the continuous build.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              I wasn’t actually suggesting filtering Medium posts out. Just being able to recognize them before clicking on them.

                                                              1. 4

                                                                Every post here (except for meta and ask posts) is already labeled with the domain name that it points to. It’s displayed in italics, after the tags. It’s a link to all stories submitted with that domain.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  To be scrupulously fair, Medium does allow custom domains, but they still count towards Medium’s stupid “paywall”.

                                                                  I’d rather have a tag that denotes that the site is behind a paywall/regwall - but such a tag would imply those submissions are on-topic, which they seldom are.

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    I like that idea: a Paywall tag. In this case the post was on topic I thought.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      I don’t think a paywall tag would necessarily attract paywalled content. You could argue that having to wear such a badge of shame might disincentivise posting such things. As far as paywalledness being correlated with off-topic-ness, I think those two concerns can be disentangled.

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        If I knew that I could do so without burdening my fellow community members with a poor, or even rude, UX — e.g. the paywall being a surprise — that’d make more inclined to post paywalled content.

                                                                        I don’t understand why paywalled stuff has to be a badge of shame. I think the standards should be higher for paywalled content, just as they should be for content that takes up more of your time, but money is just one potential cost, not even as valuable as your time, yet we wouldn’t say that long form content is a badge of shame.

                                                                    2. 2

                                                                      In this case, was not in the domain. See the OP.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        d’oh! Thanks, I see now. OP is asking for a warning label, to work around Medium’s somewhat deceptive quota scheme and custom domains.

                                                                        It’s a real enough concern for somebody who can’t or doesn’t want to just circumvent this particular flimsy paywall. But I think it may be unwise for Lobsters to get into a little arms race with one particular site’s shady business practices.

                                                                        I would cautiously support a paywall flag, the same color as the video and pdf flags. That seems like a more general solution.

                                                                  1. 9

                                                                    Damian Conway won the Larry Wall Award for Practical Utility three times in a row and was barred from further competitions, with the award being renamed to the Damian Conway Award.

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      That is awesome. The Perl community is fun because it is such a self-aware community. They can do many cool things all while poking fun at themselves. It’s feels very postmodern.

                                                                    1. 25

                                                                      I’m glad I left the macOS-ecosystem in 2012 for good in favor of Gentoo. Apple as a company is just milking and babysitting their customers, even if they don’t want to.

                                                                      I know many professionals that are locked within macOS due to software/habit, and I pity them.

                                                                      I made the switch by replacing each program with an open source one, one after the other. The restrictions mentioned in the article will make this even harder to achieve unless open source developers shell out the 100$ per year, which is highly unlikely. It’s all about keeping up the walled garden.

                                                                      Apple can screw themselves.

                                                                      1. 14

                                                                        I would be significantly less productive and make a ton less money if I went /back/ to Linux/BSD on the desktop.

                                                                        1. 5

                                                                          What is the productivity boost that macOS gives you compared to Linux/BSD?

                                                                          1. 10

                                                                            A quick list off the top of my head:

                                                                            • The ability to use certain closed source software (Adobe, many electron apps built by startups).
                                                                            • Alfred (rofi/dmenu/etc are not even close without significant effort to configure them)
                                                                            • The “help” button at the top of the screen which allows you to search context menus. (This existed in an older version of Unity but now afaik no longer exists in any modern DE.)
                                                                            • Separation of control/command (you can use command+C in terminal instead of control+shift+c or just copying everything that gets highlighted, no need to mentally context switch every time you go between the Terminal and other apps).
                                                                            • nicer looking websites (look at how much better websites look in a default Ubuntu/Fedora/whatever install vs MacOS, I think it’s fonts but even after copying all my MacOS fonts to Fedora it’s still not the same).
                                                                            • tight hardware integration (longer battery life, fingerprint reader to unlock)
                                                                            • Integration with iOS (easily send files between my phone and laptop via AirDrop; start reading a article on my phone and finish on my laptop)
                                                                            • Finder preview (press spacebar to preview a file quickly)

                                                                            Many of the above can be done on Linux, but either require a bunch of manual configuration or are clunky to use even after configured.

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              Except maybe that first point, I really wouldn’t call that “a significant productivity boost”. Especially considering I’d have to walk into a vendor lock-in and buy overpriced baubles with weird keyboards etc.

                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                You’re right; it’s not one big thing, it’s a bunch of little things that make it more productive for me.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  If I believed hard enough that taking some pill would make me more productive, it might very well do so even if it didn’t contain any active substance. I’ve heard this “productivity talk” from Apple users multiple times and never got any reason to believe it’s actually something more than just a placebo effect taking place.

                                                                                  It’d be very interesting to see a controlled study on this. We’d define productivity as solving programming tasks, replying to e-mails, writing articles etc and see what the differences really are.

                                                                                  Like… OK. Everyone needs a different environment and I can imagine some people actually being more productive within Apple’s ecosystem, but it’s more about personal preferences than anything else. I’d expect all groups (Mac-, Windows-, Linux-with-GNOME-, Linux-with-KDE-, … users) to have roughly the same productivity, with some people being slightly more productive in certain environments, but probably not dramatically (assuming they’re motivated to actually try hard enough – so the study would probably have to be organized as a challenge with some neat prizes).

                                                                                  Basically what I’m trying to say is that it comes to reaching some optimal setup and even though my setup isn’t optimal at all, by migrating to macOS I’d gain very little and lose a lot. That’s because I’ve spent quite some time reaching the setup that works at least this well for me. I suppose that might be the case with most power users and some productivity boost is most likely to be expected with people who tried using Windows or Ubuntu in default configuration, didn’t like it and then got a MacBook. But I’m still kind of skeptical about its magnitude.

                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                  Maybe also integration with iOS, but the rest is just what one’s used to. OSX and Windows feel clunky and limiting to me because I’m used to Unix, especially wrt cross platform development.

                                                                                  It’s all anecdotal.

                                                                                3. 3

                                                                                  The hardware/software cohesion is nigh impossible to beat.

                                                                              2. 3

                                                                                You would be less productive at the beginning of the transition, yes. But you would eventually develop new workflows and then regain productivity.

                                                                                I used to be 100% on macOS until a few years ago. My last 2 jobs I’ve been 100% on Linux and haven’t had any problems. I can install all of the corporate software on my Linux machine. I also haven’t seen any cuts in my paycheck… still making a ton of money (I think). ^_^’

                                                                                I work on web services and most of our software runs on Linux. I got tired of learning 2 OSes. I personally didn’t find any value in running macOS to run Linux (in containers or via SSH). So I cut out the middleman. I also hated that macOS is Linux-like, but not actually. For example, you might end up learning the wrong nc or sed on macOS. Super annoying when debugging.

                                                                                I do get the appeal of macOS and still recommend it to my family, but as a developer, I value the simplicity of learning 1 set of tools over vanity features. Whenever I have to switch to macOS, my productivity takes a huge hit, but that’s because I’ve learned Linux workflows.

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  Totally understandable, and I’m not arguing that. There are many people making a really good living working with Macs, and admittedly, Macs are probably the greatest machines for creative works and are superior in terms of color space handling and font rendering, to just name two things.

                                                                                  Nevertheless, the price you pay for this advantage will grow further and further. If you only do it for work, that’s fine of course, godspeed to you! But if you look at it long-term, it looks rather bleak.

                                                                                2. 4

                                                                                  If the best thing to happen to my computing career was learning Unix and the second best thing was finding Cygwin for Windows (a lifesaver), the worst decision was getting a MacBook at the end of 2019. Most frustrating keyboard and mouse (Magic Mouse) I have ever used in almost 50 years of using keyboards and X years of using mice. Just awful keyboard design, layout, touch & feel, disaster of a touchbar, no universality or standardization with anything but Macs.
                                                                                  I use multiple machines at home/work and I want everything to be configured the same everywhere to ease transitions between machines. Linux and Windows, I can configure to be sufficiently similar, but it’s virtually impossible with a MacBook and MacOS.
                                                                                  I figured that with 37 years to figure it out and with so many Linux devs using a Mac, Apple would have had to get their act together. Boy, was I wrong. Can’t wait to be done with it and get back to sanity.

                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                    Mac hardware 10 years ago was the best on the market, and I loved using it. I am still using an old Apple USB Keyboard because I haven’t found anything matching its quality and feel. Apple changed under Tim Cook, and it will change even further.

                                                                                    What they probably don’t realize is that developers might not make the biggest portion of their revenue, but they keep the ecosystem alive. I like to call this fallacy the “fallacy of the gaussian belly”, because they probably only aim their efforts on the consumers (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, etc.) and neglect the professional segment because it doesn’t make them as much money.

                                                                                    I hope I’m not sounding like an armchair-CEO here, but in my opinion they shouldn’t even penny-squeeze the Mac customers that much. What the developers do in turn for the ecosystem is much more valuable than just mere stockholder-profits and market value.

                                                                                    In the end, I see the problem in public trading and having a bean-counter at the top. The goals shift and the company goes down in the long-term. And now you might say “Why can you say that when Apple has just passed 2 billion market value?”. Just look at the market data of Apple before 1997. Before its demise under Sculley, Apple was at its most profitable, and just like Cook Sculley is a bean-counter. This degradation-process won’t be sudden and there were more factors at play in 1997, but it will happen in the long-term (10 years).

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      I joined the Apple ecosystem as the owner of a PowerMac G3 B&W that was given to my dad by a friend in 2007. I became a massive fanboy pretty quickly. 13 years later, and I’m embarrassed at how far my ‘sports team’ have fallen. The next 20 years are gonna be a rough ride and I don’t plan to stay for long.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        It’s a good call to leave the sinking ship. I’m sure the ARM-Macs will be successful, but they will just be more locked down and not suitable for anyone interested and invested in open source software.