Threads for lain

  1. 9

    The network is called the ‘fediverse’, not ‘Mastodon’.

    1. 15

      The network is called the ‘fediverse’, not ‘Mastodon’.

      I’d just like to interject for a moment. What you’re referring to as Fediverse, is in fact, GNU/Fediverse, or as I’ve recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Fediverse.

      1. 2

        While we’re at it, Mastodon is not ‘private’. It’s social media, the polar opposite.

    1. 46

      If there’s anything that should be required to use free software, it should be biomedical devices. To have a part of your body only modifiable and controllable by a corporation that keeps the details as proprietary secrets is like something out of a cyberpunk dystopia. And yet, this article is a great example of it happening!

      1. 5

        I guess the counter-argument is that (as a society) we don’t want random people tinkering with medical implants, for the same reasons we don’t want people making snake-oil medicine or amateur surgeons.

        I’d like to think there’s an acceptable middle-ground, but I’m not sure what that would even look like.

        1. 18

          I guess the counter-argument is that (as a society) we don’t want random people tinkering with medical implants, for the same reasons we don’t want people making snake-oil medicine or amateur surgeons.

          There are actually pretty robust communities working towards automated insulin delivery and (IIRC) CPAP machines. And on the medication front you have RADVAC. There’s a lot of interesting exploration going on here.

          I’d like to think there’s an acceptable middle-ground

          One option I heard that appealed to me: the FDA should require code escrow for all medical devices, and release code for any devices that are still in service after the manufacturer ends support.

          1. 7

            Code escrow is a good first step.

            But you need access to all the development tools like JTAG debuggers as well.

            Also, this all breaks down of the device firmware is locked down, and / or requires signed code.

            1. 3

              Required signed code is fine - even good - but the key for signing code that runs inside your body should be your own private key.

          2. 18

            There’s nothing illegal or immoral about eating snake oil or trying to do surgery on yourself.

            Segfaulting my own cyberware is pretty scary, but somebody else segfaulting it and having no recourse is scarier. The acceptable middle ground is sufficient documentation that a professional is capable of fixing it, and an amateur is capable of hurting themselves, but hopefully wise enough to choose a professional. This is how medicine works on stock hardware already.

            1. 8

              Requirungy something to be open source doesn’t imply that random people add random code.

              People also tend to run custom versions of big open source projects. However I think you should have full access on software installed on your body and if you want to should be able to have it changed, just like body modification at large.

              Will it be exploited by greedy companies? Certainly. But the same is true already for body modification and likely medicine at large. There’s always gonna be someone going as unethical as someone is legally allowed to to maximize profits.

            2. 1

              there don’t seem to be many companies creating this kind of technology. Adding additional burdens on them doesn’t seem like a promising way to promote these systems.

              1. 22

                Medicine has never really been a place where market dynamics did either well or good.

                1. 12

                  Yeah, this might not be a problem which the free market is capable of solving on its own. Good thing there are ways to fix that too.

              1. 3

                Incredible how much money, time and thinking is wasted on a problem that can be solved by installing one browser extension.

                1. 5

                  Extensions only solve the problem for tech savvy users and, in my experience, come with side effects.

                  1. 2

                    I know what you mean, but users click on links and install software all the time, it’s not a new concept that only experts can understand. They’ll change font sizes, backgrounds, delete bookmarks. If they can do that, they can also click on a link to ublock.

                    And all browsers are moving towards block-by-default for 3rd party cookies anyway. Firefox and Safari already block it, and Chrome is going to do it starting next year (by default. you can already enable it manually).

                    My point is that having a giant EU bureaucracy that has their counterparts in every company isn’t free. Educating users about their own abilities seems like a more promising use of all of these resources, especially since not every user wants the same (for example, my mother always asks me to turn off the ad blocker i installed for her - she wants to see the ads).

                    Projects without a company structure can essentially never comply with GDPR. I’m working on the Fediverse, there’s no way for us to be compliant - we can’t even delete a user’s data because we don’t know where it’s saved. The only people who can afford it are the big players like Facebook, so they can stay, get fined every few years and nothing changes.

                    1. 3

                      First off, it becomes a tech arms race against blockers and ad networks if you say there should be no regulations (it arguably already is). Secondly, you can’t expect everyone to be equally savvy to install all these “necessary” add ons. How do you even explain that it’s necessary?

                      IMO it’s much better if this problem is fought on all fronts; technical, legal, societal and ethical.

                  2. 2

                    You can’t (easily) install browser extensions on mobile platforms.

                    1. 4

                      You can on android/firefox.

                      1. 4

                        Privacy is a right for everyone, and relying on the largesse of the world’s largest advertiser and the web browser it funds is not a long-term solution.

                        The GDPR has a lot of flaws and loopholes, but it’s the best we’ve got at the moment, and I sincerely hope it will lead to better laws all over the world protecting people’s privacy.

                        1. 4

                          I still think Iain brings up a good point. This is a problem that would be easy to solve if we had any control over our devices and software. Hell, browsers have the gall to call themselves “user agents” when they decidedly have not been acting in our best interest for a while.

                          1. 4

                            There is no contradiction between striving for FLO software / hardware and demanding legal restrictions on the exploitation of personal data.

                          2. 3

                            So now we rely on the ability of EU legislators to find just the right amount of privacy to protect, so that it hurts google and facebook but doesn’t kill off small competitors (many of which are free software) . I’d rather teach people how to click one link and follow the instructions.

                            And the reality is that most people don’t care at all about tracking. If you ask ‘do you think it’s okay that google tracks you to give you better ads’ most people won’t care. Of the rest, most of them will stop caring when you don’t ask the question in the abstract but actually show the alternative: Would you rather have free facebook and google with ads and tracking, or pay $price_of_a_coffee a month?

                        2. 2

                          With firefox and Safari it’s not harder than on desktop. Don’t know about Chrome. An even without, both FF and Safari block tracking cookies by default these days.

                      1. 11

                        The only “utility” for a cryptocurrency (outside criminal transactions and financial frauds) is what someone else will pay for it and anything to pretend a possible real-word utility exists to help find new suckers.

                        It’s also useful for making transactions that are strictly legal under the laws of the state, but that the people running the common payment processors don’t want you to make (possibly due to some amount of informal, off-the-record coercion from the government, or possibly on their own volition). I’ve personally used cryptocurrency transactions to send money to people who were being informally blacklisted by certain parts of the financial system.

                        In any case, I don’t think that the utility of being able to make criminal transactions is worthy of casual dismissal. There are lots of states in the world, with lots of laws regulating financial activity, either for its own sake or in order to accomplish some other state goal, and I don’t trust that all such laws are actually good.

                        It’s true that you can use cryptocurrency to commit fraud; but you can also do that with electronic fiat currency, or physical cash or gold or Ea-Nasir’s famous copper ingots. That’s not an argument against using cryptocurrency specifically.

                        1. 31

                          In any case, I don’t think that the utility of being able to make criminal transactions is worthy of casual dismissal.

                          I do. People bring this up as a defense of web3, but it’s libertarian insanity. Government is a thing we do together. If government is broken, that’s the problem. You don’t fix the problem by having people flout the law. That’s just adding a second problem instead of fixing the first!

                          It’s like saying there’s a tiger in my house, but it’s okay because all the windows are smashed. Tigers are extremely bad, and you should not tolerate them! Broken glass is also very bad (not as bad as tigers, but quite bad!), and while yes, the tiger does make having a broken window seem useful, it’s not actually helping in any way. Also, the tiger can just jump out the window and eat you anyway! (In the analogy, a bad government can still force you to not do crypto transactions by use of force. Crypto only mitigates against bad but lazy governments.)

                          At the end of the day, there’s no alternative to society. Lone human beings die. At the very least you need a decade of training to learn how to survive in the woods alone, and then you need unoccupied woods! If your society is bad, you can try to change it or you can join a different society, but you can’t just ignore it and think you’ve solved things.

                          1. 9

                            Government is a thing we do together. If government is broken, that’s the problem.

                            I agree, but sadly, this is a version of reality exclusive to relatively-well-functioning democracies. Lots of people don’t live in those. That said, cryptocurrency probably isn’t necessarily going to help those people much either.

                            1. 8

                              Government is a thing we do together everywhere. The reason democracy is good is that it has a mechanism built in to acknowledge this reality, but even in e.g. North Korea, the system doesn’t work without apparatchiks who do whatever Kim Jong-un tells them to do. In every case, government is based on the consent of the governed. In any event, crypto in NK just helps the state evade global currency controls, but does not help the man on the street who is not able to afford or allowed to have an internet connected computer.

                              1. 2

                                In every case, government is based on the consent of the governed.

                                This is true for some definition of “consent”, but I don’t think it’s a very useful definition. Indeed, in repressive regimes the choice is often “live your life as well as you can under the circumstances”, or “fight the system and almost certainly die or be imprisoned”. I don’t think it’s at all fair to claim that NK governs “by consent of its people” when this is the situation for most of those people.

                                There is of course always a question of whether a given technology is helpful or harmful to those who might want to change the government, and it’s not clear to me which way this goes with respect to decentralized currency and apps - it seems highly contingent on facts about each regime and its citizens.

                                1. 4

                                  It’s a semantic argument about the meaning of “consent”. Certainly, in dictatorships where the Schelling point changes, the dictator ends up hung in a town square. If you want to use a different word for that than a withdraw of “consent” fine, but no government works without 80%+ of people going with the flow.

                            2. 3

                              I’m on my phone so I am not going to be able to give as good a response as I’d like but I believe you are making a unfair assumption about the means of fixing government (namely you assume it is always good and possible to fix government using government) however I think that in certain (extreme!) situations it is necessary to essentially “rewrite it” furthermore I believe we just happen to be living in such an extreme time so I am sympathetic to the “crime must be possible” viewpoint because we certainly have not made a sound+complete system of law and our governance is failing to adjust to various changes (mostly internet right now but global warming is also an elephant in the room).

                              1. 14

                                namely you assume it is always good and possible to fix government using government

                                I am not assuming that.

                                furthermore I believe we just happen to be living in such an extreme time

                                LOL, not if you live in the United States or the EU. Not even close.

                                mostly internet right now but global warming is also an elephant in the room

                                Climate change is an international coordination problem. Making it easier to evade national rules does not help with international coordination. The opposite, in fact.

                                1. 1

                                  Our premise is not compatible, I’d be curious how you define coordination because from how you use it I read it almost as a synonym for “benevolent dictator” - one concept that may nudge your premise closer to mine is “evolving to extinction” - the “high modernism” of monoculture agriculture + GMO + pesticide / antibiotics are examples of these hyper-efficient but very brittle optimizations that can blow up in out face if the climate shifts a bit (or any of our current assumptions gets invalidated).

                                  Web3 is nonsense (or at least the way it is marketed) and PoS/PoW as a consensus mechanism are also not a solution to the real problems but that doesn’t mean that you are right about these other points you make; evading national rules will likely become a necessity in some places (arguably already has).

                                  Anyway all your responses are just catchy soundbites I don’t see any real point being made.

                                  Flouting national law is exactly going to be a very important thing to do if we want the international coordination required to react to climate problems (fwict).

                                  1. 2

                                    Are you proposing wildcat geoengineering? I mean, if you think it’s come to that, wow, but I don’t think so, and to the extent we do climate hacking, it should be with international treaties and as much democracy as possible because we all share the same planet.

                                    1. 1

                                      No I am suggesting that the economic system is the driver of pollution and that by rights it shouldn’t be considered legitimate, countries that could perfectly well stand on their own are in ruins due to economic policies that citizen should be able to subvert or circumvent in order to organize into actually functioning communities and economies for dealing with the actual problems.

                                      1. 1

                                        I see. I agree that capitalism is problematic and needs to be constrained because the core assumption of endless growth is not healthy. OTOH, the Soviets literally erased the Aral Sea by mismanaging their economy, so I don’t want make the mistake of assuming that something else is going to work just because it purports to be different. It’s not a good situation when there’s one huge, seemingly impossible problem, and then someone says, Oh, to solve that problem we just need to solve this other huge, seemingly impossible problem.

                              2. 2

                                In the analogy, a bad government can still force you to not do crypto transactions by use of force.

                                Offering up that choice is exactly the point. Eroding a bad government’s ability to masquerade as a good one is a means of social change.

                              3. 9

                                That’s not an argument against using cryptocurrency specifically.

                                So what we’re saying isn’t that “cryptocurrency can be used to buy illegal drugs and therefore crypto is bad”. We’re saying “one of the few use cases of cryptocurrency is to buy illegal drugs”.

                                Cryptocurrency has other problems (efficiency, climate impact, cost, volatility), some of which are outlined in the article.

                                If the only point in cryptocurrency’s favor (scoring some tabs on the DL) is getting misinterpreted as an argument against it, then that’s saying something about how awful cryptocurrency is overall.

                                1. 6

                                  And I’m saying that the ability to buy “illegal drugs” is actually a really important use case that itself justifies the use of cryptocurrencies - especially when you extend the category to any type of transactions that is illegal or informally restricted by payment processors.

                                  My point was about fraud though - I don’t care that it is possible to defraud people using cryptocurrency, because it has always been possible to defraud people with non-cryptocurrencies. Mitigating the possibility of fraud is something that has been a consideration for every economic transaction we’ve ever done in our lives, going back 4000 years to the Ea-Nasir tablet. Cryptocurrencies allow both new types of fraud and new ways to mitigate fraud; they are not fundamentally a fraud-prone medium of exchange distinct from other ways of implementing money.

                                  1. 12

                                    We’re still talking past each other.

                                    You don’t need to convince me that enabling restricted transactions is a pro (although your defensiveness around it tells me that it’s a kind of iffy pro).

                                    Instead, look at the enormity of what’s more unambiguously in “con” column.

                                    We who hate cryptocurrency are arguing against a world computer weaker than a Raspberry Pi, insane energy waste and electronics waste..

                                    That’s what tech dorks urgently need to have a conversation about.

                                    The web3 hype as a whole with its weak and flaky tech is a scam to suck bagholders into crypto.

                                    The article is about web3, about wack stuff like Reddit tying upvotes and karma into proof of work blockchain tokens etc. That kind of kooky BS is what we need to put a kibosh to because it’ll eat the Earth.

                                    The tech stack sucks and is fraudulently oversold.

                                    That’s a bigger problem than getting the best dope stash on the cinder.

                                    If someone says “the only use case (outside of foo) is bad, and there’s these thirty thousand other horrible showstopping problems” there’s no point in trying to convince them that “foo is good”. They said outside of foo,

                                    Like, my foot is pretty good and important but If someone said “The only reason (outside of you getting to keep your foot) that you should take this new medicine is that we’ll make money, because the drawbacks include your head falling off and your heart stopping and your tongue turning to ash”. I don’t wanna hear about how good it is to have a foot, I’m not ready to lose my head over it!

                                    1. 7

                                      We who hate cryptocurrency are arguing against a world computer weaker than a Raspberry Pi, insane energy waste and electronics waste..

                                      It doesn’t bother me that the Ethereum blockchain is a weaker computer than a RasPi in some sense, any more so than it bothers me that the RasPi is weaker in some sense than a commercial server rack. These are different constructs designed for different tasks, and there’s no reason why I can’t use all of them at different times for different purposes. The point of the Ethereum blockchain is that it’s a censorship-resistant global smart contract platform, which is not a thing an individual RasPi can do. It doesn’t matter that the Ethereum blockchain would be bad at doing things I might do with my RasPi, like running my home automation system. Of course I’m not arguing that it would be bad if the Ethereum blockchain had higher computational throughput, or that Ethereum specifically is the best smart contract platform.

                                      I also don’t care that some people think the existence of blockchains constitutes energy and hardware waste. Whether or not you view the use of some resource as waste depends on your judgment of the ends to which those resources are put, which is the actual thing we disagree about. It takes a lot of energy and raw materials to manufacture Raspberry Pi’s, but I wouldn’t call that waste because RasPi’s are a product people are willing to pay money for to accomplish goals, just like blockchain computations.

                                      That’s what tech dorks urgently need to have a conversation about.

                                      As a tech dork (I prefer the term “professional computer programmer”), I deliberately decided to seek software developer jobs at companies working on cryptocurrency-adjacent technologies, because I think this technology is important and I want to work on making it better. If other technologists think that cryptocurrency is bad and that I shouldn’t do this, then I do so in defiance of those people. If other people want to impose political changes in polities I live in to try to make it harder to legally work with cryptocurrencies, I will fight them on the political level.

                                      The article is about web3, about wack stuff like Reddit tying upvotes and karma into proof of work blockchain tokens etc. That kind of kooky BS is what we need to put a kibosh to because it’ll eat the Earth.

                                      I don’t think it is a bad idea for a Reddit-like communication platform to be implemented using smart contracts, although I am skeptical of the motivations of Reddit as a company in doing so. A lot of the problems with Reddit are precisely that a single, rather-small private firm controls the canonical database holding the upvotes and karma and so forth, and can mess with them in arbitrary ways, including ways that the userbase disapproves of. A smart-contract based solution removes the single point of control, which is worth the computational efficiency hit.

                                      See also here for interesting ideas about practical applications of blockchains to create better versions of existing internet technologies (in this particular case, user logins).

                                      The tech stack sucks and is fraudulently oversold.

                                      I don’t think it is actually true that the tech stack is fraudulently oversold, and that it “sucks” only in the sense that the technology is in its infancy right now. This is the same point of view that someone could reasonably have taken about any number of particular technological innovations in computing, in their early days.

                                      1. 16

                                        I also don’t care that some people think the existence of blockchains constitutes energy and hardware waste. Whether or not you view the use of some resource as waste depends on your judgment of the ends to which those resources are put

                                        Unlike any other human endeavor, proof-of-work is exceptionally inefficient and wasteful, and it’s wasteful by design: if humanity comes up with a more efficient process to mine, the difficulty factor increases to meet that ten minute dream time, immediately wasting all that newfound efficency. If everyone were mining on like a hand-cranked soroban they’d get the same rate as if everyone were mining on a 1.21 gigawatt beowulf cluster of skyscrapers-sized hypercubes. All efforts of making it more efficient is inherently wasted (but because of prisoner’s dilemma, miners are still incentivized to pour more and more juice in).

                                        A product people are willing to pay money for to accomplish goals, just like blockchain computations.

                                        A transaction that doesn’t adequately account for the cost in externalities (such as planets being wrecked up). That’s why the “it’s none of your business what we wanna spend resources on” doesn’t apply. It’s one world, we all need to take care of it.

                                        If other people want to impose political changes in polities I live in to try to make it harder to legally work with cryptocurrencies

                                        OMG yes that’s what I want! Specifically proof of work needs to be banned.

                                        I don’t think it is a bad idea for a Reddit-like communication platform to be implemented using smart contracts

                                        What I’m specifically arguing against is the proposed implementation which is going to suck and which is going to be a layer-2 app on the original proof-of-work iteration of Etherium. For the third time: I’m not saying that the promised benefits are bad: if someone would’ve told me a few years ago that Reddit was going federated and decentralized like email or Jabber I would’ve been overjoyed. It’s burning down the world to do it that I don’t quite think is worth it. I don’t wanna have the smartest contracts on the cinder.

                                        A smart-contract based solution removes the single point of control, which is worth the computational efficiency hit.

                                        We’re not talking about a bounded efficiency trade-off that we could reason about, do LCA on, or try to mitigate or offset. Instead, it’s a runaway inefficency spiral. No programmer would willingly leave memory leaks in their code.

                                        1. 10

                                          For the third time: I’m not saying that the promised benefits are bad: if someone would’ve told me a few years ago that Reddit was going federated and decentralized like email or Jabber I would’ve been overjoyed. It’s burning down the world to do it that I don’t quite think is worth it. I don’t wanna have the smartest contracts on the cinder.

                                          Notably, Lemmy already provides a federated and decentralized Reddit-alike, without any Web3 nonsense — it uses ActivityPub for federation. Obviously, that means trusting your local admin to some extent, and other site admins to a lesser extent, but I don’t really think “trustlessness” as an ideal or as a practical matter is a good thing, and certainly not worth the costs of cryptocurrency. I don’t need to have the most censorship-resistant shitposting site on the cinder, either.

                                          1. 9

                                            For that matter, I don’t trust the crypto admins either. I mean, you mine shit these days in pools? There, I have to give trust. Just like in the article. We don’t remove anything technologically, we only add a lot of complexity (and burn the planet as a bonus) and I still have to trust someone.

                                    2. 6

                                      And I’m saying that the ability to buy “illegal drugs” is actually a really important use case that itself justifies the use of cryptocurrencies - especially when you extend the category to any type of transactions that is illegal or informally restricted by payment processors.

                                      Buying illegal drugs (and ethically-produced artisanal porn) are good, but blockchains are so bad that even being able to use them to buy illegal drugs and pay a fursuited femboy to read “State and Revolution” to me in a throaty whisper when PayPal won’t let me pay them still isn’t enough to justify their use. Like ~snan said, I don’t want the best drug and porn stash on the cinder.

                                      Obviously, this mainly applies to proof-of-work, which is an existential threat to human civilization; proof-of-stake has other, separate, intolerable problems.

                                      1. 5

                                        I don’t care that it is possible to defraud people using cryptocurrency, because it has always been possible to defraud people with non-cryptocurrencies

                                        The big selling point for centralised payment processing systems is that it’s possible to reverse fraud. If someone empties my bank account, my bank has a mechanism for reversing the transaction. This has, itself, been used as a mechanism for fraud where someone sends you a million dollars and asks you to send them a hundred thousand as a processing fee, you send them a hundred thousand and at the end of the window to reverse the transaction, they pull back the million and unless you notice immediately you’re too late to pull back the hundred thousand. Aside from cases like that, it’s very useful. I can spend money on my credit card knowing that, if the seller doesn’t actually deliver the goods or if they’re defective, then I can reverse the transaction. With a crypto currency, the only way that I can reverse a transaction is if 50% of the participants agree. In theory, you can implement this kind of thing with smart contracts, but you then need a trusted arbiter who will decide whether the transaction should be reverted. At this point, you’ve just reinvented a centralised system (that arbiter could just be a bank) but with all of the inefficiencies of cryptocurrencies.

                                        Most of the regulations surrounding consumer banking exist because they address problems that impact consumers in an unregulated banking system (not all, some exist to promote lock in, as happens in any system susceptible to regulatory capture). Any system that wants to replace the banking system and be useful to normal people will need to provide the same protections.

                                        For drug buying, it’s effectively an incredibly inefficient way of implementing unbacked IOUs. It may be useful in removing the Mafia (who traditionally provide backing for IOUs used for black-market transactions) from the equation.

                                        1. 1

                                          In any money transfer system where it’s possible for some party to reverse a fraudulent transaction, it’s possible for that same party to fraudulently declare a legitimate transaction fraudulent, and commit fraud in the other direction. It’s sometimes useful to be able to engage in a monetary transaction where all parties to the transaction know it is impossible to reverse (e.g. if one or both of those parties does not trust the centralized bank system). For other cases, it is possible to build arbitrarily complex trusted arbiter systems with smart contracts, including systems that haven’t yet been tried in traditional banking.

                                          For drug buying, it’s effectively an incredibly inefficient way of implementing unbacked IOUs. It may be useful in removing the Mafia (who traditionally provide backing for IOUs used for black-market transactions) from the equation.

                                          “drug buying” needs to be understood as synechdoche for a large class of transactions, not all of which are actually illegal, just opposed to the political and moral sensibilities of private payment processing firms. But in any case, what’s a more efficient way of implementing unbacked IOUs? The ability to facilitate monetary transactions between parties that don’t trust each other is exactly the technological innovation that blockchains make possible; they can serve as a replacement for informal mafia violence backing black- or grey-market IOUs for the exactly the same reason they can serve as a replacement for the (usually) implicit state violence backing fiat currencies.

                                          1. 6

                                            In any money transfer system where it’s possible for some party to reverse a fraudulent transaction, it’s possible for that same party to fraudulently declare a legitimate transaction fraudulent, and commit fraud in the other direction.

                                            Fraud is rare in existing centralized systems due to many externalities, and recovering from it is possible and normal. Fraud is categorically more common in decentralized systems due in large part to the lack of those externalities, and recovering from it is extremely difficult at best and usually literally impossible.

                                            Pointing out that fraud exists in both models and other similar equivocations are not convincing arguments, because the fundamental point being made is about degree, not mere existence.

                                            It’s sometimes useful to be able to engage in a monetary transaction where all parties to the transaction know it is impossible to reverse

                                            “Sometimes” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in this sentence. In fact these situations are extraordinarily rare.

                                            For other cases, it is possible to build arbitrarily complex trusted arbiter systems with smart contracts, including systems that haven’t yet been tried in traditional banking.

                                            It certainly is. And when you burn through enough iterations of those things, stomp out all of the bugs and fraud and graft and incentives for malicious actors, build in protections for users to make the systems humane, what you end up with will be an inefficient clone of the current monetary system. And a whole new generation of cynics fed up with its idiosyncrasies, chomping at the bit to reinvent it all over again.

                                            The ability to regulate a system to constrain it is actually good and important and necessary if that system will serve humanity. A system that can’t be regulated is actually a bad system!

                                    3. 2

                                      Also the quote applies to state fiat currency just as much as to cryptocurrency.

                                    1. 7

                                      Nice! Another option is to upload to archive.org, which also allows free hosting depending on your podcast license

                                      1. 3

                                        Good call. I will check that out as well!

                                      1. 9

                                        Can we get a ‘marxist’ tag so we know when an article is about profit being evil?

                                        There is no such thing as free in capitalism. If a for-profit corporation, like Microsoft, gives you something free, be prepared to become raped at some point.

                                        jesus christ

                                        1. 8

                                          Just because something is anti-capitalist doesn’t make it Marxist. Marxism is a specific set of analysis and critiques of capitalist economics that goes beyond “capitalism bad big companies evil”.

                                          1. 3

                                            Change it to anti-capitalist then, i’m not picky.

                                            1. 1

                                              Is open source anti-capitalist, in your opinion?

                                              1. 4

                                                No, not at all.

                                          2. 4

                                            The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe, You have to make it fall, comrade.

                                            1. 4

                                              I found the post to be utter garbage, but (to be fair) the real complaint seems to be monopolization, rent-seeking and putting a community commons behind paywalls are evil. If you read the entire screed, the article is not just about MSFT making a profit but the author’s claim that MSFT is trying to assert full control over the TypeScript/JavaScript open source community/project/whatever for maximum profit. I’d hope we could agree, if that were true, that it would be bad and that all pursuit of profits are not equal.

                                              1. 2

                                                sure, i just wonder how they would do that, and the article doesn’t give a hint. For now, they support the free software community with free code hosting, a free high-quality editor, free js package hosting and created a free (as in beer) javascript-like language. That’s a lot of good things. If they switched to ‘let’s be evil’ mode, people could move away from them rather easily (although admittedly not trivially). The biggest JS client runner is still Google Chrome, so MS doesn’t control the front- and backend.

                                                1. 2

                                                  The article doesn’t give a hint because there’s no hint to be given. While I’m no fanboy for MSFT, what they’re doing with TypeScript and VSCode, etc. seems fairly benign. Yeah, they want to “own” that developer profile in the sense that they want developers to use their stuff / target their platforms. So they’re doing the work to make that happen.

                                                  Would the world be better off if it were Google or Apple or Oracle or whomever bought NPM, GitHub and invested in a superset language for JS? I really doubt it. I also doubt that MSFT bought GitHub just to dominate the JS/TypeScript developer community… the whole post is just a rant that isn’t even well supported.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    Would the world be better off if it were Google or Apple or Oracle or whomever bought NPM, GitHub and invested in a superset language for JS?

                                                    It’s kind of sad that the only alternative to Microsoft that comes to mind is “well, another giant multinational corporation could have bought it.”

                                              2. 3

                                                That’s the part of the quote you find objectionable? Not the comparison have having to pay for software to being a victim of sexual violence?

                                                1. 7

                                                  I quoted it in full because it’s one thought and I did find this exact thing objectionable.

                                              1. 4

                                                Honest question - has rent control ever worked?

                                                1. 20

                                                  The rent control thing is oh so terrible that almost everyone I know now pays less. A colleague’s rent was halved b/c they were basically ripping him and his family off. Why? Because they could. The law is good for the people of Berlin!

                                                  The market has been a mess for many years, long before the rent control was put into place.

                                                  1. 3

                                                    Also, the Mietendeckel is causing many landlords to start to dump their Altbau units so they can shift their investments to cities like Frankfurt where it’s less regulated. This has personally benefited me as I was able to buy a nicer home than I expected with the budget I planned. So, the rent controls are also benefiting people like me who want to purchase a home for personal use.

                                                    The recently constructed Neubau units that the controls do not apply to have exploded in price, which in turn incentivizes new construction, which alleviates the fundamental problem over time. It’s still the early days, but I’m optimistic it may turn out to be a big success at actually increasing unit availability.

                                                    1. 2

                                                      From various other anecdotes in this thread it sounds like the actual problem is lack of supply, and neither rent control nor no-rent-control alone changes that. “Old buildings are rent controlled and new construction is not” sounds like a potential solution, will be interesting to see what happens.

                                                    2. 3

                                                      This is the seen vs the unseen. I live in Berlin and now pay less. I also was unable to find a new apartment even though I looked for a year. There must also be many people who don’t have any chance to come to Berlin now because trying to get an apartment is like playing roulette (for everyone, not just for evil techbros).

                                                      Maybe the Berlin government can just slash half the prices of everything tomorrow, we’d all save a lot of money that way.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        That has absolutely nothing to do with rent control. It was like that before, in fact it was worse b/c there were simply no affordable places. Now you may actually find one when somebody moves out.

                                                        Now you have crazy high prices for everything build after 2014, before you had them for everything. I fail to see how rent control made that worse.

                                                        1. 5

                                                          No, it was not like that before. Rentable apartment supply has shrunk to 50% of what it was before rent control, and many of those just pretend to rent out and just decline every offer, waiting for the law to be struck down so they don’t have to honor 50% undervalued contracts. When I came to Berlin 5 years ago it took one day of going to the viewing of 4 apartments and I got one. Now I can’t find one at all.

                                                          1. 5

                                                            No, it was not like that before.

                                                            I have been here since 2013 and then it was already not easy. People then already stayed in their places, if they were not part of the rich “IT crowd”.

                                                            and many of those just pretend to rent out and just decline every offer, waiting for the law to be struck down so they don’t have to honor 50% undervalued contracts.

                                                            There is a law preventing that too, unfortunately not followed up enough.

                                                            When I came to Berlin 5 years ago it took one day of going to the viewing of 4 apartments and I got one.

                                                            I am sorry that I have to say this, but if you had that many options 4 years ago, you are probably part of the problem that drove the rents up. IT people like us have a ton of money and may find things affordable that the regular old Berliner can not afford. Berlin was for a long time a poor city and still is not rich. The household income for Berlin was less than 21k/year in 2019 (I could not find newer numbers quickly).

                                                          2. 0

                                                            It made it worse by causing (non-regulated) prices to rise even faster. https://twitter.com/andreaskluth/status/1366693336715771906

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Read more of the replies, the issue was that not all of the apartments were regulated.

                                                              https://twitter.com/darren_cullen/status/1366824878960173064?s=20

                                                            2. 0

                                                              I think you’re right that it means that there are affordable apartments again, but I think you’re missing the fact that it has also had a dramatic effect on number of available apartments.

                                                              It seems like a lot of landlords are choosing to not sign new contracts and/or just sell the units instead of re-renting them, so there’s been a 50-70% decline in number of new listings. So while there are affordable apartments again, there are just a lot fewer of them.

                                                              Maybe we just have to wait out the landlords until the Mietendeckel’s legal status is settled? It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

                                                              Is this better? I don’t know. I’m supportive anything to try to limit housing speculation. And I’m happy for all my friends with newly reduced rents. But for anyone who needs to move it makes life very difficult, and makes it a lot harder for anyone “new” to ever come to Berlin.

                                                              Sources: Personal experience trying to find a new flat in Berlin flat this year, and a (biased) Bloomberg article that translates a study that my German language skills are not quite ready for.

                                                              https://archive.is/l3i2w

                                                              https://www.ifo.de/publikationen/2021/aufsatz-zeitschrift/ein-jahr-mietendeckel

                                                          3. 2

                                                            Really interesting to hear! I remember reading about the introduction of controls years ago and thinking it was a great idea, great to hear about it working in practice!

                                                            1. 2

                                                              This is interesting. Does it not create slumlords like they have in NY? Buildings where none of the amenities are properly maintained? If it takes up to a year to find a new place to live in Berlin, where do you live in the meantime? Do you have to plan every move with multiple months of notice?

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Sure, rent control absolutely benefits some people - the ones who are already renting.

                                                                The economic argument against rent control (which seems to practically universal in the economics profession, regardless of political affiliation) is that this benefit comes with huge costs to future renters & people in marginal accommodation, combined with a hidden drag on the wider economy. In other words, it’s not just a transfer of wealth from landlords to current renters, it’s also a transfer of wealth from future renters to current renters & one that carries huge economic costs alongside it.

                                                                Nobody seems to have tried Georgist land taxes instead of rent control that I’m aware of, which shows how much political power economists actually have…

                                                              2. 4

                                                                While interesting, probably not the best venue for this question.

                                                                ** Edit ** Actually, if you are interested in stuff like that, I would recommend checking out the urban planning subreddit. It’s got a pretty good community by reddit standards.

                                                                1. 4

                                                                  Depends on what you mean. If you mean ‘subsidize renters who already have an apartment at the cost of landlords, people moving in and people moving around’, then yes, it works great. I’ve been looking for an apartment for a year and wasn’t able to find one. Many landlords won’t even rent out at all in the moment because they think the rent control is illegal and will soon be reversed.

                                                                  As the article states, the solution to high rental prices is building more apartments, which is notoriously hard and costly in Berlin.

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    it’s working great, except for tech bros that want to move in. Exactly as intended.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      How is excluding “tech bros” “as intended” working out for regular, working-class immigrants?

                                                                      1. 6

                                                                        it was already hard to find a new place for them, because the struggle OP is experiencing was the norm for working-class people targeting low-price apartments. They had a ceiling above which they couldn’t go while tech-bros could. They still can, but there’s just less offer for them.

                                                                        On the other side, working class people that already had an apartment are shielded from price growth that was pushing them away or forced them to move to smaller and smaller apartments or rooms (generating even more competition at the bottom).

                                                                        In the movements that created political support for this rent freeze there are many organizations of immigrant workers. Due to corona I haven’t had contacts with them in a while, but I guess they are happy of their victory.

                                                                  1. 24

                                                                    “Small web” as a hobby is fine. But this article like nearly all others in this line of thought make a technocratic argument that people want the wrong thing. It’s all wrapped up in pseudo-moral arguments (selling your soul, destroying the planet), when the only ‘sin’ is making a tradeoff between size and development time, or size and user experience: indeed, people generally prefer sites with nice images to those without. Even most smartphone users don’t care if it adds a megabyte of download.

                                                                    I do like ‘small websites’. I don’t use Facebook. I try to write code that is efficient. But this is a labor of love and takes time, and it’s far from obviously better.

                                                                    If someone can produce a ‘small web’ site that people actually want to use and that doesn’t just contain blog posts about the ‘small web’, gemini, or running raspberry pis on solar power, I’d be more open to recommending it generally. As it is, it’s a hobby for tech enthusiasts at best and a fetish at worst.

                                                                    Anyway, here’s my https://0kb.club/

                                                                    1. 13

                                                                      I think it would be instructive for enthusiasts of the small web to understand why people aren’t using it or self-hosting, but using Facebook et al. A lot these enthuiasts are basically in their own echo chamber.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        Yeah I definitely agree with that. I remember read an article in the past year that said something similar about all the Fediverse. Basically, the average would-be user of a Twitter clone doesn’t care about the technical detail and likely doesn’t care about privacy too much. They care about the convenience, UX, and network of users.

                                                                        1. 5

                                                                          I think Twitter (et al) users really are concerned about privacy, they just aren’t willing to sacrifice literally everything else in order to achieve it. People frame this as “not caring about privacy and lying to themselves”, but it’s not. It just doesn’t make sense to the common tech-enthusiast worldview, and is therefore dismissed as nonsense.

                                                                      2. 8

                                                                        Thoughtful comment, thanks. However, I specifically wanted to avoid dwelling on the moral arguments, because I agree with you that big websites aren’t a “sin”. I mention “saving the planet” in light of power consumption but it’s more of an aside. The privacy concerns with “selling your soul to large tech companies” is related, but a slightly different issue – still, as I mention, the small web helps us resist that.

                                                                        My “whys” in my introduction are different: it’s simpler and hence easier to develop and debug, it’s faster, it extends your phone’s battery life, and (I believe) it’s a compelling aesthetic. I’m making some technical arguments, but my main goal with the article was to preach the aesthetic: small is beautiful.

                                                                        Sometimes big sites/software is about reducing development time (e.g., Electron), but often big websites are created simply because it’s how it’s done these days: big JS, big images, big architectures. But it doesn’t need to be that way, and it may actually be easier to develop in the small once we get used to it again.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          To me, it appears as if this issue is usually only viewed from two sides. Either, the viewpoint is “users want that” (i.e., your point of view). Or the viewpoint is “modern web development is crap, go minimal for moral reasons” (appearently the OP’s view point).

                                                                          I think both points of view are not correct. “users” is a generalisation that, as all generalisations, glosses over those individual users who think different, but are a minority. On the other hand, many people do not buy a moral impetus on web design either.

                                                                          In my opinion, the web is large enough for all of us. Please stop bashing fans of minimal websites as not having an idea of what “users” want, and also please stop telling everyone else that minimalism is the one way to go. Just design your website with the goals you have in mind, and acknowledge that there will always be people who disagree with those very goals.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            Note that “modern web development is crap, go minimal for moral reasons” isn’t my view point. See my reply here. I appreciate your reply, though – I think your other points are valid.

                                                                          2. 1

                                                                            TIL: you can just not have any html content and some CSS is still loaded

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            Contrary to popular opinion, Matrix in general does not use the double ratchet algorithm, except for initializing its megolm algorithm, which is quite different. See https://blog.soykaf.com/post/encryption/

                                                                            1. 9

                                                                              What about – hear me out – a 128kb club? One may say that 640K ought to be enough for anyone.

                                                                              I do agree that web needs a diet. I don’t think that making a list of websites helps anyone. Making a copy of a list of websites is even less smart.

                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                Don’t worry, the club to end all clubs is here: https://0kb.club

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  I really started something here xD I love it!

                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                  Why are you so angry? How does making this list hurt anyone?

                                                                                  1. 22

                                                                                    I don’t think it hurts anyone, but I don’t think it helps either. In short, I think the question is really, what does it do? From my perspective, it does nothing.

                                                                                    And saying that it is basically useless does not mean I endorse heavy web pages. I am very much in favour of reducing bloat in sites. What I do find tiresome is the incessant complaining about it accompanied by poorly thought out rebellions, like trying to shame sites with arbitrary metrics or proposing dead-end protocols. Minimalism, in and of itself, should not be the goal. There needs to be a real incentive to making smaller sites that actually matters to those making them. Currently, no such thing exists. None of these proposals solve that or even acknowledge that it is a problem. It’s all predicated on the baseless belief that “smaller is better” will somehow win over hearts and minds. Rest assured that it won’t.

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      There needs to be a real incentive to making smaller sites that actually matters to those making them

                                                                                      I think you misunderstand the motive for making larger sites in the first place.

                                                                                      These proposals won’t catch on in the large, because big companies are solely interested in profit. That is the only purpose of a company. They are not interested in technological innovation unless it services that goal. They are not interested in energy efficiency or any of the arguments you can make in favour of reducing web page size as long as the majority of their market has enough internet bandwidth and enough computing horsepower to cope. Actually, it’s beneficial to keep the status quo or build even more onto the tower of babel, not just for developers (despite the fact that alternative software could be written at a lower level of abstraction that does the exact same thing), but for companies and OEMs particularly – to propagate wasteful, costly technologies. Doing so ensures that, for example, telecommunication companies can continue getting grants for otherwise unnecessary infrastructure changes, or that OEMs can continue to sell laptops with ridiculously high ‘horsepower’ that really do not do anything different task-wise to laptops from a decade ago, and means Google et al can continue their trend of locking everyone in to Their Software™. It ensures that the wheel keeps spinning, if you will.

                                                                                      But the point isn’t that they catch on in the large, and it isn’t to ‘win hearts and minds’[0] the point is to pull back to not just a more minimalist web, but also to carve out new spaces as alternatives to a system that has been thoroughly branded, commoditized, and marketed. To create spaces that feel more personal, more familar, and are hand-crafted rather than Delivered and Targeted For You™

                                                                                      Sure, these new proposals won’t catch on ‘in the large’. That’s not the point here, at all.

                                                                                      [0] Whatever that means – seriously, there is no chance, at this time, of a new protocol taking hold regardless of the features it boasts. At least in the wide sense that you seem to mean.

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        Sure, these new proposals won’t catch on ‘in the large’. That’s not the point here, at all.

                                                                                        Then they are doomed to obscurity and the constant complaining about the bloated web will continue.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          And once again, that is not the point.

                                                                                          The fact that they are creating new communities, new groups of specific styles of ideas, is valuable. Those connections with other people are valuable.

                                                                                          And regardless of that, if you are only concerned with the narrative of “we need to build the future and nothing else has any value”, it’s easy to show that time and time again, historically, small communities with ‘weird’ ideas serve to be melting pots for the technology of the future. We see this with places like, Xerox Parc, CSAIL, some Usenet sub-communities, LambdaMOO, etc.

                                                                                          Places like 2f30, suckless, 9front, et al led to the creation of Wayland, to a certain degree, for a modern example. Javascript and Python were influenced by Lisp, despite the fact that Lisp as a whole did not grow into an industry standard. Hell, despite my particular dislike about the borderline-abuse that goes on within the Merveilles community, they push out pretty good and interesting technology on the regular – orca has itself altered how a fair chunk of people create music interactively.

                                                                                          It’s not about creating the future directly, it’s about being able to communicate with people more directly and explore ideas that you wouldn’t have otherwise, and enjoying building unique spaces and connections with other people that are more genuine than those an algorithm has selected for you. It’s about creating spaces in which we can think differently, and from within that space, those ideas will in some shape or form, influence the future.

                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                        I’ve had similar thoughts but didn’t have the words to express them as well. Lists like these are cool and all but like, so?

                                                                                        I’m more interested in things like code golfing. Don’t just have a minimal site, do something fantastical that only requires a small amount of scripting. That is impressive.

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    Chats! Let’s go!

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      Chat really is a nice feature. I know that it’s one of the main things that I found missing in Diaspora back in the day.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Misskey has the chat feature for awhile, nice to know we now have it in pleroma, updating now.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          the misskey chats are quite different from the way pleroma chats work. They are what we had as ‘conversations’, essentially a different view on direct messages. For a discussion on why they often have a lot of issues, check out https://git.pleroma.social/pleroma/pleroma/-/merge_requests/2429

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            It’s sad to know that pleroma’s chat impl is not compatible with others (misskey). When sending chats, it seems just failes silently when remote is mastodon/misskey, which is pretty much common in current fediverse.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              You can still send ‘chats’ to misskey by sending a direct message, it’s just a different UI/UX for this.

                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                        I’m also glad to see that this is implemented in ActivityPub, and not another external format.

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          I don’t see where an ActivityPub representation is mentioned, the doc in the pull request seems to expose a custom API structure. Can you post a link to what you’ve reacted to, please ?

                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                            I didn’t read it in detail, but from reading the spec, I gathered that it’s based on AP.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              Yes, that’s where I looked too. But the JSON representation in that document is not ActivityPub. They say there’s an ActivityPub part of it, but I saw no indication of one. :(

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  Thank you. :)

                                                                                                  I’m sure you had a good reason but from what I can see the logic of the messages could be implemented over Notes too, just restricting the one destination actor allowed behaviour server side? Am I wrong?

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    No, you are correct, ChatMessages are essentially Notes with very specific rules for addressing.

                                                                                      1. 19

                                                                                        Mastodon used about ~2.5 GB out of the 4 I have on my Pi. With Pleroma, the total used RAM is only about ~700 MB. That’s crazy!

                                                                                        I agree it’s crazy. Crazy less bloated, and crazy still bloated.

                                                                                        700MB. Christ.

                                                                                        1. 27

                                                                                          To be clear, the 700 MB is the total RAM usage, i.e. by all programs and not Pleroma alone.

                                                                                          1. 21

                                                                                            That 700MB includes a Postgres database and a webserver.

                                                                                            1. 9

                                                                                              I wonder if we can still run pleroma in a 256mb ram system. Most of the ram is used by postgres, and that can be configured to use a lot less.

                                                                                              1. 11

                                                                                                I bet you can but PostgreSQL is also very tricky to limit RAM usage to a certain cap. First off the defaults are very conservative in most cases you would be cranking all the values up not down but you already know that as if I recall correctly I saw some great articles regarding PostgreSQL inner-workings from your blog posts on pleroma development.

                                                                                                That said there are several configs that have direct and indirect influence on how much memory PostgreSQL will use: shared_buffers - the actual working set of the data the DB hacks on, that will be the largest immediate RAM allocation. Then we have the tricky parts like work_mem which is a per connection allocation but not a per connection limit. If your work mem is 8 MB and you execute a query which has 4 nodes in the resulting plan you can allocate up to 4*8 MB for that one connection. If you add to that parallel query execution then multiply that by concurrently running workers. I assume pleroma uses a connection pool so that alone can bump RAM usage a lot. Add to that things like maintenance_work_mem for tasks like vacuums and index rebuilds and you quickly can see how the actual memory usage can fluctuate on a whim.

                                                                                                To the point.

                                                                                                I agree it’s crazy. Crazy less bloated, and crazy still bloated.

                                                                                                700MB. Christ.

                                                                                                I simply think @ethoh is wrong. 700 MB usage is crazy low for a RDBMS and we are talking about RDBMS + a whole app using it. Databases are designed to utilize memory and avoid hitting the disk when not necessary. Unused memory is wasted memory.

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  700 MB usage is crazy low for a RDBMS

                                                                                                  I don’t really get how you can make this claim with no reference at all to the data storage needs of the application. A fair metric would be the overhead of the DB relative to the application data. In this case we’d need to know some things about how Mastodon and Pleroma work, and how OP managed his instances of them.

                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                    I don’t really get how you can make this claim with no reference at all to the data storage needs of the application.

                                                                                                    In similar fashion the OP claimed that 700 MB is crazy bloated. I was making a reference to that. However to back up my claims with some quick napkin calculations:

                                                                                                    Default shared_buffers for PostgreSQL 12 is 128 MB. Per PostgreSQL documentation the recommended setting is roughly 25% of available system RAM then measure.

                                                                                                    If you have a dedicated database server with 1GB or more of RAM, a reasonable starting value for shared_buffers is 25% of the memory in your system.

                                                                                                    source: https://www.postgresql.org/docs/12/runtime-config-resource.html

                                                                                                    The system in question has 4 GB of RAM so by that logic 1 GB for shared_buffers would be a reasonable setting - hence 700 MB at that point could be considered crazy low.

                                                                                                    Default work_mem is 4 MB, max_worker_processes is set to 8 and max_connections by default is 100 (https://www.postgresql.org/docs/12/runtime-config-connection.html#GUC-MAX-CONNECTIONS). This means that query execution can easily eat up to 3.2 GB by default in the absolutely unlikely worst case scenario.

                                                                                                    maintenance_work_mem is by default an additional 64 MB.

                                                                                                    So we are looking at PostgreSQL itself using anywhere between 128 MB and 3 GB of RAM with it’s default settings that are ultra conservative and usually the first thing everyone increases. This is before considering the actual data and application workload.

                                                                                                    By this logic, personally for me 700 MB for PostgreSQL on a running Pleoroma instance including the memory used by Pleroma itself is crazy low.

                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                      But, this little Pi is not a dedicated database server, it at least hosts the app too? And defaults are just defaults. Maybe indicative of PG usage in general, across every application that uses it, but that’s a really broad brush to be painting such a tiny picture with! I still think there are a few different species of fruit being compared here. But I do appreciate your explanation, and I think I understand your reasoning now.

                                                                                                    2. 1

                                                                                                      Fwiw, my Pleroma database is approaching 60GB in size.

                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                        Due to shit posting or bot? You can clean it up a little bit by expiring remote messages older than 3months

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          I have a dedicated 500GB NVMe for the database. Storage isn’t a problem and it’s nice for search purposes.

                                                                                                  2. 2

                                                                                                    I’m still not convinced that postgresql is the best storage for ActivityPub objects. I remember seeing in pleroma that most of the data is stored in a jsonb field, and that makes me think that maybe key-value stores based on object’s IDs would be simpler and maybe(???) faster.

                                                                                                    I’m currently implementing a storage “engine” based on this idea and I’m saving the plain json as plain files in a directory structure. It, of course, is missing ACID[1] and other niceties, but I feel like the simplicity of it is worth for an application that just wants to serve content for a small ActivityPub service without any overhead.

                                                                                                    [1] IMHO ACID is not a mandatory requirement for storing ActivityPub objects, as the large part of them (activities) are immutable by design.

                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                      Misskey used to use a nosql / document store. They switched to postgresql because of performance issues. I’m sure you could build an AP server with a simpler store, but you we do make heavy use of relational features as well, so the relatively ‘heavy’ database part is worth it for us.

                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                        Yes. One problem with a off the shelf key value store in this setup is that scanning over the whole keyspace to be able to filter objects is way less efficient than a good indexed db. (Even though I’m not there yet), I’m thinking of adding some rudimentary indexes based on bloom filters on properties that might require filtering.

                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                          postgresql provides indexing for json objects, so it makes a lot of sense to use it even for this kind of use case. Even sqlite has some json support these days.

                                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                                        I am not convinced to store tons of small files individually, they are usually less than 1kb. The overhead from inode will waste 75% of a 4k, and you will also run out of inodes pretty quickly if your fs is not tuned for tons of small files.

                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                          inodes are a legacy filesystem problem. Use ZFS :)

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            The idea behind federation would be that most instances would have a small number of users with small local storage needs.

                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                          Not really for recent releases, you need at least 512MB for a stable instance. Pleroma itself use <200MB RAM, and postgresql can use another 200MB, depends on your configuration.

                                                                                                      3. 10

                                                                                                        Total RSS for my Pleroma instance on Arch x86_64 (which is extremely lightly used) is ~115MB. There’s a bunch of other RSS being used by the Postgres connections but that’ll depend on your precise configuration.

                                                                                                        For comparison, my honk instance on Arch armv7l is using 17MB (but it admittedly bare-bones compared to Pleroma.)

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          How is honk working for you? Do you want to share a link to your instance? I’ve been considering installing it myself. It seems cool, but the only honk deployment I’ve seen in the wild is the developer’s. If we’re talking about saving resources, honk seems to be better for that than Pleroma :)

                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                            I run it for my single user instance. Haven’t tried upgrading since I installed it.

                                                                                                            It generally works as expected, if a little rough - I edited a bunch of the default templates and found the terminology a little obtuse, and threads where some replies are private don’t show any indication which can be a bit confusing.

                                                                                                            I may setup Plemora at some point, as I would like the extra features, but I might never get around to it because honk is so trouble-free and works alright.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              Pretty well - I just run the binary in a screen session on one of my servers for now.

                                                                                                              https://honk.rjp.is/ - mainly using it as a publish-on-your-own-space feeder for tweets via IFTTT.

                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                Have you looked into crossposting using one of the open source crossposters?

                                                                                                                I’m assuming that they won’t work because honk has fewer features than Mastodon, but I don’t actually know.

                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                  I did try moa for a while but the link [from moa to twitter] kept disappearing for some reason - I did intend to self-host it but never got around to it. IFTTT is easier for now and if I want to shift off IFTTT, I’ve already got “RSS to Twitter” code for other things I can easily repurpose.

                                                                                                                  [edited to clarify “link”]

                                                                                                          2. 4

                                                                                                            Fwiw it’s a bit over 300MBs on my (single user) instance.

                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                              I still think that 300MB is a lot, especially when cheaper VPS can have only 500MB of RAM.

                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                In fairness, 512 mb is a ridiculously low amount of memory.

                                                                                                                Nowadays it’s possible to configure a physical system with 128c/256t and literally terabytes of ram and we’re still paying 2013 prices for 1c/512mb VPS instances.

                                                                                                                Think about this.

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  I’ve been mostly using (and recommending) the smallest hetzner vps instances, which have 2gb of ram and cost just under 3 euro per month. although looking at lowendbox, i see that you can get a 1gb vps for $1 per month.

                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                            So I am growing increasingly dissatisfied with even the minimal utility I get out of Facebook (sharing pictures of my kids with family members) and have thought about standing up a fediverse instance and trying to use that, instead. The problem for me is with the clients – how are they, for elderly parents with a strong interest in granddaughters and none at all with fiddling with technology? How is the fediverse for non-nerds?

                                                                                                            1. 10

                                                                                                              You should absolutely not share pictures of your kids on ActivityPub. Depending on the software you are using its either more like Twitter or more like blogging software like Wordpress (wordpress has an AP plugin actually, and dedicated blogging instance software like write freely and plume exist and rock)

                                                                                                              Can’t speak for the current state of Diaspora, but THAT is what you are looking for.

                                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                                The Fediverse, in general, is closer to Twitter than it is Facebook. That being said, Tusky for Android and Mast for iOS are both (IMO) better than the Twitter client for both platforms. Both incredibly polished and intuitive. There’s a number of high quality clients, but these are the two that I’ve personally settled on.

                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                  Interesting. I wonder if there is anything that is more of a Facebook replacement.

                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                    Diaspora perhaps?

                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                      Yeah, Disaspora looks more facebook-like. I don’t think it’s quite as popular as the Fediverse, and it’s not built on ActivityPub to my knowledge.

                                                                                                                      If you’re into more Instagram-like (ie. photosharing), there’s always Pixelfed as well, which is part of the Fediverse

                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                        ActivityPub. And no, it’s not a great protocol for a Facebook-like; the existing projects are all fairly nascent and have been struggling with follower/friend mechanics.

                                                                                                                    2. 3

                                                                                                                      friendica could be interesting for you

                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                        Thanks, I’ll check it out. I’ve always wondered about building something like Facebook but focussed on the needs of families, particularly families with small kids. Yeah, it would never be a billion dollar thing, but nowadays it seems like there might be an appetite for something less crap than Facebook.

                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                          For the social network, I always thought that the Google circles concept was way better. I wonder if there are any successors to that concept.

                                                                                                                    3. 2

                                                                                                                      I don’t use iOS so I haven’t been able to try it myself, but I just want to mention that Mast does still seem to be open source, the repo is here: https://github.com/ShihabMe/Mast2 It’s annoyingly difficult to find that repo, I found the link on the developer’s Mastodon account. Many open source projects don’t adequately advertise their open source nature, which is a source of significant frustration for me.

                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                        And the guy is doing a lot of support directly on mastodon.

                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                    We use jsonb heavily in Pleroma and have also had to deal with this. It can be quite annoying because things work most of the time, but sometimes you get these query-breaking bad plans. Especially with the lack of query hints to tell postgres to use a certain index, this leads to essentially unsolvable situations where you just need to extract data from jsonb into a ‘real’ column.

                                                                                                                    It’s not too bad, but I hope jsonb will get some form of proper statistics some day, it would really help a lot.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      Getting switchable frontends into pleroma, maybe finally start with a group implementation

                                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                                        I agree, and I have pretty strong feelings about this.

                                                                                                                        I mostly use three instances, two out of the three Silence mastodon.social (i.e. you can’t see content from the instance unless you follow the user from there). One of those is because I admin the instance. On the instance that doesn’t Silence m.s, I silence it myself on a user-level. I also refuse to interact with or accept followers from mastodon.social users.

                                                                                                                        I’ve never had any problems with this setup, and I encourage everyone to do so.

                                                                                                                        However I fully recognize that this is easier said than done. Many folks probably have friends on mastodon.social which makes outright not interacting with them a non-starter.

                                                                                                                        I do think though that m.s is too big and agree with the honestly kinda harsh take that a lot of folks using m.s are probably just using it as a way to say “hey see i’m on mastodon i did the minimum amount of effort to appear cool” and then they just plug a twitter crossposter into their account instantly.

                                                                                                                        Sorry to make this post even longer, but there’s another theme I’m noticing in this thread that is something that really irritates me about some people’s reaction to fedi.

                                                                                                                        You’re not joining just a server when you choose a Fediverse instance. You’re joining a community. That’s the entire point. It’s a group fo communities. Stop thinking of them just as servers that happen to host you.

                                                                                                                        They’re communities with their own themes, goals, policies and expectations.

                                                                                                                        You can’t just go into it thinking you can just jump in and get fed a bunch of people to follow or hashtags to look at like Twitter provides. You, gasp, have to put in some effort in order to get benefits back from these communities.

                                                                                                                        And Fedi is better for it.

                                                                                                                        Time to purge the brain poison that Twitter and Facebook and etc. have left which makes people think Social Interaction is now this trivial thing we don’t need to put any effort into anymore.

                                                                                                                        Put effort in, and you’ll get the massive benefits out.

                                                                                                                        1. 11

                                                                                                                          You’re not joining just a server when you choose a Fediverse instance. You’re joining a community. That’s the entire point. It’s a group fo communities. Stop thinking of them just as servers that happen to host you.

                                                                                                                          Have you considered that not everyone shares your opinion on the Fediverse and that it’s actually OK? Some people don’t consider themselves part of any small community and just want to interact with others on any random topics that they’re interested in.

                                                                                                                          Crossposters are annoying but I don’t see anything wrong with normal people setting up accounts on generic servers.

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            This isn’t just my opinion, this is how fedi is supposed to work. One of the main reasons A LOT of people use it is because they’re sick of being siloed into one massive social network site and miss a sense of community.

                                                                                                                            if you don’t want that, then fedi isn’t for you. plain and simple.

                                                                                                                            you can’t ignore the social aspects of a social network by saying “I don’t think that’s how it should work” and then being surprised when nobody else wants things to behave that way.

                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                              This isn’t just my opinion, this is how fedi is supposed to work.

                                                                                                                              According to who? Could you point the link to ActivityPub spec that clarifies that?

                                                                                                                              One of the main reasons A LOT of people use it is because they’re sick of being siloed into one massive social network site and miss a sense of community.

                                                                                                                              A LOT of people use Facebook should the internet be just for browsing Facebook? Nope - you can use Fedi your way but don’t reject people that don’t want to close themselves in small communities because some people think “this is how fedi is supposed to work”.

                                                                                                                              if you don’t want that, then fedi isn’t for you. plain and simple.

                                                                                                                              Why? If I don’t join furries instance or BSD network “fedi isn’t for me”? Can’t I just use it to communicate with other people regardless on which instance they’re on? For me this seems to be in spirit of the Fediverse - federation.

                                                                                                                              you can’t ignore the social aspects of a social network by saying “I don’t think that’s how it should work” and then being surprised when nobody else wants things to behave that way.

                                                                                                                              I’m not surprised, I’m actually surprised that people want to join one specific instance as if using BSD or drawing was just one characteristic that defines them. What if they migrate to Plan9? Should they move their account? It seems I’m not alone with this issue: https://lobste.rs/s/d4t4ex/centralisation_mastodon#c_wjdcsr

                                                                                                                              For the record I don’t have problems with communication on the Fediverse, thanks for your concerns.

                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                According to who? Could you point the link to ActivityPub spec that clarifies that?

                                                                                                                                Stop trying to apply purely technical solutions to social problems. It doesn’t work.

                                                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                                                  You didn’t answer my question and I didn’t apply any technical solution to social problems so I’m not sure why you bring this up. Let me repeat it: who said that “it’s not now fedi is supposed to work”?

                                                                                                                          2. 8

                                                                                                                            One of those is because I admin the instance. On the instance that doesn’t Silence m.s, I silence it myself on a user-level. I also refuse to interact with or accept followers from mastodon.social users.

                                                                                                                            You are blocking people only because they are using the largest instance?

                                                                                                                            It’s already annoying that you have to pick a server at all, but even worse are seemingly random (to the user) silencing policies. I am on mastodon.social (but rarely use it), because I had no idea what other server to pick. There were services which had a clear description that do not align with my interests, but then there were many more where I wouldn’t have the slightest clue why I would pick one over another. It’s a very weird thing to ask from someone who is completely new to a social network and doesn’t have a clue what the implications are of picking an instance. So I picked the largest because it probably has the smallest probability to go under.

                                                                                                                            At any rate, one day I decide to follow Drew DeVault because I like sr.ht and sort of keep an eye on Sway. Turns out I couldn’t because mastodon.social decided to block/silence/whatever him without a clear explanation. This definitely soured opinion of Mastodon. So, we have federation, but actually you cannot federate with a lot of folks because of $REASONS most people do not want to care about.

                                                                                                                            I fear that as Mastodon and the larger fediverse grows, these issues will only get larger, because most people do not want or cannot host their own instances and will be at the mercy of instance administrators who will block/silence any instance that they have some grudge with, are too centralized, or that they don’t politically agree with.

                                                                                                                            Edit: the parent post has been extended substantially, so this comment may be outdated.

                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                              You are blocking people only because they are using the largest instance?

                                                                                                                              This kind of behavior is exactly why I’m recommending people to just use mastodon.social and be done with it (now mastodon.online). Each random instance has their own admin quirks that would put off normal people in the long run.

                                                                                                                              1. -2

                                                                                                                                So it sounds like you’re just looking for a Twitter clone. Sounds like fedi isn’t right for you, then, huh?

                                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                                  Why? I’m pretty happy using Mastodon for months with a lot of nice interactions. Should I stop because it doesn’t match your description on how it should look like?

                                                                                                                                  1. -2

                                                                                                                                    I think you should stop prescribing how a social network should work on a technical level, or how folks should moderate their own servers, in order to fit your vision of it perfectly.

                                                                                                                                    1. 6

                                                                                                                                      It’s very funny because I thought it is exactly you who is prescribing me how I should use it (“So it sounds like you’re just looking for a Twitter clone. Sounds like fedi isn’t right for you, then, huh?”). I never did ask for any changes, why did you bring the “how folks should moderate their own servers, in order to fit your vision of it perfectly.”? I also did not present any “vision”: on the contrary it seems that it’s you that’s presenting one.

                                                                                                                                      1. -3

                                                                                                                                        No, I’m describing how communites on mastodon behave.

                                                                                                                                        You’re the one that’s so caught up with how admins making decisions is somehow the worst thing ever even though it’s something that has been a part of every single website and online community since the beginning of time.

                                                                                                                                        I’m done.

                                                                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                                                                          You’re the one that’s so caught up with how admins making decisions is somehow the worst thing ever even though it’s something that has been a part of every single website and online community since the beginning of time.

                                                                                                                                          It would be good if you quoted what I actually said instead of assuming I said something that I didn’t. In my experience smaller instances have much more risks than bigger ones that can actually better handle misbehavior. (I assume you’re talking about the link I pasted: https://mastodon.social/@Gargron/100639540096793532 )

                                                                                                                                          I’m done.

                                                                                                                                          Have a nice day! 👋

                                                                                                                              2. 3

                                                                                                                                You are blocking people only because they are using the largest instance?

                                                                                                                                I’m not blocking them. They can still view my instance’s content (and my instance is a small community, and it’s meant to be that way). Their content just won’t show up to my instance, it keeps things quiet and peaceful when looking at the Federated Timeline (a timeline that shows content from all the instances that your instance “knows about”)

                                                                                                                                I decide to follow Drew DeVault because I like sr.ht and sort of keep an eye on Sway. Turns out I couldn’t because mastodon.social decided to block/silence/whatever him without a clear explanation

                                                                                                                                Do you feel this way about folks who are suspended from Twitter for violating their policies? I don’t know the exact situation, but I know of Drew well enough to not be at all surprised that he violated a policy on mastodon.social and therefore was suspended from the instance entirely. That’s how it works. Violate an instance’s policies, get suspended. If you care that much, find an instance that is friendlier to the folks who you want to interact with and join it. Nobody’s stopping you, and nobody’s stopping other instances from deciding they don’t want to have anything to do with that sort of thing either.

                                                                                                                                This is how literally every other community for the history of the internet has worked. You cannot pretend it is something new with fedi.

                                                                                                                                If a community does not want you, they’ll get rid of you. That’s how things work. Forums, Twitter, reddit subreddits, etc. etc. etc. etc.

                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                  This definitely soured opinion of Mastodon. So, we have federation, but actually you cannot federate with a lot of folks because of $REASONS most people do not want to care about

                                                                                                                                  No, this is on you for having chosen an instance that’s heavily moderated. Go pick another one that’s more lenient.

                                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                                    No, this is on you for having chosen an instance that’s heavily moderated.

                                                                                                                                    How could I know?

                                                                                                                                    Go pick another one that’s more lenient.

                                                                                                                                    How do I know? The stated rules are often so general, that they could or could not apply heavy moderation. Can I already move my account without losing any followers or toots?

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      Can I already move my account without losing any followers or toots?

                                                                                                                                      Not toots, but you won’t lose followers. Migrating an account to a new instance is easy.

                                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                                        you will indeed lose followers unless all servers that your followers are on follow the Move protocol, which is not guaranteed.

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          How does it behave if someone on instance A follows you while you’re on instance B, then you move your account to instance C, and instance A blocks / doesn’t federate with instance C? I assume you’ll lose that follower?

                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                            Yes. it’s not a very good migration mechanism.

                                                                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                                                                  Yep, this is everything I’ve wanted to say and more. People assume Mastodon is a drop-in Twitter alternative. No! It’s more than that. It’s more personal, engagements are more real.

                                                                                                                                  I too block mastodon.social on my instance (I run it). I even wrote a rant about people joining it—you’re right, it’s to look cool on Twitter is all.

                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                    Not gonna lie, I read your rant before writing this and wholeheartedly agreed with it haha.

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      Hah! I didn’t think people read my posts without me posting them on Lobsters. ;)

                                                                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                                                                  Choosing an instance has kind of stymied me from getting into Mastodon. I totally get that it’s decentralized. So is email. But I choose an email provider for reasons like reliability, price and features … not because I’m a gamer or Swedish or into BSD or furry fanfic. I also have an email address whose domain name I own, so my identity isn’t handcuffed to my choice of provider.

                                                                                                                                  So being asked by the Mastodon sign-up process to choose an identity based on a (small) choice of interests or subculture identifications is weird and difficult and off-putting.

                                                                                                                                  I also get that Mastodon instances are kind of like small communities, and there’s value in that. But making this such a big part of onboarding acts to negate network effects, making Mastodon less attractive (to most) compared to centralized communities where you just sign up and don’t have to first figure out which 50 users you;d most like to talk with.

                                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                                    So is email. But I choose an email provider for reasons like reliability, price and features … not because I’m a gamer or Swedish or into BSD or furry fanfic.

                                                                                                                                    Choosing a fediverse instance is not like choosing an email provider, it’s more like choosing a neighbourhood to live in. It won’t prevent you from going other places, but the people around you will be those with who you interact the most, generally. Of course, something like mastodon.social is like any big city, a sea of pretty much anonymous users.

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      But I choose an email provider for reasons like reliability, price and features … not because I’m a gamer or Swedish or into BSD or furry fanfic.

                                                                                                                                      I can totally relate to this and suggest people either: host their own if they have a domain name or select a big instance so that they don’t have issues like this one: https://mastodon.social/@Gargron/100639540096793532

                                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                                        Mastodon is an absolute pig to self-host assuming you care about backups & reliability. I’d like to pay someone to take care of that, but that’s uneconomical for a single user because it can’t share resources across domain names.

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                                          Agreed. It seems we’re in the infancy of the Fediverse as all available solutions have issues here or there. I actually wrote my own ActivityPub client/server that’s minimal (almost no server code). For the record there are hosted mastodon instances: https://masto.host/

                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                            masto.host starts at 7 euro a month. That is not economical. It’s what providers need to charge because the mastodon code A) doesn’t implement host-sharing, and B) is written in rails (to be clear, I love rails, but it’s not cheap to run).

                                                                                                                                            I’m running honk, which works sort-of-alright.

                                                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                                                      Is there any documentation on how “Emoji Reactions” are implemented, ActivityPub-wise?

                                                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                                                        While there is no real documentation (yet), they are very simple, essentially likes with a one-emoji content field. See https://git.pleroma.social/pleroma/pleroma/-/blob/develop/test/fixtures/emoji-reaction.json and https://git.pleroma.social/pleroma/pleroma/-/merge_requests/1662

                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                        This post is hard for me to follow. Tags are not a full text search problem. And unless you are offering a completely open ended tag model, this should be fast for even a Reddit number of stories.

                                                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                                                          This is an open ended tag model, and you’re right, it’s not full text search. My previous blog post was about full text search. This one is actually more about prepared statements.

                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                            Yeah, I think the title buries the lede. I’m not interested in Elixir, but the post was actually a great read about Postgres.

                                                                                                                                          2. 3

                                                                                                                                            While I can’t speak to the design of the solution or Pleroma’s architecture (I’ve never implemented tag search or anything quite like it), I thought it was an interesting look at Postgres planned vs. unplanned queries 🙂

                                                                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                                                                            A few things.

                                                                                                                                            Demand side:

                                                                                                                                            • People don’t want to use something they never heard about
                                                                                                                                            • People don’t care about ‘open standards’ in the abstract. If you tell them ‘use this because it’s open’, they won’t be swayed much.
                                                                                                                                            • People generally want to stay were everybody they know already is
                                                                                                                                            • Networks like the fediverse are much more complicated than Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

                                                                                                                                            Supply side:

                                                                                                                                            • There’s no ‘single server’ to sign up. If I tell you to make a fediverse account, how would you find out how to do it?
                                                                                                                                            • Any attempt to help with this by ‘centralising’ some parts (like joinmastodon.org) is met with huge resistance
                                                                                                                                            • Simplifying things is often seen as ‘dumbing down’, so it won’t be done
                                                                                                                                            • Free software projects don’t have ‘product mindset’. They give you the parts, but there’s no coherent product. This leads to flexible but complicated systems with many parts that don’t seem related to each other.
                                                                                                                                            • The focus is on features and technological or ideological goals, not on UI/UX, PR or market share.