1. 2

    “If you were to go back in time to 1987, this is probably similar to what would have replaced the Amiga if Jack Tramiel had never left Commodore.”

    Cool project, but I don’t think this is true. Amiga 500 had 512KB of RAM because it was bloody expensive. So did majority of competitors. Nobody would put 1.5MB in a computer at that time because it would severely reduce number of units you could shift for little benefit. Pretty much all software written at that point needed far less than that (even on multitasking Amiga).

    Also, I believe 65C816 did not run at 14Hz back then. Not many chips did and both Amiga and Atari were running at 7-8Hz.

    1. 3

      The A500 could be expanded up to 7 MB though, so I don’t think it’s completely out of line.

      I wonder if the CPU is actually the W65C816S, which is readily available at 14 MHz. I sent an email to Stefany and asked about it.

      Edit: it is indeed the W65C816S from Western Design Center.

    1. 12

      Commodore was spectacular in how well it could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The Amiga was the most amazing machine the world had yet seen in 1985, they had possibly the best team of hardware and software engineers in the world, but management just…couldn’t leave it well enough alone.

      Bizarre decisions like:

      • The Amiga (later retroactively named the Amiga 1000) had a sidecar expansion port. The Amiga 500 had the same port, but upside down…so that all of the existing peripherals had to be upside down to work. Given how they were designed, it meant that none of them would.
      • The Amiga 2000 was the first machine that could use the Video Toaster, and the Video Toaster was the killer app for the Amiga. Then they made the Amiga 3000, which could also use the Video Toaster, except that the case was a quarter-inch too short for the Toaster card.
      • The Amiga 600 had a PCMCIA slot. Except that they rushed to manufacturing using a draft of the PCMCIA spec, rather than waiting for the final specification. The end result was that regular PCMCIA cards often wouldn’t work on the Amiga.
      • Amiga Unix on the Amiga 3000UX was considered one of the highest-quality SVR4 ports ever. Sun offered to produce the Amiga 3000UX for Commodore as a Sun-branded Unix workstation that could run Amiga software…and Commodore declined.

      We’d all be using Amigas now if Commodore’s management had literally been anything other than hilariously incompetent, I swear.

      1. 4

        Jimmy Maher’s book about the Amiga explores a number of these bizarre decisions and reaches a similar conclusion. The title says it all: The Future Was Here! http://amiga.filfre.net/

        1. 2

          Agree with everything except conclusion as even less incompetent companies failed including Sun. Only Apple survived and even they became are now basically producing PCs with their distro.

          However we might have been living in a different future if Amiga had an opportunity for a bigger impact. Mine certainly is as I went to study mathematics instead of CS because I could not imagine developing software for PCs in DOS era.

          1. 1

            Are you certain that the first 2 issues (upside-down sidecar port & case too short for toaster card) were the fault of management & not engineering?

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            That’s rich, from a guy who done his best to advance client-server cloud model in his time.

            OK, not really happy about the acquisition either, but overall GitHub has been a massive boon to the community in general. It lowered the threshold to collaboration, publishing your projects and facilitated a bunch of dependency fetching ecosystems with much higher availability than was possible before.

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              How did he do that?

              I thought he was involved in writing Netscape Navigator browser and its mail component neither of which promote cloud model.

              1. 2

                You posted that comment using a web browser which identifies itself as “Mozilla” and a cloud-hosted application called “lobste.rs”. IMO it’s fair to say that someone who was both a primary author of Mozilla-the-browser and a founder of mozilla.org was involved in enabling, even promoting the model lobste.rs uses.

                1. 2

                  This is basically an argument that the web itself or really any client-server approach is promoting cloud model which I find absurd. Cloud-hosted wasn’t a technologically inevitable outcome as you could build something similar to email. You still can as you can use those same technologies JWZ help building to run your stuff on your own hardware.

                  I don’t remember either JWZ or Mozilla in his time promoting running stuff in cloud (other people’s computers).

                  1. 1

                    He wrote software that made it feasible to put even user interface code on a server running in a colo somewhere. The UI on such software was primitive and laggy compared to using alternatives like MFC or Qt, but on the other hand a webapp didn’t have to be purchased, downloaded or installed.

                    I don’t recall him saying that anyone should write webapps. But he wrote software that made it feasible, and did his best to get that software installed everywhere.

                    1. -1

                      Other people’s computers? You make it sound like a P2P network. I know zero cloud services hosted on other people’s computers, as opposed to other corporations.

                      Oh and funny how email was decentralized right until its consolidation as browser-based client-server (sorry, cloud) platforms.

                      1. 3

                        “Other people’s computers” is a popular description of where cloud-hosted apps run. I don’t think anyone, certainly not me, means P2P by that.

                        Email is still decentralized. You can run your own server as I and many others do. It can also have a webmail interface like mine does and that has been true for 2 decades. The fact that users are consolidating on few providers does not make underlying technology more “cloudy” and that did not happen for the first decade also strongly suggest that change did not happen because of underlying (web) technology.

                        1. 1

                          What share of the world’s email has to be stored in a single database before you consider it centralised? 50% perhaps?

                          Google alone hosts a two-digit percentage of email users. I’ve heard the number 25% mentioned. Assuming one From address per message, an average of 1.4 To/Cc addresses and a 25% market share for Google, Google stores 50% of the email that was sent yesterday on behalf of the sender or any recipient. I self-host, so Google stores about 33% of my email.

                          (I made up the number 1.4. I don’t really care about the precise details. And I don’t care about whether you want to consider just Google or the also the next ten big hosters.)

                          1. 1

                            This debate has moved far away from JWZ and cloud to what feels off topic to main theme (Github+MS).

                            Since you asked, I have no idea what percentage of contained data if any should be a limit at which something counts as centralized. I think your question reveals and underlying dilemma which is are we talking about effectively centralized in a sense that for all intents and purposes everything happens at one place, or actually centralized in a sense, that it can’t happen elsewhere.

                            Clearly in the second sense email is not centralized as one can demonstrably run their own server as still so many do without penalties as long as the server is properly configured. It might not make economic or otherwise sense, but at least for now you are not technologically locked out.

                            I don’t think it is centralized in the first sense either and I am not sure your metric is valid. In that sense the whole web is already centralized or was, as Google scrapped everything public so in a way it stored close to all of it. Let’s imagine that we are left only with two email providers of approximately equal size and usage pattern. Then by your approach each of them will contain more or less all email and yet neither of which would actually be in a position where everyone had to be.

                            And to bring this closer to thread’s original topic, I don’t think any of this has much to do with web as such. It happened because costs of running your own server did not fall like the cost of hosted accounts which also provided a degree of freedom compared to ISP’s or company’s. What web did do, as it improved, is change client that is used to access email as there was less need for native OS ones. And even that is not completely true since Gmail has native client both for Android and iOS.

                            I think we would move to “cloud” services over time even if web did not exist or remained limited to HTML2. We would just be using Windows apps to do so.

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                Appreciate the honesty here. My take: GitHub stars aren’t real. Twitter followers aren’t real. Likes aren’t real. It’s all a video game. If you want to assess the quality of the code, you have to read it. You can’t rely on metrics except as a weak indicator. I predict there will be services to let you buy Github stars if the current trend of overvaluing them continues.

                The endless self-promotion and programmers-masquerarding-as-brands on Twitter and Medium generates a huge amount of noise for an even larger amount of BS. The only winning move is to not engage.

                1. 9

                  This is more true than one might think. There are a couple of projects on GitHub with thousands of stars, some more than all the BSDs source codes combined, with the promise to bring something amazing, while not even having a working proof of concept, and being completely abandoned.

                  However, since it is true (to some degree) that having a larger user base in programming historically means that you won’t have to maintain a project on your own in the end it’s easy to be fooled by anything that appears to indicate a large userbase, like GitHub stars.

                  Many people use GitHub more like a “might be interesting, let’s bookmark it” or “Wow, so many buzzwords”, etc.

                  On the other hand there is quite a few projects that do one thing and do it well. Programmed to solve a problem, with 0-10 stars.

                  One might think that are extreme cases, they are only in the sense that 0 stars is the extreme of not being able to have fewer. They are not rare cases.

                  Another thing to consider is that GitHub is built a lot like a social network, so you have network effects, where people follow other people and one person liking something results in timelines, causing others to like it to remember to look at it, or “in case I need this some day”, and so one ends up having these explosions. Hackernews, Lobsters, reddit, etc. and in general having someone mention it to a bigger audience can help a lot too - and be it just “I have heard about this, but not looked at it yet”. It appears to be similar to the same story having zero upvotes on one day, and hundreds or thousands on another.

                  The rest is probably rooted in human psychology.

                  1. 3

                    This is what I do. I use stars on Github pretty much only as a bookmarking tool.

                  2. 4

                    Spot on. On top of the detrimental “programmers-masquerarding-as-brands”, many GH repos are heavily marketed by the companies behind the projects. Covert marketing might be more popular than what people think.

                    1. 7

                      Corporate OSS is winning the mindshare war. Plenty of devs would rather use a massive framework by $MEGACORP instead of something simple that doesn’t box them in. Pragmatism, they say.

                      (Of course, they don’t think twice about pulling in a community-sourced standard library (JS).)

                      Favorite example of this was a CTO talking about how they used Sinatra instead of Rails for their API endpoint and the flood of surprised replies, “but what if you need to change feature X?”, to which he said, “well, we understand all of the code, so it’s no big deal. Can you say the same about Rails?”

                  1. 2

                    I’m curious what other lobsters think Facebook should be doing?

                    Let’s assume that it’s not profitable for them to offer their service to the EU if they can’t track their users, since that’s the basis of their business. Should they offer “opt in to tracking or pay a yearly fee”? Should they just leave the EU completely?

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                      The “what should Facebook do if this isn’t profitable” question reminds me of the response to Taxi company’s being upset at Uber/Lyft cannibalizing their business: you don’t have a moral right to your business model, if it’s not profitable, do something else. We shouldn’t reduce quality of medical care because it victimizes undertakes.

                      If it’s not profitable, either don’t operate that service, or find some alternate business model that is profitable.

                      (FTR, I’m pretty dubious of the benefits of GDPR, but I think the “what about their business models” is one of the worst arguments against it)

                      1. 3

                        The “what should Facebook do if this isn’t profitable” question reminds me of the response to Taxi company’s being upset at Uber/Lyft cannibalizing their business: you don’t have a moral right to your business model, if it’s not profitable, do something else. We shouldn’t reduce quality of medical care because it victimizes undertakes.

                        I think the Uber comparison isn’t half bad.

                        For example, in Europe, a frequent problem was that Uber tried to undercut reasonable regulations (like having proper insurance for passenger transport and adhering to service standards like having to take any passengers). Here, Ubers approach was morally problematic (“moral” being local and all), and they tried to spin it as a moral issue and users choice.

                        1. 2

                          I’m not in the EU and don’t know enough about GDPR to make a comment on it specifically. I just asked what others thought Facebook should do if we assume that the restrictions placed on the by GDPR make their fundamental business model nonviable.

                          1. 2

                            Well, they should do as any other large company that suddenly found their business model regulated :). It’s not the first time this happens and not the last.

                            It’s their job to figure out, as much as it had been in their hands to avoid the discontent that lead to the GDPR from growing.

                            I’m not precisely enjoying GDPR either (I think it has vast flaws and actually plays into Facebooks hands), but Facebook is a billion-dollar company. “What shall we do now that winds are changing?” is really their question to answer.

                        2. 3

                          I’m curious what other lobsters think Facebook should be doing?

                          I can think of a few things, but monkeys will fly out of my butt before any of them happen. They could, for example…

                          • Mail everybody a copy of their data on solid-state storage.
                          • Destroy their databases.
                          • Shut down their data centers.
                          • Release all of their code into the public domain.
                          • Fire everybody with severance pay.
                          • Dissolve the corporation.
                          • Send Mark Zuckerberg back to his home planet.

                          Facebook is one of the cancers killing the internet, and should be treated like the disease that it is.

                          1. 2

                            Second option would be great, but enough of daydreaming :)

                            1. 1

                              You’re asking the wrong question.

                              1. 3

                                What ls the right question?

                                1. 3

                                  @alex_gaynor has the right idea above: https://lobste.rs/s/krca7n/facebook_now_denying_access_unless_eu#c_si5pn0

                                  The question “well what do you suggest then?” posed to people arguing against Facebook’s business practises implies some kind of self-evident virtuous right Facebook has to exist at the expense of all humanity’s effort.

                                  I do not agree with this position. The world was fine before Facebook came along, for many people is fine without it, and will be fine if Facebook disappears. Facebook is a leech on people’s private lives, minds, and mental health.

                                  It is not up to the common person to provide Facebook with a position. It is up to Facebook to provide a position for itself by virtue of being wholesome and useful to society. If they cannot, then that’s the end of it. I owe them nothing, no-one does.

                                  1. 2

                                    It is not up to the common person to provide Facebook with a position. It is up to Facebook to provide a position for itself by virtue of being wholesome and useful to society. If they cannot, then that’s the end of it. I owe them nothing, no-one does.

                                    I agree, but if people continue to choose to use Facebook in the wake of the numerous controversies, then perhaps people just don’t value their privacy more than the services that sites like FB provide. FB is only as big as it is today because people use it.

                                    1. 1

                                      I implied no such thing, and haven’t made a value judgement on Facebook or GDPR anywhere here. I simply asked what others here think that Facebook should do given the changed situation; I’m just curious as to what Facebook’s next moves could be.

                                      I find that question much more interesting than your condescending replies and tired opinions about Facebook, a service that I don’t particularly like and am not trying to defend.

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                                Capitalism is killing us in a very literal sense by destroying our habitat at an ever accelerating rate. The fundamental idea of needing growth and having to constantly invent new things to peddle leads to ever more disposable products, that are replaced for the sake of being replaced. There’s been very little actual innovation happening in the phone space. The vendors are intentionally building devices using the planned obsolescence model to force the upgrade cycle.

                                The cancer of consumerism affects pretty much every aspect of society, we’ve clear cut unique rain forests and destroyed millions of species we haven’t even documented so that we can make palm oil. A product that causes cancer, but that’s fractionally cheaper than other kinds of oil. We’ve created a garbage patch the size of a continent in the ocean. We’re poisoning the land with fracking. The list is endless, and it all comes down to the American ethos that making money is a sacred right that trumps all other concerns.

                                1. 22

                                  Capitalism is killing us in a very literal sense by destroying our habitat at an ever accelerating rate.

                                  The cancer of consumerism affects pretty much every aspect of society, we’ve clear cut unique rain forests and destroyed millions of species we haven’t even documented so that we can make palm oil.

                                  One can get into a big debate about this, but the concept of externalities has existed for a long time and specifically addresses these concerns. Products do not cost what they should when taken their less tangible environment impact into account. It’s somewhat up to the reader to decide if the inability of society to take those into account is capitalism’s fault, or just human nature, or something else. I live in a country that leans much more socialist than the US but is unequivocally a capitalist country and they do a better job of managing these externalities. And China is not really capitalistic in the same way the US is but is a pretty significant polluter.

                                  1. 5

                                    Indeed, it’s not the fault of the economic system (if you think Capitalistic societies are wasteful, take a look at the waste and inefficiency of industry under the USSR). If externalities are correctly accounted for, or to be safe, even over-accounted for by means of taxation or otherwise, the market will work itself out. If the environmental cost means the new iPhone costs $2000 in real costs, Apple will work to reduce environmental cost in order to make an affordable phone again and everyone wins. And if they don’t, another company will figure it out instead and Apple will lose.

                                    Currently, there is basically no accounting for these externalities, and in some cases (although afaik not related to smart phones), there are subsidies and price-ceiling regulations and subsidies that actually decreases the cost of some externalities artificially and are worse for the environment than no government intervention at all.

                                    The easy example of this is California State water subsidies for farmers. Artificially cheap water for farmers means they grow water-guzzling crops that are not otherwise efficient to grow in arid parts of the state, and cause environmental damage and water shortage to normal consumers. Can you imagine your local government asking you to take shorter showers and not wash your car, when farmers are paying 94% less than you to grow crops that could much more efficiently be grown in other parts of the country? That’s what happens in California.

                                    Step 1 and 2 are to get rid of the current subsidies and regulations that aggravate externalities and impose new regulation/taxes that help account for externalities.

                                    1. 2

                                      I have talked to a factory owner in china. He said China is more capitalist than the USA. He said China prioritizes capital over social concerns.

                                      1. 1

                                        Ok? I can talk to lots of people with lots of opinions. That doesn’t make it true.

                                        1. 1

                                          It’s just impressive that a capitalist would say. If China was even remotely communist, don’t you find it interesting that most capitalists who made deals with China seem ok helping ‘the enemy’ become the second largest economy in the world? I prefer to believe the simpler possibility that China is pretty darn capitalist itself.

                                          1. 2

                                            I did not say China was not capitalist, I said it’s not in the same way as the US. There is a lot more state involvement in China.

                                            1. 2

                                              Is your claim then that state involvement means you have more pollution? Maybe I’m confused by what you were trying to get at, sorry :-/

                                              1. 2

                                                No, I was pointing out that different countries are doing capitalism differently and some of them are better at dealing with externalities and some of them are worse. With the overall point being that capitalism might be the wrong scapegoat.

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                                        I think the consumer could be blamed more than capitalism, the companies make what sells, the consumers are individuals who buy products that hurt the environment, I think that it is changing though as people become more aware of these issues, they buy more environmentally friendly products.

                                        1. 30

                                          You’re blaming the consumer? I’d really recommend watching Century of the Self. Advertising has a massive impact and the mass of humans are being fed this desire for all the things we consume.

                                          I mean, this really delves into the deeper question of self-awareness, agency and free will, but I really don’t think most human beings are even remotely aware.

                                          Engineers, people on Lobster, et. al do really want standard devices. Fuck ARM. Give me a god damn mobile platform. Microsoft for the love of god, just publish your unlock key for your dead phone line so we can have at least one line of devices with UEFI+ARM. Device tree can go die in a fire.

                                          The Linux-style revolution of the 2000s (among developers) isn’t happening on mobile because every device is just too damn different. The average consumer could care less. Most people like to buy new things, and we’re been indoctrinated to that point. Retailers and manufactures have focus groups geared right at delivering the dopamine rush.

                                          I personally hate buying things. When my mobile stopped charging yesterday and the back broke again, I thought about changing it out. I’ve replaced the back twice already and the camera has spots on the sensor under the lenses.

                                          I was able to get it charging when I got home on a high amp USB port, so instead I just ordered yet another back and a new camera (I thought it’d be a bitch to get out, but a few YouTube videos show I was looking at the ribbon wrong and it’s actually pretty easy to replace).

                                          I feel bad when I buy things, but it took a lot of work to get to that point. I’ve sold or given away most of my things multiple times to go backpacking, I run ad block .. I mean if everyone did what I’d did, my life wouldn’t be sustainable. :-P

                                          We are in a really solidly locked paradigm and I don’t think it can simply shift. If you believe the authors of The Dictators Handbook, we literally have to run our of resources before the general public and really push for dramatically different changes.

                                          We really need more commitment to open standards mobile devices. The Ubuntu Edge could have been a game changer, or even the Fairphone. The Edge never got funded and the Fairphone can’t even keep parts sourced for their older models.

                                          We need a combination of people’s attitudes + engineers working on OSS alternatives, and I don’t see either happening any time soon.

                                          Edit: I forgot to mention, Postmarket OS is making huge strides into making older cellphones useful and I hope we see more of that too.

                                          1. 7

                                            I second the recommendation for The Century of the Self. That movie offers a life-changing change of perspective. The other documentaries by Curtis are also great and well worth the time.

                                            1. 3

                                              Century of the Self was a real eye opener. Curtis’s latest documentary, HyperNormalisation, also offers very interesting perspectives.

                                            2. 26

                                              Capitalism, by it’s very nature, drives companies to not be satisfied with what already sells. Companies are constantly looking to create new markets and products, and that includes creating demand.

                                              IOW, consumers aren’t fixed actors who buy what they need; they are acted upon to create an ever increasing number of needs.

                                              There are too many examples of this dynamic to bother listing.

                                              1. 12

                                                It’s also very difficult for the consumer to tell exactly how destructive a particular product is. The only price we pay is the sticker price. Unless you really want to put a lot of time into research it is hard to tell which product is better for the environment.

                                                1. 14

                                                  It’s ridiculous to expect everyone to be an expert on every supply chain in the world, starting right from the mines and energy production all the way to the store shelf. That’s effectively what you are requiring.

                                                  I’m saying this as a very conscious consumer. I care about my carbon footprint, I don’t buy palm oil, I limit plastic consumption, I limit my consumption overall, but it’s all a drop in the ocean and changes nothing. There are still hundreds of compounds in the everyday items I buy whose provenance I know nothing about and which could be even more destructive. Not to mention that manufacturers really don’t want you to know, it’s simply not in their interest.

                                                  You’re creating an impossible task and setting people up to fail. It is not the answer.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    “It’s ridiculous to expect everyone to be an expert on every supply chain in the world, starting right from the mines and energy production all the way to the store shelf. That’s effectively what you are requiring.”

                                                    I don’t think it is what they’re requiring and it’s much easier than you describe. Here’s a few options:

                                                    1. People who are really concerned about this at a level demanding much sacrifice to avoid damaging the environment should automatically avoid buying anything they can’t provably trust by default. The Amish are a decent example that avoids a lot of modern stuff due to commitment to beliefs.

                                                    2. There’s groups that try to keep track of corporate abuse, environmental actions, and so on of various companies. They maintain good and bad lists. More people that supposedly care can both use them and join them in maintaining that data. It would be split among many people to lessen each’s burden. Again, avoid things by default until they get on the good lists. Ditch them if they get on the bad ones.

                                                    3. Collectively push their politicians for laws giving proper labels, auditing, etc that help with No 2. Also, push for externalities to be charged back to the companies somehow to incentivize less-damaging behavior.

                                                    4. Start their own businesses that practice what they preach. Build the principles into their charters, contracts, and so on. Niche businesses doing a better job create more options on the good lists in No 2. There’s entrepreneurs doing this.

                                                    So, not all-knowing consumers as you indicated. Quite a few strategies that are less impossible.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      @ac specifically suggested consumer choice as the solution to environmental issues, and that’s what I disagreed with.

                                                      Your point number 3 is quite different from the other three, and it’s what I would suggest as a far more effective strategy than consumer choice (along with putting pressure on various corporations). As an aside, I still wouldn’t call it easy - it’s always a hard slog.

                                                      Your points 1, 2 and 4 still rely on consumer choice, and effectively boil down to: either remove yourself from modern civilisation, or understand every supply chain in the world. I think it’s obvious that the first choice is neither desirable nor “much easier” for the vast majority of people (and I don’t think it’s the best possible solution). The second is impossible, as I said before.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        “consumer choice as the solution to environmental issues”

                                                        edit to add: consumer choice eliminated entire industries worth of companies because they wanted something else. It’s only worsened environmental issues. That’s probably not an argument against consumer choice so much as in favor of them willing to sacrifice the environment overall to get the immediate things they want.

                                                        “either remove yourself from modern civilisation, or understand every supply chain in the world”

                                                        This is another false dichotomy. I know lots of people who are highly-connected with other people but don’t own lots of tech or follow lots of fads. In many cases, they seem to know about them enough to have good conversations with people. They follow what’s going on or are just good listeners. Buying tons of gadgets or harmful things isn’t necessary for participation. You can get buy with a lot less than average middle or upper class person.

                                                        What you said is better understood as a spectrum to be in like most things. Lots of positions in it.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I think we might actually be mostly in agreement, but we’re talking past each other a bit.

                                                          That’s probably not an argument against consumer choice so much as in favor of them willing to sacrifice the environment overall to get the immediate things they want.

                                                          I agree with this. But even when consumer choice is applied with environmental goals in mind, I believe its effect is very limited, simply because most people won’t participate.

                                                          This is another false dichotomy.

                                                          Yeah, but it was derived from your points :) I was just trying to hammer the point that consumer choice isn’t an effective solution.

                                                          You can get buy with a lot less than average middle or upper class person.

                                                          Totally. I’ve been doing that for a long time: avoiding gadgets and keeping the stuff I need (eg a laptop) as long as I can.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            “But even when consumer choice is applied with environmental goals in mind, I believe its effect is very limited, simply because most people won’t participate.”

                                                            Oh OK. Yeah, I share that depressing view. Evidence is overwhelmingly in our favor on it. It’s even made me wonder if I should even be doing the things I’m doing if so few are doing their part.

                                                  2. 5

                                                    The blame rests on the producers, not on the consumers.

                                                    Consumers are only able to select off of the menu of available products, so to speak. Most of the choices everyday consumers face are dictated by their employers and whatever is currently available to make it through their day.

                                                    No person can reasonably trace the entire supply chain for every item they purchase, and could likely be impossible even with generous time windows. Nor would I want every single consumer to spend their non-working time to tracing these chains.

                                                    Additionally, shifting this blame to the consumer creates conditions where producers can charge a premium on ‘green’ and ‘sustainable’ products. Only consumers with the means to consume ‘ethically’ are able to do so, and thus shame people with less money for being the problem.

                                                    The blame falls squarely on the entities producing these products and the states tasked with regulating production. There will be no market-based solution to get us out of the climate catastrophe, and we certainly can’t vote for a green future with our dollars.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      Consumers are only able to select off of the menu of available products, so to speak. Most of the choices everyday consumers face are dictated by their employers and whatever is currently available to make it through their day.

                                                      That’s not true even though it seems it is. The consumers’ past behavior and present statements play a major role in what suppliers will produce. Most of what you see today didn’t happen overnight. There were battles fought where quite a few companies were out there doing more ethical things on supply side. They ended up bankrupt or with less marketshare while the unethical companies got way ahead through better marketing of their products. With enough wealth accumulated, they continued buying the brands of the better companies remaking them into scumbag companies, too, in many cases.

                                                      For instance, I strongly advise against companies developing privacy- or security-oriented versions of software products that actually mitigate risks. They’ll go bankrupt like such companies often always did. The companies that actually make lots of money apply the buzzwords customers are looking for, integrate into their existing tooling (often insecure), have features they demand that are too complex to secure, and in some cases are so cheap the QA couldn’t have possibly been done right. That has to be private or secure for real against smart black hats. Not going to happen most of the time.

                                                      So, I instead tell people to bake cost-effective security enhancements and good service into an otherwise good product advertised for mostly non-security benefits. Why? Because that’s what demand-side responds to almost every time. So, the supply must provide it if hoping to make waves. Turns out, there’s also an upper limit to what one can achieve in that way, too. The crowds’ demands will keep creating obstacles to reliability, security, workers’ quality of life, supplier choice, environment… you name it. They mostly don’t care either where suppliers being honest about costs will be abandoned for those delivering to demand side. In face of that, most suppliers will focus on what they think is in demand across as many proven dimensions as possible.

                                                      Demand and supply side are both guilty here in a way that’s closely intertwined. It’s mostly demand side, though, as quite a few suppliers in each segment will give them whatever they’re willing to pay for at a profit.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        I agree with a lot of your above point, but want to unpack some of this.

                                                        Software security is a strange case to turn to since it has less direct implications on the climate crisis (sure anything that relies on a datacenter is probably using too much energy) compared to the production of disposable, resource-intensive goods.

                                                        Demand and supply side are both guilty here in a way that’s closely intertwined. It’s mostly demand side, though, as quite a few suppliers in each segment will give them whatever they’re willing to pay for at a profit.

                                                        I parse this paragraph to read: we should blame consumers for buying what’s available and affordable, because suppliers are incapable of acting ethically (due to competition).

                                                        So should we blame the end consumer for buying a phone every two years and not the phone manufacturers/retailers for creating rackets of planned obsolescence?

                                                        And additionally, most suppliers are consumers of something else upstream. Virtually everything that reaches an end consumer has been consumed and processed several times over by suppliers above. The suppliers are guilty on both counts by our separate reasoning.

                                                        Blaming individuals for structural problems simply lets suppliers shirk any responsibility they should have to society. After all, suppliers have no responsibility other than to create profits. Suppliers’ bad behavior must be curtailed either through regulation, public education campaigns to affect consumption habits, or organizing within workplaces.

                                                        (As an aside, I appreciate your response and it’s both useful and stimulating to hear your points)

                                                        1. 2

                                                          “I parse this paragraph to read: we should blame consumers for buying what’s available and affordable, because suppliers are incapable of acting ethically (due to competition).”

                                                          You added two words, available and affordable, to what I said. I left affordable off because many products that are more ethical are still affordable. Most don’t buy them anyway. I left availability off since there’s products appearing all the time in this space that mostly get ignored. The demand side not buying enough of what was and currently is available in a segment sends a message to suppliers about what they should produce. Especially if it’s consistent. Under vote with your wallet, we should give consumers their share of credit or blame for anything their purchasing decisions as a whole are supporting or destroying. That most won’t deliberately try to obtain an ethical supplier of… anything… supports my notion demand side has a lot to do with unethical activities of financially-successful suppliers.

                                                          For a quick example, there are often coops and farmers markets in lots of rural areas or suburban towns in them. There’s usually a segment of people who buy from them to support their style of operation and/or jobs. There’s usually enough to keep them in business. You might count Costco in that, too, where a membership fee that’s fixed cost gets the customers a pile of stuff at a promised low-markup and great service. There’s people that use credit unions, esp in their industry, instead of banks. There’s people that try to buy from nonprofits, public beneit companies, companies with good track record, and so on. There’s both a demand side (tiny) and suppliers responding to it that show this could become a widespread thing.

                                                          Most consumers on demand side don’t do that stuff, though. They buy a mix of necessities and arbitrary stuff from whatever supplier is lowest cost, cheapest, most variety, promoting certain image, or other arbitrary reasons. They do this so much that most suppliers, esp market leaders, optimize their marketing for that stuff. They also make more money off these people that let them put lots of ethical, niche players out of business over time. So, yeah, I’d say consumer demand being apathetic to ethics or long-term thinking is a huge part of the problem given it puts tens of billions into hands of unethical parties. Then, some of that money goes into politicians’ campaign funds so they make things even more difficult for those companies’ opponents.

                                                          “Blaming individuals for structural problems simply lets suppliers shirk any responsibility they should have to society.”

                                                          Or the individuals can buy from different suppliers highlighting why they’re doing it. Other individuals can start companies responding to that massive stated demand. The existing vendors will pivot their operations. Things start shifting. It won’t happen without people willing to buy it. Alternatively, using regulation as you mentioned. I don’t know how well public education can help vs all the money put into advertising. The latter seems more powerful.

                                                          “(As an aside, I appreciate your response and it’s both useful and stimulating to hear your points)”

                                                          Thanks. Appreciate you challenging it so I think harder on and improve it. :)

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                                                        Only consumers with the means to consume ‘ethically’ are able to do so, and thus shame people with less money for being the problem.

                                                        This is ignoring reality, removing cheaper options does not make the other options cheaper to manufacture. It is not shaming people.

                                                        You are also ignoring the fact that in a free country the consumers and producers are the same people. A dissatisfied consumer can become a producer of a new alternative if they see it as possible.

                                                      3. 3

                                                        Exactly. The consumers could be doing more on issues like this. They’re complicit or actively contribute to the problems.

                                                        For example, I use old devices for as long as I can on purpose to reduce waste. I try to also buy things that last as long as possible. That’s a bit harder in some markets than others. For appliances, I just buy things that are 20 years old. They do the job and usually last 10 more years since planned obsolescence had fewer tricks at the time. ;) My smartphone is finally getting unreliable on essential functions, though. Bout to replace it. I’ll donate, reuse, or recycle it when I get new one.

                                                        On PC side, I’m using a backup whose age I can’t recall with a Celeron after my Ubuntu Dell w/ Core Duo 2 died. It was eight years old. Attempting to revive it soon in case it’s just HD or something simple. It’s acting weird, though, so might just become a box for VM experiments, fuzzing, opening highly-untrustworthy URLs or files, etc. :)

                                                      4. 7

                                                        Capitalism is killing us in a very literal sense by destroying our habitat at an ever accelerating rate

                                                        Which alternatives would make people happier to consume less – drive older cars, wear rattier clothing, and demand fewer exotic vacations? Because, really, that’s the solution to excessive use of the environment: Be happier with less.

                                                        Unfortunately, greed has been a constant of human nature far too long for capitalism to take the blame there.

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                                                          Which alternatives would make people happier to consume less – drive older cars, wear rattier clothing, and demand fewer exotic vacations?

                                                          Why do people want new cars, the latest fashions, and exotic vacations in the first place? If it’s all about status and bragging rights, then it’s going to take a massive cultural shift that goes against at least two generation’s worth of cultural programming by advertisers on the behalf of the auto, fashion and travel industries.

                                                          I don’t think consumerism kicked into high gear until after the end of World War II when modern advertising and television became ubiquitous, so perhaps the answer is to paraphrase Shakespeare:

                                                          The first thing we do, let’s kill all the advertisers.

                                                          OK, maybe killing them (or encouraging them to off themselves in the tradition of Bill Hicks) is overkill. Regardless, we should consider the possibility that advertising is nothing but private sector psyops on behalf of corporations, and should not be protected as “free speech”.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            If there was an advertising exception for free speech, people would use it as an unprincipled excuse to ban whatever speech they didn’t like, by convincing the authorities to classify it as a type of advertising. After all, most unpopular speech is trying to convince someone of something, right? That’s what advertising fundamentally is, right?

                                                            Remember that the thing that Oliver Wendell Holmes called “falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater” wasn’t actually shouting “fire” in an actual crowded theater - it was a metaphor he used to describe protesting the military draft.

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                                                              I agree: there shouldn’t be an advertising exception on free speech. However, the First Amendment should only apply to homo sapiens or to organisms we might eventually recognize as sufficiently human to possess human rights. Corporations are not people, and should not have rights.

                                                              They might have certain powers defined by law, but “freedom of speech” shouldn’t be one of them.

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                                                            IMO, Hedonistic adaptation is a problem and getting worse. I try to actively fight against it.

                                                            1. 2

                                                              It would be a start if we designed cities with walking and public transportation in mind, not cars.

                                                              My neighborhood is old and walkable. I do shopping on foot (I have a bicycle but don’t bother with it). For school/work, take a single bus and a few minutes walking. Getting a car would be a hassle, I don’t have a place to park it, and I’d have to pay large annual fees for rare use.

                                                              Newer neighborhoods appear to be planned with the idea that you’ll need a car for every single task. “Residential part” with no shops at all, but lots of room for parking. A large grocery store with a parking lot. Even train stations with a large parking lot, but no safe path for pedestrians/cyclists from the nearby neighborhoods.

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                                                              The new features on phones are so fucking stupid as well. People are buying new phones to get animated emojis and more round corners. It’s made much worse with phone OEMs actively making old phones work worse by slowing them down.

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                                                                There has been no evidence to my knowledge that anyone is slowing old phones down. This continues to be an unfounded rumor

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  There’s also several Lobsters that have said Android smartphones get slower over time at a much greater rate than iPhones. I know my Galaxy S4 did. This might be hardware, software bloat, or whatever. There’s phones it’s happening on and those it isn’t in a market where users definitely don’t want their phones slowing down. So, my theory on Android side is it’s a problem they’re ignoring on purpose or even contributing to due to incentives. They could be investing money into making the platform much more efficient across devices, removing bloat, etc. They ain’t gonna do that.

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                                                                    Android smartphones get slower over time at a much greater rate than iPhones.

                                                                    In my experience, this tends to be 3rd party apps that start at boot and run all the time. Factory reset fixes it. Android system updates also make phones faster most of the time.

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                                                                      Hmm. I’ll try it since I just backed everything up.

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                                                                        I’m still using a Nexus 6 I got ~2.5 years ago. I keep my phone pretty light. No Facebook or games. Yet, my phone was getting very laggy. I wiped the cache (Settings -> Storage -> Cached data) and that seemed to help a bit, but overall, my phone was still laggy. It seemed to get really bad in my text messaging app (I use whatever the stock version is). I realized that I had amassed a lot of text messages over the years, which includes quite a lot of gifs. I decided to wipe my messages. I did that by installing “SMS Backup & Restore” and telling it to delete all of my text messages, since apparently the stock app doesn’t have a way to do this in bulk. It took at least an hour for the deletion to complete. Once it was done, my phone feels almost as good as new, which makes me really happy, because I really was not looking forward to shelling out $1K for a Pixel.

                                                                        My working theory is that there is some sub-optimal strategy in how text messages are cached. Since I switch in and out of the text messaging app very frequently, it wouldn’t surprise me if I was somehow frequently evicting things from memory and causing disk reads, which would explain why the lag impacted my entire phone and not just text messages. But, this is just speculation. And a factory reset would have accomplished the same thing (I think?), so it’s consistent with the “factory reset fixes things” theory too.

                                                                        My wife is still on a Nexus 5 (great phone) and she has a similar usage pattern as me. Our plan is to delete her text messages too and see if that helps things.

                                                                        Anyway… I realize this basically boils down to folk remedies at this point, but I’m just going through this process now, so it’s top of mind and figured I’d share.

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                                                                          I’ll be damned. I baked up and wiped the SMS, nothing else. The phone seems like it’s moving a lot snappier. Literally a second or two of delay off some things. Some things are still slow but maybe app just is. YouTube always has long loading time. The individual videos load faster now, though.

                                                                          Folk remedy is working. Appreciate the tip! :)

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                                                                            w00t! Also, it’s worth mentioning that I was experiencing much worse delay than a second or two. Google Nav would sometimes lock up for many seconds.

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                                                                              Maps seems OK. I probably should’ve been straight-up timing this stuff for better quality of evidence. Regardless, it’s moving a lot faster. Yours did, too. Two, strong anecdotes so far on top of factory reset. Far as we know, even their speed gains might have come from SMS clearing mostly that the reset did. Or other stuff.

                                                                              So, I think I’m going to use it as is for a week or two to assess this change plus get a feel for a new baseline. Then, I’ll factory reset it, reinstall some apps from scratch, and see if that makes a difference.

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                                                                                Awesome. Please report back. :-)

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                                                                                  I’ll try to remember to. I’m just still stunned it wasn’t 20 Chrome tabs or all the PDF’s I download during the day. Instead, text messages I wasn’t even using. Of all things that could drag a whole platform down…

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                                                                                    Sms is stored on the SIM card, right? That’s probably not got ideal I/O characteristics…

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                                                                                      I thought the contacts were but messages were on phone. I’m not sure. The contacts being on there could have an effect. I’d have hoped they cached a copy of SIM contents onto in-phone memory. Yeah, SIM access could be involved.

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                                                                            Now, that’s fascinating. I don’t go in and out of text a lot but do have a lot of text messages. Many have GIF’s. There’s also at least two other apps that accumulate a lot of stuff. I might try wiping them. Btw, folk remedies feel kind of justified when we’re facing a complex, black-box system with nothing else to go on. ;)

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                                                                      Official from apple: https://www.apple.com/au/iphone-battery-and-performance/

                                                                      They slow phones with older batteries but don’t show the user any indication that it can be fixed very cheaply by replacing the battery (Until after the recent outrage) and many of them will just buy a new phone and see it’s much faster.

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                                                                        Wow, so much to unpack here.

                                                                        You said they slow old phones down. That is patently false. New versions of iOS are not made to run slowly on older model hardware.

                                                                        Apple did not slow phones down with old batteries. They throttled the CPU of phones with failing batteries (even brand new ones!) to prevent the phone from crashing due to voltage drops. This ensured the phone was still functional even if you needed your phone in an emergency. Yes it was stupid there was no notification to the user. This is no longer relevant because they now provide notifications to the user. This behavior existed for a short period of time in the lifespan of the iPhone: less than 90 days between introduction of release with throttling and release with controls to disable and notifications to users.

                                                                        Please take your fake outrage somewhere else.

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                                                                          Apple did not slow phones down with old batteries. They throttled the CPU of phones with failing batteries (even brand new ones!) to prevent the phone from crashing due to voltage drops.

                                                                          In theory this affects new phones as well, but we know that as batteries grow older, they break down, hold less charge, and have a harder time achieving their design voltage. So in practice, this safety mechanism for the most part slows down older phones.

                                                                          You claim @user545 is unfairly representing the facts by making Apple look like this is some evil ploy to increase turnover for their mobile phones.

                                                                          However, given the fact that in reality this does mostly make older phones seem slower, and the fact that they put this in without ever telling anyone outside Apple and not allowing the user to check their battery health and how it affected the performance of their device, I feel like it requires a lot more effort not to make it look like an intentional decision on their part.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            Sure, but if you have an old phone with OK batteries, then their code did not slow it down. So I think it is still more correct to say they slowed down those with bad batteries than those that were old even if most of those with bad batteries were also bad which really depended on phone’s use.

                                                                            The difference is not just academic. For example I have “inherited” iPhone6 from my wife that still has a good battery after more than 2 years and performs fine.

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                                                                              the fact that they put this in without ever telling anyone outside Apple

                                                                              It was in the release notes of that iOS release…

                                                                              edit: additionally it was known during the beta period in December. This wasn’t a surprise.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                Again, untrue. The 11.2 release notes make no mention of batteries, throttling, or power management. (This was the release where Apple extended the throttling to the 7 series of phones.) The 10.2.1 release notes, in their entirety, read thus:

                                                                                iOS 10.2.1 includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad. It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.

                                                                                That does not tell a reader that long-term CPU throttling is taking place, that it’s restricted to older-model iPhones only, that it’s based on battery health and fixable with a new battery (not a new phone), etc. It provides no useful or actionable information whatsoever. It’s opaque and frankly deceptive.

                                                                                1. 0

                                                                                  You’re right, because I was mistaken and the change was added in iOS 10.2.1, 1/23/2017

                                                                                  https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1893?locale=en_US

                                                                                  It also improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone.

                                                                                  A user on the day of release:

                                                                                  Hopefully it fixes the random battery shutoff bug.

                                                                                  src: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/apple-releases-ios-10-2-1-with-bug-fixes-and-security-improvements.2028992/page-2#post-24225066

                                                                                  additionally in a press release:

                                                                                  In February 2017, we updated our iOS 10.2.1 Read Me notes to let customers know the update ‘improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns.’ We also provided a statement to several press outlets and said that we were seeing positive results from the software update.

                                                                                  Please stop trolling. It was absent from the release notes for a short period of time. It was fixing a known issue affecting users. Go away.

                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                    Did you even read the comment you are responding to? I quoted the 10.2.1 release notes in full–the updated version–and linked them too. Your response is abusive and in bad faith, your accusations of trolling specious.

                                                                                    1. [Comment removed by moderator pushcx: We've never had cause to write a rule about doxxing, but pulling someone's personal info into a discussion like this to discredit them is inappropriate.]

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                                                                                        I don’t hate Apple. I’m not going to sell my phone because I like it. The battery is even still in good shape! I wish they’d been a little more honest about their CPU throttling. I don’t know why this provokes such rage from you. Did you go through all my old comments to try to figure out what kind of phone I have? Little creepy.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          I’m not angry about anything here. It’s just silly that such false claims continue to be thrown around about old phones intentionally being throttled to sell new phones. Apple hasn’t done that. Maybe someone else has.

                                                                                          edit: it took about 30 seconds to follow your profile link to your website -> to Flickr -> to snag image metadata and see what phone you own.

                                                                            2. -3

                                                                              They throttled the CPU of phones with failing batteries (even brand new ones!)

                                                                              This is untrue. They specifically singled out only older-model phones for this treatment. From the Apple link:

                                                                              About a year ago in iOS 10.2.1, we delivered a software update that improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE. [snip] We recently extended the same support to iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus in iOS 11.2.

                                                                              In other words, if you buy an iPhone 8 or X, no matter what condition the battery is in, Apple will not throttle the CPU. (In harsh environments–for example, with lots of exposure to cold temperatures–it’s very plausible that an 8 or X purchased new might by now have a degraded battery.)

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                You are making a claim without any data to back it up.

                                                                                Can you prove that the batteries in the new iPhones suffer voltage drops when they are degraded? If they use a different design with more/smaller cells then AIUI they would be significantly less likely to have voltage drops when overall capacity is degraded.

                                                                                But no, instead you continue to troll because you have a grudge against Apple. Take your crap elsewhere. It’s not welcome here.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  You’re moving the goalposts. You claimed Apple is throttling the CPU of brand new phones. You were shown this to be incorrect, and have not brought any new info to the table. Your claim that the newer phones might be designed so as to not require throttling is irrelevant.

                                                                                  Please don’t accuse (multiple) people of trolling. It reflects poorly on yourself. All are welcome here.

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    You can buy a brand new phone directly from Apple (iPhone 6S) with a faulty battery and experience the throttling. I had this happen.

                                                                          2. 1

                                                                            Google services update in the background even when other updates are disabled. Even if services updates are not intended to slow down the phone, they still do.

                                                                          3. 3

                                                                            The new features on phones are so fucking stupid as well.

                                                                            I think the consumer who pays for it is stupid.

                                                                            1. 3

                                                                              It’s both. The user wants something new every year and OEMs don’t have anything worthwhile each year so they change things for the sake of change like adding rounded corners on the LCD or cutting a chunk out of the top. It makes it seem like something is new and worth buying when not much worthwhile has actually changed.

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                                                                                I think companies would always take the path of least resistance that works. If consumers didn’t fall for such stupid tricks the companies that did them would die off.

                                                                          4. 2

                                                                            Yep. I guess humanity’s biggest achievement will be to terraform itself out of existence.

                                                                            This planet does neither bargain nor care about this civilizations’ decision making processes. It will keep flying around the sun for a while, with or without humans on it.

                                                                            I’m amazed by the optimism people display in response to pointing out that the current trajectory of climate change makes it highly unlikely that our grand-grand-children will ever be born.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              The list is endless, and it all comes down to the American ethos that making money is a sacred right that trumps all other concerns.

                                                                              s/American/human

                                                                              You can’t fix a problem if you misunderstand what causes it.

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                                                                                Ideology matters, and America has been aggressively promoting toxic capitalist ideology for many decades around the world. Humans aren’t perfect, but we can recognize our problems and create systems around us to help mitigate them. Capitalism is equivalent of giving a flamethrower to a pyromaniac.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  If you want to hash out how “toxic capitalism” is ruining everything, that’s fine–I’m just observing that many other countries (China, Germany, India, Mozambique, Russia, etc.) have done things that, to me at least, dispel the notion of toxic capitalism as purely being American in origin.

                                                                                  And to avoid accusations of whataboutism, the reason I point those other countries out is that if a solution is put forth assuming that America is the problem–and hence itself probably grounded in approaches unique to an American context–it probably will not be workable in other places.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    Nobody is saying that capitalism alone is the problem or that it’s unique to America. I was saying that capitalism is clearly responsible for a lot of harm, and that America promotes it aggressively.

                                                                                    1. 0

                                                                                      Don’t backpedal. You wrote:

                                                                                      The list is endless, and it all comes down to the American ethos that making money is a sacred right that trumps all other concerns.

                                                                                      As to whether or not capitalism is clearly responsible for a lot of harm, it’s worth considering what the alternatives have accomplished.

                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                        Nobody is backpedaling here, and pointing at other failed systems saying they did terrible things too isn’t much of an argument.

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                                                                              I love postgres (I’m a postgres DBA), and really dislike mysql (due to a long story involving a patch-level release causing server crashes and data loss).

                                                                              That said, there is still a technical reason to choose mysql over postgres. Mysql’s replication story is still significantly better than postgres’. Multi-master, in particular, is something that’s relatively straightforward in mysql, but which requires third-party extensions and much more fiddling in postgres.

                                                                              Now, postgres has been catching up on this front. Notably, the addition of logical replication over the last couple major versions really expands the options available. There’s a possibility that this feature will even be part of postgres 11, coming out this year (it’s on a roadmap). But until it does, it’s a significant feature missing from postgres that other RDBMSes have.

                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                There’s a possibility that this feature will even be part of postgres 11

                                                                                PG 11 is in feature freeze since April. I don’t think there was anything significant for multi-master committed before that.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  Good point. I’d seen the feature freeze deadline, but wasn’t sure if it had actually happened, and what had made it in (I haven’t followed the -hackers mailing list for a while). I was mostly speculating based on the fact that they’d announced a multi-master beta for last fall.

                                                                                  I’m not surprised it’s taking a long time – it’s a hard problem – but it means that “clustering” is going to be a weak point for postgres for a while longer.

                                                                                2. 3

                                                                                  Once you take all the other potential issues and difficulties with MySQL into account though, surely Postgres is a better choice on balance, even with more difficult replication setup?

                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                    It really depends. If you need horizontally-scalable write performance, and it’s important enough to sacrifice other features, then a mysql cluster is still going to do that better than postgres. It’s possible that a nosql solution might fit better than mysql, but overall that’s a decision that I can’t make for you.

                                                                                    I’ll add that there are bits of postgres administration that aren’t intuitive. Specifically, bloat of on-disk table size (and associated slowdowns) under certain loads can really confuse people. If you can’t afford to have a DBA, or at least a dev who’s a DB expert, mysql can be very attractive. I’m not saying that’s a good reason to choose it, but I understand why some people do.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      What are your thoughts on MySQL vs MariaDB, especially the newer versions?

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        Honestly, I haven’t looked closely at MariaDB lately. The last time I did was just to compare json datatypes – at the time, both mysql and mariadb were just storing json as parsed/verified text blobs without notable additional functionality.

                                                                                        I have to assume it’s better than mysql at things like stability, data safety, and other boring-but-necessary features. That’s mostly because mysql sets such a low bar, though, that it would take effort to make it worse.

                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                        You clearly know more about databases than me, but I would question idea that MySQL is a good choice when you lack a DB expert. If anything, it is then when you shouldn’t use it. I still carry scars from issues caused by such lack of expertise at one of my previous employers.

                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                    Great. Too bad I practically never see my desktop. Maybe I should just have a desktop I would never use and get into habit of switching to it occasionally to see the picture?

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      If you right-click on the icon, the windows will move out of the way and show your desktop! (This is doing the same thing as the trackpad show-desktop gesture.)

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                                                                                      I don’t understand the author’s objection to Outreachy. As far as I can tell, they want to fund some interns from marginalized groups so that they can work on open-source. They are not preventing the author from working on open-source. They are not preventing the author from funding interns he approves of from working on open-source. What is the problem?

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                                                                                        Outreachy funds members of specific minority groups and would not fund a cisgender white guy’s internship. He decries this as discrimination.

                                                                                        On this topic, the term discrimination has differing interpretations and it’s very easy for folks to talk past each other when it comes up. It sounds he’s using it in a way that means disfavoring people based on the sex or race they belong to. Another popular definition is that it only applies to actions taken against groups that have been historically discriminated against. This use gets really strong pushback from people who disagree with the aims or means of projects like Outreachy as begging the question, making an assumption that precludes meaningful discussion of related issues.

                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                          It’s not only that Outreachy would not fund a cisgender white guy’s internship. Outreachy also would not fund Asian minority’s internship. Asian minority is a group that has been historically discriminated against. Outreachy is discriminating against specific minority. In summary, Outreachy is simply discriminating, it is not using alternative definition of discrimination.

                                                                                          (Might be relevant: I am Asian.)

                                                                                          1. 7

                                                                                            I asked Karen Sandler. This is the reason for the selection of groups:

                                                                                            <karenesq> JordiGH: I saw the lobsters thread. the expansion within the US to the non-gender related criteria was based on the publication by multiple tech companies of their own diversity statistics. We just expanded our criteria to the groups who were by far the least represented.

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              Thanks a lot for clarifying this with Karen Sandler!

                                                                                              I think this proves beyond any shade of doubt that Outreachy is concerned with not historical injustice, but present disparity.

                                                                                            2. 3

                                                                                              He had a pretty fair description of where the disputes were coming from. Far as what you’re saying on Outreachy, the Asian part still fits into it as even cultural diversity classes I’ve seen say the stereotypes around Asians are positive for stuff like being smart or educated. Overly positive to the point that suicide due to pressure to achieve was a bit higher according to those sources. There’s lots of Asians brought into tech sector due to a mix of stereotypes and H1-B. The commonness of white males and Asians in software development might be why they were excluded with the white males. That makes sense to me if I look at it through the view they likely have of who is privileged in tech.

                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                Yes, it makes sense that way, but it does not make sense in “historical discrimination” sense pushcx argued. I believe this is an evidence that these organizations are concerned with the present disparity, not with the history. Therefore, I believe they should cease to (dishonestly, I think) argue history argument.

                                                                                              2. 2

                                                                                                Well, if you were a woman or identified as one they would accept you, regardless if you were Asian or not. I do wonder why they picked to outreach to the particular groups they picked.

                                                                                                And you have to pick some groups. If you pick none/all, then you’re not doing anything different than GSoC, and there already is a GSoC, so there would be no point for Outreachy.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  You can pick groups that have been historically discriminated against, as pushcx suggested. Outreachy chose otherwise.

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    To nitpick, I was talking about the term “discrimination” because I’ve seen it as a source of people talking past each other, not advocating for an action or even a particular definition of the term. Advocating my politics would’ve compromised my ability to effectively moderate, though incorrect assumptions were still made about the politics of the post I removed and that I did so out of disagreement, so… shrug

                                                                                            3. 49

                                                                                              For those who are used to privilege, equality feels like discrimination.

                                                                                              1. 18

                                                                                                I think the author’s point is that offering an internship for only specific groups is discrimination. From a certain point of view, I understand how people see it that way. I also understand how it’s seen as fair. Whether that’s really discrimination or not is up for debate.

                                                                                                What’s not up for debate is that companies or people should be able to give their money however they feel like it. It’s their money. If a company wants to only give their money to Black Africans from Phuthaditjhaba, that’s their choice! Fine by me!

                                                                                                Edit: trying to make it clear I don’t want to debate, but make the money point.

                                                                                                1. 18

                                                                                                  It is discrimination, that’s what discrimination means. But that doesn’t automatically make it unfair or net wrong.

                                                                                                  1. 12

                                                                                                    The alternative is inclusive supply plus random selection. You identify the various groups that exist. Go out of your way to bring in potential candidates of a certain number in each one. The selection process is blind. Whoever is selected gets the help. Maybe auditable process on top of that. This is a fair process that boosts minorities on average to whatever ratio you’re doing the invite. It helps whites and males, too.

                                                                                                    That’s the kind of thing I push. Plus, different ways to improve the blindness of the evaluation processes. That is worth a lot of research given how much politics factors into performance evaluations in workplaces. It affects everyone but minority members even more per the data. Those methods, an equal pull among various categories, and blind select are about as fair as it gets. Although I don’t know exact methods, I did see GapJumpers describing something that sounds closer to this with positive results. So, the less-discriminating way of correcting imbalances still achieves that goal. The others aren’t strictly necessary.

                                                                                                    The next scenario is specific categories getting pulled in more than everyone with organizations helping people in the other ones exclusively to boost them. That’s what’s going on here. Given the circumstances, I’m not going to knock them even if not as fair as other method. They’re still helping. It looks less discriminatory if one views it at a high level where each group addresses those they’re biased for. I did want to show the alternative since it rarely gets mentioned, though.

                                                                                                    1. 13

                                                                                                      I really agree with this. I was with a company who did a teenage code academy. I have a masters, and did a lot of work tutoring undergrads and really want to get back into teaching/academia.

                                                                                                      I wanted to teach, but was actually pushed down the list because they wanted to give teaching positions to female staff first. I was told I could take a support role. The company also did a lot of promotion specifically to all girls schools and to try to pull women in. They had males in the classes too, but the promotion was pretty bias.

                                                                                                      Also I want to point out that I had a stronger teaching background/qualifications than some of the other people put in those positions.

                                                                                                      I’m for fairness and giving people opportunity, but I feel as if efforts to stop discrimination just lead to more discrimination. The thing is, we’re scientists and engineers. We know the maths. We can come up with better ways to pull in good random distributions of minorities/non-minorities and don’t have to resort to workshops that promote just another equal but opposite mono-culture. If anything you do potential developers a disservice by having workshops that are only women instead of half-and-half. You get a really one sided narrative.

                                                                                                      1. 9

                                                                                                        I appreciate you sharing that example. It mirrors some that have happened to me. Your case is a good example of sexism against a man that might be more qualified than a women being hired based on gender. I’ll also note that so-called “token hires” are often treated poorly once they get in. I’ve seen small organizations where that’s not true since the leadership just really believed in being good to people and bringing in different folks. They’re rare. Most seem to be environments people won’t want to be in since conflict or resentment increases.

                                                                                                        In your case and most of those, random + blind selection might have solved the problem over time without further discrimination or resentment. If process is auditable, everyone knows the race or gender part gave everyone a fair shot. From there, it was performance. That’s a meaningful improvement to me in reducing the negative effects that can kick in when correcting imbalances. What I will say, though, is I don’t think we can always do this since performance in some jobs is highly face-to-face, based on how groups perceive the performer, etc. I’m still uncertain if something other than quotas can help with those.

                                                                                                        Most jobs I see people apply for can be measured, though. If it can be measured, it can sometimes already be blinded or may be measured blindly if we develop techniques for that.

                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                          I agree with these comments, plus, thanks for sharing a real life example. We are definitely fighting discrimination with more discrimination doing things the current way. For a bit I’ve thought that a blind evaluation process would be best. It may not be perfect, but it seems like a step in a better direction. It’s encouraging to see other people talking about it.

                                                                                                          One other thought- I think we as society are handling race, gender, age, etc problems wrong. Often, it’s how a certain group ‘A’ has persecuted another group ‘B’. However, this isn’t really fair for the people in group ‘A’ that having nothing to do with what the other people are doing. Because they share the same gender/race/whatever, they are lumped in. Part of this seems to be human nature, and it’s not always wrong. But maybe fighting these battles in more specific cases would help.

                                                                                                        2. 5

                                                                                                          I think the problem here is that whites and males don’t need extra help. They already get enough help from their position in society. Sure, equal distribution sounds great, but adding an equal amount to everyone doesn’t make them equal; it doesn’t nullify the discrepancy that was there before. Is it good to do so? Yes, of course, but it would be better served and better for society to focus on helping those without built-in privilege to counteract the advantage that white males have.

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                                                                                                            There are lots of people in bad situations who are white and male. Saying someones race and gender determines how much help someone has had in life seems both racist and sexist.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              I’m not saying that it applies in all circumstances. But I am saying that they have a much larger support structure available to them, even if they didn’t get started on the same footing as other examples.

                                                                                                              It’s not directly because of their race and sex, it’s because of their privilege. That’s the fundamental difference.

                                                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                                                I don’t even know how much it matters if it was true. Especially in rural or poor areas of white people. Their support structure is usually some close friends, family, people they live with, and so on. Often food stamps, too. Their transportation or Internet might be unreliable. Few jobs close to them. They have to pack up and leave putting themselves or their family into the unknown with about no money to save for both the move and higher cost of living many areas with more jobs will entail. Lots of drug abuse and suicide among these groups relative to whites in general. Most just hope they get a decent job where management isn’t too abusive and the lowish wages cover the bills. Then, you talk about how they have “a much larger support structure available to them” “because of their privilege.” They’d just stare at you blinking wondering what you’re talking about.

                                                                                                                Put Your Solutions Where Your Ideology Is

                                                                                                                Since you talk about advantages of privilege and support structures, I’m curious what you’d recommend to a few laypeople in my white family who will work, have basic to good people skills, and are non-technical. They each have a job in area where there aren’t lots of good jobs. They make enough money to make rent. I often have trouble contacting them because they “have no minutes” on their phones. The areas they’re in have no wired Internet directly to renters (i.e. pay extra for crap), satellite, spotty connections, or they can’t afford it. Some have transportation, others lost theirs as it died with four digit repairs eclipsing 1-2 digits of surplus money. All their bosses exploit them to whatever extent possible. All the bosses underschedule them where the work couldn’t get done then try to work them to death to do it. The schedules they demand are horrible with at least two of us having schedules that shift anywhere from morning to evening to graveyard shift in mid-week. It kills people slowly over time. Meanwhile, mentally drains them in a way that prevents them learning deep stuff that could get them in good jobs. Most of them and their friends feel like zombies due to scheduling with them just watching TV, chilling with friends/family, or something otherwise comfortable on off days. This is more prevalent as companies like Khronos push their optimizations into big businesses with smaller ones following suit. Although not among current family now, many of them in the past worked 2-3 jobs with about no time to sleep or have fun just to survive. Gets worse when they have an infant or kids.

                                                                                                                This is the kind of stuff common among poor and working classes throughout America, including white people. Is this the average situation of you, your friends, and/or most white males or females you know of? These people “don’t need help?” I’m stretching my brain to try to figure out how what you’re saying fits their situation. In my view, they don’t have help so much as an endless supply of obstacles ranging from not affording bills to their evil bosses whose references they may depend on to police or government punishing them with utility bill-sized tickets for being poor. What is your specific recommendation for white people without any surplus of money, spotty Internet, unreliable transportation, and heavily-disrupted sleep?

                                                                                                                Think quickly, too, because white people in these situations aren’t allowed much time to think between their stressful jobs (often multiple) and families to attend to. Gotta come up with solutions about on instinct. Just take the few minutes of clarity a poor, white person might have to solve a problem while in the bathroom or waiting in line at a store. It’s gotta work with almost no thought, energy, savings, or credit score. What you got? I’ll pass it on to see if they think it’s hopeful or contributes to the entertainment for the day. Hope and entertainment is about the most I can give to the person I’m visiting Saturday since their “privilege” hasn’t brought them much of anything else.

                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                  I’m not saying that it’s applicable in every situation; I am specifically talking about the tech industry. I don’t think it’s about prejudice in this case. I think it’s about fixing the tech culture, which white males have an advantage in, regardless of their economic background. White males don’t always have privilege, that would be a preposterous claim. But it’s pretty lopsided in their favor.

                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                    I am specifically talking about the tech industry.

                                                                                                                    It’s probably true if narrowed to tech industry. It seems to favor white and Asian males at least in bottom roles. Gets whiter as it goes up. Unfortunately, they also discriminate more heavily on age, background, etc. They want us in there for the lower-paying stuff but block us from there in a lot of areas. It’s why I recommend young people considering tech avoid it if they’re worried about age discrimination or try to move into management at some point. Seems to reduce the risk a bit.

                                                                                                                  2. 2

                                                                                                                    Your comment is a great illustration of the danger of generalizing things on the basis of racis or gender, mistakenly classifying a lot of people as “privileged”. Ideally, the goal of a charity should be to help unprivileged people in general, for whatever reason they are unprivileged, not because of their race or gender.

                                                                                                                  3. 4

                                                                                                                    “It’s not directly because of their race and sex, it’s because of their privilege. That’s the fundamental difference.”

                                                                                                                    But that’s not a difference to other racist/sexist/discriminatory thinking at all. Racists generally don’t dislike black people because they’re black. They think they’re on average less intelligent, undisciplined, whatever, and that this justifies discriminating against the entirety of black people, treating individuals primarily as a product of their group membership.

                                                                                                                    You’re doing the exact same thing, only you think “white people are privileged, they don’t need extra help” instead of “black people are dumb, they shouldn’t get good jobs”. In both cases the vast individual differences are ignored in favor of the superficial criteria of group membership. That is exactly what discrimination is.

                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                      You’re right in that I did assume most white males are well off, and it is a good point that they need help too. However, I still think that the ideas of diversifying the tech industry are a worthy goal, and I think that having a dedicated organization that focuses on only the underrepresented groups is valuable. I just don’t think that white males have the same kind of cultural bias against them in participating in this industry that the demographics that Outreachy have, and counteracting that is Outreachy’s goal. Yes, they are excluding groups, but trying to help a demographic or collection of demographics necessarily excludes the other demographic. How could it work otherwise?

                                                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                                                  Why exclude Asians then? Do Asians also already get enough help from their position in society?

                                                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                                                    Asians are heavily overrepresented in tech. To be fair, the reason we are overrepresented in tech (as in medicine) is likely because software development (like medicine) is an endeavour that requires expertise in challenging technical knowledge to be successful, which means that (unlike Hollywood) you can’t just stick with white people because there simply aren’t enough of them available to do all the work. So Asians who were shut out of other industries (like theatre) flocked to Tech. Black men are similarly overrepresented in the NBA but unfortunately the market for pro basketball players is a bit smaller than the market for software developers.

                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                      Do they exclude Asians? I must have missed that one. I don’t think excluding that demographic is justified.

                                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                                        Do they exclude Asians?

                                                                                                                        Yes they do. Quoting Outreachy Eligibility Rules:

                                                                                                                        You live in the United States or you are a U.S. national or permanent resident living aboard, AND you are a person of any gender who is Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander

                                                                                                                        In my opinion, this is carefully worded to exclude Asians without mentioning Asians, even going so far as mentioning Pacific Islander.

                                                                                                                3. 4

                                                                                                                  It’s a simple calculus of opprotunity. Allowing those who already have ample opprotunity (i.e. white, cis, males) into Outreachy’s funding defeats the point of specifically targeting those who don’t have as much opprotunity. It wouldn’t do anything to help balance the amount of opprotunity in the world, which is Outreachy’s end goal here.

                                                                                                                  It’s the author’s idea that they deserve opprotunity which is the problem. It’s very entitled, and it betrays that the author can’t understand that they are in a priviledged position that prevents them from receiving aid. It’s the same reason the wealthy don’t need tax cuts.

                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                    Outreachy’s end goal seems to be balancing the amount of opportunity in the world for all, except for Asian minority.

                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                      Each of us gets to choose between doing good and doing best. The x is the enemy of the y. If Outreachy settles for acting against the worst imbalance (in its view) and leaving the rest that’s just their choosing good over best.

                                                                                                                      You’re also confusing their present action with their end goals. Those who choose “best” work directly towards their end goal, but Outreachy is in the “good” camp. By picking a worst part of the problem and working on that part, they implicitly say that their current work might be done and there’ll still be work to do before reaching the end goal.

                                                                                                                  2. 4

                                                                                                                    What’s not up for debate is that companies or people should be able to give their money however they feel like it.

                                                                                                                    That is debatable. But, I too think Outreachy is well within their rights.

                                                                                                                  3. 6

                                                                                                                    I’m not going to complain about discrimination in that organization since they’re a focused group helping people. It’s debatable whether it should be done differently. I’m glad they’re helping people. I will note that what you just said applies to minority members, too. Quick example.

                                                                                                                    While doing mass-market, customer service (First World slavery), I ran an experiment treating everyone in a slightly-positive way with no differences in speech or action based on common events instead of treating them way better than they deserved like we normally did. I operated off a script rotating lines so it wasn’t obvious what I was doing. I did this with different customers in new environment for months. Rather than appreciation, I got more claims of racism, sexism, and ageism then than I ever did at that company. It was clear they didn’t know what equal treatment or meritocracy felt like. So many individuals or companies must have spoiled them that experiencing equality once made them “know” people they interacted with were racist, sexist, etc. There were irritated people among white males but they just demanded better service based on brand. This happened with coworkers in some environments, too, when I came in not being overly selfless. The whites and males just considered me slightly selfish trading favors where a number of non-whites or women suspected it was because they were (insert category here). They stopped thinking that after I started treating them better than other people did and doing more of the work myself. So, it was only “equal” when the white male was doing more of the work, giving more service in one-way relationships, etc.

                                                                                                                    I’d love to see a larger study done on that kind of thing to remove any personal or local biases that might have been going on. My current guess is that their beliefs about what racism or sexism are shifted their perceptions to mis-label the events. Unlike me, they clearly don’t go out of their way to look for more possibilities for such things. I can tell you they often did in the general case for other topics. They were smart or open-minded people. Enter politics or religion, the mind becomes more narrow showing people what they want to see. I spent most of my life in that same mental trap. It’s a constant fight to re-examine those beliefs looking at life experiences in different ways.

                                                                                                                    So, I’m skeptical when minority members tell me something was about their status because I’ve personally witnessed them miscategorizing so many situations. They did it by default actually any time they encountered provable equality or meritocracy. Truth told, though, most things do mix forms of politics and merit leaning toward politics. I saw them react to a lot of that, too. I’m still skeptical since those situations usually have more political biases going on than just race or gender. I can’t tell without being there or seeing some data eliminating variables what caused whatever they tell me.

                                                                                                                    1. 17

                                                                                                                      So, in your anecdotal experience, other people’s anecdotal experience is unreliable? 😘

                                                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                                                        You got jokes lol. :) More like I’m collecting this data on many views from each group to test my hypotheses whereas many of my opponents are suppressing alternative views in data collection, in interpretation, and in enforcement. Actually, it seems to be default on all sides to do something like that. Any moderate listening closely to those that disagree looking for evidence of their points is an outlier. Something wrong with that at a fundamental level.

                                                                                                                        So, I then brought in my anecdotes to illustrate it given I never see them in opponents’ data or models. They might be wrong with their anecdotes right. I just think their model should include the dissent in their arguments along with reasons it does or doesn’t matter. The existence of dissent by non-haters in minority categories should be a real thing that’s considered.

                                                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                                                        I think that the information asymmetry that you had with your anecdotes affected some of the reactions you got. For one, if someone considers your actions negative in some way, they are conditioned by society to assume that you were being prejudiced. If your workplace was one that had more of a negative connotation (perhaps a debt collection service or what have you) that goes double. That’s a reason for the percieved negativity that your white male colleagues didn’t even have to consider, and they concluded that you were just being moderately nice. Notice that you didn’t have to be specifically discriminatory, nor was it necessarily fair. It’s just one more negative thing that happens because prejudice does exist. I would imagine that you would not have so many negative reactions if you explained exactly what you were doing vis-a-vis the randomization of greetings and such. I think I would discount percieved discrimination if someone did that to me.

                                                                                                                    2. 14

                                                                                                                      Yes, it’s a ludicrous hissy fit. Especially considering that LLVM began at UIUC which, like many (most? all?) universities, has scholarships which are only awarded to members of underrepresented groups–so he’d have never joined the project in the first place if this were truly a principled stand and not just an excuse to whine about “the social injustice movement.” (I bet this guy thinks it’s really clever to spell Microsoft with a $, too.)

                                                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                                                        That jab “Microsoft with a $” was really uncalled for. You have no evidnece of this. Please stop.

                                                                                                                        1. 6

                                                                                                                          The point is a bit bluntly made, but it’s for a reason. There’s a certain kind of internet posting style which uses techniques like changing “social justice movement” to “social injustice movement” to frame the author’s point of view. Once upon a time “Micro$oft” was common in this posting style.

                                                                                                                          For extreme cases of this, see RMS’ writing (Kindle=Swindle, etc).

                                                                                                                          (The problem with these techniques, IMO, is that they’re never as clever and convincing as the person writing them thinks that they are. Maybe they appeal to some people who already agree with that point of view, but they can turn off anyone else…)

                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                            I think there is a difference here. “Microsoft” is not framing any point of view. “social justice movement”, on the other hand, is already framing certain point of view. I think “social injustice movement” is an acceptable alternative to “so-called social justice movement”, because prefixing “so-called” every time is inconvenient.

                                                                                                                      2. 0

                                                                                                                        Without more info it seems persecution complex.

                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                        Honestly I don’t see how this is a big deal.

                                                                                                                        As a user, it’s a decent feature because I get to view, say, news coverage of some current event from multiple sources; and as a publisher, why do I care about where else my users go to consume media?

                                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                                          Why would commercial site operators care that a browser vendor is presenting unsolicited links to their competitors, to visitors?

                                                                                                                          Let’s shift the industry: what if chrome started showing links to Chrysler on Ford’s website? Why would Ford care?

                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                            Okay the links are clearly not on the page itself. You can see at the top that the UI is clearly distinct from the website itself and is more like a feature of the browser than anything else. As far as I can see, it’s just a convenient way of displaying search results for the headline without the user having to manually search it themselves.

                                                                                                                            And well, that’s really a strawman argument since that is not at all what Google is doing here. Equating a news site and the website of a corporation that sells actual products isn’t really meaningful.

                                                                                                                            Really, it’s like berating Spotify for having their radio feature because it can show me similar songs to the one I’m listening to. It’s a feature that doesn’t really hurt anyone, and on the contrary, benefits the majority of people. I’m sure Tyler’s fine with Spotify playing some Frank Ocean on his radio.

                                                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                                                              users don’t understand browser vs site differences.

                                                                                                                              You say that comparing two rival news businesses with two rival car businesses is a straw man and then bring up a music streaming service which pays each of the artists for the songs played.

                                                                                                                              Google isn’t running a news service, and paying site owners for displaying their articles.

                                                                                                                              This would be like if while using the Spotify app, Siri chirped out with “hey we have songs on on Apple Music”.

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                Have anything to back up that claim of user ignorance? Also, if we suppose that the claim is correct, does it make a difference?

                                                                                                                                The straw man is in promoting a product on a rival’s site. Nothing even remotely like that is happening here. The Spotify example was mentioned because music suggestions are vaguely analogous to information media, but I take your point. Even still, my point stands.

                                                                                                                                And I disagree that it’s like that. In that case both Spotify and Apple Music would be trying to get users listening to the same thing on different platforms. Articles on the other hand are some person’s unique view of some topic, and my browser giving me suggestions for other people’s viewpoints on the same topic is nothing to beef about.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  Apple literally changed the way javascript alert()/etc look in Safari because users got confused that it was the webpage showing a dialog, not the OS/browser.

                                                                                                                                  1. 0

                                                                                                                                    In this very statement you also acknowledge that it is possible for a UI to be unambiguous, as Apple did change it so as to make it unambiguous.

                                                                                                                                    Hence your claim about the UI of the suggested pages is meaningless, since you’d need to show that this particular UI falls into one of the two categories.

                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                      Apple changed the elements in question from native-styled (i.e. they look and behave exactly like a native macOS/iOS element) elements that are modal above the whole browser (i.e. they blocked all interaction with Safari while open) into in-tab plain white elements that look like a plain-jane javascript html “modal” window.

                                                                                                                                      The chrome UI in question is literally a white bar at the bottom of the page - how could anyone determine whether it’s chrome’s chrome, or in-page content?

                                                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                                                        I don’t think you’re looking at the right picture: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Db1OtiSWkAEKPag.jpg

                                                                                                                                        But we’re digressing. What actual point are you trying to make here, because I don’t see it.

                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                          look at the first picture, which is what the user sees, seemingly as part of the site.

                                                                                                                                          This whole thing is in response to this claim:

                                                                                                                                          You can see at the top that the UI is clearly distinct from the website itself

                                                                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                                                                            The next sentence was:

                                                                                                                                            Also, if we suppose that the claim is correct, does it make a difference?

                                                                                                                                            We could argue about weather or not a user will think it’s part of the site all day, but it doesn’t really matter.

                                                                                                                                            And I made many points in the post that you quoted, not just that one.

                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                              The rest of your ‘points’ are arguing that the news sites in question wouldn’t be concerned by this move.

                                                                                                                                              Did you happen to notice who wrote the tweet thats linked to? The Executive Editor of The Verge. He seems none to pleased about this change, for what I think are pretty obvious reasons.

                                                                                                                                              If you want to put Google on some nerd pedestal and believe nothing they do can be faulted, thats your choice, but dont expect other people to follow your logic.

                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                If you want to put Google on some nerd pedestal and believe nothing they do can be faulted, thats your choice, but dont expect other people to follow your logic.

                                                                                                                                                You’re taking some large leaps here. I do think that Google have fucked up with AMP overall, and I don’t think that Google can do no wrong: they’re a terrible company for user privacy and they’ve shit all over their “Don’t Be Evil” slogan recently.

                                                                                                                                                However, we’re talking about a very specific feature of one of their services, and as a user I welcome a little tab that gives me related articles on X topic, regardless of where The Verge want me to consume information.

                                                                                                                                                I didn’t realise that I had to outline my position on Google as a whole to be able to have an opinion on something that they do.

                                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                                  as a user I welcome

                                                                                                                                                  As a user you’re entitled to want what you want, but you seem to have forgotten the part where you said:

                                                                                                                                                  as a publisher, why do I care about where else my users go to consume media

                                                                                                                                                  You claim to acknowledge Google’s faults, but you seem unable to comprehend how this change could affect online news companies, either now or in any future incarnations of this ‘feature’.

                                                                                                                                                  1. -1

                                                                                                                                                    The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

                                                                                                                                                    You claim to acknowledge Google’s faults, but you seem unable to comprehend how this change could affect online news companies, either now or in any future incarnations of this ‘feature’.

                                                                                                                                                    And you’ve failed to demonstrate how.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                                                                                      You’re fucking kidding me.

                                                                                                                                                      You don’t see how driving traffic away from a site to it’s competitors could affect them?

                                                                                                                                                      You’re being deliberately obtuse.

                                                                                                                                                      1. -1

                                                                                                                                                        It’s the “driving traffic away” part I don’t agree with, but since you’ve dissolved this discussion into pure ad hominem attacks, I won’t be continuing with the conversation.

                                                                                                                                                        Have a nice day dude!

                                                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                                                          It’s literally in the tweet thread directly from the verge editor.

                                                                                                                                      2. 1

                                                                                                                                        No, they changed it to confuse fewer people.

                                                                                                                                        As someone who’s been doing UI design for more than a decade and has also followed this part of the industry even longer I can assure you there are no meaningful interfaces that wouldn’t confuse at least some people. What we all try to do is each day reduce number of confused people which you can see by over time evolving UI widgets and patterns.

                                                                                                                                2. 4

                                                                                                                                  The big issue is that every time Google has provided any kind of listing anywhere, ever, they’ve allowed companies through AdWords to get to the top.

                                                                                                                                  And that becomes super shady.

                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                              It’s completely off-topic to the article, but I take issue with Granny Weatherwax being described as a jerk. Tough and demanding sure, but as a Discworld witch she dedicated her whole life to serving others. I don’t think not smiling and having a bit of an ego instantly transforms you into jerk.

                                                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                                                It’s interesting history is kind of repeating itself with Sony starting to grab market share from Canon, starting with high end full frame prosumer A7* series and eventually trying to sneak pro’s away with the A9.

                                                                                                                                Mirrorless as a thing is still something I’m skeptical on, mostly because of battery life, but you have to hand it to Sony that they’re making progress and the results are pretty impressive.

                                                                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                                                                  It’s interesting history is kind of repeating itself

                                                                                                                                  It goes even deeper. Canon is pulling a Nikon now, by releasing near-insulting refreshes of their top-tier cameras the 5Dmk4 and 6Dmk2, both worse than older (!) Nikon equipment, whereas the recent Nikon releases have been received very well. One might suspect Canon themselves have given up on DSLRs. They seem to be stuck in eternally rereleasing the same 24 megapixel sensor all the time.

                                                                                                                                  I think in the long-term mirrorless is inevitable and it looks like Canon has finally gotten its shit together to produce EOS M cameras which are starting to get competitive with their EOS bodies. Nikon is also expected to release some mirrorless camera this year. I’m sure the first models will be terrible to begin with but in a few years I can definitely see me switching from a D750 to a Nikon mirrorless. Or Sony mirrorless.

                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                    It’s kind of sad though that newer Nikon pro gear (everything on the NPS list) is built to lower and lower standards, with production offshored to China or Thailand, while Canon pro equipment is built to better and better standards in Japan, and it’s cheaper than Nikon!

                                                                                                                                    I much prefer the Nikon ergonomics and the features of Nikon cameras, but the lenses produced today, while of great optical quality, feel cheap and awful. Canon lenses on the other hand are made of metal (the good ones), and feel like a tank.

                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                      There is some truth to the quality issues and I think everyone, even the most ardent fans, have to agree. The cameras are still what they have always been. But the core lenses continue to increase the plasticy feel which I think just bothers a lot of people. Canon’s core pro L lenses feel very much like Nikon’s Ai-S and first generation AF-D lenses when there was still an aperture ring. I am hardly one to beat up gear but my 70-200 has stopped working twice which really bugs me.

                                                                                                                                    2. 1

                                                                                                                                      I don’t feel like Canon is in a rush to move to mirrorless (IMHO, the benefits are minimal for protogs).

                                                                                                                                      What they are getting beaten on is sensor quality; no BSI in 2018 is a sign they’re not investing in their in house sensors enough.

                                                                                                                                      All it would really take is bringing the sensors up to speed, and adding some better 4k video handling in the 5d series (you can now at least get c-log output) and they’d be competitive again.

                                                                                                                                    3. 1

                                                                                                                                      I’ve switched to mirrorless. Thing almost fits in my jacket pocket - if I saved up for a non kit lens it would, actually, fit in my jacket pocket. I’m a casual shooter. Batteries are not an issue - I carry two spares with me, just like one would carry film in the old days. The auto focus is on par with my consumer level Nikon DSLR, the low light performance is phenomenal. For casual shooters, can’t think of a reason the SLR format should survive.

                                                                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                                                                        I mostly shoot slide film. I have a Nikon F4, a Nikon FM3a, and a Nikon FA, and a bunch of old, manual focus AI-s lenses. However, I want to shoot digitally too, so a bought a Fuji X-T10. I have been using this camera for about two years now, and have taken many great pictures with it, but I hate it so much, so much. I can’t wait to get rid of it and buy a Nikon DSLR.

                                                                                                                                        Let’s start with the good stuff. The good Fuji cameras and lenses are built to the highest mechanical standard. I wish new Nikon lenses were this good.

                                                                                                                                        That’s all the good stuff I can think of, now the bad stuff:

                                                                                                                                        The camera is small, but the lenses are just as big as modern DSLR lenses. This means the camera is too small for proper hand-holding technique. When assembling a system, the total weight is little bit lower than a DSLR kit, but the bulk is not significantly smaller at all, and I am constrained by bulk, rather than weight.

                                                                                                                                        Focus by wire works poorly. In fact I would say it’s impossible to use. Never again. But even if where were lenses which didn’t focus by wire, you still could not manually focus because the resolution of the EVF is too low for critical manual focus. On a tripod you can zoom to 100%, but handheld, no way. On the other hand I use a split prism focusing screen on my SLRs, so this is never a problem.

                                                                                                                                        The ergonomics of the camera are bad. I can’t use it with gloves. I can use a (D)SLR with gloves.

                                                                                                                                        The software on the camera is terrifyingly bad.

                                                                                                                                        The flash system is weak.

                                                                                                                                        In low light, or for sports, autofocus is useless. There are some mirrorless cameras out there that do better AF than even DSLR, but only the top-of-line stuff.

                                                                                                                                        The colors I get from this cameras are not great. This is not a problem with the camera, but with the color profiles used by desktop software. However, it is what it is. I can’t really do anything about it. You can make custom profiles, but it’s much harder than most people realize, and if you do it you’ll get a metrologically correct profile, which is not what I want. Nikon and Canon profiles are non-flat in a way that I like, and I can’t really emulate that.

                                                                                                                                        Speaking of color profiles, Nikon allows you to load custom profiles in-camera. This is huge, because even if I shoot RAW, I need to make decision in the field based on the JPG preview, so it’d better be what profile I’m going to use anyway.

                                                                                                                                        All lenses use different filter thread sizes. This drives me nuts.

                                                                                                                                        Battery life is poor, and extremely poor in cold weather. A pro DSLR can take Lithium primary AA batteries that work at -40C.

                                                                                                                                        Again, not a problem with the camera, but with Adobe software, but Adobe does a very poor job on Fuji raw files. I use Iridient Developer to convert Fuji raw files in DNG, but that makes the workflow slower and uses twice the amount of space (assuming I want to keep the originals, which I do).

                                                                                                                                        Oh yeah, camera takes too long to boot.

                                                                                                                                        I would like a mirrorless camera, but it would have to work differently than they work now.

                                                                                                                                        Personally, I want a APS-C/FF camera (micro 4/3 is too small) that has small lenses. I want a 16-35/f8 and a 70-300/f8-f11 (35mm equivalent). When doing landscapes, I shoot at those small apertures anyway, so i’d like small lenses. You couldn’t make such slow lenses for DSLRs, because they would be too dark in the viewfinder, but with mirrorless you could. With small lenses, the camera can be small too, as it won’t feel unbalanced. The lenses must of course use the same filter thread size, and it should be possible to operate the camera with gloves. The camera should boot instantly. The camera should close the shutter when changing lenses (why don’t mirrorless cameras do this??).

                                                                                                                                        If you can’t make small zooms, I’d be happy with small primes. 20mm, 85mm, and 200mm are all I need. If you kake them f/4 you should be able to make them, really, really, really small.

                                                                                                                                        Oh yeah, and I’d like some tilt-shift lenses too.

                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                          If you haven’t got one already, I can recommend a Nikon D700 as the almost perfect “digital FE2” camera.

                                                                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                                                                          In our household we solved the problem of size and weight by me carrying all photo equipment and playing assistant to my wife, who has the talent and skills. Not for everyone but I am happy with results :)

                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                            I’ve switched mostly to an X100 for the past few years. However the DSLR is still ‘needed’ for two things - kids sport and product/portrait shots for my wife’s seamstress business. The second could be mitigated by switching to a interchangeable lens mirrorless, but then I lose a lot of what I love about the X100.

                                                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                                                            [about is-odd] Going through the dependents tree, I found hundreds of projects depending on this, including some major players are depending on this but more interestingly also the big players including Webpack, BrowserSync and Babel.

                                                                                                                                            They’re depending on it via a glob matcher by the same author. Pretty much no one else uses that package. That’s the thing with tiny packages, you can often consider them parts of a bigger package by the same author.

                                                                                                                                            And there’s not that many of these tiny packages.

                                                                                                                                            Every once in a while someone writes another version of the same tired rant about the npm ecosystem that extremely exaggerates the problem and repeats the same “omg horrible code we can’t code 1000 layers deep millions of dependencies aaaaaaaa left pad left pad” mantra. COME ON. It’s not true. The dependency trees in Node projects are not that deep and not that wide, and one line packages are not that common.

                                                                                                                                            I hate how it’s trendy to hate on JavaScript/Node/npm now. They absolutely do not deserve it. PHP actually sucked because of awful design. JS historically was closer to having no design, which does mean more dependencies for common simple things, which does have its problems, but is not a “disaster” or “shit” or anything like that. Actually that has its upsides too. “The standard library is where libraries go to die”, so not having a huge one means less old junk floating around that you’ll be tempted to use instead of a good module since that one is Built In™.

                                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                                              The author of this blog post is the same guy who ripped off James Iry’s classic A brief, and mostly wrong, history of programming languages with only a kind of backhanded attribution at the end of his (much less funny) post. He basically writes garbage blogs about programming, and somehow manages to get people talking about them. This post was probably taken directly from the Reddit discussion of this topic from a few days ago - certainly he hasn’t covered anything that wasn’t in the most upvoted comments of that thread.

                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                I hate how it’s trendy to hate on JavaScript/Node/npm now. They absolutely do not deserve it. PHP actually sucked because of awful design.

                                                                                                                                                PHP still has warts but a lot of improvements have been made to solve actual real world issues (i.e. type hinting, performance, removing unsafe/hard-to-use functionality, etc).

                                                                                                                                                JavaScript still has the core problems it’s had since I was a student, at the beginning of this century. How can I write a javascript method that accepts two integers and.. well, knows they’re integers?

                                                                                                                                                Oh. Right, we’re back to that guys “is-number” package, aren’t we?

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  List of package for a project I am working on which has ~50 dependencies in package.json and <20 dev dependencies (most of which required by couple of frameworks I use):

                                                                                                                                                  > ls node_modules|wc -l
                                                                                                                                                       857
                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                  My typical Python project usually has less than 20 external dependencies. That’s an order of magnitude difference. Admittedly these are not directly comparable projects, but it is also quite typical that my Javascript/Typescript work that depends on external frameworks quickly accumulates other packages numbered in few hundreds.

                                                                                                                                                  I find it difficult to argue that JS developers (this is really not a Node issue) are not more likely to depend on other packages than some other programming communities. It is effectively impossible to keep a current understanding of what packages are included in your project, what all of them do and what their state is so describing it as chaotic does not feel that wrong to me.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                    Even that is misleading. Try npm ls --parseable | wc -l.

                                                                                                                                                    On a random (old) client project I had (which lists 18 deps and 27 dev deps), the count balloons out from 619 using ls node_modules | wc -l to 1024 using npm ls --parseable | wc -l and its not even “complete” because it failed to compile something, so who know how many dependencies aren’t actually installed.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                      Right, thanks. Then the number is 1474 and in my case it also isn’t complete.

                                                                                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                                                                                  Isn’t this just a frustration with the fact that so many packages depend on so many packages? Because the same rogue actor stuff would apply to any tree dependency self-published system. See your local Gemfile. Do you really know what’s being installed?

                                                                                                                                                  So what’s the proposed fix? Stop depending on so many packages?

                                                                                                                                                  Perhaps there should be a line drawn for the major packages, to use less of these tiny modules.

                                                                                                                                                  But this is also part of the beauty of single responsibility packages. Composing extremely simple parts is all we really need, right?

                                                                                                                                                  Think about all of the tiny programs you run on your Unix machine of choice. Perhaps those are also at fault for the “too small to be worth it” sin.

                                                                                                                                                  Again, where do we draw lines?

                                                                                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                                                                                    The elm package manager will refuse to publish a package that violates semantic versioning. So if you’re a malicious actor, changing the API of some package for nefarious purposes, you’d be doing a bit of a hard job because since functions can’t change their signatures without you bumping the major version and since most elm-packages.json files will not update major versions automatically, it becomes harder to ship evil code. Also, a simple elm-package diff command would tell you what changed between versions, making it easier for you to audit the code. There is a lot of beauty in it. It is not evil proof, but it makes it a bit harder.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                      I wonder if you can push this to an extreme, where each public function is independently versioned. Then you could upgrade to a new version even if there are breaking changes, as long as they’re not in any part of the API you use. I’m not sure if it would be useful but its a fascinating idea.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                        This is super interesting. I wonder how much this friction reduces velocity and quick progress, especially for younger developers. But I like this.

                                                                                                                                                      2. 3

                                                                                                                                                        I just took a look at the Gemfile for one of my websites and there are a lot of gems but ~80% come from the rails team and most of the rest are trusty sources like amazon. This is not even close to as bad as when I created a blank Vue project that already had thousands of packages many about 3 lines long.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                          Good heuristic. Still possible to see bad stuff come down the pipe, but perhaps not as common just by way of community.

                                                                                                                                                          Could we imagine the same thing happening, though, in a parallel universe? I think so.

                                                                                                                                                          Then again, standard libs for Ruby do a lot of the small stuff for you. Even/odd come to mind.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                            Ruby seems to have lots of mega libs that do big tasks but JS devs seem to have taken the path of making a new package for every function. I do wonder how often JS devs add 2 packages that do the same thing because they forgot about the last one. The result is also that questions online about ruby often tell you to use methods built in to ruby or ActiveSupport where as JS questions either get you to build it yourself or use jquery.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                                              In defense of ActiveSupport, you can include individual pieces of it at whatever granularity you like, and the documentation explicitly calls this out to you at the very beginning.
                                                                                                                                                              Even in projects that are not web-related, I sometimes bring ActiveSupport along but will only require 'active_support/core_ext' and add things later if I need them as the project grows (often things like time_with_zone or number_helper).

                                                                                                                                                              I think that it’s a good way to balance “provides a lot of stuff” and “forces you to use all of its stuff”. I want to complain that the rest of Rails’ sub-projects don’t provide the level of utility when included gradually, but I also appreciate that that is the whole bargain: Rails’ perceived productivity boosts are derived from a tight coupling that pays dividends, you as long as you go with the Rails Way.

                                                                                                                                                              Edit/Afterthought: Over the years, some of the better Ruby libs to hit this balance of providing a lot but allowing for gradual or clean interop (with other libs, or with your application code) have been those authored or worked on by Piotr Solnica.

                                                                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                                                                          What I do in my Python work is generally be willing to depend on large, tested projects with well established, thriving communities that have a good history of responding to security incidents. These packages usually do not depend on other packages or when they do, on well established ones (e.g. requests library).

                                                                                                                                                          I might include other, less known packages, if I intend to use most of their functionality and if it is not easy to replicate on my own. Otherwise I write my own version or copy with attribution and license only the relevant parts.

                                                                                                                                                          This is not perfect, but gives me some confidence that things will be fine.

                                                                                                                                                          It is also an approach that completely breaks down in my Javascript/Typescript work because of so many packages being pulled in and everything seemingly depending on everything else (yes, I am exaggerating).

                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                            The problem already starts with licenses. For many apps for example you’ll have to list the licenses of all used libraries, and the libraries, including all transitive dependencies in the UI.

                                                                                                                                                            For my Android app that’s a few dozen overall, and it took only a few hours to do this. For even the smallest Angular project, this is insanity.

                                                                                                                                                            So if you want compliance, you’ll need to throw the entire ecosystem out right now. Or you just violate the licenses. Often even projects such as angular have dependencies that have no license.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                                              I just tested this. In the old client project I mentioned earlier, find node_modules/ -iname "license" gives me 743 results.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                                                                            No offense to anybody, but I feel like this is more naivete on the user’s part than it is bait-and-switch on Slack’s part. It was very easy to see this coming, and Google even did nearly the same thing with Google Chat.

                                                                                                                                                            I’m surprised more tech people don’t realize by now never to rely on free services from for profit companies.

                                                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                                                              Bait-and-switch schemes would not be viable without naivete. They go hand in hand.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                People get born and die every day so we are not the same crowd we were :)

                                                                                                                                                              1. 8

                                                                                                                                                                The main attraction of Slack is not its IRC compatibility. Because if it were, we all would be using IRC and Slack had no reason to exist. Slack won its large following (and first among technical users) because its total feature set^ and usability was found to be convincing. While I would have liked Slack to continue to offer these gateways, they were never the central features. I therefore find the accusation of bait and switch overblown.

                                                                                                                                                                ^ Ease of use, OS support, integrations, inline expansion of images, URL, tweets, emoji support, search, signup process, UI design, …

                                                                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting. My impression was that in the beginning Slack was getting popular among designers (UX, graphical) that still had fond memories of Stewart Butterfield’s Flickr and could get tech crowd to go along because they could keep using their existing IRC/XMPP clients. But like I said in my other comment, I don’t actually know.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                    As I see it, usability is all about the clients available. IRC does not mean glass tty at all.

                                                                                                                                                                    And I wonder why would technical users run away from technical tools.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. 39

                                                                                                                                                                    “We all know the real reason Slack has closed off their gateways. Their business model dictates that they should.”

                                                                                                                                                                    Which is why they should’ve never been used in the first place if anyone wanted to keep anything. This isn’t a new lesson with mission-critical, proprietary software. Anyone relying on profit-hungry, 3rd parties is just asking for it. Only people I feel sympathy for are those who didn’t know the risks (esp non-technical folks) or those who did that were forced by managers/customers to use the product at work despite its disadvantages (esp resource hogging).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. 19

                                                                                                                                                                      I mean, I think categorizing this as a “bait and switch” is disingenuous. How many people were attracted to Slack by their gateways versus their total addressable market or indeed their total number of users? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that number is basically zero.

                                                                                                                                                                      Too, the people who are affected by this change are overwhelmingly the people who should have known better. It’s hard for me to gather much sympathy.

                                                                                                                                                                      ETA: I’m not a fan of Slack, particularly their godawful clients, but I think this article falls into the classic “It is what I want, therefore it is what everyone wants” fallacy. As my boss at Apple once told me, “we’d go broke if we made products for you.”

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 27

                                                                                                                                                                        How many didn’t push harder against slack because they could just use a bridge?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                          I mean, the problem is that, as Slack is paying for their product by spending Marc Andreessen’s money and not selling goods and services to their users, what leverage does a user have?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 9

                                                                                                                                                                            I think the idea was that people didn’t push back against their own organizations and managers in their decision to go with Slack because they figured “well, I can just use a bridge and not have to care”.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. 7

                                                                                                                                                                          I mean, I think categorizing this as a “bait and switch” is disingenuous. How many people were attracted to Slack by their gateways versus their total addressable market or indeed their total number of users? I’m going to go out on a limb and say that number is basically zero.

                                                                                                                                                                          What evidence do you have for this? I know of at least 5 people who agreed to adopt slack for various personal projects explicitly because of its IRC gateway.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                            Against the total universe of Slack users? OK, 5 people you know personally, against a total user population of 9MM. I’m not saying that people who use the gateways don’t exist; I’m saying that as a percentage of Slack’s total userbase, the number is insignificant; it is, to the first order of approximation, zero.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                              I don’t think you actually know this and I am not sure if it is relevant for bait-and-switch how many such users exist now. Question is how many of them were there in early days when Slack first started to fight for mind-share?

                                                                                                                                                                              My guess would be a lot since it started as a glorified web interface over IRC. However, probably like you I don’t actually know and can only go with anecdotal experience from people I know which was similar to @feoh.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                It’s a bit funny that you say “sure, 5 people, but that’s just your anecdote, you don’t have actual numbers” and then go on to confidently assert what the numbers are… apparently without having them, or at the very least without showing them.

                                                                                                                                                                                I also concur with @markos that there were probably disproportionately many gateway users among early adopters of Slack. I watched with concern as its use spread among libre projects, and it was the gateways that made it hard to sell the argument on general principle against it. Apparently “you’re putting yourself in a position to get burned” is not sufficient to convince anyone; people have to actually get burned before they’ll renege on a choice. (And I’m not convinced that they learn from the experience.) I must also admit “it’s where the users are” is hard to argue against; as long as everything goes well, that fact matters.

                                                                                                                                                                                The answer may be that we need something more mobile-device-friendly than traditional XMPP? (I know of things like XEP-0286… but a profile only helps as far as it is deployed.)

                                                                                                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                              I totally agree they’d be majority of those affected.

                                                                                                                                                                            3. 5

                                                                                                                                                                              non-technical folks

                                                                                                                                                                              I doubt there are many non-technical people left that still use IRC, but I think the general idea behind this holds true. people who don’t know the risks of putting companies in control of their stuff get screwed over when this sort of thing happens.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                I doubt there are many non-technical people left that still use IRC

                                                                                                                                                                                There are lots (for some definition of lots). At least Undernet and Snoonet are completely non-technical, and while they probably don’t have that many users in terms of absolute numbers, in relative terms they comprise a big chunk of all IRC users.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                              Seeing a Hodinkee link on Lobsters is an unexpected crossover of my normal morning reading

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                You are not alone :)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 25

                                                                                                                                                                                I think ads are the worst way to support any organization, even one I would rate as highly as Mozilla. People however are reluctant to do so otherwise, so we get to suffer all the negative sides of ads.

                                                                                                                                                                                I just donated to Mozilla with https://donate.mozilla.org, please consider doing the same if you think ads/sponsored stories are the wrong path for Firefox.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 14

                                                                                                                                                                                  Mozilla has more than enough money to accomplish their core task. I think it’s the same problem as with Wikimedia; if you give them more money, they’re just going to find increasingly irrelevant things to spend it on. Both organizations could benefit tremendously from a huge reduction in bureaucracy, not just more money.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 9

                                                                                                                                                                                    I’ve definitely seen this with Wikimedia, as someone who was heavily involved with it in the early years (now I still edit, but have pulled back from meta/organizational involvement). The people running it are reasonably good and I can certainly imagine it having had worse stewardship. They have been careful not to break any of the core things that make it work. But they do, yeah, basically have more money than they know what to do with. Yet there is an organizational impulse to always get more money and launch more initiatives, just because they can (it’s a high-traffic “valuable” internet property).

                                                                                                                                                                                    The annual fundraising campaign is even a bit dishonest, strongly implying that they’re raising this money to keep the lights on, when doing that is a small part of the total budget. I think the overall issue is that all these organizations are now run by the same NGO/nonprofit management types who are not that different from the people who work in the C-suites at corporations. Universities are going in this direction too, as faculty senates have been weakened in favor of the same kinds of professional administrators. You can get a better administration or a worse one, but barring some real outliers, like organizations still run by their idiosyncratic founders, you’re getting basically the same class of people in most cases.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. 21

                                                                                                                                                                                    So Mozilla does something bad, and as a result I am supposed to give it money?? Sorry, that doesn’t make any sense to me. If they need my money, they should convince me to donate willingly. What you are describing is a form of extortion.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I donate every month to various organizations; EFF, ACLU, Wikipedia, OpenBSD, etc. So far Mozilla has never managed to convince me to give them my money. On the contrary, why would I give money to a dysfunctional, bureaucratic organization that doesn’t seem to have a clear and focused agenda?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 9

                                                                                                                                                                                      They may be a dysfunctional bureaucratic organisation without a focused agenda (wouldn’t know as I don’t work for it) which would surely make them less effective, but shouldn’t the question instead be how effective they are? Is what they produce a useful, positive change and can you get that same thing elsewhere more cost-effectively?

                                                                                                                                                                                      If I really want to get to a destination, I will take a run-down bus if that is the only transport going there. And if you don’t care about the destination, then transport options don’t matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 17

                                                                                                                                                                                        They may be a dysfunctional bureaucratic organisation without a focused agenda (wouldn’t know as I don’t work for it) which would surely make them less effective, but shouldn’t the question instead be how effective they are? Is what they produce a useful, positive change and can you get that same thing elsewhere more cost-effectively?

                                                                                                                                                                                        I am frequently in touch with Mozilla and while I sometimes feel like fighting with windmills, other parts of the org are very quick moving and highly cost effective. For example, they do a lot of very efficient training for community members like the open leadership training and the Mozilla Tech speakers. They run MDN, a prime resource for web development and documentation. Mozilla Research has high reputation.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Firefox in itself is in constant rebuild and is developed. MozFest is the best conferences you can go to in this world if you want to speak tech and social subjects.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I still find their developer relationship very lacking, which is probably the most visible part to us, but hey, it’s only one aspect.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          The fact that Mozilla is going to spend money on community activities and conferences is why I don’t donate to them. The only activity I and 99% of people care about is Firefox. All I want is a good web browser. I don’t really care about the other stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe if they focused on what they’re good at, their hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue would be sufficient and they wouldn’t have to start selling “sponsored stories”.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            The only activity I and 99% of people care about is Firefox.

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is a very easy statement to throw around. It’s very hard to back up.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, what’s the point of having a FOSS organisation if they don’t share their learnings? This whole field is fresh and we have maintainers hurting left and right, but people complain when organisations do more then just code.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              To have a competitive, web browser we can trust plus exemplary software in a number of categories. Mozilla couldve been building trustworthy versions of useful products like SpiderOak, VPN services, and so on. Any revenue from business licensing could get them off ad revenue more over time.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Instead, they waste money on lots of BS. Also, they could do whaf I say plus community work. It’s not either or. I support both.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                To have a competitive, web browser we can trust plus exemplary software in a number of categories. Mozilla couldve been building trustworthy versions of useful products like SpiderOak, VPN services, and so on. Any revenue from business licensing could get them off ad revenue more over time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                In my opinion, the point of FOSS is sharing and I’m pretty radical that this involves approaches and practices. I agree that all you write is important, I don’t agree that it should be the sole focus. Also, Mozilla trainings are incredibly good, I have actually at some point suggested them to sell them :D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Instead, they waste money on lots of BS. Also, they could do whaf I say plus community work. It’s not either or. I support both.

                                                                                                                                                                                                BS is very much in the eye of the beholder. I also haven’t said that they couldn’t do what you describe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, be aware that they often collaborate with other foundations and bring knowledge and connections into the deal, not everything is funded from the money MozCorp has or from donations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  “Also, Mozilla trainings are incredibly good, I have actually at some point suggested them to sell them :D.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, there’s a good idea! :)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                That’s a false dichotomy because there are other ways to make money in the software industry that don’t involve selling users to advertisers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                It’s unfortunate, but advertisers have so thoroughly ruined their reputation that I simply will not use ad supported services any more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I feel like Mozilla is so focused on making money for itself that it’s lost sight of what’s best for their users.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  That’s a false dichotomy because there are other ways to make money in the software industry that don’t involve selling users to advertisers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ummm… sorry? The post you are replying to doesn’t speak about money at all, but what people carry about?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, advertising and Mozilla is an interesting debate and it’s also not like Mozilla is only doing advertisement. But flat-out criticism of the kind “Mozilla is making X amount of money” or “Mozilla supports things I don’t like” is not it

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a very easy statement to throw around. It’s very hard to back up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Would you care to back up the opposite, that over 1% of mozilla’s userbase supports the random crap Mozilla does? That’s over a million people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think my statement is extremely likely a priori.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    I’d venture to guess most of them barely know what Firefox is past how they do stuff on the Internet. They want it to load up quickly, let them use their favorite sites, do that quickly, and not toast their computer with malware. If mobile tablet, maybe add not using too much battery. Those probably represent most people on Firefox along with most of its revenue. Some chunk of them will also want specific plugins to stay on Firefox but I don’t have data on their ratio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If my “probably” is correct, then what you say is probably true too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a valid point of view, just shedding a bit of light on why Mozilla does all this “other stuff”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mozilla’s mission statement is to “fight for the health of the internet”, notably this is not quite the same mission statement as “make Firefox a kickass browser”. Happily, these two missions are extremely closely aligned (thus the substantial investment that went into making Quantum). Firefox provides revenue, buys Mozilla a seat at the standards table, allows Mozilla to weigh in on policy and legislation and has great brand recognition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But while developing Firefox is hugely beneficial to the health of the web, it isn’t enough. Legislation, proprietary technologies, corporations and entities of all shapes and sizes are fighting to push the web in different directions, some more beneficial to users than others. So Mozilla needs to wield the influence granted to it by Firefox to try and steer the direction of the web to a better place for all of us. That means weighing in on policy, outreach, education, experimentation, and yes, developing technology.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  So I get that a lot of people don’t care about Mozilla’s mission statement, and just want a kickass browser. There’s nothing wrong with that. But keep in mind that from Mozilla’s point of view, Firefox is a means to an end, not the end itself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don’t think Mozilla does a good job at any of that other stuff. The only thing they really seem able to do well (until some clueless PR or marketing exec fucks it up) is browser tech. I donate to the EFF because they actually seem able to effect the goals you stated and don’t get distracted with random things they don’t know how to do.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              What if, and bear with me here, what they did ISN’T bad? What if instead they are actually making a choice that will make Firefox more attractive to new users?

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                                                                                                                                                                                              The upside is that atleast Mozilla is trying to make privacy respecting ads instead of simply opening up the flood gates.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                For now…