1. 1

      “prediction difficulty: challenging” (vs “secure” for CPRNG’s)

      “and thus more secure than most generators”

      Looks like a great article. I’m highlighting this since they probably just should leave the last part off as it semi-implies it useful or acceptible for work done with security in mind. Folks are better off just using the fastest CSPRNG that doesn’t have any working attacks. That is, if they can’t afford to use whatever is the strongest one. I’ll add @twotwotwo has a great point about how fast the secure generators run these days. There’s also crypto accelerators on some processors for common algorithms.

      1. 3

        The use case is things like Monte Carlo simulation, raycasting, etc., where you want unpredictable, uniformly distributed set of values.

        1. 1

          Oh, I get that. Especially Monte Carlo given it’s always the example I see in fast, pseuo-random generators. I should probably look into that deeper some time given its utility and popularity.

          I’m just saying they should leave off the security part toward the end if they already said it wasn’t secure at the beginning. Following others in the know, I’ve always kept separate the RNG’s that are good for security-insensitive and security-focused randomness. Many who haven’t studied information security might misinterpret such remarks.

        2. 1

          “prediction difficulty: challenging” (vs “secure” for CPRNG’s)

          CSPRNGS aren’t provably secure. There’s no difference between ‘challenging’ and ‘secure’ except that the ones marked ‘secure’ have been tested a lot more for security.

          I’m highlighting this since they probably just should leave the last part off as it semi-implies it useful or acceptible for work done with security in mind.

          It is more secure than most generators.

        1. 2

          Accepting null means tightly marrying the memory layout and types together. You can no longer examine types while ignoring how they’re layouted in the memory.

          Huh? Nullable doesn’t say anything about memory. I have no idea what Python None looks like.

          1. 1

            Python’s None is a globally defined constant. Nullable and Maybe are sum types. You’re right that these ideas are distanced from how they’re layouted into memory.

            However I’m not sure what to do here because I think the thought still applies somehow to this. Should we have an easy way to convert any type into type+{null} in the first place?

            1. 1

              I think he was referring to his conception of it as stated in this opening: “Not too long ago I used to think of null as an useful feature that can be directly derived from the pointer arithmetic on a computer.”

            1. 6

              “Fabricate” is a build system that uses strace to automatically discover dependencies in this way.

              https://github.com/SimonAlfie/fabricate/blob/master/README.md

              1. 1

                Nice. Looks like they beat me to this idea by a wide margin. Just goes to show there is not much new under the sun.

                1. 3

                  On the other hand, although I’ve known about this for many years and always been curious, I’ve never actually tried to use it, whereas I could wrap your concept around almost anything pretty trivially, so :)

                  1. 2

                    Thanks. This work mostly came out of being frustrated with js build scripts. I didn’t want to understand what broccoli.js was doing so I figured treating it as a black box and just grabbing the inputs and outputs would be good enough for caching purposes. I’ve since used the same trick at a few more workplaces and it does wonders for frontend build processes.

              1. 5

                The way these licenses are worded isn’t very appealing. They don’t even open with MIT-style warranty clauses, those are end the end and have less words. As a non-lawyer less words sounds bad. The Parity license seems very demanding, I wouldn’t want to use it. I do not at all believe this new wave of quasi-commercial licensing for most if not all (formerly) Free Software projects will end well for anyone. Why use a solution that doesn’t do exactly what you need it to, and maybe does a bit too much? Because it’s Free Software, the time saved building bespoke tools can be used to patch it and ignore/workaround what you don’t need. But if I have to pay someone, might as well pay my own guys, or if I want to keep it FOSS, use and/or fork an existing Free Software project.

                1. 2

                  The way these licenses are worded isn’t very appealing.

                  I love the wording. If it’s about commercial use, the license says commercial use instead of guessing every business model they might try. If it’s about sharing changes, the license says all changes have to be shared instead of guessing every distribution model they might try. The parasitic behavior that happened with other licenses might have been blocked with these.

                  “if I want to keep it FOSS” “The Parity license seems very demanding,”

                  The existing licenses don’t keep it FOSS, though. There were bypasses around most of them that led to billions in wealth for companies that didn’t contribute back or barely did. The goal of the Parity license is maximizing free software by forcing all code to be shared. So, the terms force all code to be shared. Almost all negative impact is on commercial sector who could always buy a license exception that supports the project.

                  1. 1

                    The platform seems like a start but I kind of wish that some of the other licenses were available to choose. Getting these new licenses approved by the OSI is probably pretty top priority. Every IP lawyer I have ever worked with always advised avoiding new licenses whenever possible because in some cases it was easier to simply re-implement the functionality that we needed instead of getting a new license approved.

                    1. 2

                      As a developer, my goal in using the Parity license is to discourage corporate uptake. OSI approval is an anti-feature.

                      1. 4

                        Why would you want to discourage use of your software? I sincerely don’t understand why it being used by a corporation is by itself a negative. Isn’t it dependent on the corporation?

                        1. 0

                          Why would you want your labor appropriated by greedy capitalists who will use it to further enslave you?

                          1. 8

                            If a software developer releases their software under a license that allows them to bar you from using it on the grounds that they think you are a greedy capitalist who will use it to further enslave them, that software is not free and should not be talked about in the same breath as genuinely free software.

                            1. 1

                              You have not read the license, or if you have, you’re hiding it. Either way, you’re contributing nothing to the discussion.

                              The Parity license compels sharing, similar in spirit to the GPL. This is not a business-friendly license, because the operating principle of capitalist enterprise is to socialize cost while privatizing profit. They will look for software they can use parasitically.

                              Its also meant to enable developers to charge for their software without closing the source. If you don’t want to share according to the terms of the free license, buy a commercial one that doesn’t mandate that.

                            2. 4

                              I’d take greedy capitalists metaphorically enslaving me over “selfless” communists literally enslaving me.

                              1. 2

                                Providing services people want is slavery?

                                1. 2

                                  All you need is to wear Marx-colored glasses to see it is.

                      1. 8

                        The naming of this suite is confusing. There is already a legal tool called CC Zero. And this is not a single license or a single minimalist license.

                        The implementation of most of these licenses is non-free and the naming is Orwellian. Compelled publication (“Parity”) is non-free, and separating it from use is doubly so. “Prosperity” is shareware, which non-free and a failed model. “Private” allows a party to use the code publicly in a non-free way. “Charity” is a weird name for a license of the form that corporations love.

                        This is good old-fashioned license proliferation wrapped in a presumption of dual-licensing, which is the current problem rather than a solution to it.

                        I do like the command line tools though.

                        1. 3

                          What is the problem, proliferation, or dual-licensing? I’m having a hard time understanding how either are currently problematic.

                          1. 1

                            This is good old-fashioned license proliferation wrapped in a presumption of dual-licensing, which is the current problem rather than a solution to it.

                            It actually would reduce license proliferation given maximum, simple copyleft might have prevented the need for piles of free licenses that currently exist. Likewise, people wanting to get paid for commercial use while letting people see and fix the source might find Prosper useful. Then, for proprietary software outside these two, he has a proprietary license setup with the usual terms. Actually, less shady than many vendors of proprietary software.

                            So, we’re down to three licenses covering paid-under-agreed-terms with source, free-as-in-beer with source for non-commercial use, and maximally-free with source all changes being just as free. So much easier and smaller in number than this pile of licenses from OSI.

                          1. 2

                            Those licenses are not very clear. On the front page the parity license is listed as allowing for-profit use, yet the license itself reads as if you’re not allowed to charge for distribution:

                            This license lets you use and share this software for free, as long as you contribute software you make with it.

                            Also, what’s up with this?:

                            1. Contribute software you develop, deploy, monitor, or run with this software.

                            So if I use a parity licensed text editor or shell, presumably I’d have to “contribute” (what does that even mean?) programs I write myself or programs that I run.

                            Why would that make sense? Would that ever be enforceable?

                            These are all clearly non-free licenses (unless optional relicensing is allowed), so it’s somewhat misleading to list them as having the “door open” to “open source”.

                            1. 2

                              The point of the license is to ensure that source is available, and that software developers hold onto power against massive corporations who are able to monetize more tepidly licensed open source software with their scale.

                              If you don’t want to abide by the terms of the Parity license, you’re free to not use it, or seek a commercial license for your use of it; the License Zero site makes it easy for developers to charge for those commercial licenses.

                              1. 5

                                If I used a licensed program to monitor in-house closed-source software, what and how would I contribute?

                                IANAL but I feel like someone wanted to take a crack at writing something cool for licenses but either didn’t think it through or didn’t verify it properly.

                                Of course we’re all free to not use dubious software, but people do it all the time regardless. The world would be better off with clearer definitions and people who care more.

                                Edit: just re-read the Parity text. I’d publish the monitored software on Github as a contribution to the monitoring software. Dunno how I missed that that’s what it actually means. Maybe I was in denial ;)

                                1. 2

                                  I believe that the author of these licenses is a lawyer, and they were created very specifically to do what they do.

                                  1. 6

                                    Having read them I find that very surprising.

                                    1. 3

                                      There are a lot of blog posts on the site that go into the rationale behind the licenses: https://blog.licensezero.com/2018/09/14/free-to-take-freedom.html

                                      1. 3

                                        What I’m not following is why conflate licensezero (paid access to a commercial license in lieu of an open one) with very specific licenses for public distribution. There’s no reason licensezero couldn’t be applied to GPL code, for example. Obviously not every developer wants to license their software under the GPL (or Parity for that matter), but the concept of licensezero works regardless of the developer’s preference on the topic. Fixing it to specific minor licenses prevents licensezero from being a large scale offering.

                                      2. 2

                                        So what’s monitoring? strace or something that checks a network service is up? I guess you could bolt more terms onto it but then the little foundation becomes essentially irrelevant.

                                        Maybe the author is a lawyer but this feels sloppy.

                                        Though I didn’t look deep into how that Stripe thing should work. Maybe I missed the thing that makes it all complete, though I doubt it.

                                        1. 3

                                          The law isn’t code. It’s not meant to describe every possible use. It’s a philosophical statement and tool to advance a particular set of values, and enforcement will be done within the same human-driven, non-code system. So if you’re using a Parity licensed tool in contravention of its terms, the author would have to convince a court of their case.

                                          1. 3

                                            It said with this software. The interpretation I had is that you’re using the software that has that license to do one of those things. You’re benefiting from it with changes or integrations. So, you have to release under same license those changes or integrations. The author is trying to stop you from doing clever bundling to dodge the license. That’s a real thing I warned people about.

                                            Folks claiming licenses protect freedom keep ignoring such strategies. Whereas, License Zero author is trying to address all these dodges with the simplist license he can. Compare Parity to AGPL in terms and complexity.

                                            1. 4

                                              The author is trying to stop you from doing clever bundling to dodge the license.

                                              I can appreciate that about the license, and that’s a wonderful goal! I’m just in doubt how to interpret the exact implications are from those measures. If we take something like this:

                                              1. Contribute software you develop, deploy, monitor, or run with this software.

                                              If a Unix shell had this rule, then I must publish my shell history since those commands would’ve been run with the shell (and arguably also developed, deployed and monitored with it). I can see how this technically wouldn’t be a restriction on the use of software, but it would be quite impractical.

                                              Also, if a browser was under this license, you’d have to publish all JavaScript your browser runs, “in the preferred form for making changes,” which would mean that such a browser wouldn’t be allowed to run non-free JavaScript (interesting!). Arguably you’d also have to republish any free JS script you’ve run “through a freely accessible distribution system widely used for similar source code.”

                                              Yes, I’m being super pedantic here, but my impression is that so is law occasionally,; just look at the problem with the old BSD License. Surely the intentions of the author (and people who’d use this license) is not to go that far in stopping share dodgers?

                                              1. 2

                                                Ok, finally got just enough sleep to get back to you.

                                                “If a Unix shell had this rule, then I must publish my shell history since those commands would’ve been run with the shell (and arguably also developed, deployed and monitored with it). “

                                                That’s a clever example. Yeah, the license might not be appropriate for something like the shell. I’m sure that could take some thought to figure out how to improve the license. I might pass it on to License Zero author. Meanwhile, do remember that problems with licenses on a specific component might lead developers to re-license under a mix of them. Some things they might license as Apache, GPL, AGPL, etc with rest under Parity. Companies might try to freeload off whatever wasn’t under Parity. They still get less freeloading value given the developers were able to limit what they could take.

                                                “Also, if a browser was under this license, you’d have to publish all JavaScript your browser runs,”

                                                Is that really a bad thing in a license that intends to maximize free software? (nudge nudge)

                                                Another good objection, though. Scripting engines were always a way to repurpose existing apps to make them behave quite differently. The modding scene for games comes to mind. He probably should think carefully about embeddings. If looking at commercial or non-commercial use, Javascript is a really, intriguing problem in how it’s used on the web. I think this is a case where he’d tell them to buy a proprietary license for whatever it is or the company would distribute the browser under non-free-as-in-speech license. Given existing ecosystem, Javascript might just be too messy to handle with a simple license.

                                                That said, prior work inspires a simple solution: Parity-licensed browser with license exemption for Javascript that runs in it. Since Javascript isn’t fully-copyleft, they hypothetically might start building entire apps in web browsers from text editors to IRC-like setups to social media. Fortunes would be built off it with maintenance burden on browser developers. The response might be two fold: anything getting common (de facto standard) gets a nice, native implementation in the browser under Parity license; the exception allows JS for non-commercial use with for-profit sources having to pay for a license. The latter might check the certificates against an internal list or something. Complexity is still mounting, making a license exception most sensible so far.

                                                Now, it might not be as difficult to deal with something like Lua or even Javascript that’s not a browser. These are usually in apps that are proprietary or distributed for free. If proprietary, they get a proprietary license like an acceptance fee and/or cut of sales in the 3rd-party app or plugin store. This is already a common practice. If free, Parity would make the 3rd-party apps/plugins/scripts as free as the project they’re built on. If the host is free, then why should the guests get paid? I know some wouldn’t like it but it doesn’t seem unfair in those situations. Finally, an exception might be allowed for 3rd-party content under paid or free terms. It could even be conditional on whether they themselves are paid or non-paid.

                                                1. 2

                                                  Also, if a browser was under this license, you’d have to publish all JavaScript your browser runs,

                                                  Is that really a bad thing in a license that intends to maximize free software? (nudge nudge)

                                                  Nah, that wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

                                                  But does this license really do that? If a JavaScript engine is licensed in a way that disallows running non-free JS programs, is that not then a usage restriction? Such a restriction would make the JavaScript engine itself non-free, at least according to the FSF definition, which includes: The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).

                                                  1. 2

                                                    is that not then a usage restriction?

                                                    It might technically not be valid. I think usage restrictions that are specifically about enabling commercial freeloading maybe should be counted as a negative in their definition. They’re trying to compromise in a way that ended up undermining their goals on contribution side.

                                                    Maybe we need a new phrase that represents about everything that’s otherwise considered FOSS but allows usage restrictions if the purpose is forcing maximal sharing of code. It goes a step further than the technical definition of FOSS.

                                  1. 6

                                    I love this. I wrote something that makes a similar plea to use Free Software licenses, but coming at it from a different angle:

                                    https://blog.joeardent.net/2017/01/say-no-to-corporate-friendly-licenses/

                                    1. 5

                                      “Star Wars, a tale of a man who became absolutely corrupted by his power and was, thankfully, eventually destroyed. When the movies came out, they absolutely captured the imagination of nearly an entire generation, at which point, George Lucas held onto that imagination as a cultural hostage1 2, and demanded payment from anyone else who foolishly tried to play with the storyblocks Lucas had made. “

                                      You might find this article interesting. Like the author, I was blown away by finding out the clever movie didn’t just imitate others a bit: it was nearly cut and paste on some stuff, including the best parts, with hardly any changes. Now, if you change “brilliant original” to “brilliant remix,” it’s still one of the best ever done. I’ll give Lucas that. He’s just no saint fighting copyright bullshit with a clever remix to only become the villain doing the same stuff.

                                      It makes sense a Lucas company would be a “vampire” in software sector “taking rather than giving.”

                                      “But for me, though, a big part of my motivation to commit to using the GPL is so that people like Jennifer Siebley will tell their corporate overlords like ILM5 to not use my software. I’m a little vindictive like that.”

                                      They can bypass the GPL because it’s too weak, trying to out-think everything abusers might do but missing a lot of it. If this is your goal, consider licenses like Parity. I like how it forces any change (derivative), regardless of usage or distribution method, to be open sourced. That’s the root of the issue is they are transforming the software for a benefit with goal of not sharing transformed version (derivative). Plus some patent protection thrown in. That might have countered about every corporate abuse I’ve seen where it’s just the software itself that’s beneficial.

                                      Pushing the kind of FOSS that forces all changes to be FOSS’d regardless of usage pushes them into corners instead of FOSS developers aiming for reciprocity. And FOSS companies can still dual-license it with an exception for that to generate revenue. And with terms that force them to reinvest into FOSS ecosystem based on gains.

                                      EDIT: Changed “you” to “they.” Much more appropriate here. :)

                                      1. 5

                                        They can technically bypass it, but they have an allergy to the very license, so for practical purposes, making it GPL achieves the desired excluded use.

                                        That said, I appreciate the link to the Parity license! I will definitely start exploring that.

                                        And yeah, the antecedents for the Star Wars material are pretty blatant, which made their preciousness about their IP more galling. I will note that they do have one other major open source (not FOSS) library, OpenEXR, which is used all the over the place for graphics-related systems (IlbmBase, a package within OpenEXR, has tons of useful math stuff like vectors, 3 and 4x4 matrices, quaternions, etc., and we used it extensively within Alembic). So giving back is not 100% alien to them, but it was not a priority.

                                        1. 4

                                          Thanks for the tip on OpenEXR. Didn’t know about it.

                                          Far as Parity, check out his blog. It has a few write-ups on why he designed his licenses the way he did. For the copyleft, his main problem was all the loopholes that led to billion dollar companies not giving back or actively lobbyin against our freedoms. His licenses focus on the simplest elements to get rid of all loopholes. With something like Parity, we might have not had these oligopolies given anyone could reuse any change the big companies made.

                                    1. 2

                                      If you think I’m being overly dramatic, consider this counterfactual scenario. Take a problem proximal to tech companies’ bottom line, e.g. image recognition or speech, and imagine that no tech company was investing research money into the problem. (IBM alone has been working on speech for decades.) Then imagine that a pharmaceutical company suddenly enters ImageNet and blows the competition out of the water, leaving the academics scratching their heads at what just happened and the tech companies almost unaware it even happened. Does this seem like a realistic scenario? Of course not. It would be absurd. That’s because tech companies have broad research agendas spanning the basic to the applied, while pharmas maintain anemic research groups on their seemingly ever continuing mission to downsize internal research labs while building up sales armies numbering in the tens of thousands of employees.

                                      The next time someone is defending the necessity of pharma patents and absurdly high drug prices, you can be certain they are shilling for entities that are trying to kill you for a profit, and act accordingly.

                                      1. 31

                                        Personally, I think it takes lots of courage to stand for a right cause, after all opposing a corporate decision for the company you work for is not an easy thing to do. Having said that, I still have some facts to highlight:

                                        Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be.

                                        Not only that applies to Dragonfly, it also applies to Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Yandex, Facebook and other big technological corporations all over the world, and certainly it’s part of a problem we (as citizens and members of our species) should aspire to solve.

                                        The correct thing would be to work towards empowering users with technology they can control and in turn one in which they also control their data (something that happens with libre software and related crypto software), the biggest challenge is to create consciousness in younger generations about the importance of individual liberties and privacy, that’s an area in which (I think) we are loosing but must keep working on.

                                        1. 9

                                          May sound depressing, but maybe the most effective way to create consciousness about those topics is saying this to new generations:

                                          Your data is your money.

                                          1. 4

                                            Third time’s a charm!

                                            It’s important to vigorously oppose efforts by those who benefit from unjust status quo, and not allow them to control the narrative to the point where its accepted that dealing with the harm caused by them is the responsibility of the victims of that injustice, rather than the responsibility of the powerful perpetrators.

                                            1. 1

                                              I hadn’t thought about it that way, and it seems reasonably enough for young people.

                                              1. 1

                                                The other topic is the bad usage of resources, extreme capitalism, etc. Data will join “officialy” the toolchain to enable this, also.

                                          1. 1

                                            I know it’s been a while, but I’ve updated this post to add a little clarity to the explanation of distributions (and gave a little shout-out to @nils and this thread!), and corrected the error about how long it takes to generate Gaussian vs. uniform random values.

                                            1. 4

                                              This is from 2016, and claims that Chez Scheme is commercial-only. This is no longer true, as it was released as Open Source with an Apache 2 license earlier this year.

                                              1. 2

                                                Similarly, it says CHICKEN is R5RS-only, but we support R7RS now too.

                                                Part of the problem is that one you pick a Scheme implementation, you’re almost always “locked in”: you can’t easily migrate to another.

                                                This is what R7RS (and R6RS before it) tries to solve by standardising a module system. So, hopefully, this problem is a little less bad in the future. You’ll still need add-on libraries but you see that people are slowly trying to make more portable extensions. Of course extensions that integrate with C or the JVM won’t be portable (though with cond-expand it should be doable to write a library that uses the FFI from the Scheme you’re targeting… I should do an experiment to see how easy that is)

                                                Chicken compiles to C, so to distribute, you can either distribute binaries or C sources which the user can build without installing Chicken. Super-easy.

                                                This has become even easier now with CHICKEN 5, which has full support for static binaries!

                                                1. 1

                                                  I would update the title with (2006) but it has been more than a few hours and I can’t edit it any more. Nor can I suggest tag or title changes because I’m the submitter.

                                                1. 1

                                                  Google’s new operating system, Fuchsia, is self-described as a “modular, capability-based system”, for another example of modern systems that are organized along these lines.

                                                  https://fuchsia.googlesource.com/docs/+/master/the-book/

                                                  1. 6

                                                    As previously discussed: https://lobste.rs/s/g8l2xs/urbit_whitepaper

                                                    Anyway, Urbit is basically digital feudal MLM, and the project lead is a Nazi, and the technological foundations of it are fundamentally unsound (https://ngnghm.github.io/blog/2016/06/11/chapter-10-houyhnhnms-vs-martians/):

                                                    One could imagine ways that Urbit could be modified so its persistence policies would become configurable. For instance, the underlying C runtime u3 could be sensitive to special side-effects, such as messages sent to a magic comet, and modify its evaluation and persistence strategies based on specified configuration. That would mean, however, that most of the interesting work would actually happen inside u3, and not over Nock. What would Nock’s purpose then be? It could remain as an awkward but standardized and future-proof way to represent code and data. However, unless great care is taken, using formal proofs and/or extensive testing, so that the semantics of the Nock code generated indeed implements the actual computations, while indeed being implemented by the underlying system, then at the first bug introduced or “shortcut” taken, the entire Nock VM becomes a sham.

                                                    Now, assuming Nock isn’t a complete sham, it remains an obligatory intermediate representation between the computations desired by users and the machine implementations provided by the system. Because Nock is never exactly what the user wants or what the machine provides, this intermediate representation always introduces an impedance mismatch, that is all the more costly as the desired computing interactions are remote from the Nock model.

                                                    so…. why is anyone still trying to promote this?

                                                    1. 2

                                                      If Ethereum can implement their VM Urbit probably can too. I don’t see what stops them from being able to prove their virtual machine works as intended. I also find the second point kind of weak (if I understand correctly), in that it’s a virtual machine running on top of a different architecture, of course it’s going to run slower. The Urbit folk are under the impression that’s a worthwhile tradeoff for being able to implement the Urbit system/network/whatever.

                                                      Hoon’s weird syntax (and the reasons for it), the development team’s goals, the developers on said team, the choice of 32-bits’ worth of planets simply to sell more tokens etc are good points to avoid the project over. I’m not sure if “it might not run perfectly” (forks exist) and “it’s not going to be perfect” are great criticisms

                                                      1. 1

                                                        But Ethereum’s VM is there in order to achieve a distributed consensus, not to perform useful work; Urbit’s is for… ???

                                                        Again, though, even assuming that the Nock VM is not pointless, the other substantial criticisms stand. What’s the great technological feat this system will deliver that can be divorced of its designed intentions, and without transferring social cachet to fascists? I’m not seeing any reason at all to ever put this whole nonsense system in front of good peoples’ faces.

                                                        1. 1

                                                          Ethereum’s VM does exist to perform (debatably) “useful” work. That’s the whole basis for Ethereum itself - a distributed, trustless computing platforn. It’s what dApps are. If I’ve understood correctly, Urbit is Ethereum on steroids.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      The sea-steading on the internet crowd are entertaining, but I never see a good explanation as to why people would actually choose to live in their personal utopia.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        There’s actually a good answer to this towards the end of the video - Justin Murphy mentioned at around 2:00:00 that he was running a discord server that got shut down, possibly because someone reported it maliciously to discord. Or, more accurately, he was using a server that discord ran to chat, until they suddenly decided to stop running it. One of the reasons I think Urbit is an interesting project is because it potentially offers a way for individuals and communities to run their own internet infrastructure, rather than relying on a potentially-hostile 3rd party to do so.

                                                        1. 8

                                                          That’s great & indeed running your own servers does give you (some) independence from censorship by US corporations, but that doesn’t seem to justify the whole “buy into our property owning infrastructure” thing. It actually feels very bitcoiny to me - people are buying into it in the how of being able to be on top in some future feudal society.

                                                          1. 5

                                                            My understanding was that the Urbit ecosystem was designed in a feudal hierarchy where early-adopters get huge chunks of the universe that they can sub-let to other people. So while you’re not beholden to a company like Discord to run a particular service, you’re beholden to somebody else for access to the medium at all.

                                                            1. 4

                                                              Isn’t the solution to just run discord on your own server? That seems an easier jump than going full urbit.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                I think the Urbit team is planning for a future where the very roots of the web (DNS etc) are under government control.

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  Even something dumb and blockchain, like Namecoin, would be better in terms of promoting freedom. Compare the philosophical goals of Urbit with something that’s not a neoreactionary, right-wing authoritarian daydream:

                                                                  https://safenetwork.tech/

                                                          1. 3

                                                            I am a very happy owner of the book. However, it collects dust on my desk

                                                            1. 3

                                                              The videos make excellent supplemental material, and part 2, which covers the second half, just came out recently.

                                                            1. 8

                                                              Very interesting! But also, just note that it’s from 2013, so who knows maybe they have Tactical Slack by now.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                Tactical Slack

                                                                Excellent XD

                                                                Also, not only is it a 2013 post, it primarily cites a 2006 and a 2009 resource.

                                                              1. 3

                                                                There’s also the “Ray Tracing in One Weekend” and follow-on books, which are shorter than this book, but free:

                                                                https://twitter.com/Peter_shirley/status/984947257035243520

                                                                The code in the book is very simple C++, but I’ve finished the first 9 out of 10 chapters in Rust:

                                                                https://github.com/nebkor/weekend-raytracer

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  I can also recommend Ray Tracing in One Weekend which I used to build this:

                                                                  https://github.com/ryanslade/ray

                                                                1. 8

                                                                  This reminds me of the perspective of the Houyhnhnm Computing Chronicles:

                                                                  http://ngnghm.github.io/blog/2015/08/02/chapter-1-the-way-houyhnhnms-compute/

                                                                  Whereas Humans view computers as tools below them to which they give orders and that do their bidding, Houyhnhnms view computing as an interaction within a system around them that extends their consciousness. Humans articulate their plans primarily in terms of things: the logical and physical devices they build (sometimes including tools to make more tools), in the lower realms of software and hardware. Houyhnhnms weave their conversations foremost in terms of processes: the interactions they partake in, that they attempt to automate (including these conversations themselves), which always involves wetware first. In short, Humans have computer systems, Houyhnhnms have computing systems.

                                                                  There are eight or nine chapters, all worth contemplating.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    Houyhnhnms

                                                                    Quagaars, it’s a name I made up! Double-A, actually!

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      I hadn’t run across that, what a delightful read. Sharing with friends.

                                                                      1. 4

                                                                        If you’d ever run across the TUNES project (2000 - 2008-ish), these Chronicles are meant to be a retrospective: https://ngnghm.github.io/About.html

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      Stopped reading at the casual hatred of capitalism. Can we get a philosophy article without throwing out the dog-whistle of capitalism being bad?

                                                                      1. 9

                                                                        I’ve covered the special relationship between capitalism & software extensively elsewhere. I didn’t elaborate in this article because I didn’t expect it to become popular outside my regular readership (who will already be familiar with those arguments).

                                                                        In addition to the stuff covered above, there’s the obvious precedent of cybersyn. Of course, eliminating capitalism doesn’t require eliminating markets (as cybersyn does), & despite the various problems with markets, it’s unclear whether or not doing so would even be desirable in capitalism’s absence. After all, markets can be pretty good for solving certain kinds of information problems so long as the prerequisites for market efficiency are fulfilled. On the other hand, almost all economic activity on earth occurs within corporations or families (both of which are siloed planned economies) & attempts to bring markets into corporate silos have largely been disastrous, so it’s worth considering cybersyn’s progeny seriously.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Next time just link the phrase to your previous article that explains it best, so that it doesn’t appear to be a random comment.

                                                                          1. 4

                                                                            I’ve got an awful lot of other writing related to every subject I cover here. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t link every word to a different article when tossing off a low-effort rant I expected to get at most ten readers. Criticism of capitalism is among the least controversial subjects I cover in this.

                                                                        2. 9

                                                                          What is it about the author’s dislike of capitalism that invalidates their opinions about UX design?

                                                                          1. 10

                                                                            The casual injection into a post that I was reading to find out about his opinions on UX design.

                                                                            1. 6

                                                                              it’s their article, not yours. If they think it’s important, they can write whatever they want :)

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                It may be their article but we are allowed to critique it. Nobody’s imprisoning the author for the way he writes, but by the same token, no one is obligated to read what he wrote if the style drives them away.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  Then why not just hide and ignore? How do the OP reply’s not equate to tantamount compaining and not serious discussion? what do you intend to accomplish with this reply?

                                                                                  EDIT: also, it’s funny I got downvoted as “incorrect” at the same time as your reply…

                                                                                2. -6

                                                                                  It might have made some sense with context. Now it did not.

                                                                                  A big part of capitalism is providing the supply for a demand. If something won, there’s a market demand for it, right?

                                                                                  It might be suboptimal, and change can be hard to enact, but would it be better if every computer was an autistic LISP machine, utterly unapproachable for a layman?

                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                    Can you seriously not use “autistic” as an insult?

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      ….what?

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        This post includes, in five sentences, a severe misunderstanding of markets under conditions of near monopoly, some pretty extreme ableism, and the straw man fallacy.

                                                                                        Please, reconsider.

                                                                                    2. 3

                                                                                      I’m with zdsmith and the others here. It’s OK to have this as a pet peeve, but really, just put that aside and evaluate the ideas being presented for what they are. That’s my suggestion.

                                                                                  2. 14

                                                                                    It sounds to me like the OP is responding to an insufficiently-filled market need to shit on capitalism, and I commend them for responding so quickly to the invisible hand.

                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                      Also, I don’t think you’re using the phrase “dog-whistling” correctly.

                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                        No. Calls for the death of capitalism and the adoption of fully automated luxury space communism are all the rage these days.

                                                                                        And while I started writing this as snark, the truth is it’s a reality, especially in certain quarters like Mastodon where thousands of kids who’ve likely not experienced actual hardship ever seem to predominate.

                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                          And while I started writing this as snark, the truth is it’s a reality, especially in certain quarters like Mastodon where thousands of kids who’ve likely not experienced actual hardship ever seem to predominate.

                                                                                          Except that the ‘kids’ you talk of have actually experienced far more hardship than any previous generation that still lives. Growing up in a massive recession, living in a world where they have no privacy and many have no expectation of privacy, where they’re allowed to own mobile phones as children despite it being objectively proven that this is incredibly harmful to their psychological development, living in a world where all collectivism in society has been snuffed out by the unstoppable march of neoliberalism.

                                                                                          If you can, imagine having your once almost guaranteed job replaced by outsourcing to Asia so the very rich who were already far too rich can make even more money. Imagine having your previously completely free tertiary education replaced with unbelievably expensive tertiary education but of far worse quality with universities filled with foreign students that waste tutor and lecturer time by being virtually unable to communicate in English. Imagine having your Government’s public works department privatised and its job of building sufficient housing to keep house prices at a reasonable level completely abandoned, leading to some of the most expensive housing in the world in a low population density first world country with more than enough land.

                                                                                          If you were in those shoes I imagine you’d consider yourself to be subject to some level of bloody hardship thank you very much.

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            Except that the ‘kids’ you talk of have actually experienced far more hardship than any previous generation that still lives.

                                                                                            Do you realise that there are still survivors of the Second World War alive? Survivors of the Holocaust? Survivors of the Cultural Revolution?

                                                                                            No, millennials haven’t ‘experienced far more hardship than any previous generation that still lives,’ not even close. Not even a little bit.

                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                              Um… Can we please not have sweeping generalizations about the life experiences of entire generations here? Or pissing contests about hardship? The hyperbole to which you are responding is severely oversaturated, but the basic point is sound. Genuine hardships exist at every level in the mythical Maslow hierarchy. Studies have shown that grad students suffer the same stress levels (measured by both Likert scale and cortisol levels) as combat soldiers. People who live through major natural disasters and other forms of severe crisis generally report feelings of peace and social communion. People adapt, it’s how our nervous systems work. Exercise some compassion!

                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                I guess you’ve never met any from other parts of the world who isn’t from the United States, or other other affluent and unravaged countries.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  Did you mean to reply to milesrout? Every one of my examples of people who’ve experience far more hardship than millennials have was from outside of the United States.

                                                                                                  Or do you mean that ‘millennials’ is a term usefully applied to non-Western cohorts? I think that would be a rare usage. Still, while there’s some pretty horrific stuff going on the world today, I don’t think it compares to the Cultural Revolution or the Holocaust.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    I was replying to you; you brought up non-Western comparisons, and I’m pointing out that your attempt to minimize current ills is unsound.

                                                                                                    It’s undeniable that Millennials, and all other post-Boomer cohorts in the United States, have had declining opportunities and quality of life, due to structural issues related to unregulated and sociopathic economic policy and behavior (see https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-american-economy-is-rigged/). So what’s your deal? Why are you trying to gaslight us?

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      It’s undeniable that Millennials, and all other post-Boomer cohorts in the United States, have had declining opportunities and quality of life

                                                                                                      I’m not arguing against that statement: I’m arguing against the statement ‘the ‘kids’ you talk of have actually experienced far more hardship than any previous generation that still lives.’ That statement is false, because there are generations still living which have experienced far worse hardship than the Millennials. Whatever hardship they face pales in comparison to mass slaughter, mass murder, mass starvation, mass conscription &c. &c. &c.

                                                                                                      That’s not gaslighting: it’s a simple fact.

                                                                                                      1. 0

                                                                                                        I believe it is incorrect to exclude the rest of the world in the Millennial cohort; the problems they face are global. Especially since you keep bringing up non-Western-world examples like the Cultural Revolution. And Millennials and younger are now facing down the barrels of a bunch of giant ecological cannons, and the world is turning into an authoritarian hellscape, so again, your insistence on minimizing how rightfully pissed they should be is literally incredible.

                                                                                            2. 3

                                                                                              And this is bad because?

                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                It’s absolutely not “bad” - did I say that?

                                                                                                No, what I said is that I see a lot of people yearning for a particular bit of societal change, and sometimes I question whether or not they appreciate the fullness of what they’re asking for.

                                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                                  In particular, I am selfishly worried that given that kind of massive, wholesale seismic shift in the way we structure our lives that basic infrastructure would fall away for a time.

                                                                                                  I’m dependent on a couple of key medications that aren’t all that common to continue existing on the prime material plane, so despite the fact that I LOVE the idea, I’m a bit cautious around what it would ACTUALLY mean to march into our glorious future with my comrades, possibly dying of dehydration along the way. (The drug I need is vasopressin replacement. Without it I dehydrate and die. Full stop.)

                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                    Countries with socialised medicine do far better at providing people with medicine than those without. I struggle to see why it’d be reasonable to expect socialism to do poorly at providing medicine.

                                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                                      Countries that have socialized medicine where a person with disorder like GP has survives are capitalist.

                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                        What does that have to do with what I said?

                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                          This whole branch discusses the “calls for death of capitalism”, and you mention socialized medicine as a counter argument. Now, why do you make me explain your post to yourself?

                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                          Countries that have socialized medicine where a person with disorder like GP has survives are capitalist.

                                                                                                          I can’t even parse this. What are you saying? Socialized medicine is socialism. Western countries are a mix of socialized services (education, roads, trains, military) and private, market-based systems. The mix has historically shifted back and forth, and right now, we’re at an extremely capitalistic phase, and it’s too much.

                                                                                                          Capital is useful, like fire. Demanding that we worship it and asserting that capitalism is the Only Way is like demanding that firefighting be outlawed, because fire is good.

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            Socialized medicine in socialist countries is atrociously bad. The GP would not have survived there with the kind of disorder they have. I am saying that because I lived in a poster boy socialist country with such healthcare system.

                                                                                                            All Western countries are decidedly capitalist, their economies are based on proceeds from capitalist mode of production. Back in my history class in USSR we had that political map of the world, they were marked there as such.

                                                                                                            I hope you aren’t suggesting that the USA is the only capitalist Western country, since all others have socialized healthcare of some sort.

                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                              Really, you’re saying the medicine in the Netherlands, and Australia, and Canada, and Sweden, etc. is atrociously bad? Because I know for a fact that the systems there are better than in the United States.

                                                                                                              Again, socialized medicine, like socialized military or education, is socialism. All the Western democracies are a mix of socialism and capitalism.

                                                                                                              The United States is more capitalistic than the other ones; I am saying it needs to be less capitalistic than it currently is.

                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                Really, you’re saying the medicine in the Netherlands, and Australia, and Canada, and Sweden, etc. is atrociously bad?

                                                                                                                I am saying that medicine in Marxist societies was (and is) bad. There is a world of difference between socialized aspects of Sweden and Soviet socialism. They have nothing in common, nada, nilch. If you think USSR was like Sweden but just poorer and with more socialized services, no, it was nothing like it at all. In fact from that perspective Sweden is undistinguishable from the USA. I know because I’m familiar with both, and a former Prime Minister of Sweden agrees.

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  No one was talking about Soviet-style Marxist Communism, which we all agree was a nightmare. The argument was, “Too much has been subject to capitalism,” (which originally sprang from the OP’s note that we still have capitalism, meaning, there is still scarcity and inequality), or, “There should be more socialism,” which has nothing to do with the dysfunction in the USSR.

                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                    Fair enough. I was going off “calls for the death of capitalism” upthread, have nothing against socialized healthcare per se.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      But why does a call for moving beyond capitalism automatically invoke, “I guess you want to try something terrible, like a USSR or DPRK style nightmare?”

                                                                                                                      Capitalism, like controlled fire, is a human tool meant to bring about humane ends. When fire rages out of control and people get hurt, we put it out. When capital rages out of control and people get hurt, for some reason a lot of people get mad when you say, “Maybe common and critical needs shouldn’t be subject to market dynamics,” and I just don’t understand that reaction.

                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                        Because you hardly hear that call from anyone else than communists, and USSR/DPRK was the outcome of people giving their best to build communism.

                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                          Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Anarcho-Communist Syndicalism does not suffer from the flaws of the attempts from 100 years ago; we will have automated labor this time ;)

                                                                                                                          Also, if you have an ounce of awareness and you live in the San Francisco area, it’s impossible to not be confronted with catastrophic failure of capitalism as a total system (meaning, attempts to provide all needs via markets).

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            All kinds of societies can thrive once you remove human factor!

                                                                                                        3. 1

                                                                                                          Did you read what I read in full?

                                                                                                          In particular, I am selfishly worried that given that kind of massive, wholesale seismic shift in the way we structure our lives that basic infrastructure would fall away for a time.

                                                                                                          Of course once a fully marxist / communist society was attained medicine would be a non problem for most people, my issue is the transition. Do you actually think we could just pivot from full on rape and pillage capitalism to such a society without massive upheaval, bloodshed, and interruption of all but the simplest infrastructure services (like the manufacture and delivery of specialized medication for instance.)

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            Of course once a fully marxist / communist society was attained medicine would be a non problem for most people

                                                                                                            Don’t count on it. We had root canals treated without anaesthetics in 1980s USSR.

                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                              This is exactly the point I was trying to make. I’m seeing a LOT of people extolling the virtues of Marxist / communist societies without thinking through how hard they are to actually implement in ways that benefit the common citizen.

                                                                                                              For a really great trove of data on how this can go totally awry, read the book Red Plenty.

                                                                                                              Many then cite successful implementations of universal healthcare in socialist countries, failing to acknowledge the fact that many (all?) of these are fueled by thriving capitalist economies.

                                                                                                              I acknowledge that I am a cis white male working in technology and currently enjoying a lifestyle practically dripping with privilege, but this has not always been so, and I also feel that just because I have never known hardship (especially not the kind of hardship experienced by millennials, apparently) but that doesn’t mean I can’t talk about the flaws in people’s thinking.

                                                                                                    2. 3

                                                                                                      If you’re going to go that far you should go all the way: fully automated luxury gay space communism.

                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                        Sure why not? With flying cars, even! :)

                                                                                                        (In all seriousness, Ian Banks Culture novels represent pretty much the ONLY far future society I’d actually WANT to be a citizen of :)