1. 2

      Is there a reliable way to bridge Matrix and XMPP so that a matrix user can talk to an XMPP user and vice versa? I see that there will be downsides in a way as only the common subset of both protocols would be supportable, but it would still be nice.

      1. 4

        There’s this: https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-bifrost

        I got it running but never got it to connect correctly with my Matrix server and kinda gave up. I’m not sure if it works.

        1. 3

          It has bugs, and for obvious reasons new vector isn’t putting much into fixing them, but for some use cases it works. The instance on aria-net is the most stable and has many bug fixes not in upstream

          1. 3

            Thank you! Looks intimidating. I’m not sure I’d really want to run this on my small XMPP server…

            1. 2

              No reason you need to run anything matrix related. Just connect to addresses that go via the aria-net or matrix.org instance. Running it yourself gains you nothing since you’ll just be using it to send messages to matrix.org users anyway.

              1. 1

                You mean, as in “it just works”? Looking it up in DNS I am entirely surprised indeed:

                $ dig _xmpp-server._tcp.matrix.org SRV
                
                ; <<>> DiG 9.16.15-Debian <<>> _xmpp-server._tcp.matrix.org SRV
                ;; global options: +cmd
                ;; Got answer:
                ;; ->>HEADER<<- opcode: QUERY, status: NOERROR, id: 6254
                ;; flags: qr rd ra; QUERY: 1, ANSWER: 1, AUTHORITY: 0, ADDITIONAL: 1
                
                ;; OPT PSEUDOSECTION:
                ; EDNS: version: 0, flags:; udp: 512
                ;; QUESTION SECTION:
                ;_xmpp-server._tcp.matrix.org.	IN	SRV
                
                ;; ANSWER SECTION:
                _xmpp-server._tcp.matrix.org. 300 IN	SRV	0 5 5269 lethe.matrix.org.
                
                ;; Query time: 48 msec
                ;; SERVER: 192.168.1.1#53(192.168.1.1)
                ;; WHEN: Fr Nov 19 17:55:31 CET 2021
                ;; MSG SIZE  rcvd: 93
                

                I have not tested if there is actually something listening on port 5269 on lethe.matrix.org, but if it is, it indeed just ought to work. That’s… interesting. So I can assume matrix.org Matrix users will just be reachable via XMPP without further setup? That’s kind of cool. I have no Matrix user in my XMPP roster yet, so I was unaware of this and just assumed the two universes are entirely incompatible to one another. Thanks for rectifying this. I will remember that the next time I talk to someone about XMPP vs. Matrix.

                1. 1

                  https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-bifrost/wiki/Address-syntax for the syntax

                  You are likely to have a better experience with this one https://aria-net.org/SitePages/Portal/Bridges.aspx though

                  1. 1

                    Thanks!

        1. 5

          There’s a much longer sordid history here. Back in the early 2000s instant messaging was a big thing, the social media of its time, and there were several competing networks. AOL Instant Messenger was big, if not the biggest, and through tricks like this was locking others out. Creating a monopoly.

          When AOL merged with Time Warner (lol) one of the requirements from the anti-trust judge was that AOL agree to allow interoperation between its IM product and others, notably MSN. This made perfect sense to us in the industry; it’s how email worked, for example. It was a condition of allowing the AOL/TW deal to go through.

          Did AOL ever fulfill that legal obligation? No. They dragged their feet and kept inventing legal excuses and thanks to the Bush Administration were never really held to implement the agreement. In the meantime IM sort of spiraled into oblivion as a product category (thanks in part because of the lack of interoperability) and AOL/TW went to shit for many other reasons.

          Unfortunately this debacle set a big precedent that tech companies could simply ignore US government requirements meant to protect competitive markets.

          1. 1

            When AOL merged with Time Warner (lol) one of the requirements from the anti-trust judge was that AOL agree to allow interoperation between its IM product and others, notably MSN. This made perfect sense to us in the industry; it’s how email worked, for example. It was a condition of allowing the AOL/TW deal to go through.

            Fascinating. It seems like an early predicissor of the interoperability debate currently going on in the EU. Do you have a source where I can continue reading about this?

            1. 2

              I’m sure a lot was written about it, particularly during the merger, but I don’t have it at hand. Here’s one article though: https://www.nytimes.com/2001/01/12/business/fcc-approves-aol-time-warner-deal-with-conditions.html

              1. 2

                Thanks!

          1. 20

            I remember the situation when _why suddenly disappeared. It’s not mentioned in the article, but his strictly kept pseudonymity ignited an effort to uncover his real name. Eventually, the efforts succeeded, or at least they pretended to. _why’s reaction was the “infocide” the article speaks about, an act of art in its own right in a way. Would _why still be around if these efforts would have led to nothing? It seems difficult to tell. With his aprupt exit from the programming community, he however has ensured he will long be remembered. And he deserves to be remembered, as he provided an entirely different view on what programming is.

            In this context, I once saw someone write about _why that he was “not a programmer, but an artist whose medium was code”. Does somebody know the source for this quote?

            1. 6

              I wondered if this was Peter Cooper, as I recall he posted some nice summary in Ruby Inside when _why vanished. Seems not.

              I can’t find an original source for it, but https://priceonomics.com/why-the-lucky-stiff/ attributes it to Steve Klabnik,

              “_why was not a “programmer,” he was “an artist whose medium was code.”

              1. 1

                Thanks!

            1. 1

              § 2 German Copyright Act (UrhG): Protected works.

              (1) Protected works in the literary, scientific and artistic domain include, in particular:

              1. Literary works, such as written works, speeches and computer programs; […]

              Bold marks mine.

              1. 2

                I’ve used mySMTP, mostly because it appears to be the only genuinely European SMTP relay operator (they are based in Denmark). I however found they were blacklisted on some blacklist that caused my e-mails to be rejected at some rare occassions (one of which was rather important and was the reason why I stopped using it).

                1. 9

                  This is one of those occurences where a technical solution is sought for a non-technical problem. I think Mozilla should rather complain to the EU Commission, especially given that Microsoft already had its fair share from the Commission on browser choice. Otherwise Microsoft will just change the mechanisms needed and Mozilla will have to reverse engineer it again.

                  1. 18

                    Wouldn’t be surprised if Mozilla also did this. Having this workaround in place (and then disarmed by Microsoft) helps build the case.

                    1. 8

                      It reminds me of Epic’s case with Apple. Mozilla may be doing this to force Microsoft’s hand into a scenario they can more easily challenge legally.

                    1. 2

                      Interesting article. Too bad it only analyses English-only websites. Things get complicated if you serve content in multiple languages. In that case, the appearently popular /feed.{atom,xml} simply doesn’t do. I use /feeds/en.atom, /feeds/de.atom, etc.

                      1. 7

                        Has anyone ever managed to integrate Office’s native change tracking support with git to use, for example, Word as the diff viewer for Word files?

                        1. 3

                          So you could spend a lot of time in an Office Open XML rabbit hole figuring out how to apply the relevant xml, or you could programatically open Word’s Compare Documents mode with the previous and new document. I bet a little powershell wrapper wouldn’t be too complex to create. Only issue is you might not see metadata diffs.

                          1. 1

                            That would be cool. But why use Word itself as the diff viewer? The DOCX format is effectively zipped XML (as this article mentions), so it should be possible to extract the parts that contain Office’s change tracking elements and display them on the console similar to how diff it does (at least as long as it’s text changes…).

                            1. 3

                              Because Word contains a diff viewer for Word diffs that shows all of the styles, comments, and so on. More importantly, it also contains merging support, so if you have the same document edited in two branches in git, if you can tell Word to handle the merge then it will be able to, whereas anything involving diffs on the XML is likely to be incredibly error-prone.

                          1. 2

                            Interesting. It even aims to support Linux. Will this be the new go-to option for Linux distributions who specifically want to avoid systemd? In fact, I always wondered why nobody came up with the idea yet to simply support .service files in other init systems like OpenRC.

                            1. 5

                              No, there’s no point in replacing systemd with a forked systemd. All the actual issues remain.

                            1. 22

                              I’m honestly appalled that such an ignorant article has been written by a former EU MEP. This article completely ignores the fact that the creation of Copilot’s model itself is a copyright infringement. You give Github a license to store and distribute your code from public repositories. You do not give it a permission to Github to use it or create derivative works. And as Copilot’s model is created from various public code, it is a derivative of that code. Some may try to argue that training machine learning models is ‘fair use’, yet I doubt that you can call something that can regurgitate the entire meaningful portion of a file (example taken from Github’s own public dataset of exact generated code collisions) is not a derivative work.

                              1. 13

                                In many jurisdictions, as noted in the article, the “right to read is the right to mine” - that is the point. There is already an automatic exemption from copyright law for the purposes of computational analysis, and GitHub don’t need to get that permission from you, as long as they have the legal right to read the code (i.e. they didn’t obtain it illegally).

                                This appears to be the case in the EU and Britain - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/exceptions-to-copyright - I’m not sure about the US.

                                Something is not a derivative work in copyright law simply due to having a work as an “input” - you cannot simply argue “it is derived from” therefore “it is a derivative work”, because copyright law, not English language, defines what a “derivative work” is.

                                For example, Markov chain analysis done on SICP is not infringing.

                                Obviously, there are limits to this argument. If Copilot regurgitates a significant portion verbatim, e.g. 200 LOC, is that a derivative? If it is 1,000 lines where not one line matches, but it is essentially the same with just variables renamed, is that a derivative work? etc. I think the problem is that existing law doesn’t properly anticipate the kind of machine learning we are talking about here.

                                1. 3

                                  Dunno how it is in other countries, but in Lithuania, I can not find any exceptions to use my works without me agreeing to it that fit what Github has done. The closest one could be citation, but they do not comply with the requirement of mentioning my name and work from which the citation is taken.

                                  I gave them the license to reproduce, not to use or modify - these are two entirely different things. If they weren’t, then Github has the ability to use all AGPL’d code hosted on it without any problems, and that’s obviously wrong.

                                  There is no separate “mining” clause. That is not a term in copyright. Notice how research is quite explicitly “non-comercial” - and I very much doubt that what Github is doing with Copilot is non-comercial in nature.

                                  The fact that similar works were done previously doesn’t mean that they were legal. They might have been ignored by the copyright owners, but this one quite obviously isn’t.

                                  1. 8

                                    There is no separate “mining” clause. That is not a term in copyright. Notice how research is quite explicitly “non-comercial” - and I very much doubt that what Github is doing with Copilot is non-comercial in nature.

                                    Ms. Reda is referring to a copyright reform adapted on the EU level in 2019. This reform entailed the DSM directive 2019/790, which is more commonly known for the regulations regarding upload filters. This directive contains a text and data mining copyright limitation in Art. 3 ff. The reason why you don’t see this limitation in Lithuanian law (yet), is probably because Lithuania has not yet transformed the DSM directive into its national law. This should probably follow soon, since Art. 29 mandates transformation into national law until June 29th, 2021. Germany has not yet completed the transformation either.

                                    That is, “text and data mining” now is a term in copyright. It is even legally defined on the EU level in Art. 2 Nr. 2 DSM directive.

                                    That being said, the text and data mining exception in Art. 3 ff. DSM directive does not – at first glance, I have only taken a cursory look – allow commercial use of the technique, but only permits research.

                                    1. 1

                                      Oh, huh, here it’s called an education and research exception and has been in law for way longer than that directive, and it doesn’t mention anything remotely translatable as mining. It didn’t even cross my mind that she could have been referring to that. I see that she pushed for that exception to be available for everyone, not only research and cultural heritage, but it is careless of her to mix up what she wants the law to be, and what the law is.

                                      Just as a preventative answer, no, Art 4. of DSM directive does not allow Github to do what it does either, as it applies to work that “has not been expressly reserved by their rightholders in an appropriate manner, such as machine-readable means in the case of content made publicly available online.”, and Github was free to get the content in an appropriate manner for machine learning. It is using the content for machine learning that infringes the code owners copyright.

                                    2. 5

                                      I gave them the license to reproduce, not to use or modify - these are two entirely different things. If they weren’t, then Github has the ability to use all AGPL’d code hosted on it without any problems, and that’s obviously wrong.

                                      Important thing is also that the copyright owner is often different person than the one, who signed a contract with GitHub and uploaded there the codes (git commit vs. git push). The uploader might agree with whatever terms and conditions, but the copyright owner’s rights must not be disrupted in any way.

                                      1. 3

                                        Nobody is required to accept terms of a software license. If they don’t agree to the license terms, then they don’t get additional rights granted in the license, but it doesn’t take away rights granted by the copyright law by default.

                                        Even if you licensed your code under “I forbid you from even looking at this!!!”, I can still look at it, and copy portions of it, parody it, create transformative works, use it for educational purposes, etc., as permitted by copyright law exceptions (details vary from country to country, but the gist is the same).

                                    3. 10

                                      Ms. Reda is a member of the Pirate Party, which is primarily focused on the intersection of tech and copyright. She has a lot of experience working on copyright-related legislation, including proposals specifically about text mining. She’s been a voice of reason when the link tax and upload filters were proposed. She’s probably the copyright expert in the EU parliament.

                                      So be careful when you call her ignorant and mistaken about basics of copyright. She may have drafted the laws you’re trying to explain to her.

                                      1. 16

                                        It is precisely because of her credentials that I am so appalled. I cannot in a good mind find this statement not ignorant.

                                        The directive about text mining very explicitly specifies “only for “research institutions” and “for the purposes of scientific research”.” Github and it’s Copilot doesn’t fall into that classification at all.

                                        1. 3

                                          Indeed.

                                          Even though my opinion of Copilot is near-instant revulsion, the basic idea is that information and code is being used to train a machine learning system.

                                          This is analogous to a human reviewing and reading code, and learning how to do so from lots of examples. And someone going through higher ed school isn’t “owned” by the copyright owners of the books and code they read and review.

                                          If Copilot is violating, so are humans who read. And that… that’s a very disturbing and disgusting precedent that I hope we don’t set.

                                          1. 6

                                            Copilot doesn’t infringe, but GitHub does, when they distribute Copilot’s output. Analogously to humans, humans who read do not infringe, but they do when they distribute.

                                            1. 1

                                              Why is it not the human that distributes copilots output?

                                              1. 1

                                                Because Copilot first had to deliver the code to the human. Across the Internet.

                                            2. 4

                                              I don’t think that’s right. A human who learns doesn’t just parrot out pre-memorized code, and if they do they’re infringing on the copyright in that code.

                                              1. 2

                                                The real question, that I think people are missing, is learning itself is a derivative work?

                                                How that learning happens can either be with a human, or with a machine learning algorithm. And with the squishiness and lack of insight with human brains, a human can claim they insightfully invented it, even if it was derived. The ML we’re seeing here is doing a rudimentary version of what a human would do.

                                                If Copilot is ‘violating’, then humans can also be ‘violating’. And I believe that is a dangerous path, laying IP based claims on humans because they read something.

                                                And as I said upthread, as much as I have a kneejerk that Copilot is bad, I don’t see how it could be infringing without also doing the same to humans.

                                                And as a underlying idea: copyright itself is a busted concept. It worked for the time before mechanical and electrical duplication took hold at a near 0 value. Now? Not so much.

                                                1. 3

                                                  I don’t agree with you that humans and Copilot are learning somewhat the same.

                                                  The human may learn by rote memorization, but more likely, they are learning patterns and the why behind those patterns. Copilot also learns patterns, but there is no why in its “brain.” It is completely rote memorization of patterns.

                                                  The fact that humans learn the why is what makes us different and not infringing, while Copilot infringes.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    Computers learn syntax, humans learn syntax and semantics.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      Perfect way of putting it. Thank you.

                                                  2. 3

                                                    No I don’t think that’s the real question. Copying is treated as an objective question (and I’m willing to be corrected by experts in copyright law) ie similarity or its lack determine copying regardless of intent to copy, unless the creation was independent.

                                                    But even if we address ourselves to that question, I don’t think machine learning is qualitatively similar to human learning. Shoving a bunch of data together into a numerical model to perform sequence prediction doesn’t equate to human invention, it’s a stochastic copying tool.

                                                2. 3

                                                  It seems like it could be used to shirk the effort required for a clean room implementation. What if I trained the model on one and only one piece of code I didn’t like the license of, and then used the model to regurgitate it, can I then just stick my own license on it and claim it’s not derivative?

                                                3. 2

                                                  Ms. Reda is a member of the Pirate Party

                                                  She has left the Pirate Party years ago, after having installed a potential MEP “successor” who was unknown to almost everyone in the party; she subsequently published a video not to vote Pirates because of him as he was allegedly a sex offender (which was proven untrue months later).

                                                  1. 0

                                                    Why exactly do you think someone from the ‘pirate party’ would respect any sort of copyright? That sounds like they might be pretty biased against copyright…

                                                    1. 3

                                                      Despite a cheeky name, it’s a serious party. Check out their programme. Even if the party is biased against copyright monopolies, DRM, frivolous patents, etc. they still need expertise in how things work currently in order to effectively oppose them.

                                                  2. 4

                                                    Have you read the article?

                                                    She addresses these concerns directly. You might not agree but you claim she “ignores” this.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      And as Copilot’s model is created from various public code, it is a derivative of that code.

                                                      Depends on the legal system. I don’t know what happens if I am based in Europe but the guys doing this are in USA. It probably just means that they can do whatever they want. The article makes a ton of claims about various legal aspects of all of this but as far as I know Julia is not actually a lawyer so I think we can ignore this article.

                                                      In Poland maybe this could be considered a “derivative work” but then work which was “inspired” by the original is not covered (so maybe the output of the network is inspired?) and then you have a separate section about databases so maybe this is a database in some weird way of understanding it? If you are not a lawyer I doubt you can properly analyse this. The article tries to analyse the legal aspect and a moral aspect at the same time while those are completely different things.

                                                    1. 8

                                                      I do wonder what the license implication is for “using” code snippets harvested from Github and used in for example proprietary code.

                                                      1. 5

                                                        The problem is addressed on Copilot’s website under FAQ:

                                                        Why was GitHub Copilot trained on data from publicly available sources?

                                                        Training machine learning models on publicly available data is considered fair use across the machine learning community. […]

                                                        Who owns the code GitHub Copilot helps me write?

                                                        GitHub Copilot is a tool, like a compiler or a pen. The suggestions GitHub Copilot generates, and the code you write with its help, belong to you, and you are responsible for it. We recommend that you carefully test, review, and vet the code, as you would with any code you write yourself.

                                                        Does GitHub Copilot recite code from the training set?

                                                        GitHub Copilot is a code synthesizer, not a search engine: the vast majority of the code that it suggests is uniquely generated and has never been seen before. We found that about 0.1% of the time, the suggestion may contain some snippets that are verbatim from the training set. Here is an in-depth study on the model’s behavior. Many of these cases happen when you don’t provide sufficient context (in particular, when editing an empty file), or when there is a common, perhaps even universal, solution to the problem. We are building an origin tracker to help detect the rare instances of code that is repeated from the training set, to help you make good real-time decisions about GitHub Copilot’s suggestions.

                                                        So, GitHub appears to consider this to be “fair use”. I am always impressed what counts as “fair use” in the USA. Too bad European copyright law does not have a “fair use” exemption. But even in the USA, as we have seen with Oracle and Google, the question about what constitutes “fair use” can take quite long to answer.

                                                        And if copyright questions weren’t interesting enough for you, you can also tackle the issue from the data protection angle:

                                                        Does GitHub Copilot ever output personal data?

                                                        Because GitHub Copilot was trained on publicly available code, its training set included public personal data included in that code. From our internal testing, we found it to be extremely rare that GitHub Copilot suggestions included personal data verbatim from the training set. In some cases, the model will suggest what appears to be personal data – email addresses, phone numbers, access keys, etc. – but is actually made-up information synthesized from patterns in training data. For the technical preview, we have implemented a rudimentary filter that blocks emails when shown in standard formats, but it’s still possible to get the model to suggest this sort of content if you try hard enough.

                                                        It’s not clear yet if/how personal data within AI systems is to be treated under GDPR, but if a system outputs real personal data, it surely is governed by it. Synthesised data on the output side should be okay, though.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          I don’t see how it can be considered fair use.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Ooh imagine a class action suit on behalf of everyone contributing to gpl licensed code.

                                                        2. 5

                                                          Somewhere a lawyer living with a software engineer is dreaming of astronomical billable hours.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          All of that lead to Andrew’s takeover of the network last month, and last night they decided to remove the #fsf and #gnu channels from the network

                                                          For context, here is the GNU project’s opinion on the topic: https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/info-gnu/2021-06/msg00005.html

                                                          From that I read that the decision to move made by GNU itself, not by Freenode. The e-mail even expressly thanks the (new) Freenode staff:

                                                          The FSF and GNU deeply appreciate Freenode’s current operators for their participation in the community meeting, and their patience while we make our transition. We wish them the best of luck in their endeavors to support free software.

                                                          Everyone seems to describe what happens or has happened differently. It’s hard to see what is objective fact and what is subjective opinion…

                                                          1. 14

                                                            The takeover happened after the timestamp in the email above.

                                                            These are logs from my weechat instance (I provided them to Techrights staff because they could literally not believe what happened): http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/fsf-channel-canceled.txt

                                                            Times are in CEST.

                                                            Note 2021-06-13 06:45:57 where FSF community manager ggoes loses op rights.

                                                            Also note 2021-06-13 07:14:51 where bandali, author of the email above, is k-lined (banned from the Freenode network).

                                                            And finally, this is the statement from the FSF itself: https://status.fsf.org/notice/4214348

                                                            1. 3

                                                              Ah thanks for clearing that up. It wasn’t obvious for me, though it probably should have been.

                                                              Incredible what’s happening with Freenode. It’s a shame…

                                                              Thank you again.

                                                            2. 4

                                                              From that I read that the decision to move made by GNU itself, not by Freenode.

                                                              Most projects that moved wanted to leave behind a channel with a message pointing people to the new location; I read this as saying that those are the channels that were were removed.

                                                              1. 4

                                                                Yes. The new management decided that any signposting constitutes “abandonment” of the channel, which gives them the right to nuke it (and conveniently erase mention of the “competition”). Naturally this is thoroughly evil.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  Yeah, in #sandstorm we put off switching for a bit because a bunch of us were waiting for a matrix bridge to get set up, so got to watch a bunch of other channels get yanked for mentioning libera.chat in the topic. We ended up going with the somewhat less searchable “The Sandstorm project no longer uses this channel; see sandstorm.io/community for where to find us” (with the website having been updated of course). Not sure how long it lasted though, and honestly not sure there was that much point in trying to avoid it.

                                                            1. 15

                                                              There are a lot of accusations in this and the subsequently linked posts against this ominous person called Andrew Lee. With all the democratic impetus on these resigning statements, please audiatur et altera pars. Where’s the statement from Lee to the topic? What does he think about this? Does he not want to comment (that is, takes the accusations as valid) or is it simply not linked, which I would find a dubious attitude from people who insist on democratic values? Because, if you accuse anyone, you should give him opportunity to explain himself.

                                                              Don’t get me wrong. What I read is concerning. But freenode basically is/was the last bastion of IRC. The brand is well-known. The proposed alternative libera.chat will fight an uphill battle against non-IRC services. Dissolving/attacking the freenode brand is thus doing IRC as a whole a disfavour and should only be done after very careful consideration and not as a spontaneous act of protest.

                                                              1. 13

                                                                Where’s the statement from Lee to the topic?

                                                                You can dig through IRC logs referenced in the resignation letter linked by pushcx above and see what he has to say to the admins directly, if you assume the logs haven’t been tampered with. My personal assessment is he makes lots and lots of soothing reassuring non-confrontational noises to angry people, and then when the people who actually operate the network ask for actual information he gives them none. When they offer suggestions for how to resolve the situation he ignores them. When they press for explanations of previous actions (such as him asking for particular people to be given admin access) he deflects and tries to make it seem like the decision came from a group of people, not just himself.

                                                                So yeah. Smooth, shiny, nicely-lacquered 100% bullshit.

                                                                1. 16

                                                                  I’ve now skimmed through some of the IRC logs. It’s been long that I read so heated discussions, full of swear words, insults, accusations, dirty language, and so on. This affects both sides. It’s like a transcript from children in the kindergarten trying to insult each other and it’s hard to believe that these persons are supposed to be adults. This is unworthy of a project which so many FOSS communities are relying on. Everyone should go shame in the corner and come back in a few days when they have calmed down.

                                                                  I’m not going to further comment on the topic. This is not how educated persons settle a dispute.

                                                                  1. 6

                                                                    Amen.

                                                                2. 11

                                                                  Lee has issued a statement under his own name now: https://freenode.net/news/freenode-is-foss

                                                                  1. 10

                                                                    As a rebuttal to the URL alone, freenode isn’t foss, it’s a for profit company. So before you even click through you are being bullshitted.

                                                                    1. 14

                                                                      freenode isn’t foss, it’s a for profit company.

                                                                      You can be for profit and foss. So this is a non-sequitur.

                                                                    2. 3

                                                                      Ah, thanks.

                                                                    3. 7

                                                                      Self-replying: Lee has been e-mail-interviewed by The Register, giving some information on how he sees the topic: https://www.theregister.com/2021/05/19/freenode_staff_resigns/

                                                                      1. 7

                                                                        “freenode” is both a brand and an irc network run by a team of people. if the team did not want to work with andrew lee, but wanted to continue running the network, their only option was to walk away and establish a new network, and try to make that the “real” freenode in all but the name.

                                                                        this is not the first brand-vs-actual-substance split in the open source world; i don’t see that they had any other choice after lee tried to assert control over freenode-the-network due to ownership of freenode-the-brand.

                                                                        1. 6

                                                                          who insist on democratic values?

                                                                          Democracy isn’t about hearing both sides. It’s about majority winning.

                                                                          Actually getting angry over one-sided claims and forming an angry mob is very democratic and has been its tradition since the time of ancient greeks.

                                                                          1. 5

                                                                            If and when a representative of Lee’s company (apparently https://imperialfamily.com/) posts something, a member can submit it to the site.

                                                                            As far as I know Lee or his company have made no statement whatsoever.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              Could this just be the death knell of irc? A network split is not good as people will be confused between Freenode and Libera Chat.

                                                                              Most young people that look for a place to chat probably look at discord first. For example, the python discord server has 220000 registered users and 50000 online right now. I don’t believe that the python channel on Freenode has ever gotten close to that.

                                                                              1. 16

                                                                                Having multiple networks is healthy.

                                                                                1. 11

                                                                                  I strongly believe that IRC is on a long slow decline rather than going to die out due to any one big event. Mostly because there are so many other IRC servers. It’s an ecosystem not a corporation.

                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                    IRC has survived, and will yet survive, a lot of drama.

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      Well, people were already confused between OFTC and Freenode. More the merrier.

                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                    There is also Shake, which uses Haskell. The Haskell compiler GHC’s own build system (Hadrian) uses Shake.

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      Ruby includes a tool called rake, which can also be used for building software. mruby uses it as a build system.

                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                        I’ve used rake for a few personal projects in various languages, and it works well. I stopped doing it when per language build systems became more popular

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      I am working on a yet-nameless open-source RPG in Zelda style just for the fun of it, together with a handful of friends. Currently in the planning phase; if you are interested, drop me a PM or an e-mail.

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        This website is doing something irritating with my mouse wheel. Scrolling it feels like swimming in thick water.

                                                                                        1. 24

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

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

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

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

                                                                                          1. 13

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

                                                                                            1. 2

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

                                                                                              1. 5

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

                                                                                            2. 8

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

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

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

                                                                                              1. 3

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

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

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

                                                                                                1. 4

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

                                                                                                2. 1

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

                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                  It is certainly a nice article, with food for thought. It appearently embraces a spec-driven development model; I have never seen instant messaging compared with programming language development. This unusual comparison asks for it being challenged; maybe the difference is that programming languages target technical users only?

                                                                                                  Spec-driven development is how XMPP works. There is a base protocol (RFC 6120, RFC 6121) and a plethora of separately standardised extensions called XEPs. These XEPs are supposed to improve through a life cycle starting from Experimental status and ending in a Final status; if no work happens on a XEP, it is declared “Deferred”. I think this model can be considered failed, because if you take a look at the actual XEP list, you will notice that almost all XEPs which constitute a “modern” chat client are either Experimental or Deferred, and this does not really change much over time. Effectively, one client (Conversations) just implements something and then it hits the standardisation process. That real model is much more closely to what is described in the original article – effectively, one implementation draws with it everyone else. Maybe we have to accept that this is a base line for “modern” development and “innovation”; unless of course you dispute that “innovation” is a bad goal in itself (which I’d like to point out is an absolutely valid opinion, though will probably get challenged). (Disclaimer: I have tried to implement an XMPP client myself without using an external XMPP library; I don’t think I will further work on it at this point, but the basics did work last time I touched two years ago or so)

                                                                                                  If for a moment we accept that the one-implementation-drives-the-field model is necessary or at least happens every so often due to lack of active competitors, we then need to focus on how to keep the relevant field open despite of this. In the EU we have discussions about mandating federation by law, for instance. Maybe there are other ways that do not necessaryly involve lawmakers?