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    Slightly off topic (especially since this spin doesn’t seem to actually have a 32 release yet), but is anyone here running Fedora Silverblue? I’m considering moving over to that, but I’ve been burned before. I’m curious for anyone that is running it, how much of an impedance do you feel it is to your everyday development?

    The last “interesting” OS I tried was NixOS, and I eventually came to the conclusion that it was getting in my way more than it was really helping me. Mostly this came down to installing dev tools. I found I wasn’t working on things that were interesting to be because it was too much of a pain to get tools installed. (Rust (latest versions), Adruino (I think having it at all?), and LuaSocket (was getting built wrong, I gave up trying to find where it wanted the -D LUA_COMPAT_APIINTCASTS compile option after 3 hours) are what come to mind.)

    If there is anyone running silverblue here, do you ever have similar kinds of issues?

    1. 3

      but is anyone here running Fedora Silverblue

      I only tried Silverblue on a spare hard disk that I have lying around. I think it is really a bit step forward and like what they are doing. I am reading the Silverblue forums semi-regularly and it seems that Fedora Toolbox (which is used to create VMs for doing development in) breaks every now and then. It seems that Silverblue is still a second-class citizen to regular Fedora. On the other hand, given the nature of Silverblue these problems are easily solved by booting into an older snapshot when such a glitch occurs for the short timeframe it takes them to fix it. Unfortunately, I do not have more data points than that. Besides that it is not possible to run Nix on the root filesystem by default, because / is immutable.

      I would monitor the Silverblue forums for a while, because it gives a good idea of what kind of problems to expect.

      Rust (latest versions)

      I know that this post not about Nix. But with the Mozilla Nix overlay, you can get the latest stable/beta/nightly: mozilla.latest.rustChannels.{stable,beta,nightly}. You can also use the overlay to get any arbitrary stable or nightly version. See the following:

      https://discourse.nixos.org/t/pin-rust-version/5812/2 https://discourse.nixos.org/t/pin-rust-version/5812/3

      I use NixOS on various machines, but I would really recommend newcomers to use Nix for a while on a familiar distribution. NixOS is so much more fun if you have climbed part of the Nix learning curve (know the Nix language, know your way around nixpkgs). That way you can always revert back to what you know if trying to do it the Nix way takes too much time.

      Sorry for the digression ;).

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        I have been running Silverblue on my desktop and my laptop since late January. I enjoy it.

        I resisted the docker fad for a long time for many reasons, but mainly because I thought the implementation of docker was unfortunate, and the ways people used it was cumbersome and error-prone. Podman solves the former, and Toolbox solves the latter.

        There are a few rough edges. Toolbox switching isn’t as nice as it could be (there could be Terminal integrations that would make this nicer), toolbox shits a lot of things in your environment (at least one of these conflicts with Ruby on Rails, so I have to unset VERSION to be able to run migrations), and a few other tiny things.

        The documentation is still sparse.

        Overall, I’m very happy with it and will continue to use it. This is the first time I’ve used anything other than Debian since before the bo release.

        1. 3

          but is anyone here running Fedora Silverblue?

          I’d jumped around a couple distros for various reasons (temporal recounting over the last ten years):

          • Fedora: wanted to follow along with RH (my early days of Linux)
          • Arch: wanted to be able to consume as “pure” a systemd stack as I could to get a good feel for things
          • Debian: wanted to converge my workstations (testing) and servers (stable+backports)
          • Fedora: wanted to really start adopting podman+toolbox

          I jumped back into Fedora, via silverblue, with F31 and I’ve been using F31 and F32 interchangeably as necessary (when a package in F32 wasn’t working well I could always just use my pinned F31 instance).

          With Arch and Debian I was effectively rolling my workstation, which is a comfort as if you’re using newer hardware you want new kernels and often you want to get your hands on something without having to consider packaging yourself. Silverblue basically marries up the principles of a released system with the principles of rolling in a way that I find to be completely and utterly acceptable for my use cases. I am able to effectively “ride” the releases of Fedora without having to do a precarious upgrade or reinstall.

          I’ll say, I am likely layering many more packages in than what you’d see people typically recommend.

          [agd@enoch ~]$ rpm-ostree status
          State: idle
          AutomaticUpdates: disabled
          ● ostree://fedora:fedora/32/x86_64/silverblue
                             Version: 32.20200428.0 (2020-04-28T01:00:38Z)
                          BaseCommit: 3304e379ff5090a15816af207dbcc82f0db0cd4883216ede8f4957a499e30df8
                        GPGSignature: Valid signature by 97A1AE57C3A2372CCA3A4ABA6C13026D12C944D0
                     LayeredPackages: baobab beets beets-plugins boxes cheese chromium darktable eog evince evolution ffmpeg file-roller firewall-config gimp git-lfs gmpc gnome-boxes gnome-builder gnome-calculator gnome-firmware gnome-screenshot
                                      gnome-shell-extension-gpaste gnome-shell-extension-pomodoro gnome-sound-recorder gnome-tweaks htop hugo ipmitool keepassxc libreoffice make mpd mpdscribble nautilus-image-converter numix-icon-theme-circle
                                      numix-icon-theme-square oathtool opensc openssl p7zip p7zip-gui p7zip-plugins pass peek rawtherapee seahorse seahorse-nautilus simple-scan sshuttle system-config-printer vim vlc youtube-dl
                       LocalPackages: sublime-text-3210-1.x86_64 code-1.43.2-1585036535.el7.x86_64 rpmfusion-free-release-32-0.3.noarch rpmfusion-nonfree-release-32-0.4.noarch sublime-merge-1119-1.x86_64

          I’m of the mindset that I choose to run a distribution because I trust the packaging guidelines and the packagers of the software. This means that I’m quite preferential to using the fedora packages. I’ve been using flatpak where necessary but I am only consuming packages that are either:

          • packaged by upstream in a way that I think is better than the equivalent package in Fedora
          • doesn’t exist in fedora in a reasonable way (e.g. mumble)

          I am only a little bit struggling in the sense that Fedora IoT is the “headless” version of Silverblue (if you want to think that way) and it’s difficult to get kernel modules (e.g. ZFS) into. I’d love to be able to install Fedora on my servers and have ZFS available, but be able to “ride the releases” by pulling composes rather than reinstalling.

          The last “interesting” OS I tried was NixOS, and I eventually came to the conclusion that it was getting in my way more than it was really helping me.

          I dipped my toes into Nix right before going to silverblue and had the same sentiment.

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          I switched employers recently and they let me choose my own hardware with basically no limit. At the time, I thought that part of my job might be iOS development, so I’d need a Mac. I asked for a 16” MacBook Pro, since they have supposedly fixed the keyboards.

          The MacBook Pro is, three weeks later, going to a designer colleague. I have replaced it with a ThinkPad T450s which is faster than I need it to be and was less than 10% of the price.

          After buying the laptop used and picking it up, I ordered a brand new keyboard and trackpad on ebay for less money than two days worth of lunch out. I love this machine, and it feels like new thanks to the keyboard and trackpad replacement.

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            Proposal for crystal-lang tag. This language, not only for maturity in the early stage, also gains a lot of traction on Lobsters. This thread is just an example of it.

            1. 2

              Agreed. Taking the human-friendly parts of the Ruby syntax that is possible to make run fast and then making that into a natively compiled language is a solid foundation. Lilith helps demonstrate how usable Crystal is, for demanding tasks.

              I think the name is a bit unfortunate, though, but naming things is always hard.

              There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.

              – Phil Karlton

              1. 2

                There are two hard problems in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors.

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                  I don’t understand what makes the name unfortunate?

                  1. 2

                    Lilith was a workstation built by Niklaus Wirth at ETH Zürich.

                    1. 0

                      For anyone having watched Breaking Bad, the immediate association is Crystal Meth.

                      1. 6

                        i would never in a thousand years have thought of associating ‘crystal’ with crystal meth. i think the name is great, and goes along with the general gemstones-and-minerals naming scheme that is common for programming languages

                        1. 1

                          I can’t think of any programming languages except Ruby and Crystal that are following a naming scheme that centers around gems and crystals. Do you have other examples?

                          Also, have you watched Breaking Bad?

                          1. 4

                            perl was of course the canonical one, and ruby was influenced by that. this list has onyx, jade and opal, and i remember alternate ruby implementations being called topaz, sapphire and opal, but you’re right, it’s not as popular a trend as i was imagining.

                            never watched breaking bad, but i read a lot of science fiction and fantasy, so that’s my primary cultural association with the word “crystal”. there’s also the whole new age “crystal energy” thing. i don’t think you can call it a bad name based on an association you have formed from a single tv show.

                        2. 1

                          For anyone having seen The Dark Crystal, the immediate association is Darkness.

                          1. 3

                            Or quality puppeteering and questionable lipsync.

                            1. 1

                              Hell yeah, and The Dark Crystal movie and show are brilliant nonetheless. As is Breaking Bad, and probably the Crystal language as well.

                              The point I was making was that associating with Darkness is as far-fetched - though TDC is kind of dark - as associating with Crystal Meth. AFAIK the more common street name is Meth anyway, not Crystal.

                              1. 1

                                Unless we have no data indicating what the most common association is, your guess is as good as mine. I assume this also varies a lot from culture to culture.

                                My personal associations with the word Crystal are mainly questionable things like “Crystal Meth” or “Crystal Healing”, which I want to avoid. This could be because English is not my first language, but I don’t believe I’m alone in this.

                                Actual data would be needed in order to determine if people in general mainly associate Crystal with minerals or questionable things, though.

                    2. 1

                      If there are other examples of posts that merit a new tag, feel free to list them in a new meta post suggesting a new tag.

                    1. 9

                      I feel like I’ve seen this scenario play out a few times recently: author chooses a non-copyleft license, gets annoyed when someone doesn’t do the thing copyleft requires.

                      1. 6

                        PS This is all just to say that app-making is nothing like building a house. It’s more like building the first house ever in the history of houses, with a pile of rusty nails and your bare hands, in a non-stop tornado. It’s different every time, and it’s astonishingly complex, non-linear, and unpredictable. We all do our best to mitigate this, to make it more regular, but the industry just hasn’t gotten very far with that yet. The only reason anything ever ships is because people just keep working until it’s ready.

                        This person has never built a house.

                        I’ve talked to actual architects and they say construction is nothing like this stereotype. They find it rather condescending. I’ve also talked to people who have worked professionally as both architects and programmers. They say the same thing.

                        Everybody who says “software is more special than X!!!” inevitably gets the most basic facts about X wrong.

                        1. 4

                          There’s this widespread and unfortunate tendency towards hyperbole, which obfuscates and devalues the underlying critique. My guess is it’s written in a “blowing off steam” mode, rather than to articulate, analyze, or even persuade.

                          But I have worked in both construction and building maintenance. My dad was a general contractor. I think there are some important differences between how buildings and software get designed and built, and you don’t need three exclamation marks to highlight them either. To start with, buildings have permits and building codes. Mechanical and civil engineers, as well as architects, have professional societies and mandatory accreditation processes. The building trades have licensing processes, apprenticeships, and in some cases unions.

                          1. 4

                            I have built houses. Building houses and building software have so many overlaps they might as well be the same industry.

                          1. 4

                            Working on a plan to get paid by a deadbeat client who has been dodging payment and making me feel guilty about asking to be paid for almost four years.

                            1. 6

                              I am building what I am calling “Reverse Job Board”.

                              I want to turn recruiting on its head. Software developers are (for better or worse, my opinions on that another time perhaps) in massive demand. Everyone is hiring developers, and can’t do it fast enough. Yet we still “apply” to jobs, and we have to jump through hoops. My job board application will have the companies applying to software developers instead. And the developers will get to remain anonymous until they decide not.

                              I don’t know that a small piece of software is the answer, but it’s an idea that I want to explore.

                              1. 2

                                Hired sounds similar to what you’re describing. It doesn’t have the anonymity aspect, though, and I think that’s an interesting thing to explore.

                                1. 2

                                  The idea for anonymity came when I helped organise a job fair. Local companies were very well represented: everyone is hiring! But high quality candidates weren’t well represented because they were already employed (although not necessarily happily) at a company that would be trying to hire at the event.

                                  1. 1

                                    Oh, I see. I should clarify that Hired lets you hide your presence on the platform from your current employer (and from any other employers of your choosing). All other companies can just see your name, etc. normally.

                                    1. 1

                                      Leaking information, doesn’t it?

                                2. 2

                                  https://www.honeypot.io/ is just that.

                                  Still think there’s space for innovations there.

                                  1. 1

                                    Thanks! This looks close to what I want to do. I’m actually building this as a white-label solution and already have a couple customers on deck, so I’ll build my own anyhow. :D

                                    1. 1

                                      I wish you all the best!

                                  2. 2

                                    One of the things I didn’t mention.

                                    My plan is to let companies search and see something like “we have n profiles that match your criteria. Pay $x to email them your information.” Where x is a multiple of n.

                                    The intention is for the candidates to get most of $x.

                                    Companies will pay a hundred dollars for a qualified local lead (more, but not via a random website.). Would you take a recruiter spam for $90? I would.

                                    1. 2

                                      Cool idea.

                                      What’s to stop me from opening an account and collecting recruiter funds, but never actually genuinely considering a job offer?

                                      1. 2

                                        What’s to stop me from opening an account and collecting recruiter funds, but never actually genuinely considering a job offer?

                                        Absolutely nothing. And it’s not even a thing I’m considering a problem. I will verify identity. I have some mechanisms that I can use for verifying “interest”, and some other mechanisms for verifying experience, and few (but some) for competence as well. But other than that, the employers are paying a token amount to get someone’s attention.

                                        In the market I’m in now (southern Sweden), when a company engages a recruiting firm that will basically just spam everyone they can find, they often pay the equivalent of about $250 USD for each spam that the recruiter sends. And they aren’t getting good results with this system; so I’ll try to provide something different.

                                        (I could write an entire book about how fucked up the current hiring/recruiting/etc situation is in southern Sweden, but this is an industry wide problem before you consider how “speical” southern Sweden is.)

                                        What I’m hoping is that I can provide a slightly better service (putting candidates and employers directly in touch with each other easily) for a fraction of the price. And most importantly I want the candidates to be paid for having been sold to.

                                        I already have two white-label customers on deck, too. (Amusingly, one is a recruiting rig.)

                                    2. 1

                                      I don’t think they are hiring developers … they are hiring cultural fits who can develop.

                                      Recently I’ve started to look for a job after years of freelancing. All I have is my portfolio, blogs and github projects specific to the role. Everybody likes them, they are enthusiastic until they receive on request my linkedin account (created a few days ago thus full empty) and my CV which has no employment history. Then total silence.

                                      I’m wondering the first thing they look is to be somebody employable. A good employee by nature who then can code, or learn how the company does coding.

                                      This puts me in a very strange situation … 99% of my chances are gone. I’m employable only by a tech person who has a really urgent need and can bypass hiring / hr … just checks my code has a short chat with me then all done. No CV, no Linkedin, no additional tests … which are today’s standard recruiting assets

                                    1. 1

                                      Location: Remote, Sweden based

                                      Type of Work: Development, Advisory, experience in team leadership and management

                                      Hours: Contract

                                      Contact: https://stevenrbaker.com/ and you can email my first name at my domain.

                                      Description: I’ve been getting paid to develop software, build and lead teams, administer systems, teach software methodologies, and provide advise since 1997. Literally dozens of languages and platforms, and these days my favourites are obscure or nonexistent, so that doesn’t matter.

                                      For about a decade I did mostly Ruby work, and contributed to the community and ecosystem in that time. I am the creator of RSpec, and MiniTest::Mock.

                                      I enjoy doing what folks these days call “back-end” web development, but am flexible. I think I probably enjoy mobile development most. I haven’t done much JavaScript, and haven’t enjoyed it when I did so I’d rather avoid that.

                                      I am available part-time hourly, or project based, and will work from my location in southern Sweden. My hours are flexible. I am looking for something to exercise my brain in ways that my current daily engagement does not allow.

                                      1. 1

                                        I read this up until the advertisement for the new project, and mostly enjoyed it.

                                        I found it weird that the author skated right up next to the problem when talking about the difference between open source and free software, and then ignored that as a possible cause of the rest of the problems.

                                        Copyleft isn’t a catch-all magical potion that solves all problems everywhere, but I think it solves a surprising number of the problems described here. :(

                                        1. 8

                                          How exactly does copyleft solve centralized private control of a package repository??

                                          1. 2

                                            Copyleft isn’t a catch-all magical potion that solves all problems everywhere, but I think it solves a surprising number of the problems described here. :(

                                            I disagree. It solves almost none of the problems outlined here. Running an alternative NPM is a huge undertaking, just for the scale of it.

                                          1. 4

                                            This is a continuation of a disturbing trend we’ve been watching unravel for many years now: basically, since the formation of the OSI in 1998 and the coining of the phrase “Open Source.”

                                            The phrase “Open Source” was coined in order to make Free Software more “business-friendly.” It succeeded. But now the businesses want to eat their cake and have it too: the commercial entities that control a few “Open Source” projects want to ensure that no other entities can make money from those projects.

                                            I think the solution is stronger copyleft. I would like to see a future version of the AGPL (or a new, different license) to be “viral over the network” the way that many people (mistakenly) think the AGPL already is. I am absolutely in favour of people building businesses around free and open source software: I just want them to give back.

                                            Let’s not try to be the arbiters of who can and who cannot make money on a given piece of software: let’s encourage the growth and health of the Free Software ecosystem.

                                            1. 1

                                              I would like to see a future version of the AGPL (or a new, different license) to be “viral over the network” the way that many people (mistakenly) think the AGPL already is.

                                              The question is in what respect and why should it be viral. The GPL governed distribution (if someone distributes a program to you, you have the right to get the source code). The AGPL plugged a loophole where people modified a program, others used it, but it was not distributed (e.g. a web service), so people could still obtain the source. However, in these cases, the software that is provided by Amazon as a service can be obtained (they are largely unmodified open source projects).

                                              The people behind the commons clause and this blog post are not upset that Amazon doesn’t distribute the source code. As far as I am aware they do. The beef that these people have with the current crop of free software licenses is that someone (Amazon) can take your software and earn money with it. They are proposing alternatives where only the original developer is allowed to make money off the software (at least in a SAAS setup). Which leads to unfree software, since you are not allowed to use the software it for any purpose. The first freedom:

                                              The freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose (freedom 0).

                                              So you cannot say: you can use this software except for making money in a SAAS setup.

                                              I guess the SSPL is somewhat different, since in contrast to commons-clause like extensions it does not remove the right to use the software for any purpose. But I wonder if it doesn’t stretch the definition of ‘derivative work’ too far. But IANAL.

                                              1. 2

                                                The question is in what respect and why should it be viral.

                                                I don’t know that I have a good idea of what I think the final solution should look like just yet. But I would like to see licenses that result in more free software being released back to the community.

                                                (they are largely unmodified open source projects)

                                                Yes, largely is the problem I have. They are often modified, and I think the community should get those modifications. I also lean towards wishing the community got the tools that were made around them as well: this is the current loophole I would like to see closed.

                                                I guess the SSPL is somewhat different, since in contrast to commons-clause like extensions it does not remove the right to use the software for any purpose. But I wonder if it doesn’t stretch the definition of ‘derivative work’ too far. But IANAL.

                                                The commons clause and the SSPL are the same in my eyes: they remove freedom 0, but in different ways.

                                                I also find this highly hypocritical: MongoDB and neo4j and others all rely on a deep well of free software that contains no such provisions, and they don’t give back to the respective communities anymore than Amazon gives back to them. The entire thing is ridiculous.

                                                (I guess I should disclose here that I used to work at neo4j, and quit for a number of ethical reasons, chief among them that lying to users and customers about the AGPL was company policy.)

                                            1. 5

                                              This article conflates things to the point where things start to become incorrect.

                                              For example, the AGPL is not considered to be Open Source by the OSI, unlike the author states (§“A months-long comical debate”). Also, the SSPL goes far beyond what the AGPL requires (compare §“To illustrate:”), and the author doesn’t seem to realize the implications a “no SaaS(s)” clause has.

                                              On a side note, labelling the creator of the Commons Clause “undisputed” in this context feels off to me. As does the “The author […] is a big fan of Amazon” at the end.

                                              There will have to be some solution about SaaS providers not giving back to upstream developers, but source-available shouldn’t be the solution (and I can’t provide a solution either). I’m not a big fan of (ab)using copyleft licences as a way of nudging companies to proprietary licences in general. The AGPL is meant as a tool to increase freedom, not scare people away from it.

                                              1. 9

                                                For example, the AGPL is not considered to be Open Source by the OSI, unlike the author states (§“A months-long comical debate”).

                                                Yes it is.


                                                I absolutely agree with the rest of your comment though. I really dislike the positioning of SA licenses because they all focus on “commercial use.”

                                                My hope is that strong (and now we need stronger) copyleft results in more free software. The current trend in SA licenses is focusing on who is allowed to make money and it’s not sustainable.

                                                1. 2

                                                  I stand corrected, thanks! (I can’t edit my comment any more :/ )

                                                  The GNU AGPL was OSI-approved in 2008

                                                2. 2

                                                  doesn’t seem to realize the implications a “no SaaS(s)” clause has

                                                  I could see “no SaaS” impacting some people if that by itself is the wording. What do you think are the implications past making commercial freeloading hard? Especially if they were willing to grant a free or cheap license for any of the folks whose use cases weren’t the Amazon-type stuff the license is really trying to block? That second question is a thought experiment, not what a specific company is doing.

                                                  1. 4

                                                    For implicaitons: It is a restriction on how you can use it. Simplest case, your company will refuse any murky licensing terms (I’m honestly not too knowledgeable about how sspl and co fare there). But more importantly, it also makes forking impossible: while the original authors may provide SaaS, you and your fork may not.

                                                    re: cheap/gratis licences: It’s still non-free; especially the forking thing is a show stopper for me. Granted, I’m speaking from position where I can put my personal values (cynical: “ideology” :P) above business decisions.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      “But more importantly, it also makes forking impossible”

                                                      If current licenses do that, it should be fixable. My hypothetical licenses would allow forking if one was a paying customer. They keep paying to use the derivatives with upstream isn’t required to support past maintaining the original version.

                                                      “Granted, I’m speaking from position where I can put my personal values (cynical: “ideology” :P) above business decisions.”

                                                      Love seeing honesty in these discussions. There could be businesses and individuals doing something different. I remember enjoying lots of shareware and freeware back in the day. My standard today is that whatever is non-free/open has open formats and protocols to prevent data lock-in. If it does, use it while it’s useful. If it doesn’t, steer clear of it since it’s lock-in in progress.

                                                1. 5

                                                  I do love these threads, but unfortunately I don’t have much to contribute.

                                                  At $DAYJOB client I’m preparing some training on a license compliance tool. And I’ll be giving a talk to my colleagues in the head office to explain FOSS licensing.

                                                  I’ve had some luck spending time on personal projects in the past few weeks, but I’m still not really feeling excited by most computer-related things.

                                                  I am going to spend some time trying to find some paying side-project work this week. Hopefully I can find something engaging (or at least in a stack I enjoy working with: Rails or iOS) so that I can exercise that part of my brain while making financial headway.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    This is a great resource to prevent common mistakes and omissions. I have saved it for later use.

                                                    It did remind me how much nicer (how much lower the “tax” is) it is to develop and deploy desktop software than web-based applications, which was a welcome reminder this week.

                                                    1. 9

                                                      At-will is a double-edged sword. I’ve seen the best and worst of it: the ability to leave a toxic job or terminate a toxic employee immediately before there’s any more harm. I’ve passed over great candidates from other countries because they couldn’t legally leave their employer for months and we needed them posthaste. I’ve seen employers who laid off low-level individual contributors with fantastic severance. I’ve seen others let go with a pittance or nothing, generally because there wasn’t any money in the bank remaining to give. I’ve seen folks who were overcommitted above the highest amount that unemployment compensation can provide scramble to find a job to replace the already stressful one that just let them go. A friend almost lost their under-contract new house because an executive at their new employer-to-be accidentally disclosed to that person’s manager that the friend accepted a position with the new company, not realizing that the manager was the friend’s manager, and the manager’s manager wanted to fire my friend on the spot.

                                                      It’s a safety net balance problem: with freedom comes responsibility; with safety comes restrictions. I don’t know what the right answer is for the US beyond increasing worker ownership, and thus transparency and education about corporate finance. I would like for unemployment compensation to be higher, but there are so many problems with that system – ones I’ve faced first-hand – that it’s trivial to abuse.

                                                      NDAs are a proactive way that companies make employees aware that they can be held individually responsible for industrial sabotage, through trade secret leaks, etc. The linked article more closely relates to non-disparagement non-disclosure agreements, which is again that safety net balance problem. It’s already legal in the US to discuss compensation and other work-related issues even in the absence of a union. Retaliation is a thing but whistleblowing on retaliation has never been easier for most large organizations and small organizations don’t have a government mandate for whistleblowing mechanisms because of their size.

                                                      Should a company be legally able to purchase my silence about their non-illegal activity? Having been through this recently, I say yes, they should, in the current US safety net system, or lack thereof. An employer that is doing unethical but legal things should be quietly and non-traceably reported to a news organization and the news organization should be willing to cover that source’s breach of contract expenses. An NDA/non-disparagement agreement doesn’t stop a legal report and inquiry. Talented people leaving the company should be adequate pressure on the company to change its practices, although I know in practice that employees who should leave rarely do because far too many peoples’ threshold of work pain is just too high and finding a new job is always harder than it seems. Add in the requirement to stay at an employer through some government-required exit period, and that toxicity becomes violence against the worker to save the company.

                                                      Or maybe I’ve just been abused and under-compensated by my employers my whole life. Maybe if/when I start a company, I’ll do better.

                                                      It’s not all doom and gloom, though. I think we’re entering a new era of business ownership as folks with stronger ethics and principles rise through the ranks. Some will capitulate to their inner Gordon Gekko while others turn into Gandi or Stallman or something. More people will call out bullshit because they’ve had the financial literacy to build their own safety net in the absence of one provided by an unreliable and Kafkaesque bureaucracy (ask me about the time I filed for unemployment). It’s getting better but progress and lasting cultural change is expensive and time-consuming.

                                                      1. 10

                                                        I think is is a good reply, but it’s also rather biased towards tech workers, or knowledge workers in general. This is of course hardly surprising on this site, but labour laws exist for everyone, and most people are not tech or knowledge workers.

                                                        I left school at 16 and worked various low-income jobs for several years before starting my career as a programmer, and in my experience you get treated completely different. You’re treated like you’re expendable at a moment’s notice; which you usually are (from an economical perspective anyway). In general, you get treated like shit (I’ve briefly written about that before).

                                                        For those kind of workers, at-will laws are horrible. Not only can you get fired for no reason in particular, getting fired will typically also mean serious problems as these people often lack good financial security, and may have a harder time finding a new job.

                                                        I once got fired because an automated door broke and it was perceived to be my fault (I closed it but someone else left a pole in the guide and the safety system was broken, so well…), I was once led to believe my contract would be extended but at my meeting to discus it I was actually let go; turns out they never had any intention and the new guy they hired a few weeks ago was actually my replacement. In hindsight they were probably right in that last case (I was young and foolish) but there was no need to be a dick about it, lie to me, and treat me like shit.

                                                        (Brief political interjection: I think this is part of the reason for the rise of “angry populism” in many places, people are, IMHO rightfully, angry being treated like shit)

                                                        I don’t know about the laws in the United States (they probably differ significantly per state anyway), but in the Netherlands a lot of the labour laws are written from this kind of perspective. This doesn’t always work well like @vyodaiken rightfully pointed out, although in NL de-facto employment (“fake independence”) is illegal and companies have been fined. It also has the effect of companies just letting people go after their temporary contracts expire (and they have to give them a “fixed contract” by law), since it’s so easy to just hire and train new people.

                                                        I think a good solution would be to adjust laws based on income, with lower incomes having a bit more protections, and higher incomes having fewer. I think both employers and employees would benefit. At my last job we had two seriously toxic people we couldn’t fire, and I never wanted more relaxed labour laws in my life.

                                                        1. -9

                                                          well, unfortunately, most low wage employees are also low quality workers in general. Because intelligent hardworking individuals find their ways up and so what’s left down there is mostly not so good.

                                                          You need a system that treats employees as expendable if they are not reliable.

                                                          In hindsight they were probably right in that last case (I was young and foolish) but there was no need to be a dick about it, lie to me, and treat me like shit.

                                                          They probably had bad experience telling employees they are going to be fired. Some employees will simply not work, or will actively sabotage operation.

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                                                            Because intelligent hardworking individuals find their ways up and so what’s left down there is mostly not so good.

                                                            That’s provably not true and seems to contradict your political philosophy. I’m guessing you’re about free market where the rational actors always do what they perceive as good for them: maximizing what they want more of (esp revenue and profit), minimizing what they don’t (esp labor costs). Given current job market, that means they have minimized the number of good, high-paying jobs as much as they can. They try to push for as many as possible to go toward minimum wage with fewest benefits they can afford to give. So most jobs are like that. Yet, the number of smart people actually goes up every year thanks to a combo of population growth, education, self-reliance and availability of information.

                                                            Given that setup, the good jobs get filled by smart people rather quickly due to fierce competition, a ton of shit jobs are left, lots of job seekers are left with a mix of smart and less smart, most people don’t move out of their area (esp for family/friends), and so it follows lots of smart people will be in bad jobs. Even if they do move, this principle will still apply to some degree where rational actors in cost-conscious systems will minimize the number of good jobs and amount of compensation while smart people show up needing jobs.

                                                            Now nothing I described above is how society really works. I’m just talking about the mythical free market. It leaves off people smoozing their way into executive positions making 300x more despite knowing less than workers. It leaves off how most workers are encouraged to “work their way up” in companies or take lesser jobs to “build experience.” It leaves off mandatory internships. It leaves off price-fixing of labor that big tech companies were doing. It leaves off lobbying in a system where rich can afford to buy more laws. There free market and meritocracy don’t exist in business but your concept wouldn’t play out if they did either.

                                                            1. -2

                                                              Given current job market, that means they have minimized the number of good, high-paying jobs as much as they can.

                                                              If the same level of productivity can be achieved with less highly paid labour, that’s a good thing, because that means they are more efficient.

                                                              At the same time, high-paying jobs are only bad to corporations if they are net negative i.e. their production is less than what they are paying. Corporations want as many high-paying jobs as they can get if for every 200k they pay out they make 500k back.

                                                              Given that setup, the good jobs get filled by smart people rather quickly due to fierce competition, a ton of shit jobs are left,

                                                              Supply and demand. I don’t think corporations are obligated to ‘provide’ jobs that you think are good in the quantity that you find sufficient.

                                                              most people don’t move out of their area (esp for family/friends),

                                                              And they can choose that but don’t expect others to subsidise their personal choice by manipulating the labour market to make more to-them-agreeable jobs available.

                                                              It leaves off people smoozing their way into executive positions making 300x more despite knowing less than workers.

                                                              Well, the idea that every job should be available to the best applicant is not valid. If it’s my company, I can make my dog a CEO. I don’t owe the communal labour market ‘a fair go’.

                                                              It leaves off how most workers are encouraged to “work their way up” in companies or take lesser jobs to “build experience.”

                                                              People shouldn’t have to subsidise those who fell for this meme. If you have been bamboozled to give away your labour at less than what it’s worth, this shouldn’t mean there should be more rules? For every rules imposed on the corporations, consumers will be the final losers. Instead you should be more careful about believing things.

                                                              It leaves off mandatory internships.

                                                              Mandatory, enforced by whom?

                                                              Everybody who sells me apples has to pass my mandatory sniff test. Is this an injustice to apple sellers? Should sniffing apples before buying them be outlawed?

                                                              It leaves off price-fixing of labor that big tech companies were doing.

                                                              Aren’t you advocating for labour sellers to price-fix? So do as I say but not as I will do?

                                                              It leaves off lobbying in a system where rich can afford to buy more laws.

                                                              The rich will always be able to do more than the poor. Because for every thing the poor can do, the rich can also do. But the reverse is not true, because the poor cannot spend huge sum of money. So it’s impossible to create a system where this is not true. At best you pervert the currency by which rich/poor is measured.

                                                              The fundamental problem with the labour market is the labourers think they are in worse position than the employers. But this has to be true, because the employer is also a labourer, except that he has capital. If it’s better to labour than to employ, every employer would become a labourer. But the advantage doesn’t have to lie entirely on the employer’s side. Being a highly skilled worker or being in a good financial position give you leverage. But those who have nothing to bargain with, can’t expect their conditions to be better than it is unless they impose a rule at the expense of everybody else through the governmental (and it’s monopoly on VIOLENCE). These people should improve their condition, by becoming highly skilled or accumulating capital.

                                                              I want everybody to have a good time. But not at the expense of everybody else.

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                                                                That was great!

                                                          2. 4

                                                            At-will is a double-edged sword

                                                            It’s better than the common European method of protected status for some workers and a growing number of contract/part-time employees with no rights at all. And it’s better than super bureaucratic policies as in e.g. France.

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                                                              “Europe” consists of many countries, all with different laws and cultures. You need to be very careful to generalize. In particular, as far as I know the French problems of some types of jobs having high protections and others little is specific to just France.

                                                              That said, contractors who are de-facto employees is a general problem (or at least, a problem in several EU countries, I’m not familiar with all 28), but also something that’s addressed at least in the Netherlands (see my other reply) and perhaps some others as well.

                                                              1. 3

                                                                That said, contractors who are de-facto employees is a general problem

                                                                This is a massive problem in Sweden. I live in the south of Sweden, and most of the jobs are at “consulting” companies which don’t do any consulting at all: they rent bodies to keep chairs warm. The “real jobs” are staffed by “consultants.”

                                                                This is easy to solve in law: establish rules for what constitutes “a job” and how that is different from “a contract.” But in the current political climate, the right thing won’t happen. :(

                                                              2. 3

                                                                It’s better than the common European method of protected status for some workers and a growing number of contract/part-time employees with no rights at all.

                                                                Maybe if you’re talking about fairness. Otherwise, it sounds like at-will is worse given nobody has protection vs at least some people having it in Europe. I bet people in similar sectors in U.S. would love for us to catch up to those places in Europe. Then, go even further from there.

                                                                1. 3

                                                                  Depends on your point of view. If you are a migrant worker or young worker in Germany, locked out of good jobs which are unionized and trying to make do in a growing temporary worker market with very little social welfare support - you might prefer the US system. I don’t particularly like the US system but EU is far from ideal.

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    Yeah, that would be a problem. Folks should be able to get in with same benefits if having skill and doing same kind of work.

                                                              3. 1

                                                                the ability to leave a toxic job or terminate a toxic employee immediately before there’s any more harm.

                                                                A non-at-will state doesn’t force you to stay at a job. Far as I’m aware, you’re stuck there long enough for two weeks notice. Far as toxic employees, that’s why the company needs standards for stuff like that. Then, they can fire the employee for violating them. If toxic workers stick around, that’s usually a problem with how the company is managed, employees are measured, and so on.

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                                                                I think being a developer in a blooming sector can actually mean that one has less protection. The tech industry has pretty much no established union, as far as I am aware.

                                                                1. 14

                                                                  Tech Worker Coalition. Check them, they are great

                                                                  1. 7

                                                                    Seconding this - tech workers must organize to protect our own labour rights, to help and stand in solidarity with less privileged labour groups that don’t have the same level of bargaining power, and to provide a desperately needed ethical check on an industry run amok.

                                                                    The Tech Worker’s Coalition is a great group for learning how to do so and connecting with others who are also interested. I’ve been going to local meetings for a couple months and it’s been incredibly refreshing to meet other tech workers who feel similarly. There is an online Slack community as well as locals in a number of US cities. Note that while the Tech Worker’s Coalition is an explicitly pro-labour and pro-union group, it is not itself a union, and has very little formal structure. You can find out more or join at https://techworkerscoalition.org/

                                                                  2. 8

                                                                    One US exception I know of has recently been kickstarter (somewhat ironically, I guess).

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                                                                      I live in Sweden, where nearly every job has a collective agreement with a union and most are members of a union.

                                                                      Except in tech. In tech, you can only count on having collective agreement if you work at a non-tech company such as a bank.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        Several of my former colleagues in Sweden were programmers in unions.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          I’ve never been part of a union/unionised agreement in the Netherlands either, but on the other hand I never felt it was particularly necessary as the worker protections under law are already pretty good (too good if anything, as it’s almost impossible to fire people). Additionally, firing a programmer (even if you could at a whim) comes with real costs to your company. A lot of knowledge gets lost, and training a new person is an investment.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            I agree that you can only count on it if you are on a non-tech company. In tech you have to make an active choice whether you want to work in a workplace connected to the union or not.

                                                                            I’m sitting right next to a union representative right now at a product company in tech. Among consultancies there both those which have a collective agreement, those who don’t and a third category who don’t but who claim to have equivalent agreements and protections as those which are.

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              This third category is the most hurtful. When you have a collective agreement, you get rights and protections and benefits, and you know about them. When you don’t have one, you don’t get those rights and protections and benefits, and this is obvious.

                                                                              But when an employer says “oh, we don’t have a collective agreement, but we follow what’s written in this one” you get some of the benefits, but none of the rights and protections, and you’re not really sure which you get and which you don’t and it’s very vague and hand waivey.

                                                                          2. -3

                                                                            Your protection from what?

                                                                            From agreeing voluntarily to exchange your time and labour for money?

                                                                            1. 11

                                                                              Protection from abusive management practices, get us benefits that management always gets, and a bit of an equalizer in power. Due process is my favorite union benefit. Management can’t fire us if we’re doing our jobs the way they say. If they do, there’s a sizeable amount of unemployment to cover our time seeking a job. That small detail has kept them from firing workers in majority of cases companies would lay people off. They cut back pay/hours, transfer people, etc to meet their goals. Those people still have a job with health and dental. Two benefits that are uncommon for lots of production workers down here but that their management always have.

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                get us benefits that management always gets,

                                                                                This is envy. If we lived in an alternate timeline where management doesn’t get these benefits, you would be content?

                                                                                Due process is my favorite union benefit.

                                                                                Due process? How is that applicable here? The argument is that if i gave you money last month I need to keep giving you money in perpetuity unless I prove I should not have to?

                                                                                Due process for criminal law makes sense, because it involves violating a person’s natural (negative) rights.

                                                                                In employment it makes no sense, because an employment is a mutually beneficial arrangement. The idea that one side (the employer) has to continue this arrangement indefinitely even if the circumstance changes is clearly unfair to him. Also, employee always has to power to terminate because he can plausible-deniably do a terrible job, which the employer cannot plasible-deniably pay less than the agreed amount.

                                                                                If they do, there’s a sizeable amount of unemployment to cover our time seeking a job.

                                                                                A person should be responsible for his own risk management, including the risk of not being continously employed. This should not be pushed onto the employer.

                                                                                Those people still have a job with health and dental.

                                                                                While it’s good to have, I don’t thing healthcare and dental care are not human rights because provision of these things require the labour of others and it would be an injustice to force those labourers to work for free or to take money from another third party to compensate them.

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  I don’t thing healthcare and dental care are not human rights

                                                                                  Perhaps not human rights, but it’s downright dumb for a society not to give these basic forms of health care for free for everyone. Because fixing the ensuing problems is way more expensive.

                                                                                  1. -2

                                                                                    give us money, or you will have to give us more money later

                                                                                    You can see why game-theoretically, giving in to these demands is not advantageous.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      Theoretically speaking, I see your point, but it doesn’t seem to work quite like that in the scale of societies in real life. We’re clearly saving money when we remove health/mental/other problems when they’re just burgeoning. People who get basic health care are not demanding “more basic health care”, whatever that means. They don’t generally like to go to doctors, or especially dentists.

                                                                                      I could expand this to other things you hate (presuming from your nick): public schools, speed limits, mandatory seat belt laws, tobacco prohibition…

                                                                              2. 9

                                                                                Collective bargaining makes it possible to negotiate for desired changes to the treatment of workers which would otherwise be impossible as a powerless individual.

                                                                                Your reply seems to pretend that

                                                                                A: companies never treat workers unfairly

                                                                                B: there are no economic pressures that may cause someone to require to remain in a job, even if they are being treated unfairly

                                                                                It really does not take a great deal of critical thought to see that neither of these are true.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              Confirmed joke: https://lists.dyne.org/lurker/message/20190401.070222.844cb081.en.html

                                                                              If you look at the thread, they really doubled down on it though. That was concerning.

                                                                              1. 17

                                                                                Remember, tomorrow is the day when the whole internet goes nuts. (Check the date.)

                                                                                1. 15

                                                                                  I’m not sure how much I would trust a distro that ‘pranks’ users by crying wolf about being compromised.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    I might be inclined to trust such a distro more

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      They’d be the most honest or among them.

                                                                                      1. 1


                                                                                    2. 4

                                                                                      In many parts of the world it is already that day..

                                                                                    1. 22

                                                                                      How common is this sentiment? I feel exactly the same way about my career.

                                                                                      1. 12

                                                                                        Absolutely. With only minor changes, such as s/Apple-dev/Ruby-dev/ and s/written books, //, this is basically my current struggle as well. :(

                                                                                        1. 11

                                                                                          It is very common with people who burned out and have not yet recovered.

                                                                                          1. 10

                                                                                            What if it’s not burnout, and the industry really does suck and keeps getting worse?

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              The suckage of the industry is certainly a problem. But being burned out definitely not making you appreciate any extra.

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                How did you help to recover from your burnout. How do you avoid relapsing?

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  I first changed position internally in the company. Then moved to another company, industry sector and country. But it wasn’t exactly a specific plan and far from a controlled experiment.

                                                                                                  Afterwards I looked at the things that got me there and nipping them in the bud since. Mostly it’s saying “no” early and firmly to unreasonable things, and dismissing unsolicited input from people who are not stakeholders. That includes ignoring the work of non-coding architects. But it’s circumstantial, there are likely many paths leading to burnouts.

                                                                                            2. 5

                                                                                              This is what burnout feels like?

                                                                                              1. 7

                                                                                                It did feel very similar to me. You know how to do the job, it’s not like your previous skill and knowledge evaporates. You can make an estimate how long could it take the former you etc. But the battery is dead, you never get anything done.

                                                                                                Unlike the OP I didn’t quit right away when it happened, but changed my position from project lead to a grunt doing non-critical part of work. Struggled even with that but was sort of able to push it through. Took about 18 months to recover enough to function.

                                                                                          1. 9

                                                                                            I’m not that old, so I’m only just starting to see “ageism” in the past five years or so. But there’s something slightly more insidious that I’ve been seeing for a while longer. I’ll call it “experienceism.” Because of a magic combination of my age, my upbringing, and other things I haven’t listed here, I ended up joining the software industry full-time before I was old enough to drive a car. So I’m under forty, but with two decades of experience. A lot of what people say they see and identify as “ageism” I see as well, but it’s not related to my age.

                                                                                            It’s a bit better here in Sweden. If you’re happy with a jobby job moving jira cards from left to right at a large company for mediocre pay, you can carry on regardless of your age. But if you want to work on something interesting at a small company, you’re going to run up against rampant ageism.