1. 7

    People shouldn’t be so surprised that a browser built by an advertisement company doesn’t have their best interest at heart when it comes to tracking and privacy.

    This is just another illustration why it is important to have a truly free alternative browser like Mozilla Firefox.

    1. 5

      Impressively, both of his domains which he links to as examples of the themes are still alive, owned by the author and serving more or less the same purpose. Although he’s no longer using the FrontPage 98 Artsy theme, sadly.

      1. 1

        use emacs keybindings everywhere, in the shell, browser, you name it. On OS X, Karabiner mapped those bindings for me and now on linux laptop with GNOME it is a top-level feature.

        Does anyone know what GNOME feature the author is referring to here?

        1. 9

          Along with UI themes, icon themes and cursor themes, GNOME supports “key themes” which determine the keybindings used in text-entry fields.

          To see the current value, from the command-line:

          dconf read /org/gnome/desktop/interface/gtk-key-theme
          

          To set the theme to “Emacs”:

          dconf write /org/gnome/desktop/interface/gtk-key-theme "'Emacs'"
          

          (the double-quoting means it will be set as a string value)

          To reset to defaults:

          dconf reset /org/gnome/desktop/interface/gtk-key-theme
          

          There’s also a UI for this option, in the gnome-tweaks tool.

          1. 1

            Ahh right. Thanks for the explanation. I see there is an, “Emacs Input”, option in Tweak Tool now.

            1. 1

              Brilliant, I must try this, thanks!

          1. 8

            The thread of security issues unveiled during the last few months in Intel CPU and similar architectures is an industrial nightmare. It’s difficult to accept that a whole industry could have been built on a such fragile basis…

            1. 25

              I mean, have you seen the software the world runs on?

              1. 6

                It’s difficult to accept that a whole industry could have been built on a such fragile basis…

                See also car software.

                1. 5

                  For me, it was easy after seeing how much better older stuff was that they ignored for money. Intel did try to make their own better stuff which failed repeatedly. They tried three times with i432, i960, and Itanium. Each had good and bad (i960 my favorite) but Intel was punished hard for all of them. Customers did buy billions in x86’s based on performance (most important), cost, and watts. Predictably, Intel decided to keep doing what people paid billions for instead of what cost them billions. I blame the buyers as much as them given I’ve tried to sell lots of them on secure, usable products that were free or cost almost nothing. Usually unsuccessful due to some aspect of human nature.

                  Like in most other tech products. It was surprising to me that Intel’s products weren’t worse than they are. Well, maybe they were as the bugs keep coming in as those assessing them predicted. They weren’t designed for strong security since market doesn’t pay for that. So, they have a lot of security problems. The hackers ignored them way longer than I thought they would, though.

                  1. 4

                    What shocks me most is how long we have been using these techniques without widespread awareness of these issues or the potential for this class of issues.

                    Some people predicted these problems, sure, but their concerns were mostly dismissed. So over the course of decades, we’ve seen other chip makers and architectures adopt the same techniques and thus enable these same bug classes.

                    For a young initiative like RISC-V, this is a great opportunity. They have not sunk years and years of development in features which may never be entirely safe to implement (speculative execution, hyperthreading, …) and are now able to take these new threats into account, quite early in their development. This could be a boon for industrial adoption, especially while many competitors are forced to rethink so many man-years of performance improvements.

                  1. 2

                    I’m not sure I agree with Theo on this one. I don’t think it makes sense to always disable SMT. Single-tenant configurations that don’t locally execute remotely-fetched resources (for example, a browser) would be fine to keep SMT enabled. For example, a physical server (so, no multi-tenant virtualization) that only acts as a VPN server should be fine with SMT enabled.

                    1. 5

                      In a perfect world, yes.

                      But since these vulnerabilities allow memory reads from other threads (including kernel threads) running on the other hyperthread of a core, it means that this escalates a code execution vulnerability (even in a limited, sandboxed environment) to kernel (or just other userspace process) memory reads, which could be a springboard in a more serious exploit chain.

                      SMT can still be safely used in some scenarios, like multiple threads of the same process if no isolation exists between those threads anyway, or when executing multithreaded code in the same sandbox, perhaps.

                      1. 2

                        It is demonstrably true that there are workloads that benefit from Hyperthreading. I agree that we also see a subset of these use cases where the performance trade-off from disabling this feature is being contrasted with a security issue that is not directly exploitable.

                        I think the OpenBSD team, and others, have made a compelling case for not only preventing directly exploitable security issues but also that proactively fixing security issues can prevent exploits that require a chain or series of exploits, information leaks, or crashes.

                        While you can construct scenarios where this single exploit doesn’t apply, being vulnerable to it means that it can be composed or combined with other vulnerabilities where it may turn out to be necessary even when it’s not sufficient to successfully attack.

                        1. 2

                          I think the OpenBSD team, and others, have made a compelling case for not only preventing directly exploitable security issues but also that proactively fixing security issues can prevent exploits that require a chain or series of exploits, information leaks, or crashes.

                          Of course. Both HardenedBSD and OpenBSD are doing wonderful work in this regard. I didn’t mean to convey that OpenBSD’s work was without merit or meaningless.

                          Instead, what I meant to convey is: with proper risk analysis and management, users can and should be able to decide for themselves whether to disable SMT.

                          While you can construct scenarios where this single exploit doesn’t apply, being vulnerable to it means that it can be composed or combined with other vulnerabilities where it may turn out to be necessary even when it’s not sufficient to successfully attack.

                          Sure. But at that point, local code execution is gained. It’s already game over at that point.

                        2. 2

                          Basically, in light of these vulnerabilities, SMT is a risk whenever the system might be running untrusted code. The reality of today’s computing environment is that you’re almost always running unprivileged but untrusted code to some degree or another. Web browsers and multi-tenant VMs are the most obvious examples. The systems in the world which run only “trusted” code are few and far between. Some examples that I can think of are:

                          • HPC/research clusters with specialized applications in which nearly all code is written in-house
                          • Certain Enterprise appliances like storage servers that don’t allow running non-vendor-provided code
                          • Small general-purpose systems with all of their hardware dedicated to one specific task, like my backup server at home

                          And even these aren’t necessarily 100% safe because there might be a remote exploit of some kind that then allows an attacker to run some unprivileged code which can then abuse SMT for privilege elevation and then you have a rooted appliance. In which case, the only truly secure box with SMT enabled is an air-gapped one.

                          The only good news here is that these kinds of exploits seems to be quite difficult to actually pull off but as The Bearded One says, attackers only get better over time and attacks only get easier.

                          1. 1

                            Through this discussion, my thoughts on the matter have changed somewhat. I still think that SMT should be supported, but disabled by default. After proper risk analysis and management are performed, users should decide whether to opt in to SMT.

                            there might be a remote exploit of some kind that then allows an attacker to run some unprivileged code

                            I view it as: if the attacker has gained reliable remote code execution, it’s already game over. SMT doesn’t matter anymore.

                        1. 14

                          Hardware I couldn’t get working in Linux just works on a first try with OpenBSD.

                          To be fair, this is more of an exception than a rule… I for my part always had something missing or incomplete holding me back from really being able to use OpenBSD on a desktop comfortably. Servers are of course an entirely different question. But giving a wrong impression like this one here, could end up deterring people who are interested, but insecure.

                          1. 6

                            I also thought hardware support was a known advantage of Linux due to its larger ecosystem, both in individual and corporate contributors. My impression was that OpenBSD would support less hardware but the drivers would be higher quality.

                            1. 6

                              I think he meant that for hardware that was supported by both, he had an easier time getting it working on openbsd.

                              1. 1

                                That makes more sense.

                            2. 5

                              my experience has been the opposite - I’ve found that the hardware I’ve tried mostly works out of the box for me with OpenBSD - where as Linux has often been a complete pain, especially with older hardware.

                              I’ve had an X41 since new and it ran OpenBSD from day 1 - it initially dual-booted with windows. Some information can be found on my X41 page - you can see it’s old as it talks about configuring BlueTooth on my X41…

                              1. 3

                                Same story for me. I’ve tried OpenBSD on a bunch of old-ish ThinkPads in the past and have had mixed experiences with hardware support. While a lot of things can be made to work after installing firmware and if you pick well supported (often older) hardware to begin with, it’s nowhere near as out-of-the-box complete or well supported as most mainstream Linux distributions.

                                1. 5

                                  I’m running OpenBSD 6.3-current on a second-hand T430s, and the only problem I had was needing a wired connection when first installing 6.2 back in October 2017 because the OS wanted to pull the wifi firmware after first boot. After that, it’s been such a smooth experience that I wouldn’t consider going back to Linux for any use case beside building a Microsoft-free gaming rig.

                                  1. 1

                                    Out of curiously, what ThinkPad are you specifically talking about? Just last week I tried to install OpenBSD on my X41 (again) after the update from 6.2 to 6.3 had worked out so smoothly on my server, but I just couldn’t reestablish the comfortableness I enjoy with Void. I guess, I’d really have to force myself to set everything up properly, but I just don’t have the time (or the experience) for that.

                                    1. 1

                                      The ThinkPad S1 Yoga (2014), and the X220 (2012), but I tried installing OpenBSD on them only when they were a couple years old.

                                1. 3

                                  This is really good news!

                                  It might be that fewer studios or distributors care less about Linux if this becomes A Thing(tm), but it might also grow the SteamOS and Linux user bases. Which may push them to native support if this provides something like winelib and such.

                                  Most engines do Linux builds anyway, which is nice for indies, but this will surely help Linux users who want AAA games from studios that have their own engines and no interest in Linux.

                                  Big +1s for collaborating with CodeWeavers and making it open source!

                                  1. 4

                                    If non-native, Wine based support becomes good enough (no constant mouse gitching, and some QA by Valve) I don’t mind if there are not that many proper Linux ports. I use Linux for a lot of things, and I would just be happy if most games can run on my system without having to:

                                    1. dedicate part of my disk to another operating system for games
                                    2. reboot to play games
                                    3. mess around with tweaks and custom configurations for every single game

                                    Having Vavle provide a “sactioned” Wine with per-game configurations is fine by me, if it means I can just click install & play in Steam!

                                    1. 2

                                      The younger me would have been adamant about this, but now I buy the occasional drm-free Linux version off gog and play in the steam machine’s desktop mode or maybe something on CrossOver. But as the years pile on, it’s a happy moment to get to play at all.

                                  1. 4

                                    I’d like to know why DosBox-based games are on this list, since DosBox on Linux doesn’t need things like Wine and would function the same on Linux as on Windows.

                                    Separately, there are tons of Steam games I have that have Linux ports but the Linux port isn’t natively on Steam (eg. Quake, Unreal, etc.) I’ve never understood why this is. I end up using a custom compiled ioquake engine with assets from Steam, which works great.

                                    1. 4

                                      With older games that were ported to Linux, the distribution rights are often (but not always) with a different publisher.

                                      Since Steam requires a game to have ports for different platforms of the same title under the same product ID (and thus publisher), there is no way to set up a proper revenue sharing system for the owners of the Linux ports (or Mac ports, old Mac games are in the same boat)

                                      Steam initially required a single title to be a single product ID because they don’t want publishers to make people re-buy old titles that were newly ported, in order to boost SteamOS adoption - this way, many players would have a half-decent Steam library from the get-go on the new platform.

                                      Many of the old porting shops for Linux and Mac have gone under, or the ports haven’t been maintained since before Linux 2.6 or even 2.4, meaning that many of the ports can no longer be trivially made to work on modern day distributions. Many games from before say 2003 used SVGA lib to render directly to the framebuffer, for example, without going through X11.

                                      So, sadly, many of these ports are lost to the sands of time and the murky status of IP limbo.

                                      This does not explain why DosBox titles are run through Wine, but I guess that’s just a matter of the publisher not being interested in making and testing a Linux build, given the limited revenue that comes from the platform. These re-releases are probably a very low budget and low income affair, more for the sake of IP owners being able to point to them and say “see, we still provide these products! Preservationists which are distributing our old games are plain pirates, they are not serving a higher purpose!”. But maybe that’s just me being cynical.

                                      1. 1

                                        I’m sure in a lot of cases you’re exactly right. I’m just frustrated because the games I’m referring to are largely exceptions. Take Quake 3 - the engine is released under the GPL, has a community maintained fork, targets OpenGL rather than Svgalib and Valve have the same distribution rights to it as to Wine or Dosbox. It’s possible this is still publisher related, for example if Valve are expecting the publisher to compile/support it and the publisher doesn’t do so. In the end it seems like a lack of economic incentive to package and distribute a thing that already exists.

                                        Most id engine games are in this situation and a couple of those were included in the current beta. They really do use Win32 dosbox on Wine to run a DOS game (so a 500Mb download for a 10Mb game.) 430Mb of that is a Wine/Proton tarball which is then extracted (but left on disk) so Proton on disk is 1.6Gb to run a 10Mb game.

                                        PS. I had great fun with SvgaLib on Linux for games before Steam came along. At one point I was using an a.out version of Doom on a much newer system, and it worked great because a.out had a parallel set of usermode libraries so everything was period except for the kernel, which was the only thing that needed to be compatible.

                                      2. 2

                                        This has annoyed me before. I got a dos game from gog a while ago and I thought it would be trivial to run on linux but it turns out gog bundles the game and dosbox together in a way you can’t split apart. I tried to get the dosbox version to run in wine but it wasn’t working so I had to find a torrent of the original dos copy

                                        1. 6

                                          GOG gives you a single installer that includes DosBox and the game itself; once you’ve gotten the files out you can ignore the DosBox-related ones in favour of running the original binary in your own copy of DosBox or open-source re-implementation or whatever.

                                          To get the files out, you can run the installer in Wine, or use a tool like innoextract.

                                          1. 2

                                            the worst ones are when GOG.com is delivering a butchered Win32 game and you can’t get the original copy out of it

                                      1. 4

                                        Quality and cost-effectiveness are significant issues for companies developing their own hardware. The GameBoy meets both of those compared to the alternatives.

                                        Reminds me of this patient https://patents.google.com/patent/US5876351 relating to the use of the GameBoy in ECGs (something I believe was actually applied in the German market). There is even a presentation citing ECG software with custom hardware here https://webpages.uncc.edu/~jmconrad/ECGR6185-2013-01/Presentations/Chitale_Paper_Presentation.pdf

                                        I often see people disregard these sort of things because it was sold as an entertainment system for children but the belts and braces of it is that the GameBoy was/is a decent ARM based machine with great battery life and built like a god damned tank!

                                        1. 3

                                          I was just at the Louvre and they use a Nintendo 3DS for their entertainment guide. Cheap to replace, easy to program for, durable since it’s designed for kids to drop, built-in wifi and update mechanisms; probably the best choice you could make in proprietary hardware.

                                          1. 3

                                            Actually, in 2011, Nintendo and Satoru Iwata (RIP) were really into 3DS and interactive museum. Nintendo gifted 5000 to the Louvre and helped develop the software for its use as a audio guide. As a volunteer in a computer and video game museum, that sounds like the perfect solution for us. However, I am not sure we can convince Nintendo to be that generous to us.

                                            1. 2

                                              I figured it had to be some kind of partnership but didn’t realize it was that intense. Maybe not Nintendo, but I’m sure you could find homebrew game developers who could set you up with a system (and used Nintendo DSes to hopefully keep the spend down) that would work for your museum.

                                          2. 2

                                            Game Boy and Game Boy Colour were not ARM-based, they used a Z80 clone with some operations removed built by Sharp. The Game Boy Advance was the first ARM-based Nintendo handheld, based on the ARM7TDMI, and included a full Z80 chip for Game Boy backwards compatibility.

                                            1. 5

                                              gbcpu is not “a Z80 clone with some operations removed”. This is a mistake that has propagated forever.

                                              As far as we know, we (#gbdev) think it was based on some “core” Sharp has for many custom jobs. The actual chip name is LR35902 and should always be referenced as this, or as “gbcpu” or similar.

                                              included a full Z80 chip

                                              No. They included the gbcpu, actually some gbc revision. There is a good chance it will not play some original Game Boy games (I say “good chance” because I have no references, but I’m pretty sure this is fact).

                                              I will be happy to answer any more questions. I love this little device for the nostalgia factor, its history, simple architecture, cheap price point, and retrocoding.

                                              If people made software today like they did during those times, we would have blazing fast applications and way better battery life. It is sad in a way. Our phones could probably run so much longer.

                                              I’m waiting for the day someone also creates an avr-like handheld.

                                              1. 1

                                                Sorry for oversimplifying. As far as I understood though, the LR35902 is a Z80 derivative with certain operations missing (and a few others added). If this is wrong, could you point to some documentation of how exactly an LR35902 differs from the Z80/8080?

                                                I recently got an ODROID GO, which is a Gameboy-like handheld with a backlit color LCD and an ESP32, which is a really nice MCU with WiFi, Bluetooth and a bunch of GPIO neatly exposed in a sturdy enclosure.

                                                1. 1

                                                  If you google “The Ultimate Game Boy Talk”, there is a diagram in it that shows exactly what is missing and what is extra :)

                                                  It is not a derivative though. It’s simply based on some internal core Sharp re-uses. As I said, this is misinformantion that has been casually spread for a long time now.

                                                  Another extremely similar chip from Sharp is SM8521. http://pdf.datasheetcatalog.com/datasheet/Sharp/mXuyzuq.pdf

                                              2. 1

                                                You’re right. I was thinking of the GameBoy SP with its ARMv7 :)

                                                1. 4

                                                  Not trying to be a smart ass, but ARM7TDMI is (confusingly) an ARMv4 core, ARMv7 is a newer architecture used by ARM Cortex cores.

                                                  I will never understand why ARM chose this confusing naming for their cores & architectures, but there it is.

                                                  1. 1

                                                    I did not know that. It’s quite interesting to see the internal workings of these devices; especially with what they were able to achieve with them at the time.

                                            1. 7

                                              This is a great usability improvement. Thank you Peter Hessler :)

                                              That said, it’s still a little bit sad that this is only just being introduced in 2018.

                                              1. 34

                                                That said, it’s still a little bit sad that this is only just being introduced in 2018.

                                                Technically - OpenBSD has had various toolings (1, 2, 3 and others) to do this very task for quite a long time. But none of them were considered the correct approach.

                                                Also, this is something that’s pretty unique to OpenBSD IMO. The end result is the same as with other systems.. sure. But this is unique among the unix world.

                                                Q: What’s the difference?

                                                Glad I asked! This is entirely contained within the base system and requires no tools beyond ifconfig!

                                                Linux has ip, iw, networkmanager, iwconfig..(likely others)… and they are all using some weird combo of wpa_supplicant.. autogen’d text files.. and likely other things.

                                                Have you ever tried to manually configure wireless on linux? It’s a nightmare. Always has been.

                                                NetworkManager does a really good job of making it feel like there isn’t a kludge going on behind the scenes.. It does this by gluing all the various tools together so you don’t have to know about them. IMO this is what happens when you “get it done now” vs “do it right”.

                                                With great simplicity comes great security:

                                                NetworkManager@6c3174f6e0cdb3e0c61ab07eb244c1a6e033ff6e:

                                                github.com/AlDanial/cloc v 1.74  T=28.62 s (48.2 files/s, 45506.1 lines/s)
                                                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Language                      files          blank        comment           code
                                                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                PO File                          66         125328         161976         457879
                                                C                               541          71112          66531         321839
                                                C/C++ Header                    528          10430          15928          34422
                                                XML                              59           1406           2307           6692
                                                make                              6            885            229           5009
                                                Python                           40           1189           1128           4597
                                                NAnt script                      65            626              0           3968
                                                m4                                8            237            123           1958
                                                Lua                              11            212            453           1314
                                                Bourne Shell                     21            232            238           1115
                                                XSLT                              5             65              3            929
                                                Perl                              4            166            243            480
                                                Bourne Again Shell               11             30             35            241
                                                C++                               4             62            121            178
                                                YAML                              4             12              6            161
                                                JavaScript                        1             33             21            130
                                                Ruby                              3             39             92            110
                                                Lisp                              2             15             24             23
                                                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                SUM:                           1379         212079         249458         841045
                                                --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                

                                                VS

                                                ifconfig@1.368:

                                                github.com/AlDanial/cloc v 1.74  T=0.12 s (32.2 files/s, 58201.7 lines/s)
                                                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Language                     files          blank        comment           code
                                                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                C                                2           1009            345           5784
                                                C/C++ Header                     1              7             16             58
                                                make                             1              3              1              6
                                                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                SUM:                             4           1019            362           5848
                                                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                

                                                Anyway - I guess my point is this:

                                                • Almost every OS achieves this goal.. sure.
                                                • Most have had this feature for quite some time.. agree (Including OpenBSD!).
                                                • None of them have it implemented as simply and well-thought-out as OpenBSD.
                                                1. 5

                                                  Have you ever tried to manually configure wireless on linux? It’s a nightmare. Always has been.

                                                  No. The Linux’s I use come with an out-of-the-box experience that makes wireless as easy as clicking a box, clicking a name, typing in the password, it works, and it reconnects when nearby. They have been like that since I bought an Ubuntu-specific Dell a long time ago. They knew it was a critical feature that needed to work easily with no effort with some doing that upon installation so parts of the install could be downloaded over WiFi. Then, they did whatever they had to do in their constraints (time/talent/available code) to get it done.

                                                  And then I was able to use it with only breaks being wireless driver issues that had answers on Q&A sites. Although that was annoying, I didn’t have to think about something critical I shouldn’t have to think about. Great product development in action for an audience that has other things to do than screw around with half-built wireless services. That’s a complement about what I used rather than a jab at OpenBSD’s which I didn’t use. I’m merely saying quite a few of us appreciate stuff that saves us time once or many times. If common and critical, adoption can go up if it’s a solved problem with minimal intervention out of the box.

                                                  That said, props to your project member who solved the problem with a minimally-complex solution in terms of code and dependencies. I’m sure that was hard work. I also appreciate you illustrating that for us with your comparisons. The difference is almost comical in the work people put in with very different talents, goals and constraints. And m4 isn’t gone yet. (sighs)

                                                  1. 7

                                                    No. The Linux’s I use come with an out-of-the-box experience that makes wireless as easy as clicking a box, clicking a name, typing in the password, it works, and it reconnects when nearby.

                                                    And then something goes wrong in the fragile mess of misfeatures, and someone has to dig in and debug, or a new feature comes along and someone has to understand the stack of hacks to understand it, before it can be added. There’s something to be said for a system that can be understood.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      There is something to be said for a system to be understood. I totally agree. I also think there’s something to be said for a reliable, more-secure system that can be effortlessly used by hundreds of millions of people. A slice of them will probably do things that were worth the effort. The utilitarian in me says make it easy for them to get connected. The pragmatist also says highly-usable, effortless experience leads to more benefits in terms of contributions, donations, and/or business models. These seemingly-contradicting philosophies overlap in this case. I think end justifies the means here. One can always refactor the cruddy code later if it’s just one component in the system with a decent API.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        One can always refactor the cruddy code later if it’s just one component in the system with a decent API.

                                                        The problem isn’t the code, it’s the system that it’s participating in.

                                                        1. 2

                                                          One can always refactor the cruddy code later if it’s just one component in the system with a decent API.

                                                          This just leads to systemd, and more misfeatures…

                                                          1. 3

                                                            There’s Linux’s without systemd. Even those that had it didn’t before they got massive adoption/impact/money. So, it doesn’t naturally lead to it. Just bad, decision-making in groups controlling popular OS’s from what I can tell. Then, there’s also all the good stuff that comes with their philosophy that strict OS’s like OpenBSD haven’t achieved. The Linux server market, cloud, desktops, embedded, and Android are worth the drawbacks if assessing by benefits gained by many parties.

                                                            Personally, I’m fine with multiple types of OS being around. I like and promote both. As usual, I’m just gonna call out anyone saying nobody can critique an option or someone else saying it’s inherently better than all alternatives. Those positions are BS. Things things are highly contextual.

                                                    2. 1

                                                      This is really great. I wish all other projects can do that, preferring elegancy to throwing code on the wall, but sometimes life really takes its toll and we cave and just make Frankenstein to get shit done.

                                                      I really appreciate all the works by OpenBSD folks. Do you have any idea how other *BSD’s deal with the wireless?

                                                      1. 1

                                                        Do you have any idea how other *BSD’s deal with the wireless?

                                                        I don’t - sorry :D

                                                    3. 3

                                                      Whats really sad is that the security of other operating systems can’t keep up despite having more man power.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        It’s almost like if you prioritize the stuff that truly matters, and be willing to accept a little bit of UX inconvenience, you might happen upon a formula that produces reliable software? Who would have thought?

                                                        1. 2

                                                          That’s what I told OpenBSD people. They kept on a poorly-marketed monolith in unsafe language without the methods from CompSci that were knocking out whole classes of errors. They kept having preventable bugs and adoption blockers. Apparently, the other OS developers have similarly, hard-to-change habits and preferences with less focus on predictable, well-documented, robust behavior.

                                                        2. 1

                                                          I think this is just a matter of what you think matters. There’s no sadness here. The ability to trade off security for features and vice versa is good. It lets us accept the level of risk we like.

                                                          On the other hand, it’s really sad, for instance, that OpenBSD has had so many public security flaws compared to my kernel ;P

                                                          1. 1

                                                            On the other hand, it’s really sad, for instance, that OpenBSD has had so many public security flaws compared to my kernel ;P

                                                            What’s your kernel?

                                                            1. 2

                                                              It’s a joke. Mine is a null kernel. It has zero code, so no features, so no security flaws. Just like OpenBSD has fewer features and fewer known security flaws than Linux, mine has fewer features but no security flaws.

                                                              Unlike OpenBSD, mine is actually immune to Meltdown and Spectre.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Not having public flaws doesn’t mean you don’t have flaws. Could mean not enough people are even considering checking for flaws. ;)

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  Oh OK lol.

                                                          2. 0

                                                            That said, it’s still a little bit sad that this is only just being introduced in 2018.

                                                            Would you like to clarify what you mean by this comment? Cause right now my interpretation of it is that you feel entitled to have complicated features supported in operating systems developed by (largely unpaid) volunteers.

                                                            1. 11

                                                              I’m getting a bit tired of every complaint and remark being reduced to entitlement. Yes, I know that there is a lot of unjustified entitlement in the world, and it is rampant in the open source world, but I don’t feel entitled to anything in free or open source software space. As someone trying to write software in my spare time, I understand how hard it is to find spare time for any non-trivial task when it’s not your job.

                                                              Though I am not a heavy user, I think OpenBSD is an impressive piece of software, with a lot of thought and effort put into the design and robustness of the implementation.

                                                              I just think it’s somewhat disheartening that something this common (switching wireless networks) was not possible without manual action (rewriting a configuration file, or swapping configuration files, and restarting the network interface) every time you needed to switch or moved from home to the office.

                                                              Whether you feel like this is me lamenting the fact that there are so few contributors to important open source projects, me lamenting the fact that it is so hard to make time to work on said project, or me being an entitled prick asking for features on software I don’t pay for (in money or in time/effort) is entirely your business.

                                                              1. 5

                                                                Just for the record I didn’t think you sounded entitled. The rest of the comment thread got weirdly sanctimonious for some reason.

                                                                Volunteers can work on whatever they want, and anybody’s free to comment on their work. Other operating systems have had the ability to switch wifi networks now for a long time, so it’s fair to call that out. And then Peter went and did something about it which is great.

                                                                Previously I’ve been using http://ports.su/net/wireless for wifi switching on my obsd laptop, but will use the new built-in feature when I upgrade the machine.

                                                                Some of the delay for the feature may be because the OS, while very capable, doesn’t seem designed to preemptively do things on the user’s behalf. Rather the idea seems to be that the user knows what’s best and will ask the OS to do things. For instance when I dock or undock my machine from an external monitor it won’t automatically switch to using the display. I have a set of dock/undock scripts for that. I appreciate the simple “manual transmission” design of the whole thing. The new wifi feature seems to be in a similar spirit, where you rank each network’s desirability and the OS tries in that order.

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  Interesting, I didn’t know about that to. I used my own bash script to juggle config files and restart the interface, but the new support in ifconfig itself is much easier.

                                                                  I think the desire for OpenBSD to not do things without explicit user intent are certainly part of why this wasn’t added before, as well as limited use as a laptop OS until relatively recently.

                                                                2. 2

                                                                  Thanks for taking the time to respond.

                                                                  To be clear, I don’t believe you’re some sort of entitled prick – I don’t even know you. But, I do care that people aren’t berating developers with: “That’s great, but ____” comments. Let’s support each other, instead of feigning gratitude. It wasn’t clear if that’s what you were doing, hence, my request for clarification.

                                                                  That being said, my comment was poorly worded, and implied a belief that you were on the wrong side of that. That was unfair, and I apologize.

                                                                  I just think it’s somewhat disheartening that something this common (switching wireless networks) was not possible without manual action (rewriting a configuration file, or swapping configuration files, and restarting the network interface) every time you needed to switch or moved from home to the office.

                                                                  Well, I’m just not going to touch this…. :eyeroll:

                                                                  1. 1

                                                                    I apologize if my response was a little bit snide. I’ve been reading a lot of online commentary that chunks pretty much everything into whatever people perceive as wrong with society (most commonly: racism, sexism, or millenial entitlement - I know these are real and important issues, but not everything needs to be about them). I read your remark in the context and may have been a little harsh.

                                                                    Regarding the last segment - how WiFi switching worked before - there may have been better ways to do this, but I’m not sure they were part of the default install. When I needed this functionality on OpenBSD, I basically wrote a bash script to do these steps for me on demand, and that worked alright for me. It may not have been the best way, so my view of the OpenBSD WiFi laptop landscape prior to the work of Peter may not be entirely appropriate or accurate.

                                                                  2. 1

                                                                    I just think it’s somewhat disheartening that something this common (switching wireless networks) was not possible without manual action (rewriting a configuration file, or swapping configuration files, and restarting the network interface) every time you needed to switch or moved from home to the office.

                                                                    I’m more blunt here that leaving that to be true in a world with ubiquitous WiFi was a bad idea if they wanted more adoption and donations from market segment that wanted good, out-of-the-box support for WiFi. If they didn’t want that, then it might have been a good choice to ignore it for so long to focus on other things. It all depends on what their goals were. Since we don’t know them, I’ll at least say that it was bad, neutral, or good depending on certain conditions like with anything else. The core userbase was probably OK with whatever they had, though.

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                                                                    First, both free speech and hacker culture say that person can gripe about what they want. They’re sharing ideas online that someone might agree with or act on. We have a diverse audience, too.

                                                                    Second, the project itself has developers that write cocky stuff about their system, mock the other systems, talk that one time about how they expect more people to be paying them with donations, more recently talk about doing things like a hypervisor for adoption, and so on. Any group doing any of that deserves no exception to criticism or mockery by users or potential users. It’s why I slammed them hard in critiques, only toning it down for the nice ones I met. People liking critiques of other projects or wanting adoption/donations should definitely see others’ critiques of their projects, esp if its adoption/donation blockers. I mean, Mac’s had a seemless experience called Rendevous or something in 2002. If I’m reading the thread right, that was 16 years before OpenBSD something similar they wanted to make official. That OpenBSD members are always bragging when they’re ahead of other OS’s on something is why I’m mentioning it. Equal treatment isn’t always nice.

                                                                    “But, I do care that people aren’t berating developers with: “That’s great, but ____” comments. Let’s support each other, instead of feigning gratitude. It wasn’t clear if that’s what you were doing, hence, my request for clarification.”

                                                                    I did want to point out that we’ve had a lots of OpenBSD-related submissions and comments with snarky remarks about what other developers or projects were doing. I at least don’t recall you trying to shut them down with counterpoints assessing their civility or positivity toward other projects (say NetBSD or Linux). Seems a little inconsistent. My memory is broken, though. So, are you going to be countering every negative remark OpenBSD developers or supporters make about projects with different goals telling them to be positive and supportive only? A general rule of yours? Or are you giving them a pass for some reason but applying the rule to critics of OpenBSD choices?

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      I at least don’t recall you trying to shut them down with counterpoints assessing their civility or positivity toward other projects (say NetBSD or Linux). Seems a little inconsistent.

                                                                      I’m not the Internet Comment Police, but you seem to think you are for some reason… Consider this particular instance “me griping about what I want.”

                                                                      Or are you giving them a pass for some reason but applying the rule to critics of OpenBSD choices?

                                                                      This wasn’t about OpenBSD at all. This started out as a request for clarification on the intent of an ambiguous comment that seemed entitled. There seems to be a lot of that happening today, and a lot of people defending it for whatever reason, which is even worse.

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        I’m not the Internet Comment Police

                                                                        Your comments came off that way to me between the original and follow-ups. Far as not about OpenBSD, it’s in a thread on it with someone griping it lacked something they wanted. The OpenBSD members griping about third party projects not having something they wanted to see more of typically got no comment from you. The inconsistency remains. I’m writing it off as you’re just a fan of their style of thinking on code, quality, or something.

                                                                    2. 2

                                                                      i think he’s sad that there haven’t been enough volunteers to make it happen sooner

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                                                                        That’s certainly one possibility, but not how I took it initially, and why I asked for clarification. I’ve seen too many people over the years attempt to disguise their entitlement by saying “thanks.”

                                                                        I’d have liked to see this comment worded as:

                                                                        This is a great usability improvement. Thank you Peter Hessler :) It’s a shame that there isn’t a better way to bring these important usability features to OpenBSD faster. What is the best way to help make that happen? Donations to the OpenBSD Foundation? Sponsor the work directly? Something else?

                                                                        Now, it’s also possible that the OP has ties to OpenBSD, and the comment was self-deprecating. But, one can’t infer that from the information we see without investigating who the OP is, and their affiliations…

                                                                        1. 0

                                                                          one can’t infer anything beyond what they said

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            I’m not sure you understand what infer means. One certainly can infer meaning from a comment, based on previous actions, comments, etc..

                                                                            My point remains: It’d be nice if the OP would clarify what they mean. My interpretation of the OP’s comment is just as likely as your interpretation. My interpretation is damaging to the morale of existing volunteer contributors to FOSS, and gives potential contributors to FOSS reasons to not contribute all together. I don’t know about you, but I want to encourage people to contribute to FOSS, as doing so moves us closer to a free and open society. And, that alone, is the reason I’m even bothering to continue responding to this thread…

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                                                                              he said “it’s sad.” that’s all we know. the leap is that this means “entitlement.”

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                “It’s pretty sad that it took someone else so long to prioritize work I think is necessary.”

                                                                                I think it’s pretty easy to take what was written and read it this way. But maybe my glass is half empty today.

                                                                              2. 0

                                                                                One can infer based on a comment, but the inference will most likely be dimwitted bullshit.

                                                                                Without the magic trifecta of body language, vocal intonation, and facial expression us monkeys are just shit at picking up on any extra meaning. So take the comment at face value.

                                                                                It expresses gratitude, it focuses on a specific recipient, and it lauds the feature. After, it regrets that it couldn’t/didn’t happen earlier.

                                                                                There’s no hidden meaning here, and if the commenter intended a hidden meaning he’s a dufus too, because there’s no unicode character for those. U+F089A6CDCE ZERO WIDTH SARCASTIC FUCK YOU MARK notwithstanding.

                                                                                At some point we all need to stop insisting that we have near-telepathic powers, especially outside of meatspace.

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                                                                                  So, what you’re saying is that I can write anything I want, and since you can’t see or hear other clues, there’s no way you can downvote (in good faith) this comment as trolling?

                                                                                  Not sure text works that way…

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                                                                            They had the solution to do it all the time, but it wasn’t invented here, so it’s bad.

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                                                                        Note that there is no proof that this actually a page built by ARM as far as I can tell, and the domain is registered with domain privacy on a different registrar than other ARM or SoftBank owned domains.

                                                                        I’m not saying this is not an official ARM page, but it might just as well be some prankster trying to make ARM look bad by creating this foot-in-mouth campaign page which can’t not be compared to the old and eternally criticized Microsoft “Get the facts” campaign of yesteryear.

                                                                        Edit: and it’s been taken down. Either ARM realized the negative PR this was causing, or it’s been taken down because of unauthorized use of the ARM trademarks, or the prankster’s Azure credit ran out?

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                                                                          Note that there is no proof that this actually a page built by ARM […]

                                                                          The infographic is hosted on ARM’s servers.

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                                                                            Well that’s pretty conclusive, never mind me!

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                                                                          I remember in college a classmate was a big openSUSE advocate, so I worked in that system for a while. Felt very different from the Ubuntu world, and I almost never hear of them in general chatter. Good to see they’re still moving forward well

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            I’ve used openSUSE extensively and think it’s an excellent distribution. It’s also one of the few high quality distributions that still has KDE as a first class citizen rather than an afterthought, with significant testing going into the KDE workspace.

                                                                            In the past, software.opensuse.org combined with their one-click-install tool in YaST makes it easy to get modern or uncommon software installed.

                                                                            I think one of the reasons openSUSE doesn’t get featured a lot is because they are the smaller player in the enterprise field (compared to Red Hat) and are eclipsed by Ubuntu in the hobbyist / personal use space.

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                                                                              I have it good authority from a consultancy gig that it’s big in Germany, especially in enterprise.

                                                                              I was also told this is, at least in part, because of very long support times for old releases. Which is fine for enterprise, but can lead to interesting situations when upgrades would be in order.

                                                                            2. 2

                                                                              I have used opensuse on a pet server for a while. Zypper package manager was very convinient in terms of insight into security updates necessary, reboots necessary upfront before the update. I changed to CentOS later on because the hosting only supported that, and it felt backwards. (I have been a longtime redhat/fedora user)

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                                                                                Personally, I’ve never been able to get into OpenSUSE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                      1. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                            1. 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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                                                                                                        “consumer choice as the solution to environmental issues”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                          This is another false dichotomy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                        1. 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                      2. 2

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

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

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

                                                                                                      3. 3

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

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

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

                                                                                                      4. 7

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

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

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

                                                                                                        1. 9

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                          1. 2

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

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

                                                                                                            1. 9

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

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

                                                                                                          2. 3

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

                                                                                                            1. 2

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

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

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

                                                                                                            2. 4

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

                                                                                                              1. 7

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

                                                                                                                1. 2

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

                                                                                                                  1. 3

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

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

                                                                                                                    1. 1

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

                                                                                                                      1. 3

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                        1. 2

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

                                                                                                                          Folk remedy is working. Appreciate the tip! :)

                                                                                                                          1. 2

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

                                                                                                                            1. 1

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

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

                                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                                Awesome. Please report back. :-)

                                                                                                                                1. 2

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

                                                                                                                                  1. 2

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

                                                                                                                                    1. 1

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

                                                                                                                          2. 2

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

                                                                                                                    2. 2

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

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

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                                                                                                                        Wow, so much to unpack here.

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

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

                                                                                                                        Please take your fake outrage somewhere else.

                                                                                                                        1. 5

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                          1. 2

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

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

                                                                                                                            1. 2

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

                                                                                                                              It was in the release notes of that iOS release…

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

                                                                                                                              1. 1

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                1. 0

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                  A user on the day of release:

                                                                                                                                  Hopefully it fixes the random battery shutoff bug.

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

                                                                                                                                  additionally in a press release:

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

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

                                                                                                                                  1. 4

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

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

                                                                                                                                      1. 2

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

                                                                                                                                        1. 2

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

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

                                                                                                                            2. -3

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

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

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

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

                                                                                                                              1. 2

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

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

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

                                                                                                                                1. 3

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

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

                                                                                                                                  1. 3

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

                                                                                                                          2. 1

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

                                                                                                                          3. 3

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

                                                                                                                            I think the consumer who pays for it is stupid.

                                                                                                                            1. 3

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

                                                                                                                              1. 4

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

                                                                                                                          4. 2

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

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

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

                                                                                                                            1. 2

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

                                                                                                                              s/American/human

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

                                                                                                                              1. 5

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

                                                                                                                                1. 3

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

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

                                                                                                                                  1. 2

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

                                                                                                                                    1. 0

                                                                                                                                      Don’t backpedal. You wrote:

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

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

                                                                                                                                      1. 0

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

                                                                                                                            1. 15

                                                                                                                              Reminds me of some previous glibc governance weirdness (back in 2001)…

                                                                                                                              In the glibc-2.2.4 release announcement, Ulrich Drepper (the glibc maintainer at the time) said:

                                                                                                                              And now for some not so nice things.

                                                                                                                              Stallman recently tried what I would call a hostile takeover of the glibc development. He tried to conspire behind my back and persuade the other main developers to take control so that in the end he is in control and can dictate whatever pleases him. This attempt failed but he kept on pressuring people everywhere and it got really ugly. In the end I agreed to the creation of a so-called “steering committee” (SC). The SC is different from the SC in projects like gcc in that it does not make decisions. On this front nothing changed. The only difference is that Stallman now has no right to complain anymore since the SC he wanted acknowledged the status quo. I hope he will now shut up forever.

                                                                                                                              The morale of this is that people will hopefully realize what a control freak and raging manic Stallman is. Don’t trust him. As soon as something isn’t in line with his view he’ll stab you in the back. NEVER voluntarily put a project you work on under the GNU umbrella since this means in Stallman’s opinion that he has the right to make decisions for the project.

                                                                                                                              https://sourceware.org/ml/libc-announce/2001/msg00000.html

                                                                                                                              Some additional background.

                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                Ulrich Drepper is no saint in his management of the glibc project either, and has had multiple conflicts in which he asserted his ultimate control over glibc as well. For a while, Debian switched away from glibc to avoid dealing with Drepper all together.

                                                                                                                                I think RMS and Drepper are very similar, in the sense that they want the ultimate control over projects they are involved with, and the conflict between Drepper and RMS is simply caused by the fact that they both wanted to control the same project.

                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                  One difference was that Drepper was actually the maintainer of glibc. That said, I do agree with you.

                                                                                                                                2. 1

                                                                                                                                  NEVER voluntarily put a project you work on under the GNU umbrella since this means in Stallman’s opinion that he has the right to make decisions for the project.

                                                                                                                                  Well, while I think that Stallman veto is coherent with the GNU philosophy this time, I consider Drepper’s suggestion a good one.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  I use:

                                                                                                                                  • Slide, which is an excellent and fully featured reddit client.
                                                                                                                                  • OsmAnd~ is good for offline navigation, especially when traveling.
                                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                                    Any particular reason for running *BSD over Linux on a dekstop ?

                                                                                                                                    1. 11

                                                                                                                                      I switched from Linux to OpenBSD last October on all of my personal machines, and I don’t anticipate going back. I have a few reasons, though some might seem petty.

                                                                                                                                      1. No systemd or PulseAudio. They’re OK when they work, but when they stop working they’re a pain in the ass. OpenBSD uses classic BSD rc scripts, and sndio is a cleaner, more reliable implementation of the functionality PulseAudio provides.
                                                                                                                                      2. OpenBSD’s primary source of documentation is man pages, the way it should be, and they treat problems with documentation as severely as they do bugs in code. I find this preferable to the “documentation as an afterthought” approach prevalent on Linux.
                                                                                                                                      3. OpenBSD supports both point release and rolling release. If you’re content with point releases or running a server where downtime must be planned in advance, you update every six months or so. It’s like Debian, but with a short release cycle and no Toy Story references. If you want rolling release OpenBSD or are using it as a desktop/laptop/workstation OS, you can run -current and update weekly, whenever an important package gets updated, or when major patches are announced on the mailing list.
                                                                                                                                      4. OpenBSD might not be certified, but it’s a real Unix operating system that can trace its history back to Bell Labs via UC Berkeley. Using it makes me feel like I’m taking part in a long and venerable tradition.
                                                                                                                                      5. I don’t trust Microsoft’s newfound regard for Linux. Sure, it’s nice that .NET Core and Visual Studio Code are available on Linux for those who don’t share my prejudice, but I remember when MS was the “evil empire”.
                                                                                                                                      6. It used to be that Linux was for people who hated Windows, and BSD was for people who love Unix. These days it seems that Linux is for people who envy Microsoft (and Apple), but BSD is still for people who love Unix.
                                                                                                                                      7. I’m a fucking hipster, and Linux is too mainstream and commercialized these days.
                                                                                                                                      1. 10

                                                                                                                                        For me it comes down to things like this:

                                                                                                                                        • ifconfig iwm0 nwid PrettyWiFiForAWhiteGuy wpa wpakey 'sekret': on linux it would be: ifconfig, iwconfig, ip, iw, eff it.. install NetworkManager, get super angry when you can’t actually disable ipv6 because NetworkManager knows you really secretly want it enabled!
                                                                                                                                        • Minimality.
                                                                                                                                        • us.swapctrlcaps: Set once, on install. Gives me system wide keyboard configuration. In one place.
                                                                                                                                        • Painless upgrades: pkg_add does what you expect. The enter button is super easy to hit.
                                                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                                                          If you like BSD more than Linux. OpenBSD in particular has a very different ethos than Linux, which many people here find attractive. We have many OpenBSD developers here on Lobsters, so we enjoy greater access to their opinions and philosophies. You should find plenty of top notch content here about BSD if you search for it.

                                                                                                                                          People prefer OpenBSD for different reasons. Security-oriented implementation, secure defaults, excellent documentation, minimalism, emphasis on networking tooling, coherent base system, developer friendliness, and so on and so forth. These apply to desktops as well as servers.

                                                                                                                                          Personally, Linux on the desktop drives me up the wall, since they keep moving fast and breaking things. And the different distros make different decisions about silly little things that keep tripping me up. For example, I write C++ professionally, which means I generate and analyze core dumps. My core dumps were being diverted to some bug-reporting tool, which was silently crashing on my multi-gig core files.

                                                                                                                                          Some smart guy decided automatic bug reporting tools were more important than developer access to core dumps. That decision wasted way more of my time than I care to admit. OpenBSD would never have wasted my time in that way.

                                                                                                                                          I prefer MacOS for desktops, since Apple actually cares about building a coherent user experience. They’ve had some quality issues recently but nothing worse than what I’ve experienced using Linux. And they don’t lose my core dumps. If not MacOS, OpenBSD would be my next choice.

                                                                                                                                          1. 6

                                                                                                                                            I’m not OP but I run BSD on my desktop (though my desktop has gradually become more of a de facto server these days now that I have a powerful laptop). ZFS is a more reliable and less fiddly way to have both disk redundancy and snapshots than any of the ways of achieving those on linux. Updates are more reliable on BSD - when I ran linux it felt like every year there would be an update that changed how X was configured and I’d have to google how to edit some random XML file to get it to use the correct keyboard layout on the login screen (I touch-type on dvorak and use long passwords that I remember mostly by touch, so when my keyboard layout gets forcibly changed to qwerty I find it pretty hard to even log in), or changed how sound worked, or changed how the init scripts worked, or so on. I don’t particularly use any BSD features unless you count ZFS (e.g. I don’t use jails at all for desktop work), but it works and stays out of my way, which is really all you want from an OS.

                                                                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                                                                              Not trying to tell you off or prove you wrong, but Xorg has been configuration-free for most systems for the past 5 years or so. The only exception I can think of is Nvidia-optimus setups where you want to switch between Nvidia and Intel graphics.

                                                                                                                                              Not that the Linux ecosystem has not been seeing major changes in its components, you know, with the whole init-system wars and Wayland becoming a thing. It’s just that as a user, I’ve not been bitten by broken updates in quite a while. I’m not going to try and defend any of the ZFS alternatives on Linux, as I’m not pleased with any of them myself.

                                                                                                                                              My major problem with switching to OpenBSD (or another BSD) is the lack of modern hardware support, especially graphics, and the fact that it’s often harder to find documentation or installation instructions for some new pieces of software.

                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                (or another BSD) is the lack of modern hardware support, especially graphics

                                                                                                                                                FreeBSD 12-CURRENT has great support for AMD Polaris and earlier (and Intel of course), with Wayland, Vulkan, OpenCL, whatever you want :)

                                                                                                                                                Granted, not everything works out of the box yet (especially Wayland: you still have to rebuild the kernel with evdev support if you want any input devices to work, but that’s going to be resolved), but the process of rebuilding stuff on FreeBSD is super easy.

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  That’s interesting, I didn’t know AMD GPU support has progressed so far in FreeBSD. I should probably try it out again, since I’m running with mostly AMD hardware these days (because of their excellent open-source drivers on Linux.)

                                                                                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                                                                                  Not trying to tell you off or prove you wrong, but Xorg has been configuration-free for most systems for the past 5 years or so.

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, that was the problem. I had an xorg conf that worked and set my keyboard to the right layout, then one day “X went configuration-free” and I had to find some blog post about some random HAL XML file that I had to edit instead. And then a year or two after that HAL got removed and I had to set it in some different place instead.

                                                                                                                                                  My major problem with switching to OpenBSD (or another BSD) is the lack of modern hardware support, especially graphics

                                                                                                                                                  I’ve always stuck to NVidia cards and used the NVidia official/proprietary drivers (which I think only exist for FreeBSD), so it’s the exact same driver experience as on Linux.

                                                                                                                                                  and the fact that it’s often harder to find documentation or installation instructions for some new pieces of software.

                                                                                                                                                  It’s really very similar to Linux, unless you’re using software that has a kernel module or something - I’m struggling to think what you’d need specific instructions for because usually what you do on BSD is exactly the same as what you do on Linux. Anything that uses something standard like autotools or CMake will Just Work, in my experience. Occasionally someone has hardcoded /bin/bash or something (but that will break on Ubuntu too these days), but there’s a small number of breakage patterns that you learn. Admittedly when it comes the very new stuff that’s hardcoded against systemd or docker you are just screwed.

                                                                                                                                                3. 2

                                                                                                                                                  To add to that, my last Linux upgrade knocked out WiFi on one of my devices. I’m thinking (once again): “how does an OS upgrade take out something as critical as WiFi?” Only on Linux…

                                                                                                                                                4. 4

                                                                                                                                                  Mostly because once configured it just works.

                                                                                                                                                  Not really OpenBSD related but also root on ZFS on FreeBSD with bulletproof upgrade using ZFS Boot Environments.

                                                                                                                                                  No systemd.

                                                                                                                                                  True channel mixing in kernel using OSS4 instead of ALSA+OSS+PulseAudio setup.

                                                                                                                                                  Sound does not hang up which requires reboot (have that on Ubuntu).

                                                                                                                                                  Entire machine does not freeze without a cause (had that with Linux Mint).

                                                                                                                                                  Also because tools that have been available on UNIX for decades (ifconfig/netstat/…) are not deprecated without any reasonable reason.

                                                                                                                                                  The Ports provide really easy way to recompile single, several or all ports/packages with needed options, no Linux equivalent.

                                                                                                                                                  … to just name a few.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                                                    Entire machine does not freeze without a cause (had that with Linux Mint).

                                                                                                                                                    Any idea what kernel version that was? There was an erratum on Skylake silicon that could trigger hard lock-ups in the kernel on some versions. There was a workaround for it in 4.3 and newer if I recall correctly. I understand that you don’t want it to happen at all but if this is the specific bug, it was a hardware bug on a common hardware platform that only triggered under specific loads.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                      Sound does not hang up which requires reboot (have that on Ubuntu)

                                                                                                                                                      hm, I do have that on FreeBSD. Not often, but does happen. Maybe it’s a hardware issue? Realtek kinda sucks…

                                                                                                                                                    2. 3

                                                                                                                                                      https://www.romanzolotarev.com/openbsd/why.html

                                                                                                                                                      Everything I need is in the base: POSIX shell, X11, vi, tmux, httpd, smptd. There are only things I need, almost nothing else.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                      I’m afraid that a good UI library/framework is simply a complicated matter, and this post reads a lot like “GUI frameworks are hard! I know, I’ll write a new JSON-based protocol to do GUI. JSON is easy!”.

                                                                                                                                                      However, once you start doing more than drawing text and simple lines and want buttons and events and windows, your JSON-based protocol will quickly degenerate into the kind of complicated mess you were trying to escape from.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                        Does anyone know if the experimental NT6+ support is going to be extended to kernel drivers in the future?

                                                                                                                                                        1. 21

                                                                                                                                                          I would go one step further–I only grudgingly sign NDAs and assignments of invention too and would prefer if they weren’t there.

                                                                                                                                                          This single issue is the thing that most makes me think we need collective bargaining and unions.

                                                                                                                                                          Given the MO of modern companies, our ideas and skills are all that we have.

                                                                                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah I don’t think i’d work anywhere that did Assignments of invention. I just don’t think I could be paid enough to make me give that up. I once signed a noncompete though but it wasn’t this restrictive, it only applied to business that were making the exact same kind of product (Laboratory information Management Systems).

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                                                                                                                                                              When I joined my last company they had an assignment of invention section in their paperwork, but provided a place to list exemptions. I listed so many things on that form: github side projects to theoretical ideas I’d been kicking around. When I handed in the packet to HR they didn’t know how to handle the fact that I actually filled that stuff out. They ended up removing the assignment of invention section completely.

                                                                                                                                                              I see a distinction between companies that prey on their employees and those that build in language and terms like this because legal told them to, or it’s “boilerplate”. Nether is acceptable and in many regions that take workers’ rights seriously they are explicitly illegal. I don’t see that happening in the US anytime soon, though.

                                                                                                                                                              If it’s important to you, don’t sign. If it’s important to you and your company is a bunch of idiots, change the contract before you sign it and watch them blindly put a signature on it. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up owning all their IP instead.

                                                                                                                                                              1. 0

                                                                                                                                                                I can definitely understand why a company would want you to sign an assignment of invention and I don’t think they’re inherently good or bad. They’re just a trade off like anything else. If you really want to start your own company one day or side projects are really important to you than that’s something to consider strongly before signing an assignment of invention. Just like flexibility would be something to consider before taking a job if you really wanted to be able to take off work, with no advanced notice, to surf if the waves happen to be good and then make up those hours later.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Safety bars on looms and e-stops on lathes are a trade off like anything else…

                                                                                                                                                                  This is a local minima of error that companies are stuck in due to investors and lawyers (and greedy founders) trying to cover their own asses.

                                                                                                                                                                  It’s basically become industry standard, but seeing as how we’re all getting screwed in compensation (giving the growth we enable) compared to older days the bargain no longer makes sense. Further, the troubling trend is “Well, it’s probably no big deal to work on , just let us know and/or we don’t care anyways” is basically living with a gun to your head.

                                                                                                                                                                  If it is such a non-issue that most companies will overlook it, fucking leave it off the conditions of employment. If it is such an issue, compensate the engineers properly.

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                                                                                                                                                                    I think we need to create a list of businesses that do this so that I can avoid ever applying to them and also ones that don’t do this so that I can weigh applying for them.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Safety bars on looms and e-stops on lathes are a trade off like anything else…

                                                                                                                                                                      Apples and oranges. Those safety features don’t really affect the employer, but they have a huge effect on how safe the job is for all of the employees that use looms and lathes. Assignments of invention do have an effect on the employer and if you happen to be an employee without any aspirations of starting you own business then they don’t really affect you. Even if you do have that aspiration, a good company will be more than happy to stamp prior discovery paperwork to approve side projects that don’t have anything to do with the company’s area of business so an assignment of invention will only affect you if you want to compete with your employer.

                                                                                                                                                                      Edit:

                                                                                                                                                                      If it is such an issue, compensate the engineers properly.

                                                                                                                                                                      If you compare the software engineering salaries with those of other fields it appears that we are compensated for signing non-competes and assignments of invention. Nurses, for comparison, are also highly educated salaried workers but they make on average $20,000 less per year then software engineers [Source] [Source]. It is entirely possible that the gap in pay is a result of a high demand for and low supply of software engineers. But there is a high demand for and low supply of nurses as well.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. 8

                                                                                                                                                                        a good company

                                                                                                                                                                        Where, where are these good companies? “Not all companies”, indeed!

                                                                                                                                                                        There is no upside to for the employer to do this once they have the paperwork in hand, and relying on the charity/largess of a company is foolish–especially once belts start tightening. Even companies that aren’t terrible can often punt forever on this sort of thing because of limited time to devote to non-business issues, because legal’s job is to provide maximal cover and push back on anything that might create risk, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                        I suggest that the overall tone of how employee engineers are viewed, for the good of all engineers, needs to change. Hell, most of the innovation people claim to care about so much would be strangled in the crib under the agreements that are common today!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                          Assignments of invention do have an effect on the employer and if you happen to be an employee without any aspirations of starting you own business then they don’t really affect you.

                                                                                                                                                                          And without any intention of ever contributing to open source, and without any intention of ever writing an article or a story or a book, and without any intention of ever painting a painting, and without any intention of ever singing a song, etc., etc. (Ever assignment of invention I’ve ever seen has covered any and all copywritable works, not just code. Most have tried to claim assignment of works created before employment began.)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                            Ever assignment of invention I’ve ever seen has covered any and all copywritable works, not just code. Most have tried to claim assignment of works created before employment began.

                                                                                                                                                                            That is an entirely different story. The assignments of invention that I’ve seen strictly pertain to ip related to the company’s products and services, during your period of employment with the company. Although they have all asked for a list of prior work as a practical means of proving that any such ip of yours was created before your time of employment. That said, my comments above were made with that understanding of what an assignment of invention is.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                              “Related” is way too open-ended for my comfort. If I contribute to an open-source project at night that is written in the same language I use at work, is that related? What about if they’re both web applications? What if they both use the same framework? If I write healthcare software during the day and I want to write a novel where somebody goes to the doctor, is that related?

                                                                                                                                                                              In the contracts I’ve been presented with it’s been explicit that any work done prior to employment with the company that is no on your list of prior inventions becomes the property of the company. I’ve been programming since I was 12; there is no conceivable way I can list every piece of code I’ve written in 20+ years (much less other forms of copywriteable expression).

                                                                                                                                                                              I have hired lawyers on two occasions to review assignment-of-invention contracts with provisions like these and on both occasions the advice I got was that “related” is pretty much a blank check for the employer.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                The ones I’ve seen (and signed) have been restricted to inventions created at work or on company equipment, which amounts to roughly “we own the things we’re paying (or providing infrastructure for) you to create”. Within the context of capitalist employment, I think that’s essentially reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                  The fuzzy bit is, when you’re a salaried worker who is remote, what exactly is “company equipment”? What is “at work”?

                                                                                                                                                                                  How many of us have, in an evening say, made a commit to wrap up a thought after dinner from our laptops or desktops?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                                                                                                                    If you’re a salaried remote worker, the company should be providing your work machine, which is either a laptop you can take with you, or a desktop that you remote into. If you’re providing all the equipment out of pocket, why are you on salary, rather than working as a contractor?

                                                                                                                                                                                    The only exception I could think would be a very early stage startup, but in that case you’re probably coming from a place of having a better negotiating position anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I’ve worked remotely for 3 jobs, and have always been provided a development machine, and have done my best to avoid doing anything that is strictly a side project on it for that reason.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the selling points vendors of separation kernels pushed was separation of Personal and Work on one device (“BYOD”). They mainly pushed it under the illusion that it would provide security at reduced costs on consumer-grade devices. They also pushed it for GPL isolation to reduce IP risks to them. Your comment makes me think that can be flipped: use of dedicated, virtual work environment for (typical benefits here) with additional benefit of isolating I.P. considerations to what’s in the VM. If you want something generic, do it on your own time in your own VM just importing an instance of it into the work VM and/or its codebase. Anything created in the work VM they or you can assume will belong to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I’m ignoring how time is tracked for now. Far as clarity on intent of I.P. ownership, what do you think of that as basic approach? Spotting any big risks?

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                    I’ve never consulted a lawyer so I’ll concede to you on this. Thank you for posting about your experience!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                If safety equipment did not affect the employer, then why did it take so long for employers to adopt them? Why did they fight so hard against them?

                                                                                                                                                                                And if it isn’t a big deal to a good company to make exceptions, why bother with the clause?

                                                                                                                                                                                If developers are being fairly compensated for these burdens, why do we still hear about a shortage of devs?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. 0

                                                                                                                                                                                  If safety equipment did not affect the employer, then why did it take so long for employers to adopt them? Why did they fight so hard against them?

                                                                                                                                                                                  The same reason anyone makes a fuss when you force them to do anything. People don’t like to be told what do to. Add to that the slow moving nature of large organizations and there is going to be a huge fight to get them to do absolutely anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                  And if it isn’t a big deal to a good company to make exceptions, why bother with the clause?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Because trusting every employee to be honest about signing over ip to anything they’re working on that is related to the company is not practical and it opens up the company to a huge amount of liability. If you don’t bother with the clause what happens if you inadvertently use your ip your day to day work, fail to notice, and fail to sign it over?

                                                                                                                                                                                  If developers are being fairly compensated for these burdens, why do we still hear about a shortage of devs?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Because there is a shortage. Paying more isn’t going to magically create more senior devs. It’ll increase the amount of people that get into the field (and it has) but there is still going to be a large lag time before they have the experience that employers are looking for. That said, if you compare the salaries of software developers to the salaries of other professions with shortages you’ll see that software developers make more. So we might not be compensated as much as you would like, but we are being compensated.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                                                                                                                    It took so long to do it because it costs money to replace your lathes with ones with E-Stops. It has nothing to do with being told what to do or being slow. Corporations can actually do things quite quickly when there’s a financial incentive to do so. They struggle to do things which they have a financial disincentive to do. This is precisely why unions are necessary for a healthy relationship between corporations and employees.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                      It has nothing to do with being told what to do or being slow.

                                                                                                                                                                                      It’s both. Companies regularly waste money on stuff that doesn’t benefit the company or refuse to switch to things with known benefits that are substantially different. These are both big problems in companies that aren’t small businesses. They’re also problems in small businesses, but often in different ways. Egos and/or ineptitude of people in charge are usually the source. On programming side, it’s why it took so much work to get most companies to adopt memory-safe languages even when performance or portability wasn’t a big deal in their use cases. Also, why many stayed on waterfall or stayed too long despite little evidence development worked well that way. It did work for managers’ egos feeling a sense of control, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Can’t forget these effects when assessing why things do or don’t happen. They’re pervasive.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don’t think a ‘company’ has any feelings at all. I think companies have incentives and that is it, full stop. The people within a company may have feelings, but I think it is amazing the extent that a person will suppress or distort their feelings for money or the chance at promotion.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I would be surprised if liability was what companies had in principally in mind about ip assignment. I suspect the main drivers are profitability and the treat of competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                      In terms of compensation, I don’t think anyone is saying programmers are poorly compensated. The question is whether non-competes and and sweeping ip assignments are worth it. Literally everyone who works is compensated, of course it is reasonable to dicker over the level of compensation and the tradeoffs involved in getting it. …

                                                                                                                                                                                      I think there is a tendency to feel that the existence of an explanation for a company’s behavior is sufficient justification for it’s actions. Because there is an explanation, or an incentive for a company to do a thing has little to no bearing on whether it is good or right for a company to do a thing. It has even less bearing on whether a thing is good from the perspective of a worker for the company.

                                                                                                                                                                                      If there is a shortage of software developers, and they are worth a lot of dollars, it is in the interest of software developers to collectively negotiate for the best possible treatment they can get from a company without killing the company. That could include pay, it could be defined benefits, it could be offices with doors on it, or all of the above and more.

                                                                                                                                                                                      There is a strong strain of ‘the temporarily embarrassed millionaire’ in programmer circles, though. It seems like many empathize with the owner class on the assumption that they are likely to enter the owner ranks, but I don’t see the numbers bearing that assumption out.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                                                                                                                        If there is a shortage of software developers, and they are worth a lot of dollars, it is in the interest of software developers to collectively negotiate for the best possible treatment they can get from a company without killing the company.

                                                                                                                                                                                        And as you know, employers colluded to secretly and collectively depress labor wages and mobility among programmers in Silicon Valley (Google, Apple, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Intel, Intuit, eBay), on top of the intrinsic power and resource advantage employers have over employees, further underscoring the need for an IT union.

                                                                                                                                                                                        https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/pixar-lucasfilm-apple-google-face-suit-285282 (2012)

                                                                                                                                                                                        https://www.theverge.com/2013/7/13/4520356/pixar-and-lucasfilm-settle-lawsuit-over-silicon-valley-hiring

                                                                                                                                                                                        https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/24/apple-google-settle-antitrust-lawsuit-hiring-collusion

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                                                                                                          A very good reason for a union.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Given a union, I wouldn’t necessarily even start with salary, so much as offices with doors and agreements around compensation for work outside of core hours, parental leave and other non-cash quality of life issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                          In terms of compensation, I don’t think anyone is saying programmers are poorly compensated. The question is whether non-competes and and sweeping ip assignments are worth it. Literally everyone who works is compensated, of course it is reasonable to dicker over the level of compensation and the tradeoffs involved in getting it. …

                                                                                                                                                                                          Whether or not it is worth it is an individual decision. But at the end of the day we are compensated significantly more than our peers in other fields with shortages (accounting staff, nurses, teachers, etc). If you don’t believe that we’re being compensated enough, then what we really need to be doing is advocating for our peers in those other fields. Because if we’re not getting paid enough, they sure as hell aren’t getting paid anywhere close to enough. And if we improve the culture around valuing employees in general, that will translate into improvements for us as well. A rising tide raises all boats. But as it is, I don’t know anyone but programmers who think programmers are underpaid.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                                                                            I’m all for paying people more, but I’m unclear why you are focusing on these other fields, I was under the impression we were talking about programmers and the IT field

                                                                                                                                                                                            I also disagree that those fields constitute peers. Accountants may be the closes as white collared professionals, but they are in a field where everyone applies the same rules to the same data, which is an important difference. I’m all for labor solidarity, but I think it’s up for people in a given field to advocate for themselves. People elsewhere should lend support, sure

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                                              I also disagree that those fields constitute peers.

                                                                                                                                                                                              They’re peers in that they’re fields with similar, if not more rigorous, educational requirements and they’re also experiencing labor shortages.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Accountants may be the closes as white collared professionals, but they are in a field where everyone applies the same rules to the same data, which is an important difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                              That doesn’t mean they provide any less value than programmers though. If you run a big business you absolutely need an accountant and a good accountant will more than pay for themselves. That said, given the pay gap, it’s unclear to me that programmers aren’t already getting compensated for signing non competes and assignments of invention. Especially when you consider how much lower the average compensation is for programmers in markets where non-competes and assignments of invention are not the norm [Source].

                                                                                                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                                                                                                              I’d never sign an assignment of invention, I find the concept to be absurd, especially in an industry like software engineering.

                                                                                                                                                                              I sign NDA’s without complaint when they’re not over-reaching. Many are sensible enough to abide by. But I once had an employer who attempted to make their workforce sign an NDA that imposed restrictions on use of USB sticks retroactively, with huge penalties - up to $10 million - in a company where USB sticks were routinely used to transfer documents and debug builds between on-site third party suppliers and employees of the company. Basically everybody would have been liable.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                                                                              I’ve never maintained an open source project, so I’m in no way an expert on this, but the part about contributors has a back side of the coin. It’s implied by the wording of the article, but I thought I’d spell it out anyway. From the original post:

                                                                                                                                                                              For contributors: defer to maintainers and ensure that you’ve read all relevant contribution documentation. They are the ones running the project and ultimately their word goes. Understand that it’s not the job of the maintainers to teach you how the project works (or actually anything).

                                                                                                                                                                              This implies that good documentation is available. As a maintainer, write (or ask existing, knowledgeable contributors to write) clear and good documentation to guide newcomers. This is especially true for larger, more complicated projects. Make sure it’s easy to find that documentation for those who care to look for it.