Threads for secstate

    1. 5

      I love Emacs, and yet the first thing I thought of was why. Then a minute later I realized that dumping all that text straight to a Emacs buffer made it easily copy-able, link-able in org-mode and pastea-ble into email in notmuch within Emacs. And then I remember why I really love Emacs.

    2. 1

      Really great that this is possible, but these are also the sort of stories that make me appreciate the F/OSS community. I can’t imagine using an OS that requires a hack to provide private DNS. I wont judge anyone for using a closed OS, as I know I’m also a much more technical user – and I appreciate the obvious footgun that DNS changes allow for. But jeez, the amount of hacking to get this to work makes me sad.

      1. 3

        Perhaps we’ll publish a similar story for linux, but there were a bunch of dragons that needed to be slayed there too. In some ways I think it is worse since there are so many different ways to configure DNS, it can be quite complex. I wouldn’t lay all of this on a closed-source OS. :) MacOS had other challenges as did iOS and Android too.

        But - F/OSS is great, I agree! The world just wouldn’t be the same without that whole movement.

        1. 4

          You made me go ask around and dig some too, turns out systemd-resolved has a similar “routing domains” feature. Cool - decent overview here:

          1. 2

            Haha, came here to reply about systemd-resolved :D Say what you will about systemd, there are some nicely consistent things it adds to distros that use it.

            But I also agree that there are so many dragons when you start mucking about with the DNS stack. I really appreciate this work on Windows, for sure. Nice to have a clear and reproducible path to custom DNS no matter the OS!

    3. 2

      So wait a minute. The solution here is to use a KDE browser, which will pull in ~134MB of Qt libraries when I try to install it on my machine which runs i3 and has no need for any of those libraries besides. And this is to avoid Firefox “phoning home” to it’s CDN for add-ons?

      I appreciate skepticism and privacy focus as much as the next person (which is why I use searx and firefox instead of google and chrome). But this is not a recommendation any practical person is ever going to follow unless they already happen to run KDE.

      Edit: I just went and actually tried it, 134MB of Qt libraries. Yuk. Also, what about Qutebrowser?

    4. 7

      Lets get back to FreeBSD audio then. What FreeBSD offered? A whooping 256 OSS channels mixed live in kernel for low latency. Everything audio related just worked out of the box – and still works today.

      This is literally the exact opposite of my experience with OSS on BSD. Terrible audio quality, lagging and crackling, audio distortion. OSS was complete garbage every time I’ve tried and I could never get audio to work properly ever.

      1. 3


        which FreeBSD version and which hardware was that?


        1. 2

          I’ve tried FreeBSD 11.4, 12.1, and 13.0.

          I’ve also tried various versions of NetBSD, OpenBSD, and HardenedBSD.

          I really want to use BSD. There is so much about it that I really like about it. But as someone who listens to music almost 24/7, I just can’t do it when the audio is like this. Nothing I ever tried would fix the audio, I had literally given up after a certain point.

          And my speakers are: Logitech Z-2300 Computer Speakers

          1. 1

            I don’t think speakers have much to do with it - the OS talks to the sound card.

            As a counter example, for me, audio has worked as well under FreeBSD as it does in Linux. Which is to say, it’s not the easiest to configure, but once that’s out of the way it works fine.

            I mainly use a Roland UA-25EX external USB sound card, and sometimes also an ancient Creative SBLive! Value “CT4780” PCI card. I’m not doing anything fancy, though, they’re going into boring, $100 Bose stereo speakers.

            My only real complaint about audio on FreeBSD is poor Spotify support. The TUI isn’t that great, and spotifyd crashes a lot.

            1. 3

              I don’t think speakers have much to do with it - the OS talks to the sound card.

              If they’re USB speakers, then it does, because it has to talk to it as a USB device, ignoring the computer’s sound chip in favour of the speakers’.

            2. 2

              I run FreeBSD as a deskop, and my solution to Spotify is to run Mopidy with the Iris frontend and the spotify plugin in a linux virtual machine with Icecast outputing a radio stream. It sounds hopelessly complicated, but in practices is not more than a few config files and setting up a VM with some flavor of modern linux on it (I use debian).

              I can create a how to blog post if you’re interested.

              The bonus here is anything with a web browser and a stream player can interface with this.

              1. 1

                Yeah, for a while I was using the Spotify app on my phone as a remote control to spotifyd running on the desktop, but spotifyd had a bug where it crashed on songs shorter than 60 seconds. So I tried building from source, thinking I’d try fixing it myself. The bug seems to be fixed in the Git repo, but I was getting so many other crashes I gave up.

                For now I’m running the spotify app on my macbook and plugging the speakers into that. :-/

          2. 1

            Speakers are not important here - what is your sound card/chipset?

            1. 1

              Oh, uh… according to lspci -v | grep -i audio I’m using:

              00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller (rev 04)
                      Subsystem: Dell 7 Series/C216 Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller

              And according to ALSA, my card is HDA-Intel - HDA Intel PCH

              1. 1

                I have similar/same audio chipset here:

                # pciconf -lv | grep -A 4 hdac
                hdac0@pci0:0:27:0:	class=0x040300 card=0x21cf17aa chip=0x1c208086 rev=0x04 hdr=0x00
                    vendor     = 'Intel Corporation'
                    device     = '6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller'
                    class      = multimedia
                    subclass   = HDA

                … and sound is nothing less then great here.

                I do not know how else I can help you :(

    5. 29

      This is a very long winded article and yet in a way it stopped too short. The thesis is that software didn’t go wrong but that software exists in an environment motivated by capital. The intuition that the problem isn’t software but the context that software lives in is a good one. But the author shouldn’t have stopped at Capital. The problem is that Capital exists in a context as well. At it’s crux the issue is human nature. Human nature has a number of failure modes. Those failure modes manifest in the use and accumulation of Capital as well in the development of code and in fact in any alternative attempt to replace Capital as a motivation.

      Solving the failure modes of software requires solving the failure modes of human beings.

      1. 36

        There is a reflex in anglophone online discussion to jump straight to attributing the state of capitalism in the US to fundamental forces of the universe, as if the sad state of healthcare provision, public transport, employment law, infrastructure etc etc are just inevitable because Human Nature. And also it has to be this way because the alternative is communism.

        It seems to wilfully ignore most of the rest of the developed world. You can make useful inroads into this problem with boring, un-pontificatey, un-weary-old-sage stuff like policy and government and compromise and all the other things that are deeply unfashionable to the point of being broken at the moment. It does work if you let it. The state of the examples I gave above are the result of active choices made by Americans, knowingly or otherwise. I am not saying for a second e.g. north west Europe is perfect, that is impossible because it is impossible to solve the failure modes of human beings. They have merely made a different choice to Americans about how they want their society to be (e.g. the things I mentioned above are a higher priority).

        At the present time, the USA is one of the easiest places in the world to become a billionaire, unhindered (relatively) by constraints societal, regulatory and moral that exist in other places (the recent tax cuts, the wealth gospel, marking up insulin 1000% would all be seen as Martian to a Dane, for example). Americans voted for this. The only other similarly fertile time for rapidly-accumulated billions in recent history was the oligarch class that formed in the vacuum of the collapsed USSR. Though in that case the absence of effective government and regulation wasn’t as a result of an active choice by the citizens.

        Choosing to remove many of the constraints against rapid capital accumulation is now really starting to eat into the things that gave america its strengths in the first place, such as good research and the ability to spin that research into productive industries. R&D labs are expensive and don’t survive CFO-orchestrated mergers. You can’t innovate in your Valley garage anymore because you can’t afford to buy the house with the garage from the Instagram employee who is selling it. I shouldn’t even use the valley in my example as a shorthand for an innovative place. It used to be an engine of technological innovation, now it only is if you squint really hard to try and see selling adverts as a branch of computer science. Instagram replaced Intel. Good on the VCs for taking the valley and shaping it in the way that maximises the rate at which they accumulate capital, they are winning the game whose rules were written by the American electorate.

        The sentiment ‘We won’t get anywhere until we solve human nature’ is a false dichotomy [the choice being between the status quo or some singular revolution in human behaviour] and quite seductive to people like us who like grand, clever, sexy [a troublesome used deliberately here] new advances to cleanly solve existing problems. (c.f. the grim and now-parodied heydays of TED where people queued up to pronounce things like ‘Technology Will Fix Education’).

        Your messiah won’t come and fix it. You, I, we all need to take the basics seriously and make careful choices in our everyday lives. It’s much less convenient for me at the moment to buy an oven glove online from a local kitchenware place than from amazon, but I do because it’s important. I spent $30 instead of $5 to get my hobby PCBs made in this country rather than in China because it’s important. I walked in the cold rain when I was tempted to stay inside to canvas for a local political cause because it’s important. None of these are big revolutionary things, they’re just trying to be a better cog in the machinery of my society (and all of us exist within and shape our societies, even if we don’t want to) because that’s important. The basics are important. Regulators musn’t turn a blind eye to the accumulating shortcuts of their industries. The law must apply to everyone. Lobbying is bribery by any other name but is much more tightly regulated in other countries. The money in politics must be transparent.

        All of these basics are difficult and boring and tiresome and essential and effective.

        1. 5

          I think it’s very helpful to view capitalism as an inevitable force of nature. Just like many other forces of nature, we want to mitigate, redirect and transform some of its effects. Wind is fine, storms and hurricanes require defensive action. Rivers are useful and even nice, but we need to guard against flooding and sometimes want/need to canalize a part.

          Capitalism may be human nature, but that implies nothing about the acceptable/desirable consequences. If someone thinks otherwise, they are simply committing the naturalistic fallacy.

          1. 2

            This is an important point that too often gets left behind. Capitalism isn’t some option off a menu you choose when setting up your government. It exists now, it will exist in the future, it will always exist. The study of economics isn’t something we do because we control it, it’s something that already happens that we seek to more fully understand.v You can take the most oppressive regime in history, perhaps with every bit of money controlled by the state, and there was still capitalism. The “capital” just switched over to political influence, reputation, and so forth. The same principles apply.

            History show us that the only thing you can really control about capitalism is how much of it you want to be overt versus covert.

            These discussion are really sad to read. We start off with everything being about money: who has money, who doesn’t have money, who has too little, who has too much, and so forth. Then we venture on this long and winding journey around whatever problem we’re trying to analyze only to end back up where we started. Turns out? The problem was all about money! That’s the problem!

            If I can take your premise and know how your analysis is going to conclude, you’re not doing much in the way of analysis. At best you’re simply regurgitating ideas you’ve consumed elsewhere and mangling them together. That might make for well-written and great prose, by the way. It could easily make for a piece of text worth reading and sharing with others. It’s just not going anywhere that we haven’t already gone a thousand times before.

            1. 2

              It exists now, it will exist in the future, it will always exist.

              Capitalism is an economic system that was created by people, and put into effect by force. There is nothing inevitable about it and it’s heavily reliant on the societal ideals and values, and seeks to manipulate them through media, and the very language that we use to talk about things, to ensure that it continues.

              The idea that we cannot build a different economic system, that might or might not involve money, ignores the fact that the dynamics of capitalism are fundamentally just societal agreements and social normals. And that societies have had, and current have, very different variations along that concept. It buys in to the idea that capitalism was a natural development, when it is anything but.

              In addition, your analysis that the person you are responding to is regurgitating ideas is entirely ignorant of the fact that that is all you are doing. You’re not stating anything new, you’re not even stating factual or historically correct information. You’re regurgitating half-thought ideas that have been passed along to you by your culture that you and others haven’t properly analysed, nor have you clearly read any analyses or critiques of those ideas. The fact that you’re using this to shame someone else is amazing, quite frankly.

              Please go and read The Origins of Capitalism by Meiksins-Wood. It’s an academic work but it’s very, very good. I’d also recommend Anthony Kenny’s History of Philosophy, purely because you don’t seem to believe that culture as a whole, and the zeitgeist specifically has changed massively over time, and not just through scientific evidence. For example, before JS Mills, morality was thought to be based on an inherent good or bad quality of the act. It was an impossible and clearly wrong idea that it could depend on the context in which an act takes place to determine whether it is a good act or a bad act. If morality itself depends on your societal context, just think about how deeply complex systems depend on specific circumstances and beliefs, and how much they could differ if those beliefs and circumstnaces were changed.

              1. 1

                I will consider this. Thank you.

                I am afraid, however, that I already know where this is going before it even begins. This is going to be about the classic definition of capitalism while I was talking more about something that academically might be called “free trade”

                I tried to make that clear by my examples. Apologies if I failed. I felt it was important to bring the conversation down to the vernacular and not get too far into semantics, history, and economic theory. But your point is a good one. I’m just not sure it’s relevant given the examples I provided.

        2. 3

          This should be posted somewhere on a website of writing to be better preserved than a comment on a story posted Lobsters (not that there’s anything wrong with Lobsters comments …).

          What you write sinks to the core of my being and the life I’ve carved out for myself in the United States. My friends think I’m crazy for moving to a small town and making due with the (largely) older population that still resides here. Where’s the nightlife? Where’s the easy entertainment?

          We buy less. We consume less. We build more. My kids are being raised knowing that when you hatch chicks, that one with a deformed leg will die, and it wont be anyone’s fault. But they see the miracle of two dozen other chicks grow into livestock that provides us with eggs. We then turn around and sell the eggs to make a small profit compared to the input of grain. In this way we participate in our own version of capitalism, but we’re not trying to convert two dozen eggs a day into 10,000. I don’t need cancerous growth to show my kids how to live a high quality life.

          Choosing the slow growth is hard. Choosing to go without is hard. But the choices are there. Everyday we’re making choices that inform the world we live in.

          Thank you for giving me a train of thought to meditate on.

        3. 2

          I 100% agree, The key here is to recognize that people make particular choices and those choices have consequences and if you don’t address our tendency to make bad choices when misinformed or tempted in certain ways then no system you create to address the bad effects of those choices will succeed. Capitalism done wrong will have certain effects. Communism done wrong will have certain effects. Socialism done wrong will have certain effects.

          The defenders of those systems will all say “Well, that’s because they didn’t do it right.” To which I respond yes, and until you fix their tendency to do them wrong they will continue to do them wrong.

      2. 9

        That’s a great point. At the moment, capital is our primary representative of desire/human nature. And of course, this is the great bait-and-switch of capital, which convinces us that it is the real thing we desire; before capital, this “stand-in for desire” was earth itself, and then the body of the despot.

        It felt more productive to discuss software-under-capitalism than software-under-human-nature, not least because the article is long-winded and heady enough as it is. It’s also easier to take action against something more concrete, even if that concreteness is a trick. Just because things are human constructions or illusions doesn’t make their consequences any less real!

      3. 20

        Human beings existed in non-capitalist forms for the vast majority of the time we’ve been on this planet. Non-capitalist cultures are rare and dying these days. But this is due to forms of globalization, notably the history of colonization. It’s not human nature but domination, often violent, that has produced the current state of affairs where capitalism as a cultural form is seen as somehow being due to “human nature”, as if it weren’t in fact a historical production.

        1. 9

          What do you mean by non-capitalist, in this context? I suppose one of the features of modern capitalism – the idea that the pie can grow – is a relatively new one, as is the idea that competition is good for consumers. But usually, people who reject capitalism don’t seem to reject those parts.

          However, exchange on a relatively free market, which is the most important part of capitalism, has existed for probably the bulk of human history, and in the cases where it was disallowed, it still stuck around in the form of a black market.

          1. 12

            Various forms of exchange have existed for a really long time, but the best way to delineate ‘capitalism’ and ‘not-capitalism’ is to look at the general mode of production prevalent in society. In 900 AD, most people worked under personal obligations, i.e. their labour was not sold on the free market, and the point of producing goods wasn’t to satisfy a profit motive, rather to satisfy need and a mesh of social obligations. Only in capitalism is most work organized and most goods produced under this generalized framework of selling them, only there is labour treated as a commodity.

            This is a simple, factual difference in how the economy works. You need a name for it, and ‘capitalism’ has always been that name. You can say that ‘capitalism’ actually means ‘exchange, in whatever form, is present’, but most people don’t mean that when they think of capitalism.

            1. 3

              I’ve seen different people use capitalism very differently, which is why I asked. I find that it’s usually worth stripping the -isms before starting a discussion. It both clarifies the terms, and reduces the emotional attachment to them.

              As far as human nature goes – I don’t buy that free trade is human nature, but I do think that wanting to move past a subsistence mode of living is. Then, once there’s largely enough stuff to survive, people start wanting to have different stuff from other people, which caters to their different tastes, and markets are an effective way to achieve that.

          2. 3

            there are arguments that the root of capitalism is in the neolithic revolution, but again, most of the time humans existed out of this structures and some still do. There are concepts like gift economy, collective property and so on that escape what you’re describing. It’s true that in some contexts people reverted to black markets, but as a reaction to existing economic structures that made it valuable. This is not a universal truth but specific to a (indeed quite broad) subset of economic systems.

        2. 2

          This is true but doesn’t invalidate the point. Those cultures also had failure modes some of them the same as the current failure modes.

      4. 1

        Those failure modes manifest in the use and accumulation of Capita

        Considering among capital are medicine and other things meant to improve our lives, I have a hard time seeing this as a failure. Rather it turns out most people don’t want to excersize their minds, and would rather spend their days watching cat videos. So that’s what we got.

        The failure of humanity seems to be the desire for idleness.

        1. 17

          Considering among capital are medicine and other things meant to improve our lives, I have a hard time seeing this as a failure.

          How, exactly, is medicine about capital? If you remove a capitalist system we don’t suddenly lose the ability to treat people, or develop new medicines. In fact, the current ways of doing both of those things are grossly inefficient, where people who cannot afford to get treatment run the risk of debilitating illness or death, and where research companies do not publish data simply because they invested capital in developing a drug that is, at best, no better than placebo.

          Rather it turns out most people don’t want to excersize their minds, and would rather spend their days watching cat videos. So that’s what we got.

          That’s not really the case though. The capitalist system itself causes stress on people, especially low-income people (which make up the majority). Not only could most of the work at the moment be done by less people (See: In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell, and Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber), but removing stress from people’s lives allows them the opportunity to grow and focus. The idea that people who aren’t working are inherently a) of less value to society, and b) utterly unproductive, is a fallacy and a product of Religious Dogma (“Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”). Stress kills creativity, if people didn’t have to struggle to survive (See: literally any UBI study), they not only tend to be more productive, or take valued roles in society that are scarce because they don’t have to work for the means to survive, but also they tend to be more creative. In fact, Eric S. Raymond (For however many his flaws are, and the fact that he is on the opposing side of my argument because of decades of cultural McCarthyism), in one of the essays in The Cathedral and the Bazaar, himself goes over the fact that, once the basic means are sorted, higher wages are not correlated with productivity, the basic measure that the capitalist system has for an individual’s productivity is inherently broken.

          Capitalism was a system created and enforced on people by force (As Meiksins-Wood shows in The Origins of Capitalism), it is not a natural system, and has nothing to do with human nature. In fact, it hampers it. Things that people used to do, like giving gifts, being productive, collaboration, etc. are suddenly viewed only through the lens of capitalist exchange, which twists those actions to be solely about capital. Even idleness itself is under the force of capital, people who are throwing up because they are stressed, have even more stress because they feel they are failing themselves for not being able to work! The very act of idleness is now about exchanging economic activity, and about driving the economy. If you look at say, leasure activities in the early 20th century compared to the late 20th century, it goes from “Going to the local club for a round of badminton” to something much, much more focused on consumption, you can see this shift happening in around the 1960s to the 1980s.

          Capitalism made it so that, suddenly, the only worth of a human being is for them to produce capital, almost always for other people. Human beings don’t just suddenly stop functioning and become mindless machines because they are outside of capitalism, that in itself is propaganda that has been shown to be false.

          We are worth more, we can do more.

          1. 4

            Things that people used to do, like giving gifts, being productive, collaboration, etc. are suddenly viewed only through the lens of capitalist exchange, which twists those actions to be solely about capital.

            They used to do other things before the invention of Capital too, like subjugating others, taking from others by force, killing others. The point I was trying to make is that Capital in and of itself doesn’t cause those failure modes anymore than anything else. It’s just part of who we are. We have failures modes like any other system and attempting to solve problems by blaming them on a tool is failing to recognize the root cause: Human Nature.

            1. 4

              I mean, that doesn’t really track with the facts. There have been people who were good leaders that led people to believe things that caused them to murder, and kill, and subjugate, but those aren’t necessarily inherent to human nature. Most of those things are believed to be an necessity by the people involved (Zionism, for example was seen as colonialism by the people who created it, but it was justified as an existential necessity, and they wrote entire books outlining their reasons. The cold war was seen as an existential destruction on both sides. Naziism was seen and justified as making the world a better place, free of ‘lesser’ people – My Nan grew up under Nazi Germany, in a reasonably middle class family, he was seen in a positive light because he got rid of unemployment. He also lowered education standards to an abominable level for the women, the amount of things my nan was just completely uneducated on at 87 years of age was astonishing, she didn’t even understand “what held up the planets”), or just fact of the world (look at slavery, justified as being inherently and genetically lesser, and as soon as white folks came across science we invested a lot of money and time into backing that up ideologically).

              While there are a handful of killers that kill without motive, most mass killers kill because they believe it will make the world a better place, because of their worldview. The fact that people create intricate justifications for the things that they do – which is well proven through the records we can find going back literally thousands of years, show very clearly, humans aren’t inherently hostile, except when they believe they’re in no other position, or a leader becomes greedy and convinces people that there is no other choice (Or when they don’t have to be convinced, when they’re in a societal position that ensures they will follow the commands).

              On the large, modern studies show that humans are naturally cooperative, and not inherently selfish, and there’s around several centuries of anarchist literature where people give more evidence towards that fact, and everything else I’ve outlined above.

              1. 5

                Zionism, for example was seen as colonialism by the people who created it, but it was justified as an existential necessity, and they wrote entire books outlining their reasons.

                It makes me incredibly uncomfortable to see this crop up in an argument about oppressive economic systems. Zionism is a deeply complicated topic that seems to so often collapse into “Jews bad”.

                1. 3

                  I can understand why you feel it’s uncomfortable, I feel the same. However, my point was correct, while Zionism is a complex topic, the founders of the movement explicitly called it colonialism multiple times, see this twitter thread with excerpts from their writing (Which you can stick into Google to pull sources for them, if you don’t believe them):

                  Jabotinsky, Herzl, Nordau, Ussishkin, and other founders of Zionism clearly stating it’s colonialism

                  You are right we must not mistake and conflate critique of Zionism, which is a specific political ideology, with hate towards Jewish people, who follow a religious belief and have massively different political tendencies within that belief system, and you are right that there is a lot of overlap between people who critique Zionism, and people who have hatred for Jewish people, which is wildly unfortunate, as they stand in the way of actual critiques of Zionism.

                  1. 16

                    the founders of the movement explicitly called it colonialism multiple times, see this twitter thread with excerpts from their writing (Which you can stick into Google to pull sources for them, if you don’t believe them):

                    First, I looked up the source of your linked “quote”. The only places it appears is on antisemitic and anti-Zionist websites. More digging eventually got me to the essay they claim to quote, The Iron Wall, which doesn’t have the quote. Everybody said “it’s in the source!” but nobody actually read the source.

                    (It does have deeply troubling anti-Arab statements, which I don’t deny, but the gulf between what it’s saying and what people are saying it’s saying is vast.)

                    Second, that’s a bait and switch. You’re conflating colonization as we understand it as an oppressive system with how they used “colonization”, which is literally just “moving to a new land.” You can’t call them the modern interpretation of colonialism because it appears in a text, translated from Russian, from a hundred years ago.

                    Third, Zionism isn’t a specific political ideology. It’s a set of similar concepts that form a mishmash of different political ideologies, just like “leftism” doesn’t mean “Leninist.”

                    Fourth, there is a lot of conflation between anti-Zionism and antisemitism by intention of anti-Zionists. Look up the history of “Zionology” and the Soviet effort to get Zionism declared a form of racism.

                    I’m pretty mad about this because I’ve been challenged on this everybody in “progressive circles”. People have asked me at conferences “what do you think about the Israel-Palestine conflict?” I’ve had to otherwise totally progressive people that no, Israel is not an “apartheid state”, yes, Arabs are allowed to vote, no, Israel didn’t start the Six-Day War. Antisemitism is socially acceptable in leftist circles and saying “I understand why you feel uncomfortable” doesn’t absolve anyone of anything.

                    1. 3

                      How can I upvote this 1000 times.

                    2. 2

                      Did you actually do the research? You’re right that the quotes appear on anti-Semitic websites, but this includes the ones where the quotes come from primary sources (Such as diaries written by the quoted leaders, or books written by them), so that doesn’t mean anything whatsoever.

                      I referred to the full thread, so let’s go through them and dig up the citations in sequence, as you will see, many of them come from the horses’ mouth:

                      1) The second numbered tweet (but the first one with an image and citation) comes from page 7 of “The Case for Palestine: An International Law Perspective”, this in turn, cites the following works for the text highlighted in the twitter post:

                      “38. Abdallah Schleifer, The Fall of Jerusalem”, p 23

                      Which is a book written by Abdallah Schleifer, born to a secular Jewish family, a “prominent Middle East expert”, and a former member of the US foreign policy research institute.

                      “39. Raphael Patai (ed.) The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl (1960). p 1194”

                      Which is a collection of Theodor Herzl’s diary written by Patai, a Jewish-Hungarian Ethnographer.

                      Are you trying to tell me that Patai and Schleifer are Anti-semitic? If that’s the fact, then state it, make your case.

                      2) You’re right the second tweet (the one I linked to) comes from The Iron Wall by Jabotinsky. A seemingly trustworthy source I can find here is from, and it says:

                      There can be no voluntary agreement between ourselves and the Palestine Arabs. Not now, nor in the prospective future. I say this with such conviction, not because I want to hurt the moderate Zionists. I do not believe that they will be hurt. Except for those who were born blind, they realised long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting “Palestine” from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority.

                      My readers have a general idea of the history of colonisation in other countries. I suggest that they consider all the precedents with which they are acquainted, and see whether there is one solitary instance of any colonisation being carried on with the consent of the native population. There is no such precedent. The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage. And it made no difference whatever whether the colonists behaved decently or not. The companions of Cortez and Pizzaro or (as some people will remind us) our own ancestors under Joshua Ben Nun, behaved like brigands; but the Pilgrim Fathers, the first real pioneers of North America, were people of the highest morality, who did not want to do harm to anyone, least of all to the Red Indians, and they honestly believed that there was room enough in the prairies both for the Paleface and the Redskin. Yet the native population fought with the same ferocity against the good colonists as against the bad. Every native population, civilised or not, regards its lands as its national home, of which it is the sole master, and it wants to retain that mastery always; it will refuse to admit not only new masters but, even new partners or collaborators.

                      He very clearly likens it to colonialism, through a direct analogy, and from then on I think the variance is one caused by the translation chosen. Whether this one is more true or less true to the words he wrote is something a native reader will have to determine.

                      3) The next citation (the 4th twitter post) can be traced to “Zionism and Anti-Semitism”, a book that was written by Nordau and Gottheil, it is a primary source.

                      4) The 5th twitter post was by Ussishkin. Ussishkin’s writings are, according to the Jewish Virtual Library recorded in two volumes, neither of which I can find online (I have found previous works via libgen, for example). They are presumably in hebrew, so I wouldn’t be able to read it anyway unfortunately.

                      This citation comes from “Expulsion Of The Palestinians” by Masalha, who is a (Palestinian (? Is that the right way to phrase that?)) academic. The book lists in the Bibliography (Sorry if I mistype anything, because I can’t copy and paste this): “See the minutes of his meeting on 24 September 1941. CAB 65/23. His pro-Zionist Secretary for India, Leopold Amery, endorsed the idea; see his letter to Churchill dated 4 October 1941, cited in Nathaniel Katzburg, Mendinlyut Bemavoch: Mendinlyut Britania Beeretz -Yisrael [The British Policy in the Land of Israel 1940-1945] (Jerusalem: 1977), p. 18.”. I will leave it to you to find those.

                      5) His sixth tweet makes reference to The Palestine Jewish Colonization Association (wiki), the Jewish Colonial Trust (jewish virtual library), and the Jewish Agency’s Colonization Department (American Jewish Archives).

                      Afterword: One must, indeed, wonder if Zionism isn’t Colonialism, why do multiple Zionist leaders proclaim it to be Colonialism, and why do the names of many pro-Zionist organizations explicit contain references to Colonialism?! I don’t see any other explanation other than the Zionists themselves, believed it to be Colonialism.

                      That’s a bait and switch. You’re conflating colonization as we understand it as an oppressive system with how they used “colonization”, which is literally just “moving to a new land.” You can’t call them the modern interpretation of colonialism because it appears in a text, translated from Russian, from a hundred years ago.

                      But doesn’t Jabotinsky, in the quote above, refer to fighting off existing people? What else is colonialism if not removing people who are already existing in a land, so you can settle there yourself? Also, I think I have a fair grasp of how people from the 1800s in Russia use the word colonialism, I’ve read Trotsky, Lenin, and Marx. All of whom make reference to those terms and use it in the same way we do today. The usage back then was not any different to the one we use now.

                      the Soviet effort to get Zionism declared a form of racism.

                      Both Lenin and Stalin were loudly outspoken against Anti-Semitism. The Bolsheviks and Mensheviks had a significant proportion of Jewish members, and the monarchy had treated Jewish people abominably. Shorly before the Russian Revolution, fascists (for want of a better term) locked a village full of Jewish people in a church and set it alight, just one of the many horrific incidents to happen. Before the Russian Revolution Jewish people were – quite literally – under attack. One of the few remaining recordings of Lenin is one of him giving a speech against anti-Semitism. There’s a good quote on Wikipedia from Stalin in 1931. And during the war he relocated Jews in areas that were at risk of coming under Nazi control.

                      1. 0

                        Oh! Hey! What’s this? A Jewish anti-Zionist song??

                        And a pro-Soviet anti-Fascist Jewish folk song?

                        Maybe it turns out Jewish people are real people and have views all across the Political Spectrum? Hmmm 🤔🤔

                    3. 1

                      I’d like to point out that the Polish government believed Madagascar was a good option because 1) it removed a population from the countryside, and 2) it extended polish influence as Colonialism. So certain strains of Zionism were in fact colonialist in justification.

          2. 1

            …himself goes over the fact that, once the basic means are sorted, higher wages are not correlated with productivity, the basic measure that the capitalist system has for an individual’s productivity is inherently broken.

            I’d like to read what economists think about this but this sentence is subtly wrong in my opinion.

            I think we should start to say that for a lot of positions, an individual’s productivity is awfully hard to measure, and in some cases it’s even hard to define (cf. all the art of counting lines of code). This is always true, for both Marxism, capitalism and whatsoever, right?

            Then, in a capitalist system, wages are a statement of the natural outcome of supply and demand, which means that they can vary a lot between companies, positions and locations. In my opinion this is - by design - not a reliable measure of productivity across positions and locations. And for the same position at the same location within the same company it doesn’t work at all if productivity is hard to measure for the position.

            In fact I see capitalism as a system where wages are naturally not correlated with productivity. I also think that money can’t really buy happiness so in overall, I don’t care a lot about it.

            1. 4

              Right - ‘Productivity’ is not an objective measure, because it’s easy to produce things nobody wants.

              Once upon a time, Capitalism solved that by moving decision-making power closer to the information - but wealth concentration has diluted that advantage to homeopathic levels.

            2. 3

              That’s a fair point! And I’m very likely wrong on that front, given more consideration! The rest of it still stands :)

            3. 1

              I don’t have any arguments against the rest of it, but:

              I also think that money can’t really buy happiness so in overall, I don’t care a lot about it.

              Fundamentally, for anything sub- 30-50k/mo, more money means significant quality of life improvements. Preliminary tests of UBI have shown massive health improvements in low wage populations. Money is the gatekeeper for medical care, for access to basic necessities, and recreational activity. It’s also the gatekeeper for changing jobs, changing your environment, and removing yourself from hostile and abusive scenarios that are damaging to your mental health.

              I think this idea of downplaying that “money can’t buy happiness” is foolish. Nobody has claimed that money is a direct line to happiness, however it’s the main, sometimes only, gatekeeper between us and the solutions to almost all of the material problems that plague pretty much everyone who isn’t earning around or above the aforementioned wage line.

              I know and have heard en-masse of people who have lost their entire lives to work, simply trying to get their children into a better financial situation, so they do not have to know that pain too. I know people in the south of the USA, describe how working constantly and not having time has become so ingrained into their culture that “not having time to see your kids” is an expression of love.

              I know people who have been forced to work for abusive managers, or been forced to live in abusive households, because the cost of moving themselves out of that scenario was ridiculously, ludicrously high, and because they are completely unable to obtain that money, because of their impacted mental health.

              I know people who have died from mental health and physical health problems because they were unable to afford treatment, or who end up living with lifelong injury because they do not have the time to see the doctor, or pay for better ones. And, just to contextualise that, I live in a country where healthcare is free – ideally there shouldn’t be a cost to that, but all of the best doctors

              I know extremely intelligent and smart people who can’t find the time to work on projects that would improve, in a small way, people’s lives, because they wouldn’t be able to make a living off it.

          3. 1

            Do you actually believe that stuff?

            1. 2

              I don’t need to believe it. Read the literature, it’s been very clearly shown.

              1. 0

                The question to be answered is: what is to be done with one’s labor. Capitalism answers that with “it’s to remain with the laborer.” There is no other answer that can be moral, not if one takes as True that people may possess.

                Quite clearly shown is clearly in the eye of the beholder.

                1. 6

                  Capitalism’s answer is that labor should typically be rented out to the employer under employment contracts enforced by the state. That’s not exactly the same as “remaining with the laborer.” David Ellerman makes this point quite forcefully.

                  1. 1

                    It remains with the laborer because they get to see the results of their labor in the form of a paycheck which can be redeemed for others’ labor. Unlike other systems where your needs are taken care of regardless of your value.

                    1. 3

                      It’s just that the employment contract specifies that everything produced and consumed by the work is the responsibility of the employer, not the employee—so as a coder, everything you make is appropriated by the company.

                      If you sold your whole future labor under such conditions it would rightly be considered a version of slavery. But in capitalism we rent labor, we don’t buy it.

                2. 5

                  The question to be answered is: what is to be done with one’s labor. Capitalism answers that with “it’s to remain with the laborer.”

                  and the laborer has no other choice than giving it away for the least amount of compensation the market allows? like a casino, the market always favours the capital. there may be some irregularity across the different occupations (tech jobs currently have it better than most), but as a whole, those who have the capital decide how much compensation you will get for your work force. and that will always (by definition of the market) the least amount possible to keep the system running.

                  1. 1

                    and the laborer has no other choice than giving it away for the least amount of compensation the market allows?

                    The option always exists to assert the market would pay more, in which case additional compensation is granted, or to work in a different field, or to not work at all, so long as you yourself didn’t steal others’ labor. The capitalist system creates value out of thin air, because one thing the Marxists get right is the value added by a person is far more than their compensation.

                    1. 3

                      The option always exists to assert the market would pay more, in which case additional compensation is granted

                      i think that in certain sectors the “prices” for labour are being fixed by the capital at the lowest point possible, most commonly in sectors which don’t require much education. unions are at a point where they are more or less corrupt and are being bought. capitalism is excellent in defending itself :)

                      or to work in a different field, or to not work at all, so long as you yourself didn’t steal others’ labor.

                      i don’t really know what to reply to this? work as something which requires a medium amount of education (x years). so i can choose between not being payed enough for my job or saying “fuck it” and have a severely reduced income in the next y years while being retrained? that’s not really an option, just like “don’t work at all”.

                      1. 1

                        They are always options, and depending on the individual’s circumstances, they may be the right or wrong options. That’s all.

                        1. 4

                          They are always options, and depending on the individual’s circumstances, they may be the right or wrong options. That’s all.

                          i don’t see much of an option in the sense of “things one can choose between”. shitty payment or unemployment is most of the time a straight route to poverty which in turn leads to social and health problems leading to making it difficult being employed again. that some people can pull themselves out of this by their bootstraps doesn’t validate the “you only have to try hard enough” meme.

                          what is lost by making sure people are paid well? bezos n-th billion? what is gained? the possibility of having a non-cutthroat society where it’s members can focus on being social (note the similarity of “social” and “society”) instead of thinking of the best way to get the most money.

                    2. 2

                      or to work in a different field, or to not work at all

                      That isn’t really the case. Many people on low-income jobs, many skilled people forced to work such jobs, are unable to do that.

        2. 4

          I wasn’t implying that using and accumulating capital were instrinsically failure modes. My point was that many of our failure modes manifest in the process of using and accumulating capital. Similarly to the way that they manifest when writing software.

        3. 1

          The failure of humanity seems to be the desire for idleness.

          If anything, I’d put it completely the other way. It is the impossibility of being content, of merely sitting in an empty room doing anything but being with our thoughts (going as far as giving ourselves electric shocks instead of being idle), that pushes ourselves to do anything (be it watching kitten videos, or accumulate useless capital) to push the burden of sentience away.

          1. 1

            the impossibility of being content

            This is how people grow though. We poke and prod and learn. Doing nothing doesn’t necessarily require being content, but it does require that your time be useless to yourself and others. Some people really want to do nothing.

      5. 1

        At it’s crux the issue is human nature. Human nature has a number of failure modes. Those failure modes manifest in the use and accumulation of Capital

        Accumulation of capital is not a failure mode. It is life serving its purpose, which is replication of genes. You are in a better position to do that the more stuff you have.

        If you have financial independence, many people are just going to play video games. They are not gonna become a pianist or a painter. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say. Softwares just empower people to do what they want to do better. And what they want is to be forever distracted.

        1. 4

          You’re going in a decent direction but miss the larger point: evolution optimizes for the population to survive, not individuals. That individuals get rich in this system is almost entirely due to how the economic, financial, and legal systems are constructed. The system also makes unhealthy, imprisons, and/or kills large numbers of people for both random and non-object reasons. That usually works against evolutionary goals.

          There’s other systems where the population as a whole has their needs met, are healthier, get good education, and sometime more time off work for leisurely activities. In well-run socialism, these benefits of their system mean that both the average individual and the population as a whole are more likely to survive and pass on their genes.

          Note: One might also look at the infant mortality rate of each country for this assessment. That’s a bit, too dark a subject for me this early in my morning. Probably others, too. I’ll pass on it for now.

          1. 2

            In well-run socialism,

            In a well-run utopia, everything is perfect.

            1. 3

              Now, you’re just trolling. A number of existing countries have the benefits I describe that increase evolutionary survivability. No need to theorize or bring in utopias.

              Even in theory, one should expect capitalism and free market might work against evolution because they work against individuals’ health. Companies and workers are always expected to do more for less overtime. That inevitably leads to more stress, less healthy ingredients in food, more toxins in environment, more dying from lack of healthcare, etc.

              It’s by design. Good news is you can let evolution do its thing and capitalism do its thing. You can be a fan of both. They are seperate for now unless you mean it protects the survival of rich kids’ genes. That might be true but with who knows what consequences.

            2. 3

              well, the usa took care that the non dictatorial socialist experiments would fail :)

          2. 2

            Well-run socialism is an oxymoron, did you maybe mean to say “social democracy” instead of “socialism”? The former is a way to organise society which has been adopted in some way by most western democracies, including the US - Medicare and Medicaid are examples of social programs which have been voted into being through a democratic process. Socialism is the precursor to communism and has never been shown to lead to anything but societal decline and poverty, often in combination with a stratified society where those who do not support the state in all it does - for better or for worse - are denied basic rights.

            Social democracy is not the same as socialism. The DDR and the Soviet Union were socialist states. The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland (and many more) are social democracies.

            1. 1

              The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland (and many more) are social democracies.

              Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Three of those were even examples I was ready to give. They just call those socialist where I’m from. The ones you call socialist they call communist. Although I have memory problems, I’d probably still not be sure what term to use given the varying usages of socialist, left, right, etc in my country and outside it.

              So, looking it up on Wikipedia, it starts with “Social democracy is a political, social and economic philosophy within socialism… “ The linked article on Socialism itself includes my usage of the term. Is Wikipedia inaccurate where the social democracies aren’t in socialism or socialism not having multiple forms which include above countries? If so, it might be worth editing those articles to include the source for that, too.

              1. 3

                Well, there is ‘wrong’ and ‘wrong’. Social democracy is an amalgamation of some of the tenets of socialism and those of a democratic society with a market economy. It is an end stage in and of itself - social democracies do not strive after abolishing the market economy - where socialism is a precursor to communism, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ with a socialist party in control of the state. Venezuela is the most recent example of such a state that I know of.

                Marx and Engels thought the workers would eventually revolt to get a more fair share of the value created by their labour. This is not what happened though, working conditions and rewards were improved in such a way that workers did not rise up in revolt. They voted ‘their’ candidates into power, organised in labour unions and got some of their demands met in this way. Some revolutionary socialists - Lenin being the best-known example - thought this was not enough and, disappointed by the refusal of the workers to revolt stated that the proletariat needed to be guided into the classless communist society through the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e. a leading class of revolutionary socialists would take power by non-democratic means. It is at this point where socialism and social democracy parted ways around 100 years ago.

    6. 3

      Yet another instance of a common trope used against Elm:

      1. It doesn’t do what I want (almost always “native JS”)
      2. I asked to have it included
      3. (optional) and I even wrote a patch for it
      4. And even though I’m right, the maintainer won’t budge

      We understand: Elm doesn’t jive with your style. That’s not an indictment of Elm, just as it’s not an indictment of you. You can move on without disrespecting how someone else wants to run their project.

      1. 37

        As a potential user of Elm, this “disrespect” is helpful to me. It tells me not to use Elm to write anything that might ever need to call an unpopular library, because those libraries will probably never be written. As a potential open source project leader, it also told me of a failure mode to avoid in my leadership. So I am glad the author didn’t just move on and stay silent.

        You suggestion to move on without saying anything would make more sense if Elm prominently advertised that it has its own “style” that is different from most other open-source languages. Like if the Elm home page had this:


        • No runtime exceptions.
        • Purposely-limited JS bindings, incentivising the community of Elm developers to recreate JS libraries as safe, pure-Elm libraries.
        • Opinionated core devs who don’t accept feedback or patches, allowing Elm’s design to be completely coherent.

        But Elm’s website doesn’t advertise that. So I think you can’t blame a user for assuming that Elm works like most other open source languages, then feeling bait-and-switched when it doesn’t.

        1. 3

          For anyone acquainted with JS, I think “no runtime exceptions” pretty well implies your second bullet point (after the “…”), and then the third sort of naturally follows. So, OK, not everybody can read between the lines or read up on third-party opinions about a language before adopting it, but I think I can detect a double standard here. Maybe it’s because of all the effort that the Elm devs put into making the language beginner-friendly?

          For what it’s worth, I’m glad that Elm is run the way it is, and I don’t agree that politely not accepting paradigm-breaking contributions is a “leadership failure” let alone “aggressively authoritarian”. There are no lack of alternative languages in this space!

          1. 17

            For what it’s worth, Elm being run this way means it will never be a consideration for me for anything but the silliest of side projects. I can’t in good conscience encourage anyone at work to use a language like this in production.

            I think the most scathing indictment here is not “politely not accepting paradigm-breaking contributions,” it’s the swiftness with which contrary arguments are not tolerated. It’s one thing to grumble out shit-posting or people who argue for the sake of argument. But banning people for suggesting a way to get around single-channel package management or DRM-ed library wrappers? Human endeavor is rife with geniuses and their brilliant ideas getting lost in pursuit of pure paradigms.

            And yet, the Elm core team are free to do whatever they want. I’m just never going to make the mistake of using it for something important to me.

          2. 3

            So, Elm has always had the ‘no runtime exceptions’ promise, and up until 0.19 it also always allowed Kernel code (or equivalent native javascript) to be written as an escape hatch. Furthermore, the ports method does not involve any kind of subprocess isolation, so there can still be runtime exceptions propagated from the javascript dealt with through ports to the ‘elm process’. So, clearly there is no implication there in the way you want there to be.

      2. 13

        It’s not really a trope though, as the author says, it is hobbled by design.

        I evaluated Elm for a side project a few years ago and ultimately made the decision that I didn’t feel comfortable shipping code in it, due to these sort of community horror stories. Continuing to inform people so they can re-evaluate if the community has adopted a more nuanced stance on glaring issues is important.

        It doesn’t do what I want (almost always “native JS”)

        I don’t think support for localStorage is a unrealistic expectation for production, which is defended with the same sort of nonsense these articles say pervades the community:

        Programmers may store important information on thousands of computers out in the world, and losing that data could hurt their business.

        If you are storing mission-critical information that needs resiliency in localStorage which can be reset or cleared by browser vendors, you have bigger problems than if you got your localStorage-wrapping API correct or not.

        The argument made against having an API for localStorage is exactly the kind of stuff I see these posts talking about. It doesn’t have the “blessing” so it shall not pass.

        1. 2

          I think you may have missed some important context from your quote. With the preceding sentence:

          If a library like this is released, it will need to be supported forever because we cannot just switch to a better API when we figure it out. Programmers may store important information on thousands of computers out in the world, and losing that data could hurt their business.

          No nonsense here. They aren’t saying that localStorage is somehow unworthy of blessing, but rather that they’ve put a bunch of work into supporting it, don’t think it’s ready yet, and won’t release a half-baked version that they don’t want to support. Meanwhile you can use the ports to do all of this kind of stuff. I have, it worked fine.

          1. 9

            localStorage has been around since IE8, the API is small, and the type signatures are simplistic; keys and values are both strings.

            The only “tricky” issue that runs counter to their guarantee of no runtime errors I’ve encountered would be certain browsers (looking at you Safari) throw an exception when interacting with localStorage in an incognito context, the other errors, like QuotaExceededError are generally well documented.

            There are significantly more difficult browser APIs to encapsulate, so the argument does really hold water when you inspect it.

            This sort of argument made in the README is the same sort of civil aggression noted by others many times over at this point, which makes the ecosystem hard to use in reality.

            Don’t get me wrong I think the compiler messages elm offers are the best i’ve ever seen and I wish other languages would follow suit, but unfortunately the project has many well enumerated issues at this point.

            1. 1

              Fair enough. I think all parties agree that Elm isn’t for everybody, and its culture is pretty different than most language projects of its size. I think it’s a refreshing difference, myself, but I’m not invested enough to get emotional about it. I also haven’t seen any of this “aggression” in person, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge.

          2. 5

            Even that context doesn’t really make sense–why would programmers lose their data if Elm were to remove the old localStorage API and ship a better one?

            1. 1

              Presumably, the new one wouldn’t be backward-compatible, just because they don’t want to support that. The way I read it, it’s just about who’s responsible when the API breaks. Roll your own using ports (as they suggest), and it’s not their problem.

              1. 1

                If they break the API you can still roll your own using ports or just use plain JS to access you existing localStorage data, you don’t lose the data.

    7. 11

      Curious why he stopped at the X200. The X220 is the paragon of laptops for me. I have it running FreeBSD and everything except the fingerprint reader and webcam works, and that’s more a BSD issue. Previously with Arch everything “just worked” and it could handle 1080p videos :)

      My work laptop is a 6th gen X1 Carbon and it too has FreeBSD on it, working as well as one could expect. Battery life is 8+ hours if I turn the screen way down and only keep a minimum of apps open, which is how I usually run anyhow.

      1. 17

        Curious why he stopped at the X200

        I think that’s the last model that works on 100% Free Software. I forgot what the exact issues are with newer models as I don’t really care about this personally, but it’s also the newest the FSF sells.

        But yeah … After the x220 things went a bit downhill for a while, but they corrected a bunch of mistakes with the x260 (or x250?). I have a x270 and it’s not perfect, but find it works very well for me.

      2. 10

        The screen of the X200 is 10% larger than the X220, the X201 was the last model to have a 1440x900 display. After that they downgraded the resolution pretty significantly for many years.

        I was using the X200 from 2009-2016 (for this exact reason) at which point I upgraded to an X301 which has a slightly slower clock speed but a 13-inch 1440x900 screen and a nicer palm rest. It also has a second battery bay, but you can’t buy non-exploding batteries for it any more.

        1. 3

          Not exactly … the X201 had 1280 x 800 display. The X201s had 1440x900 display.

      3. 3

        Does it have cast steel hinges & a latch? That’s what I miss the most about laptops.

      4. 2

        16:10 is much nicer than 16:9, and the X200 keyboard feels much nicer than the X220.

    8. 1

      I sincerely hope than in my professional life as a software developer, the challenges outlined in this post never apply to me.

      The shear volume of THINGS these piles of source code and the tools used to develop them manipulate in the background without you knowing likely contributes to huge amounts of the junk in those git repositories.

      I am pretty far from the suckless development model in my own professional life, but at least I generally know what all the files in my source tree are for, why they were created and whether I can get rid of them.

      Also … what is the MS Office repository doing being ported to Git? Do they still actively develop the desktop app? Or is 365 in the same repo as the desktop app?

    9. 4

      Can’t we just remove the “data” and say science in general? Any systematic approach to knowledge about our world that is built around categorization or definition is doomed to marginalize those that defy categorization or definition.

      1. 7

        Most science done has ethical boundaries they attempt to follow. Some of these boundaries may be more or less compromised. Most scientific studies for example won’t include you without your explicit consent. Data science is more slippery than typical scientific practice because it revolves around data already gathered. Bypassing your consent is MUCH easier. The problem then gets further compromised when we start talking about businesses who may have a profit motive in ignoring scientific norms. Without any of the normal rules, regulations, and protections provided in a normal study they can really go off the rails. Without protection and oversight most businesses will be too tempted by the prospect of profits, and they will always choose what they perceive shareholders will value. Of course, mined data is a toxic asset, especially without consent. It can be illegal, or worse reputation destroying, and I suspect that will only get more so over time. Businesses that “mine data” as their primary way of doing business might lead to a bubble like crash that would be pretty bad for us devs. When that day comes it’s possible we won’t have to worry about this conversation so much, but until then it’s important to talk about specifically where the problems arise.

      2. 4

        Nice strawman argument. But, there’s a large jump between science and Seeing Like a State. See: the vast majority of human history.

        To wit, we are not resources for a state to manage in order to maximise GDP growth.

        1. 5

          I’m not sure what about my argument is strawman. In the article the argument is that data science can be used to subjugate or violate the rights of queer people. To quote the article:

          There’s no test that you give someone to determine they’re “actually” trans, unless you’re a doctor, or a neuroscience researcher, or a bigot (but I repeat myself).

          If we’re going to argue that data science threatens transexuality because it attempts to understand it or at the very least to categorize it, then we can just throw most natural science efforts out the window too. I don’t think the leap from the scientific method to panopticism is as great as you seem to think it is. The problem is that scientific reasoning can be used for many things, but what it’s best at is systemizing knowledge and define things against other things. That happens to be very useful at building knowledge, and those with knowledge have power, and eventually GDP. I’d love a counter example of a ludite culture that has a thriving GDP and loose definitions around their beliefs.

          1. 3

            Whether a person is trans or not, isn’t a scientific question. Cool that you’re going to bring that strawman to your grave tho.

            1. 3

              Whether a person is trans or not, isn’t a scientific question.

              As someone totally not in the loop, why isn’t it a scientific question? Somewhat related to that, why wouldn’t everything also be a scientific question?

            2. 2

              It’s currently what many scientists are studying and debating. There’s knowledge, theory, and practices around the subject. It’s definitely a scientific question. Further, it’s a settled question for some while a debated one for others. All depends on one’s views.

              1. 4

                Whether a single person or not is trans is - for now - a question of their subjective experience.

                There’s definitely science to be done about whether there are commonalities, biological markers, etc.

                1. 2

                  That’s all I’m saying. Especially the subjective experience. That biological gender is objective with objective data, but trans identity is subjective, is exactly why there’s such a strong debate about whether to accept or reject it. Science has been making the situation just a little more objective. That might help in some ways down the road.

                  Or make it worse. Never know how scientific results will be [ab]used… Just gotta take the chance since the subject is too important to not investigate.

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                    It seems a subtle nitpick to the uninitiated, but receiving the suggestion that a scientist could ‘set them straight’ about their subjective, personal experience is a common enough occurrence that you’ll enrage people if they think you’re doing it, which makes reasonable discussion hard.

                    Rereading “Whether a person is trans or not, isn’t a scientific question” with that context might make more sense of the reaction.

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                      This is the real MVP comment of the conversation. The same way science can’t tell you if you’re “objectively” sad or “objectively” a baseball fan, it makes no sense to ask if someone is “objectively” trans, but that doesn’t mean we get upset at people for crying when their grandparents die or spending hours watching people run around on a field.

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                        This response has been absolutely boggling my mind since I’ve first read it. Are you actually comparing gender with an interest for a sport? Then are you trivialising the implications of self-id (which is a thing). I mean, the entire discussion has been one of the catalysts of the alt-right, something I hardly think something like “baseball” could have had brought into life. I guess what they share in common, is that there is big money pushing both (after all, there’s a lot of profits one can make off people who depend on permanent medical supervision).

                        It’s not a surprise that Gender cannot be scientifically determined (as compared to sex), since it’s social, and has become meaningless in a society that’s relying less and less on gendered division of labour. But how that means that gender becomes individual (an apparent paradox) is foreign to me. People often say self-id is the best solution, because nothing else works. But that doesn’t mean it is good in itself. Nothing works! Because gender is dead!

                        To clarify this: None of this is meant as an insult against you or anyone else. None of this can be used an excuse of violence or smears. None of what I say is an attack on gender non-conformance. I don’t know you, and don’t wish to comment on your opinions. Ignore me if that’s what you want, I demand no response or attention. I just had to write this, even if it it were all wrong. This thread has already become so off topic, that there’s little more to care about. This topic has severely dealt damage to my mental well-being over the last few months, and suppressing it hasn’t done me well. I’ve been trying to get over it, but at no avail.

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                          I agree with you here; I was just using that as an example to help other people see why the specific idea I was referring to was a bit silly. It’s reductio ad not-quite-absurdum to illustrate a point.

                          This topic has severely dealt damage to my mental well-being over the last few months, and suppressing it hasn’t done me well.

                          I’m very happy to talk about this privately, if you want.

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                            Very kind, but there’s no point to burden anyone with my issues. The usage of the term “severely” was wrong, and I would edit it out if I could.

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                    If we’re going to talk in scientific terms it is important that we get the terms correct. So please don’t take this as me being pedantic because most people don’t know the precise definitions of these words. Heck even I didn’t before I had a close friend transition. I think it will help disambiguate and dissolve conflict. Gender specifically refers to the cultural construct, and therefore is subjective. You can have a gender even if you were a cybernetic brain in a box, no body required. Sex is the sexual dimorphism we observe, genitalia, hip size, bone structure, muscle mass, hair presentation, etc. As sexual dimorphism is not a binary, so even though yes your chromosomes may be XX or XY you can be XX with several male features. For example if you found out Hugh Jackman had XX chromosomes you wouldn’t more more likely to marry him, so the sexual dimorphism actually matters a great deal. Traits we generally think of as “male” or “female” often end up on people of either sex. In more extreme cases those traits are “fixed” surgically to fit the “birth sex” (what is perceived to be their sex by the parent, or the preferred sex by the parent). So sex as we talk about it in everyday language is not the chromosomes but rather the sexual dimorphism we observe.It’s quite a bit more common than people would like to think when we start to consider the full gamut of possible traits that can be considered sexually dimorphic. A woman at birth can have a “male” jawline, or a mustache, or a beard, or “male” muscles etc.

                    Identity itself is a construct, so the only measure we can have is how real it feels to them, the one who is perceiving it. So, the very question of “Is this person’s perceptions about their own identity real” is a vacuous question to answer. It’s akin to debating the tautology ⊤ = ⊤, because you’re debating the reality of a fundamentally immaterial thing. More importantly when a person perceives something about their body, concretely, that doesn’t agree with how their body presents they will go to the ends of the earth resolve that cognitive dissonance. It will cause them great anguish until they fix that. It’s akin to if you woke up one morning with tiny hands coming out of your stomach. Body horror is an entire genre for a reason. There can be an element of body horror for someone like us when we observe someone transitioning, because we are projecting our identity on that person, and imagining how horrible it would be to change our bodies. However this body horror is precisely what many trans people live with when they do not transition. Therefore we should not put our own discomfort above theirs, as what they live with is an order of magnitude more intense than what we experience as an observer.

                    The debate that arises around this subject is almost exclusively among lay people like you and me, and not researchers. The debates almost exclusively arise from the kinds of loose wiggly terms and the misconceptions around those terms that lay people use. The scientifically incorrect perception of sexual dimorphism as a binary, the conflation of sexual dimorphism and gender, and the conflation of sexual dimorphism and chromosomes are common contributors to why lay people debate on this until their lungs give out. The scientific consensus isn’t particularly divided on this subject. Some people don’t like the results, maybe some find them a bit disturbing, but that’s not the same thing as having a sound basis to doubt the conclusions. As we start unraveling the strings that hold together our consciousness, I suspect we will soon find things that are a great deal more upsetting than this.

          2. 1

            Why is GDP even relevant? Lol, life is not a competition to get rich dude, chill down. Also if you believe that ludites or neoludites are against science and tech, you should maybe spend your fraction of the GDP on some book about the subject.

            Science is a tool and as such should be treated. You elevate it to a source of truth, which is not. To each problem its tools. Understanding subjective experiences and the formation of identities is not a problem for natural sciences.

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              I certainly didn’t say anyting about GDP being the alpha and the omega. I was meerly making the point–a point which often lost on many counter-culturalists—that the scientific method has proved itself over the last few hundred years to be VERY effective at stockpiling resources: knowledge, material and spiritual. I am actually pretty left-leaning in my own right and have very pessimistic views about the current trajectory of the application of the scientific method to our world. But this isn’t the right forum for those arguments.

              I was just trying to make an intellectual argument based on the claims of the original story that if you’re going to attack data science as hostile to the subjective quality of being human, you can go ahead and throw out biology, physics and chemistry which all attempt to categorize and objectify our gender with just as many horrible effects as data science.

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                I don’t think any of those disciplines ever concerned itself with gender. Sex yes, gender no. Gender, if any, is studied by sociologists, anthropologist and so on. Biology has nothing to say about gender. Also it’s not clear what the scientific method told us about spirituality

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                  Those disciplines should not concern themselves with gender, but they certainly do. The scientific method has certainly been used to attempt to explain our process of belief from a biologically necessary perspective.

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                    If you’re talking about stuff like evolutionary psychology, it’s still hotly debated if, epistemically, they fall into modern science. Otherwise it’s not clear what you’re talking about. I mean, clearly at some point some scientist that never concerned themselves with humanities for sure tried to apply science where it was inappropriate, but Science as a discipline is something else.

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        Science is essentially the process by which humans seek verifiable knowledge. It is the only tool we have to try to understand the universe we live in without simply taking someone else’s word for it. What would you replace it with?

        1. 1

          I’m not arguing for replacing science. But in the context of the article, the nature of science is to categorize and define, and to do so with a decent amount of ruthlessness with regards to personal privacy and subjective feelings. It is not data science alone that is threatening to queer people. All of science is positioned against the more fluid and unexplainable aspects of being alive.

    10. 2

      Well that wasn’t very well written at all. Why get into an argument with Wikipedia about whether ECMAScript and JavaScript are the same thing. Wikipedia even provided examples of JScript and ActionScript as other implementations of ECMAScript specs.

      Also “Web APIs” != the DOM, for what it’s worth.

      1. 1

        Did they claim “Web APIs” == the DOM? The article’s description of web APIs is “document and every method on document; window and every method on window; Event, XMLHttpRequest, fetch, etc”. That sounds correct to me.

        1. 1

          I suppose I was thinking that the author was conflating the end points where data comes from, with manipulating things on a webpage. Maybe methods on windows are part of the programming interface of the Web, but it doesn’t feel right to me. It seemed like a hand-wavy way to avoid being specific about whether they were talking about DOM manipulation (why React exists) and actually getting data from web servers (why Redux exists).

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            The MDN seems to agree with the article:

            It lists all APIs which aren’t part of the ECMA specification, but which the web platform exposes, as web APIs. That includes interacting with CSS, the DOM, and things like XMLHttpRequest.

    11. 3

      I find it almost poetic that Microsoft ended up with Github in their court, given the position MS has maintained in the cathedral/bazaar debate for decades. Aside from the cruel but inevitable betrayal of their closed-source origins, I can’t imagine a better owner of the Our Lady of Open Source website, Github.

      Sarcasm aside, Github did introduce a LOT of people to the concept of open source, even if you don’t agree with their distribution methods. I love ESR as much as any card carrying FOSS advocate, but the software revolution was not going to happen on mailing lists.

    12. 3

      @SirCmpwn I understand your argument. Github came up with a centralized UI - you claim that it is bad. What is your proposal (besides email)?

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      2. 1

        I think the argument here is that email is likely the most bazaar-esque way to contribute to a software project, and coincidently, how git was optimized to be used.

    13. 7

      I couldn’t not post something when I read the title. I’m currently waiting for a test which takes about 15 minutes. Thing is, I have to compare the output to values defined in a CSV, and the biggest chunk of the time is waiting for the input to be loaded. Usually, there are a lot of errors immediately, but I only see this after 15 minutes. Then, I have to open the Excel file which computes the values used for checking (takes ~10 minutes), and find the corresponding computation in both the program and the Excel file. When I fix the error, I have to fix the error in the code or in the Excel file. When it’s in the Excel file (it usually is), I have to run it (takes about 20 minutes), and update the CSV in some specific location, and run a program to put the new values in the database. This again, takes about 20 minutes.

      So all in all, I spend about an hour for every error I find. This can be (and often is) something as simple as a typo in the Excel file. I have complained about this process before, but I don’t have the time/authority to change this (there are about 15-20 people working on this project, so I can’t just change the workflow if it’s not a task that is assigned to me). I don’t know why others think this is acceptable. Maybe because I’m usually the one ending up doing this tedious task, because I’m the ‘technical guy’ in my team.

      This all used to really drag me down to the point of taking my work home and having a bad mood because of it. Now I’m a bit apathetic. If they don’t fix this, they’ll just pay me to do dumber work and be less productive. Their loss.

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        And people wondered why I favored unit tests over integration tests in Working Effectively with Legacy Code.

        1. 2

          My favorite was a discussion about a review of your book the other day where someone complained that unit tests cause tests to be too fine grained, and that logic of your solution creeps into your tests. Seems like that’s a good litmus test for complexity getting out of hand.

          My work code base mingles what are clearly integration tests with unit tests and as a result no one runs the full suite before pushing new code and means master has a 50/50 chance of being broken at any given time. It’s terrible.

      2. 3

        Consider yourself lucky – the test suite on a project I worked on 10 years ago took over 6 hours to run (the developers didn’t consider the speed of the tests when writing them – since the tests are “not in the fast path”).

        One thing we did do well is make sure that each test in the suite tested one and only one thing. If the suite failed, it was possible to re-run just one of the failing tests (which would take 10-20 seconds), rather than re-running the entire suite. In your case, it sounds like the developers of the tests might benefit from AAA (Arrange, Act, Assert) – which applies mostly to unit tests, but can also be used in integration tests.

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          I’m talking about an individual test, which takes about 15 minutes (we have some which take up to half an hour). If you run all tests, it takes like 4 hours, I guess. So it often happens that you run tests before pushing to develop, and while the tests are running, someone pushes to develop, so you have to merge and run the tests again (and hope that no one pushes this time). Or, you just run some important tests and push. Then, if you break develop, you’ll know after 4 hours (and of course, people will have pulled from and pushed to develop).

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            That’s solved by having a good integration flow, like bors-ng or zuul, in place. If your patch breaks the test suite, your patch should not land.

      3. 3

        I feel like there has to be a way in which you can take advantage of everyone’s apathy and disinterest in that task, artificially increase the cost of it over time, like pretend the spreadsheet takes an hour to load, and then try to do something about it in the newly created dead time? It’ll be slow work, but incremental improvements do lead places.

      4. 3

        Start getting paid by hour and detach yourself from the process and see your joy and happiness raise dramatically.

        You’ll be absolutely delighted to know that tests have slowed down, as it allows you an extra cup of coffee/tea and another round of play with your doggo (or catto) :P

      5. 1

        Usually, there are a lot of errors immediately, but I only see this after 15 minutes.

        Surely there’s a way to make your test framework fail fast? If it’s a case of loading everything into memory (which I doubt), then again surely there’s some streaming library for your language.

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          Jup, it’s not even very hard. It’s just not a priority, so it’s never fixed. Also, most team leads don’t usually don’t do the job of running and fixing these tests, so they don’t really feel the pain of having slow tests.

          I estimate that many steps in the process do about 10 to 1000 times the strictly necessary work:

          • If you want to compare tests results you have to obtain output from a big excel file, that is about 60 MB big (even though you just need one sheet).
          • If you load new input, you have to reload all the output (100s of MBs)
          • If you do a test, you first load all the values into memory
    14. 7

      This is a great essay, but I was recently in a situation where someone was throwing YAGNI around like a sledgehammer at everything that they didn’t understand. I would team up YAGNI with Joel’s four-part posts on building a functional docs[1]. Because you don’t know what you don’t know unless you have at least the beginning of a plan :)


      1. 4

        someone was throwing YAGNI around like a sledgehammer at everything that they didn’t understand

        Pretty much any concept can be “thrown around like a sledgehammer”, no matter how great the concept is. This is not limited to programming, but extends to pretty much all ideas/concepts. Whatever merit an original idea may have, it will become deeply silly when applied indiscriminately to all situations as the world is just too complex to do that.

        My favourite example is the free market, which some people see as the solution to child abuse:

        Rothbard stated that parents should have the legal right to let any infant die by starvation and should be free to engage in other forms of child neglect. However, according to Rothbard, “the purely free society will have a flourishing free market in children”. In a fully libertarian society, he wrote, “the existence of a free baby market will bring such ‘neglect’ down to a minimum”.

        There are many more examples, but as I don’t want to sidetrack this with unrelated political discussions I’ll limit it to this – hopefully uncontroversial – one :-)

    15. 8

      I was having trouble understanding the Elevator Pitch, and then I realized it’s because I use Magit and there is nothing painful to me about squashing or fixing up commits ;)

      1. 3

        Does magit already let you automatically decide which commit should be fixed up based on which commit matches your working directory changes? You don’t have to choose the commit to fixup yourself?

        1. 7

          No, that’s a fair point. There’s no automation to the interface, so there is that. But I also generally only have two or three primary commits that a fix could be targeting, so the cognitive overhead is not great to remember which commit I should be fixing up.

          Really didn’t mean to disparage the work. This is a neat tool, it’s just not relevant to my usual git workflow so I was having trouble grokking the immediate benefit. I get it now, and will surely recommend it to co-workers :)

          1. 4

            And a quote from my engineering lead, “This is awesome.” … which he doesn’t say about a lot things, so high praise, indeed :)

          2. 2

            Actually it does. Check magit-commit-instant-fixup

            But as you said, rebasing is so fast that one tends to just use the default interface

            1. 2

              I believe instant-fixup is only for the current commit or one commit at a time. git absorb does more than that: it spreads your working directory changes across all of the appropriate ancestor commits depending on which ancestor corresponds to which part of your working directory changes.

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      I feel like a hipster saying it but I’m gonna do it in rust.

      1. 10

        I think the hipster choice would be rifle through your dad’s 486 and do it in Pascal.

      2. 5

        Rust was all the rage last year… and the year before that people seemed to love Elixir. To be a true hipster you need something so cool it hasn’t sold out yet.

        1. 5

          I’ll be using a new language that you probably haven’t even heard of yet.


      3. 1
      4. 1

        Hey same here! Figure it’s a good way to learn a new language

        1. 3

          I solved all of last years problems in rust and you could say it wasn’t really that fun - rust (just like c++ in previous years) was generating fast enough code so that I never really had to optimize anything ;)

    17. 9

      Completeness can be sacrificed in favor of any other quality. In fact, completeness must be sacrificed whenever implementation simplicity is jeopardized. Consistency can be sacrificed to achieve completeness if simplicity is retained; especially worthless is consistency of interface.

      In a way the so called “New Jersey style” was a rush for a minimum viable product able to minimize the time-to-market and to gain the first mover advantage.

      These are grim tidings indeed.

      Everyone who works in software sees broken, dysfunctional systems that just keep getting worse with time. More and more money goes into working around their deficiencies, and real fixes are rare. Everyone who works in software thinks “surely there has to be a better way” but according to Gabriel, the forces of survival-of-the-fittest say “no, there can’t be a better way. I won’t allow it.”

      We see good software in side-projects, in fun weekend hacks, and we go to work thinking “if I were in charge here, this would be like that”, but it can’t be. In a sufficiently competitive environment, “messy and now” beats “clean, but tomorrow” every time.

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        Reading your comment I was filled with sorrow, because it feels so very right. But the more I thought on it, I realize that often “clean, but tomorrow” morphs into “clean, but next year,” if you’re not careful. And being given carte blanche to deliver whenever doesn’t work for businesses, and unless you’re a philosophic communist, we’re all in the business of something. The important part is striking the right balance between doing it well enough and delivering it on a decent timeline. That’s what you get from a high performing team, and that’s why processes like agile arose. And that’s life too: constraint balancing. Often those constraints are interpreted as bad, but that value judgement comes from us, not the constraint.

        Put another way, there is no ivory tower where everything is perfect and all solutions are fully explored.

        1. 2

          Put another way, there is no ivory tower where everything is perfect and all solutions are fully explored

          …and money is made.

      2. 2

        The environment doesn’t even need to be competitive. It just needs to involve money and people wanting what they tend to want: things done cheap.

    18. 3

      Fantastic. I’m in. One question though, how do we do discoverability? Would be nice to aggregate repos somewhere other than the user’s page.

      1. 8

        At the moment, you should do discovery somewhere other than, like posting your project to Lobsters. I want to handle the social features carefully, as is meant to be an engineering tool first and a social tool third.

        1. 2

          I really really like this. This + the no JS mindset… big pros for

        2. 1

          I can live with that. I actually think this is a noble position. I like the idea of composing services with small pieces. If there was a “hub” project or some such …

          1. 5

            Such a project is planned, to live at the top-level domain. Stay tuned!