November 21, 2023
Some more adventures on the open web.
- A Revolution Devours Its Children — a blog post in defence of the anti AWS licenses, the BSL & SSPL. I haven't adopted either license because I wanted to stay within the mainstream of the open source world, but I do think the problems created by AWS selling open source as a service are ones that do still need to be addressed.
- Stagit — a static site generator for git repos I was sorely tempted by. I haven't used it in anger because I wanted to maintain at least the possibility of other people interacting with my code, even if that's only a theoretical possibility, and cloning a repo's all that's possible when the site's static. Still, scratches an itch. What I really want is for all of the git repo sites to federate in some way, and to be able to fork & contribute across sites, but we're not quite there yet.
- Codeberg — the site I'm moving my code to seems the likeliest place that kind of innovation might happen first. Codeberg's an open alternative to Github, & the home of & runs on (looks down, checks notes) Forgejo, a fork of Gitea. (These names need some work.) Like Github, but open source.
- RTX — a cross language version manager, written as a drop in replacement for ASDF, which does the same thing, just slower. For me RTX replaced NVM for Node, rbenv for Ruby, and punching myself in the face for Python. With apologies for linking to Github.
November 16, 2023
Five years ago I described it as "stuff & nonsense" I enjoyed.
Ten years ago I promised "another programming blog".
I wish blogging had flourished over that time, but, & this is not going to be a shock to you, it hasn't. Blogs were already anachronistic when I started this one & that hasn't changed for the better. There's still a lot of independent writing I enjoy reading regularly. It's just a shame that so much of it now's sunk into newsletters that are set up to be monetized, or hidden in ephemeral social media. Blogs & their readers are still here, but there are fewer & fewer of each every year. Perhaps it was always just too much trouble for most people to make a blog, let alone find one to read.
I wish the web had also flourished more than it did over those ten years. Under pressure from Apple, & from Facebook & the rest of social media hiving people off into walled gardens, & from Google trying to hoover up everything that was left through its own servers, things haven't gone well for the web. It used to be so good, but it's been swamped by stupider & stupider hack or now AI generated SEO optimised nonsense. Search engines don't work any more. The walled gardens are dominated by the rich men who own them, but people flock to them lest they be trapped in the wastelands between. Warring city states in a world rapidly going backwards. Things seem to be getting worse faster, so some of that's down to the AI, I guess. Well done those programmers.
Several name brand tech outfits exploded over the last decade, Twitter probably being the most notable of those. I sank a lot of hours into it, then it died. The stumbling rise of things like Mastodon offer some hope here. Smaller, slower, with fewer billionaires & venture capitalists is the promise, but at the cost of much more fragmentation. Perhaps one way we save the web is by making our own city states?
Hardware… The computer I'm typing this on could've existed ten years go. Much the same could be said about the phone I'll be reading it on. Both are probably faster in ways I wouldn't obviously notice. I'm sure they have more gigabloops of brightness or thinness, or something that sounds good to marketing people, but they work much the same. There's been a lot of incremental change, but not much that's revolutionary. Apple's Silicon is a standout in a bleak field. AR/VR has been promised several times over the last ten years without ever taking off yet. I've never been thrilled by the prospect it offers. Why not try & sell me something that means I don't have to wear glasses, not something that's thicker & more uncomfortable? Ham radio hardware's of a lot more interest to me at the moment than anything in computing. That's hundred year old tech (in parts).
The rest of the world… I'll continue to mostly gloss over the rest of the world here. Mostly things have mostly gone well for me. I continue to live a charmed & probably undeservedly comfortable life, both in terms of programming & more generally. I wish that could also be said of the world at large.
Maybe in another ten years? I live in hope.
November 13, 2023
Following in the footsteps this year of Twitter, Reddit, Docker, the Raspberry Pi Foundation… am I missing anyone? Following it seems in the footsteps this year of any company I write about that you're ever likely to have heard of, GitHub too is now dead to me.
I worry about encroaching neckbeardism, but I don't think it's me. Or at least apart from a growing intolerance for such things, it's not just me. I remain a man more sinned against than sinning. Also the beard's figurative. There is no beard.
With Github it's their stupid AI thing. GitHub's been slowly going off for a long time now. The ICE contracts. Bought by Microsoft, who I gave the biggest benefits of doubt to their horrible, horrible legacy. The endless creeping attempts at gamification of everything. Get a badge, get a star, get any number of things that might work on small children, & presumably pay with programmers too. But the AI thing. The pseudo AI code stealing license breaking thing isn't new, but making it ubiquitous is, & that was a bridge too far.
"Just as GitHub was founded on Git, today we are re-founded on Copilot."
I moved my most active repo to Codeberg & deleted the rest. I'll move more of it to Codeberg or somewhere else in time, but for now it's offline. It took a while to plod through the gists, moving them back here, but now they're gone too. Delete, delete, delete. Over the last 10 years that code went from code on this blog, to links to gists, to embedded gists, back to links to gists, & finally back to code on the blog. The circle of life.
I'll leave a copy of Zine's code on Github until its next update carries the link to its new repo with it, but the rest's already gone, & there won't be any more.
I'm under no illusion. I know I'm such a small drop in the bucket I doubt they'd even notice if everyone I knew also left. But enough. Staying there was more than I could stomach. Enough already.