Links for 2018/12/25

December 25, 2018 · 4 minute read

Posted in: links christmas

Merry Christmas Edition

Free Software and Adjacent Topics

What does a private communicator look like? – Aral Balkan

There’s a pretty wide potential space, both hardware and software, for what a personal communicator could look like.

Free software and the revolt against transactionality

John Ohno (Modernist Microfiche Minotaur on the fediverse) writes (on Medium, unfortunately) an excellent article on saving the gift economy of Free Software from the way Big Software builds an industry on Open Source.

The kicker:

Software intended for businesses has a need that software intended for individuals does not: scalability. Software intended for individuals can be unstandardized, ad-hoc, quirky, and personal. ‘Enterprise’ software must pretend to scale (even if it cannot), & the centralization necessary for any business to make a profit increases the load on the software that inhabits that bottleneck.

For twenty years, we’ve been making corporations rich by buying into standardization and scale — making it feasible for them to funnel us into silos. We can stop this process, and perhaps even reverse it, by refusing to make un-frivolous software. Personal software should be personal: it should not scale or conform; it should chafe at strictures the same way you do, and burst out of any box that dare enclose it.

A Theme for Prose Writers | Irreal

Using this (and variable-pitch-mode) for linkblogging right now.

Environment

Building blocks of ocean food web in rapid decline as plankton productivity plunges | CBC News

This is what I worry about most when thinking about climate change — ecosystem collapse from the bottom. That and permafrost methane release leading to a Venus-like environment.

Facebook

The Cost of Living in Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet Empire - The Ringer

We Should Replace Facebook With Personal Websites - Motherboard

IMO the only problem with this is that personal websites are still a bit too hard for everyone to be able to do this. I’d like to see a secure, lightweight appliance running on free software and open hardware make this practical.

The Cost of Living in Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet Empire - The Ringer

This is probably the best article I’ve read recently about Facebook, and I’ve read a lot. Some really great quotes.

What’s on your mind? I can tell you only what’s on mine. What’s on my mind is that I miss the human internet with an intensity that borders on homesickness. […]

The internet of 1995 and 1999 and 2001 and even 2007 was a backwater by today’s standards, but to me, it was the most wonderful thing. It was strange and silly and experimental and constantly surprising, and it made you feel good about other people, because online, away from corporate media and every channel of established culture, other people turned out to be constantly surprising too. They translated Anglo-Saxon poetry and posted photographs of Victorian ghosts and told you, to your eternal benefit, about what it was like to be someone other than yourself (in my case, to be a woman, to be a person of color). They wrote fascinating, charismatic diaries. And all of this, this faster, weirder, more forgiving universe, was right there, at your fingertips, for free. This sounds like nostalgia, but it was how I really felt at the time. We were making this thing together.

The fact that I cannot remember the last time the internet made me feel, on balance, less anxious and better about other people tells you something about how much has changed online since 1999, 2001, and even 2007.

Mark Zuckerberg did everything in his power to avoid Facebook becoming the next MySpace – but forgot one crucial detail… • The Register

No one likes a lying asshole.

Culture

Dose Response (a roguelike where you’re an addict) 1.0 released

Haven’t played it, but it sounds interesting.

Star Wars is Really a Cautionary Tale About Devoting All Technological Advancements to Death | Tor.com

The Star Wars galaxy really does kind of suck.


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