[linux-elitists] What ever happened to the Open Web? (and other topics)

Ruben Safir ruben at mrbrklyn.com
Mon Jul 13 21:42:11 PDT 2015


On Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 05:02:34PM -0700, Tony Godshall wrote:
> You are not the only one frustrated.
> 
> What's not clear is a course of action,
> except to perhaps note that free software
> has often grown out of frustration with
> proprietary "solutions", as a more usable
> less well funded, more distributed alternative,
> where each author scratches their own itch-
> it's a slow processes but it will come, and
> unlike in the old days, most of today's
> vendors realize it.  The successful ones
> coexist with and even feed the open source
> they depend on- they embrace, extend,
> and not so much extinguish.  

no, i don't think that one can say that



> I hope.  Your
> XMPP example, of course, contradicts.
> 
> Tony
> 
> 
> On Mon, Jul 13, 2015 at 2:49 PM, Andy Bennett <andyjpb at ashurst.eu.org> wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > What happened to the Open Web?
> > Facebook XMPP deprecated
> > MSN Messenger protocol now closed
> > Google Talk XMPP is 2nd class
> > Don't mention Slack.
> >
> > https://twitter.com/databasescaling/status/620701977375322113
> >
> >
> > Lots of land grabs in old territories now that "startups" are
> > mainstream. Did the UNIX vendor wars teach us nothing?
> >
> > https://twitter.com/databasescaling/status/620702191779758081
> >
> >
> > Yes. I appreciate the irony of tweeting these things but I suppose
> > you've got to meet people where the conversation is.
> >
> >
> > What follows isn't really an essay. More like a bunch of
> > barely-sentences strung together in the hope that some of you can help
> > me form them into Actual Thoughts. :-)
> >
> >
> >
> > I cut my teeth in the '90s just about when "Free Software" was a thing
> > and "Open Source" was becoming a movement. I guess I never really
> > noticed the change in me from becoming a beginner to being an old hand
> > but now I look back and there's not many left of us!
> >
> > So perhaps that means I'm the one who should be taking responsibility
> > now. Yet somehow I'm not. I'm doing a little bit of software and sending
> > it out into the world with open licenses where I can, but I'm not really
> > like one of those great people in the '90s who really started the
> > communities and held them together. Where are those people now? Google?
> > Blogging? Retired?
> >
> > "We" really did make a lot of headway in the '90s, through until about
> > 2005. Not only had we made pretty good alternatives to most proprietary
> > products, they were almost usable by "real" people. Then Ubuntu (for all
> > its sins) came along and made it accessible to "regular" men and women.
> >
> > I noticed we were losing ground in the handheld space. That was "the new
> > platform". ...but it was "OK", right? ...because general purpose PCs
> > were where the genesis of "the next big thing" always occurred because
> > that was the only environment that could host them.
> >
> > Now there's "mobile first" and whilst that's not a terribly open
> > platform, it's certainly where the mind-share of so-called "developers"
> > is. No matter what you think of modern development methodologies and
> > product values, that's where the mind-share is. ...and, as has been
> > wrung out on this list in the past, that culture cares nothing for the
> > Open Source foundations that it builds with. That's where the next big
> > things are happening now. Or in walled garden apps (and sometimes
> > ecosystems) that are hosted on a website somewhere. Even if it's not
> > intentional, there's usually not any time to invest in the
> > infrastructure or build a lot of connectors.
> >
> > I don't want to pick on anyone in particular, but why didn't Slack
> > embrace the IRC protocol? Isn't it just as easy to make an IRC bot as it
> > is to make any single Slack integration? Damn: even if they embraced it
> > and extended I'd still have a lot more respect for them than I do for
> > what they've done. Afterall, it's easier to write a new, 80% thing than
> > it is to understand an existing thing that works.
> >
> > ...but don't let me rant! Back to mobile!
> >
> > Over the last few years (since the demise of Open Moko really) I have
> > come to the belief that "we" have a very small window to really attack
> > the handheld device market in a meaningful way. However, this window is
> > now closing fast.
> >
> > With the advent of colour e-ink there is, for the first time in about 20
> > years, an opportunity to ship a very simple handheld device. The barrier
> > to entry for current handheld devices is rather high because they
> > require a lot of processing power and graphics capabilities to support
> > the kind of experience that is expected. However, with a first
> > generation, colour e-ink display the requirements are far lower and
> > there's a fighting chance that someone, working on their own without
> > much budget, can ship a useful device with a decent battery life.
> >
> > I'm not talking about taking the market by storm. Such ambitious plans
> > are not for me. I'm talking about itch-scratching. I'm waiting for
> > mobile devices to get as good as the Psion and the Palm Pilot were!
> >
> > They were about *productivity*, not media consumption & messaging. I
> > want something that I can empty my thoughts into as I wander around. Not
> > "whilst sitting on a train": actual wandering.
> >
> > I'm a technical person, so most of my work is done sitting at a desk,
> > but it turns out that I do most of my thinking when I'm wandering from
> > place to place. For now I'll forgo my shower thoughts: those tend to be
> > more along the lines of architecture and design which are less word
> > based, difficult to type and waterproof computers are harder.
> >
> > So I want something with some kind of editor.
> >
> > ...and I want a long battery life because I really am incredibly lazy.
> >
> > ...and I guess I'll take an Internet connection and a cellular
> > connection as well because they enable a whole bunch of really useful
> > things when you're in the city and even I have to admit that messaging
> > has it's uses even if it exposes you to interruptions. ...but I do that
> > with a small hesitation because I'd really like it all to work really
> > well "offline" so that I can keep going whenever is convenient for *me*.
> >
> >
> > A colour screen enables one of the killer apps of large-screen handhelds
> > which is mapping.
> >
> > ...and e-ink enables a sensible battery life.
> >
> > ...so we need GPS.
> >
> >
> >
> > Of course, once you can type effectively on the device then you can
> > program as well. So it'd be nice to write little macros for things.
> >
> > ...and that implies a much more tightly integrated environment than the
> > commercial platforms.
> >
> > Rather than a system of apps that are hosted in an OS, I'd have a system
> > of services that could project (or create) views. I'd make it very data
> > centric. So you might have a "mapping" view where each service could
> > offer a different layer: one for the images or cartography, one for the
> > GPS, one for the GPSs of your friends, one for the router, etc, etc.
> >
> >
> > Anyway, I seem to have degenerated into a wishlist rather than anything
> > productive and I've covered "The open web", "free software development &
> > culture" and "mobile" which I think is plenty of stuff for now!
> >
> >
> >
> > Am I the only one living in this frustration?
> >
> > Where are all the sensible people of yesteryear who could see the flaws
> > in the status quo, knew how to fix them and had the energy to go about it?
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Regards,
> > @ndy
> >
> > --
> > andyjpb at ashurst.eu.org
> > http://www.ashurst.eu.org/
> > 0290 DA75 E982 7D99 A51F  E46A 387A 7695 7EBA 75FF
> >
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> 
> 
> -- 
> --
> Best Regards.
> This is unedited.
> This message came out of me
> via a suboptimal keyboard.
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