I get nervous when I think about how long it's taken community-oriented free software to have interfaces that resemble "could be comfortable on mobile" and how much more critical user freedom concerns will be when we're all wearing sensory-modifying wearable computing and how hard it will be for the FOSS world to adjust its software to comfortably work on augmented reality type systems

When computers are involved in the inputs you experience, the outputs you produce, and your reasoning process, the distinction between those computers and you blurs considerably.

Increasingly, not having user freedom means not having agency. This work is critical.

I hereby nominate Cwebber for leadership of the Freedom of Software Foundation. :blobfingerguns:

@rick_777 I'm a better leader by thinking / philosophy / hacking (and when I have to, community organizing) than I am by management / executive type things, so I don't think I'm a very good fit for that kind of stuff

Yeah I think you're right. In any case you're good as an ally. :blobthumbsup:

@cwebber FOSS has been very good at the "no binary blobs!" kind of freedom, but not very good at the "you can actually use this without special skills" kind of freedom.

@lain Indeed, we need to do better; everyone deserves user freedom, not just people who can figure out how to compile software at the command line.

@lain Obviously we want to leave that path open but not have it be you-must-be-this-tall-to-have-user-freedom :)

@cwebber @lain Matrix got it exactly backwards. Hackers be all "I don't even see blondes and redheads, I just see green kana, green kana ..."
@aidalgol @cwebber @lain In Matrix there's a scene where one of the hackers says "I don't even see [the falling green characters] anymore, I just see blonde, redhead ...".

He is so used to seeing the symboIic representation that he has internalized the simulation.

What happens more in real life is that a hacker seated in front of a GUI ("simulation") gets frustrated with the abstraction layers and streamlined experience that just make her think "what stupid button do I need to click to make X happen in the underlying model", and longs for a rich REPL where you can be more fine-grained and hands-on with the model, and create your own abstractions as you need them.

@clacke @cwebber @lain Oh THE Matrix. I thought you were talking about Matrix, the federation messaging platform.

@lain @cwebber seems to me what your bemoaning is not aligned with the "scratch your own itch" ("enlightened self-interest") underpinnings of the whole thing. #FOSS provides an opportunity for individuals to grow and learn - it doesn't have any obligation to hand anyone a "product". That's for commercially motivated businesses to provide the scarce goods of one-on-one tutition and suport.

@lain @cwebber In general terms proprietary hasn't been such an ace at that either, actually.

@tagomago @cwebber they've done a lot better than foss, which is the important aspect here.
@lain @tagomago @cwebber Having to stake its continued survival on user uptake as opposed to how many developers it can intrigue certainly gives proprietary software an advantage in that regard.

Well, avoiding nonfree software is vital. But both are needed. We need to have more people making user friendly software. Which is what I try to write. There are many cli tools for people, we need simple GUI tools that anyone can use.


@cwebber It terrifies me every time I'm in a crowd and realize just how many people are face down in their phone absorbing Facebook-mediated or Google-mediated information.

@cwebber (Potential) availability of free mobile/wearable platforms (in the sense of hardware + OS like the recent #Librem5) to develop free software for might (maybe) stimulate narrowing of this gap.

@cwebber I think we need to be out in front instead of always chasing proprietary software on proprietary hardware. Focus on the use cases that are harder for proprietary software/hardware companies to make a business case for.

@cwebber one problem here is the overt and carefully engineered hostility of mobile platforms / systems to meaningful openness.

another is the general overall terribleness of mobile interfaces, which has led in turn to free software efforts at mobile-esque UI that are rife with bad imitations of an already-bad paradigm.

i'm pessimistic about all of this.


I think the idea of etical engineering by @aral is helpful, in this context

It' s a superset of the Free Software idea

But it extends it in the direction of strengthening the freedom no. 0 (use the thing) that' s been royally neglected by the Free Software crowd

@cwebber We need Free/Libre/Open software and hardware devices. Writing FLOSS "apps" for closed platforms defeats the purpose.

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