Aral Balkan

I don’t know what’s worse: a relative handful of psychopaths running the show or their having convinced masses of people that they too can be psychopathic if they work really hard at it.

Centralised → Federated → Peer-to-peer

Fuck you, Erdoğan, fuck you very much.

PS. I stand by every word I said. Tyrants come and go. I will visit the land of my birth again one day.

PPS. Remember this next time you feel like booking a holiday to Erdoğan’s Turkey.

Aral Balkan boosted

New people to Mastodon Show more

Introducing Gnomit: a simple Git commit message editor for @gnome, inspired by the excellent Komet app on macOS

I don’t know what your development processes are like but I like to introspect what I’m building and use an empirical approach to shape my algorithms. All that scaffolding is then deleted, though, so if you just see the resulting code it can look like someone worked it all out in their head somehow. I wonder how much this contributes to the perception of code as some cryptic “magic” art. Maybe we should be sharing the “ugly bits” and our processes more to lower the perceived barrier of entry.

Aral Balkan boosted

Hey #Fediverse. When you post pictures, please please please with puppies on top fill in that description box for the visually impaired. You will be helping us out tremendously. We want to enjoy your pictures as much as others do. You don't have to write a novel, but just fill in some details.

Thanks with much love:
A Blind Dude

Aral Balkan boosted

@z428 @teleclimber @feral_yogi @aral @Gargron My point is not that the GPL (v1, 2, 3, ...) is the One True Solution to everything. It's that simply pusueing your goal, without considering possible threats and defences is hopelessly naive, and ultimately doomed.

The GPL V2.0 was published in 1991. It remains relevaant, if not perfectly effective, 27 years lateer. That's a hell of a lot of foresight.

And there are suggested updates, including AGPL and GPLv3 for the SaaS loophole.


Aral Balkan boosted

@aral @dredmorbius @aral I've been seeing FB ads everywhere in the UK. One was played in the cinema, a fake mea culpa that blamed their business model and its structural problems ("data misuse" and "fake news") on trolls and other third parties. It also claimed that a mythical "we" (the owners, engineers, and users of FB) are going to take back the internet, rhetoric totally borrowed from folks in the #fediverse and the rest of the internet freedom movements. Orwell must be rolling in his grave.

Aral Balkan boosted

@aral You can't venture-capital your way out of a problem you venture-capitalled your way into in the first place.

Folks: yes, venture capitalists and Silicon Valley gave us surveillance capitalism but now they say they’re sorry and want to give us the cure. Shouldn’t we just let them?

Me: “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.” – Narcotics Anonymous, 1981.

Aral Balkan boosted

@Antanicus @Gargron @aral Nice points. The argument is though, we need to make installing and maintaining an instance easier and more accessible, so it requires less time and skill.
Right now, installing a production instance is a pain in the ass.
Meanwhile, Gitlab, which is a Ruby app too, has a way to deal with that: Omnibus package, which contains everything a Gitlab server needs to function, can be installed in three commands and upgraded via standard system package manager:

I think Mastodon needs something like that.

Aral Balkan boosted

"Mastodon won't succeed unless-"

Sh.. Mastodon already succeeded.

Aral Balkan boosted
Aral Balkan boosted

@aral The software called Mastodon is protected from EEE (Embrace, Extend, Extinguish) abuse by the AGPLv3 license. Any changes made to Mastodon must follow the same license and must be made public.

ActivityPub OTOH, is susceptible to the EEE strategy. First some MegaCorpX will make an ActivityPub-based social network and gather a lot of users. Then they will add more features than there are in the spec. The third step is to stop federating with other ActivityPub instances.

e.g. Slack vs. IRC

The greatest challenge for Mastodon now that it’s getting mainstream attention is to figure out how to resist “embrace and privatise”.

Tomorrow Google announces Gastodon. What do you do to stop it becoming Gmail?


1. Push for instances of one

2. In order to make instances of one viable, simplify the complexity of the app itself: the lighter it is, the less dependencies, the easier it is to host. Installation should be no more difficult than sudo apt install mastodon

CC @Gargron

If Hitler had been a computer programmer, there’d be folks in the industry saying “yes, the Holocaust stuff is horrible and all but have you seen his latest talk on agile development, it’s excellent… really helped me out.”

There are no good billionaires. You do not radically benefit from perpetuating a grossly unfair and unjust system by mistake.