– Where’s your easy-to-use, plug-and-play, ethical alternative to these toxic trillion-dollar products?
– Thanks for asking. We’ve been paying out of pocket for years to work on it. Fancy giving us a few million to speed it up?
– How about a few thousand so we don’t starve?
– So, is it ready yet?
My experience has been that the UI is about as much effort as the code itself, and UX is a black hole for soaking up time and effort since it encompases both clarity of purpose and correctness of code.
We can perhaps generalize the concept of “UI” here to any “I” in general; with “interface” also being a synonym for “standard”. Then this paper’s words metaphorically apply:
To be a viable computer system, one must honor a huge list of large, and often changing, standards: TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML, XML, CORBA, Unicode, POSIX, NFS, SMB, MIME, POP, IMAP, X, …
A huge amount of work, but if you don’t honor the standards, you’re marginalized.
I estimate that 90-95% of the work in Plan 9 was directly or indirectly to honor externally imposed standards.
At another level, instruction architectures, buses, etc. have the same influence.
With so much externally imposed structure, there’s little slop left for novelty.
Even worse, commercial companies that “own” standards, such as Microsoft and Cisco, deliberately make standards hard to comply with, to frustrate competition. Academia is a casualty.
Sometimes, when climbing rocks (or just the monkeybars), you have to just let go of the last thing that’s stabilizing you in order to lunge to the next thing that will stabilize you. And hopefully not plunge to your death.
Perhaps certain “standards”, including but not limited to certain “UI” expectations, have to be similarly let go. One considers the choice of higher-level languages to discontinue goto: support, or the choice of gemini to abandon full support for rendering arbitrary html (said support in the form of web browser requires 40 core-hours merely to compile, making it the domain of the rich and corporate).
I close with a quote: “Ask people what their problem is, but don’t ask them for their proposed solution.” UX constitutes expectations not just on the program but also expectations on the literacy of the user, and in some cases it is easier to plan and execute changes on the user side than the program side.
- So, we never paid a cent for the incumbent platform, and that's been here for ages. *they* never ask me for money, they just keep providing the slick convenient platform.
- Right, that's 'cause they keep getting billions of dollars to maintain it. Every year. Want to kick some in so we can move fast like that?
- No. Why don't you just get money the same way they do?
- Remember how you asked for us to do this ethically?
@aral I seem to remember you mentioned something about giving a last chance to applying to a grant not so long ago... did you get any (good) news about that?
@silmathoron Wasn’t expecting anything else. If we’d pitched them a cryptocurrency get rich quick scheme we’d be rolling in the dough right now. *smh*
@aral @silmathoron yep over the last 20 years we have got grants for radical tech/media projects but each time we had to redefine the project for the #NGO agender with the understanding that we can then resap it back to the orgional agender... but suprise suprise agen annd agen the reshaping never happens and the money is poord down the darin.
so true. it's easy to start a business an get funding if you fund a GmbH or AG or ldt.
But if you want create and a busines in a real ethical way (not greenwashing), it's hard close to unpossible.
Eigentum ›hacken‹ und Commons schaffen - Hacking Property to Help Build Commons
@g @silmathoron @aral I started waiting for governments to fund software projects for the public good in 1985. I'm still waiting. Meanwhile I have also seen numerous examples where government software projects (outsourced to private companies) went several times over budget and/or failed completely. So in general I would say that governments do understand science, but they absolutely do not (want to) understand engineering.
@aral At least in germany funding of not for profit social projects is possible. But you have to stretch and bend the project goals to match the funding criteria and deal with a lot of negotiation and back and forth. I could vision the small web as a science project, as these get funding without beeing profitable.
@btcdragonlord You know just putting words next to one another doesn’t imply they’ll have meaning, right?
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