We need a multi-national, publicly funded research organization akin to CERN/within CERN, whose whole purpose is to develop a state-of-the-art browser that's not Chromium-based. Make #Google follow our lead, rather than us having to follow Google.

If the Web could be developed using public money, why not a modern browser? Public funding would remove the Mozilla problem of them having to depend on Google.

With the amount of money governments waste annually, we could fund this AND Mozilla.

There could be incentive problems here as well, of course, like governments threatening to withdraw funding in case a certain backdoor isn't included, or if it blocks ads too aggressively and some corporate-funded 'representative' starts receiving pushback from the industry etc, but which is why it would need to:

- Be funded by a wider variety of states than the Five/Nine Eyes members.

- Developed entirely in the open, each important change reviewed by a committee of experts from the public.

@MatejLach But how would you unseat Chrome at this point? Google have the incumbent advantage and the platform advantage. Technical excellence is only part of the story.

@cbowdon That's definitely going to be a challenge, but #Google did some smart marketing by having ads IRL, like in trains and such, even in smaller countries if the % of connected users was high enough.

Since it would be publicly funded, you could also install it on computers in publicly-funded educational institutions. A lot of software spreads by children installing it for their parents. If students are using it at school, they're likely to install it at home.

@MatejLach Ooh that last one is a good one. That’s what MS/Apple/Google are trying after all. You wouldn’t necessarily need CERN-like levels of funding to achieve it.

@cbowdon @MatejLach
but wouldn't you need CERN-like levels of fuding to develop a browser that keeps up with the moving target of shitty WHATWG standards?

@MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

Also why build a state of the art shit whose shape has beed already defined by instead of building something new and better?
Something following a totally different vision?

@Shamar
I think to pull regular users in, we'd have to start with today's web. But once we have sway in the committees, you can begin to redefine what state of the art web should look like.

@Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@Shamar@mastodon social It won't work. Just take some time to, say, explain recursion or graph algorithms, image compression or even cryptography math to a totally untrained user. We will never get to a point of end users to read or understand their software. IMHO, trying to do so is a waste of time that could better be spent on building more ethical solutions that just work for this crowd.
@MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon My position is that they should be *able* to (perhaps with a little training), but not obligated to.

@Shamar No. It's not just the alphabet and language. It's the alphabet and language and a formal approach flexible enough to express *all* the science and knowledge of its age. Actual code is difficult to end users but still the most trivial aspect about writing any piece of usable software.
@alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon I think the current approach to computing is not sustainable. It is akin to Egyptian priests keeping a secret of solstices. We need to find a way to make this knowledge go mainstream.

@Shamar We're at a point where some adults have issues understanding higher math, some even have real issues learning to master natural language to understand complex texts or express themselves. And we actually did invent an alphabet to help these folks: Icons. Symbols. Easy interactions. So far this works well. Will we be able to do meaningful programming on that level?
@alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon in simpler systems, the meaning of "meaningful programming" might be a lot different than it is in bloated corporate software. just want to get that noted.

@Shamar I think we very often fall victim to oversimplification because we have totally lost sight of how incredibly much specialized we already are - and how extremely basic and "trivial" some of the issues users are struggling with actually are. Google, Apple, ... are successful because they do better here, no matter why they do that.
@grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@Shamar And now, provide those kids with, say, a batch of hardware and the most simple fully featured implementation of something like e-mail. Do you think they will have a chance to understand what happens, let alone fix it? If that was possible, most programmers apparently are pretty dumb, looking at how much time is spent on fixing ...
@grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @Shamar @grainloom @alcinnz @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

My take on that is that most of the required info is already out there, but I am all for simplifying it.

I don't think that would lead to some massive influx of programmers, because some people just have different passions like painting, music and such and some just want to watch TV.

There's a pretty large artist community on the Fediverse, don't think they're much interested in the tech side and that's honestly fine.

@Shamar @z428 @grainloom @alcinnz @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

But why? Is playing an instrument as simple as reading and writing? Is sculpting? I agree that it should be as approachable to these that want to get in. I just don't think the interest is as universal as reading and writing is.

@z428 @Shamar @grainloom @alcinnz @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

What is important is that those of us who are technically minded listen to these who create culture and create friendly tools for them to create more of it.

@MatejLach @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @Wolf480pl @cbowdon idk, you need to know a lot of "engineeringy" stuff to get things done with digital art tools
you need to use logical thinking for setting up complex things in Blender or Krita
we are already forced to learn a large subset of MS Office, why couldn't we learn UNIX(or hopefully Plan 9) instead?

@grainloom @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

Well, am not saying we shouldn't But many people learn a specific tool to achieve a specific tasks. Things like operating systems, programming and such are such open-ended things that unless you're creatively interested in them, there doesn't seem to be as much of a point in doing so.

@MatejLach @grainloom @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon

I think the primary reason why we'd want to teach everyone programming isn't so that they come up with new ways of implementing some part of an operating system, but so that they can make minor adjustments to the software they use on a daily basis, without being dependent on other programmers' willingness to implement such a feature or fix a particular bug.

@MatejLach @grainloom @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon

It'd be awesome to get to the point where "fork it if you disagree" is a viable option for everyone.

@Wolf480pl Yes, but way more than that I would hope people finally got away from that high frequency forking and "my way or the highway" kind of community to some sort of actual corporation again, willing to iron out even personal differences and come to a consensus. But that's possibly another thing.
@MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon

@Wolf480pl Yes, but way more than that I would hope people finally got away from that high frequency forking and "my way or the highway" kind of community to some sort of actual cooperation again, willing to iron out even personal differences and come to a consensus. But that's possibly another thing.
@MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon

@z428 @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon
Maybe it's just me not looking in the right place, but I don't see too many forks recently...

Anyway, IMO it's better for a program to have a coherent vision behind its design, rather than have design-by-committee. And how do we check which vision is better, if not by forking?

@Wolf480pl @z428 @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon honestly, a BDFL 'vision' model isn't much better than a traditional committee model

@Wolf480pl That software they use on a daily basis also includes things such as power management, device drivers or firmware. Where do you draw the line? What about that "bug" of your BIOS always throttling your CPU "too much" when you're off AC?
@MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon

@z428 @Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @cbowdon I'd say wherever they are comfortable drawing the line.

We shouldn't be the ones to draw it. But until some of these breakthroughs Shamer's talking about happens at the hardware level, their line almost certainly won't include device drivers.

@alcinnz That's what I mean. And also possibly not network protocols or stuff such as multithreading. It seems strange to want to make solutions to complex problems randomly easy. Why can't ordinary users do the math to build a highrise that doesn't collapse? Because it's complex. As a problem. Not just because we lack better tools.
@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @cbowdon

@z428 @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon
The only line I draw is between "it does X in this particular case, let's see if we can make it do Y instead" and "this code is pretty complicated, let's see if we can come up with a better design that simplifies this part and everything that touches it".

I don't draw the line between a messaging app and power management code in the kernel.

@Wolf480pl Yes. That happens regularly, even in the programming world done by experts, and it fails almost all the time because people tried to "simplify" an inherently complex thing they just considered too complex because they never managed to fully understand even the problem it tried to solve. See CORBA vs. SOAP. ;)
@MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon

@z428 @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon

I think this is why, when contributing to a FOSS project, or doing ad-hoc modifications to locally-installed versions of programs you use, you usually start with bugfixes, small tweaks, maybe some small features.

I think it'd be cool if more people got to that level.
And I think it's ok if most people stay at that level.
Not everyone needs to be able to refactor things or rewrite them from scratch.

@MatejLach @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @Wolf480pl @cbowdon I kinda agree but learning to use shell scripting for getting basic things done (in a good OS with a good shell language) is not much harder than learning Excel. And if all you learn is basic pipes and how to launch things, that can be used for the same things: launching applications, saving and converting files.
You don't need to understand them deeply either.

@grainloom @MatejLach @z428 @Shamar @Wolf480pl @cbowdon Converting between different formats covers a lot of what we programmers do anyways!

@Shamar ... both conceptual and mere implementation bugs in existing code, even for people who know both the alphabet and the concepts.😉
@grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428

They do 'better' because they, through inordinate market power accrued through tactics at least as shady as anti-competitive hiring practices, get to define what 'better' means.

@Shamar @grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@deejoe @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon imho there were/are better systems that give users more freedom that were commercial failures because they weren't marketed properly or weren't lucrative enough for developers looking for a quick profit. Linux package managers are better than app stores, but app stores don't require you to share your source.

@deejoe @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon or look at DRM. big money and power hungry megacorps looooove DRM, but it's objectively terrible for everyone else.

@grainloom I'm always back to XMPP and WhatsApp as maybe the most crucial example of everything that possibly could have been done wrong: The "tech" and FLOSS elite fully ignoring or laughing at a new piece of technology that doesn't fit their world view. The XMPP crowd that always focussed on a technology but never cared about building a product actually working for users - 1/4

@grainloom @deejoe @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon And someone (the WhatsApp guys) coming along, ignoring both and starting over with what by today is the predominant messenger on all platforms at least in terms of user base - 2/4

@grainloom @deejoe @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon Do we care? No. It happened a dozen of times before, it will happen again, and so far we have no way to change that - 3/4

@z428 @grainloom
For me, the phrase
"building a product"
alone means something like "get rich by fooling people into buying our crap".
I don't like products.
I like tools.

@Wolf480pl For me, "building a product" means shipping something like a car, a knife, a book, something that has defined features and a defined, ensured quality and is suitable by certain people for a certain purpose, no matter whether or not money is involved.
@grainloom

@Wolf480pl @grainloom As far as I see things, the "product" idea is what you need to reach end users, and be that in order to explain the purpose of something.

@z428 @grainloom
Ok, but that means that:
- (assuming you're not in your target group) You need to make a piece of software that will not be useful to yourself.
- You need to understand what your target group wants. This requires understanding other people, which is exteremly hard.
- Your users will expect certain quality from your product
- You will have to support those users
- None of those users will ever become contributors

IMO this is the opposite of success.

@Wolf480pl It means that you do not *just* focus on what suits your needs but also pay attention to other people who need more or different features or easier interfaces. That's why WhatsApp is successful and XMPP isn't .
@grainloom

@z428 @grainloom
What makes you think WhatsApp is successful?
How many contributors does it have?

@Wolf480pl I can delete my XMPP account without much issues. I can delete WhatsApp and be sure to cut digital contact with about 80% of my contact list, including quite a couple of folks who don't even know or use e-mail or SMS. User base is quite an important aspect for a communication channel.
@grainloom

@z428 @grainloom
Ok, but it's not users that make a FOSS project sustainable. It's contributors.

So for a communication channel it is important to have a lot of users, but it is not possible for a FOSS projects to have much more users than contributors.

@deejoe No. They *do* better because they made technology available to users in a way "accessible" to these. They do things such as thinking about "target groups" or user personas and actual requirements in term of usability as well. They do that for profit, and of course they use marketing for that, but in the end WhatsApp, Google, Facebook *did* make technology accessible to people who never used a computer before - 1/4

@deejoe @Shamar @grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon We can try to ignore this or argue it away but the amount of people using these channels and tools (both because they are easy and/or because they aren't able to use any other tools) possibly will not care - 2/4

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