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.

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@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?

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 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

@z428 @grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

Im 6 hour I teached to 22 yo kids what is defined at tesio.it/documents/vademecum.t plus basic networking (IP packets, IP addresses, DHCP, DNS and routing).

We did a simulation of packet routing with paper packets and they understood MitM and DNS poisoning by themselves.

The teacher proposed to add an our to explain one time pad encryption.


@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

@a_breakin_glass @Wolf480pl @z428 @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @cbowdon Either approach can go too far.

Personally I lean towards a BDFL 'vision' model, but not if they don't listen to some committee and fold that into their vision.

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

I think it's important to make it clear what we mean by committee.

When I say committee, I think one where each person tries to achieve their own goals at all costs, and push the whole design into a direction that's more favorable to them.

If you have people honestly cooperate and be open to logical arguments, pointing out each others mistakes and willing to be proven wrong, that's another story.

@Shamar @Wolf480pl @z428 @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon
>You woudn't need maintainers or funding.

you might; after all, you need infrastructure to share patches, etc over

@Shamar @a_breakin_glass @Wolf480pl @z428 @MatejLach @alcinnz @cbowdon This works best if the modifications they make don't mess things up. Eg. if I have a patched version of ls but other software wants to use ls, that might be a problem. So we need good package management tools.

@Wolf480pl @Shamar @a_breakin_glass @z428 @MatejLach @alcinnz @cbowdon I still haven't been able to try NixOS because the VM kept running out memory but uuuh, it's probably what I want? Or at least close.

@xj9 @grainloom @Shamar @a_breakin_glass @z428 @MatejLach @alcinnz @cbowdon
I read some Hurd's design docs and parts of code some time ago, and came to the conclusion that it is basically an adaptation of Plan9 to a microkernel.

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

It is at least internally consistent.

The result of design-by-committee usually ends up being a bunch of mutually incompatible ideas bolted together with duct tape. See: SQL.

Or something way more complicated than it needs to. See X.500.

@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.

@Shamar Yes..... and *this* is the actual problem: We don't want inclusive and enabling technology that gives a lot of users abilities that are easily accessible. We want them to learn our way (knowing they never will even remotely be able to walk it) rather than using our "superiority" to watch them, listen to them and help them solve problems. That ...

@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon

@Shamar The essence of what you are saying is: Specialize in everything so you can do everything on your own to be free and do not have to depend upon anyone because no one can be trusted (why should this be limited to software?). Good luck trying.
@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon

@Shamar That's a pretty much different statement compared to what you wrote earlier and *miles* away from people being able to understand or even fix the software they use on a daily basis.
@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon

@Shamar No. A lot of our users in planning and construction use software such as AutoCAD for designing buildings all day. The best they possibly could do is some superficial scripted automation. They *never* would be able to fix anything in this application, even if they had the sources. Where is your point?
@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon

@Shamar I don't buy that "hypocrisy" thing by the way. We shouldn't forget #freesoftware dates back to days when computers were a thing for a skilled elite anyway and non-free licenses kept people from using their abilities to make software work for them. Concluding from that that free software needs to be usable without the required skills seems odd.
@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon

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

But you can conclude from that that those without the skill will never benefit from free software being free.

@Wolf480pl @z428 @Shamar @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon when my bike breaks down I can fix it myself if I have the skills, tools and time, or take it to any bike repair shop of my choice if I don't. Point is, returning to the manufacturer is not the only option

@Wolf480pl @z428 @Shamar @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon obviously the analogy is not perfect. There are some jobs harder than others and some parts on some bikes are less "open" than others - surprisingly enough, these are usually the parts that contain software ...

@Shamar It's a science, just like math or any engineering field. You can make parts of it easily accessible but you can't abstract all of its complexity away and make *all* of its potential available to untrained users - just like with engineering or math.
@telent @Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon

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

IMO IT is not science, for the most part.
How often do you see the scientific method applied to IT?
How many theorems confirmed by rigorous experimentation?
How many explanations of why X worked and Y didn't work?

IMO it's more like alchemy.

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