<< Conway's law tells us that to build something different, we need to build upon different social and political structures. >>

The architect Christopher Alexander (from whom the Software Patterns movement adopted the idea of 'pattern language') found himself expressing a similar idea. His goal was to put the design of buildings back into the hands of the people who live in them. But how can this happen within an economic system which prices commissioning a building far above most incomes?

Show thread

(Let alone that merely *living in* a building, in some cities, is now becoming a luxury far above most incomes.)

Show thread

@natecull @enkiv2 hrm. This is all great until you see what people actually build with it under capitalism - see for example the browser JS ecosystem that has the theoretical capability described in the post, but user safety requires heavy sandboxing because otherwise nasty assholes steal everyone’s social security numbers. Or Facebook helps steal someone’s election again.

@antifuchs @natecull @enkiv2 they do acknowledge this in the article: "How do you remove barriers between programs and more tightly integrate data without compromising security?"

It doesn't strike me as a fundamentally unsolvable problem. Javascript seems too slapdash and beholden to capitalism to really be an example of what the article is getting at. I'm no expert though

@antifuchs @enkiv2

Javascript and Microsoft VBscript have similar problems with dealing with the insecurity of a real world Internet full of malicious actors and yes, it's a big problem.

But I think a large part of the security problem comes from our languages' "chunk size" being far too big - including the whole computer.

If our languages broke programs into much smaller piece - each with no automatic reference to "root of my hard disk" - those smaller pieces might be more secure.

@antifuchs @enkiv2

Eg: There seems to be no a priori reason why a "scripting language" for a spreadsheet has any need to execute arbitrary objects on the computer that aren't part of its sheet, or that haven't been specifically granted access by a user through a file or object picker.

But we took a single-user, single-machine security model, put that into a document (with the document containing a link to the whole machine) then wired that up to the Internet. Of course bad things happened.

@natecull @enkiv2

I remember, in a previous life, Apple has been working on a thing called "OpenDoc"

I think it was an attempt to go in the direction envisioned in this article

@AbbieNormal @natecull @enkiv2
Open compound documents were also a big part of the Newton architecture. Both killed by Steve Jobs.

In the Android ecosystem, there's a thing known as "Open Intents". Unfortunately it has largely been ignored by the FOSS community and commercial developers alike.


@Coffee @natecull @enkiv2 What is it? I couldn't really tell even from a minute or two of reading it.

Intents are a way for Android apps to exchange data and delegate actions among themselves. There are known examples of apps opening another app (a barcode scanner) to scan a barcode, or opening a file manager to pick a file.

Openintents is a public registry meant for developers to share and standardize these intents among themselves.

@natecull @enkiv2

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!