Laurelai Bailey is a user on mastodon.starrevolution.org. You can follow them or interact with them if you have an account anywhere in the fediverse. If you don't, you can sign up here.
Laurelai Bailey @Laurelai

hot take but i wager that a significant part of why FOSS isnt more widely used by the average person when it comes to things like social media has a lot to do with programmer culture.

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@Laurelai

Absolutely. It's chock-full of ego and toxic masculinity

There are too many in the community that view difficulty as a feature, being ableist/sexist gatekeepers.

@kit_darko I remember once, some software that i cant remember the name of added a feature and designed it in a way that was hard to use and in the documentation they noted it was "just to make this awkward"

@Laurelai

I wish that surprised me

I've been told things that basically amounted to "if you don't already know how to do X, we don't want you using our software"

@kit_darko @Laurelai

I agree that is a large problem with the gnu.io projects.

They are mostly run by people who don't know how to market GNU social (even though, for the most part 99% of mastodon features are also supported by GNU social).

They also haven't bothered to update the GNU social design to be appealing.

Asking for help = good luck.

Mastodon and Pleroma both started as responses to the lack of leadership with gnu.io. Mastodon centered in specifically on replacing GNU social, while Pleroma wants to replace the entire stack.

Both projects try to be more approachable and actually provide helpful support: it is possible to join #pleroma on IRC and get an answer to a problem very quickly. It is a similar situation with Mastodon. If you try to get help with GNU social, you get to go post on a forum and it might get read in a week or two.

I can't speak for Diaspora, but from what I have seen they have an excellent community. The problem Diaspora has is more of a chicken and egg problem: people see Facebook as a platform to deposit all artifacts of their life, so they don't necessarily want to give it up in preference to the Diaspora platform.
@kit_darko @Laurelai

WITH THAT SAID.

I do believe that the present situation of new software being available that actually has a good support story (Mastodon, Pleroma, Diaspora) and good community-building tooling (Mastodon, Diaspora), in combination with Facebook and Twitter's blatant disregard for user privacy (the Cambridge Analytica scandal for instance), has given us some potential to maybe get this fediverse thingy jumpstarted.

But it's not easy, it's going to be a lot of work. And there's a lot of things that still need to be built yet. We need to build a replacement to SoundCloud, a replacement to Instagram, a replacement to all of the proprietary silos.

Mastodon has shown the potential of what a polished frontend can bring us. I am hoping Pleroma will show the potential of having a generic backend for these services.

But it's going to be several more years before we can truly declare this thing a victory, in my opinion.

@kaniini @kit_darko As ive said many times, FOSS people need to work on their people skills. Its politics.

@Laurelai @kit_darko

It's partially that, but it's also simply not having a good story to "sell" the idea too. Mastodon has the story, and that's why Eugen made some traction.

It's going to be a few more years before we really have the necessary sales pitch, I think.

@kaniini @Laurelai
I think the Frama people have been really great in this regard.
It would be amazing to have that kind of effort in the anglosphere

@kaniini @Laurelai

Loving the positive outlook!

I do think it's worth noting that FOSS is not a monolith, and there are plenty of progressive and inclusive communities.

Especially with new projects, it's common to see codes of conduct being enforced, and the ejection of toxic users complaining about the status quo being challenged.

Those siloes are going to take a while. The biggest thing for me is replacing G Suite - your average user isn't going to know how to administer NextCloud

@kit_darko @kaniini @Laurelai Google is so very hard to get away from. Especially for those of us using Android phones. We need a FOSS operating system like Lineage that is easy for the common user to install.

@eliasg @Laurelai @kit_darko

I do not want to run LineageOS, I see my phone as an appliance.

@kaniini @eliasg @Laurelai

That's okay. Those of us who do want such a thing aren't trying to take that away from you

@kaniini @Laurelai @kit_darko agreed. i want to just be able to buy a FOSS Lineage OS (or similar type OS) right off the shelf. who wants to deal with phone OSes. Gosh, already have to do that on laptops.

@Laurelai I know it repels me. just trying searching for help on a Linux forum

@kara I find that the best way to get help is not to act polite, its to throw a fit and threaten to go back to windows :p

@Laurelai hah! another suggestion I have encountered is to supply a fake answer, then all the nerds stampede to correct it

@kara @Laurelai i feel like that view of Linux is outdated. a lot of projects are still like that but Ubuntu has had a big support community for years (that's how I got into Linux seven years ago), most distributions have much better support communities than they ever used to now, and then there's Stackexchange where the only thing anyone will ever get upset about is if you don't use the search feature

@kara @Laurelai with that said yes, a lot of the FOSS world is still like that; i'm just specifically talking about Linux and how it's not the same problem to search for help on a Linux forum that it was in the 90s or early 2000s.

@kittybecca @kara If were speaking of linux then we need to talk about how spender needs to be beaten with rods until he makes grsec public again

@Laurelai @kittybecca @kara the only reason why I have an Android phone is because it does not have a glass screen. I do not fucking care about what OS it runs, it could run that shitty Java OS that you see on counterfeit phones as long as it works right and has an acrylic screen.

@kaniini @kittybecca @kara Anyways arrogant narcissistic coders should be humbled vigorously for the good of society

@Laurelai @kara @kittybecca

spender has legitimate grievances, but his way of dealing with them are crap

@kaniini @kara @kittybecca He does have grievances, but he acts like a petulant 5 year old and needs to be spanked

@kaniini @kittybecca @Laurelai coders should never ever be made to forget that, by and large, most of them still don't really know their asses from their ear-holes. they're not engineers, they're not "computer scientists", they're like alchemists who've just barely started to figure out how things actually work

@kara @kaniini @kittybecca And that most of them can and will be replaced with evolutionary algorithms

@kaniini @kittybecca @Laurelai oh, yeah, I think the computer geek world is in for a hell of a shock

twenty years from now, ten even, most of their jobs are gonna melt away

@kara @kaniini @kittybecca Yeah when a regular ass person can tell an AI "do this thing" and it does it, better than a human could (because they already can) then they wont know what hit them

@Laurelai @kittybecca @kara

production quality AI for that is about 40 years out. AI is harder than you think.

@kaniini @kittybecca @Laurelai and another thing: the corporate software world won't care even if the AI does a shit job compared to a human. all the nerdrage of the programmers who regard themselves as superior artisans of bespoke code won't do a thing, nobody who actually controls the money will give a shit

just look at how much of the services we ALREADY use are more or less curated with shitty Python scripts or whatever

@kara @kaniini @kittybecca "oh you mean we dont have to pay some neckbeard anymore? great who cares if its not as good as long as its good enough"

@kara @Laurelai @kittybecca as a person who gets called to fix people's startups, I can tell you that the ML code generators with supervision will outperform the grunt devs within the next decade
@kara @Laurelai @kittybecca

self-optimizing algorithms aren't the threat to dev jobs

AI which can produce code for any problem is. that's about 30 years out.

@kaniini @kara @kittybecca Theres AI that designs hardware using evolutionary techniques that already outperforms humans and we dont know why 🙃

@kaniini @kara @kittybecca One day someone will be able to feed an AI the grsec patches and the AI will out spender spender and i will laugh

@kaniini @kara @kittybecca Because nobody will defend him, nobody will care about him because hes alienated too many people

@Laurelai @kittybecca @kara

evolutionary techniques are "soft" AI which is now called "machine learning"

ML could be used to replace grunt coders, but still needs direction from senior developers

replacing senior developers with AI will come at the same time that CEOs and others are replaced with AI. that kind of decision-making is considered to be "hard" AI. hard AI is still about 25-30 years out.
@kaniini @Laurelai @kittybecca @kara

and realistically 40-50 before it's completely proven and shareholders like it

I would look for the boards to be replaced with AI before the workers, since shareholders will believe that AIs will deliver them more value
@kara @Laurelai @kittybecca

excuse me but I have been known to teach a computer science course from time to time and I do have a nice stack of credentials. don't lump me in with the tech bros.

@Laurelai programming itself (and all other aspects of development) is inherently and immensely social. anyone saying it isnt is like saying music is an individual pursuit

@soundsofearth A lot of developers act self absorbed, go on power trips, theres a lot of sexism and racism, its really a toxic community overall

@soundsofearth And if they want to gain an edge over proprietary people they need to polish their public image

@Laurelai reminds me of the amaaazing graphic design on lots of GNU applications. gnu.org/graphics/package-logos

The only FOSS mascots/logos I remember that dont suck off the top of my head are KDE and Krita's mascots (uwu)

@Laurelai and insultingly atrocious user experience and interface design

@Laurelai do tell more. It might help me introspect and see how much of those reasons are in my behavior too. On the other hand, I also like to listen and learn about how some random average person not from the field of computers talk about how they discovered foss software and why they feel so supportive of those projects. Maybe their reasons maybe more of supporting freeware kind, but should we rush to correct them about free software principles every time?

@dpreacher I would address the sexism, racism, transphobia etc within FOSS communities, and be more welcoming/supportive of new people with questions

@Laurelai I'll be honest and admit that I haven't engaged with communities at all for years now especially since I've got my own interest in Foss that caught momentum enough for me to find and apply as much and whenever I need. Lost touch with any kind of networking and evangelising. So I'm not even the right person to tell anything but I can say that those poisonous elements need to be rooted out by everyone and let it not be a fight for Foss communities alone.