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Linux Journal Ceases Publication: An Awkward Goodbye (linuxjournal.com)
838 points by akulbe on Aug 8, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 356 comments

This quote is particularly biting:

"It became clearer than ever to me that while Linux and FOSS had won the battle over the tech giants a decade before, new ones had taken their place in the meantime, and we were letting them win."

It's true. We won it all, but we somehow still lost, and that's a difficult and sad thing to realize. Even though FOSS ate the world, we didn't win software freedom, we just enabled a bunch of new tech giants to put us into consumer roles with little to no freedom once again.

Freedom is never won forever. Every generation has to fight to keep it back. We got great gifts from our elders: an internet that is based on open specs. Open source licenses that are legally tested. An ethos of sharing. Organizations with real power. Cryptography.

We have to continue on new fronts. Right now people are making open source silicon, but it is still in its infancy, it is to Intel as Linux 1.0 was to Microsoft: a laughable threat.

We need to find better licenses for AI models, promote the Affero GPL. Forge new tools to protect privacy. Maybe work more closely with governments that have understood that privacy is not just a geek's concern?

Enjoy your freedoms, but don't take them for granted. Fighting for them, forging the tools to preserve them, it is worth a bit of your money and a bit of your time.

You can see the same patterns in the society, in the erosion of workers' rights that our ancestors bought literally with their blood and suffering. It's the same force acting on all fronts.

Which workers rights laws have been repealed?

Im sick of seeing these sorts of nonsense questionons on HN. This isnt a question at all, it's an assertion which offers no evidence. This sort of thing wastes everyone's time and draws attention away from fruitful discussion, perhaps even by design. People who earnestly want to engage should avoid falling into the trap of responding and thereby increasing the visibility of these bad faith comments.

Gig economy and driving an Uber are good examples. The latter doesn't even recognize you as an employee -- hence no rights.

This is no different than handyman services, plumbers, tile layers, etc. When you work as a subcontractor, you are employed on a per job basis. Same goes for Uber and Lyft. I've heard far too many stories from these drivers about how their life has improved from the often supplemental income to be against it.

Except Taxi services were at least reasonably well regulated and had award wages, including vacation and sick leave (Australia) and now people work for less than minimum wage and have jack shit entitlements, can be terminated at will.

Same goes for many other gig economy roles.

I don't know about Aussie but in the U.S. the only good cities for cabs were the very large and dense cities like NYC. Everywhere else cab services were awful. Cars were not clean, they often wouldn't take credit card, it would take 30 minutes or more to get picked up, it was just terrible service. I know Lyft only takes 20% of fare, so drivers get the bulk of fee and I pay $25 for a 15 minute ride to the airport and tip $5. I've heard drivers average between $18 and $25 an hour, so well above minimum wage.

The quality of the service is unrelated to current discussion about workers' rights being dismantled by the gig economy. Minimum wage is only one aspect of workers' rights.

Maybe that isn't a thing in US, but there are countries where work conditions of handyman services are regulated either by unions or guilds.

It's been that way forever. Contractors/individual proprietors/whatever are not employees.

Those guys are no contractors. There are laws with different treatment based on telling signs that a worker is an employee. I can't tell about the USA, but around here you're an employee when you work for one employer that decides the hours and other details, and provides the basic means for the job (the app in this case).

basic means/tools -> car you set your time and drive whenever you please or not at all

so in conclusion even by your test you are not employee

Pretty sure that Uber/Lyft drivers set their own hours and many of them use many different ride sharing apps.

The guys that deliver food have been declared covert employees recently here in lower jurisdiction. Not sure about taxi apps, there must exist a loophole at least to start. The question is you are very dependent of some party.

The are still subject to work law.

If the work law in US does not protect them, that is another matter.

There have been a number of laws that diminish collective bargaining. Things like "right to work" laws ostensibly give individual workers more rights, but they have a devastating effect on union membership and collective action.

Sure, you might have more "rights" if you were to tally them up. But human psychology is easily gamed, and things like this end up hurting employees on the whole.

No particular change in laws, the corporations just got better at exploiting loopholes.

For example by hiring contractors in place of employees.

You also had Reagan bust the Air Traffic Controller's Union.

>Freedom is never won forever. Every generation has to fight to keep it back.

This reminds me of the Daniel Kahn song 'Freedom is a Verb'. Great listen that argues exactly this.

p sure GPLv3 does anything the Affero GPL would do, the problem is that absolutely fucking everyone is terrified of it.

I don't think so. If you build the next gmail with GPLv3 software, you don't have to share your code as you are not selling any binary. The Affero mandates that you share the code with clients who use the service, not just people who execute the binary.

And freedom of speech. Without that, code will become the domain of only big industry. Code is speech. And when speech is free, even when dangerous, so is code.

I think the wins of the open camp are real and tangible and they powerfully shape the industry. Android is free precisely because an open kernel is available that could empower a competitor. Google is absolutely paranoid about this possibility, and is severly limited in the Microsoft-esque moves they can make.

I think what precludes the final victory of open source is that the world itself changed for the better. The mobile and web revolution brought easy to use software into the hands of billions. These are people who wouldn't have been able to touch a PC twenty years ago, let alone understand or care about what source code is. They have vastly different expectations than the professional software users that created the free source movement in the image of the hackers of the 70s and 80s. Just look at the number of rooted phones sold. It's an appliance model of computing.

In this new consumer environment, the free source development model is less adequate and cannot compete with commercial software that can directly monetize the apps and invest in further development. What is required, I think, is to update the free software philosophy to the 21st century, and relax some of the ideological goals to facilitate development and reach the more substantial goals, like privacy and security.

The walled gardens of Google and Apple can be replicated. What is lacking is a free software business model that can gather the $1 billion or so required.

> I think what precludes the final victory of open source is that the world itself changed for the better.

Maybe we don't live in the same world???

> The mobile and web revolution brought easy to use software into the hands of billions.

Yes, but this software is not empowering the users, it is controlling them, isolating them, radicalizing them and making them feel more depressed.

"We put a chicken in every pot! Nevermind that they're rotting, salmonella-filled carcasses, we still did it!"


>In this new consumer environment, the free source development model is less adequate and cannot compete with commercial software that can directly monetize the apps and invest in further development.

What, exactly, is supposed to be new here? I see nothing distinguishing the economics of this "new consumer environment" from 1995, except maybe that Redhat doesn't sell CDs anymore.

What has changed since the 90s is increasingly onerous intellectual property law, anti-reverse-engineering laws, and the continued creep of the belief that ideas should be owned.

And this is precisely backwards:

> What is required, I think, is to update the free software philosophy to the 21st century, and relax some of the ideological goals to facilitate development and reach the more substantial goals, like privacy and security.

If everybody's crazy uncle RMS had been more accommodating, more willing to compromise on ideology, things never would have changed in the 90s. One slightly cynical way of looking at it is that he was could play Bad Cop to ESR and others' more corporate-friendly, accommodationist "Open Source" promotion, somewhat similar (for much lower stakes) to how Huey Newton played bad-cop to MLK's nonviolence.

If you drop the principle of always putting the user first, you'll eventually compromise on everything else.

> What, exactly, is supposed to be new here? I see nothing distinguishing the economics of this "new consumer environment" from 1995

The free software model failed all the same in 1995 for a certain class of applications. It's great for high performance, challenging pieces of code, for kernels, servers and databases. Things with a large community of devolopers among the users, willing to push patches back. Things that look good on a CV. Software that needs to customized for professional users.

It's less good for mass market software. It's flawed for complete games (as opposed to game engines). It's bad for professional software not used by developers and that does not require customization. For example, it has never been able to displace most Adobe products, despite the numerous attempts and the revolting behavior of that company towards it's clients.

What changed was not the economic realities of free software. It's simply that the type of projects where it shines have grown much slower than the rest of the consumer software ecosystem. The world of computing moved ahead from the needs of programmers to the needs of ordinary people, many of whom are willing to pay .99 to solve them.

Insisting on "free to use" today stops you from realizing the other, more substantial free software freedoms, and deprives the projects from much needed resources in their competition with closed software.

First thing: the world is better by most metrics. Life span, literacy, crime rate,... There are some dips now and then but the net effect is mostly positive.

On the computer side of things, for less than $100 ($200 if you need a screen), you can have a full, general purpose computer you can code on, new. And with internet access you can have all the documentation you need to get you started.

And the "web revolution" not empowering users? A simple example: buying an uncommon book used to take weeks, if possible at all. Now a few clicks on Amazon and you get it delivered the next day. Realtime communication to people anywhere in the world is almost a given now, it was somewhat possible 10 years ago but at a much different price. And what about navigation? If you have a working smartphone and data connection, getting lost is more or less impossible.

The part about controlling, isolating, radicalizing, and depressing people is debatable. Tech certainly has an effect but is it a net positive or a net negative? It is used to control people but also raises awareness. It makes people stay at home but facilitates communication. It radicalizes people but also expose them to mind opening diversity. It makes some people more depresses but provides outlets.

On your isolation point, I think the modern walled gardens that people use to interact online are so stale and devoid of meaningful interaction that not much "mind opening diversity" actually occurs. I think this is a design problem and not a technological problem.

> Yes, but this software is not empowering the users, it is controlling them, isolating them, radicalizing them and making them feel more depressed.

That's a horribly lopsided analysis. That's not to say that there are no examples or truth to the issues you raise, but it's far from the whole story. People do extract massive value from the communication, education, and entertainment features offered by the software in question.

Empowerment implies that users may do things with this software you don’t personally agree with or approve of.

The world is clearly better in many ways over the last 20 years - more productivity, more literacy, less crime, less poverty, more accessibility, more communication. Those improvements have also brought new problems: more radicalization, more surveillance, more exposure to “keeping up with the Jones’” that might lead to depression.

Are we creating more than we’ve solved? Maybe? There have been radicals and electric eyes online since BBS’ in the 80s, we just haven’t societally kept up with what was obviously going to happen when you drop the cost and barriers to communicating. I’m think we will fix things.

> I think the wins of the open camp are real and tangible and they powerfully shape the industry.

Outside mobile: Linux (the OS not the kernel) won the web.

Way back in the 'Linux on the desktop' days, KDE needed something like gtkhtml so KDE made KHTML and Konqueror. Apple needed a web browser and couldn't make one from scratch, so webkit was forked from KHTML. Chrome needed to fork webkit so made blink. Edge adopted blink too.

KDE's code is now in Chrome, Safari, and Edge. The only major web browser not containing it is Firefox (which is also OSS). That's AMAZING.

> KDE's code is now in Chrome, Safari, and Edge. The only major web browser not containing it is Firefox (which is also OSS). That's AMAZING.

On the one hand yes, on the other Apple tried as hard as it could without technically violating the license that KHTML would get as little back from webkit as legally possible.

While I agree with you, it’s also sad that what was formerly community-controlled got more and more taken over by corporations until now Google has practically complete control over Blink. It’s open source, but the community hasn’t made it.

Google open-source projects have a strong tendency toward not building outside of an internal Google build environment and they'll pretty much just be like, "Whups! Nobody works on this who doesn't work at Google, so we very commonly break the build." ChromiumOS suffers from this a lot and it's like, unclear that they are even really adhering to the licenses for the upstream FOSS they include and depend on, but who even has the time to challenge them?

Reminds me of the 90s when RedHat's source CD wouldn't actually build their binary distro, but since almost noone ever tries, almost noone cares.

That's definitely been a problem, however UnGoogled Chromium https://github.com/Eloston/ungoogled-chromium and Edge https://www.microsoftedgeinsider.com/en-us/ have fixed a lot of it.

> KDE's code is now in Chrome, Safari, and Edge. The only major web browser not containing it is Firefox (which is also OSS). That's AMAZING.

Amazing for whom? How much control does KDE have over the code they originally wrote? Last time i checked KHTML and Konqueror were abandoned.

For internet users that get the benefit of having all the major browsers be Open Source.

Chrome is not open source. Safari is not open source. I haven't checked Edge but is it actually open source?

The only major open source browser remains Firefox.

And what difference does it make that those three browsers aren’t open source? While their browser engines are?

What’s amazing about Apple, Microsoft, Google using open source browsing engines as their core? Or being open source currently? They completely control their browsers. Besides electrons rise, what major difference would there be if Safari, Edge, Chrome weren’t open source?

Given we understand the difference between an open source application and a closed source application that uses open source libraries... Then I can answer.

If Chrome etc were actually open source then the vendors would have less control of the browsers and users would have more control. End users could then build Chrome themselves.

Since these browsers are in reality proprietary it would make little difference to end users vs vendors level of control if they used 0% code from open source projects rather than 99% as they do at the moment. No one but Google can build Chrome either way.

So we broadly agree that there is nothing amazing about the current situation.

I however claim that if these browsers were Foss this would be different.

--- Yes I am aware of Chromium. But Chromium is not Chrome. For example Netflix supports Chrome and blocks Chromium.

Safari, Edge, Chrome are NOT open source.

Edit Removed suprious '?'

What are you asking?

I said browser engines initially so I meant the browser engines. I also brought up Electron. Which doesn’t depend on Chrome. But the browser engine.

So I could’ve for a third time repeated WebKit, Edge’s open source Blink, and Blink/Chromium. I’m not sure if that’s the only point of your comment? Based on another comment it seems like being pedantic is your only point.

So what does it matter if the browser itself or as it is now, the engines are open source? Since that is still my question. What difference does it make?

The pedantry doesn’t change anything.

It is very much not pedantry. Chrome, Safari etc are proprietary programs. Calling them open source is like calling a peanut an orange.

Foss comes with the requirement that you as the user have certain freedoms. With Chrome etc you do not have those freedoms.

And yet I clarified all that. And all you’ve done is repeat stuff that has already been clarified. Nothing you have said has been of any substance or use.

Still you have said nothing of substance or use. It’s pedantic in this thread because I had already referred to the browser engines as open source and referred to electron. I didn’t explain what electron was either. You didn’t find a big problem with that.

And I’ll ask again, what differences would there be if the browsers themselves were open source? We already have Chromium vs Chrome. So what would be different if Chrome was open source?

Not to mention responding to anything else.

The Linux kernel is the only GPL piece still used on Android, and who knows for how long, given how little userspace is actually aware of it.

Why else would Google be building Fuchsia? Apple has been removing all GPL apps slowly from their platform. From a RMS perspective, the FOSS community is worse than it was in the 90s. There is little end-user, self-hostable FOSS stuff out there. It's all middleware, released by the giants, to integrate with their big social media system.

I wrote about this a few years back:


Isn't this what gpl advocates want? Or did they expect every tech company to open source their entire stack?

No they want fully free OS's with free applications. That doesn't have to come from big corps.

On the other hand, MIT/Apache/BSD advocates will have a bright future ahead of them.

There is a lot of speculation that Google is developing Fuschia because they want to move _away_ from their mobile OS being so thoroughly FOSS.

I thought Google was developing Fuschia because some of their ambitious junior project managers need to appear to be working on Something Big And New to get a promotion, leaving their project to turn into Something Half-Assed And Cancelled In Two Years. Isn't that the standard trajectory for Google projects launched within this decade?

I thought Google is developing Fuschia because.

A) Linus won't stablize kernel ABI

B) Device manufacturers won't release driver code to allow recompilation of an updated kernel.

So this means an upgraded kernel needs upgraded drivers from manufacturers that match the kernel version, but manufacturers don't want to do this.

Not sure where I heard it but I thought that was one of things about Fuschia is the device ABI is a separate, stable layer.

>A) Linus won't stablize kernel ABI

Yes, but this is for very good reasons. https://github.com/torvalds/linux/blob/master/Documentation/...

Doesn't Android have some sort of stable layer that allows for updating the OS without rewriting drivers?

Yes, Project Treble, it basically kind of changes Linux into a pseudo-"mikro-kernel", which is kind of ironic.

Where classical Linux drivers are considered legacy (Passthrough HALs) and all new drivers since Android 8 are user space, written in either Java or C++ and talk to the kernel via Android IPC (Binderized HALs).

Ha, sounds familiar. :)

I wonder for how long we'll be able to use Gmail before it follows the G+ road.

I've basically given up on Google and their corporate ADHD. I use Android because it's the only phone OS that allows for easy permanent sideloading while also having a healthy native app ecosystem, and I'll use search and maps, but that's literally (not figuratively, but literally) it. It seems that the only products of theirs with any staying power were launched prior to 2010.

But search and maps are a lot of Google. Beyond that it’s YouTube, Gmail, Google docs, Google Cloud. Along with Android, Chrome, ChromeOS as the cornerstones of the company. Search is by far the most important piece. Followed by Android and Chrome, in my opinion.

Or are you saying you aren’t going to use anything new by them? That is probably the case and I misunderstood. Though it’s not like Google has any major hits this decade anyway. Everything mentioned is quite old.

>Or are you saying you aren’t going to use anything new by them? That is probably the case and I misunderstood.

Basically, yes. I don't even make the effort to log in to use any of their services, except for the Google account on my phone for the purposes of Play Store access. I'm just tired of being Charlie Brown trying to kick Google-Lucy's exciting-new-product-football.

You'll need to stop receiving purchase recepits and flight details by email before Google is not interested in reading you email :)

That would leave plenty of room for someone else to take on the android ecosystem...

Sure, because the Android clones without Google services have been such a tremendous market success.

It's not like the google services get much use.

Except for Maps, Gmail, Messages, Photos, Search, and (due to the servicing model) Play.

I could be forgetting a few.

Maps, at least, I've completely replaced with Citymapper. Due to its goal it doesn't work everywhere, but in a supported area I've found it to be completely superior to Google Maps. So there is competition.

Citymapper uses Google Maps. In what way is it competition?

I suppose it's competition in urban navigation, but not competition in map tiles.

They use Google Maps so it’s worse for Google vs using Maps directly. But you’re still using them.

Did you ever try printing a Google map? They're unreadable and the roads are nearly invisible.

Um...no? Why would I do that? It's on my phone...with a moving dot where I am on the map, and a tiny lady in there that can tell me when to turn. I'm genuinely confused by this...what are you getting at?

I happen to like a large printed map, and they do support it in the hamburger menu. The result is unusable though. I dont have a data plan, but I'll look into the latest OSM which has directions.

Pretty good for the other 99.98% of use cases though. Your objection doesn't refute "Maps gets used a lot on Android" in any case.

I don't think they will drop Android until it is not (very) profitable anymore.

They don't need to drop Android, just Linux kernel.

ART is being ported to run on top of Fucshia.

>It's an appliance model of computing.

That's the real strength of Linux, creating appliances from commonly available hardware. The biggest mistake is therefore to copy Apple and MS and their general purpose approach, it will never work because the community isn't united like a company, every Linux camp seeks to make the best thing for their own purpose, and constantly clashes with other camps that want to do the same for themselves. A general purpose Linux OS is an anti pattern.

Complete and utter nonsense. You might as well rant about "general purpose" sheets of paper.

There is a need for general purpose computing, and Linux is one of the very few options there. That won't change.

One major beauty of Linux is its flexibility, so it can also provide niche/embedded products.

My perspective is the user and application level, not the distribution maker and developer level.

Interesting that you mention $1 billion, GitLab is a $1 billion company apparently: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alejandrocremades/2019/07/21/he...

I always think of cURL [1] in these circumstances. The list of companies that uses his tool is amazing (but expected). Even BMW is there (of course) [2]. If you had to valuate cURL I guess it would be worth much more than "top" (10 maybe?) tech companies (what a farce).

It's pretty funny that people tried to steal his tool's name. He even has "testimonials" [3] which I guess is some form of dramatic irony.

[1] https://curl.haxx.se

[2] https://curl.haxx.se/docs/companies.html

[3] https://curl.haxx.se/libcurl/theysay.html

Yes but a huge amount of companies use /bin/true either directly or indirectly. Following your logic it should be worth millions ...

I think we should look at FOSS more as we regard math or science. Everybody uses it, but nobody pays for it (edit: once it exists).

As a scientist, I am so very glad every day that someone pays for science. Without sustained support from NSF, DOE, and NIH, there is no way that fundamental research could move forward the way it has in the post-war United States.

It is tricky to figure out how to allocate funds, but software underlies our nation's infrastructure, too. Having federal grants for the maintenance of core open-source infrastructure sure sounds like a cheap investment to me.

>Without sustained support from NSF, DOE, and NIH, there is no way that fundamental research could move forward the way it has in the post-war United States.

One of my favourite scientists of all-time is Harrison Brown. He was most known for his role in launching George Tilton and Clair Patterson's dating-the-Earth project. But he had a most amazing ability to convince the cold-war era US government to fund civilian science that had no real military value whatsoever. He was a kind of science-funding Robin Hood, an ethical con artist.

> the post-war United States.

This might be a bit of a tangent, but the US is still at war and has been (in various stages of "hotness") for many decades). The war in Afghanistan will turn 18 in less than 2 months. More on-topic -- quite a bit of research still gets funding from the military, because of their massive budget (not that I think that this is an overall good thing -- I've heard really worrying stories about the sorts of discussions you have when doing military-funded research).

And if you are not in the US, EU, or an Asian developed country, your stability of funding is pretty much at a level where you are taking an unnecessary and big risk by going into academia as a livelihood.

So, should it not be worth millions? Is calculus not worth millions?

If someone could claim exclusive rights: yes, it would be worth millions. However, we've chosen as a society to make IP law not apply to math and public science.

This is an extremely shortsighted view, just because you can't sell calculus, doesn't mean its value in general isn't titanic.

For instance, it underlies basically all modern science and technology, fundamentally.

The problem with putting a monetary value on something is always that someone either needs to buy it or sell it.

Since calculus already exists and is in the public domain, nobody needs to buy it. No government needs to invest money in it. (Assuming that calculus is a finished work for the moment).

This is, of course, not to say that calculus is not valuable.

A fundamental tenet of Free Software is that math cannot be copyrighted and that software is basically just math. Whether you agree or disagree with that, it's kinda pointless to approach the topic from scratch in 2019, it's been argued into the ground for like 30 years.

The value you get from something has nothing to do with its price. When people say "X is worth Y dollars", "Y dollars" refers to what they can sell it for, not how much "value" its adding to society.

Its not nearly as straight forward of that, think how many dollars calculus has generated.

Yeah, Newton's heirs have a huge check coming to them, when US Congress retroactively pushes copyright back a few centuries by extending it to "life + 300 Years".

A lot of companies might be using curl but in limited ways. For them there are plenty of alternatives because their requirements are small. They are choosing curl by default just because it's there and it works.

Yeah, if I had to pay for curl based on this valuation (not to say that for a more reasonable valuation I wouldn't pay), I would just roll my own solution for my limited use case.

Interesting project that is working on this problem:


>It's true. We won it all, but we somehow still lost, and that's a difficult and sad thing to realize. Even though FOSS ate the world, we didn't win software freedom, we just enabled a bunch of new tech giants to put us into consumer roles with little to no freedom once again.

It's always like that. Creation vs Entropy, Hackers vs Systems. One won't work without the other. We can't win software freedom in the current world, we can only fight against losing it and it's going to be a constant battle. But it's the battle enables everyone and raises the tech bar.

A lot of this had to do with how open source grew over the last decade - it grew into startup culture, not FOSS/copyleft culture. As a result, most open source licenses are permissive (MIT, Apache, BSD, etc.) and not true copyleft like GPLv3. And permissive open source licenses benefit companies tremendously.

If companies are going to benefit from permissive licensed open source, they have obvious selection pressure towards that end for the code they create. I agree with you on the outcome; I'm not sure that I think it was startup culture that caused it, but rather any ecosystem where software was important and near ubiquitous would have evolved roughly the same way.

For my own hobby code, I don't see any practical benefit to GPL over MIT. I want my code to be reusable in as many cases as possible. I've seen the toxic treatment AGPL code gets (AFAICT, the main value of that license is to companies who offer dual licenses) and the wary treatment GPL v3 (or worse "v3 or later") code gets.

> ...grew into startup culture, not FOSS/copyleft culture

Your comment there is quite powerful - and i believe true! So, ok, what are next steps in discovering similar high quality content like Linux Journal? Because as it happens, my discovery mode for finding good content is hacker news...though half of the things i ignore because they tend to shift the way of startup culture, which while entertaining, isn't as fulfilling as true FOSS/copyleft culture. So, do you - or anyone else here - have any recommendations to find good content like Linux Journal or any other FOSS/copyleft culture content but through an aggregated site like hacker news? (I use HN not because i'm lazy but because of lack of time; again half of stuff discovered is meh, the other half is good.)

LWN.net (mentioned elsewhere on the thread) is quite good for finding FOSS related content.

Thanks; I'll give it a try!

> we didn't win software freedom

Between clouds, binary blobs and SoC devices I think we're losing in hardware freedom on the back of FOSS as well.

The recent licence changes (MongoDB, Redis, CockroachDB), and GCloud SaaS statement/announcement about working with the corresponding upstream teams to make stuff cloud ready are clear steps against AWS (and Azure too probably).

At the same time we finally got a phone that is built with some security in mind (Librem).

AMD using an open graphics driver is also a nice development of the last few years.


And we can mourn the loss of easily hackable PCs, but a lot of kids these days are just as exposed to tech as 20-30 years ago. (Eg Minecraft redstone programming, mobile app development, high quality YouTube videos about all things electronic, digital.)

So while naturally a higher tech aware populace would be nice, without cultural shifts and accompanying changes in education the status quo is not surprising.

> At the same time we finally got a phone that is built with some security in mind (Librem).

If it ever materializes. It's already more than half a year behind schedule and after preordering it close to when it was announced, I'm very skeptical I'll ever receive it.

Alas it seems that there is simply not enough people willing to pay for "it". (I haven't, and likely won't.) :(

Fortune 500 companies, various nation states are willing to use random Android phones. Why shouldn't "we"?

> The recent licence changes (MongoDB, Redis, CockroachDB)

And those license changes mean I’ve lost software freedom. People have decided AWS is the enemy and all changes that counter them are good to the extent that when they released a fully FOSS download of Elasticsearch, they were criticized for contributing to open source.

Not just people in general. The developers of those software, that we use/rely on.

>The recent licence changes (MongoDB, Redis, CockroachDB)

Software authors ditching open-source licenses to survive doesn't sound like a win for FOSS.

I think having a so hard line view on these no-cloud licenses is silly.

The GPLv3 closed the tivoization loophole, the AGPL closed the SaaS loophole, and now we have Apache-like licenses that close the rent seeking cloudification loophole.

The AGPL is Stallman + OSI + Debian approved, how come these new no-maximo-capitalismo licenses are somehow not?

It might well be that the "free isn't gratis" argument has been shown to not work, and that this is the best compromise solution we have.

Corporations are not people, and arguably are not entitled to the same freedoms with software that people have.

Arduino is lightyears more accessible than PICs a decade ago; it’s never been easier to use a free or OSS tool to design a board and have it mailed to you.

There actually used to be a every Sunday workshop where you made one from scratch in 3 hours (including board fab) with a grab bag of components to populate with — within the past couple years. (That shop closed due to lack of patrons.)

You can’t modify simple electronics as easily — but how many people built their own drones in the 80s? I’d guess RC cars and drones have about the same number of DIY whatever, and that we’re not seeing a fall off (because of difficulty — availability and community are different issues).

The simple truth is most people don’t care and don’t want to manage their stuff all the time: I make my own electronics, but my laptop is still Windows with minimal config. My desktop is parts and Linux — but only because I needed it to mirror what I do at work, as a test bed. The company itself found data centers to be too much fuss, and lifted-and-shifted most of it to the cloud.

Why don’t I bother? Because fighting the laptop constantly to keep FOSS working (and secure!) detracts from my time building my own electronics (or other forms of living life).

If you really care, our failure to create broader technical skill is not technical: it’s social.

We allowed RadioShack to be gutted, we allowed ”hacker spaces” to be priced out of business as cities grew, etc.

Couldn't agree more strongly with the first half of your comment. Bravo!

Radio Shack gutted itself, IMO, albeit probably in response to the reality that they couldn't sell very many single 555 timers for $1.99 anymore once people had obvious alternatives.

As for hacker spaces, if people want them, they have to be willing to pay [enough] to have them. If the local real estate gets progressively more expensive such that the hacker space is no longer viable economically, then it's going to close or move. It was game playing collectives before them. It'll be something else next. Things we like aren't immune from the laws of economics.

There's also a public/private angle - many libraries are adding some makerspace-like labs, with 3D printers etc. That seems like a logical way to sidestep the problem of needing a paying support base (since we're all already paying for our libraries, and they don't have to contend with real estate prices).

> Radio Shack gutted itself, IMO, albeit probably in response to the reality that they couldn't sell very many single 555 timers for $1.99 anymore once people had obvious alternatives.

I don't have any firm numbers on this, but I doubt that discrete components for building circuits from scratch were ever a significant portion of Radio Shack's business. Seems like most of their sales were in manufactured devices (for example, amps, pocket radios, walkie talkies, computers), accessories (antennas, microphones), cables, replacement tubes for radios and TVs, and, of course, batteries.

On the other hand Open Hardware is just starting to get some traction. I hope the librem phone or RISC-V will change the current situation of only proprietary hardware in the future.

> Even though FOSS ate the world, we didn't win software freedom, we just enabled a bunch of new tech giants to put us into consumer roles with little to no freedom once again.

I think one of the dominant causes of this is the fact that hackers and tinkerers became viewed by many/most FOSS products not as key users, but as mild annoyances or even outright pests (and the process has been going on for a long time, at least 10 years). As FOSS projects fought with proprietary and limited use options they worked to provide convenience that mass users needed to switch. Then to gain wider acceptance they added polish -- "plug and play", "no configuration needed" that mom and pop users wanted.

There is nothing sinister there, but this step puts projects a stone's throw from corporate IT that offers a lot of support / development money, but wants to lock everything to a few "approved" configurations (because crypto, corporate policy or something else). Project remains open source, everyone can fork it (but good luck making sense of it), but from this point tinkerers become persona non grata. What they want (freedom to change things) is against the payer's desire for a locked setup. And from this point on, the system is free only in name.

If you want your software to stay FOSS in spirit, do not drive away tinkerers as your system matures. Leave enough hooks for them to access low level capabilities, enough knobs for them to do "what no sane user would want" and do not see them as a threat even when they stand between you and that $50k support contract from some megacorp. My 2c.

Just my 2c.

Can you blame anyone? The population of users who want plug and play is like four orders of magnitude larger than the population of tinkerers.

I am not blaming anyone. But the same was mostly true when FOSS was young -- most users wanted convenience, not tinkering. But early FOSS supported tinkering regardless, probably because FOSS was frequently a hobby, developers (not users) did want tinkering and built it for themselves.

> Even though FOSS ate the world

FOSS ate "sell to the end user" software companies. FOSS won not because of open source, but because the price was $0. Companies like Facebook realized that. As long as it doesn't cost anything out of pocket, people will use it, even if they have to give up all of their privacy and personal information.

arguably its an even worse situation, at least in the bad old days of Microsoft hegemony you still had the program itself, and your data.

Now cloud providers give you nothing to run if you stop paying them constantly, and in a lot of cases, say goodbye to your data too.

I don't know why this comment was downvoted. The core Microsoft software, like Office, from 20 years ago still work today. The data is still retrievable today. In contrast, the recent wave of SaaS with poor data portability and various services shutting down represents a massive step backwards.

Maybe because half of HN audience is trying to sell some SaaS/IaaS and advocates for non-GNU opensource licenses? To be clear: these are IMO part of the reasons for what GP is saying.

It’s always funny to me to read some of the posts and comments on HN. A lot of (most?) HNers are working to silo off and rent seek. Yet we see posts about how we lost software freedom here.

Rent seeking is trying to capture value without creating any. Most startups are trying to capture value after creating some, IMO.

If you're tracking engaged users [or even growth of revenue and churn from individuals], you're probably not on a path towards rent seeking.

MS office 2010 on windows 7 still runs OK in a VM.

Why do you need a VM? I'm still running 2k3 office natively on Windows 10, no problems at all.

Running 2k3 office outside of a container, vm or otherwise, is not recommended as it hasn't seen security patches in about a decade. Where you see no problems i can only think "Eeeks".

What sort of security issues do you expect Office 2003 to have that will affect you nowadays?

Loads. Simply loads. Office Macros execute by default in 2003 right?

Hopefully no one is using the outlook from then as their mail client at least...

Quite a few of what you can see in this list [1].

[1] https://www.cvedetails.com/product/320/Microsoft-Office.html...

Yes but which of those apply specifically to Office 2003, on Windows 10 and will be exploited today in 2019?

Because I don't want to run windows as my main OS?

Why not native LibreOffice? Does MS Office from 10 years ago offer something that LibreOffice doesn't?

I believe all (most all?) of the MSOffice VBA automation doesn't work in LibreOffice.

Sadly yes. I use LibreOffice where possible but sometimes perfect bug compatibility is needed.

The latest move of Flickr feels like my pictures were suddenly taken hostage. I decided to not pay them for that reason. Never negotiate with hostage takers lol! :'( I was a pro member before, when they actually had a good service for pro members, but one day they sudden decided it was going to be free for all time, only to change their mind... That's a goodbye for me.

I can understand why you're upset, but I can also understand Flickr's point of view: the "they" who decided it was going to be free for all time was Yahoo!, and they were by and large pretty terrible stewards of the service. And it's hard not to think that the stereotypically Silicon Valley "give it away for free and hope you find a way to monetize down the road" attitude is part of what nearly killed Flickr under their management. The "they" who own it now is SmugMug, and I don't think they can be blamed for deciding that the only practical way to monetize Flickr is to, well, charge for the service.

Personally, in most cases I'd much rather pay directly for a service than get it for free from a company whose business model is "try and monetize it through advertising, mining user data and/or dark patterns and shut it down if all of those fail."

Oh thank you, I didn't know. Perhaps I'll go a bit more easy on them. But mergers and ownership handovers aside, it still left me feeling betrayed.

Of course you felt betrayed - because you were betrayed for profit margins.

A customer shouldn't care at all for the reason why the service suddenly sucks.

Customer should only care about the quality and value the service provides to him/her.

Be glad you didn't pay... I did, it's atrocious. They've been removing critical features and claiming they'll come back "after a vacation", stranding users, completely breaking the service... It's been months with no updates (total radio silence!) on when the critical features will come back, if ever, when they were originally promised to return in weeks at most. They've completely broken the workflow of many professional photographers paying a good bit of money for Pro, leaving them stranded with no news for months. It's unacceptable.

I don't think I've ever been so upset at a service before... I've been recommending people stay far, far away from Flickr and I advise anyone reading this to do the same.

Feeling frustrated is totally justified. I'd feel frustrated, too. And no-one is more sorry that you're feeling frustrated than I am.

However, "total radio silence" is not fair. We're very active, and very vocal, about our status updates and progress we're making on the Flickr Help Forum, on our blog, on Twitter, etc. In particular, Flickr now has a CEO (me) who frequently engages with the community and customers to keep them informed, something Flickr hasn't enjoyed since ~2005.

We even have a status page, with frequent realtime updates, which I believe is a first for Flickr: https://status.flickr.net

There is a single feature, Camera Roll, which is still offline undergoing maintenance. No-one is happy it's offline, but it is what it is. It relied on technology internal to Yahoo, which we had to leave behind when we recently exited their datacenters. Given the hard deadline and the vast size, scale, and scope of the Flickr service, we managed to move everything (while keeping it online) except this. It will be returning shortly, but it's not quite ready yet.

I hope you'll stick it out with us, because we're nearly done migrating one of the largest web services on the planet, which means we get to focus on building again instead of just copying. The future is bright.

Disclaimer: I'm the co-founder, CEO & Chief Geek at SmugMug, the company that acquired Flickr from Yahoo last year.

I'm an early adopter to flickr, more than a decade ago. I can say that I did rely on Camera Roll and felt it was a much needed, but somewhat incomplete in scope, tool to flickr. I would be one of the users who relied on it, after years using Organizr. So, there are some of us old timers who used it regularly. Luckily, a strong experience with Organizr allowed me to cope with its downtime. I look forward to its 100% bill of health return. Might I suggest as a request, that Camera Roll be incorporated in some way to view and manage our Favorites Album. There is no longer any way to quickly access a list of Favorite images from a decade ago without trying to scroll through countless webpages...only to find the browser and flickr server crashes. That's been a very old bug on this interface, btw.

Thanks, WNG Image and Design

Thanks for the update. As a long-time Flickr user, I too miss camera roll. The AutoUploadr and Camera Roll really got me connected to Flickr and I use it hourly on my iPhone, I have limited time on my iMac, Organizr is confusing and difficult on the iMac, impossible on the iPhone.

I am also an old-time programmer, starting on 6502 machine language, so I understand programming challenges even though I have never dealt with them on this massive level.

Please continue posting updates wherever is convenient for you, I know the users on the Flickr help forums are quite opinionated and fond of their own words so I understand a bit about not posting programming issues there.

I appreciate your response. That said, in the Flickr Help Forum that everyone is directed to when asking about Camera Roll, there has been absolutely zero update for months (plural!) about its status. I have tried to find other updates elsewhere on the web and failed, do they exist?

Furthermore, calling Camera Roll just a feature undermines its significance. This isn't just removing some insignificant feature like "search by focal length" or whatever. Camera Roll _was_ Flickr for many people. Not most of the total users, sure, but for everyone I know it was. For half a decade Flickr pushed it as _the_ way to use Flickr. It was what you saw first upon opening Flickr, and for any users to Flickr that joined in the last five years it was basically the entire interface.

Then it disappeared, supposedly for a very short time which then became very long... And then the updates stopped. During that entire time, myself and everyone I know that uses Flickr basically stopped using it. This includes people like me who pay for Pro. It became worthless.

The frustrating thing is that I really loved Flickr. I loved it so much I considered applying for a job there as the first job I've applied for in my life (I never apply for jobs, I just get referred to the company usually.) I loved it so much I evangalized it to my friends, family, random strangers.

But then the core Flickr interface, the way everyone I know managed and viewed their photos for half a decade, disappeared. And it's still not back. With the time, and the silence, I grew frustrated, and so did many people. I can't use it without Camera Roll, and everyone else I know can't either.

I really, really want Flickr to succeed. But this whole thing really stings hard.

Again, I'm sorry about Camera Roll. I understand your frustration. But perhaps I can share some insight into what's going on and why:

- The choice to finish moving Flickr or not was literally the decision to keep Flickr on the planet or not. There was no wiggle room in terms of timeline or resources to get the job done. So we had to make some hard decisions, because I, for one, didn't want to see Flickr disappear entirely. For good. This was more likely than most people understand. (See: https://www.vox.com/2019/1/23/18194865/verizon-layoffs-aol-y... )

- Camera Roll wasn't used by most users. When we were faced with the question of "ok, we're going to have to temporarily shut off a major feature to meet this deadline", Camera Roll was the obvious one due to its relatively low usage. I'm sorry you rely on it so much, but it's very clear that's not common relative to other major features.

- Camera Roll being offline hasn't affected usage materially. There appears to be near-zero evidence that many people "basically stopped using" Flickr due to this feature being offline.

- Based on your comment, I checked with long-time Flickr employees who are still employed here, and none can recall Camera Roll being central or core to the Flickr experience, nor it being the landing page. Our usage data, both before and after shut-off, supports this perspective.

- One reason for a smaller # of updates about Camera Roll is simply that it's not done being rebuilt yet. We prioritize time spent building things rather than time spent updating people with "Still no update". I think most customers would rather have us ship it sooner rather than talk about it more and ship it later. The last updates are still true. It's not done, but we're working hard and it is coming soon, which we've said recently, more than once.

If you truly love Flickr, as I do, I hope this perspective is helpful. We (the royal "everyone on Earth" version of "we") nearly lost Flickr forever. SmugMug saved it, but we had to make some hard choices. So we did, and I'd still make them again. Flickr is in good hands, we're excited about the future, and we're excited to get back to building again.

I hope you stick with us.

Well, that's certainly a different perspective. I appreciate it. I think many of the users who are so frustrated by Camera Roll's prolonged disappearance would have gotten less frustrated had we received an explanation like this in the beginning.

Asking old time Flickr employees is good, but that kind of misses the point. Old time Flickr users generally stuck with the interface they knew, from what I can tell, and did not use Camera Roll as much. "New" Flickr users, aka those using it for less than a half decade (at least those that I knew) used Camera Roll nearly exclusively and never used Organizr. There was never any other way to view large numbers of photos or organize them on any non desktop device other than Camera Roll, for example, and for anyone who used Flickr on mobile it was not merely central to the user experience - it _was_ the user interface.

I'm extremely shocked that Camera Roll isn't commonly used relative to other features. I wouldn't believe it from anyone else :) Can you say roughly how often it was used compared to Organizr before the switch? (as those are the two only ways to organize your photos on Flickr.)

Regardless, I know first hand that a not insignificant number of people used Camera Roll for everything. Personally, Camera Roll's absence has prevented me from providing photos of important things to several people. I simply don't have the time to dig through Organizr to find and organize a selection of photos that was easy to locate before but is now nearly impossible.

I appreciate the work you all did to save Flickr, and I look forward to using Flickr again once it's usable for me.

Camera Roll was useful from the phone! Organizr isn't. It was the only way I could easily find a photo that I posted a while ago without metadata.

Don, this very thread is one of the reasons why some of us Flickr members feel there is a very real communication problem between Flickr and its membership. This discussion should be happening ON Flickr, where members are asking about what is going on with Camera Roll. If there's time to respond here, there's time to respond there. Please.

Don - responding here and not on flickr makes the rest of us members feel unimportant. There are 34 pages (hundreds) of responses waiting for an update to the "You can stay updated on the progress here" landing page. Could you give us an update there with some transparency and timeframes? Thanks!

What are these critical features? I've been a Flickr Pro subscriber for years and it still works fine for me.

Camera Roll, which many people (me included) used as the main part of our work flow, is completely gone, despite them claiming it'd be back quickly. For those that used it, it basically _was_ Flickr, and despite claims to the contrary there are a number of workflows in Camera Roll that cannot be easily replicated with the handful of remaining Flickr features.

Linux: Technology's Giving Tree.

Linux/FOSS: always the bridesmaid, never the bride. They sit under massive proprietary stacks silently churning through data making large corps billions. They run the internet yet no one sees them. Beasts of burden really. Facebook, Google, Android, pretty much all of these large orgs and their products use FOSS and Linux but none of it is visible. And it never will be because there's no profit in free software. There's only profit in controlling users. You can control users using FOSS unless you cripple it using proprietary upper layers.

Why is it always talked about as a battle with winners and losers? I think that everyone "wins" and the only real losers are those who see this as a battle at all. To me everyone has been elevated by the Linux and FOSS movement.

'cept for the Linux Journal editors and writers

The market has spoken.

RMS was right. He was always right, but now all we have is the cold comfort of saying so.

In some ways, perhaps RMS is who led us here? Or maybe it was Eric Raymond (and "open source") who led us astray?

The "Cloud" is certainly a clever means to extract value from GPLv2 software stacks that many of the services are built upon, frequently without having to give much of anything back.

How many "cloudy" services run on Linux and other GPLv2 software?

I sometimes wonder what the world would look like had more free licenses (such as MIT/BSD) been just a bit more popular during critical points in history, or had less free options like GPLv3 or AGPL come a bit sooner as viable options.

Would we have to pay for more software, and if so, would the privacy equation have turned out differently? Would software simply not have advanced as quickly as it did? Would the direction tech is moving still be a web-centric one, or would it be a bit more of a desktop/local centric world with more shrink-wrapped software?

RMS would have probably said "If you didn't want it in their control don't put it on their computer."

And really paying for software is no guarantee that you won't also be the product - I'm not sure where that naive notion came from. Paying for the software isn't what keeps your privacy safe - keeping your privacy safe does. That it is an inane tautology is the point - they are separate aspects.

> And really paying for software is no guarantee that you won't also be the product - I'm not sure where that naive notion came from.

It isn't a guarantee, but not paying for software means that the developers have a strong incentive to figure out other means for extracting value out of you. So it isn't so much that paying for software wont make you the product as it is not paying for software will make you the product (note that this is when businesses are concerned - personally as an individual i give a bunch of stuff for free and i do not care about getting any value out of them, but at the same time i wouldn't build a business around giving out stuff for free).

Past tense need not be used. You are not forced to give all your data to others, even today.

It's just less than trivial to get it running yourself.

Reminds me I need to check in on https://Sandstorm.io and see how they're doing. I've tried to install it a couple of times and bounced off of it a couple times, not always due to things that are their fault (i.e., they do sensible things with DNS but my managed DNS provider won't let me set up the requisite records in their "easy" interface, and I'm not quite motivated to go all the way back to running my own bind).

As Kenton has said [1], Sandstorm is basically dead. I regret that I didn't do more to support and promote it before it was too late.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20312789

> I sometimes wonder what the world would look like had more free licenses (such as MIT/BSD) been just a bit more popular during critical points in history, or had less free options like GPLv3 or AGPL come a bit sooner as viable options.

It would have stayed as it was and how we are now back to, thanks to adoption of MIT/BSD and daemonising of GPL.

Public Domain, Sharewhare, Demoware, whateverware.

They too used to occasionally provide source code for the free/demo version.

Very valid point. This is the elementary difference between open source (which won) and free software (which lost).

I blame RMS for forcing an ideology down our throats that a majority don't care about for the sake of some unfeasible purity. It's like he said to himself, "What would I have to do to be the smuggest most technically correct man in existence? Alright, I'm going to live like that regardless of the world and shove it in everyone's face."

I use my computer to do work. I don't have time for my computer to be some social battleground first-world-problem and quite frankly I don't care. RMS is right but he has the answer to an irrelevant question that nobody asked.

The ideology had a place when the majority of computer users were the high priests and the rabble didn't need to be accommodated. Now the computing literati are a small minority and corporate interests can't be influenced by them.

But Gnome and Redhat need to have a brand, or how will they gain marketshare?

I mean, getting everyone's grandma (and her java server, I guess?) on Linux, is the goal - right? Surely the well behaved user will fight for openness?!

It's a strange game... the only winning move is not to play.

If any project accepts that its goal is to gain users by displacing other products (commercial or not) then that project is committing to a fight it can't win simply because of the nature of open source projects - in the present day world, whoever has the most money tends to win.

Open source needs to find a way to exist as partially commercial software, or else projects won't have longevity, which inevitably means they'll be displaced by commercial products because while the motivation to develop open source isn't constant, the motivation to find a way to sell software for money IS constant.

The ideal that Stallman and others have always aimed for - that all software should be free - is impractical in the real world until the real world changes significantly, like most utopian ideals.

The problem with FOSS ideals is that the rest of the world still likes money as exchange for goods and one cannot get a steady stream of it just by donations.

It is like playing on the street, yes you can make it for the supermarket, but don't expect to pay for rent and pension out of it.

It's because it's never been about freedom. It's about economics. The money just continually pools preferentially to a few players. As long as this happens we will never be free.

Yeah it's all about the cloud services and FOSS doesn't ... just make a FOSS cloud or services.

It doesn't seem likely to in the near term either.

Maybe? Something similar to FileCoin for FOSS cloud services could work pretty well.

I've been writing for Linux Journal since 1996.

Two years ago, we were told (with zero notice) that the magazine was shutting down. This was disappointing on numerous levels, and I wrote about it here:


This morning, I woke up to discover that once again, Linux Journal is shutting down -- this time, for good. I'm sad for myself, but I'm also sad for the many amazing authors and editors with whom I've worked over the years. I've also met a huge number of readers at conferences at clients' offices, and I'm sorry that the magazine will no longer be around to serve them.

Reuven you helped to turn my Python game from about a 2 to an 8 just by being a LJ subscriber for a couple of years in your At the Forge series. You introduced me to Django which was my platform mainstay for years - I still even support some deployments today. Unfortunately my LJ stash was lost in one of the many moves in my 20s but I do recall fondly looking forward to your articles as well as those by Dave Phillips. Hope you maintain a great presence on the web and keep up the good work.

Thanks so much for your kind words.

wait, i was literally just reading from something else posted on HN about the 'resurrection' of Linux Journal and how they were bought by some company and had a plan for not repeating their previous mistakes ......

i'm confused af at this point. Is it closed or not ???

Closed two years ago. Resurrected a few months later.

Closed (again, finally) yesterday.

Many thanks for your writing, Reuven! I learned so much from LJ over the years, and was proud to contribute a few stories since the reincarnation.

It's my great pleasure.

Reuven - I think we've met briefly at ILUG in 1994-1995 (I just started using Linux at work (SLS then Slackware then RedHat) and it was a lot of fun. Also, support for Cyrillic was all around the place, so I ended up writing a Cyrillic HOWTO :-) It's been a pleasure reading your article and also to observe the slow migration from Perl to Python and so on...

Thanks so much! I remember having to deal with Cyrillic on a project years ago... Unicode has made things so much easier! (And harder.)

Do you think some of the same content might make it to other publications, or will most of the writers stop producing Linux articles?

I'm going to keep blogging and writing my free, weekly Better Developers newsletter about Python and related technologies. (Not the same circulation as LJ, but more than 13k subscribers.)

I don't know about the others, but I hope they continue writing, as well.

Can you please link your newsletter subscription link here?

Doc Searls said on Twitter that the magazine might continue "as a labor of love." We'll see what that means.

Meanwhile, there are two commercial magazines still focused on Linux: Linux Format in the UK and Linux Pro, based in Germany, but also published in the US. I'm planning to submit the stories that were in the LJ publication pipeline to these places, but you probably won't get as much information. The regenerated LJ allowed writers to go much deeper than elsewhere.

I've saved it! Here is a backup mirror:


If you'd like a copy too, please download & seed the torrent instead of scraping: http://linuxjournal.as.boramalper.org/linuxjournal.torrent

Could you make a mirror and torrent of the 170 PDFs as well? They go back to April 2005. You can find them at ljarchive.neverlocate.me/LinuxJournal

I am afraid that might be illegal as they did not un-paywall the PDFs yet.

All PDFs on this page: https://secure2.linuxjournal.com/pdf/dljdownload.php appear to be un-paywalled now (they were not yesterday).

<pre> transmission-cli -w . linuxjournal-issues.torrent transmission-cli 2.92 (14714) [2019-08-09 08:19:15.356] Transmission 2.92 (14714) started [2019-08-09 08:19:15.357] RPC Server: Adding address to whitelist: [2019-08-09 08:19:15.357] UDP: Failed to set receive buffer: requested 4194304, got 425984 [2019-08-09 08:19:15.357] UDP: Please add the line "net.core.rmem_max = 4194304" to /etc/sysctl.conf [2019-08-09 08:19:15.357] UDP: Failed to set send buffer: requested 1048576, got 425984 [2019-08-09 08:19:15.357] UDP: Please add the line "net.core.wmem_max = 1048576" to /etc/sysctl.conf [2019-08-09 08:19:15.358] DHT: Reusing old id [2019-08-09 08:19:15.358] DHT: Bootstrapping from 97 IPv4 nodes [2019-08-09 08:19:15.411] issues/: Invalid metadata entry "path" Failed opening torrent file `linuxjournal-issues.torrent' [2019-08-09 08:19:15.412] DHT: Not saving nodes, DHT not ready [2019-08-09 08:19:15.412] Port Forwarding: Stopped </pre>

Transmission seems to be unable to open this for some reason. No errors, but no progress then appears. Also doesn't ask where I want to save locally. Weird.

Yeah, too bad. Worked fine in qBittorrent though.

But I wanted to seed it for a while via Transmission on one of my servers, that is not gonna fly now for me unfortunately.

Thanks for the mirroring effort!

Here is a magnetic link to the Transmission archive magnet:?xt=urn:btih:f3ef2d13f39efbb92ad84b877a6a686c5eba6ca6&dn=linuxjournal-issues-mirror.tar.gz

Updated link with a a tracker magnet:?xt=urn:btih:f3ef2d13f39efbb92ad84b877a6a686c5eba6ca6&dn=linuxjournal-issues-mirror.tar.gz&tr=http%3A%2F%2Ftracker.gbitt.info%3A80%2Fannounce

Just installed and used qBitorrent. That did work.

Thank you. Joined the torrent.

What did you use to do that?

Good old wget :)

    wget -mkxKE -e robots=off https://secure2.linuxjournal.com/ljarchive/

Let's hope lwn doesn't suffer the same fate... if there are any LJ subscribers who don't subscribe to lwn, I hope they may take out a lwn subscription.

Thanks for thinking of us! LWN is not making anybody rich, but we're on reasonably solid ground for now. Despite what some folks are saying, the Linux community is willing to support at least some of the things it values. Our biggest problem at the moment is finding writers who can work at the level our readers expect.

Everyone, ask if your employer will sponsor your lwn subscription. mine does!

Jonathan, I'm one of your subscribers and it's worth every penny. Thank you for doing the awesome job of compressing the relevant events and changes in the Linux world into clear and concise articles and helping me navigate the complicated world of the kernel.

Keep up the good work!

Are there any other sites of note (apart from LWN)? Looking at LJ I feel that it's the kind of site I should have had in my bookmarks...


Not only do you get benchmarks, you also get general news about open source in new hardware.

^ THIS IS FROM 2002!

Sorry, just had a mini heart attack when I opened that and don’t want others to do the same


Linux Weekly News focuses on substantive technical content, like today's article on the Linux kernel's use of the switch statement: https://lwn.net/SubscriberLink/794944/a5770e282352a2e6/

Or today's article on the CTF debugging format. They're pretty much the only resource aimed at intermediate or advanced developers that's written to be highly technical but not academic.

Referring to https://lwn.net/. It has a subscription plan to fully access their content at 7$/mo.

Linux Weekly News - https://lwn.net/

I have been a subscriber since 1997.

Even when my focus switched back to Windows, I kept subscribing to it (there were a few times failed to renew though), because I saw value on them.

Sad to see it go, apparently we weren't enough to save them, on a generation that doesn't want to pay for their tools.

Free beer tools, free beer information, free beer everywhere.

And then good quality stuff just vanishes.

Well, considering the boom of streaming services across young generation, that's a free attack.

Other reformulated: People change interests. Unfortunately Apple is taking the cake of the most desirable gadgets manufacturer and of course Linux never got that traction (how many years have we read about 'This is the year of Linux Desktop'?).

The worse part is when a Big $$$ Corp uses free tools and never pays back to those who worked hard. Most of the Cloud Services are using opensource and free tools to gain billions of dollars yearly, but how much do the Linux community gets back? Maybe $25K once in a while

Are you personally a part of the linux community? I mean: Do you maintain some free tool, or are you essentially like those big corps who use free tools and never pay pack?

I'm part of one of those big companies that also maintains free tools and contributes back to the community because we have a vested interest in doing so.

I would value our contributions back to the community at around $500k annually, based on the comp we dump into the teams working on those tools.

Whether the shift of maintainership from unaffiliated individuals to corps is acceptable, beneficial, or harmful, is an open question.

Open and perhaps interesting, but the question I had in mind was: Are big corporations actually different from the rest of the open source users?

I guess your employer uses a lot more open source than the tools you spend $500k/y on. So your employer contributes to some development and uses lots more. That's not qualitatively different from what I personally do.

My response to that question is going to be pretty bad: maybe. corps have interests in building tools that help them with their businesses. individuals, i think, have interest in building cool shit. there was an article a while ago exploring the difference between the 'spirit' of oss in the 90s/00s compared to now, but that's hard to qualify.

when i think of individual oss projects, my brain automatically goes to the old enlightenment window manager, and e12/e13 in particular. it was cool and not very useful compared to fvwm or afterstep, but i think the libraries rasterman worked on in the process wound up being useful elsewhere.

but it's been a long time and i'm recovering from a migraine, so you know.. don't quote me.

This is a tough question, at least for me. I do maintain a number of pieces of Free software, and have contributed (sometimes significantly) to a number of applications with wide(ish) use.

I once got a kind note once from someone working in the film industry who told me my mtf/bkf tool saved their renders after a particularly nasty blunder involving their cluster and backup servers. I'm sure this probably saved them a quarter-million dollars or more, but none of that savings made it my way.

And outside of that one email, over the last nearly thirty years I've received nothing else but abuse and nit. Forks, sure. Patches, a few. But the overwhelming attitude of the open source community is that I work for free, or fuck you.

Well, fuck you guys right back!

HN isn't unique in believing there's some kind of virtue if you can get one over on your fellow man and make a buck on his or her back. Everyone seems to be like that. And if someone complains about it, it turns personal quick, often attacking the economics as you have: Have I contributed more than I've taken? Has anyone? General criticisms of whataboutism and entitlement notwithstanding, this slippery slope doesn't go anywhere good, and despite how well-meaning your question might have been, the reality is it's never enough. Nobody does anything anymore who hasn't stood on the backs of someone else.

This sucks. It sucks bad that Facebook and Google got me to work for free. And to sell ads, no less. How ashamed am I of that?

This is why I've had to step away from developing free software. The amount of negativity directed my way (profane rants, useless bug reports, spam, requests to use my software under a different license for free, straight up copyright violators) made it so working on free software was a net negative.

I thank my lucky stars that younger me was smart enough to not associate my name with these projects because that would have only made the situation worse. I was able to make a clean break from the projects I was working on after tying up loose ends.

You emphasise free with an upper-case F. What does that emphasis really mean? I don't mean "well, gnu", I mean what is the deepest meaning of that emphasis?

Do you, for example, think it's good or bad if others have the freedom to use your software to do things you heartily dislike? Or if users you heartily dislike have the freedom to use your software?

Dislike? I mean, I don't like strawberries, but I wouldn't think of prohibiting anyone from enjoying them. Why should I care?

But, no, I don't believe other people should have the Freedom to do things I think are Wrong. I don't think anyone believes that.

What exactly do you want to argue? Nobody is saying Google or Facebook is violating the letter of the law (here), but they are certainly abusing our goodwill. Shame on us for not setting the terms finely enough? Or shame on them for being dicks?

I try to donate $5 and $10 here and there as best I can. Looking back at paypal receipts I think I spend about $400 a year. It's not great, but it's probably more than most.

Donating a bit of money can really help motivate some folks who would otherwise lose interest. You can also donate your time and create a few pull requests to help out.

Kudos for donating.

> but how much do the Linux community gets back

If I had to guess, a few 100 million dollars in developer time and training.

I think the 2 biggest contributions many big corporations bring are that they do participate in maintaining the software (some at least) and that they use it. Imagine where would Linux and a lot of FOSS would be if those companies weren't pushing it around to users, making it ubiquitous.

I know it's a cynical view but it's exactly the principle of an app store: 1) one company puts in all the effort to develop a great product that would otherwise go nowhere unless 2) another company gives it the necessary reach without otherwise contributing too much.

>how much do the Linux community gets back?

Almost all of the contribution: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/blog/2016/08/the-top-10-deve...

And almost all of the money: https://www.linuxfoundation.org/membership/members/

Free of charge foss is bluntly silly unless it’s software that saves lives or greatly progresses science. To think there are so many great devs out there, spending their own time and dime to build free of charge software which is then commercially exploited by cloud providers is just sad.

How many developers work on FOSS for free?

I don't. My employer wants our FOSS core software developed, or wants the bugfix/feature in the FOSS we depend on.

I know people who work for free, but use evidence of that to get well-paid contract work.

Even the guy I know working on a scientific library does that to further his academic career.

I'd be interested to know the situation for significant desktop software (Firefox, Gnome, KDE, a video player, media player, LibreOffice).

Many developers work on FOSS for free. A project with a good community often has many people who contribute the occasional bug report, patch, or documentation addition.

Few developers work on FOSS full time for free, at least for very long. However, there is a sizeable group of FOSS developers who do full time or large amounts of part time work for far less than market rate, especially those who are funded primarily through donations. You can go to many smaller projects and see the level of donations they get (e.g. the creators of Godot pay themselves $4400/month, and that is one of the most financially successful small open source projects). I would suspect even for the projects you mentioned above, money is far from the primary motivation of the developers, and they could make more elsewhere.

They could make more elsewhere because they don't charge money for the stuff they build. Free Open Source Software doesn't mean Free of Charge.

It's hard to profit off selling something with no per unit cost associated with copying when buyers have the legal ability to resell.

Successful FOSS businesses usually make money off of selling exceptions, (i.e. selling to non-free software companies) or creating a product with per unit cost (e.g. support).

It does, because of FOSS dynamics.

Just because your employer pays you to write open source, which is great, it doesn't mean all FOSS is sponsored by employers. "but use evidence of that to get well-paid contract work" - yup, that's the issue. Most FOSS is written by devs who want something shiny on their CVs, but don't realise that a well paid contract is far less than what they would get if they were to sell the software. Most FOSS devs are taken advantage of. I cringe each time I see "i wrote an open source alternative to X". Why would you waste your own time building something free and knowing that someone somewhere will make money off of your work? Instead, depraving large companies of your free of charge software means greater distribution of wealth among software developers. Plus FOSS means "free" as in freedom of knowledge not free of charge.

Essentially, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and so on, have outsourced development to vast amount of unpaid developers; while software focused companies are becoming more and more rare because somewhere, somehow, a bunch of highly skilled engineers think it's a good idea to spend their own time writing something awesome, while at work they complain about how their work is not understood and how management doesn't give a dime about quality engineering. Instead they should deprive these companies of their free labour, group together and build awesome technically written code, and charge money for it.

I kind of agree in a tragedy of the commons kind of way, but you take it entirely too far.

FOSS projects that tend to be volunteer led, are that way because the developer is scratching their own itch. Maybe I could make money with one of hobbies, but its a risk, and I don't want to spoil something I enjoy so I just develop X in my spare time. I enjoy it, it's something I wouldn't normally get to do and yes as a bonus I can put it on a CV.

Expectations beyond that are unreasonable? You don't have any right to make money from that, any more than a commercial company has a right to make a profit.

And say everyone did what you suggest, its not immediately clear the world would be a better place anyway, maybe google and Facebook only exist because of the existence of Open source....

>To think there are so many great devs out there, spending their own time and dime to build free of charge software which is then commercially exploited by cloud providers is just sad.

The obvious solution to this is to use the AGPLv3 license for all or most software one writes, which is what I prefer to do, as it's the strongest copyleft license available currently.

We see in many circles that it's not the hip thing to do, to write copyleft software. No, the hip thing to do is write permissively-licensed software and either not care about companies using it as free labor or complaining about a ''social contract'' that wants to be implied, but never explicitly stated as copyleft does.

I believe the trend towards permissive licensing has been pushed mostly by corporate interests and now we see the result. I believe things would be better if every company had to either share its code as copyleft, write everything itself, or actually pay for other proprietary software it could incorporate into its own. That is, I'd rather Grammarly, as an example, have no real option but to purchase an Allegro or Lispworks license, rather than being able to use SBCL and contribute little or nothing.

So, it should only be free if it's most valuable, if its just highly valuable it should be very expensive?

Perhaps people want to do something that changes the World for the better?

It's really interesting to note that on the same day that MSDN Magazine said they are ceasing publication, Linux Journal says too..

Completely random but interesting.

Magazines all over are obsoleted unfortunately.

MSDN Magazine was published by Microsoft?

I was a subscriber for about five years. Very deep dive, very Microsoft culture.

LJ was an independent magazine, I think. That is, not paid for by Linux Foundation or major distributors like IBM or Canonical. Ad and subscription support.

in 15 years when everything is online, mazagines will become a retro item and will be in again, like records and cassettes.......for a short while.

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