Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
[flagged] Weboob (weboob.org)
64 points by skitout 3 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 77 comments

It would have been funny, except unfortunately the authors do go the distance to be misogynist, racist pricks:




This is why we can't have nice things. I know it's old commits that got deleted now, but it makes me seriously doubt the devs.

Hi, I'm a modest weboob contributor, I will speak for myself here, not for the project.

While I think those slurs are a bad thing and I certainly do NOT share the political views of those who wrote them, I still contribute to the project occasionally. Why? First, because I think the project is very useful (to me and to many users) and also because the more people a project has, the more divergent opinions. You can't agree with everybody. Not every contributor agrees with the views of random other contributors.

Yes, I do think it's sad some of the contributors expressed their (despicable, IMHO) opinions in the code. But at least, it occurred rarely over the history of the project (the project exists since 10 years now), and it's mostly in very few of the site-backends, not in the base library. Also, the contributors who did this are a very small fraction of all contributors.

This is really what does it for me. Name, eh, ok. Deliberately choosing other names to retain the 'joke', that's pushing it a bit but not a real deal breaker personally.

But straight up using homophobic slurs because of an API change? Apparently random racial slurs in comments? Why? Someone deliberately choose those specific words, they don't bring any benefit to the program, and they really are not something I would want to be associated with as a contributor.

I think the words people choose to convey information say a lot about what is floating near the top of their mind. Who seriously comes up with 'sluts' as their first choice to name an array of women?

Same here - I was ready to defend them on the naming theme, just like one of the other commenters here ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24022888 ) for many reasons, including the part where I am all for some inclusive profanity to liven the life a bit.

Then I talked with a friend who, among other things, was one of the developers at AdopteUnMec, and he gave me some direct links to both code and some other stuff done by the devs just on the AUM module, including api log test involving username Nazification.

Unfortunate, as I was really interested in the whole thing because wrapping websites in API to do some offline stuff had been on my mind recently, and this would have been at least a nice check of deduced website behaviours for my project :/

I read the code and the code context. I didn't see anything about dating or women. Just the word slut. What have I missed? I wonder if people realize that there is no requirement for them to read offending words.

What about the "block n-words" comment? Is that completely fine for you?

Personally, I don't care.

Then you didn't really read the context, because the context is a module for interacting with a french (but also internationally present) online dating site. It literally states so in big fat capital letters in the class definition.

Yes... And? Men and women are on the site.

the website is "adopt a guy"

I'm confused.

4chan edgelords

straight from /pol/ it seems :(

Name aside, I really like the concept of liberating various websites’ functionality from HTML and the web browser platform. That feels like the dream of the old interoperable web and it aims to make life easier for blind folks which is cool if it works!

Isn’t this simply replacing HTML with the QT XML markup and C++ code instead of JavaScript? What is the liberating part?

No. Look at the cookbook application (http://weboob.org/applications/qcookboob). It incorporates multiple sources of recipes behind a single, consistent, tailor-made interface. This pattern repeats in the other applications. They are not taking a single website and transforming it into a native application. They are building applications to service specific domains that use the web as a data source.

They are also bringing web content into the command line. They have a large number of console applications. For example, there's a command and REPL for tracking shipments.

Putting aside the misunderstanding of what this actually is, the premise of your question seems to be that "simply replacing" one technology with another can't be "liberating." I think that's wrong in general as well for the specific example of transforming a web app to a native one (though these seem to be Python, not C++). The web has constraining properties: browsers that provide rich interaction with modern web content are resource intensive; different websites have wildly different accessibility stories (and the lack of UI and terminological consistency in content is, itself, a hurdle for some people); ads, popups, and other distractions are harmful to load times, network usage, and user experience; and on and on. There's plenty of examples of transformations from one technology to another that trade out the source's constraints for the destination's.

I think you actually misunderstood my comment. You know what are also “applications to service specific domains that uses the web as a data source”? Web pages.

Deliver the QML over the wire here and you just reinvented a kind of browser, that consumes html|json data from the web and has a different native UI library.

Web pages use a data source behind the scenes, but web pages are NOT a data source. A rendered Qt app is not a data source either. weboob builds plain-old objects (or JSON), it is a data source. The Qt applications are just an example front-end using weboob data source as a data source. Furthermore, this data source is made for aggregation/standardization, as weboob returns results in the same format whatever the site you choose, so it's still better than if each site proposed an API specific to the site itself.

If this is done half well, it will liberate the CPU cycles from tons of pointless JS.

Also, probably less reliant on analytics and third parties, unless they are baked into core APIs.

my gut says this style of application lends itself to less abuse by trackers and surveillance tech than a general purpose browser, but i could just be naive.

I really wish the fellow travelers behind Emacs would launch secondary projects to act as middleware for browsers and window compositors. Having a singule abstraction layer to control everything from userland through web platforms would be a dream for accessibility and returning control to users.

I would personally find that super convenient as well, but I was surprised to learn that the accessibility story in Linux for blind users was actually in quite a bad state. I thought that text based interfaces should be great for accessibility, but it really is all about screen readers and they apparently don’t work very well under Linux. There seems to be a network effect where windows screen readers get the most attention and so the community has somewhat standardized on that.

I would've called it WebWob: Web Without Browsers.

The then young guys who created this project managed however to pivot and did open banking before it was something. Although the name is probably an average choice, they managed to push their tech inside banks anyway.

I love command-line applications for interacting with web services! They allow me to scrape things off websites that would be difficult with navigating the HTML DOM or learning the service's specific JSON API. For example, `youtube-dl` is a fantastic tool for downloading videos from almost every video hosting site such as YouTube.

I've always wanted a tool that will scrape article text (either plaintext or converted to Markdown) from news websites. I don't see it on http://weboob.org/applications/, but I think it would be a nice project addition. Sometimes I just want to read or download a news article without adapting to each specific journal's page layout and dealing with ads. Firefox's Reader View does this pretty well, but a command-line version would be more useful to me. It could be implemented by writing a heuristic for scraping arbitrary news websites, and several hand-written parsers for scraping popular ones. Cookboob (http://weboob.org/applications/cookboob) is pretty close to this idea.

it,s also good to make website data easier to liberate by exporting easy to import formats like zipped txt or even ascii.

i ensure that entire web forum is exportable by any user as txt in such a way that cloned forum retains all relationships and even same credentials can be used.

using pgp libraries allows me compatibility with existing libraries and infrastructure, e.g. using existing ,,stable,, key to validate ownership of forum account, but also to generate user keys on the spot for in.forum use only.

this may seem like a tradeoff between security and convenience, and it is. additional verifiability can be accomplished by later signing blocks of hashes with more secure signing method.

I think this is a great idea. Something about the feel of applications that have deep interaction with web-based resources but also desktop-level control and precision over their interfaces inspires a lot of nostalgia and satisfaction for me. I guess my main examples are file sharing and the first desktop RSS reader + blogging app I used.

I get that those things are still around, but I think treating this as a systematic way of looking at the web and apps may help to recapture something that I think has been lost from user experience when everything moved to the web and phones.

Really unfortunate name.

It's the only reason I clicked.

also the logo design spells "Weblob," which is somehow marginally better than Weboob...?

They have an app called “handjoob” so safe to say it’s deliberate. And the site shows all male contributors, you say?


'boob'? they don't look like simpletons, this looks fairly clever!


with a "Jerome Kerviel" logo openly mimicking that of Société Générale, at least parts of the site or of the contributors are here as a joke.

This... isn't a joke?

I'm going to engage in concern trolling about the name to preemptively beat everyone else.

Let's all bike-shed about how bad the name is and how we'll never use it in our giant production data vacuums to mercilessly exploit the commons for money and prestige.

Here's a pointless mention of CockroachDB and an observation that GNU Recutils has a logo of two turtles engaging in sex.

Something something GIMP.

Here's twenty overly emotional pleas for why we should eradicate any memory that the Internet used to be used by and for amateurs, without consideration of what Fortune 500 companies and crisis PR firms might think about it. Really bad look. Period. It's 2020, etc.

Weboob has applications like QFlatBoob, QHandjoob.

I love the idea of picking names that make people squirm if used in corporate setting.

If you want to defend the name, defend it.

Openly creating a straw man for you to dunk on is not interesting or substantive.

Lots of us want to get children and relatives onto apps we enjoy, and a silly name can make that harder.

On the flip side, what does this project get from names like "QHandjoob"? It's a joke that a typical 12 year old might have grown out of, and it's only a joke the first time. After that it's just a stupid name I'm embarrassed for anyone to see over my shoulder.

I'm not offended, and I doubt anyone is (despite your prediction). I just don't see the point.

How is it a straw man, exactly? It's a position that is being "earnestly" defended by you and several others already in this thread.

Your perspective is pointless Calvinist software iconoclasm, literally hiding behind "think of the children" and (not seen yet, but just give it enough time) "think of the alienated contributors" to justify superficial changes that do nothing but incentivize further iconoclasm. My god! Children might discover that Individuals with Breasts and boobs exist and people can have fun while programming without sacrificing to the Protestant work ethic! The horror!

Regardless, free software doesn't owe you anything. Free software isn't obligated to provide anything to you, isn't obligated to fit into banal HOA agreements, isn't obligated to be corporate friendly, or otherwise something you can Feel Good about being seen to be using.

Software has infinitely more relevant and tractable issues than a decade old software project fond of juvenile puns.

EDIT: Took 30 minutes for "think of the contributors" to show up.

> It's a position that is being "earnestly" defended by you and several others already in this thread.

> It's a position that is being "earnestly" defended by you and several others already in this thread.

My "position" is practical, not ideological. I'm not "concerned" about the project's success. I'm only saying that the name is pointless and makes it awkward for me to recommend.

> My god! Children might discover that Individuals with Breasts and boobs exist and people can have fun while programming without sacrificing to the Protestant work ethic!

Yeah, again, I never said any of this. You seem only to be able to attack straw men that you create, rather than addressing a real issue.

If I say to a friend, "Hey, I wanted to recommend [insert boob/handjob/etc. pun here] for [insert user in their family]", it's embarrassing if the name is a stupid pun. I'm less likely to do it.

We may not agree with what constitutes manners or politeness, but we can't stop other people from having their own feelings about it.

For the same reason, I never swear around friends' children, despite knowing that cursing is not at all harmful to a child.

> Regardless, free software doesn't owe you anything.

This seems like a rant that has nothing to do with my comment. I provided some user feedback that I ascribed only to myself, not to others. I openly wondered about the cost/benefit of a stupid jokey name, which you have not addressed at all. My point stands: there is a practical cost (which is that at least one user, me, would feel less comfortable recommended the software) and no benefit.

What do you see as the benefit of the name? Should Firefox have been named Firecox?

I've never demanded any FOSS project change their name, but I see practical reasons to choose a widely appealing name. Do you disagree? Should FOSS projects choose silly or divisive names just to assert their own freedom?

Speaking of straw men...

> I'm not offended, and I doubt anyone is (despite your prediction). I just don't see the point.

Well, unfortunately, you'd be wrong: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=907199

I feel that this is going to turn into my daily HN post in defense of free speech. There's nothing that the name adds, it's stupid, it's silly, and it's juvenile. The authors themselves, in fact, seem to be racist shitbags[1]. But Debian essentially deplatforming it is absolutely not the right move here. I think protecting speech is a hill worth dying on, and even a despicable Neo-Nazi should have the same right to speech as me or you.

[1] https://github.com/laurentb/weboob/blob/0ac4885ad8c212746584...

If I were to fork it and remove offensive names and comments, it seems I would be best to obliterate/ignore the revision history.

It's kind of an interesting new problem: when disagreeable people make useful FOSS, the revision control system becomes a liability even to those with good intentions.

You seem to be pointing at a specific revision and the file doesn't seem to exist anymore in the current version of the repository. I confess I didn't check more than this though.

Does that really make it any better? It's in the commit history and now it's there for all of us to see. Why on earth anybody would write something like that is beyond me, but doing it in public is mind-bogglingly fucked up and stupid.

It's also legal, at least in some countries


This isn't a dump, this is a forum specifically meant for sharing code publicly.

This is an impressively detailed strawman. I would agree with your point, though not your format, if we were only looking at the name "weboob", but you seem to be willfully ignoring the rest of the discussion.

But what about Rust??

I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you're referring to as Rust, is in fact, Iron/Oxygen, or as I've recently taken to calling it, Iron plus Oxygen.


You’ve entered peak meta.


Please read the thread to see the less innocuous content.

Could they not pick better names?

What, you don’t want QHandJoob on your desktop?

You would get a job and be fired right away from it.

"How did you find us?"

"From an app called QHandJoob"

Or wetbook, comparaboob, or boobsize? http://weboob.org/applications/

Oh dear, it's clearly intentional and, frankly, not that funny. The concept is kind of neat, but I don't think I will use these people's software.

It's a great filter for those that care more about names than code.

It's not a question of caring about names over code, it's a question of dealing with software written by people who are at best emotionally immature and are likely to have negative values of half the population. This is a warning sign about the quality of the code too. Cultural assumptions can make a big difference in the design of a program.

I also wouldn't use software written by white supremacists no matter how well-written it is.

Why it's a good filter. It deters a large portion of those that attack someone based of silly jokes the authors may have made in the past or present and would judge without speaking to the person before hand to get a better view of who they actually are.

Judge the code for technical merit and not the assumed character of the author. Denying work based on social correctness only curbs engineering and scientific progress in the long run over bikeshedding matters.

Facebook is a great piece of software. Facebook is also breaking any privacy rules they can get away with breaking. Which way should we judge them? Sorry, for some people it's both.

You're comparing a tool which you have source for and control over with a service which is out of your control. The comparison is of apples and oranges.

Compare something like flow [1], reason [2], or prepack[3] as it's tools which serves you rather than the company behind it with access to the source which is the same as the case for weboob if you want to compare against facebook. I don't see an issue with using them though as they don't collect data on you.

[1]: https://github.com/facebook/flow

[2]: https://github.com/facebook/reason

[3]: https://github.com/facebook/prepack

[4]: https://github.com/majestrate/XD

You probably don't use a lot of things, right? Did you do a background-check on the thousands of developers that contributed to all the software you use? Did you check the smartphone you use wasn't built in modern slavery facilities? Did you check in what conditions all the raw material needed for it was extracted, what countries and their political situations? Did you check the ethics for all the chain of the food you eat?

I have seen engineers on programming meme communities that identify themselves as Microsoft employees saying deeply disgusting racists jokes such as hanging Native Americans and African Americans from "red-black trees", and making fun of an internal linting tool that deals with terminology like "master/slave".

Because those jokes crossed the line and I confronted them and now you won't find them (they deleted them).

I know that behind the veil of strict HR policy compliance there are a lot of racists there.

And I am afraid the problem is not Microsoft specific... open source projects have this problem too.

For example the former Debian Project Leader, Sam Hocevar has been accused of being part of GNAA (not going to expand the acronym, you can look it up). Here he is wearing a GNAA t-shirt: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sam_Hocevar_Solution...

You can also read this thread to understand how racists are handled in the Debian project: https://debian-vote.debian.narkive.com/2R2X1Ga7/question-for...

I want to know why WebContentEdit is the only one that doesn't follow this pattern

Given the long list of contributors, maybe not all of them adhere to the same standards.

could they not paint the bike shed in that color?

Do you think women would be comfortable contributing to a project called "boobsize", which is part of a larger project called "weboob"? Not to mention "QHandJoob".

It's a horrible idea and if you don't see it that's not my fault.

One thing is painting the bike shed red or blue. Another thing is to put a sexual graffiti on top of it. The latter is no longer bikeshedding. There's a difference.

While I agree that the name is unfortunate and problematic, the bike shed reference was intended to be a metacomment pointing out no matter what people post on HN, it is inevitable there will be a gripe about that project's name.

edit: and there seem to be larger problems with the developer and the project altogether considering other comments posted here.

ick, but the author has every right to be icky.

Pick a baby name:

a) John

b) Robert

c) Dickhat

Is there a name that doesn't belong here?

See? This is a non-discussion. You cannot name a project "QHandJoob", what the hell is that.

If a fully grown adult wants to be named "Dickhat" I don't see anything wrong with letting them have that choice, with a full understanding of its implications. Same if they want to name their sculpture, invention, magazine, or club something patently offensive.

This isn't really equivalent to the name of an infant who has no choice in the matter.

This is, however, the single most trivial discussion people can have about a project and it's quite a common thread here on HN.

> Do you think women would be comfortable contributing to a project called "boobsize", which is part of a larger project called "weboob"? Not to mention "QHandJoob".

Looking at the authors, several women did contribute to the project.

All good names are taken. This sounds fun.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact