We need a multi-national, publicly funded research organization akin to CERN/within CERN, whose whole purpose is to develop a state-of-the-art browser that's not Chromium-based. Make #Google follow our lead, rather than us having to follow Google.
If the Web could be developed using public money, why not a modern browser? Public funding would remove the Mozilla problem of them having to depend on Google.
With the amount of money governments waste annually, we could fund this AND Mozilla.
There could be incentive problems here as well, of course, like governments threatening to withdraw funding in case a certain backdoor isn't included, or if it blocks ads too aggressively and some corporate-funded 'representative' starts receiving pushback from the industry etc, but which is why it would need to:
- Be funded by a wider variety of states than the Five/Nine Eyes members.
- Developed entirely in the open, each important change reviewed by a committee of experts from the public.
@MatejLach But how would you unseat Chrome at this point? Google have the incumbent advantage and the platform advantage. Technical excellence is only part of the story.
@cbowdon That's definitely going to be a challenge, but #Google did some smart marketing by having ads IRL, like in trains and such, even in smaller countries if the % of connected users was high enough.
Since it would be publicly funded, you could also install it on computers in publicly-funded educational institutions. A lot of software spreads by children installing it for their parents. If students are using it at school, they're likely to install it at home.
@MatejLach Ooh that last one is a good one. That’s what MS/Apple/Google are trying after all. You wouldn’t necessarily need CERN-like levels of funding to achieve it.
I have a vision to propose: all people should be able to read, understand and modify each software they use or feed with their data.
Modern Web is not going to survive such vision, so building a browser is wasting money imho.
@Shamar@mastodon social It won't work. Just take some time to, say, explain recursion or graph algorithms, image compression or even cryptography math to a totally untrained user. We will never get to a point of end users to read or understand their software. IMHO, trying to do so is a waste of time that could better be spent on building more ethical solutions that just work for this crowd.
@MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon
@Shamar We're at a point where some adults have issues understanding higher math, some even have real issues learning to master natural language to understand complex texts or express themselves. And we actually did invent an alphabet to help these folks: Icons. Symbols. Easy interactions. So far this works well. Will we be able to do meaningful programming on that level?
@alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon
We need to be like Moses.
We can all see how badly broken is current IT.
We can all see how much power we have (which ultimately is much much more we are fooled to think).
We call all see how hard corporations try to lock us in, layer over layer.
Can we think the promised land?
Just like ancient scribes couldn't think of a phonetic alphabet.
But we can try new roads.
We can experiment.
We can teach kids that they can reinvent the future in a different way.
Not just with our lessons but with our code and our example.
It IS possible.
Yes there's a lot of complexity to subdue, we still lack fundamental tools like Egyptians lacked the number zero.
But we need #hope to look for them! ;-)
@Shamar I think we very often fall victim to oversimplification because we have totally lost sight of how incredibly much specialized we already are - and how extremely basic and "trivial" some of the issues users are struggling with actually are. Google, Apple, ... are successful because they do better here, no matter why they do that.
@grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon
Im 6 hour I teached to 22 yo kids what is defined at http://www.tesio.it/documents/vademecum.txt plus basic networking (IP packets, IP addresses, DHCP, DNS and routing).
We did a simulation of packet routing with paper packets and they understood MitM and DNS poisoning by themselves.
The teacher proposed to add an our to explain one time pad encryption.
@Shamar And now, provide those kids with, say, a batch of hardware and the most simple fully featured implementation of something like e-mail. Do you think they will have a chance to understand what happens, let alone fix it? If that was possible, most programmers apparently are pretty dumb, looking at how much time is spent on fixing ...
@grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon
My take on that is that most of the required info is already out there, but I am all for simplifying it.
I don't think that would lead to some massive influx of programmers, because some people just have different passions like painting, music and such and some just want to watch TV.
There's a pretty large artist community on the Fediverse, don't think they're much interested in the tech side and that's honestly fine.
@MatejLach @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @Wolf480pl @cbowdon idk, you need to know a lot of "engineeringy" stuff to get things done with digital art tools
you need to use logical thinking for setting up complex things in Blender or Krita
we are already forced to learn a large subset of MS Office, why couldn't we learn UNIX(or hopefully Plan 9) instead?
Well, am not saying we shouldn't But many people learn a specific tool to achieve a specific tasks. Things like operating systems, programming and such are such open-ended things that unless you're creatively interested in them, there doesn't seem to be as much of a point in doing so.
@alcinnz That's what I mean. And also possibly not network protocols or stuff such as multithreading. It seems strange to want to make solutions to complex problems randomly easy. Why can't ordinary users do the math to build a highrise that doesn't collapse? Because it's complex. As a problem. Not just because we lack better tools.
@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @cbowdon
@z428 @MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon
The only line I draw is between "it does X in this particular case, let's see if we can make it do Y instead" and "this code is pretty complicated, let's see if we can come up with a better design that simplifies this part and everything that touches it".
I don't draw the line between a messaging app and power management code in the kernel.
@Wolf480pl Yes. That happens regularly, even in the programming world done by experts, and it fails almost all the time because people tried to "simplify" an inherently complex thing they just considered too complex because they never managed to fully understand even the problem it tried to solve. See CORBA vs. SOAP. ;)
@MatejLach @grainloom @Shamar @alcinnz @cbowdon
I think this is why, when contributing to a FOSS project, or doing ad-hoc modifications to locally-installed versions of programs you use, you usually start with bugfixes, small tweaks, maybe some small features.
I think it'd be cool if more people got to that level.
And I think it's ok if most people stay at that level.
Not everyone needs to be able to refactor things or rewrite them from scratch.
Yeah... I think most people should be content they have been teached to write their name and to modify a shopping list.
What do they want?
Writing open letters like Émile Zola?
It's unwise... they would end in trouble because, let's be honest, they are not smart enough!
It's better they trust us, the Writing class, to think for them.
I didn't intend to say that @Wolf480pl is elitist, the whole IT is because our field is so primitive to require decades to be fluent.
But we shouldn't settle on this, even just from an egoistic perspective.
If we cannot explain what we know simply, we don't know it well enough. Our elitism is a monument to our collective #ignorance. But despite it we don't understand or accept our power and responsibility.
We could change the world through #Informatics.
@Shamar Yes..... and *this* is the actual problem: We don't want inclusive and enabling technology that gives a lot of users abilities that are easily accessible. We want them to learn our way (knowing they never will even remotely be able to walk it) rather than using our "superiority" to watch them, listen to them and help them solve problems. That ...
You are right that in the short term being kind and welcoming nerds is all we can do. We should also care about older people that are never going to understand how they are strictly controlled and used by the #software they use.
I'm saying that programming is not going to be different from writing: it's something that enhance our ability to reason, that literally augment the abilities of our minds and that insisting to reserve it to a cast of elect is not just elitism but plain shortsighted.
It's like we were trying to reserve Math to a cast because "they can't get it".
To me it is exactly the same.
The difference between explaining De Morgan laws to a class and make them deduce it by themselves while writing a program is that in one case most students will forget it after the exam, in the others most students will consider them obvious and integrate them in their way of thinking.
If you can't do, you don't know.
@Shamar No. A lot of our users in planning and construction use software such as AutoCAD for designing buildings all day. The best they possibly could do is some superficial scripted automation. They *never* would be able to fix anything in this application, even if they had the sources. Where is your point?
@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon
@Shamar I don't buy that "hypocrisy" thing by the way. We shouldn't forget #freesoftware dates back to days when computers were a thing for a skilled elite anyway and non-free licenses kept people from using their abilities to make software work for them. Concluding from that that free software needs to be usable without the required skills seems odd.
@Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon
I think the whole point we are discussing here is: what is #Informatics?
And if so, how deeply is it going to change our minds, for better or worse?
@Shamar It's a science, just like math or any engineering field. You can make parts of it easily accessible but you can't abstract all of its complexity away and make *all* of its potential available to untrained users - just like with engineering or math.
@telent @Wolf480pl @MatejLach @grainloom @alcinnz @cbowdon
IMO IT is not science, for the most part.
How often do you see the scientific method applied to IT?
How many theorems confirmed by rigorous experimentation?
How many explanations of why X worked and Y didn't work?
IMO it's more like alchemy.
Is it an Art?
Knuth would say so.
I'd say it's something new.
Well... in Italy we use "Informatica".
By "to be fixed worldwide" I meant wherever the USA cultural influence obfuscated Academics.
Thanks God, we had Olivetti.
Desktop computers were invented few hundreds kilometres from my home: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programma_101
@Shamar ... is what helped Apple and Google becoming big - they did just the opposite. Of course they did it for reasons of profit and market share, but it *still* helped end users who *still* have few better choices by now. It won't change this way.
@Wolf480pl @Shamar @z428 @MatejLach @alcinnz @cbowdon Yup. But all that "move the turtle around in Scratch" or whatever stuff is not gonna be enough for that. My sis knows some very VERY basic Lua and she's been complaining to me that they treat them like toddlers on IT class. (imagine if we taught math or biology the same way. it'd be a disaster.)
@grainloom @z428 @Shamar @MatejLach @alcinnz @cbowdon
For example, it's good to be able to know enough about electricity to safely replace a light switch in your house. Or that every refrigerator has two ends, a cold one and a hot one. Or how to pour oil into a car engine. Or how the piping in your house works and how to tune the pressure switch for your water pump.
And actually masterpieces like Beowulf, Illiad and Odyssey were collectively composed (if not written). Metric and Rhymes were instrumental to their memorization.
While we don't expect everyone to be a novelist, many adolescents write poetry, political articles and sometimes even novels (think of Cristopher Paolini).
Why shouldn't happen with code?
"Alice and Bob are one family
they live under a bridge
and have an old car
none of them can drive
cause all have faulty eyes"
Where Alice and Bob are two kids from your class who are not related to each other in any way.
Basically, it's a taunt.
So, if kids were exchanging scripts, it'd be exploits.
@Wolf480pl @Shamar @z428 @MatejLach @alcinnz @cbowdon Nothing super concrete, but I have some general ideas. Project oriented learning is a lot more fun, that much I know from experience. You can't get kids to pay attention if the material is dry. And if they aren't paying attention out of their own volition, that will show in the results.
Good point. I stand corrected.
However (at least in Italy) it's quite common for shy kids to write as a way to express their feelings. When my eldest daughter was 8 she draw an incredible comic with her friends and (as a super hero) her first crush!
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