Thoughts on suckless software?

Their software is kinda neat, but I prefer the simplicity of configs more rather than editing and building C. I don’t really like their elitist ideology though.

@nandurr
71M

It was elitist for me too, and I didn’t feel sucking less. Still they add a few nice tools to my toolset, but I cant even name one right now. I tried dwm/dwl too, but sway just goes way better with my routine.

@someone
5
edit-2
1M

I love suckless programs. They are very customizable and blazing fast.

poVoq
4
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1M

I don’t think they got the idea just right, but they are on the right trajectory (despite the elitist attitude).

I think what we really need is not “suckless” software but “eternal” software, i.e. something you would design to run on an interstellar generation ship requiring minimal maintenance and is easily understood by future generations.

@Echedenyan
11M

Well, we have Pascal and Object Pascal.

Let’s start to write software on it first.

@blank_sl8
41M

I certainly like that it exists, if only to demonstrate how simple things can be. sent, the plaintext presentation tool, is something I will hopefully be using more often soon. I used to use slock too which was really neat, and is probably the best screen locker if you don’t want a screensaver.

@seedmarx
creator
4
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1M

I don’t know enough C to comfortably config their software, sadly. It doesn’t make much sense to force the user to edit and build the raw code to change something simple, it seems like an attempt to be “newbie-free.” In reality, it just hinders the software and user experience.

@blank_sl8
4
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1M

That’s a good point. I’m usually a big fan of configuring software via whatever programming language the program is written in (eg, Emacs is configured using Emacs Lisp), rather than declarative config files such as json or ini. However, the need to recompile after making a config change is pretty lame.

I don’t really like their elitist ideology though.

I’ve only heard of the name and not much else, what makes them elitist?

Azure
11
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1M

From The DWM page

Because dwm is customized through editing its source code, it’s pointless to make binary packages of it. This keeps its userbase small and elitist. No novices asking stupid questions. There are some distributions that provide binary packages though.

I don’t care for this. Configuration through editing the source code is an engineering decision. I think it’s a bit silly, but reasonable people can disagree.

I’m very much of the opinion that when you stop newbing, you start dying, though, so the air of contempt for newbies really turns me off. There also seems to be a ‘simplicity scold’ tendency where any program that does something they personally don’t find useful is bloated, even if there are lots of use cases where it makes perfect sense. (And in talking to some suckless fans ‘bloat’ seems to include things like localization, which also rubs me the wrong way.)

Some of their stuff is okay as software.

@seedmarx
creator
51M

This is a perfect summary of my thoughts, here is another quotation from their philosophy page:

We are the home of quality software such as dwm, dmenu, st and plenty of other tools, with a focus on simplicity, clarity and frugality. Our philosophy is about keeping things simple, minimal and usable. We believe this should become the mainstream philosophy in the IT sector. Unfortunately, the tendency for complex, error-prone and slow software seems to be prevalent in the present-day software industry. We intend to prove the opposite with our software projects.

Our project focuses on advanced and experienced computer users. In contrast with the usual proprietary software world or many mainstream open source projects that focus more on average and non-technical end users, we think that experienced users are mostly ignored. This is particularly true for user interfaces, such as graphical environments on desktop computers, on mobile devices, and in so-called Web applications. We believe that the market of experienced users is growing continuously, with each user looking for more appropriate solutions for his/her work style.

Designing simple and elegant software is far more difficult than letting ad-hoc or over-ambitious features obscure the code over time. However one has to pay this price to achieve reliability and maintainability. Furthermore, minimalism results in reasonable and attainable goals. We strive to maintain minimalism and clarity to drive development to completion.

@AgreeableLandscape
admin
4
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1M

Actually, yeah, now that I read it, I really disagree with their stance. Why you would want your software to be less accessible is beyond me.

Someone editing the source code when they don’t know what they’re doing is also a really easy way to introduce subtle bugs or security issues.

@rep
224d

The thing about configs vs C is that many apps have their own config conventions, they deviate a lot from one implementation to another and you have to study their documentation (if it exists).
C on the other hand is one standard, some things differ in conventions in libraries, but most standard ones hold to one convention and you may apply solution from one adaptation to different suckless programs.
Of course it requires knowlege of C and the technology application works on, but that’s not entirely true.
Thing is while other configs have their own documentation, C language has many books, standards, articles code snippets et cetera, which is C’s documentation (sort of).
I guess it is inherently hard to understand for regular individual that while configurable apps explicitely direct you to the config documentation, suckless software doesn’t do that with directing to C books because that should be merely obvious.
Suckless software is definitely not for all and it isn’t universal (in some sense) but that’s how it can stay simple, elegant and maintain small codebase.

@seedmarx
creator
124d

Interesting, hadn’t really thought of it that way.

@rep
124d

Some additional info and explanations:

Of course it requires knowlege of C and the technology application works on, but that’s not entirely true.
You don’t technically need to be a compsci major to copy/modify code from stackoverflow or snippets from the email archives.
Suckless software is definitely not for all and it isn’t universal (in some sense)
It is universal in that it does things according to specifications and is simple so there’s not a lot to break.
Also not universal because stuff like accessibility aren’t considered too much even though most of that software is text based, so should be compatible with i.e. screen readers.
Elitism may be a problem but it doesn’t stand in a way of user. The codebase is not limited to work only for elitists and participation in the community is not mandatory. As almost always in every community, not everyone in suckless community is an elitist and its based on particular individual.

@linkert
11M

dwm is ultra bloat - patch that useless, forced includeware bar out of existence ;)

Currently enjoying sway while waiting for river to mature enough.

I like them

Basically all of them

And I don’t really care about their ideology

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