• 1 Post
Joined 2Y ago
Cake day: Feb 15, 2021


You can grow potatoes for political reasons too. Everything a human being does might be politically motivated, but that doesn’t mean potatoes are political.

Anyone can take that same software, that was created as a particular political statement, and use it for the completelly opposite political reasons to make a completelly different political statement. Just the same way as many have used songs in contexts that are completelly politically opposite to what the original author of the song intended.

In the end, the only thing that’s political is the goal/purpose/motivation of an action, not the result of the action. No piece of software/hardware/thing is political when you dettach the artist from the art and just see it for what it is, regardless of what the author might have wanted you to see it as.

I have to remind myself to check on Hyprland again too, I’m on the same boat, currently on sway.

My main gripe with i3/sway is how you don’t have an easy way to just go to the next window in the workspace… I just want to have a couple of shortcuts for cycling back and forth in the window list (regardless of how that list is ordered). The 4-directional approach i3/sway takes messes up with my keybinding workflow and if you have floating windows it makes it very awkward to try and select them, to the point that I end up using the mouse a lot more than I’d need to.

I believe they plan to switch “soon™” to a new Rust-based desktop environment they are developing.

I’m actually quite excited about this, even though I don’t use Pop!_OS, since I’m not really a fan of either Gtk nor Qt, and I believe Rust has a lot of potential to make a clean, modern and stable framework for OS development that isn’t over-complicated by layers and layers of abstraction & technical debt.

Depends on the item, though. Often it’s closer to 100% increase than 55% in my experience.

It’s crazy… I used to be able to fill up my shopping cart and still barely spend 30€… nowadays it’s usually about ~60€.

Sadly, with the way the patent system works, I don’t think any software is completelly free of them. Even the Linux kernel has been accused in the past of having encumbered stuff.

It’s still possible that the reason Google scrapped JXL was to boost AVIF, since Google likely has more control over AV1 development. But I don’t think it was because of patents. Even Firefox has a lot of resistance for some reason to implement JXL… I think the problem is that AV1 being a standard for video that the browsers already support makes it very easy for them to support AVIF without too much of a dependency… and once they add it, they become more reluctant to add another new generation standard for the same thing, despite JXL being the technically superior format.

I think the reason AV1 has a section about patents in the Wikipedia is because one of the points of that format was to try and protect it against patent litigation… and the sad truth is that there’s no 100% sure way to guarantee that any new standard is not violating some patent… According to that same article, the reason why AV1 might not be safe is not so much because of AOM’s patents but because of the patents from external unknown third parties that the standard might be infringing. That’s why there’s a risk, no matter what the AOM group does. As the wikipedia puts it, whether the standard is truly free from royalties it’s “Impossible to ascertain until the format is old enough that any patents would have expired (at least 20 years in WTO countries)”.

I’m not a lawyer, but after some reading, my understanding is that the reason they are patenting and then releasing a patent license (https://aomedia.org/license/patent-license/), is actually to try and avoid patent litigation.

If a member from the AOM group (which includes Google but also several more giants) tries to litigate over one of the patents they have under the AOM patent license, then my understanding is that that member loses the rights to use the patents from the other members which are also submitted to the AOM and using the same patent license. So it’s a way to have some warranties that one of the members won’t go haywire and start using the patents to sue people over what they consider their “property”.

But as I said, I’m not an expert on this. So do let me know if I’m wrong.

My impression is that simply “not patenting” something is not enough to ensure that you are protected from it being patented in the future. In fact, we cannot even know how many “unknown” patents might be within any particular standard… so actually having patents on it that are backed by big players that other patent trolls might be afraid of upsetting is the only way to have some assurance that at least there’s some amount of protection. That, or waiting ~20 years for all possible patents to expire.

In fact, it looks like even JPEG-XL is encumbered with Google patents apparently: https://github.com/ImageMagick/jpeg-xl/blob/main/PATENTS

Is AV1 closed?

I ask it as a genuine question, I’m not saying that you are wrong, but I thought it was open & royalty-free.

Disagreeing with something is not the same as being offended by it.

Not everything is an offense, sometimes people criticise a decision because they genuinely don’t think it makes sense, or because they see it as counterproductive, not because it particularly offends them personally.

I really don’t care about this… I don’t even use facebook, and I’m atheist. It’s definitelly not something personal. And yet I can have an opinion. I agree that, as an atheist, the post isn’t “extremelly offensive”, it isn’t even mildly offensive since I don’t believe in Jesus to begin with… and everyone is free to talk about their religion, if a muslim says “you exist thanks to Allah”, I would personally not be offended, even if I disagree. In the same way as how someone can disagree if I say “you exist thanks to the big bang”.

The funny thing is that the over-reaction to the post has been what has managed to make it into the news… it’s kind of ironic that those who think it’s offensive are contributing to the allegedly “offensive” message being publicised more. Streisand effect.

I think you are right (and you shouldn’t be getting downvoted, imho).

However, the “irrevocable” part is something they might not allowed to add in places with GDPR regulation like the EU… where users have the right to have their content deleted on request, in what’s known as the “right to be forgotten”. Even though, admittedly, not every service is compliant.

IANAL, but a blanket statement like that in the ToS might be a violation of the data protection regulations, unless they explicitly add exceptions at some point in the ToS.

The Lazy GM’s Resource Document was released under CC-BY
It compiles materials from multiple books by Michael E. Shea: the Lazy Dungeon Master, the Lazy GM's Workbook and the Lazy GM Companion.

Yeah, to be honest …can it really die if it was never alive?

I feel second life or vrchat had more life to them than this corporate experiment.

Also, I doubt Facebook has really given up on it. They are just leaving it aside for a moment to try and focus on AI because it’s the new hot thing, but they still see it as the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point they come back to it, this time adding AI features.

How do you define “consciousness”? What does it mean to be conscious?

In my mind, acknowledging that something is “aware” of its own thoughts (as opposed to it simply happening mechanically without self-awareness) already implies detachment from the deterministic nature of its own behavior. It means it identifies itself as a thinking being that experiences the illusion of having “free will”, believing itself to be the driving force of its own behavior. That already has deep philosophical and ethical implications.

The issue, however, is the same as with the Chinese Room thought-experiment… you cannot really know if something is really self-aware or whether it just gives the appearance of being self aware instead. In fact, I don’t think we even can prove with absolute certainty whether other human beings outside your own self are actually self-aware either. We are just assuming by association, which isn’t really proof.

Personally, for lack of a better method, I think the pragmatic approach is the duck test: if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

I haven’t personally used these, but after some searching I found a few relatively new and experimental twists to the formula:

  • distri uses SquashFS images for all their packages and claims to be very fast:

  • spack is also a Nix-inspired package system that’s python-based, and it seems to allow for a lot of customization, you can even modify the dependencies / build parameters of a package when installing it.

  • flox is compatible with Nixpkgs, it seems to be an iteration on the idea with some improvements.

The issue is that thunderbird is apparently built on top of firefox code, so I expect there’s a similar level of layers upon layers of bloat as with many electron apps. But this rebuilding project seems to be focused on the UI side of things and changing how things look, so I don’t know if it’ll actually improve in terms of performance (it might help a bit though, since they intend to remove stuff and clean up the code on the Thunderbird side of things).

Personally, I feel it would be more interesting to turn it into a Firefox extension (and extend the extensions API where necessary), so the resources that are shared could be actually shared. That, or fully embrace K-9 Mail (the android app that they partnered with and which will become Thunderbird mobile) and adapt it for the desktop.

I’d argue it’s search engines and social networks the ones that grant any level of "virality and discoverability ", not the internet itself. In the internet you need “third party” solutions for indexing or searching.

I mean, Mastodon probably intentionally lacks tools that enhance “virality and discoverability”, but that’s not the same thing as saying that it actively prevents information spread. You could in theory build a search engine for toots, or an alternate fork that does have those features. It’s even free and open source software, so it’s open to whatever.

The problem is that the moment that actual spammers are able to use that proxy too (or any IP within the range of it), then it’s likely it’ll be banned as well.

Can Mastodon actually subscribe to a static ActivityPub feed?

A lot of blogs are statically generated (it’s cheaper, faster and safer). Ideally, static websites could just generate JSON-LD for ActivityPub in a similar way as how they generate XML for RSS, which would make the transition easier… but last time I checked Mastodon didn’t support that very well, so RSS was still a better fit in many situations since it does not require an active server component. I’d love to be shown otherwise.

It doesn’t matter where did the “commerce” quote came from, if you do not agree with that quote (or have no first hand knowledge) do not confront its criticism, and if you do agree with it then own up to it.

Throwing a complaint, then saying “I did not say it” and then trying to silence anyone that disagrees with that quote with “don’t sell me on this so please stop”, is a bit like throwing a stone and then running away, imho. You are the one who brought that quote to the conversation.

I don’t use Vivaldi (nor are interested to even try, for other reasons), and I don’t know if it’s true or not the “commerce” statement, but I’m willing to bet that any corporation that opens a new Mastodon instance is gonna “by default” face allegations of being “commercial” in its inception by many random opinionated people, even if the instance was so young that it had little content.

I’m willing to bet it’s the other way around: most Vivaldi users (or at least the ones that matter in terms of extending Mastodon userbase) don’t have a Mastodon account but have a Vivaldi account already (since they are already Vivaldi users).

I think the way they have done it is the most comfortable for new users. Specially considering that most likely it’ll be Vivaldi users coming to Mastodon, rather than the other way around (since there are better alternatives to Vivaldi for those who value FOSS, which is common in early Mastodon users).

And as mentioned in other comment, you can actually use third party Mastodon accounts, even if the option is not obvious.

If you don’t mind it being terribly robotic, eSpeak supports a ton of languages and it’s very lightweight (mainly because the method of synthesis does not require a big database of voice samples).

At first it might be jarring if you are used to natural-sounding voices, but I think it’s possible to get used to it, and some people seem to actually prefer it.

Or you might be able to install MBROLA as a backend for eSpeak which should make it sound more natural, although I’ve never tried doing that in Android, personally (EDIT: it seems MBROLA isn’t yet supported in Android, sadly).

Even for the most minimal oneliner you’ll have to depend on complex library code under the hood which you’ll have to keep up to date as part of the OS. And/or depend on the compiler itself to not introduce bugs into the resulting binary you are distributing.

Either that or you write your software in pure assembler (which will end up exposing a lot of internal complexity anyway, resulting in asm files that are far from “minimal”).

These are just some known vulnerabilities in libc (we don’t know how many “unknown” ones there might be, or if new fixes will introduce new problems): https://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-72/product_id-767/GNU-Glibc.html

My problem with this idea is that I generally do not like the defaults most distros use, I like experimenting and I often switch desktop environment or uninstall / clean up stuff I don’t need.

I’d be ok if the image is just kernel + init system + shell, and maybe some small core components / tools… but if the OS comes preloaded with huge software libraries, like typical KDE / GNOME distros do, then it’s gonna be a lot of dead weight that I’d have to keep updated even if I do not use it.

Immutable images are great for devices with specific purposes meant for a particular software stack (like Chrome Books, the Steam Deck or so) but for a more general purpose computer where I actually want to deeply customize the UI for my workflow, I don’t want to carry around whatever popular software the maintainers of the popular distro might have decided to include.

That’s a good point. In particular the battery, some ebikes have an integrated battery that’s hard to replace and doesn’t follow any standards.

But as you said, bikes are much simpler and easier to repare. It’s much easier to find modular DIY kits to convert your bike to ebike out of a few components or at least purchase an ebike with modular battery pack (I think there’s a few different “standards” depending on the brand and style, and you can buy them separately from third parties although I’m not sure if there’s one standard that’s completely open and royalty-free).

I don’t see where you find in my comment the assumption that people mostly follow verified accounts (if anything it’s the other way around, one of the requirements for verification is notoriety, that doesn’t mean that verification creates notoriety, nor that notoriety cannot exist without verification). Nor did I say that “enough” of them would migrate (enough for what exactly?). I was trying to be careful with my words and I used “if” when I meant “if”, not “when”.

I was simply explaining the other view point, not necessarily saying that it will happen, but that it’s a possibility and it wouldn’t be so surprising to see an increased interest towards Twitter alternatives as a consecuence from changes like this, perhaps translating to a (small?) spike of new users exploring the fediverse (even if it’s possible most wouldn’t stay). But I don’t have a magic crystal ball so I can’t tell you what will happen.

Your last paragraph is essentially part of what I was meaning to say in the last two lines from my previous comment. We agree.

(and btw, it wasn’t me who gave you that downvote, to be clear)

I think that the point is that “regular users” also includes people who are neither a business nor a corporation but that are notable and active enough to have got the “verified” check-mark. Like a lot of individual popular figures and social media presences.

If a few of those big individuals ends up deciding to not pay up and instead moves to an alternative, the audience following them might be tempted to move as well to follow them up there, so it could potentially start a snowball effect.

That said, I don’t believe the verification badge alone would be enough reason for them to move…

I’d rather they stop making private cars, honestly.

It pains me that even though every single of the alternatives uses less resources and should actually be cheaper to produce (not only ecological, but also economical!) they are typically way more expensive than dairy.

This is great.

Laws should be objective and precise, just like algorithms are, so it would be a good fit to have laws modeled in a more machine-readable form… sure, interpreting those laws to pass fair judgement still requires a human eye, but I believe it should be possible to at least be able to consult your local law in a more user-friendly way… which I hope this could end up helping with.

And of course something like that would need to be Free and Open Source to be trustworthy at all to begin with…

I find it hard to believe that biologists and entomologists didn’t know about this already.

Most likely this is not new, I expect the problem is that there’s probably no profit any company can make in the short term from using these worms to break down plastics, so in the end nobody will do it, not unless someone finds a way to take advantage of it for profit (that, or having the State force them).

You are missing the point. A process-independent file opener that is used by all applications to access files provides user-friendly security.

But that was essentially what I said… I’m the one who proposed something like that 2 comments ago.

This would be a core component of an OS so the description is correct.

Again, I disagree that “this would be a core component of an OS”. You did not address any of my points, so I don’t see how it follows that “the description is correct”. The term “core OS component” is subjective to begin with.

But even if you wanted to label it that way, it wouldn’t make any difference. That’s just a label you are putting on it, it would not make Flatpak any less of an app distribution / management system with focus on cross-distro compatibility and containerization. Flatpak would still be Flatpak. Whether or not you want to consider it a core part of the OS is not important.

And Flatpak already uses independent processes to manage the whole container & runtime that the app uses for access to the system resources, which already closely matches what you defined as “a core component of an OS”.

That’s a very loose definition of “OS Component”. At that point you might as well consider the web browser an “OS Component” too, or frameworks like Retroarch, who offer a filesystem API for their libretro cores.

But even if we accepted that loose definition, so what? even as it is today Flatpak is already an “OS Component” integrated already in many distros (it’s even a freedesktop.org standard), and it already implements a filesystem interface layer for its apps. As I said, I think the real reason they won’t do it is because they keep wanting to be transparent to the app devs (ie. they don’t want them to have to support Flatpak-specific APIs). Which is why I think there needs to be a change of philosophy if they want app containerization to be seamless, safe and generally useful.

You can install different flatpak repos without really having to depend on one specific central repository, so I’d say the “centralizing software” issue is not that different from any typical package manager.

That said, I do agree that Flatpak has a lot of issues. Specifically the problems with redundancy and security. Personally I find Guix/Nix offers better solutions to many of the problems Flatpak tries to fix.

or learn how to do it and spend time configuring each and every application as needed

And even if they were to spend the time, afaik there’s simply no right way to configure a flatpak like GIMP so it can edit any file from any arbitrary location they might want without first giving it read/write permissions for every single of those locations and allowing the program to access those whole folder trees at any point in time without the user knowing (making it “unsafe”).

It shouldn’t have to be this way, there could be a Flatpak API for requesting the user for a file to open with their explicit consent, without requiring constant micro-management of the flatpak settings nor pushing the user to give it free access to entire folders. The issue is that Flatpak tries to be transparent to the app devs so such level of integration is unlikely to happen with its current philosophy.

C-z does not “exit” Emacs, it just puts its process to sleep in the background. You can go back to the Emacs process you opened by entering “fg” in the terminal.

C-z is actually a standard terminal control code, it works with most processes (I expect vim too) by sending the SIGTSTP signal.

Back when the anti-Stallman letter broke out, some transgender people were calling him “transfobe” for having openly proposed the use of a gender-neutral pronoun that he came up with as the preferred way to speak when you don’t know the gender of the person.

It seems promoting the use of a gender-neutral pronoun can be counterproductive. Some people might actually find it offensive and condescending.


"The ineffectiveness of the campaign is so clear, and the ferociousness of the Ukrainian defence is so obvious … (that) it’s created an equalizer where neither side can move much from where they are now.”

“The damage and devastation to Ukrainian cities is likely to increase even in a period of stalemate,”

Frederick W. Kagan. senior fellow and director of the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. former professor of military history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Married to Kimberly Kagan, the president of the Institute for the Study of War.

No modern AI has been able to reliably pass the Turing test without blatant cheats (like allowing the use of foreign kids unable to understand/express/speak themselves fluently, instead of adults). Just because it dates back to the 1950s doesn’t make it any less valid, imho.

I was interested by the other tests you shared, thanks for that! However, in my opinion:

The Markus test is just a Turing Test with a video feed. I don’t think this necessarily makes the test better, it adds more requirements for the AI, but it’s unclear if those are actually necessary requirements for consciousness.

The Lovelace test 2.0 is also not very different from a Turing test where the tester is the developer and the questions/answers are on a specific domain, where it’s creativity is what’s tested. I don’t think this improves much over the original test either, since already in the Turing test you have freedom to ask questions that might already require innovative answers. Given the more restricted scope of this test and how modern procedural generation and neural nets have developed, it’s likely easier to pass the Lovelance test than the Turing test. And at the same time, it’s also easier for a real human to not pass it if they can’t be creative enough. I don’t think this test is really testing the same thing.

The MIST is another particular case of a more restricted Turing test. It’s essentially a standardized and “simplified” Turing test where the tester is always the same and asks the same questions out of a set of ~80k. The only advantage is that it’s easier to measure and more consistent since you don’t depend on how good the tester is at choosing their questions or judging the answers, but it’s also easier to cheat, since it would be trivial to make a program specifically designed to answer correctly that set of questions.

Oh but I agree that assuming our reality is solipsist isn’t useful for practical purposes. I’m just highlighting the fact that we do not know. We don’t have enough data preciselly because there are many things related to consciousness that we cannot test.

Personally I think that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and acts like a duck then it probably is a duck (and that’s what the studies you are referencing generally need to assume). Which is why, in my opinion, the turing test is a valid approach (and other tests with the same philosophy).

Disregarding turing-like tests and at the same time assuming that only humans are capable of having “a soul” is imho harder to defend, because it requires additional assumptions. I think it’s easier to assume that either duck-likes are ducks or that we are in a simulation. Personally I’m skeptical on both and I just side with the duck test because it’s the more pragmatic approach.

Do we know for sure that our architecture is the same? How do you prove that we are really the same? For all I know I could be plugged to a simulation :P

If there was a way to test consciousness then we would be able to prove that we are at least interacting with other conscious beings… but since we can’t test that, it could theoretically be possible that we (I? you?) are alone, interacting with a big non-sentient and interconnected AI, designed to make us “feel” like we are part of a community.

I know it’s trippy to think that but… well… from a philosophical point of view, isn’t that true?

Personally, I think this has very little to do with computing power and more to do with sensorial experience and replicating how the human brain interacts with the environment. It’s not about being able to do calculations very fast, but about what do those calculations do and how are they conditioned, what stimuli are the ones that cause them to evolve, in which way and by how much.

The real problem is that to think like a human you need to see like a human, touch like a human, have instincts of a human, the needs of a human and the limitations of a human. From babies we learn from things by touching, sucking, observing, experimenting, moved by instincts such as wanting food, wanting companionship, wanting approval from our family… all the things that ultimatelly motivate us. A human AI would make mistakes just like we do, because that’s how our brain works. It might just be little more than a toddler and it could still be a human-like AI.

If “what we call a soul” means consciousness, then I doubt there’s a way to prove that anything else than your own self can be shown to actually have a soul. Not even what we call “other people”.

You being aware of your own consciousness doesn’t mean every human necessarily is in the same, right? …and since we lack of a way to prove consciousness then we can’t assume other people are any more conscious than an AI could be.