Sun, 20 Jan 2019 22:50:47 +0000

On features and importance of ends

The internet in its own design has long fulfilled all the needs of people. The only thing that increased was the bandwidth and computing power of machines. Currently, most of users use a gigantic setup of javascript to read bunch of news on their Facebook feed, or check their Gmail. And for them it would be the same if it was RSS, or some lighter email (web)client. The point is - features are never the main point of discussion in terms of software.

I am critical towards this feature-centered approach as often when I am critical of some bad piece of software or market pratice, I get an answer regarding the features, and not actual consequences of the usage. The best example I can get of my head is Cloudflare. Yes, DOS attacks are still a problem for minor sites with some interest. But, do we really need a virtual monopoly (as any other 'player' on this market has to do similar/same practices to even compete with Cloudflare) to solve this minor problem. As if there was physical blockade to solve this problem of 'too many connections'. But, well instead of working out the problem and finding the most effective method (as we slowly did away with common viruses) we chose to accept this brute-force monopoly. The monopoly that limits freedom of information by putting a blockade for people coming from privacy respecting networks in the form of Captcha.

To continue the critique of features, I personally think that even the features of gopher do not matter. What matters is the fact that there is no corporate funded entity controlling gopher, therefore allowing it to stay without the fear of being controlled and watched on every possible page. As I have said in previous article, in terms of features early gopher was similar to early http - a way to read text and data on your computer from the information superhighway! Now, for the most people http became transparent, there is no discussion of its features by the most of users, as they just use it. I think to get person to understand why using gopher is important we should focus on this fact, and not on the superficialities like 'it has no ads', 'it is a bit faster'.

The choices we make about software should not be of utility, but of the ethical and political repercussions of the way we use it. As much as I know that this is not a method to solve the problems of our society, but it limits the power of the status quo and its control. This being the best we can do in this terms, we should do it. Staying within principle is more important than 'rationally' deciding on the basis of features and superficialities what should we use.

The task should be to make people aware of those problems, and then show them possible alternatives, which as often will offer similar or even the same features.

Appendix to previous post:

At the point where I meant BitTorrent being an example of technology whose political repercussions came from its design, I meant that the basic usage of this protocol is to break the extremely rigid copyright laws, and any attempts at controlling it are limited to giving bad clients, i.e. new versions of ╬╝Torrent.

Also, I was asked what I meant by gopher ads: https://www.youtube.com/embed/fx7hCQeuEaE . This short video reflects the way in which gopherspace was looked upon. A place to check the news, to read on stuff, nothing new for us now.

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