I am a / radical.

This is because I understand some things that many people do not, or do not want to. This isn’t because those people are stupid or purpousely ignorant; rather, my circumstances forced me to part with some of the comforts of predatory software, and it opened my eyes to the world that universal software freedom could create.

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@tindall question:

Is there a free software alternative to sony vegas? I like to animate on firealpaca (another free program) but i cant make full videos, only gifs :P

@tindall I must confess that I myself hope for a replacement to the FOSS culture and ecosystem. it is not a model that I want to see persist.

@tindall admirable ideals (some of them), disgraceful execution, is how I tend to see the achievements of "free software"

I would like a new development culture that is not run by programmers, honestly

@mona But the _whole point_ of free software is that if there is something wrong with the tech or the people, we can take it and do better. It is precisely that quality which makes the software free.

So, my question to you is: how do we do better? This is what I've spent the last few months exploring, and I would very much like to hear what others think about it.

For instance, a culture of engineering (as opposed to just hacking) might be a good thing. But, it seems hard to sustain.

@tindall Chara's semi-serious suggestion was that developers should never work alone but always be paired with a buddy who is not a programmer. we should build the developer/user duality directly into our model of software engineering, is their general idea...I think. it's hard to tell with Chara

@mona I generally like that a lot as an idea, but it strikes me as potentially problematic to restrict "free hacking"; sometimes I just want to work on something that I think is cool, and I don't expect anyone else to use it. A great example of this is my evolutionary algorithms work. It's totally useless but fun and, who knows, it could be useful some day, but not in its current form.

On the other hand, perhaps it would have served me well to work with a mathematician, or a biologist.

@mona This places programmers in the position of scribes, which is actually one I like a lot. We translate intent into reality, but basically don't create spontaneously, except for tools for other scribes to use, or treatises for other scribes to learn from.

It also implies that we will disappear, eventually, as software literacy improves and we become redundant, which is definitely the idea.

@tindall I have a feeling that it's bound to happen anyway, for reasons good or bad. if we continue on our capitalistic course, programmers will become obsolete when our masters finally decide that programming labor is not worth paying for and can be done by a machine. if we change course and build a better society, I suspect (and rather hope) that our current notions about what programming even _is_ are going to undergo radical transformation, and we'll finally emerge from the 1970s

Not just scribes, but wizards. Making devices do what you want of them is literally magic.

@tindall this is a very fair thing to point out: there _should_ be a place for the lone-wolf programmer, although I feel strongly that mythology about solo creators changing the world all by themselves has strongly informed programming culture and ought to be rooted out, or at least put into some better social context.

@mona @tindall this is something i still struggle with. the mythology of the lone wolf programmer that changed the world is so deeply embedded in hacker culture it's hard not to be driven to internalising it.
it's something we certainly try to dislodge

@anish @mona @tindall It's also a myth that should be easier to dispell in reality than it turns out to be. It's the open source "community" not the open source "hermitage".

Linus may have built the original kernel prototype on a personal "pilgrimage". But it's not that initial prototype that made it into millions of machines, it's the teamwork of thousands of direct and indirect contributors since that prototype.

That's not even counting the Minix and Unix shoulders Linus stood upon.

@max @anish @mona @tindall except none of that is ever enshrined in any of the myths.

linus built linux with his blood sweat and tears.
steve jobs single handedly saved apple from death, invented both the ipod and iphone.
bill gates is master mind behind windows.
elon musk built a car and a rocket and then put the car into space with the rocket all by himself.

these are the hacker stories. they're demonstrably false, but they're still the stories we tell. at best we get a partnership story.

@anish @mona @tindall Right, but especially with open source, the constant question is how it even possible those myths survive intact?

The Linux Kernel Mailing List has decades of discussion, debates, compromises. The Linux Kernel git repository is a tapestry full of various contributors telling the stories of their works.

At least Jobs, Gates, Musk you have the excuse of intentional corporate obfuscation of the man in front of the curtain versus the one behind it with a giant palace staff.

@max @anish @tindall the answer is, I suspect, cultural. we have been taught myths about Great Men for so long that we do not realize the degree to which we've internalized the notion that achievement comes from point sources, from single brilliant geniuses who Make Things Happen

@max @anish @tindall I have been guilty of _extreme_ scorn and contempt on this particular issue; knowing as much as I do about the true history of development of so much of our science and technology, the continued worship of individual creators really and truly _appalls_ me now

just shaming people for worshipping plaster saints isn't enough, though. I'm not sure how to address the problem, I must admit. it's so pervasive

@mona @max @anish @tindall hundo p agree, it's also how we tell *history*.
tesla was the inventor of the electricity. Napoleon conquered the world. Ford created the modern car.

it's embedded into the nature of story telling. we see the world through protagonists.

@max @anish @tindall exactly! I would try to keep heroic narratives, they are legitimately inspiring, but we need other stories as well.

@tindall I think this is outside of the space of hacking; moreso on the experience, usability and people who have domain expertise on things that are like !$TECH @mona

@tindall tbh I _wish_ we had more designers and experience experts who gave a shit about free technology. Their industry looks positioned to do what the "open source" community does in tech currently; idolatry and exaltation. Hence the homogeneity of a lot of big websites today in design @mona

@mona Indeed. This is no defense of the current FOSS community or culture; but I would argue that the idea of software freedom is not bound up so tightly with ESRism or white male entitlement as to be unsalvagable.

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