Building fair webs of trust by leveraging the OCAP model

Dec 3, 2022
Since the beginning of the Internet, determining the trustworthiness of participants and published information has been a significant point of contention. Many systems have been proposed to solve these underlying concerns, usually pertaining to specific niches and communities, but these pre-existing solutions are nebulous at best. How can we build infrastructure for truly democratic Webs of Trust?

Twitter's demise is ActivityPub's future

Nov 12, 2022
Earlier today, I deleted all of my tweets and left Twitter forever. While I plan on leaving a nightlight thread for a while, I will eventually close my account, assuming Elon doesn’t do it for me. The past week has been an emotional rollercoaster for me as I have watched everything play out.

The internet is broken due to structural injustice

Oct 27, 2022
Over the past few years, I’ve come to realize that the Internet as we know it is utterly broken. Lately, I’ve also been pondering how participants in the modern Internet have enabled and perpetuated harm to society at large. Repeatedly, we have seen the independence of the commons chipped away by powerful men who wish for participants to serve their own whims, while those who raise concerns with these developments are either shunned, banned or doxed.

So you've decided to start a free software consultancy...

Aug 11, 2022
Recently a friend of mine told me that he was planning to start a free software consultancy, and asked for my advice, as I have an extensive background doing free software consulting for a living. While I have already given him some advice on how to proceed, I thought it might be nice to write a blog expanding on my answer, so that others who are interested in pursuing free software consulting may benefit.

Free software grows as a function of social utility

Aug 6, 2022
A frequent complaint I see from users and inexperienced contributors concerning free software projects is that they are allegedly not doing enough to grow the userbase, sometimes even asserting that a fork is necessary to right the course of the project. Are these complaints missing the point, or do they have merit?

Migrating away from WordPress

Aug 4, 2022
Astute followers of this blog might have noticed that the layout has dramatically changed. This is because I migrated away from WordPress last weekend, switching back to Hugo after a few years. This time around, the blog is fully self-hosted, rather than depending on GitHub pages, and the deployment pipeline is reasonably secure.

How efficient can cat(1) be?

Jul 17, 2022
There have been a few initiatives in recent years to implement a new userspace base system for Linux distributions as an alternative to the GNU coreutils and BusyBox. Recently, one of the authors of one of these proposed implementations made the pitch in a few IRC channels that her cat implementation, which was derived from OpenBSD’s implementation, was the most efficient.

a silo can never provide digital autonomy to its users

Jul 1, 2022
Lately there has been a lot of discussion about various silos and their activities, notably GitHub and an up and coming alternative to Tumblr called Cohost. I’d like to talk about both to make the point that silos do not, and can not elevate user freedoms, by design, even if they are run with the best of intentions, by analyzing the behavior of both of these silos.

it is correct to refer to GNU/Linux as GNU/Linux

Mar 30, 2022
You’ve probably seen the “I’d like to interject for a moment” quotation that is frequently attributed to Richard Stallman about how Linux should be referred to as GNU/Linux. While I disagree with that particular assertion, I do believe it is important to refer to GNU/Linux distributions as such, because GNU/Linux is a distinct operating system in the family of operating systems which use the Linux kernel, and it is technically correct to recognize this, especially as different Linux-based operating systems have different behavior, and different advantages and disadvantages.

the tragedy of gethostbyname

Mar 27, 2022
A frequent complaint expressed on a certain website about Alpine is related to the deficiencies regarding the musl DNS resolver when querying large zones. In response, it is usually mentioned that applications which are expecting reliable DNS lookups should be using a dedicated DNS library for this task, not the getaddrinfo or gethostbyname APIs, but this is usually rebuffed by comments saying that these APIs are fine to use because they are allegedly reliable on GNU/Linux.