I have a lot of respect for the FSF. I think GPL v2 is probably the best license out there. I certainly don't think Android is an unalloyed good the way ariadnavigo.xyz/posts/what-the does. And yet, this makes me incredibly sad:


The whole goal of GNU was to combat proprietary software. Deliberately over-engineering software just to distinguish itself from another that also has a permissive license (BSD), how is this making the world better?

@akkartik re "I often find it challenging even to figure out where to ask. Going from a program to its package, dealing with interactions between packages, etc. All of which goes back to simplicity as a core goal."

Programs should strive to have a beginning and end—or at least a well-understood beginning—and for the author to care as much about human reader as the machine.

@akkartik I've come to realize that, as intrinsic as it is in everything exactly like Nelson says it is, uncontrolled hypertextuality is the enemy.

Consider the plot of a book or a movie. Plenty exist that use non-linear storytelling or jump into and out of scenes happening in parallel. Yet we still manage to package them up into consumables.

The act of "linearizing" is an art, but it's doable. It should not be overlooked.

@akkartik the biggest problem, as I see it, is that by the time we get to the point where we're competent to both write programs and notice that we should be striving for this thing, our minds are poisoned by the influence "industrial" software development. Your analysis about Knuth's LP mistakes are extremely salient.

How do we keep from backsliding into, "Some for our program -- don't mind these"?

@akkartik there's a restatement of the problem in the Glen Chiacchieri episode of the Future of Coding podcast. Choice quote (around 1:45:50):

"Code is open source, but who cares? Nobody can understand it."


@colby Funny you (Adam, really) brought up Smalltalk. I've been poking around recently with Glamorous Toolkit, trying to figure out if I should focus there instead of my github.com/akkartik/mu. Because my goal is exactly what's stated in that blog post draft: always ship sources with any software, and make it easy to rebuild sources with a single click. Even if nobody can immediately understand it, push-button releases will massively improve things and lay the foundations for more.


@akkartik re Smalltalk: also not coincidental. Availability of sources is crucial; compilation must be a reversible process.

> SDIPD stands for "package distribution is source distribution [sic]".

From <wiki.triplescripts.org/wiki/SD>

A lot of the attention that has gone into this work so far—and will go into it in the future—is greatly informed by Smalltalk. Specifically, Objective Smalltalk (see <wiki.triplescripts.org/wiki/Fi>), and a lot of what Bracha talks about when he describes Newspeak.

(Oops. s/Objective Smalltalk/Modular Smalltalk/)

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