Christopher Allan Webber

"How I explained heartbleed to my therapist"

Christopher Allan Webber at

A pretty chilling article.

Three years ago, my husband, an open source architect and developer, killed himself. For years, everywhere, we had struggled together against depression, and worked together to try to make our world better. It was always difficult. He succumbed. I did not.

Admitting I needed help wasn’t the hard part. Figuring out how to explain the problem is.


“Yes. But it isn’t really free time. It’s all work. It’s all important. And I have to figure out how to balance the work I can make a living on with the work I can’t, because the work I can’t make a living on is more important.”

This also captures why I'm not really comfortable with people making "haha heartbleed" "haha shellshock" jokes on microblogs (especially popular on Twitter, it seems). They feel about as low as shitty YouTube comments to me. The next time you're tempted to do that to make yourself look cool, maybe think about this article, then consider: at whose expense am I taking this cheap shot to make myself look cool?

Dan Scott, Alberto Moshpirit, gdk, Forna and 7 others likes this.

Olivier Mehani, SombreKnave, SombreKnave, SombreKnave and 5 others shared this.

It's whistling past the graveyard, though. Comprehending how complex and fragile the massive interconnected machine that we call "the Internet" is is like H.P. Lovecraft-level insanity-causing. Realizing that for every Heartbleed and Shellshock there are 100 other Free and Open Source software bugs of equal importance can make you want to run from the whole thing.

Thinking about the level of bugginess in non-free software that maybe only 1 or 2 people have ever looked at is an existential crisis waiting to happen.

Joking about the mechanism of Shellshock or whatever helps us minimize it. "This is a simple problem and the people who made this mistake are way dumber than me," is what you're saying. Neither is true, but it helps us keep doing what we do without giving up entirely.

Evan Prodromou at 2014-09-29T16:11:37Z

Douglas Perkins, Scott Sweeny, Christopher Allan Webber, Charles Stanhope and 1 others likes this.

Humour is a coping mechanism for many people. A security bug means different things to different people ranging from personal embarrassment to possibly mission critical life or death scenarios.

No single person should have to deal with the burden of being responsible for a security bug which affects the entire internet.

Good will triumph over evil.

jrobertson at 2014-09-29T16:32:22Z

Evan Prodromou,, Christopher Allan Webber likes this.

Damn, she is a frequent contributor to the mailing-list, I didn't knew that drama ...

Yes there is a great problem in the way Free Software is not funded, neither from these Giants neither from the states, although our entire "civilisation" now depends on that "thing" (internet==free-software) ... and the coders that maintain it are pressurised by the financial system.

Free Software Developpers, you are heroes ...

olm-e at 2014-09-29T18:30:27Z