Karl Fogel kfogel@identi.ca

Chicago, United States

see http://red-bean.com/kfogel

  • 2020-08-07T21:15:19Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Repeating because every now and then it's needed:

    The number of open bug tickets in a project's bug tracker correlates to the number of *users* not the number of *defects*.  This is regarding this post:


    (My original rant: https://rants.org/2010/01/bugs-users-and-tech-debt/)

  • 2020-07-23T19:57:09Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers


    Facebook's stock structure famously gives Zuckerberg decisive power (i.e., voting > ownership), so Board can't fire him. Meanwhile, a judge excoriated Facebook for its behavior, in approving a huge FTC fine.

    Couldn't FTC demand structure change instead of a fine?

  • 2020-07-23T14:28:29Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    The Trump administration is reportedly considering (somehow) banning TikTok.

    Serious question: is this a Free Software issue?

    The app itself isn't FOSS, but the government telling people what bits -- proprietary or otherwise -- they can run on their own devices seems bad...

    (Substitute "software freedom" for "Free Software" in the above if that makes the question clearer.)

    Karl Fogel at 2020-07-23T14:31:05Z

    The US and Australian militaries banned it on their networks and devices over security concerns.  The National Defense Authorization Act 2021 provision being moved states in operative part: “In General.--Except as provided in subsection (b), no employee of the United States, officer of the United States, Member of Congress, congressional employee, or officer or employee of a government corporation may download or use TikTok or any successor application developed by ByteDance or any entity owned by ByteDance on any device issued by the United States or a government corporation.”  The exception allows for research, law enforcement, and intelligence activity usage notwithstanding.
    This means no civil servants or troopers will be able to use the SaaS on their official devices and official networks.  Off-duty they can do what they want.  Private individuals are not covered by this.  There is no software freedom issue as an employer is regulating its employees.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2020-07-23T18:36:02Z

    I'll play devil's advocate a bit to figure out what you're getting at:

    if the government were to forbid everyone from running any non-free software whatsoever, would that be a bad thing, a software freedom issue?

    would the rationale that the goal is to stop people from being victims of malware not be a good one?

    one could argue, as we often have in public tenders that demanded software freedom, that no software has the restrictions that render it non-free built into it; any piece of software could be made available in a freedom-respecting, thus no software is really excluded, it's only the abuse that comes with it when it's non-free that would be excluded

    Alexandre Oliva at 2020-07-25T17:34:01Z

  • 2020-07-10T15:57:20Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Another reason to love @LWNnet: This excellent article about recent developments in @LibreOffice. TL;DR: the project is trying an interesting tactic for getting development paid for while remaining true (with delay?) to #freesoftware principles. Fascinating & worth watching.

    Would help if I included the article link:

    Karl Fogel at 2020-07-10T15:57:55Z

    nukem likes this.

  • 2020-07-08T17:28:55Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Whoo-whee! This is a trip down memory lane (re CVS and Subversion) and is also some really fine technical storytelling from @jimblandy, interviewed by @AdamGordonBell on the excellent @CoRecursive Podcast:

  • 2020-07-06T14:19:59Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    This is probably a repeat of something I posted already, but:

    @shoshanazuboff's "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" is a complete masterpiece. If you've been putting off reading it, delay no further. FWIW, I find the book makes it easier to both think about & talk about its topic.

  • 2020-06-26T20:27:11Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Hey, anyone out there used #opensource @Silverstripe CMS? If so, thoughts? Praise? Complaints? Unexpected things?

    Never heard of it. It comes from New Zealand? I suppose I should look into it.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2020-06-27T00:22:32Z

    Karl Fogel likes this.

  • 2020-06-26T18:37:30Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Anyone out there have good prior art on internal organizational policies about access to user data?

    (Like, if you're a tech company with users, who in the company has access to user data & under what circumstances? What's the written policy?)


  • 2020-06-26T16:48:38Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Powerful piece by @rickperlstein in @InTheseTimesMag. TL;DR: If you thought the way we're handling this pandemic was bad on its own, wait till you see it placed in historical context!

  • 2020-06-26T15:53:32Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Dear Every News Organization Out There Including Ones I Like:

    Please stop quoting COVID-19 statistics that aren't per capita or aren't otherwise given as percentages relative to some base. Just stop. Absolute numbers presented without context *are meaningless* and help no one.

    nukem likes this.

  • 2020-06-25T17:05:46Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    TFW a technical person tries to get an answer in a customer support forum, Zoom edition. This whole thread is 😂😑🙁.

  • 2020-06-24T20:14:49Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    "I am a prisoner, and I am in a state of mind"

  • 2020-06-24T19:33:11Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Congratulations to @jamesvasile on joining the Board of Directors of @EFF! Likewise to @anildash, another good call on @EFF's part.

    I've just made sure my membership is up-to-date at https://supporters.eff.org/donate/site-f. Won't you join me? They consistently do great work, year after year.

  • 2020-06-23T18:26:19Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    I know you all know this already. It isn't news. It is maybe even boring. But still, just take a moment and try to follow the logic in Donald Trump's remarks here. Heck, even just try to determine what he *thinks* he means.


    Remember: 40% of voters!

    Biden is nearly as loony.

    We can only hope for a brave third party candidate that the country can rally around like they did Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2020-06-23T23:04:01Z

  • 2020-06-23T17:23:39Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Really interesting journalism question going on here. Why is it okay for the @NYTimes to dox the author of @SlateStarCodex while at the same time they would never publish the name of the Trump/Ukraine CIA whistleblower (whose identity is widely known)?

    My question is not facetious. I truly don't know what set of principles journalists should use in deciding when to out the hitherto anonymous subject of a story. If the @NYTimes does have written principles about this, I hope they publish them!

    /cc @muckrakery


    The biggest problem was talking to a New York Times reporter in the first place.  After the horrid historiography of their 1619 project their credibility has been on a steady decline with me.  This just accelerates that decline.

    Stephen Michael Kellat at 2020-06-23T18:24:03Z

  • 2020-06-23T16:03:21Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    In case anyone wants to torture themselves, I've got 32 speeches -- that's right, 2^5 -- by Donald Trump in plain-text transcript form right here, ready to be analyzed by anyone looking to stretch their English to, and perhaps beyond, the breaking point:

  • 2020-06-22T03:19:26Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Anyone else noticing that selecting regions of text on a web page is awfully broken lately? It's happening to me on all sorts of sites: HTML sites, Google docs, etc. I do mouse-1-down at point A and drag to point B but, unlike before, all sorts of unpredictable stuff happens.

    The whole WWW, in general, is a little more broken every day 😅

    JanKusanagi at 2020-06-22T03:31:15Z

    That's because overpaid incompetents at ad agencies are using off-the-shelf JS libraries for layout (eg old WP themes), instead of up-to-date CSS.

    Danyl Strype at 2020-06-26T14:46:55Z

  • 2020-06-21T19:13:03Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    The message at the end of this piece by @JoshTPM is important:


    "...Berman’s public refusal is itself a sign of Trump’s ebbing power. It all points to a perilous six months of mounting instability, wrongdoing and criminality in which Trump, his lieutenants and toadies see the need to keep rolling the dice, fomenting chaos in the hopes some version of it works in his favor."

    Yup.  That is what it is going to be like until Election Day.  Trump doesn't care about collateral damage.
  • 2020-06-19T23:10:23Z via Identi.ca Web To: Public CC: Followers

    Why is @SignalApp suddenly asking me to create a numeric PIN? I already have a nice long app-specific passphrase.

    I get that there could be reasons for this. It would just be nice if Signal would explain those reasons somewhere along the new PIN creation UI path.