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On being "lazy" about software freedom:

Everyone lives a full life. Not everyone gets the same opportunity to pick what fills their life, though. People are busy. They have things they like to do or find easy, & things that are unpleasant or difficult.

People whose life is filled differently than yours, who have different priorities than yours, aren't any more lazy than you are lazy for not picking a more compassionate way to talk about the challenges standing in the way of software freedom.

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I'm interested in software freedom aka FOSS. A great deal of my interest revolves around its emancipatory & empowering aspects, the ways it supports both autonomy & community. I think about it a lot, write about it, & talk about it. I've even gotten paid, some, for teaching about it.

I've come to view with suspicion, though, those speaking mostly of their love, support, or even use of FOSS in their bio. I've seen too many present very narrow, privileged ideas about what freedom means & who it's for.

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One of my distractions is working with polycaprolactic acid aka polycaprolactone (PCL) which is a thermoplastic (think fizzy drink bottles, plastic take out containers, and the stuff that certain types of 3D printers squeeze out).

The neat thing about it is that it is workable at fairly low temperatures, less than what water boils at; comfortable hot soup or hot beverage type temperatures. This makes it hand-workable.

Good for a variety of uses, but I just find it a lot of fun to play with.

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I wish we saw more love for this sort of incrementalism, to be honest.

The giants didn't get giant overnight, we aren't going to get to their better successors overnight.

The giants are giant! Even diverting a fraction of the commerce and attention they draw can still be a lot!

We need to feed everyone's imagination as to what else is possible. A single step into the world outside the silos is a huge step.


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I've got an account on a large general instance and a small boutique instance, but neither of them is super diligent about blocking certain instances.

Thought it would be good to have an account where I run into less crap like that.

keeping an eye on the upgrade, and my fingers crossed for @woozle and the rest

(This lands differently now that the movie is out compared to [checks notes] not quite 5 years ago)

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I must not tweet.
Twitter is the mind-killer.
Twitter is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my tweets.
I will permit them to pass over me and through me.
And when they have gone past I will turn the inner eye to see their path.
Where the tweets have gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

(Apologies to the memory of Frank Herbert.)

so, I have never migrated an account, I've always just opened new accounts started using them, leaving the old ones fallow or going back to them occasionally.

Guess I've gotten lucky in the instances I picked that none of them have done the "welp, gonna close this up time for everyone to go somewhere else" dance.

That's totally a case where I could see migration tools being very useful, and subjecting follows/followers to migration management churn.

and they absolutely do have things about them that are difficult for newcomers and thus well-suited to having someone around to show folks the ropes.

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And this is where we get back to the usual suspects, because they're like the sharks of text editing, they've survived the upheavals of veritable eons, in Moore's Law-driven computer/Internet time.

This is mostly why I say "use whatever text editor you want" but try to teach at least "survival" levels of vi and of emacs, because those are skills that, if they stick, will probably* continue to serve.

* [past performance is not guarantee of future returns]

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I mention this a little bit out of old fart reminiscense and nostalgia, but also with the harder point that things come and go. Used to be that everyone used Word for Windows. That's still big, but it isn't nearly the behemoth it was in the face of Pages or Google Docs or whatever (where my preference for "whatever" is going to be LibreOffice probably).

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now that I think about it, my baseline here is maybe a little longer-term. I don't even remember the names of all the editors or word processors I've used, but a few stand out: I don't recall exactly, but I *think* that was WordStar that ran on an IBM PC-XT I used back in the day. Or editing BASIC just by typing out new numbered lines as replacement. Those are pretty early. Wordperfect 4.2 on VT220's running on a VAX. Word on DOS (so, Word 3.0) a little bit when I was away for a year from the VAX.

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anyway, figured I should give a shout-out to BBEdit on the Mac from days gone by, which mostly was displaced by TextEdit for me there, or for others by Textile I think?

On Windows we've had Notepad, which is fine, or could add Notepad++ which is also ok.

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Even if we look only at console editors, where does that put us with regard to emacs or vim, which have GUI options?

How much skew is there in teaching someone to work in the console but with a series of key bindings from GUI environments that work completely differently everywhere else in the console?

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at some level, the more GUI-intensive editors, VS Code, Atom, Brackets or even LibreOffice, are more straighforward because their interface paradigms more closely match those that people have already learned. *Some* of this is down to the UX research and craft that has gone into designing those interfaces and programs, but some significant proportion of the comfort people feel with these interfaces is less that they are inherently better, just that they are more familiar. In short, no more than incumbency.

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(this is my "not trying to subtoot you, just trying not to blow up your mentions if you don't want that" notice @stragu )

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(oof, I guess that's "flourishing" so, like ground wheat and not like the halogen)

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On the Debian side, I had a happy few years where `sensible-editor` was set to use my long-time, when the going gets tough, fallback editor: joe.

That has since changed to `nano` I think. Which is fine.

In the meantime, `joe` has gotten a little more attention to its upkeep but not enough to grow one features I can get from vi and emacs variants, which is to say, soft-wrapping of long lines.

In the meantime `nano` has grown the ability to record a keyboard macro, which was pretty crucial for me.

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I'm reminded having seen a certain, if you'll pardon the term, a "fluorishing" of Electron-based editors 6 or 7 years ago. The ones that come to mind are Brackets and Atom.

These have since been swept away pretty much by VS Code.

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So, in terms of what I think of as "out of the box" is, can I install it from the distro repositories I use?

A qualified "yes" so long as I'm running a recent-enough version of the OS:

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This discussion about editor choice and affordances (which I enjoy so much more than the typical editor wars between adherents to the usual suspects) has got me wondering about what "out of the box" means, and a little bit about the mechanisms in which the usual suspects have become the usual suspects.

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