2020-06-29 Smolnet

@Shufei says:

There’s a nascent movement offing, I think. Retrotech started it, hacker culture and tech, natch, but it’s incorporating new stuff like Gemini. Textnet, “slow internet”, I call it smolnet. People are tired of the corporate behemoths and cacophony. Demimondes like SDF provide a respite from all that, and a forum for some resistance and development apart from the bloat and blather. There’s a demotic tinge to it all in the hacker tradition, but without necessitating 1337ness.

I like to see my Gemini Wiki in this light. Slow net, small net, yes! Gemini Wiki is a Perl script which also acts as a web server. No need for Apache or nginx if you don’t want to. I need to write more about this, I’m so excited.

The Gemini Wiki also serves its pages via HTTP and HTML, so regular web browsers can access it. That means, it can act as a gateway...

You can start the Gemini Wiki such that it serves the wiki on both the standard Gemini port (1965) and on the standard HTTPS port (443) – your users don’t even have to know about any of this.

I’m currently running it here:

And this is what it looks like, using Elpher, the Emacs Gopher and Gemini client:


And this is what it looks like, using EWW, the “Emacs Web Wowser”, the Emacs web browser:

Image 2



Gemini Wiki (Giki!) is right at the heart of smolnet!

We need reference and permeable media across the board. And Giki is ever so light and airy.

– Shufei 2020-06-29 19:51 UTC


We’re at 1547 lines of code, comments and documentation, now...

– Alex Schroeder 2020-06-29 19:59 UTC

@solderpunk just pointed me to a short blog post by Bruce Sterling which ends with the line:

My internet is substantially quieter than yours, and teaches me new things every day”.

Perfect! 😀

– Alex 2020-10-24 19:32 UTC

@wim_v12e wrote about the energy consumption of our computing and networking

For laptops and similar computers, manufacturing, distribution and disposal account for 52% of their Global Warming Potential (i.e. the amount of CO₂-equivalent emissions caused). For mobile phones, this is 72%. The report calculates that the lifetime of these devices should be at least 25 years to limit their Global Warming Potential. Currently, for laptops it is about 5 years and for mobile phones 3 years. – Frugal Computing

– Alex 2021-07-16 18:45 UTC

Oh, this is great. Here is somebody arguing that switching the web from HTML to PDF is also a way out.

Computing in the 2020s is (still) a user-hostile shifting sand land1. We are drowning in churn and noise. I am fighting back by switching this website from HTML to PDF. … PDF has many shortcomings. But … it stands in opposition to the mercenary, dynamic web … PDFs are self-contained and offlineable – you can archive them and be confident they will remain stable and readable in the future, with no external dependencies to manage. – lab6 #0

Because PDF files are files and files are freedom:

A file is a sequence of bytes, of a known length. It is completely under the control of the user. A vendor cannot change it sneakily. You can checksum it and manage its integrity. You can sign it and manage its authenticity. You can back it up and distribute it easily. You can sneakernet it andsamizdat it. You can parse it and convert it to another format. You can work with it offline. We have 60 years of tooling available to manage files. – ibid

The rest of the article is great, too. There is no way to get back to the document-based web. The standards are shifting, the complexity is growing, the task has simply become impossible.

In return for the marvel that is the modern web application, we have struck an awful bargain: it is now almost impossible to read a simple document on the web without signing up to the whole web application contraption, and there is no simple document-oriented subset of HTML for which you could create a simple document-oriented browser. – ibid

– Alex 2021-07-19 09:32 UTC

@onepict recommended an article by Issie Lapowsky, for protocol, about the ongoing struggle inside the W3C, which reminds me more and more of how the government works. You stay in the discussion, questioning the terms used, the motives, everything, and then it all grinds to a halt – because fundamentally, these are issues where people are not on the same side and no amount of talking can make them agree on technical issues because the solutions sought are simply incompatible.

He charged Apple with trying to push app developers away from advertising business models and toward fee-based apps, “where Apple takes a 30% cut,” striking a note about anti-competitive practices that sounded not unlike Rosewell. “Using the pretext of privacy to kill off the ads-funded business model, in order to push developers to fee based models Apple can tax doesn’t stop being anti-competitive if they lower their cut,” Savage wrote. “And their own apps will always have a 0% tax.” – Concern trolls and power grabs: Inside Big Tech’s angry, geeky, often petty war for your privacy

All sides have good points and I hate them all. Nothing will get done, that’s for sure.

@onepict suggested RFC 8890:

In these situations, when one of those parties is an “end user” of the Internet – for example, a person using a web browser, mail client, or another agent that connects to the Internet – the Internet Architecture Board argues that the IETF should favor their interests over those of other parties. – The Internet is for End Users

– Alex 2021-07-19 09:47 UTC

@aral wrote:

Small Web applications and sites are single tenant. That means that one server hosts one application that serves just one person: you. On the Small Web, we do not have the concept of “users”. When we refer to people, we call them people. – What is the Small Web?

– Alex 2021-07-31 05:49 UTC

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