Elephant in the room


All my life in Free Software was devoted to software adhering to Unix
philosophy, software for which sound design being more important than whims of users, especially incompetent users. I do my best to eliminate complexity here and there: in Debian I fought hard against systemd, after its downfall I fix static linkage in Nixpkgs¹.

But all my victories and defeats are nothing compared with elephant in the room called "web browser". Complexity of web browsers is mind-blowing, and they are getting more and more complex².

Modern browsers are quite decent at keeping content of your $HOME safe, but are much better at making sure everything valuable is stored anywhere but in $HOME. And what disheartens me is that no matter what I do, these monsters are getting into my life more and more.

I am writing these lines with vim and you don't need anything more complex than curl to read them, but that is about as much as I can have. Even to contribute to Free Software, I have to let these monsters it. Is it what I really want?

During my best years in Debian I had my closure within it -- set of programs that I liked and contributed to. I used mail client and editor to contribute to mail client and editor. Yeah, paradise...

I was ejected from the paradise. No matter how much I love Nix, contributing to Nixpkgs via GitHub is pain that is too much to bear. It is like touching filth. I have enough of it in cases where I have no choice, like banking or making my living.

I am writing it mainly to prove to myself that I have right to do nothing. Right to quit the fight. Right to admit defeat and surrender. Right to be nobody. Right to enjoy being nobody. I do, don't I?

¹ Advantages of dynamic linking linking are myth. Actually dynamic linking is useless complexity that gained traction because of historical accident. Explicit dlopen(3) can be useful occasionally, though.
https://drewdevault.com/dynlib.html

² This article some part of unreasonable complexity of modern browsers.
https://drewdevault.com/2020/08/13/Web-browsers-need-to-stop.html