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bitching about code under capitalism 

when i tell people “capitalism is why software is bad” unless they’re already anti-capitalists, they don’t believe me; but if you walk through the evidence and the dynamics, they just get sad and talk about wanting to give up. really? your alternatives are “unquestioning compliance” and “depression”? lord help me the centrists will kill us all

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

the same people who understand why toll roads are bad will find it inconceivable to treat software as public infrastructure. profiteering software is always architecturally worse than a non-profiteering architecture, but sure, let’s do yet another startup trying to monetize clicks 🙃

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re: bitching about code under capitalism 

if you are questioning whether profiteering software is always worse, just think about every ad and every paywall. they don’t need to exist. the only reason they exist is to transform the software into a financial instrument, like a wrench that requires quarters to operate

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bitching about code under capitalism 

@garbados
tbh, as much as i'd prefer writing code for a developer co-op, i'd even more prefer developing stuff on my own and not having to worry about whether or not anybody finds it useful. 2 different kinds of 'non-capitalist software development' there

bitching about code under capitalism 

@enkiv2 @garbados
hoping UBI comes along so i can join a software coop that will just, like, develop code that doesn't necessarily have demand & give it away for free & maybe take donations

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@enkiv2 communism will win, comrade

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@garbados
I hope so!

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@enkiv2 no reason they can’t co-exist. the difference between a non-toll superhighway and the garden path to your front door.

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@garbados That is a _very_ good analogy, actually.

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@garbados love all the open source startups that have formed around open source infrastructure software, which 30 years ago might have been a Unix command.
they now need a marketing department, a community management team, dedicated conferences, and their documentation still sucks, and it's still bug ridden — so i don't quite see the benefit this new system has produced, other than pulling more people than necessary into this maelstrom.

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@hirojin @garbados

The main advantage seems to be "Well, maybe community management folks will get paid a living wage instead of having to do it for free?"

But then the community management team still gets paid like shit and are the first to get cut :(

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@hirojin @garbados
You know that hacker news comment on the announcement of Dropbox that said something like "Idiots, everyone can already do this with FTP and rsync", right?
It turns out that people couldn't and derived real value from having the functionality packaged as an easy to use app.

@hirojin @garbados
Of course that's not really about capitalism, but providing value.
It'd be nice to keep the capitalism bad or good-discussion out of this conversation, though I'd be happy to have it somewhere else.

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@solarkraft @hirojin it's not just "the functionality [of FTP and rsync]" but a relationship to a particular corporation and its technical infrastructure, the centralization by which allowed the theft of sensitive information of nearly seventy million users. a good dropbox could have been an app interface over rsync and FTP, but it wasn't.

@garbados @hirojin
Great point! You're right, with actual value often comes totally unneccessary stuff. *In theory* competition should lead to alternatives that are not user hostile, provided users care about it. It only kind of happened because most users just seem to not.

@solarkraft @garbados @hirojin products that are based on user happiness can't compete with surveillance capitalism, because success is measured in profit, and the companies who want to track and spy on us have way more money that the class of users have in total. And that's why competition under capitalism doesn't do shit for user happiness or effective solutions - because that's not what makes the largest profits.

@solarkraft @garbados @hirojin users simply can't pay enough to make good UX more important than tracking.

@zatnosk @solarkraft @garbados

because success is measured in profit,

yesno. the chance to succeed is measured in potential profit

and the companies that want to track us and spy on us have way more money than the class of users have in total

isn't it funny how valuation works? how can a company have (or be worth) more money than the sum of its users?

@solarkraft @garbados when the Internet was young, we created protocols instead of startups centered around a single app. where every app communicates over HTTP, now Google's protocol.

@solarkraft @hirojin competition under capitalism will only optimize for profit, and as competition reduces profit capitalists will undermine it in pursuit of monopolies. as schumpeter argued, capitalists are the downfall of capitalism. nowhere in this dynamic does the user get good software — or really, good anything — except as an accident. any semblance of quality you may observe is a transient circumstance in a race to the bottom.

@solarkraft @garbados @hirojin "Free services" have intentionally mislead users. What data, who it's shared with, and how it is used have been obfuscated behind lengthy terms or policies full of opaque legal language.

This is a market failure. There is no incentive for provider to address it and the consumer is unaware of the damage being done by the market. Capitalism expects government to address market failures. However, that doesn't happen.

@tigzikk @solarkraft @garbados

Capitalism expects government to address market failures. However, that doesn't happen.

surely not this latest stain of capitalism which sees, and the markets it creates and operates in as infallible

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@garbados *insert hot takes about toll roads*

bitching about code under capitalism 

@garbados

The centrists will kill us all seems the motto of our times

bitching about code under capitalism 

@garbados I can think of one explanation: they aren't anticapitalists because they believe capitalism is inevitable no matter how bad it might be for people.

If someone shows you that a thing you hate is caused by something you believe to be inevitable, wouldn't you find it depressing?

re: bitching about code under capitalism 

@waterbear yes. they have accepted that propaganda deep into their minds. the fleshless spirit that chokes them and uses them proclaims its own immortality, but it is a lie. capitalism was created. it will be destroyed.

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