A few days ago I started, together with @Miloslav Číž
, something called The Escape Key Society. We don't have anything like a manifesto or discussion forum yet -- that will need to be figured out. The purpose of this post is to give an idea of what our goals are and see if there's any interest among fellow Diasporans.
Our shared belief is that modern computer technology, especially software, is in a deep crisis. It's not something that can be fixed by a editing a config file or switching to another distro but needs to be escaped altogether. This crisis has a strong cultural component rooted in a generational gap and skewed incentives but whatever the reason culture is not something one can fix with a patch, so 'patches are welcome' is also not an answer. If you don't share this pessimism this society is not for you but if you examine the current state of the industry closer
and in perspective
you might find why we came to this position.
The goal of TEKS is to provide a space for discussing existing technologies that suck least of all as well as projects, including our own, aimed at raising the quality bar. However, we embrace a rather radical approach to development which sets us apart from most developers including those pessimistic about the status quo. We are not interested in building better web frameworks or better desktop environments bolted onto the Unix command line but rather in reimagining the whole stack in the spirit of radical minimalism that puts the human first. You can't truly own a system that you don't understand and can't practically alter in a non-superficial way. Yet this lack of control has been culturally normalized: you are supposed to rigorously study poorly written documentation to understand often-grotesque interfaces (both UIs and APIs) in order to build even more layers on top of the existing cruft, while peeking into and changing the guts of web browsers, OS kernels, and other complex systems is accepted to be an inherently arduous task that only a small caste of elite developers can attempt. We find such technology hostile to the point of inducing mental health issues and seek to build human-friendly systems composed of understandable components in an understandable way. We don't prescribe an exact way to achieve this because we recognize that we all have somewhat different needs which can't be satisfied by a cookie-cutter solution. Instead we put emphasis on interoperability.
If your views are similar feel free to join. We are currently discussing what place to use as a temporary forum where we could discuss our views in detail, produce a manifesto, and figure what to use as a more permanent home. There should at least be a way to export all the content and preferably also a way to update a local copy. Something like a bugtracker backed by a VCS repo could work. You can comment under this post or write your own posts tagged with #theescapekeysociety
Everything is going to hell and nobody seems to caretonsky.me