I haven't talked about my goal for personal computing in a while.

With Sundog nerdsniping me in to attempting to turn the LibSSH-ESP32 port in to the basis of a full fledged SSH client for the ESP32, I guess I should spend a few minutes talking about why I bother with this bullshit.

Computers could be good, but they aren't.

That's the gist of it.

I guess I mean Good with a capital G, as in "a force for good in the world", but I also mean good with a lowercase g, as in "not super shitty to use, or think about".

I'm not going to waste a lot of bits talking about how computers are bad. I've done this a lot before, and you probably already agree with me. I'll quickly summarize the high points.

What's wrong with (modern) computing?

- Computers spy on us all the time
- Computers are insecure, while pretending not to to be.
- Computers enable new modes of rent seeking, further exasperated by shitty patents and worse laws
- Computers/the modern internet encourage behaviors which are bad for our mental health as individuals.
- Computers and the modern internet, in concert with modern capitalism have built a world essentially without public spaces.

You know, all that bullshit.

As I said, it's a summation. There's nuance. There are more problems.

That list should serve as an okay shorthand for the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Computers? They're bad.

But I'm here, talking to you, through a computer. I derive my living from computers. I spend most of my free time in front of a computer.

In spite of all the ways computers are lowercase b bad, computers enable a lot of Good.

I believe in the potential of computers, in our digital future.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about what the next 30 years in computing might look like, the successes and failures of the last 30 years, and the inflection point at which a computer is Good Enough for most tasks.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about the concept of planned obsolescence as it applies to computing, and what modern computing might look like without the profit motive fucking everything up.


I'm just a dude.

I'm a sysadmin. I spend a lot of time using computers, and specifically I spend a lot of time fixing machines that are failing in some way.

But I'm just some dude who thinks about stuff and imagines futures which are less horrible than present.

I've said that as a way to say: I don't claim to have The Answer, I just have some ideas. I'm going to talk about those ideas.

Sidebar over.

So how did we get from the gleaming promise of the digital age as imagined in the 70s to the harsh cyberpunk reality of the 20s?

Centralization, rent seeking, planned obsolescence, surveillance, advertising, and copyright.

How do we move forward?

Re-decentralization, a rejection of the profit motive, building for the future/to be repaired, building for privacy, rejecting advertising, and embracing Free software.

@ajroach42 what kind of viable business models can companies adopt so they'll resist the urge to use built-in obsolescence?
(Well other than proper management instead of oligarchic fat cat management)


@vesperto decentralized, worker owned, cooperatively managed, much smaller scale manufacturing coupled with some changes in consumer habits are the only path forward I see.

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