We need a multi-national, publicly funded research organization akin to CERN/within CERN, whose whole purpose is to develop a state-of-the-art browser that's not Chromium-based. Make follow our lead, rather than us having to follow Google.

If the Web could be developed using public money, why not a modern browser? Public funding would remove the Mozilla problem of them having to depend on Google.

With the amount of money governments waste annually, we could fund this AND Mozilla.

There could be incentive problems here as well, of course, like governments threatening to withdraw funding in case a certain backdoor isn't included, or if it blocks ads too aggressively and some corporate-funded 'representative' starts receiving pushback from the industry etc, but which is why it would need to:

- Be funded by a wider variety of states than the Five/Nine Eyes members.

- Developed entirely in the open, each important change reviewed by a committee of experts from the public.

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@MatejLach But how would you unseat Chrome at this point? Google have the incumbent advantage and the platform advantage. Technical excellence is only part of the story.

@cbowdon That's definitely going to be a challenge, but did some smart marketing by having ads IRL, like in trains and such, even in smaller countries if the % of connected users was high enough.

Since it would be publicly funded, you could also install it on computers in publicly-funded educational institutions. A lot of software spreads by children installing it for their parents. If students are using it at school, they're likely to install it at home.

@MatejLach Ooh that last one is a good one. That’s what MS/Apple/Google are trying after all. You wouldn’t necessarily need CERN-like levels of funding to achieve it.

@cbowdon @MatejLach
but wouldn't you need CERN-like levels of fuding to develop a browser that keeps up with the moving target of shitty WHATWG standards?

@MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

Also why build a state of the art shit whose shape has beed already defined by #Google instead of building something new and better?
Something following a totally different vision?

I think to pull regular users in, we'd have to start with today's web. But once we have sway in the committees, you can begin to redefine what state of the art web should look like.

@Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

I think we need a #CERN of #Informatics, but it should start from a simple vision and build what it takes to get there from the ground up.

I have a vision to propose: all people should be able to read, understand and modify each software they use or feed with their data.

Modern Web is not going to survive such vision, so building a browser is wasting money imho.

@Shamar@mastodon social It won't work. Just take some time to, say, explain recursion or graph algorithms, image compression or even cryptography math to a totally untrained user. We will never get to a point of end users to read or understand their software. IMHO, trying to do so is a waste of time that could better be spent on building more ethical solutions that just work for this crowd.
@MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon My position is that they should be *able* to (perhaps with a little training), but not obligated to.

@alcinnz @z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

Guys, that's just because we are at the hieroglyphs of #Informatics.

If it's difficult to explain it's because it's primitive. Let's invent the right alphabet and every kid will be able to learn programming at the primary school.

@Shamar No. It's not just the alphabet and language. It's the alphabet and language and a formal approach flexible enough to express *all* the science and knowledge of its age. Actual code is difficult to end users but still the most trivial aspect about writing any piece of usable software.
@alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon I think the current approach to computing is not sustainable. It is akin to Egyptian priests keeping a secret of solstices. We need to find a way to make this knowledge go mainstream.

@Shamar We're at a point where some adults have issues understanding higher math, some even have real issues learning to master natural language to understand complex texts or express themselves. And we actually did invent an alphabet to help these folks: Icons. Symbols. Easy interactions. So far this works well. Will we be able to do meaningful programming on that level?
@alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon in simpler systems, the meaning of "meaningful programming" might be a lot different than it is in bloated corporate software. just want to get that noted.

@grainloom @z428 @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

We need to be like Moses.

We can all see how badly broken is current IT.
We can all see how much power we have (which ultimately is much much more we are fooled to think).
We call all see how hard corporations try to lock us in, layer over layer.

Can we think the promised land?
Just like ancient scribes couldn't think of a phonetic alphabet.

@grainloom @z428 @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

But we can try new roads.

We can experiment.

We can teach kids that they can reinvent the future in a different way.

Not just with our lessons but with our code and our example.

It IS possible.
Yes there's a lot of complexity to subdue, we still lack fundamental tools like Egyptians lacked the number zero.
But we need #hope to look for them! ;-)

@Shamar I think we very often fall victim to oversimplification because we have totally lost sight of how incredibly much specialized we already are - and how extremely basic and "trivial" some of the issues users are struggling with actually are. Google, Apple, ... are successful because they do better here, no matter why they do that.
@grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

Im 6 hour I teached to 22 yo kids what is defined at plus basic networking (IP packets, IP addresses, DHCP, DNS and routing).

We did a simulation of packet routing with paper packets and they understood MitM and DNS poisoning by themselves.

The teacher proposed to add an our to explain one time pad encryption.


@z428 @grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

We also talked about robots, automata, cyborgs, and thus about the relation between freedom and autonomy.
We talked about surveillance even if I never used this word and about mass conditioning, polarization, hate, market segmentation.
We listed the website they knew and noticing that they were all from US, talked about geopolitics.

It IS possible.

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@Shamar And now, provide those kids with, say, a batch of hardware and the most simple fully featured implementation of something like e-mail. Do you think they will have a chance to understand what happens, let alone fix it? If that was possible, most programmers apparently are pretty dumb, looking at how much time is spent on fixing ...
@grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

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@Shamar ... both conceptual and mere implementation bugs in existing code, even for people who know both the alphabet and the concepts.😉
@grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

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They do 'better' because they, through inordinate market power accrued through tactics at least as shady as anti-competitive hiring practices, get to define what 'better' means.

@Shamar @grainloom @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@deejoe @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon imho there were/are better systems that give users more freedom that were commercial failures because they weren't marketed properly or weren't lucrative enough for developers looking for a quick profit. Linux package managers are better than app stores, but app stores don't require you to share your source.

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@deejoe No. They *do* better because they made technology available to users in a way "accessible" to these. They do things such as thinking about "target groups" or user personas and actual requirements in term of usability as well. They do that for profit, and of course they use marketing for that, but in the end WhatsApp, Google, Facebook *did* make technology accessible to people who never used a computer before - 1/4

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@grainloom Amazon Lambda does so, in example - reduce your boilerplate complexity and focus on small functions that contain actual logic. Better? Not sure.
@Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@grainloom @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @cbowdon

Btw. notice how the alphabet that supplanted the hieroglyphs was Phoenician alphabet - one that was used by merchants.

Now what do merchants use these days to do programming.... spreadsheets.

How hard is it to teach a 7yo how to use spreadsheets?

@grainloom @z428 @Shamar @alcinnz @MatejLach @cbowdon

OTOH, imagine this wonderful future, where spreadsheets are the new JS and everything is even slower :blobsurprised:

@Wolf480pl @grainloom @z428 @alcinnz @MatejLach @cbowdon

Imagine a wonderful future where spreadsheet like #UI is #homoiconic to a strongly typed #Lisp that is based on #Cantor set theory.

@Wolf480pl @grainloom @z428 @alcinnz @MatejLach @cbowdon

Type theory was invented to address paradox in Cantor set theory that he dismissed with something like "these dudes didn't do their homeworks".

What if ultimately he was right? ;-)

Would it be the first (or the last) time where people built overcomplicated systems and notation because it was more appealing than the simplest possible solution?

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@Shamar @Wolf480pl @z428 @alcinnz @MatejLach @cbowdon I haven't been able to find it for a while but there is a loooooooooong list of attempts at visual programming and just about each of them failed and I don't see how this one would be better. Teching programming with examples also has problems that [this]( talk discusses.
I for one am quite skeptical about the merits of visual programming... syntax is not that hard to learn and IDEs provide enough visual aid imho.

@grainloom @Shamar @Wolf480pl @z428 @MatejLach @cbowdon I think the trick is to strip out the complexity we've added onto programming since the early days of "computer science" theory.

And in my design work, for some reason I find it easier to do so via visual programming.

@alcinnz @grainloom @Wolf480pl @z428 @MatejLach @cbowdon

I think text is very visual. 😉

I liked subtexts visual approach because it was somewhat similar to Haskell pattern matching.

And it was weird enough to be taken seriously as an innovation attempt.

I see my daughter playing with scratch but I'm not sure she was learning to program.

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@Shamar @z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon I *think* I know what the right alphabet is, but I don't know how far that takes us...

Those early computer scientists knew their stuff!

@alcinnz I'm not convinced. Just take an arbitrary user and let him, say, try to understand QuickSort, solving Towers Of Hanoi or the TSP.
@Shamar @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@z428 @Shamar @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

As I said I don't know how far that takes us. And it'll probably differ for different people.

@Shamar That's a huge breakthrough you're asking for. The Romans couldn't just come up with zero and place values by creating a new institution. Breakthroughs come when they come.

/cc @alcinnz @z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@akkartik @alcinnz @z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

Yeah, but they can only occurs if people don't settle on... well... JS.

I mean!

Why the hell I need to convince people? It's self-evident! 🤣

Times ago Pike wrote about the end of operating system research.

Later he went to Google to build Go. That's what depression can do to a man.

But I have hope.
I don't care if I fail!
I just want to learn.
But by hacking, I'll inspire others, creating the conditions for such breakthrough.

@Shamar Absolutely, I can totally relate to that:

You weren't the one proposing a CERN for browsers, so my response was unfair.

But there seems to be room here to try multiple approaches. We shouldn't stay stuck with Google's browser while we try to come up with the right alphabet that will get everyone wielding computers.

So let's you and me go chasing the right alphabet, and leave the rest with our good wishes 😀

/cc @alcinnz @z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon


you state a key point that repeatedly gets lost in these types of discussions.

and the same people continue to miss it.

The door to programming should always be open to everyone--no artificial barriers in the way for those who have the interest & aptitude to build & exercise their skill. 1/2

@z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@alcinnz 2/2

but not everyone will be able to do that.

software freedom is still *crucial* to them, because it enables a cascade of accountability: The might not be able to code, but they should be able to interrogate the process by which those who code on their behalf work, up to & including choosing who codes for them.

@z428 @MatejLach @Wolf480pl @cbowdon

@MatejLach @Shamar @Wolf480pl @cbowdon What I've reasoned is most practical is to create a browser to show that our ideas for "HTML6" are not crazy, and use that to convince people to make it a reality. To create a smoother transition to the next web.

It's too hard to create or extend an HTML5 browser.

@MatejLach @Shamar @Wolf480pl @cbowdon Yeah, it's one thing for me to try to show that some ideas for the next web aren't so crazy.

It's another to transition into it, but ultimately that's what I'm interested in making happen.

@MatejLach What would be the point? It will not be significantly less evil when it's funded by governments instead of a big corp.

But we do have state-of-the-art, non-chromium browser...
Whats wrong with firefox :firefox: ?

@TsRoe Nothing in particular, in fact it is the best existing option, am a fan, but is financially dependent on , forcing them to experiment with alternative revenue streams that sometimes lead to bad decisions, and due to low marketshare they have less say in the standards bodies than I'd like.

That's why am either pro publicly funding , or having a new browser altogether be an equalizing player and public funding makes searching for questionable revenue streams moot.

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