League of Humanity

Computers suck

and other crises of heart.


So, I spend most of my time on computers. When you're a beginner and don't know anything about how they work, you think of them as some kind of magical and advanced technology. The issue is what happens when you start to learn more about them. When you're a novice programmer, you start to see that there's a lot of things that don't really make sense, but you figure it's fine; "the experts know what they're doing, there's just something I'm missing". And then you learn more. Then, you realize that no, there's not something you're missing, that seemingly stupid thing you encountered really is just some stupid thing and isn't there for any reason. It turns out that the entire industry is built by people who generally either 1) don't know what they're doing, or 2) don't care enough to do it properly. The software ecosystem in particular is an overcomplicated house of cards depending on standards that were never intended to become standards, and standards that were never suitable to become standards, and standards that aren't standards at all but rather are just complete nonsense some random company made up and uses for their own products and nothing else.


That's nothing new though; what's been bothering me lately is coming to terms with the fact that everything is just so unbelievably overcomplicated; it's all overengineered and completely arbitrary. Which begs the question, how am I supposed to be a good developer? So that's what I've spent my time doing; trying to refine my skills, take better control of my Linux systems are better manipulate the way they work, stripping out the unneeded and overcomplicated. Lately, though, I've come to realize... there's not much point. I've been trying to peel away layers of arbitrary nonsense to reveal some gleaming core of sensible design, but, no such thing exists, does it? I'm just peeling away layers ad infinitum. The past couple weeks I've been looking into learning new languages, like Forth and Lisp, hoping that maybe if I discard "modern" systems and just rely on the solid core of a simple programming language it'll be fine, but, that's not a thing either; I've been unable to find any language that fills the purpose of being logical and, above all, simple.


Even the communities of people who have the same aims are seemingly unable to break away from the total nonsense that modern software is built on. For example, Gemini (which you may even be reading this on!) is a document browsing protocol which aims to solve the problems the web has introduced by discarding all the random afterthought features like scripting and advanced styling and embedded content; in other words, the whole point of Gemini is to be a barebones document browsing protocol, and nothing else. Yet, in spite of the fact that this is the goal behind the very existence of Gemini, people have *already* started creating Gemini equivalents of popular webapps using dynamically generated server content and spec-violating client extensions. What? Wasn't the whole point of Gemini to avoid this very thing? Why do you think that following the exact same path that led to the web will somehow have a different result? I don't mean to be unfairly harsh to the Gemini community, I'm just using it as an example; practically every "simplify technology" project I've seen suffers from the exact same thing. Feature creep is apparently the most potent kind of computer virus.


So, yeah, that's been sort of difficult for me. Put into other words, what I've realized over the past months is: I hate computers. Which is incredibly painful to come to terms with, because computers are pretty much all I have, they're my only hobby. So like... now what? What are you supposed to do when you realize you no longer have any interest in the only thing you have an interest in? I don't doubt that fixing the software ecosystem is possible, and indeed it must happen at some point, naturally or otherwise, if software technology is ever to progress beyond childish webapps, but, I'm not the person to do it, I'm not smart enough of emotionally strong enough to deal with uprooting decades of standards. Hell, maybe I'm just completely wrong and this whole post serves as nothing more than proof of how arrogant I am. I don't know, I'm not the person to say.


I don't really know where I was going with this post, it's just a sort of rant I guess. If you have any thoughts on the subject, please send me an email, I'd love to hear them.