a rickety bridge of impossible crossing

You can fly too, little fishy; up and atom!

Hello! I've been doomed to an eternity of mind-numbing, hopeless tedium. I was just about to roll this boulder up the hill for the nth time, but before I go, I want you to have this. It's called #GarbageDigest. I don't know what it is, it was just stuck to the boulder. It appears to be the eleventh issue of the first volume of something. A magazine, I assume. Well, gotta go, that boulder ain't gonna push itself.

The following blog has been modified from its original form: it has been formatted to fit this screen.

micro$uck ato₥

atom is an MIT-licensed text editor that runs in a web browser. I've never used it, but a lot of people like it. It was once the official text editor of github, which is now owned by microsoft.

Yesterday, gitsoft/microhub announced that they're "sunsetting" atom. Today, my timeline on the fediverse is buzzing with people talking about it, lamenting yet another victim of microsoft's "embrace, extend, extinguish" agenda.

I don't follow any lifestyle FOSS people, and I've muted most of the big software ideology instances like fosstodon and social.linux.pizza (lol)

But I understand that anyone on the fediverse who's interested in computers is going to be at least a little bit interested in FOSS as a whole. I'm no exception. I see this sort of thing pretty often, and usually don't feel the need to comment on it.

But I cannot wrap my head around how anyone thinks it's possible for microsoft to "kill" a free and open-source text editor. Even if they immediately deleted every bit of code in the official repository, which they didn't, people have forked it. The code is out there. There's no stuffing the genie back in the bottle.

Back when free and/or open-source software philosophies were first formalized in the early 90s, the state of the art for proprietary software was programs you bought on disks. Once you buy (or acquire a copy of) a program, you can keep using it until the media wears out or until you move to an OS on which it is no longer supported. In the case of a lot of windows software, this might as well be indefinitely. (Word 2003 is still the best word processor.) Sometimes registering the disk entitled you to download patches and updates, but this was just gravy; the program on the disk was the thing.

My editor of choice on windows is Editplus, a shareware program I liked so much that I actually paid to register a copy back when times were less lean. I've been using it continuously since at least 2007, so I figure they earned the 35 bucks.

Their website could disappear tomorrow, they could take down every official copy of it, and I'd keep using it as long as I still use windows. I have multiple backup copies. It's a 2MB file, I've e-mailed it to myself.

In a hypothetical world where microsoft bought ES-Computing and announced that they were killing editplus, it is inconceivable that I would shrug my shoulders and say "welp, guess I can't use editplus anymore". And that's proprietary software! What kind of brain worms are loose in the FOSS world that anyone gives a solitary fuck whether microsoft gives the stamp of approval to a program they like??

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending microsoft. They suck for all the reasons everyone thinks they suck. Once Windows 7 stops being functional, I'll probably never use windows again. But in no sense is it possible for them to "kill" atom. How could they? By making it so it no longer integrates with github? Well, maybe integrating with github isn't that big of a deal, or maybe that means github is a defective product and you should switch to one of the alternatives. I don't know if the alternatives integrate with atom either, but atom is FOSS, and (random example) gitea is FOSS, I'm sure if enough people cared, they could be made to work together. That's kind of the whole point. Why even have free and open-source software if you're going to let a corporation decide what you can do with it? Why allow microsoft to have more control over atom than they had over their own proprietary software 20 years ago? The only place they can extinguish atom is in your head. If you like atom, refuse to let them.

Q&A

Here are some questions I imagine one might ask:

Q: Why do you have a semicolon in your name?

  • On raccoon typewriters, the semicolon was originally on the 2 key, where the @ symbol is now. It's a visual pun that only raccoons get, but m; is still pronounced "mat". Also, raccoons traditionally put punctuation in their names because they don't like to be tracked, and it foils government databases.

Q: Why is the title of the blog so long?

  • It stands out. You might not remember the title, but you'll remember the blog with the really long title.

Q: Should the title of the blog be in such a large font? Bigger than the title of the blog posts?

  • Yeah.

Q: Why doesn't your site have a "day" mode?

  • It's a personal website, and as such it reflects my personal aesthetic choices. Feel free to use plugins like tampermonkey to adjust the look of the site to your liking, or activate your browser's "reader" mode, or disable stylesheets, or read the feed in your client of choice. Or not read at all!

Q: Are bees fish?

  • Nah.

Q: But a state said they are!

  • States aren't real.

Q: Aren't you mad?

  • Nah.

Q: But we have to accept that bees are fish!

  • No we don't.

Q: But businesses do!

  • That's okay. I don't care about them.

Q: Are cuttlefish fish? Are starfish fish? Are jellyfish fish? Are crayfish fish? Are silverfish fish?

  • Sure, why not?

Q: But—

  • Hey kid, here's a quarter, go get yourself some bubblegum.

Q: Wow! Thanks, mister!

  • Run along now 🦝

#GarbageDigest #lore