No More Twitter, Mastodon, and Diaspora for Tux Machines (Goodbye to Social Control Media)

Posted in Protocol at 12:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just in time for the 19th anniversary of the site

Vibing bears: 19 years of Tux Machines

Summary: “People would benefit from mass abandonment of such pseudo-social pseudo-media.”

THIS was only a matter of time. Yesterday was the last straw.

As we noted yesterday, Social Control Media — including the supposedly ‘ethical’ alternatives — is utterly bad by design, maybe even by intention. Tux Machines has just exited social control media sites altogether. “Please follow us using the RSS feed instead,” readers were informed. There’s also XML/RSS for the Gemini capsule of Tux Machines. There are more details this new post over at Tux Machines. We’re nowadays seeing many people who announce similar exits. In our latest Daily Links we included this one from Ruben. Some quit for technical reasons, some do so for political/ideological reasons, and sometimes it’s a combination of both. Let’s make it trendy to quit those sorts of sites. People would benefit from mass abandonment of such pseudo-social pseudo-media.


Geminispace Continues to Grow Even If (or When) Stéphane Bortzmeyer Stops Measuring Its Growth

Posted in Protocol at 4:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum f726c3cf0bd8fe90ec207a68fa9544b8
Gemini is Growing, But Growth Not Measured
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: A Gemini crawler called Lupa (Free/libre software) has been used for years by Stéphane Bortzmeyer to study Gemini and report on how the community was evolving, especially from a technical perspective; but his own instance of Lupa has produced no up-to-date results for several weeks

THE work of Stéphane Bortzmeyer, notably Lupa, has helped us estimate the growth of Gemini in general (as a protocol). But the Botond/Bortzmeyer-led capsules (the former charts the latter) stopped updating their numbers that track Gemini’s growth; maybe it’s just too big and expensive for Stéphane to track all the time, as it’s not 2020 anymore and many thousands of capsules exist, counting subsites (in the domain sense) too.

“It’s perfectly plausible and possible that Bortzmeyer isn’t aware of the issue and has just accidentally let the job fail (Botond uses a cron job at 1AM UTC since last year).”The video above explains that, based on our own experience, Gemini continues to grow. Even in the absence of crawlers estimating and reporting this growth, we’re optimistic and last month was record traffic for us. We’re talking about lots and lots of Gemini pages (about half a million pages in one month). It’s perfectly plausible and possible that Bortzmeyer isn’t aware of the issue and has just accidentally let the job fail (Botond uses a cron job at 1AM UTC since last year). radia.bortzmeyer.org is definitely active this month. Either way, tracking the growth of Geminispace has become a computationally expensive (and thus financial burdensome) task. It did help a lot — a very positive contribution.

Stéphane Bortzmeyer
Stéphane Bortzmeyer (see image licence in Wikipedia). One of the more essential voices of Gemini, up there with "Skyjake", Sean, and Solderpunk.


Geminispace.org Goes Live (New Gemini Protocol Site)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Protocol at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum fe56ce0b303c16f4a0e2f5b56bebcd12
Geminispace Gets Another Project and Site
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Geminispace.org is born; it was announced a day ago and promoted, with Bubble being unveiled to the public. Discovery of new Gemini pages will hopefully be made easier, including collaboration and interaction across capsules and users.


eminispace.org has been unveiled. Over the World Wide Web it serves the basic page shown below, promoting its author’s Gemini client Lagrange and some technical documentation (for now).

One thing Gemini has long lacked is “discovery” — in other words the ability to find/discover new “content”. For our own sake we’ve made this page that updates every 60 minutes, but its functionality is very limited/basic. Geminispace.org can do a better job at it. It’s a much-needed expansion of Cosmos, another project from a Finnish “Graphics/multimedia researcher at Nokia”.



Looking Back at the First Week of Gemini Daily Links (as Standalone Posts)

Posted in Protocol, Site News at 7:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 7f3874e4e26e0cc7e36499521020a341
Gemini Standalone in Daily Links
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Taking Gemini to the next step (parity in Daily Links) is the main thing that happened this month and the above video takes a journey through some of the changes

FIVE days ago we said we'd starting isolating Gemini and Gopher… or posting such links in isolation, separately in a disjoint fashion (not part of World Wide Web links). We started doing that later in the same day and it has thus far been a success. We shall carry on doing so.

The video above illustrates how Gemini is used and shows some of these latest changes. The video is unscripted and improvised. This planet-like page that updates every 60-minutes is, at least to me, the best way to keep abreast of Geminispace and Gopherholes. But our “Gemini Links”, posted at least once a day, are a curated and categorised version of more or less the same thing.

Towards the end of the video I discuss the size of the Gemini community (yes, it's still a community; corporations aren’t involved). We hope that more people will join us in Gemini. It helps reduce one’s exposure to misinformation, including veiled marketing (the Web has become heavily littered with junk, fake “content” and words that aren’t organic, sometimes even machine-generated).


The World Wide Web at 30: Time to Gradually Retire It and Embrace Something Else

Posted in Protocol, Standard at 8:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Graph updated days ago (notice what happened half a decade ago):

The Web's size going down!
Divestment illustrated; notice how many domains got canceled in recent years (relinquished, never to be adopted by somebody else)

Summary: The World Wide Web peaked years ago; nowadays it’s not even about Web pages but about "webapps" (JavaScript and even worse frameworks), so it’s time to recognise the World Wide Web as something that used to matter but should — over time — be deprecated

EARLIER today in Daily Links we included some links [1-4] about the World Wide Web turning 30 in a more official way. “The 30th anniversary of the licensing of the Web is an opportunity to promote software freedom and the fight against software patents as well as to commemorate the demise of the WWW with the addition of DRM to it,” a Techrights associate said yesterday.

“People should not have to run proprietary scripts, enable DRM etc. just to read some article. It’s neither safe nor practical.”Sadly, as we've just noted, the Web has increasingly become a spyware platform. Alex Oliva published an article related to this yesterday (Brazil time). We won’t stop urging people to move over to Gemini if what they’re truly into is information in textual form. People should not have to run proprietary scripts, enable DRM etc. just to read some article. It’s neither safe nor practical.

The bloat (or “webloat” as some call it) has doomed the Web as we once knew it. The Web is shrinking over time (more sites shut down than sites created), so we need to plan for contingencies and advocate them as viable alternatives.

“Self-hosting is a pre-requisite in the fight against censorship and other forms of repression.”Gemini isn’t just lighter; it’s vastly cheaper to operate and it can easily be hosted from home (in April I sent half a million pages from home, as GemText is light so latency isn’t a problem).

Self-hosting will rely on lessened complexity. Self-hosting is a pre-requisite in the fight against censorship and other forms of repression.

Today’s World Wide Web Consortium is just a sum total of monopolies and imperialistic firms. Tim B-L ceded control. We should be thankful for what he did in the 90s. Now we need to replace what his original creation has sadly become. This may take a long time, but it is doable. Just as social control media suffers a legitimacy crisis (bans proposed worldwide and Twitter rapidly collapsing; there’s another outsage now [5]) the Web too deserves more widespread condemnation, or at least harsher criticism.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 30 years ago, one decision altered the course of our connected world

    “The web setting out as something which was universal, something which anybody could use, I felt was very important,” he said. “It’s no good having something which will run on any platform if, in fact, there is a proprietary hold on it.”

    Berners-Lee eventually convinced CERN to release the World Wide Web into the public domain without any patents or fees. He has since attributed the runaway success of the web to that single decision.

  2. WWW Project Turns 30

    History of the Web compares and contrasts the license-free web with another internet protocol at the time, Gopher: [...]

  3. The web’s most important decision

    In February of 1993, the University of Minnesota made an announcement. In specific commercial usage of the protocol, they would be charging licensing fees. Not large fees, and not in all cases. But, in some small way, they would be restricting access.

    Overnight, sentiment shifted. Internet users took to BBS boards and mailing lists to express outrage about Gopher’s decision. IBM declared that they wouldn’t support internally any protocol with restrictive licensing. The world began searching for alternatives.

    Back at CERN, Berners-Lee had just the thing. He was already in early conversations with CERN about an open-source license for the platform. But after the Gopher announcement, he changed that request. He didn’t want any restrictions at all, no rights or attachments at all. The web needed to be free. Truly free.

  4. The World Wide Web turns 30

    Too vague, apparently — and so at first, nothing happened. But Berners-Lee kept working on his idea. And slowly, the individual components of what would become the World Wide Web took shape: URLs for web addresses had to be created, HTML to describe the pages as well as the first web browser.

    The result was revealed to the global public exactly 30 years ago: On April 30, 1993, the researchers at CERN launched the World Wide Web and it was the beginning of the stellar rise of the [Internet].

  5. Twitter outage logs you out and won’t let you back in


46,000 Gemini Pages and All-Time Record Traffic in Techrights

Posted in Protocol, Site News at 8:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World Wide Web user vs: CSS, JS, DRM, Ads; Can I introduce you to Gemini?

Summary: Techrights is happy to report that its presence in Geminispace (with Gemini Protocol) pays off and later today we’ll hit another milestone

MAYBE it’s worth noting, as the month of April is now officially over, that in the month of April we had record traffic in Gemini (about half a million pages). Gemini started in 2019 and we joined 1.5 years later (it has more than quadrupled since. It continues to grow. Ever since then we’ve grown our capsules to 46,000 pages (milestone due later today) and we’re watching closely new pages in Geminispace (polling every hour for updates). Next year Gemini turns 5. It has been a long and positive journey for us.


Twitter Up in Flames (Like a Flaming Rocket)

Posted in Deception, Protocol at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2 years ago Freenode started dying, and it’s deja vu all over again

Elon approves: I'll destroy it for 6 months; Then whine I am the victim

Summary: Twitter is making moves that destroy itself every single day or at least every single week; while the media obsesses over some blue ‘NFTs’ there are vastly worse changes underway and underneath; Twitter is dismantling the very core of Twitter (to most users this isn’t visible but it is profound)

The Techrights IRC network — and our IRC community — will turn 15 next month (the channel registration was in May 2008, albeit with a different name and under Freenode, i.e. a third party network). Over the years we’ve used more bots than we can remember. Some were developed by others, some were developed by us, and sometimes we modified other networks’ programs. This diverse combination of programs gave us access, usually over API pipelines, to Twitter, Identi.ca, Fediverse etc. Those were like a fashion and the APIs too kept breaking. In 2018 Twitter shut many applications out of API access and last night Twitter took that a step further: it basically suspended lots and lots of applications — to the point of breaking one of our bots. I’ve since then ‘fixed’ the issue by surgically removing any connections to Twitter, but one can imagine that others were deeply dependent on such APIs and the traffic/activity at Twitter will nosedive.

Just before midnight last night I got the following E-mail message (there was a prior one dated earlier this month):

Application suspension notice


This is a notice that your app – IRC bot for techrights.org – has been suspended from accessing the Twitter API. However, you can self-serve reactivate your app for free.

Please take the following steps to get your app quickly running again on the new Free or Basic plans available at developer.twitter.com:

1. Subscribe to either Free or Basic via our website.
2. When signing up, you will be able to pick 1 (Free) or 2 (Basic) apps that you want to remain active. They will be reactivated automatically after you complete your sign-up.
3. Please update the code in your app to use v2 endpoints – this is valid to all endpoints except for media upload endpoints which are not currently supported on v2 so you can continue to use those on v1.1.

We apologize for any inconveniences this transition might have caused. By following these steps, you can continue to seamlessly use the Twitter API.

For more information, please refer to our developer community forums.


Twitter Developer Platform

“Subscribe to either Free or Basic via our website” means start paying the world’s corrupt billionaire some monthly fees.

We strongly urge people to abandon social control media. Things will be getting worse, not better. Any time still spent in these platforms is time wasted, including in Mastodon.

This is not a drill. This is not a drill. I repeat. This is not a drill. Quit social control media. You won’t regret it. You might (later) regret not doing this sooner.


FSF: Google’s Decision to Deprecate JPEG-XL Emphasises the Need for Browser Choice and Free Formats

Posted in FSF, Google, Patents, Protocol at 9:50 pm by Guest Editorial Team

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license (or later version) Original from FSF

Whether it’s through the millions of dollars Google has funneled into development and advertising or the “convenience” that it offers users in exchange for freedom, the fact remains that Google Chrome is the arbiter of web standards. Firefox, through ethical distributions like GNU IceCat and Abrowser, can weaken that stranglehold. Google’s deprecation of the JPEG-XL image format in February in favor of its own patented AVIF format might not end the web in the grand scheme of things, but it does highlight, once again, the disturbing
amount of control it has over the platform generally.

Part of Google’s official rationale for the deprecation is the following line: “There is not enough interest from the entire ecosystem to continue experimenting with JPEG-XL.” Putting aside the
problematic aspects of the term “ecosystem,” let us remark that it’s easy to gauge the response of the “entire ecosystem” when you yourself are by far the largest and most dangerous predator in said “ecosystem.” In relation to Google’s overwhelming power, the average web user might as well be a microbe. In supposedly gauging what the “ecosystem” wants, all Google is really doing is asking itself what Google wants. If we take their contribution in turning the web into the “WWWorst App Store” seriously, then we understand what Google really wants. Google wants to do what’s best for its own predatory interests, not what’s best for the web.

While we can’t link to Google’s issue tracker directly because of another freedom issue — its use of nonfree JavaScript — we’re told that the issue regarding JPEG-XL’s removal is the second-most “starred” issue in the history of the Chromium project, the nominally free basis for the Google Chrome browser. Chromium users came out of the woodwork to plead with Google not to make this decision. It made it anyway, not bothering to respond to users’ concerns. We’re not sure what metric it’s using to gauge the interest of the “entire ecosystem,” but it seems users have given JPEG-XL a strong show of support. In turn, what users will be given is yet another facet of the web that Google itself controls: the AVIF format.

As the response to JPEG-XL’s deprecation has shown, our rallying together and telling Google we want something isn’t liable to get it to change its mind. It will keep on wanting what it wants: control; we’ll keep on wanting what we want: freedom.

Only, the situation isn’t hopeless. At the present moment, not even Google can stop us from creating the web communities that we want to see: pages that don’t run huge chunks of malicious, nonfree code on our computers. We have the power to choose what we run or do not run in our browsers. Browsers like GNU IceCat (and extensions like LibreJS and JShelter) help with that. Google also can’t prevent us from exploring networks beyond the web like Gemini. What our community can do is rally support behind those free browsers that choose to support JPEG-XL and similar formats, letting the big G know that even if we’re smaller than it, we won’t be bossed around.

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