I really hate living in the world where every damn program is running in a web browser.

(Adium: chat client that did like a hundred different now-mostly-dead protocols, and was super-configurable. Ripcord: native app that talks to Slack and Discord. Slack and Discord: giant seething piles of Javascript that have an entire web browser crammed into their executable.)

@anthracite the most damning thing is adium is also running a web browser for message views and it still weighs less than slack or discord

@anthracite even back in the day with this super complex message view i created that did link embeds before link embeds were commonplace....still it weighed an order of magnitude less


It helps that it's actually using the SYSTEM's browser library instead of packaging Yet Another Fucking Copy Of Chrome.


Nah, size on disc. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if memory use is apocalyptic on Electron apps too.

@anthracite yeah they kinda looked like chrome memory usage numbers from what i remembered on my old mac

@anthracite It's kinda weird how we can't make native apps that run on every OS, but if you make it a web app, it'll run on every OS just like that!

Of course, nobody liked Java either.

@relee @anthracite Its not so weird when you consider that an Ubuntu user in 2009 had less than a 50% chance of successfully using their Firefox browser to get something done on the web. Most forms, printout pages, etc. relied on either Flash or MS Java.

The standardized web was hard fought-for (I know I lived it) and didn't materialized until "Spread Firefox", Android & iOS came along all around the same time (quashing MSIE's monopoly power).

@anthracite Yeah, the year is 2022 and it seems like the system webview is still really not a thing...

I get the appeal of writing your webapp once and then repackaging as a "native" app. But everyone already has a web browser on their system. We don't need Electron bundling another one with each app... a better way would be to compile the web app into byte code and run it in a byte code VM like JVM.

than there can be a single instance of electron on the system that will run the app's byte code

@anthracite Computer Science doesn't teach the value of "personal computing".

It used to be an oft cited concept that revolved around users installing apps locally on their computers, imparting a kind of autonomy. In the early 80s, PC users at work were literally fighting against a mainframe establishment – which came back as "the cloud".

@anthracite Adium: now that's a name I've never heard outside of SuperTuxKart!


pretty much just what happens when there are zero cross-platform GUI frameworks that are better than HTML/CSS/JS

that's a seriously low bar, and yet!

@ECrownofFire @anthracite super duper wish that'd change. I miss my programs being less heavy and slow :(

@anthracite wish the clients for mastodon on desktop were better too? I mean, i.e. tried tootle, but absolutely no keybindings.

The mastodon web app also has keybindings in a way that makes me think "the devs don't use keybindings".. Using them for instance switching panel shoots it up to the start.

@anthracite minimalism can also be bad. I think should figure out standards how to make programs talk to each other so that people can extend it & it's all optional..

The "bare" program can be minimalist, but if it can talk to other programs, it can be made very featured.. Like i think stuff used to have a lot of addons, but largely this approach has been dropped?

@anthracite I remember living in the world where every damn program (including usable browsers) ran on windows, and the alternatives were incompatible, and usually very limited.

@anthracite less overhead to just use discord in the browser that's inevitably already open 🤣

@anthracite You really shouldn't mention Ripcord when it was confirmed to call home long before it got the ability to check for updates, and would send a packet that was exactly the same size as the login token, therefore giving the creator full access to literally anyone's account that used the program

@anthracite Unfortunately I can't seem to find it posted anywhere. I just remember someone who had wiresharked the program, since it's not open source, found that packet and captured it, and was promptly banned from the Ripcord Discord server when they brought it up.

@anthracite Needless to say, as much as I hate Electron, I went back to using the default app. Though I've thought about making my own third party native client that doesn't violate the ToS by using auth tokens to log in and is also open source


*sighs and goes off to read “Reflections On Trusting Trust” again*

Any ideas on ways out of this mess, practical or otherwise?

My current favorites are 1) linked data as a language for apps interoperate and 2) package managers (in the direction of Nix/Guix) so that installing application could be accessible to anybody.

What are yours?

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Dragon Style

I'm a grumpy queer dragon lady and this is my quiet cave for me and some friends.