If anyone is interested, there’s some pretty interesting exchanges that have been going on a while on the bird site between Jonathan Blow & Casey Muratori, and the creator & supporters of the soon to be released Mighty browser, which is basically fancy Chrome but in the cloud, like the Stadia of web browsers.
Jonathan and Casey both speaking their minds freely.
I’m curious to hear what all your opinions are, Fediversians. (I think I can guess).
@freedcreative I think this is a very strong sign of technological collapse, but also more generally, this is a pattern that shows that we cannot reduce emissions at all. The only things humans will listen to is thermodynamics.
We should be running away from this full steam, but you can just tell that this will become the new normal.
@neauoire I think, sadly, you’re right.
There’s a lot of motivation for companies to fund this type of setup as a back door into Apple’s walled garden. Apple have been blocking web app growth by deliberately dragging their feet on browser upgrades, but with this it won’t matter. Access app stores from other big corps through any browser, no ability for Apple to force bottlenecks or 30% fees. That will bring the big money, and big money always gets its way.
@neauoire You might have already seen it, but Jonathan Blow also has a talk I really enjoyed where he argues, quite well, that the collapse of deep technology and programming understanding will lead to the collapse of our tech dependent civilization.
I only know web coding myself but all this definitely motivates me to dig deeper and try to be part of the solution, or at least less of the problem.
@freedcreative yeah I'm familiar with it.
One of the worst thing to me about this is that obfuscate how much someone is being wasteful. You can't tell that a supercomputer is loading that website you're accessing, it hides its own flaws, leaves people to consume without understanding the true cost.
@neauoire @freedcreative The browser as a service sounds like the worst possible idea. But for BigTech, if they can pull it off, it would be the perfect way to gather data about how people interact with the web. Comprehensive surveillance of the user. Every keystroke and pointer movement. Biometric fingerprinting via browser use patterns.
Mozilla already does this to some extent via telemetry, but if the browser was in the cloud then far more data could be captured.
@tinyrabbit @bob @neauoire @freedcreative The challenge of overcoming network latency is formidable, but people already expect browsers to be sluggish so maybe this is not as big an obstacle as it seems.
There has already been a lot of consolidation into the cloud in the last decade, but browser as a service would remove any need for open standards and enable further consolidation. The internet as a single centralised and fully proprietary system is the dream of BigTech.
Apple is relatively insignificant. At < 10% of the desktop market and only around 33% of the mobile market, they are barely a concern. Android owns double the market share and has relatively up-to-date browsers. Meanwhile, Windows continues to dominate the desktop market.
It's ad blockers that are significant.
This technology absolutely guarantees that you cannot run ad blockers. Ad blockers running on any local browser will be neutered. Only "authorized" plugins may be available for your use.
Concerns over rendering full-function websites on underpowered hardware is just a facade for the real motivation.
Apple is certainly relevant to some large companies though, which is why we’re seeing Epic fighting them in court over their revenue share and locking out of alternative stores, and why Microsoft are creating browser based access to their game streaming services. It sometimes only takes a couple of tech giants to sway the status quo significantly in their favor.
@freedcreative no security problems could ever come from streaming your keypresses across the internet.
@freedcreative I have nothing to say, I don't think, that Devine did not already say.
My only advice is to avoid becoming dependent upon it.
@freedcreative I think I'll buck expectations for my talking points & say I've once had to try something similar upon learning about GDK's "Broadway" backend.
GDK interfaces with your window manager, caching it's relevant state clientside in the app. One of the options "Broadway" allows opening a websocket to a browser for it via JS to act as the window manager.
So I had to test whether I could interact with one WebKitGTK browser inside another WebKitGTK browser. I failed.
@alcinnz What are your thoughts on the argument that it’s a solution, (several other concerns aside), that doesn’t address the underlying problem of application and web tech inefficiency?
@freedcreative "Sweeping the problem under the rug, much?" pretty much incapsulates it!
The innefficiency's very much still there. They're just moving it to their servers where don't see it, but the earth does!
If our laptops & phones are incapable of laying out text & images themselves, I don't know why we're even bothering with computing or the web...
@freedcreative Yes, that's an entirely serious, factual toot! No, I don't know of any real active uses for it.
But it is being optimized for GTK4!
@freedcreative independent web engine developer here, I work on the WebKit GTK and WPE ports. Shit like this is horrifying, because no matter how the matter gets spun, and how many promises are made, Mighty *can* and *will* use, collect, and ultimately sell people's browsing data for a profit. Silicon Valley, VC funded startups result in cargo-culting extractive ultracapitalism 99.999% of the time, and sadly nobody will think they are doing anything wrong.
@freedcreative and that's without even touching how ridiculous it is to waste bandwidth streaming things. If something will be read/listened/watched more than a few times it would rather be downloaded and accessed locally.
@aperezdc I heard you don't like browsers so I put a browser in your not-browser so you can browser while you not-browser. 🙃
@aperezdc *shudder* That sounds like a hauntingly accurate projection.
BTW where can I read more about your web engine work?
@freedcreative it's a technical blog, though... Sorry if that is disappointing. I am not a native English speaker and don't feel particularly comfortable writing long posts about complex topics involving politics.
@aperezdc Not disappointing at all! I’ve been in the web game a long while and trying to get a deeper understanding of the world I inhabit.
@freedcreative I'm not even sure the concept makes sense.
The browser is the part in my computer that processes and displays the remote pages. If you move it server-side, is it even a browser anymore?
Feels like just a few more layers of buzwords and obfuscation: you move "the browser" to "the cloud" and now people just use "the "client", which is totally not a browser so you can make it however you like.
@eldaking Totally. What would the plain language version be? A dumb viewing terminal that connects and exchanges sensitive data with a remote black box, I suppose.
Sure makes it seem like a big step backwards. Definitely doesn’t seem like the primary recipients of whatever benefits it may generate will be the end user. I can think of lots of benefits for large tech companies though.
@freedcreative This would have been genius as a joke. "Chrome is coming to Stadia soon, for the people that don't have enough RAM to run Chrome on their own PCs. Hahaha, Chrome is so heavy."
As a real thing, it is less funny.
@jauntywunderkind420 @eldaking @freedcreative the Flutter thing just made me remember about a recent announcement that said Google Docs will basically reimplement its own rendering on top of <canvas>, https://workspaceupdates.googleblog.com/2021/05/Google-Docs-Canvas-Based-Rendering-Update.html
I get it that a document processor has particular render requirements, but at that point where it's accepted that the model does not fit the web, one may as well do a native application
@jauntywunderkind420 @eldaking @freedcreative Something that is a real pity: using custom rendering means the application loses whatever amount of accessibility it may have had thanks to building on semantic web elements. A paragraph in a document will no longer be a <p>, for example. Things like canvas and WebGL are opaque boxes when it comes to screen readers and the like, and I haven't seen anything that uses them providing any accessibility support.
@freedcreative Wait, what?? I for real thought that the Mighty browser was a joke. That’s what my friends thought when I sent them the link too. I even saw someone being ”corrected” in an IRC channel when they complained about it (”it’s just a joke, and you fell for it”).
@tinyrabbit Yep, that’s our timeline. We’re getting increasing inbound leaks from the satire timeline, and the separation between two timelines seems to be collapsing.
@freedcreative Satire news sites are often touted as true sources these days, too... Reality has become so warped that we can't tell the difference between news and satire any more :(
Late last year Welcome To Night Vale aired an episode about Night Vale getting their first snow day, only to find out it was soot from burning the trash heap from a recent event at the park. A month or two later there were conspiracy theories about the snow in Texas being fake.
Welcome To Night Vale responded explaining the situation by saying "we all live in Night Vale now".
@freedcreative "... make humanity more productive ..." (https://twitter.com/Suhail/status/1387816070849830913), I just struggle with this sort of entrepreneurial hype.
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