0x6a75646168

A digitial ronin who writes occasionally

New year, new site

02/02/2020

Oh jeez, what a great year it has been so far. I won't remind you as to not ruin the "vibe" of this post, however, let's hope things improve/become stable. If you’re one of the 22,000 readers of this "blog," you may have noticed the design has changed... again. "Why is that?" you might ask. Well, it started with me noticing that I had an abundance of repositories on GitHub. 83 to be exact. Granted most of these were private, sandbox repositories, so it's not as though I'm a pioneer, creating "amazing" and "revolutionary" bits of software for the free world. Honestly, I've treated GitHub as a sort of playground where I shitpost various bits of code that I’ve most likely moved from my Thinkpad to my neglected WSL instance, or my current—and probably doomed—Manjaro install (let's hope this one lasts more than two weeks).

The kicker of this realization is that some of these repositories weren't actually mine. Which makes sense, right? Pull requests, issues, tickets, all of the usual byproducts around contributing to open source software. However, it occurred to me that I hadn't contributed to most, if any, of these projects. That's right, these forks were sitting on my account collecting digital dust due to my horrible maid and open source contributer skills. From the old, "1000+ commits ahead" JavaScript libraries to the many underutilized webpack + babbel + dabble + gabble.io boilerplate starter projects, my profile looked like the offramp of an old highway, littered with sadness and tiny shoes. The funniest part was that I don't actually write JavaScript. It's not my cup of tea, it doesn't resonate with me, it doesn't tickle my fancy, it doesn't... not get my goat(?) If you couldn't tell, I'm not a fan. I know this sounds hypocritical coming from a guy who's claims to fame were JavaScript-based projects. Please don't make fun of me on IRC using your 68%, farm-to-pcb key switch keyboard, slapping away at the various tmux and or i3 hotkeys you've graced your headless arch installation with. I really hope you can forgive me on Twitter using your web browser embedded in emacs.

Anyways, as I haven't done any JavaScript development in many moons, I got to cleaning! Delete, confirm, archive, confirm. My CTRL+C and CTRL+V keys were worn like the armor of a Spartan after a long day's battle. And finally, after wiping the various fluids that my 68% keyboard accrued over the 20+ minute duel, the peasants rejoiced. No longer was I plagued by outdated libraries that I had no intention of contributing to in the first place. No longer will I shudder while looking for that "stupid ass, poorly named" library that is only three, nondescript letters long. My GitHub repository list is now at peace and can rest for the time being. But there was a looming question, how did I get so many repositories in the first place?

I feel that—with the "socialization" of open source software—I treated that innocent "fork" button as a pseudo "super like" button. See something I like? FORK. Oh, do I want to save this for later? FORK. Sure this could be dismissed as a naive user's misuse of a version-control platform, however, I don't think I'm the only one with this problem. I went through my followers/following on GitHub and looked through each forked repository on their account. I recommend you do the same as filtering by forks makes this very easy. To my surprise their repository list looked almost identical to mine. "300+ commits behind," "0 commits ahead," "last commit: 8 months ago," I digress. So why is there an overindulgence in the forking of repositories on GitHub? I think, and could very well be wrong, that many of us use the fork button as a "save for later" button instead. This could be due to many factors, but in my case it's because I:

Sure these reasons are okay on the surface, but these reasons are also—in my case again—a little disingenuous. For example, one of the repositories I had on my kill list was a JavaScript library that converted vertical scrolling to horizontal. It was a very small library that I used in a project that never saw the light of day. The only open issues were minor questions and documentation requests, all many years old. The last commit was around the same age. My point is that the repository wasn't worth a fork. Not that it wasn't good, it did exactly what it said it would. But something to keep for "personal preservation?" Yeah, I'm not so sure. Sure, maybe I was going to contribute to the <250 SLOC JavaScript library, maybe.

However, I think my inner data hording demon came out in full force when I forked that repository many years ago. You see, I used to love having gigabytes of PDFs I knew I would never read, or tons of bookmarks to articles I would "totally look at later." I think we’re all like that to a certain extent. We all like having the things we need, when we need them; especially developers. No one wants to need that really awesome "stb_image.h," only to find out the last mirror of it got deleted during the A.I singularity. But that's not what the fork button is for, it's meant for pull requests and issues and testing and the magical friendship gained through open source software. If you wanted to save this code for future you's possible dire strait, you could use the beautifully simple "Download ZIP" button. No muss, no fuss. Only the bliss of a perfect copy, converted to a format worthy of storing. I mean sure, that's great and all, but then future you has to UNZIP A FILE. Oh no, anything but that! What if ApocalypticArch doesn't ship with tar because Richard Stallman's GNU + A.I created malware that deleted it and any other file utility from every system known to man?! What then?! Well then I guess you and your 952 repositories on GitHub can laugh at the robot overlords and their failed attempt to remove open source software from the internet.


All jokes aside I've now started to change my habits around forking and cloning things on GitHub. In fact, I've even moved most of my "important" projects to Sourcehut as I like the idea behind it and the fact that they have first-class support for Mercurial. But man, even though I'm tidying up my account and moving away from the platform… nothing felt greater than watching that little chocolate bar thingy, knowing I had a completely separate copy on my account, untouched by the patches and commits of an angry BDFL.

So anyways that's why my blog/site looks different now. Hope you’re having a great day.