[License-discuss] Discourse email

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Jun 10 18:59:06 UTC 2019

Quoting Lawrence Rosen (lrosen at rosenlaw.com):

> Somehow a decision will be made eventually here despite accusations of
> "strange personal rhetoric" in Rick's 2019 email that he formatted as "plain
> text." Even HTML is still suspicious to some people, but I changed Rick's
> message to HTML format because that's all I want to use. :-) 

My goodness, I am certainly not the least bit suspicious of HTML.  I
just follow Postel's Prescription, from the late, great Jon Postel.
('Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send.') 


> I used Discourse at an open source client's website. I can speak very
> positively about it. It integrated spryly with my old-fashioned deceased
> equine email system. It is smart software. 

Many people indeed love Web forums, even ones that are hosted on an
outsourced basis by third-party corporations and are impractical to even
migrate.  And then, typically, a couple of years later, all existing
postings get lost, because there is one of a variety of incompatible 
software changes that cannot carry forward former postings.
There was for a long time a thriving community of technical computer
users at InfoWorld Electric[1], but it turned out that IDG repeatedly did
forum redesigns that haplessly and unintentionally erased all forum
posting history, and alienated the community, who mostly departed en-masse.
I gather that IDG finally buried the corpse a decade ago.

The heyday of InfoWorld Electric was shortly after I discovered free
(not yet open source) software.  I was not yet an IT person, but rather
a staff accountant, having passed the Certified Public Accountant exam
(think chartered accountant, for those in Europe including without
prejudice the UK).  Having started running BSD and then Linux systems
mostly because nobody told me it was impractical, I had a small
epiphany:  Deliberately simple software designs last and are less
trouble.  Complex ones fail in complex ways, and don't last.

So, for example, I still have all my postings I ever made on
license-discuss all the way back to Sun, 3 Oct 1999, because they got
automatically written to ~/Mail/license-discuss, a dirt-simple mbox
file that's still there.  Things I've posted to Web forums over the
decades?  Almost all reduced to recycled electrons.

Meanwhile, I've long worked in IT rather than accounting and finance,
and regularly get paid to work on foolishly overcomplicated software 
selected by people admiring long feature bullet-point lists and
proclaiming it 'smart'.  Then, I come home and enjoy the fact that my
own infrastructure Just Works[tm], because it's not foolishly

I don't limit myself to US-ASCII any more (and happily use HTML5 on Web
pages), because it became embarrassing to not be able to converse with
relatives who wrote things like 'Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, bare
dårlige klær'.  Avoiding troublesome and unjustifiable complexity is one
thing; avoiding progress like UTF-8 is another.  

[1] For a snapshot of that era, see Stewart Alsop's encomium, here:

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