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Friday Facts #360 - 1.0 is here!


the at­mos­phere in the last week was kind of spe­cial. We ex­pe­ri­enced the feel­ing of the fi­nal re­lease be­ing on the hori­zon many times. And we were shown that it is­n’t the case time and time again. So it feels very spe­cial when it is ac­tu­ally be­com­ing re­al­ity. We were try­ing to be es­pe­cially care­ful with any last minute changes to make sure that we don’t in­tro­duce ma­jor bugs into our pre­cious 1.0 re­lease. The im­age of all the play­ers hav­ing the game crash on some sim­ple stu­pid bug is hor­ri­fy­ing.

People thanked us on many oc­ca­sions for the hard work we do. It helped lift our mood in many of the des­per­ate mo­ments, when bugs and prob­lems were pil­ing up and we did­n’t see the end of the tun­nel. We don’t say it of­ten enough, but the sup­port from your side has been in­cred­i­bly help­ful through­out the years.

We thank all who helped us to save the game be­fore it could even start by sup­port­ing the IndieGoGo cam­paign back in 2013.

We are grate­ful for all of the 18,855 bug re­ports. They were in­valu­able feed­back that helped us reach our level of game sta­bil­ity.

We value al­most all of the feed­back to our FFF and game re­leases. A lot of game im­prove­ments came out of it.

We ap­pre­ci­ate the work and cre­ativ­ity that went into cre­at­ing the 5,603 mods. It cer­tainly ex­tends the po­ten­tial for a lot of peo­ple, and the ideas be­came a great in­spi­ra­tion for us.

All the on­line videos, ar­ti­cles and streams were im­mensely help­ful to spread the word.

We thank all who helped with the Crowdin trans­la­tions, al­low­ing the game to be played in a lot of dif­fer­ent lan­guages with­out us hav­ing to man­age it di­rectly.

We are grate­ful that peo­ple spon­ta­neously helped to man­age the Wiki and cre­ated some great tools, like cal­cu­la­tors, cheat sheets or blue­print data­bases.

We value the ef­fort put into or­gan­is­ing events, like fMMO, Clustorio etc.

We ap­pre­ci­ate that our com­mu­nity is very civilised, and peo­ple who con­tribute are gen­er­ally nice to each other, and keep­ing the crit­i­cism on the con­struc­tive side.

And, lastly, we would like to thank all of you who bought the game, and al­lowed all of this to hap­pen.

It took us 8.5 years. It has been an in­cred­i­ble ride and we have ar­rived at the des­ti­na­tion!

Factorio is leav­ing early ac­cess. This opens the game up to all the play­ers who just don’t play early ac­cess games, the same with re­view­ers who only cover fin­ished games, which is very un­der­stand­able.

For this spe­cial oc­ca­sion, we cre­ated a launch trailer. It tries to cap­ture the story of the de­vel­op­ment in 45 sec­onds.

Since the main Trailer is kind of time­less, we up­dated it to the 1.0 state of the game.

When we re­leased pretty much all the con­tent in 0.18, there was noth­ing left for 1.0 other than the for­mal­ity of it is com­plete”. The crash site, nuke, alien dec­o­ra­tives and pol­luted wa­ter are awe­some, but not too im­pact­ful… As a re­sult, we re­ally wanted to add some­thing to make the re­lease spe­cial.

It is a ve­hi­cle that can be dri­ven, or re­motely con­trolled.

It can tra­verse ob­sta­cles and small bod­ies of wa­ter.

It has a built-in radar, and you can place blue­prints in its vicin­ity.

It has an equip­ment grid, so it can build with con­struc­tion ro­bots and use com­bat equip­ment.

It has four rapid-fir­ing rocket launch­ers that can shoot au­to­mat­i­cally.

It can be re­searched very late in the game (all sci­ence packs ex­cept Space).

Multiple of them can be de­ployed at the same time, but each re­quires its own linked con­troller.

This all means it can be used as a tank up­grade, a less au­to­mated ver­sion of ar­tillery, or a builder/​re­pairer. We look for­ward to see­ing what other uses you can in­vent.

We haven’t added it ear­lier as we saw it just as a gim­mick with­out much con­tri­bu­tion to the game­play me­chan­ics. This changed rather re­cently, when we had the idea of the re­mote con­trol com­bined with the equip­ment grid. So we de­cided to ex­tend our al­ready crazy todo list, and add it as a last minute bonus.

We were do­ing the best we could, to fix all the rel­e­vant bugs and is­sues for the 1.0 re­lease, but we just could­n’t do every­thing. So we had to pri­ori­tise just the more crit­i­cal stuff. We would still like to ad­dress all of the re­main­ing is­sues as there are cur­rently around 150 bugs on the fo­rums and around 80 in­ter­nal tasks to be solved. The plan is to even­tu­ally go through all of them, and de­cide on how to re­solve each one.

A good ex­am­ple is, that we have a continue” but­ton, but it just ig­nores mul­ti­player. You press con­tinue au­to­mat­i­cally just to find out, that you are build­ing alone for half an hour. It is my (kovarex) per­sonal story ac­tu­ally.

This means, that 1.1 is go­ing to just fo­cus on fill­ing the most ob­vi­ous gaps in our ex­ist­ing fea­ture set, not on adding some new ma­jor con­tent.

When we started with the Friday facts, it was at a time when we worked a lot, but if there was­n’t any re­lease for a while, peo­ple were start­ing to ask whether the game is still be­ing worked on. So this was our first mo­ti­va­tion. Eventually we learned many ad­di­tional ad­van­tages of the blog, other than it be­ing just a dead mans switch.

It es­tab­lished the com­mu­ni­ca­tion chan­nel be­tween us and the com­mu­nity.

It started to be an in­ter­nal every-week mile­stone to get some­thing into a pre­sentable form.

In some cases it even mo­ti­vated us to add a cool last minute fea­ture to make the topic feel more com­plete. (This is how the undo and copy-paste fea­ture was cre­ated for ex­am­ple)

It be­came a great archive of the evo­lu­tion of the game through­out the years. Opening old posts is like read­ing our own di­ary.

It be­came an every Friday habit for us and some of our play­ers too, but we be­lieve now is the right time to stop. There will hardly be a bet­ter mo­ment to do so. It should be very un­der­stand­able that we need a break, and we also need the free­dom to think about the long term with­out the oblig­a­tion to cut it into small chunks for FFF.

Since you can’t ex­pect weekly posts from now on, we wanted a way for you to be no­ti­fied once we have some­thing spe­cial to say. Feel free to give us your email ad­dress so we can let you know.

For now please en­joy the game, and we’ll be back!

Discuss on our fo­rums

Discuss on Reddit


Read the original on factorio.com »

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Read the original on www.androidpolice.com »

3 509 shares, 29 trendiness, 1318 words and 11 minutes reading time


Servo is a pro­to­type web browser en­gine writ­ten in the

Rust lan­guage. It is cur­rently de­vel­oped on 64-bit ma­cOS, 64-bit Linux, 64-bit Windows, and Android.

Servo wel­comes con­tri­bu­tion from every­one. See


for help get­ting started.

Visit the Servo Project page for news and guides.

Building servo re­quires rustup, ver­sion 1.8.0 or more re­cent. If you have an older ver­sion, run rustup self up­date.

To in­stall on Windows, down­load and run rustup-init.exe

then fol­low the on­screen in­struc­tions.

To in­stall on other sys­tems, run:

curl https://​sh.rustup.rs -sSf | sh

This will also down­load the cur­rent sta­ble ver­sion of Rust, which Servo won’t use. To skip that step, run in­stead:

curl https://​sh.rustup.rs -sSf | sh -s — –default-toolchain none

See also Other in­stal­la­tion meth­ods

Xcode ver­sion 10.2 or above is rec­om­mended.

NOTE: run these steps af­ter you’ve cloned the pro­ject lo­cally.

cd servo

brew bun­dle in­stall –file=etc/taskcluster/macos/Brewfile

brew bun­dle in­stall –file=etc/taskcluster/macos/Brewfile-build

pip in­stall vir­tualenv

sudo apt in­stall python-vir­tualenv python-pip

./mach boot­strap

If ./mach boot­strap does­n’t work, file a bug, and, run the com­mands be­low:

sudo apt in­stall git curl au­to­conf libx11-dev libfreetype6-dev libgl1-mesa-dri \

libglib2.0-dev xorg-dev gperf g++ build-es­sen­tial cmake lib­ssl-dev \

li­blzma-dev libx­mu6 libxmu-dev \

libxcb-ren­der0-dev libxcb-shape0-dev libxcb-xfix­es0-dev \

lib­gles2-mesa-dev libegl1-mesa-dev lib­d­bus-1-dev lib­harf­buzz-dev ccache \

clang li­bun­wind-dev libgstream­er1.0-dev libgstreamer-plu­g­ins-base1.0-dev \

libgstreamer-plu­g­ins-bad1.0-dev au­to­conf2.13 llvm-dev

Additionally, you’ll need a lo­cal copy of GStreamer with a ver­sion later than 16.2. You can place it in sup­port/​linux/​gstreamer/​gst, or run ./mach boot­strap-gstreamer to set it up. On Ubuntu 20.04LTS, you can use the sys­tem GStreamer if you in­stall the nec­es­sary pack­ages:

sudo apt in­stall gstream­er1.0-nice gstream­er1.0-plu­g­ins-bad

If you are us­ing Ubuntu 16.04 or Linux Mint 18.* run ex­port HARFBUZZ_SYS_NO_PKG_CONFIG=1 be­fore build­ing to avoid an er­ror with harf­buzz.

If you get an un­de­fined sym­bol er­ror on gst_­play­er_get_­con­fig try re­mov­ing gir1.2-gst-plu­g­ins-bad-1.0 and all old ver­sions of clang, see #22016

sudo dnf in­stall python3 python3-vir­tualenv python3-pip python3-de­vel

python3 ./mach boot­strap

If python3 ./mach boot­strap does­n’t work, file a bug, and, run the com­mands be­low:

sudo dnf in­stall curl libtool gcc-c++ libXi-de­vel li­bun­wind-de­vel \

freetype-de­vel mesa-libGL-de­vel mesa-libEGL-de­vel glib2-de­vel libX11-de­vel \

libXrandr-de­vel gperf font­con­fig-de­vel cabex­tract ttmkfdir ex­pat-de­vel \

rpm-build openssl-de­vel cmake libX11-de­vel libX­cur­sor-de­vel \

libXmu-de­vel dbus-de­vel ncurses-de­vel harf­buzz-de­vel \

ccache clang clang-libs python3-de­vel gstream­er1-de­vel \

gstream­er1-plu­g­ins-base-de­vel gstream­er1-plu­g­ins-bad-free-de­vel au­to­con­f213

sudo yum in­stall python-vir­tualenv python-pip

./mach boot­strap

If ./mach boot­strap does­n’t work, file a bug, and, run the com­mands be­low:

sudo yum in­stall curl libtool gcc-c++ libXi-de­vel freetype-de­vel \

mesa-libGL-de­vel mesa-libEGL-de­vel glib2-de­vel libX11-de­vel libXrandr-de­vel \

gperf font­con­fig-de­vel cabex­tract ttmkfdir python ex­pat-de­vel rpm-build \

openssl-de­vel cmake3 libX­cur­sor-de­vel libXmu-de­vel \

dbus-de­vel ncurses-de­vel python34 harf­buzz-de­vel \

ccache clang clang-libs llvm-toolset-7

scl en­able de­v­toolset-7 llvm-toolset-7 bash

with the fol­low­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal vari­ables set:

ex­port CMAKE=cmake3

ex­port LIBCLANG_PATH=/opt/rh/llvm-toolset-7/root/usr/lib64

sudo zyp­per in­stall libX11-de­vel lib­ex­pat-de­vel Mesa-libEGL-devel Mesa-libGL-devel cabex­tract cmake \

dbus-1-de­vel font­con­fig-de­vel freetype-de­vel gcc-c++ git glib2-de­vel gperf \

harf­buzz-de­vel libX­cur­sor-de­vel libXi-de­vel libXmu-de­vel libXrandr-de­vel li­bopenssl-de­vel \

python-pip python-vir­tualenv rpm-build ccache llvm-clang lib­clang au­to­con­f213 gstreamer-de­vel \

gstreamer-plu­g­ins-base-de­vel gstreamer-plu­g­ins-bad-de­vel

sudo pac­man -S –needed base-de­vel git python2 python2-vir­tualenv python2-pip mesa cmake libxmu \

pkg-con­fig ttf-fira-sans harf­buzz ccache llvm clang au­to­conf2.13 gstreamer gstreamer-vaapi

sudo emerge net-misc/​curl \

me­dia-libs/​freetype me­dia-libs/​mesa dev-util/​gperf \

dev-python/​vir­tualenv dev-python/​pip dev-libs/​openssl \

me­dia-libs/​harf­buzz dev-util/​ccache sys-libs/​li­bun­wind \

x11-libs/​libXmu x11-base/​xorg-server sys-de­vel/​clang \

me­dia-libs/​gstreamer me­dia-libs/​gst-plu­g­ins-bad me­dia-libs/​gst-plu­g­ins-base

With the fol­low­ing en­vi­ron­ment vari­able set:

ex­port LIBCLANG_PATH=$(llvm-config –prefix)/lib64

Install Python 2.7 for Windows (https://​www.python.org/​down­loads/​re­lease/​python-2716/). The Windows x86-64 MSI in­staller is fine. This is re­quired for the build sys­tem ex­e­cu­tion and many de­pen­den­cies.

You should change the in­stal­la­tion to in­stall the Add python.exe to Path” fea­ture.

You will also need to set the PYTHON2 en­vi­ron­ment vari­able, e.g., to C:\Python27\python.exe’ by do­ing:

setx PYTHON2 C:\Python27\python.exe” /m

Install Python 3.7 for Windows (https://​www.python.org/​down­loads/​re­lease/​python-374/). The Windows x86-64 MSI in­staller is fine. This is re­quired in or­der to build the JavaScript en­gine, SpiderMonkey.

You will also need to set the PYTHON3 en­vi­ron­ment vari­able, e.g., to C:\Python37\python.exe’ by do­ing:

setx PYTHON3 C:\Python37\python.exe” /m

The /m will set it sys­tem-wide for all fu­ture com­mand win­dows.

In a nor­mal Windows Shell (cmd.exe or Command Prompt” from the start menu), do:

pip in­stall vir­tualenv

If this does not work, you may need to re­boot for the changed PATH set­tings (by the python in­staller) to take ef­fect.

Install the most re­cent GStreamer MSVC pack­ages. You need to down­load the two .msi files for your plat­form from the GStreamer web­site and in­stall them. The cur­rently rec­om­mended ver­sion is 1.16.0. i.e.:

Note that the MinGW bi­na­ries will not work, so make sure that you in­stall the MSVC the ones.

Note that you should en­sure that all com­po­nents are in­stalled from gstreamer, as we re­quire many of the op­tional li­braries that are not in­stalled by de­fault.

Install Git for Windows (https://​git-scm.com/​down­load/​win). DO al­low it to add git.exe to the PATH (default set­tings for the in­staller are fine).

Install Visual Studio Community 2017 (https://​www.vi­su­al­stu­dio.com/​vs/​com­mu­nity/). You MUST add Visual C++” to the list of in­stalled com­po­nents as well as the Windows Universal C run­time.” They are not on by de­fault. Visual Studio 2017 MUST in­stalled to the de­fault lo­ca­tion or mach.bat will not find it.

Note that ver­sion is hard to down­load on­line and is eas­ier to in­stall via Chocolatey with:

choco in­stall -y vi­su­al­stu­dio2017­com­mu­nity –package-parameters=“‘–add Microsoft.VisualStudio.Component.Git’”

Update-SessionEnvironment #refreshing env due to Git in­stall

#–- UWP Workload and in­stalling Windows Template Studio –-

choco in­stall -y vi­su­al­stu­dio2017-work­load-na­tivedesk­top

You may ex­pe­ri­ence much faster builds on Windows by fol­low­ing these steps. (Related Rust is­sue: https://​github.com/​rust-lang/​rust/​is­sues/​37543)

Run the in­staller and choose to add LLVM to the sys­tem PATH.

Add the fol­low­ing to your Cargo con­fig (Found at %USERPROFILE%\.cargo\config). You may need to change the triple to match your en­vi­ron­ment.


linker = lld-link.exe”

If you en­coun­tered er­rors with the en­vi­ron­ment above, do the fol­low­ing for a workaround:

If you have trou­bles with x64 type prompt as mach.bat set by de­fault:


Read the original on github.com »

4 509 shares, 22 trendiness, 57 words and 1 minutes reading time

What's the future of Servo? · Discussion #27575 · servo/servo

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5 501 shares, 45 trendiness, 349 words and 4 minutes reading time

Welders Set Off Beirut Blast While Securing Explosives

Multiple sources have re­ported that the dis­as­trous ex­plo­sion at Port of Beirut was sparked by hot work at a ware­house where of­fi­cials had stored 2,750 tonnes of con­fis­cated am­mo­nium ni­trate and a cache of fire­works. In a new re­port, se­nior of­fi­cials pro­vided Reuters with ad­di­tional de­tails: early this year they had learned that one of the ware­house’s doors was bro­ken, rais­ing the risk that a ma­li­cious ac­tor could steal dan­ger­ous ex­plo­sives. The port’s weld­ing con­trac­tors set off the cache while try­ing to re­pair the door to pro­tect the cache.

According to the re­port, the se­cu­rity in­ves­ti­ga­tion that set this chain in mo­tion be­gan in January af­ter the bro­ken door and a large hole in the ware­house’s wall were dis­cov­ered. On June 4 - six months later - state se­cu­rity forces or­dered the port to guard the ware­house and make ap­pro­pri­ate re­pairs. On August 4 - two months af­ter the or­der - the port sent a team of Syrian work­ers to fix the ware­house. Sparks from their weld­ing work ig­nited a sup­ply of fire­works, which had been stored next to the am­mo­nium ni­trate cache.

Reuters re­ports that the prime min­is­ter and the pres­i­dent of Lebanon were in­formed of the se­cu­rity lapses at the site.

On Monday, Lebanese prime min­is­ter Hassan Diab ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion to Lebanon’s pres­i­dent, Michel Aoun, who ac­cepted his res­ig­na­tion and im­me­di­ately ap­pointed him care­taker prime min­is­ter. The rest of the cur­rent gov­ern­men­t’s min­is­ters are also ex­pected to con­tinue to serve in a care­taker ca­pac­ity, in­clud­ing three who re­signed in protest over the past sev­eral days.

I de­clare to­day the res­ig­na­tion of this gov­ern­ment. May God pro­tect Lebanon,” Diab said in a tele­vised state­ment. This dis­as­ter is the re­sult of chronic cor­rup­tion. The cor­rup­tion net­work is big­ger than the state.”

Protests call­ing for the re­place­ment of the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ued af­ter Diab’s res­ig­na­tion speech. The con­fronta­tion has been marked by vi­o­lence: more than 700 peo­ple have been in­jured in clashes with state se­cu­rity forces over the course of the past week, in­clud­ing many who have been hit by bird­shot pel­lets and less-than-lethal mu­ni­tions.


Read the original on www.maritime-executive.com »

6 454 shares, 18 trendiness, 0 words and 0 minutes reading time

Apple Music on Android requires its own payment details to avoid Google Play's 30% cut. Apple has accused Match, Epic, and Spotify of wanting a 'free ride' while taking one themselves.

Press J to jump to the feed. Press ques­tion mark to learn the rest of the key­board short­cuts


Read the original on www.reddit.com »

7 377 shares, 26 trendiness, 138 words and 1 minutes reading time


will be re­sized to 93x93 pix­els

will be blurred and dithered just as the pre­view

you can clip the pre­view

NOTE: You need to en­ter text or your QR might not scan

NOTE: Not sup­ported (yet)

This VCard is stored on this server

The QR will have a http:// link to the VCard

When scan­ning the QR you will need in­ter­net ac­cess to down­load the VCard

!! Please be pa­tient, the gen­er­a­tor needs at least 20 sec­onds


Colour draw­ing (large ar­eas of same colour)

Colour pic­ture (a lot of colours/​shades)

Sources to this site can be found https://​github.com/​xyzzy/​qr­pic­ture. For ques­tions info@qr­pic­ture.com

This ser­vice is avail­able in the hope that it will be use­ful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; with­out even the im­plied war­ranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE


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8 376 shares, 28 trendiness, 1365 words and 10 minutes reading time

I Love MDN, or the cult of the free in action

Yesterday or so a new ini­tia­tive I Love MDN was un­veiled. People can show their ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the MDN staff and vol­un­teers by leav­ing a com­ment.

I have a dif­fi­cult mes­sage about this ini­tia­tive. For al­most a day I’ve been try­ing to find a way to bring that mes­sage across in an un­der­stand­ing, up­lift­ing sort of way, but I failed.

Before I con­tinue I’d like to re­mind you that I ran the pre­cur­sor to MDN, all by my­self, for 15 years, mostly for free. I was a com­mu­nity vol­un­teer. I know ex­actly what goes into that, and what you get back from it. I also burned out on it, and that prob­a­bly colours my judge­ment.

So here is my mes­sage, warts and all.

I find I Love MDN de­mean­ing to tech­ni­cal writ­ers. It re­minds me of break­ing into spon­ta­neous ap­plause for our coura­geous health work­ers in­stead of fund­ing them prop­erly so they can do their jobs.

It pre­tends tech­in­cal writ­ing is some­thing that can be done by the com­mu­ni­ty’, ie. ran­dom peo­ple, in­stead of be­ing a job that re­quires very spe­cialised skills. If you deny these skills ex­ist by pre­tend­ing any­one can do it, you’re de­mean­ing the peo­ple who have ac­tu­ally taken the time and trou­ble to build up those skills.

In ad­di­tion, I see the I Love MDN ini­tia­tive as an ex­am­ple of the cult of the free, of every­thing that’s wrong with the web de­vel­op­ment com­mu­nity to­day. The co-sign­ers un­think­ingly as­sume they are en­ti­tled to free con­tent.

Unthinking is the key­word here. I do not doubt that the in­ten­tions of the or­gan­is­ers and co-sign­ers are good, and that they did not mean to bring across any of the nasty things I said above and will say be­low. They just want to show MDN con­trib­u­tors that their work is be­ing val­ued.

Thatr’s nice. But it’s not enough. Far from it.

Take a look here. It is my old browser com­pat­i­bil­ity site af­ter four to six years of ly­ing fal­low. Would you use this as a re­source for your daily work? There are still some use­ful bits, but it’s clear that the ma­jor­ity of these pages are sadly out­dated.

That will be MDNs fate un­der a vol­un­teer-only regime.

What we need is money to re­tain a few core tech­ni­cal writ­ers per­ma­nently. I Love MDN ig­nores that an­gle com­pletely.

Did you sign I Love MDN? Great! Are you will­ing to pay 50-100 eu­ros/​dol­lars per year to keep MDN afloat? If not, this is all about mak­ing you feel bet­ter, not the tech­ni­cal writ­ers. You’re part of the prob­lem, not the so­lu­tion.

MDN Web Docs is the life blood, the home, the source of truth for mil­lions of web de­vel­op­ers every­day. […] As a com­mu­nity of de­vel­op­ers we have ac­cess to all of this in­for­ma­tion for free ♥️

We get every­thing for free hur­ray hur­ray, also, too, com­mu­nity com­mu­nity com­mu­nity, and, hey! with that state­ment out of the way we’re done. Now let’s con­grat­u­late our­selves with our pro­found pro­fun­dity and dance the glad dance of joy. Unicorn-shitting rain­bows will be ours for­ever!

I Love MDN hinges on the ex­pec­ta­tion on the part of web de­vel­op­ers that this sort of in­for­ma­tion ought to come for free — the ex­pec­ta­tion we’re en­ti­tled to this sort of free ride.

This is all made pos­si­ble by a pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity, in­spi­ra­tional tech­ni­cal writ­ers, and a small, but de­ter­mined team of de­vel­op­ers.

Hogwash. The pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity has noth­ing to do with any­thing, un­less they’re will­ing to pay. A pro­foundly un­sci­en­tific poll in­di­cates that only about two-thirds of my re­spond­ing fol­low­ers are will­ing to do so. The rest, ap­par­ently, is too pas­sion­ate to pay. It’s just along for the free ride. That is­n’t very com­fort­ing.

Rachel Andrew puts it bet­ter than I can:

The num­ber of peo­ple who have told me that MDN is a wiki, there­fore the com­mu­nity will keep it up to date tells me two things. People do not get the value of pro­fes­sional tech writ­ers. Folk are in­cred­i­bly op­ti­mistic about what the com­mu­nity” will do for free.

So you once wrote an MDN page. Great! Thanks!

But will you do the bor­ing but nec­es­sary browser test­ing to fig­ure out if what you’re de­scrib­ing is al­ways true, or just most of the time? And will you re­peat that test­ing once new ver­sions have come out? Will you go through re­lated pages and up­date any ref­er­ences that need to be up­dated? Will you fol­low ad­vances in what you de­scribed and up­date the page? If some­one points out an er­ror six months from now, will you re­turn to the page to re­vise it and do the nec­es­sary re­search?

If the an­swer to any of these ques­tions is No you did a quar­ter of your job and then walked away. Not very use­ful.

And if the an­swer to all of these ques­tions is Yes, hey, great, you’ve got what it takes! You’re re­ally into tech­ni­cal writ­ing! We need you! Now, quick, tell me, how long will you keep it up with­out any form of pay­ment? Quite a while, you say? Great! Try beat­ing my record of 15 years.

The prob­lem with ex­pect­ing vol­un­teers to do this sort of work is that they burn out. Been there, done that. And what hap­pens when all vol­un­teers burn out?

Yes, new vol­un­teers will likely step up. But they have to be in­tro­duced to the doc­u­men­ta­tion sys­tem, not only the tech­in­cal bits, but also the ed­i­to­r­ial re­quire­ments. Their first con­tri­bu­tions will have to be checked for fac­tual er­rors and styl­is­tic prob­lems, for proper link­ing to re­lated pages, for enough browser com­pat­i­bil­ity in­for­ma­tion. Who’s go­ing to do that? Also vol­un­teers? But they just burned out.

It does­n’t work in the long run.

What ought to hap­pen is MDN (or its suc­ces­sor) se­cur­ing the fund­ing to re­tain a few core tech­ni­cal writ­ers on a per­ma­nent ba­sis. Without that, it’s doomed to fail.

Now there are two ways of se­cur­ing fund­ing. The first one is ap­peal­ing to big com­pa­nies, par­tic­u­larly browser ven­dors. I can see Google, Microsoft, and Samsung chip­ping in a bit, maybe even quite a lot, to keep MDN run­ning. (Apple won’t, of course. They’re on their own cloud.) This could work, es­pe­cially in the short run.

But will we be well served by that in the long run? You might have no­ticed that all com­pa­nies I named use a Chromium-based browser. What about Firefox? Or WebKit?

I have no doubt that the Chrome, Edge, and Samsung Internet de­vel­oper re­la­tions teams are to­tally se­ri­ous about keep­ing other browsers on board and will not bend MDN new-style to their own browsers in any way. They’ve shown their com­mit­ment to browser di­ver­sity time and again.

What I doubt is that the fi­nal de­ci­sion rests with them. Once MDN new-style funded by the browser ven­dors has been run­ning for a while, man­agers will poke their heads around the cor­ner to ask what we, as in Google, Microsoft, or Samsung, get in re­turn for all the money we’re spend­ing. More at­ten­tion for our browser, that’s what. Make it so!

That’s why I pre­fer the sec­ond op­tion in the long run: fund­ing by the web com­mu­nity it­self. Create an in­de­pen­dent en­tity like Fronteers, but then in­ter­na­tional, get mem­bers to pay 50-100 eu­ros/​dol­lars per year, and use that money to fund MDN or its suc­ces­sor.

Now this is a lot of work. But I still feel it needs to be done.

But who will do it? Volunteers? We’ll run into the same prob­lem that I sketched above, just one step re­moved. I briefly con­sid­ered start­ing such an ini­tia­tive my­self, but I found that I am un­will­ing to do it for free.

And I know ex­actly what it takes. I founded Fronteers for free, and it took me half a year of mind-numb­ing work, in­clud­ing fend­ing off ran­dom com­mu­nity mem­bers who also had an opin­ion. Even though oth­ers stepped up and helped, my first burn-out was mostly caused by Fronteers’s found­ing, and I am un­will­ing to do it all over again for free.

So there we are. On bal­ance, it’s more likely we go with the big-com­pany so­lu­tion that will work in the short run but will give prob­lems in the long run.

Unless the web de­vel­op­ment com­mu­nity stops ex­pect­ing a free ride, and starts to pay up. Initiatives such as I Love MDN don’t give me a lot of hope, though.

Previous en­try: The cult of the free must die

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web de­vel­oper, con­sul­tant, and trainer. You can also fol­low him on Twitter or Mastodon.




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Stanford cancels plans to bring half of undergrads back to campus, revokes student staff positions

The University has can­celled nearly all in-per­son in­struc­tion for the up­com­ing fall quar­ter and is sus­pend­ing its plans to pro­vide on-cam­pus hous­ing to frosh, sopho­mores and in­com­ing trans­fer stu­dents, ac­cord­ing to a Thursday an­nounce­ment by President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

The re­cent state guid­ance for higher ed­u­ca­tion to cur­tail the spread of COVID-19 … pro­hibits most in­door classes while our county is still on the watch list,’ and it in­cludes other re­stric­tions on ac­tiv­i­ties that would make for a very lim­it­ing on-cam­pus un­der­grad­u­ate ex­pe­ri­ence this fall,” Provost Persis Drell wrote in an email to fac­ulty.

The University will in­vite grad­u­ate and pro­fes­sional stu­dents back as planned, along with the ap­prox­i­mately 800 un­der­grad­u­ates from across four class years whose pe­ti­tions to re­turn to cam­pus have been granted.

The new plan will al­low frosh and sopho­mores to live on cam­pus in win­ter quar­ter, and ju­niors and se­niors in spring quar­ter, if con­di­tions al­low.

The University has re­voked the po­si­tions for a ma­jor­ity of its 275 on-cam­pus stu­dent staff ex­cept for those as­signed to Escondido Village Graduate Residences A (EVGR-A) and Mirrielees, ac­cord­ing to an email from Assistant Vice Provost for Residential Education Cheryl Brown. There may be RA op­por­tu­ni­ties for the lim­ited num­ber of stu­dents ap­proved for on-cam­pus hous­ing.

There will be no vir­tual stu­dent staffing roles due to budgetary con­straints and eq­uity is­sues.”

Student staff will be in­vited to serve in their on-cam­pus stu­dent staff roles when the houses re­open,” she added. We hope to honor RA, ETA, and ATA ap­point­ments for up to three quar­ters.”

The de­ci­sion to roll back the re­turn-to-cam­pus plan comes two days af­ter the Pac-12 post­poned fall sports due to con­cerns over COVID-19, and it also fol­lows de­ci­sions by other in­sti­tu­tions, most re­cently the University of Pennsylvania, to do the same.

Despite clear sig­nal­ing from health pro­fes­sion­als that the COVID-19 pan­demic would­n’t see an end in time for fall classes and af­ter a se­ries of de­lays in mak­ing a de­ci­sion, Stanford was hope­ful in invit­ing back half its un­der­grad­u­ate class each quar­ter while run­ning a ma­jor­ity of its courses re­motely. More de­lays and a shaky warn­ing at the end of July all but pointed to the even­tual de­ci­sion to can­cel on-site as­pects of fall quar­ter.

For weeks prior, stu­dents had ex­pressed con­cerns about the University’s de­ci­sion to keep its hous­ing plans in place, say­ing that it would en­dan­ger the health of stu­dents and work­ers and dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect low-in­come and hous­ing in­se­cure stu­dents who may not have the op­tion of stay­ing home.

The University’s de­ci­sions in re­sponse to chal­lenges pre­sented by COVID-19 will con­tinue to take its toll on work­ers. Two weeks ago, Stanford an­nounced that it would per­ma­nently lay off 208 work­ers and fur­lough 30 more due to budgetary chal­lenges.” Tessier-Lavigne said in an Aug. 3 vir­tual meet­ing that if stu­dents were not in­vited back in the fall, fur­ther lay­offs may  be nec­es­sary.

The first day of on­line classes is still sched­uled for Sept. 14. The Faculty Senate re­cently passed a mea­sure en­sur­ing that all courses of­fered un­der a let­ter grad­ing ba­sis would also in­clude op­tional credit/​no credit (CR/NC) grad­ing to ac­com­mo­date un­cer­tainty in the up­com­ing aca­d­e­mic year.


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