23 Aug 2003 Jimbob   » (Journeyer)


GnomeChat is coming along again, I just committed changes to support local icons in the RDF file, fixed a couple bugs, etc.

Freenode is once again the bastard child which crashes my work. I realize that running an IRC network is not child's play, but would it be too much to ask to support the existing de-facto standards for IRC? Take the 005 line, for example. The 005 line is used to notify clients about how certain messages from the server are formatted, what channel & user modes are supported, what commands are supported, etc. For a long time, Freenode's servers didn't provide one. Since I was expecting one, things broke (in a "crash" way) when Freenode didn't. Ok, whatever, it's not an actual codified standard, so I hacked a sensible default into libgircclient. Freenode recently began providing the 005 line, but the broke the way the PREFIX variable is defined.

PREFIX=(ov)@+ is the way it should be listed. What it means is, when listing users, channel ops have "@" char before their nickname, and voiced users have a "+". This way, the client can map between the actual mode command char ("/mode +o nickname") and the character used in lists of users ("@nickname"). Freenode doesn't do that. Freenode uses PREFIX=@+, which broke my parser. Yes, yes, an IRC parser should be robust enough to handle blah blah blah. But it wouldn't need to be anywhere near as robust on the client side if the servers had their shit together. Sheesh.

The main problem is that the IRC "standard" is so bloody loose and hacked together that it's rediculous. And worse still, quite a few networks don't even bother to support the more machine-parsable pieces. Basically, it's a protocol for geeks on the console who want to feel geeky for chatting on IRC, not for people who want to have a nice, friendly, easy-to-use, just-works-right means of coordinating, say, a massive, million+-LOC Desktop Project.

New Zealand

I don't live in NZ, nor do I plan to move there anytime soon, but I would like to say (again) that socialism is not state ownership of anything. Socialism is defined as "worker control of the means of production" — democracy on the job. If the worker doesn't have final say over his or her own job, then it's not socialism. Period.

Both the western nations and the former "communist"-bloc countries spent a great deal of effor in propagating the oxymoronic myth that socialism is state-capitalism, because it served the powerful in both sides of the Cold War. The USSR had a vested interest in keeping those who agreed with the incredibly basic concept of "worker control of industry" (a majority in the USSR) believing that the State was just the way that control was exercised. The truth about what went on in the USSR — the horrible waste, corruption, brutality, etc. — was used in the west as an indictment of socialism, rather than an illustration of exactly how non-socialist the USSR (and the western forms of state-capitalist "socialism", like welfare, state ownership of services, etc.) really was. IOW, both sides lied about what socialism really was, because it was in their interests to do so.

But don't take my word for it, here's George Orwell, from Homage to Catalonia (online version):

"In every country in the world a huge tribe of party hacks and sleek little professors are busy 'proving' that Socialism means no more than a planned state-capitalism with the grab-motive left intact. But fortunately there also exists a vision of socialism quite different from this. The thing that attracts ordinary men to Socialism and make them willing to risk their skins for it, the 'mystique' of Socialism, is the idea of equality; to the vast majority of people Socialism means a classless society, or it means nothing at all.
Since it needs repeating, equality doesn't mean "everybody" and "the state/managers/bureaucrats". Equality means equality. There's no such thing as "partial equality" or "equality in name only". Either people have equality or they do not. There is no try... :-)

Israel & Palestine

I realize I'm opening another can of worms by commenting on this, but I feel as though I must. Hamas would not have the power or the popular support they have today among the Palestinians if the Israelis did not give Hamas the opportunity. What I mean by this is: if Israel did not attempt to starve, maim, and otherwise drive the population of Palestine out, then Hamas would not enjoy the support they have — support they gained because they provided the food, water, and community organization the Israeli military destroyed. IOW, they kept Palestinian society from completely collapsing, and the Palestinians support them for it.

Attacks on Hamas leaders enrage Hamas militants, yes. But those militants would not be there if the Israeli military did not do things like wage helicopter missle attacks on crowded city streets in the afternoon, or drop laser-guided bombs from F-16s in the same situation. Those militants would not be there if Israel didn't cut the power, cut the food, wall off the areas, bomb them from the air, fire on ambulances and medics, roust people from their homes, and all the other innumerable acts of tyranny that happen the Palestinian areas when the Israeli military comes to town. Of all political organizations, the State of Israel should be the first to avoid the Warsaw ghetto, not the first to repeat it.

Most importantly, the question must be asked: Why is Israeli military in the Palestinian areas to begin with? What possible good can come from that? Revenge is one possible motive, defense of colonization efforts (called "settlements" on TV) is another (more plausible) one. It's like the U.S. Cavalry being called in to defend the white settlers after they took Apache land — Yes, what happened to the settlers was tragic, but if they didn't take somebody else's homes, they'd be breathing today.

But whatever, I'll take the right-wing libertarian out and say that I just don't want to pay for it.

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