~adnano/gemini

18 13

A proposal to freeze the Gemini specification

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Hello all, and welcome back Solderpunk!

I have a few things to say about the recent events in the community. But first, let's take the following axioms:

1. Gemini has been in use by a large number of people for years now, without a major change to the specification.

2. The mailing list represents a minority of the users and implementers of Gemini.

3. For the vast majority of users and implementers, the specification hosted on gemini.circumlunar.space (from now: Spec0) remains the authoritative description of the protocol.

With that in mind, I will get straight to the point:
I believe that the specification should be frozen, with Spec0 remaining authoritative indefinitely.
I am not claiming that Spec0 is flawless, however fixing any of its issues would likely cause more trouble than not doing so. In this case, I believe stable behavior to be more important than perfection.

As Solderpunk has pointed out, any proposal for change has been met primarily with criticism. If so, why do we want to force change through?

It has been proven in practice that Gemini functions well, and that no additional features were strictly necessary.

I believe, that in order to avoid more controversy, incompatibility between implementations, and power struggles, we should freeze the specification permanently.

Side note regarding Sp.'s return: With all due respect, I do not believe that you can realistically call yourself the dictator of the project. At most you can claim to rule this mailing list, which per axiom ?2 is only a minority of the actual community. While I respect your role in the creation of the protocol (i.e., the whole of the original design), Gemini has grown larger than what a single BDFL can control. Especially after disappearing for months, I do not think we should consider your opinion worth any more than that of any other user of this mailing list. I do not mean to be harsh or hostile, simply expressing my opinion.

Regarding the axioms' truthness: the first two can be verified by simple common sense. The third one, however, is a bit more complicated. While it is not possible to prove, from my personal reading of this mailing list, and from the fact that gemini.circumlunar.space acts as the ?front page? of Geminispace, I believe with a reasonable level of certainty that more people read that specification than the one on GitLab.
--
almaember

P.S. I'm not sure how and why I wrote this message in such a semi-formal tone, but it's like this now and I won't change it.
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> Especially after disappearing for months, I do not think we should consider your opinion worth any more than that of any other user of this mailing list. I do not mean to be harsh or hostile, simply expressing my opinion.

And how many days exactly do you consider is "ok to be absent"?

What is this, even.
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Being absent is okay, disappearing then returning claiming to be dictator is.

That's like if the descendant of an old royal family returned to a country that has been a republic for a long time, and trying to get control again.
-- 
Sent from my Android device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
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I think it's fair to say the term "dictator" was probably somewhat
tongue in cheek, especially given the informal tone and the joke in
the second sentence.
They took what was likely a mental health break, given their recent gemlog post.
Solderpunk is by definition the owner of the Gemini project insofar as
they control the canonical specification.
I don't disagree with your "axioms" but let's keep things in
perspective and be civil.
Obviously two months is a long time to be gone but owning an open
source project doesn't mean Solderpunk is obligated to always have a
presence or be responsive.
Their interaction with the community is 100% at-will.

- Andrew
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He merely owns the website/capsule it's hosted on. Taking and hosting it, or even rewording it to avoid copyright issues, is a relatively simple task.

GitLab doesn't own the GitLab specification just because it's hosted there, and neither does the operator of this mailing list own this message.

I called those things axioms, which in retrospect is a little odd choice of word, because it's just that, something that is taken as true and forming the basis of the argument and not the argument itself.

I do not criticize him for taking a break, that's okay. My problem is with the way he returned, i.e., taking power he basically didn't have any rights to at that point. The only thing he's currently doing is hosting a website and capsule.

And, lastly this is not an open source project per se. More like a set of conventions projects agree on. In other words, a standard.

On October 26, 2021 12:09:45 AM GMT+02:00, Andrew Thorp <andrew.thorp.dev at gmail.com> wrote:
>I think it's fair to say the term "dictator" was probably somewhat
>tongue in cheek, especially given the informal tone and the joke in
>the second sentence.
>They took what was likely a mental health break, given their recent gemlog post.
>Solderpunk is by definition the owner of the Gemini project insofar as
>they control the canonical specification.
>I don't disagree with your "axioms" but let's keep things in
>perspective and be civil.
>Obviously two months is a long time to be gone but owning an open
>source project doesn't mean Solderpunk is obligated to always have a
>presence or be responsive.
>Their interaction with the community is 100% at-will.
>
>- Andrew

-- 
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On 2021-10-26 12:20AM, almaember wrote:
> He merely owns the website/capsule it's hosted on. Taking and hosting
> it, or even rewording it to avoid copyright issues, is a relatively
> simple task.
If I take a copy of whitehouse.gov and replace all the text with "lol
the government's dumb" does that make it the official whitehouse.gov
site?  Solderpunk hosts the canonical version (which you said yourself
is the one everyone follows) which means they're the one that "owns"
the Gemini specification.

> GitLab doesn't own the GitLab specification just because it's hosted
> there, and neither does the operator of this mailing list own this
> message.
And yet I both host and own nytpu.com.

Yes hosting =/= ownership, however in most cases (on Gemini at least)
hosting *is* equivalent to ownership.

> And, lastly this is not an open source project per se. More like a set
> of conventions projects agree on. In other words, a standard.
I don't recall anyone anywhere ever claiming that the Gemini Protocol
itself is a software project; it is an open standard.  That doesn't mean
it magically belongs to everyone and no one should have control of it.
There are criticisms to be had about most standards organizations and
yet I've never seen anyone (other than you, rather) claim that the
standards body shouldn't have control over the standards they maintain
and publish.

Look at the LZMA Specification, it is entirely maintained an published
by one guy (it hasn't been updated since 2015 either).  By your logic,
shouldn't he have no rights to it and instead it should never be
modified ever.  It's public domain so you could create and modify your
own right now.  Yet veryone would ignore your hypothetical version and
still use his canonical version that he owns and hosts, and nobody other
than you would dispute any future changes he made that diverged from
your version.

~nytpu

-- 
Alex // nytpu
alex at nytpu.com
gpg --locate-external-key alex at nytpu.com
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On October 26, 2021 12:59:33 AM GMT+02:00, Alex // nytpu <alex at nytpu.com> wrote:
>On 2021-10-26 12:20AM, almaember wrote:
>> He merely owns the website/capsule it's hosted on. Taking and hosting
>> it, or even rewording it to avoid copyright issues, is a relatively
>> simple task.
>If I take a copy of whitehouse.gov and replace all the text with "lol
>the government's dumb" does that make it the official whitehouse.gov
>site?  Solderpunk hosts the canonical version (which you said yourself
>is the one everyone follows) which means they're the one that "owns"
>the Gemini specification.

Except whitehouse.gov is run by an elected government. This will apply when we start holding elections for Gemini.
>> GitLab doesn't own the GitLab specification just because it's hosted
>> there, and neither does the operator of this mailing list own this
>> message.
>And yet I both host and own nytpu.com.
>
>Yes hosting =/= ownership, however in most cases (on Gemini at least)
>hosting *is* equivalent to ownership.

He hosts and owns the website, yes. Maybe even the spec. The protocol though? Hell, that's too abstract to be owned by anyone.
>> And, lastly this is not an open source project per se. More like a set
>> of conventions projects agree on. In other words, a standard.
>I don't recall anyone anywhere ever claiming that the Gemini Protocol
>itself is a software project; it is an open standard.  That doesn't mean
>it magically belongs to everyone and no one should have control of it.
>There are criticisms to be had about most standards organizations and
>yet I've never seen anyone (other than you, rather) claim that the
>standards body shouldn't have control over the standards they maintain
>and publish.
>
>Look at the LZMA Specification, it is entirely maintained an published
>by one guy (it hasn't been updated since 2015 either).  By your logic,
>shouldn't he have no rights to it and instead it should never be
>modified ever.

And you would be correct. At least already released versions shouldn't be retroactively modified. Releasing further revisions is fine.

>It's public domain so you could create and modify your
>own right now.  Yet veryone would ignore your hypothetical version and
>still use his canonical version that he owns and hosts, and nobody other
>than you would dispute any future changes he made that diverged from
>your version.
>
>~nytpu
>

-- 
Sent from my Android device with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.
Jason McBrayer <jmcbray@carcosa.net>
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almaember <almaember at disroot.org> writes:

> I do not criticize him for taking a break, that's okay. My problem is
> with the way he returned, i.e., taking power he basically didn't have
> any rights to at that point. The only thing he's currently doing is
> hosting a website and capsule.

Hi. I'm your friendly neighborhood mailing list admin. Please consider
this message a yellow card; further harassing Solderpunk will get you a
red card and unsubscribed from the list. If what you want is to propose
a democratically-run standards body for Gemini, please do so, but please
don't imply that Solderpunk picking back up the reins he handed to Sean
last year to hold is some kind of unprecedented arrogation of power.

-- 
Jason McBrayer      | ?Strange is the night where black stars rise,
jmcbray at carcosa.net | and strange moons circle through the skies,
                    | but stranger still is lost Carcosa.?
                    | ? Robert W. Chambers,The King in Yellow
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> No, that was just to explain why what can be applied to other standards can't to Gemini. My
> proposal is fairly simple if you remove all the language bloat:
> 1. Take the original spec
> 2. Slap a public domain or whatever on it
> 3. Done. Now don't do anything, forever.

He can correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume that the final spec will be released under some
sort of public domain license. Per the FAQ the goal appears to be to submit it to IETF and/or
IANA.

> This will apply when we start holding elections for Gemini.

Perhaps controversial, but we should not do this. Elections in a small, niche online community
are a quick path to capture by groups who don't have the community's best interest in mind.
I've seen this happen many times.
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On Tue, 2021-10-26 at 01:34 +0200, almaember wrote:
> 
> On October 26, 2021 12:59:33 AM GMT+02:00, Alex // nytpu <alex at nytpu.com> wrote:
> > 
> > If I take a copy of whitehouse.gov and replace all the text with "lol
> > the government's dumb" does that make it the official whitehouse.gov
> > site?  Solderpunk hosts the canonical version (which you said yourself
> > is the one everyone follows) which means they're the one that "owns"
> > the Gemini specification.
> 
> Except whitehouse.gov is run by an elected government. This will apply when we start holding elections for Gemini.

Okay, so say that it's coca-cola.com, disroot.org, tilde.team, or
example.com. Which specific entity or type of entity it is is not the
important part of the example.

-- 
DJ Chase
They, Them, Theirs
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25 Oct 2021 23:20:51 almaember <almaember at disroot.org>:

> My problem is with the way he returned, i.e., taking power he basically didn't have any rights to at that point.

"dictators" don't have "rights", they just
rule by fiat.
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Hi Almaember,

I suffer from wicked IBS (IBS can be like drowning in a desert - my longterm partner still doesnt get how helpless the condition can make you) and through systematic and institutional bullying burnout which cast a very long shadow.

As a consequence I know that its possible to be offline/inactive for hours/days/weeks/months/years and then *BOOM* you are back on again and back to yourself.

Infact, Ive been in what could be a 'wilderness years' that was pretty much masked through raising x2 children.
At a personal level, the considerate aspects of Gemini encouraged me out of my own hole (anybody trying to build up a fingerprint of me prior to ~April 2021 will have a very hard time) - Gemini even secured me a research grant through NLNet. So personally I will be cutting Solderpunk a lot of slack and I will be eternally greatful for SP's impactfulness.

====================
Jonathan McHugh
indieterminacy at libre.brussels (mailto:indieterminacy at libre.brussels)

October 25, 2021 11:39 PM, "almaember" <almaember at disroot.org (mailto:almaember at disroot.org?to=%22almaember%22%20<almaember at disroot.org>)> wrote:
Being absent is okay, disappearing then returning claiming to be dictator is.

That's like if the descendant of an old royal family returned to a country that has been a republic for a long time, and trying to get control again.
--
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On 25.10.2021 23:27, almaember wrote:

> 1. Gemini has been in use by a large number of people for years now,
> without a major change to the specification.
> 
> 2. The mailing list represents a minority of the users and
> implementers of Gemini.
> 
> 3. For the vast majority of users and implementers, the specification
> hosted on gemini.circumlunar.space (from now: Spec0) remains the
> authoritative description of the protocol.

I completely agree on all three points.

> It has been proven in practice that Gemini functions well, and that no
> additional features were strictly necessary.

I don't currently plan to add any new features.

> I believe, that in order to avoid more controversy, incompatibility
> between implementations, and power struggles, we should freeze the
> specification permanently.

Consider it "feature frozen".  There's still some stuff which I think 
ought to be done.  But I do not anticipate making any changes which 
could not be fairly classed as "tidying up technical loose ends".  I 
can't promise nobody will have to change a single line of code in their 
clients/servers, but I'm not going to do anything which is going to 
cause widespread substantial breakage.  Ordinary end users probably 
won't notice anything changing.

> Side note regarding Sp.'s return: With all due respect, I do not
> believe that you can realistically call yourself the dictator of the
> project. At most you can claim to rule this mailing list, which per
> axiom ?2 is only a minority of the actual community. While I respect
> your role in the creation of the protocol (i.e., the whole of the
> original design), Gemini has grown larger than what a single BDFL can
> control. Especially after disappearing for months, I do not think we
> should consider your opinion worth any more than that of any other
> user of this mailing list.

I realise you've retracted this review in another post.  I'm going to 
briefly address it otherwise because I suspect there may be other people 
who still feel this way.

Look, to some extent, I get where you are coming from.  The folk notion 
of BDFL can only be pushed so far.  If I had disappeared for ten years 
and the project had flourished under alternate leadership and then I 
sprang back from the void and claimed that since I never formally 
relinquished BDFL-status I still had the divine right to undo the 
previous decade of change willy-nilly, nobody would think that was fine. 
  And I get that I haven't been a very responsible leader this year.  I'm 
sorry.  People are entitled to be somewhat disgruntled.  Anybody who 
knows me knows I'm much more of an idealist than a pragmatist, but at 
this point, to people questioning the legitimacy of my return to 
leadership, I really have to ask whether you honestly think, as a purely 
practical matter, that there's an alternative which is going to lead to 
a better result?  10 years of bikeshedding and slippery slope expansion 
under "design by committee" seems like the *best* we could hope for.  At 
worst, we could end up with warring factions and multiple threads of 
incompatible parallel development of dubious legitimacy.  I actually 
think the tremendous diversity of implementations we already have would 
act as an effective countermeasure to drastic change happening under 
that second scenario - and that is exactly by design - but I don't care 
to put that theory to the test.  Me coming back, kicking ass and chewing 
bubblegum seems likely to be both the *least* contested approach amongst 
the broader community and also the *least* likely to result in big 
changes.  It may not be perfect, but it's probably going to work pretty 
well - hopefully like Gemini itself. :)

Cheers,
Solderpunk

PS: Don't worry, I've got plenty of gum.
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On Tue, 2021-10-26 at 17:17 +0000, Solderpunk wrote:
> On 25.10.2021 23:27, almaember wrote:
> 
> 
> > I believe, that in order to avoid more controversy, incompatibility
> > between implementations, and power struggles, we should freeze the
> > specification permanently.
> 
> Consider it "feature frozen".  There's still some stuff which I think 
> ought to be done.  But I do not anticipate making any changes which 
> could not be fairly classed as "tidying up technical loose ends".  I 
> can't promise nobody will have to change a single line of code in their 
> clients/servers, but I'm not going to do anything which is going to 
> cause widespread substantial breakage.  Ordinary end users probably 
> won't notice anything changing.

Great.

> PS: Don't worry, I've got plenty of gum.

What flavor? /j

-- 
DJ Chase
They, Them, Theirs
Jason McBrayer <jmcbray@carcosa.net>
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Jason McBrayer <jmcbray at carcosa.net> writes:

> Hi. I'm your friendly neighborhood mailing list admin. Please consider
> this message a yellow card; further harassing Solderpunk will get you a
> red card and unsubscribed from the list.

Please disregard; I see you apologized already. I had a bunch of mail
queued for sending from offline, and it didn't get sent until today,
when much of it was out of date.

-- 
Jason McBrayer      | ?Strange is the night where black stars rise,
jmcbray at carcosa.net | and strange moons circle through the skies,
                    | but stranger still is lost Carcosa.?
                    | ? Robert W. Chambers,The King in Yellow
Jason McBrayer <jmcbray@carcosa.net>
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Jason McBrayer <jmcbray at carcosa.net> writes:
> Hi. I'm your friendly neighborhood mailing list admin. Please consider
> this message a yellow card; further harassing Solderpunk will get you a
> red card and unsubscribed from the list.

Please disregard; this was part of a batch of mail that got queued for
several days, and delivered after it was no longer relevant.

-- 
Jason McBrayer      | ?Strange is the night where black stars rise,
jmcbray at carcosa.net | and strange moons circle through the skies,
                    | but stranger still is lost Carcosa.?
                    | ? Robert W. Chambers,The King in Yellow
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Uh. I managed to cause some chaos, but at least hopefully it had cleared 
some things up, both for me and for others.

I agree now that this method is the one that will cause the least amount 
of trouble.

I hope I didn't leave any lasting impressions.

Btw, if I'm already writing this email: how much do you expect to clean 
up? Like, is a complete restructuring of the spec necessary or is it 
just a few rough edges?
-- 
Unless you're replying to me on the Gemini mailing list,
reply to almaember at almaember.com instead.

Website: https://almaember.com/
Gemini capsule: gemini://almaember.com/
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On 2021-10-27 20:49, Almaember wrote:
> I hope I didn't leave any lasting impressions.

It's nothing compared to real drama (like favicon.txt).

> Btw, if I'm already writing this email: how much do you expect to clean 
> up? Like, is a complete restructuring of the spec necessary or is it 
> just a few rough edges?

It can't be submitted to standard bodies like IETF in its current state.
The spec is far from looking like an actual RFC.
Sean Conner <sean@conman.org>
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It was thus said that the Great Almaember once stated:
> 
> Btw, if I'm already writing this email: how much do you expect to clean 
> up? Like, is a complete restructuring of the spec necessary or is it 
> just a few rough edges?

  You can check out the issues for the protocol itself:

        https://gitlab.com/gemini-specification/protocol/-/issues

and the issues for the gemtext format:

        https://gitlab.com/gemini-specification/gemini-text/-/issues

  -spc (According to those, lots of rough edges)
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