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Talking about my generation

I was really hopeful during the “downhill battle” era for FOSS and commons.

Then came three big blows:

  1. Smartphones. We were caught up or ahead on the desktop, then the arena was moved to the pocket with these super locked down computers.
  2. Web silos. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, YouTube ate the web. This specifically is what I mean as a sense of “loss”. I know there is IRC and mailing lists for some projects but there used to be for all kinds of mainstream topics.
  3. DRM-laden streaming sites like Spotify and Netflix.

I feel that we who went through edit autoexec.bat, notepad index.html, ./configure && make have a different perspective on this. That’s not to say that those three were good things, they were bad, but they were markers; I’ve just noticed that more people from that era share the perspective of how messed up the current tech stacks are. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

The advantage of the current era is easier UI. Silents and boomers were overjoyed in the era of iPhone and Facebook since they were finally “let in”, and millennials and younger grew up in a Truman Show world where Insta and YouTube were as established and inescapable as TV, radio, roads, and grocery stores had been for us. It’s like that old story of what a fish thinks about water.

(With plenty of individual exceptions in all directions because I’m talking cohort trends here; we have our pioneer elders, our non-nerdy peers, and people of all ages who wanna to see behind the curtain of how the tech world works.)

We are the generation that see the rot under the surface. That see walled garden web silos and sideload-locked devices as steps backwards. We had it all and lost it.