Cléber Zavadniak Website

The thing I hate the most is software

This article is a rant. Be careful.

The future is in the air, I can feel it everywhere

It should be a Monday as any other Monday that morning, except that

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM…

my alarm clock goes on and I reach for my phone as I always do in a precise movement reaching with my finger to the exact place the slider that makes the alarm snooze so that I can stay in bed for ten more minutes is, that is, almost exactly one centimeter above the bottom of the screen, but as I take a closer look into the screen I realize, still feeling the typical dullness of the morning, that something was off and not a little bit.

BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM…

The alarm is not going to wait until I figure things out.

Some seconds pass by until I finally realize what happened: some damned engineering team decided that it would be nice to change everything on my alarm clock app while I was asleep without asking permission or even sharing with me what in satan’s name they were thinking when they worked proactively to make me feel completely lost and confused and actually kind of scared this morning.

Was it a necessary change? Oh, not at all. Does the app now seems prettier? Oh, not at all! Is it easier to use? Boy, oh boy!, not at all!

And that’s not the first time something like that happens. A month before it was the calendar app, that now seems weird and confuses me a lot. And the month before was the banking app that changed basically everything and I can never find where to check for my virtual credit card number again.

Blowing with the wind of change

Now developers should be much more cautious about changes in their applications, because it certainly has a lot of impact in the lives of their users. Delivering a new feature that everybody was asking for is one thing, but treating basically everything the user has already learned about your UI and flipping it upside down suddenly is a completely different one!

This kind of thing was happening even before “mobile apps” were a thing. I remember how awesome KDE 4 was and the feeling of “why???” when they decided to “move forward”, throw KDE 4 away and start working in “KDE 5”. The same with “Gnome 3” (although I can understand the reasons for that change a little more).

But in all cases the story is the same: developers release their software, users start using it and learning it and getting the grip of each detail and start to like things how they are and get really used to and report bugs and improve on things and after many, many years of this incredible effort and collaboration and even community building, the damned developers decide that “it’s time to move on” because “the code base is hard to maintain” and “we can’t make use of the incredible new technology that’s available nowadays” and here we go again, throwing lots and lots of energy in this new endeavour that, in five years at most, is going to the trash can again so that we can start a new cycle again and again and again and again for ages to come.

I’m tired of that. Really tired.

Distant memories are buried in the past forever

And that’s the reason I keep using the same old software that have the decency to stay the same for as long as possible. Here I am using a X11 terminal emulator to run a shell (it’s Zsh, but, anyway) to call vim to write this article because I can’t stand learning a whole new set of “features” of the “new” Wordpress to in the end hope I could at least make things right writing some lines of the good old HTML…

I’m trying out NetBSD because even GNU/Linux is becoming unbearable - since at least ten years ago, probably, because, yeah, OSS can’t mix two sound streams together, so we need ALSA - that can’t mix two sound streams together today on my laptop, and /proc is kind of messy so let’s create /sys to also become messy and, oh, the route command is bad, we need to call it ip route and also ifconfig is not good enough so we need to make eveything into ip (a?) command now and, whoops!, ALSA is not enough anymore, we need Pulseaudio BUT WAIT Pulse is kind of old, we totally need Pipewire and let’s not even start talking about Wayland or how it’s more difficult to create a Web browser than a whole new operating system.

And I know that this is exactly what makes GNU/Linux so fascinating and I’m not saying we should stop creating new things but, man… being always new gets old fast.

(Side note: Linux used to support my eeePC 1000HA Elantech touchpad, 7 years ago, but now it simply doesn’t…)

Take me on the magic of the moment on a glory night

I reached the point some years ago where I don’t update my apps, except if there’s a very good reason for that. “Better support for Moto G devices” is not a good reason.

I’m also starting to avoid Android apps every time I can. My plan includes buying an alarm clock. Like, literally, a real device to sit besides my bed and wake me up at a predetermined time… Sad, right?

People can read this rant and think it’s just a grumpy old man complaining about new things but I would like to call developers to reflect about how important the trust of their users is and how easy it is to throw it away in exchange for things that are not really that important or that could be pursued as another project, letting the old one still alive and probably receiving really necessary updates in a probably slower pace but allowing users to chooose if they want to try “new and exciting features” or if they are totally okay with the current version they already have.

Or not. Whatever. I hope it all burns down quickly.


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