The issue with people not understanding filesystems isn't that people don't understand filesystems; it's that for decades now the leading technology companies have been executing a campaign to strip basic computer literacy from everyone who isn't college educated, allowing the formation of a cult of tech and the mysticization of the process in order to justify monopolies and oligopologies with outsized influence over daily life for everyone on Earth.

I fundamentally believe that computers should help as many people as possible do as much as possible, and the way to achieve that isn't by hiding what computers are doing; it's by making what computers are doing understandable and manipulable by users.

Computers should do what their users tell them to. No more, and no less.

all of that said the phrase "zoomers don't know what a file is" is very funny, 2 me

@Amber I will literally self-immolate on the front lawn of Microsoft's headquarters.

@juliana I dunno, like if you grew up on Chromebooks and Google Drive I can see you having no idea what a "file" is. And the fact that many don't know why the save icon is a floppy.

I like the *nix ethos of "everything is a file" personally.

@greyor @juliana I like it better than the Android philosophy that "nothing is a file."

@n8chz @greyor @juliana that is absolutely not true, since everything is a file in unix, linux is a unix-like OS, and Android runs on linux.

everything is a file in Android, the system is just made to be so opaque that you think files don't exist.

@crashglasshouses @greyor @juliana OK, let's say I'm writing an Android app, and I want to press a button that opens a dialog box which I will use to navigate to a LOCAL directory in which I'll save the app's data as a file. Where in the Android SDK do I find the class that implements this? I can't find it, but I'm pretty new to Android SDK, so perhaps I just don't know what to look for...

@n8chz @greyor @juliana i have no idea, i'm not a programmer. Android is made of files, everything in Android is a file. just because you don't know how to manipulate the files doesn't mean they aren't there.

@n8chz @juliana I hear you there. I don't really interact with Android's ecosystem more than superficially so I have no idea about that.

@juliana I have never met a zoomer who doesn't know about files, like, at all. Some people are close, though - Big Tech is pushing /very/ hard to make the kids stop trying to understand and tinker with their computers. It's scary, honestly.

@keith @juliana we need to destroy big tech, the state, and capitalism before they neuter an entire generation of computer users.

Among myriad other reasons.

@juliana I can certainly speak for the validity of "zoomers don't know how to pirate stuff", though. Again - tech corporations want to be worshipped as gods and blindly obeyed. Not gonna happen on my watch.

@keith @juliana

Who would win?

A huge tech monopoly with hundreds of billions in funding and tens of thousands of highly motivated and educated goons.


One twinky femboy with a soldering iron.

@keith @juliana They seem to think of open source activists as people who want to con people into working for free. They think Hollywood is an employer of creatives, but correctly perceive the textbook industry as a sort of mafia, and pirate accordingly.

@n8chz @juliana A couple people, certainly - but every zoomer I've actually interacted with offline just doesn't know how to pirate, or is using their parents' streaming services.

@keith @n8chz @juliana I tried to teach my nephew how to pirate stuff, but his Chromebook's system made it so fucking hard. It hid so many details from him during his regular use that it was like I was speaking a different language to him.

@lethargilistic @n8chz @juliana Exactly. It's a problem with the technology making it harder and harder to do anything but be a Consumer™

@n8chz @juliana This weird cross-generational infighting needs to die honestly. "oh zoomers don't pirate because they think the MPAA is good" what does this actually achieve beyond making you feel self-righteous while furthering the interests of the copyright mafia? If y'all cut that shit out and actually interacted with Gen Z in a positive and constructive manner, the world could have been a somewhat better place.

@keith @n8chz @juliana Keith will you teach me how to pirate good

I’ve bought and used a seedbox before and both with that and with my home internet (via a VPN) I couldn’t get the torrents to seed properly. It was like I was forced to leech.

@Byte @n8chz @juliana Does your torrent client support DHT? Make sure it does and is enabled - it helps you find more peers, and it's (somewhat) safer than centralized trackers.

Also, some torrents might be so well-seeded that you're unlikely to find a peer that needs seeders before someone else does.

Finally, you might want to try finding your public IP address through the VPN, and configuring your torrent client to send that custom IP to trackers.

@keith good to know. I’ll dig up the grey market NordVPN account I bought a while back and try this

@Byte NordVPN is kind of sketchy in my opinion, but if you bought someone else's account details it's probably fine. I recommend using Mullvad, though - the only piece of ID they have on you is a randomly generated account number, and they use diskless servers that don't keep logs.

@keith oh, if I ever pay for my own account I’ll keep that in mind.

Stolen/shared accounts are a great deal though, to be fair.

@Byte @n8chz @juliana KTorrent is the client I use, and it works pretty well for me. I think Transmission also supports DHT, but I'm not 100% sure.

@keith @juliana i am working to fix this, on the ground in the streets (high school) :3 (/j for legal reasons)

@keith I mean that that phrase is funny in the sense of, "wow, what a ridiculous thing to say"

@keith @juliana Because they are trying their best into making computers as closed as possible. To make things obscure.

That is an incredibly big problem since it does not only helps to perpetue their monopoly but also it's destroying the Earth as a side effect.

@juliana I mean, I know what a file is. But a lot of details are for sure hidden for nefarious reasons these days, even on file based cloud storage like Google Drive.

It gets even worse than that, they are trying remove #physicalDisk media like (#)DVD and #BluRay from #computing landscape.

Flash media is volatile and allegedly *terrible* at longterm storage when battery goes, one or two years after use.

We say #RealComputersHaveDiskDrives.

Thankfully there are people still making real computers but you need to look for them.


@dsfgs @sebsauvage @juliana Don't flash drives draw storage from the device it is connected to?

@dsfgs @sebsauvage @juliana I have a lot of unreadable CD's and degraded DVD's (which was claimed to last at least 10 years, but it's not), so I'd argue that flash media is less robust than disks.

The only way to store data for long term reliably - have always-online storage (cloud, NAS, blockchain, etc), where you (or other people) can maintain (replace) underlying media.

Or you can listen to random guys, put your data in DVD's, then cope with your loss.

@saiv46 @dsfgs @juliana

NAS are not backups and can be remotely erased due to bug or malevolence.
IMHO, long-term storage must be cold (offline) to be reliable.

My general advice for long term storage:
- compute par2 on files
- store files and par2 on any media you want.
- regularly check data consistency with par2, repair if needed.
- ideally, always have two copies of important data, on media of différent brands.

@sebsauvage @dsfgs @juliana By NAS I meant "dumb" machines (always-powered SSD, USB flash hub, etc). Not commercial proprietary shit which has surprises like backdoor for remote erase.

Thanks for your experuence.

We think DVD and Bluray are reliable for a variety of usecases, including communication and tranferring data to others, but indeed no single method is perfect in all situations.

@saiv46 @juliana

@juliana I think we should bind every key to "sudo rm -rf /" so we know everything the computer can do because there's just one command.

@juliana ... I think this might be at the core of why we are rejecting so hard the "just let people forget about files" narrative seemingly everyone is pushing on this. ("everyone" being like, one or two people, but we hsven't seen many countertakes...)

Yeah, exactly. Show them stuff like the filesystem, no need to hide it. It's not like you need to be able to program to understand it.

There is going too far that way. Like, we heard a take "don't use Git unless you understand its internal data structures", and in our opinion /that/ is ridiculous. But files? Files aren't that.

The only argument we've heard for hiding files is "I like being able to tag stuff", and files and tags can coexist!

@LQ84i @juliana why are files/directories not that? It feels for me that the only difference is that I (and many others) grew up with hierarchical directories structure and therefore perceive it as "natural", as opposed to git which we learned later in life. I still don't understand what is so special about hierarchical directories structure.

Computers should do what their users tell them to do, and users generally do not operate e.g. in terms of NAND gates or memory management or master file tables; why do we expect them to operate in terms of hierarchical directories?

I agree that both tags and files can coexist. I agree that users should be able to manipulate files and directories if they want to. I don't understand why the fact that some (many) of them don't want to is considered regrettable.

@IngaLovinde @juliana Because it feels like the next step from "many don't want to" is "it will no longer be an option at all".

Additionally, it feels less like "evolving interaction paradigms" and more like /removing features/, dumbing it down to MAKE people forget about files.

Nothing says you have to use that hierarchy. We have known people who dumped everything in one gigantic folder. Heck, /we/ do that with our downloads folder. But not having your files siloed into one app is important, and it feels like that siloing is what mobile is going toward.

In another thread you mentioned your email messages aren't files. Well, that /prevents you from opening them/ with anything except your mail client. Whereas, say, our Krita documents? We can easily open them with anything else that understands the format (I do not know of any apps that do, but we actually wrote a script to clean up their internal structure, because with files, you can do that).

@juliana Yup i have seen this over the years teaching introduction courses at university, the basic computer skills have dropped so sharply over the past few years. Its quite worrisome.

@juliana I think both things are true fwiw, computer literacy sucks and the benefits an elite. But also filesystems do suck. Their replacements aren’t great so far, but they need replacement.

The file system is an analogy to a physical thing that has always had its own literacy issues. Alphabetizing, Dewey Decimal, Catalog numbers, Libraries, Card Catalogs, etc. All have literacy issues. All are more complex topics than people tend to think about.

@juliana Companies used to hire entire staff departments to manage their paper file systems. Those file systems would sometimes have hundreds of pages of documentation and notes. Binders of stuff to find other binders of stuff.

So I feel that computers picked a terrible foundational metaphor/paradigm that sucked in the real world even more than it sucks digitally (where it still sucks and is mostly just “for nerds”).

I think some of the solutions are bad for computer literacy, yes.

@juliana In a past life, I’ve tried to teach filesystems. I’ve seen a bunch of curriculum that tried.

I feel comfortable believing that both things are true: some replacements for filesystems are intentionally infantilizing and rob computer literacy efforts. But also filesystems have always sucked, have always had literacy problems IRL, and should be replaced with something better that isn’t infantilizing.

@juliana (Aside: I don’t know what “better” is either. I’ve got a bunch of notes on the subject trying to find a startup angle. I feel like I’d be a millionaire if I had solved it.)

Anyway, sorry for the mention spam, just have a lot of thoughts/opinions here.

@juliana people not understanding filesystems is not new, it's just gotten worse.

The biggest problem I have with people with files as an adult librarian, is GenX/Boomers with iPhones. We have a printer you can email files to to print. (Good for people who don't know their email password, [the biggest problem,],) is they have no concept between the Cloud and on phone storage. Printer can't talk to the cloud.

I own and Android, so I don't know how to force it.

So !@#$ing frustrating.

Zoomers/Millennials tend to know their passwords or can follow instructions.

I'm actually going to email my IT department and ask if thy can make instructions on how to save a pdf to an iPhone's internal storage, and make it attach it to an email amd mot give a cloud link. I think you really see this in newer social media aswell, especially tiktok is designed to be consumed in such a way where you have little agency over the content passing over your screen at any given moment and all you do is train a model on your preferences to make it more usable for you... its disturbing how so many especially younger people have that as their main source of entertainment and how much that solidifies/establishes themselves as consumers to have corp content handed to them rather than people doing what they like

@potzerus @juliana My main beef with TikTok is that they plaster their $&#**@%! logo all over every video first uploaded to their service. I'm sick of seeing it and wish there was an easy way to remove it automagically on my end.

@juliana Another way of saying this, possibly saying the same thing, is that computers have become appliances at the same level as something like a vacuum cleaner. See: where I say this in about as many words.

@juliana FCBs (Filecontrolblocks, what was inherited by DOS1.x from CP/M) was the last FS i understood. After that i became too complex for me. it's the OS job to care about that, i will not implement direct block device access in a vain attempt to be smarter than the provided implementation.

@adorfer @juliana I think @juliana is talking about the fundamental concept of organizing "stuff" in computers... You and I know that a JPEG or an MP3 exist as "files" at an intermediate abstraction level and that they can be treated very similarly on that level.

Yet when I open the so-called "File Manager" on a recent mobile or desktop device I get presented all kinds of "collections", "libraries", etc.

@adorfer @juliana the concept of "files" (and folders) being hierarchically organized in "folders" was easy to explain to anyone. Now the additional, inconsistent abstraction layers are a nuisance.

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Eldritch Café

Une instance se voulant accueillante pour les personnes queers, féministes et anarchistes ainsi que pour leurs sympathisant·e·s. Nous sommes principalement francophones, mais vous êtes les bienvenu·e·s quelle que soit votre langue.

A welcoming instance for queer, feminist and anarchist people as well as their sympathizers. We are mainly French-speaking people, but you are welcome whatever your language might be.