Let’s go for my web review for the week 2023-51.

Do we need to rethink what free software is?

Tags: tech, foss, licensing, ethics

A bit of an older article I’m bumping into again. It lays out fairly well the current limits and issues with Free Software as it is defined today. I’m unconvinced it can be solved via licenses but the debate needs to happen… I feel that somehow it’s too much ignored.

Adam Mosseri spells out Threads’ plans for the fediverse - The Verge

Tags: tech, facebook, fediverse, social-media

Looks like Meta is moving forward with more ActivityPub compatibility for Threads. This raises real questions about what they genuinely want to implement and what they’ll abandon along the way.

The Fediverse, Meta and the Tolerance Paradox

Tags: tech, facebook, fediverse, social-media

As Threads being connected to the Fediverse might turn into a reality, this article becomes all the more important. The question of this connection being even desirable is an important one.

How bad are the thousands of new stochastically-generated websites?

Tags: tech, web, search, ai, gpt, criticism, knowledge

When SEO and generated content meet… this isn’t pretty. The amount of good content on the web reduced in the past decade, it looks like we’re happily crossing another threshold in mediocrity.

Heather Ford: Is the Web Eating Itself? LLMs versus verifiability - Ethan Zuckerman

Tags: tech, ai, gpt, knowledge, wikipedia

The actual dangers of generative AI. Once the web is flooded with generated content, what will happen to knowledge representation and verifiability?

Facebook Is Being Overrun With Stolen, AI-Generated Images That People Think Are Real

Tags: tech, ai, machine-learning, gpt, social-media, criticism

Here we are… We’re really close to crossing into this territory where any fiction can disguise itself for reality. The problem is that we’ll literally be drowning in such content. The social impacts can’t be underestimated.

Cory Doctorow: What Kind of Bubble is AI?

Tags: tech, economics, business, ai, gpt

That’s a very good question. What will be left once all the hype is gone? Not all bubbles leaving something behind… we can hope this one will.

Google OAuth is broken (sort of) - Truffle Security

Tags: tech, google, oauth, security

Interesting finding. This shows a potential issue in how identities are verified by providers.

SMTP Smuggling - Spoofing E-Mails Worldwide - SEC Consult

Tags: tech, security, email

New technique for SMTP smuggling… vulnerable servers then allow to spoof while still passing DMARC checks properly. Check your providers and server configuration.

Terrapin Attack

Tags: tech, ssh, security

Interesting new attack on the SSH protocol. This is hard to achieve outside of the LAN though.

The World Before Git - by Sarup Banskota

Tags: tech, version-control, git, history

Back to the history of VCS, anyone still remember and used SCCS? Well, I did use it…

PowerInfer: Fast Large Language Model Serving with a Consumer-grade GPU

Tags: tech, ai, machine-learning, gpt

Interesting inference engine. The design is clever with an hybrid CPU-GPU approach to limit the memory demand on the GPU and the amount of data transfers. The results are very interesting, especially surprising if the apparently very limited impact on the accuracy.

Medusa: Simple Framework for Accelerating LLM Generation with Multiple Decoding Heads

Tags: tech, ai, machine-learning, gpt, optimization

Interesting technique to speed up the generation of large language models.

Interface Dispatch | Lukas Atkinson

Tags: tech, programming, object-oriented, compiler

Nice state of the art view on how dynamic dispatch is implemented in several languages. Does a good way showing the trade-offs involved.

Database Fundamentals

Tags: tech, databases, distributed

An exploration of how databases work from first principles, going all the way to distributed nodes etc. Good list of topics to explore further.

Maybe We Don’t Need UUIDv7 After All

Tags: tech, databases, uuid

It might not be as clear cut as sometimes assumed. With the right index UUIDv4 can still do as key in databases.

How many CPU cores can you actually use in parallel?

Tags: tech, multithreading, performance, python

This is unsurprisingly highly depend on the actual code, not only on the hardware.

Performance engineering, profilers, and seeing the invisible - Made of Bugs

Tags: tech, profiling, optimization

Or why using a profiler is not as easy as it sounds. This requires quite some experience and the ability to tap in other information not present in the profile.

ELF binaries and everything

before main() starts Tags: tech, elf, unix, system

Ever wondered how ELF and work? This is a good primer on the topic with a few OpenBSD specifics.

A curiously recurring lifetime issue

Tags: tech, api, safety, c++

This is an easy mistake to make. I’d say the API isn’t helping there either, there’s an improvement to find in Cap’n’proto to make it safer.

Memory Safety is a Red Herring

Tags: tech, memory, safety, rust, c++, java, python

Very interesting musing about undefined behaviors and language constraints. This is a bit Rust focused for obvious reasons but is also looking at what other languages have been doing.

Never trust a programmer who says they know C++ by Louis Brandy

Tags: tech, c++, learning, interviews

An old post, but very much true… People who really know C++ have stared the abyss in the eye, and you can tell.

Simulating Fluids, Fire, and Smoke in Real-Time

Tags: tech, shader, 3d, simulation, physics, mathematics

Wonder how to implement such real-time simulations? This is a good summary of all the math involved. Also comes with code snippets and demos.

The day I started believing in Unit Tests

Tags: tech, tests, embedded

Interesting story about using unit tests by someone who thought it was a waste of time… until, they helped uncover a bug which was widespread. Also it was in an embedded context which comes with its own challenges.

Advice for new software devs who’ve read all those other advice essays • Buttondown

Tags: tech, programming, craftsmanship

This is a good set of advices for beginners. I especially like the ones about best practices, trying different things and why it makes sense to be conservative tech wise.

Technical Debt is not real

Tags: tech, technical-debt

This is indeed a more complex topic than it sounds. When someone complains about “technical debt” always inquire what it really means to them, what this is about, what are the symptoms.

Managing Technical Debt - Jacob Kaplan-Moss

Tags: tech, technical-debt, product-management, project-management, metrics

Good approach for tackling it indeed. The crux of the issue is really measuring the tech debt since it’s still a fuzzy concept and we have no good metrics for it.

Ask Questions, Repeat The Hard Parts, and Listen – Rands in Repose

Tags: management, leadership, decision-making

This is an impressive piece about decision making and leadership. I love the approach: seeking to get the decision out of the person instead of deciding for them.

How Lego builds a new Lego set

Tags: lego, design

Fascinating article explaining how some Lego sets are designed.

Bye for now!