Switching to Alacritty Removals

Below are the outtakes from my switching to alacritty blogpost which I decided to split off into its own page because all the strikethrough text made the original post difficult to read. In case anyone is interested in what was removed, here it all is:

From the responses in the Fediverse and Lobste.rs threads, I can no longer say that the Suckless folk were espousing far-right rhetoric or partaking in neo-nazi-like activities. As it turns out, at least from the responses in that thread, there was nothing political behind the torch march and the use of “Cultural Marxism” was taken out of context and the word was probably misused.

We can still call out the use of “Wolfsschanze” as the name of the mail server is in bad taste and is offensive considering where the term comes from, but it is hardly evidence that they are “literal neo-Nazis.”

The people who responded on the Fediverse I think were ultimately right, the evidence here is largely circumstantial and I was mistaken in drawing the conclusions that I did. I am sorry for that.

I’ve been a pretty happy user of St, the Simple Terminal from Suckless for quite a few months now. However, as I was scrolling through my Fediverse timeline this afternoon, I noticed a discussion about the attitudes of prominent software contributors in the FOSS community which made me re-think my software choices.

It’s no secret that a lot of people in FOSS can be abrasive, hard to deal with, and/or unaware of common social norms to the point where it can seriously harm a project’s image, as it did, for example, with the Linux kernel in the time before Linus Torvalds took some leave to learn how to control his aggression. It’s another story, however, when a group of people use and spread far-right rhetoric or partake in neo-nazi-like activities as I’ve recently learned prominent people from the Suckless group have done.

Here are the resources that were shared with me:

From this, I can say that even if the Suckless team just has a really screwed up sense of humour, it’s not a group I’d want to promote or ever associate with.

This issue once again stirs up the debate about the separation of a piece of work from the creators of the work. Do we stop using or shun something that someone has created, even if it was previously loved, because of the actions of the creator? There’s no black-and-white or one-size-fits-all answer to that question. Some works are easier to separate from the creator, like the ReiserFS filesystem for example, because there are far more people than just Hans Resier (who, by the way, murdered his wife) developing it. On the other hand, other works have the creator’s personality strewn through it like, for example, the Harry Potter novels (if you didn’t know, J.K. Rowling is transphobic and is also an asshole about it).

In the future, I will definitely avoid recommending Suckless’ software and I’ll be far more hesitant to consider them when evaluating tools to use. For now, one thing that I know I can switch from with little friction and with an actual technical benefit is St.

As for the other suckless programs I use, if I am to switch I’d need to find suitable replacements for dwm, slstatus, and dmenu. That’s a little harder than switching from St because, not only do I have no technical issues with that software, there is also dwm’s window swallowing patch which I consider to be a killer feature and which is lacking from pretty much every other window manager (I don’t want to go back to bspwm).

Ultimately, this is a tricky thing. How closely tied should we consider Suckless’ software from the Suckless people themselves? It would be easy enough to fork it and maintain it under a different group and wantonly throwing away software which is objectively useful because the creators are bad seems a little extreme given that fact (look at what happened to ReiserFS). I will absolutely not be recommending them anymore, but, in terms of switching off of something that works really well for me, I really don’t know. I’m curious what you think, send me an email or reply to this post in the Fediverse.