My SubscribeStar account is live

I’ve finally gotten validated by SubscribeStar, which means I can get payouts through it, which means those of you who want nothing to do with Patreon can contribute through it: https://www.subscribestar.com/esr

If you’re not contributing, and you’re a regular here, please chip in. While I’ve had some research grants in the past, right now nobody is subsidizing the infrastructure work I do and I’m burning my savings.

There’s NTPsec, of course – secure time synchronization is critical to the Internet. There are the 40 or so other projects I maintain. Recently I’m working on improving the tools ecosystem for the Go language, because to reduce defect rates we have got to lift infrastructure like NTPsec out of C and Go looks like the most plausible path. Right now I’m modifying Flex so it can be be retargetable to emit Go (and other languages); I expect to do Go support for Bison next.

I’m not the only person deserving of your support – I’ve founded the Loadsharers network for people who want to help with the more general infrastructure-support problem – but if you’re a regular on this blog I hope I’m personally relatively high on your priority list. I’m not utterly broke yet, but the prospect is looming over me and my house needs a new roof.

Even $10 a month is helpful if enough of you match it. For $20 a month you get to be credited as a supporter when I ship a release of one of my personal projects. From $50 a month I can buy my long-suffering wife a nice dinner and afford an occasional trip to the shooting range.

I live a simple life, trying to be of service to my civilization. Please help that continue.

54 thoughts on “My SubscribeStar account is live

  1. FYI: $5/month isn’t an option there.

    I just subscribed. Not for as much as I’d like, but it’s hard raising a family in the Peoples’ Republic of New Jersey on a single income.

    • >FYI: $5/month isn’t an option there.

      Updated. I’d add a $5 tier, but I read a guide to Patreon that said too many tiers induces analysis paralysis.

      • To remove analysis paralysis, put a “IF IN DOUBT DO THIS” on the second to bottom tier.

        Or the bottom tier.

        I would chip in, but my savings is gone and I’m delivering groceries to keep the sheriff from the door.

        • >I would chip in, but my savings is gone and I’m delivering groceries to keep the sheriff from the door.

          You are officially in worse need than I am. Take care of your own situation before even worrying about me, brother.

  2. Recently I’m working on improving the tools ecosystem for the Go language, because to reduce defect rates we have got to lift infrastructure like NTPsec out of C and Go looks like the most plausible path.

    The die on this front has already been cast — in favor of Rust. I know you dislike it, but everywhere I go online I hear nothing but frustration with Go because of its lack of an adequate type system (static typing at least as strong as Hindley-Milner is table stakes for a new language these days, and forget about dynamic typing), its mandatory GC, and other… idiosyncratic decisions that prevent basic shit like sane versioning and packages independent of their location on the web. The latter of which means that if GitHub goes under or, more likely, the SJWs or other monsters of the week somehow get your github hosting all your Go code shut down, everyone who depends on that code is SOL!

    You’re not getting any younger, and there’s an entire generation of systems hackers coming up with Rust — not Go, and certainly not C — as their systems-programming milk tongue. By backing the wrong horse, you may have decreased the pool of eligible, willing maintainers for your projects and put then at more risk than was necessary.

    That said, you’re still getting $10/mo from me through Patreon — as long as they’ll have you — because the roads must roll.

    • >The die on this front has already been cast — in favor of Rust.

      TIOBE and other measures of language adoption continue disagree with you. Rust adoption is still trailing Go by a pretty large margin. I have an ear inside the FAANGs that confirms this.

      Even if that weren’t so, I have a specific reason to make Flex and Bison Go-friendly, which is that I’m trying to create a smooth migration path out of C – including lots of legacy code that used those tools for config files and the like. Rust isn’t yet plausible as a migration path out of C for a bunch of reasons; one is because its core library support is not yet stable enough.

      Final point: if you have acquired any feel at all for the way I think, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the architectural approach I’m taking to re-targeting Flex for Go almost trivially implies it being able to grind out Rust as well. I’m solving the hard part of both problems, which is isolating Flex’s dependencies on its target language entirely into its m4 parser skeleton file.

      >That said, you’re still getting $10/mo from me through Patreon — as long as they’ll have you — because the roads must roll.

      Thank you. It’d be nice if a dozen of the regulars who like my politics did likewise.

      • > including lots of legacy code that used those tools for config files and the like

        Can you fix the config file upgrade problem while you’re at it?
        Major problem which causes lots of real-world Enterprise-software problems.

        You install Unix-based OS. Over time, you configure software/hardware to your liking in the configuration files. This can involve trivial one-line changes, or complex changes such as Apache/sendmail config issues. And then when you upgrade OS versions, the default config file has changed and so you are basically left doing a text-base 3-way merge to integrate the changes. Woe is you if the system included a pile of whitespace, ordering, or alignment changes.

        Instead, the config system should be able to read the old config file, the new defaults, apply them ontop of each other and write out a new version with all of the correction options, defaults, etc., while reflecting your existing changes.

        • Instead, the config system should be able to read the old config file, the new defaults, apply them ontop of each other and write out a new version with all of the correction options, defaults, etc., while reflecting your existing changes.

          Alas, as I am sure you are aware, in the most general case this an NP-hard problem. The solution is still being searched for ….

          OTOH, in any particular case, it’s merely (???!!) a matter of beating the developers briskly across the head and shoulders, and exhorting them to Do The Right Thing.

        • This problem has been fixed for a decade now.

          It’s called “infrastructure as code”. You should no longer be making *any* changes on the server itself. You make the changes in your repo (git, mercurial, subversion etc.) and then push them to a test server. Once that test server Does The Right Thing you push those changes to the production server.

  3. I’ve been a SubscribeStar contributor of yours since 07/2019 – did I get catfished into sending a different ESR $20/mo?

    • >I’ve been a SubscribeStar contributor of yours since 07/2019 – did I get catfished into sending a different ESR $20/mo?

      Nope, I see someone with the initials LW starting on that date. Your money is going where you intended. Do you want to be credited on my project pages? And if so, what name should I use?

  4. Surely there’s a more efficient systemic way to make money. Donation platforms only work for blue haired activists and shit. We all have to sell out a little here and there.

    • >Surely there’s a more efficient systemic way to make money.

      There is, but I’d have to drop the public-service stuff to do it.

      >Donation platforms only work for blue haired activists and shit.

      You know, it is within your power to prove that is wrong by subscribing for a healthy amount.

      • Clever for sure, but I’m not the right demographic. I’m a poor guy on the come up. People that have already made it and can/should support your work are the same people selling our civilization out for virtue signaling points, or, like Linus, can’t stand up to their whore daughters.

        When I do make it, if we’re not collapsed, you would absolutely be the sort of person I want to support, though. You’ve been a very positive influence, and in all seriousness, I hate knowing you’re struggling now.

    • Well, I suppose he could do what Google and Facebook have done, which is to subsidize the infrastructure stuff by building an NPPI-arbitrage money press. But I think that’s so outside Eric’s moral capacity that he never countenanced it for a second.

  5. Question. How does the fact that you’re now reduced to begging for money affect your previous opinion about the financial sustainability of open source?

    • >Question. How does the fact that you’re now reduced to begging for money affect your previous opinion about the financial sustainability of open source?

      Not at all. The reason I’m soliciting money is not because my work is open source, per se, it’s because I choose to work on public infrastructure that would be difficult to monetize even if the code were closed.

      Somebody has to do this. Too much depends on those bits. This means there are always going to be people who have to scrape for funding regardless of the open-source/closed-source dichotomy.

  6. Wait, isn’t SubscribeStar known to be a safe haven for neo-nazis and white supremacists? That’s what wikipedia says about any site that’s even slightly right of the silicon valley communist cabal.

    • It’s a site where porn artist and just spooked artist move after Patreon decided to go on throughcrime war through all their social media accounts. Of course there are neo-nazi. And everyone else who decided that “Thing you created was funded (by your patrons) through us, we own it and have the right to decide what you do with it” is not a healthy position for creative marketplace.

      • This type of thing is something I’m troubled by, enough to actually try & explain my objection.

        In the previous discussion you linked to, ktk said “Randall proved himself compromised when he came out against the principle of freedom of expression.” I will happily call myself a “free-speech extremist”, and say that based on what I’ve seen of Randall’s speech, ktk’s statement is accurate & Randall has placed himself on the wrong side of this issue. And yet, specifically because I’m a “free-speech extremist”, I will defend Randall’s right to speak against free-speech.

        I expect you will say you’re not calling for any type of censorship of Randall’s speech, you’re just arguing that it shouldn’t be supported or encouraged. And to an extent I agree with that – I used to donate money to Randall via Patreon because I enjoyed XKCD (and usually still do), but as Randall & Patreon both came out as opposed to free speech, I stopped & closed my Patreon account completely. I’ll defend Randall’s right to speak against free speech, despicable though I find it, but I won’t give him my money.

        And yet, going to the length of avoiding linking to XKCD, or only linking via an archive, seems far too petty to me. Especially when much of Randall’s speech via the comic itself (as in XKCD 2347 pouncer linked to above) is something that I actually do strongly agree with. It’s really not fair to say linking to XKCD 2347 is supporting opposing free-speech, or supporting BLM, or supporting anything else Randall himself supports but someone else may disagree with.

        • I expect you will say you’re not calling for any type of censorship of Randall’s speech, you’re just arguing that it shouldn’t be supported or encouraged.

          I’m arguing for applying Randall’s own standard to linking to his work.

          Seriously, unilateral disarmament is a great way to loose a war, and that includes culture wars.

          • I think you both make interesting arguments.

            I’m personally miffed at Randall because he’s proven, through multiple well-researched chart-comics and What-If essays, that he’s highly likely to find a novel angle on whatever he decides to write or draw. You can’t do that at his frequency without being even better at finding all the non-novel angles. And then he went and failed to find a non-novel but not completely trivial angle on free speech, that would have put a critically different spin on his portrayal of how it works, and the spin he did portray just happened to serve his political emotions.

            People who read that comic have a heuristic to trust and cite what Randall says, because of his past reputation. People who didn’t spot that non-novel but non-trivial angle on free speech will be inclined to believe there was no such angle, and repeat his comic to others. People who did spot the angle become either disappointed at his error, or angry at his betrayal of his own reputation.

            • he’s highly likely to find a novel angle on whatever he decides to write or draw

              Wow, that’s remarkably faint praise since it applies equally well to every crank out there.

              • Fine. Randall’s likely to find a novel angle that most nerds will find appealing.

                I don’t know why you made the point you did.

  7. Is anyone else perplexed by the lack of cryptocurrency adoption in Eric’s donation platform mix? It seems a curious blindspot from both a Political (direct P2P transactions not under the control of centralised bankers and regulators or other single points of failure) and technology/software perspective …

    • >Is anyone else perplexed by the lack of cryptocurrency adoption in Eric’s donation platform mix?

      This is something I keep meeting to do due diligence about. Thanks for the nudge.

  8. Really wish I could help. But being a practicing lawyer (we call them “advocates” in India), my income has taken a big hit since March due to this Covid 19 situation. Also the exchange rate of dollars with INR is highly unfavourable to me. :(

    I’ll keep it in mind when the situation improves.

  9. FYI, there is a comma in the URL for loadsharers in the description of the $1 subscription tier which causes it to be a bad address.

    • >FYI, there is a comma in the URL for loadsharers in the description of the $1 subscription tier which causes it to be a bad address.

      Fixed. Thanks for the heads-up.

  10. Eric, you might wish to update the right-hand sidebar of this blog’s homepage (under the banner Tip Jar to include a link to your SubscribeStar page (along with fixing the broken image next to your Patreon link).

    • >Eric, you might wish to update the right-hand sidebar of this blog’s homepage (under the banner Tip Jar to include a link to your SubscribeStar page (along with fixing the broken image next to your Patreon link).

      Well, this is annoying.

      WP has changed its interface enough that I can no longer figure out how to do that.

        • >I believe it should be editable under Appearance->Widget; you should have the “Widget Area” there, with the sidebar contents.

          Thanks, that’s the hint I needed. There used to be a more direct route to the widget panel from my dashboard.

      • I usually feel dumb when I’m in this situation.

        There probably should be a term for a UI failure of such massive scale that a seasoned Unix hacker can’t figure out basic tasks.

  11. I will also note here that Eric is a man of simple tastes…1911s in .45 Grognard, dark hot chocolate, good barbecue…the only real extravagance is the Greater Beast, and that was donated. Your money will go to a good cause. Mine does.

  12. I just Contributed on your subscribestar. I all my Compliments to your hard work and insights, Eric. Freedom isn’t free, and Civilization doesn’t just happen.

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