nodejs needs some of us

PMc

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 201
Messages: 562

It seems to me there is more to this than to just collect some cannon fodder volunteers. But maybe I am wrong, so please enlight.

First question: what is nodejs? When asking Wikipedia, I basically get bullshit bingo talk. So, what can be done with that piece?

I came across that matter because some of my software requires e.g. www/node as a prereq, and so I had to care about that port. But here with me, the rules are still: I can only use it if it also runs on i386. And node dropped that support a long time ago; it requires SSE2/+/whatever. I fought with that matter for a long time (as there are workarounds to get the piece working nevertheless), but gave up on it recently, because, my specific requirement is not to cope with this node thing, it is just the dreaded "V8 library" itself (which seems to be the underlying thing). And so I ventured into the matter: how do I get that V8 piece to somehow build here - but this is at least as big a PITA. When I tried to natively build some recent version of it, I found, that thing is simply not provided for FreeBSD - it is not provided for any unix at all!! It is only provided for Linux and that half-swallowed Apple (okay, formally we may call that one a unix).

I think I mentioned that somewhere here, but, no reaction, as usual. :(
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

Reaction score: 1,364
Messages: 3,406

PMc Node can be thought of as high speed javascript, due to the V8 engine from Google, that can run on server hardware, as a server, and has better ability to communicate with a browser with the convenience of running javascript on both ends.
what can be done with that piece?
Quite a bit and it's used quite a bit. Virtually all credit card transactions online by anyone but the biggest commerce sites use a payment processor that uses node, such as Stripe, PayPal and Braintree, but it's much more widely used for other things, too.

Unfortunately, too many use it cause it's easier than putting together a proper client/server project and some will even say it's a replacement for that. I beg to differ.
 
  • Thanks
Reactions: PMc
OP
OP
U

ucomp

Active Member

Reaction score: 35
Messages: 198

drhowardfine, it is very fine of you to answer questions accurately. :)
But this thread is actually about to point out that nodejs can only provide support for FreeBSD if there are contributions from here from developers who are willing to regularly provide (in particular) builds for FreeBSD .
 

PMc

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 201
Messages: 562

PMc Node can be thought of as high speed javascript, due to the V8 engine from Google, that can run on server hardware, as a server, and has better ability to communicate with a browser with the convenience of running javascript on both ends.

Quite a bit and it's used quite a bit. Virtually all credit card transactions online by anyone but the biggest commerce sites use a payment processor that uses node, such as Stripe, PayPal and Braintree, but it's much more widely used for other things, too.
Okay, on occasion I may look into that, find out why my software needs it and find ways of making it fit my purposes.
But, the general impression from Your description is: this software is mostly of interest to commercial people, i.e. those interested in making money.
So, it might be unwise to put effort into that issue, because one might finally end up singing:
 
OP
OP
U

ucomp

Active Member

Reaction score: 35
Messages: 198

Even the subproletarian class of software developers sometimes needs to earn some money to continue to provide free software for you 😂
However, it is a pity that in this forum often the important topics are missed.
nodejs is looking for developers for nodejs support under FreeBSD. So, who is ready to contribute? Even 1 "lonely" developer can make difference , but has to be available for their (nodejs) communication-channels.
 

PMc

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 201
Messages: 562

sorry, but nodejs-team didn't ask for our (users-) -questions but for our developers- answers
Alright, let me make one thing clear for You:

I preferred to reserve the term "developer" to a very selected group of people which I highly admire - beginning with Dennis, Brian and Ken (definitely also Seymour Cray) and in more recent days for instance Kirk&Eric - and certainly some more with similar qualities.
Those are people, who, if the need arises, might build a computer, from the raw silicon stuff all the way up to best-working software; but most important: they didn't do it for the greed, they did it for the passion.

What nowadays tends to be called "developer", especially under the "agile" aegis - well, politeness forbids me to say what I think about these tendencies.

The general term of inhowfar FreeBSD preferres to separate between "developers" and NPC's I have offered to discussion at another place.

Even the subproletarian class of software developers sometimes needs to earn some money to continue to provide free software for you 😂
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

If those developers dont want to write software, I simply have to do it on my own. No problem with that, been there already: when I learned about the Internet in 1987, and figured that I need access to get to the most relevant information about some seriously arcane subjects, I had to write LOTS of things on my own, because there was practically nothing available, and even less would it run on some hardware I could possibly obtain, and under the conditions I could arrange for.

You got the wrong sparrings partner, dude.
 

ralphbsz

Daemon

Reaction score: 1,331
Messages: 2,155

But, the general impression from Your description is: this software is mostly of interest to commercial people, i.e. those interested in making money.
For NodeJS, that might be 99.9% true, in the sense of: 99.9% of all CPU cycles used in NodeJS are being used in for-profit enterprises. But nearly the same statement is true for all software. I would make an educated guess that you if add up all the supercomputers, the server farms of the big internet companies (FAANG or whatever the acronym du jour is), and all the computers used as servers and desktops in corporations, that this accounts for at least 99% of all computing.

So now think of Kant's categorical imperative: What would happen if everyone acted like you, and refused to develop FOSS software that is mostly of interest to commercial people? Then there would be no FOSS software. This is particularly poignant for *BSD software: For Linux and other software that is under the GNU (L-)GPL license, a commercial entity that ships a product based on modified source code has to at least re-release the modified source code. In the case of the BSD license, that is not even necessary: a commercial company (like Netflix, Jupiter or NetApp) can take the BSD source, modify it, incorporate it into their product, and they have no obligation whatsoever to the FOSS community. So being against commercial use of software is a bit extra nonsensical in the BSD world.

You are free to make your own decisions on what you want to invest your time in. But if everyone followed your example, then FreeBSD would be a weaker operating system, because there would be no NodeJS for it.
 

ralphbsz

Daemon

Reaction score: 1,331
Messages: 2,155

Dennis, Brian and Ken (definitely also Seymour Cray) and in more recent days for instance Kirk&Eric
Dennis is dead.
Brian is a professor at a big university, and has been for quite a while. He hasn't develop software in ages.
Ken went to work for Google for about a decade. I suspect he might be retired now, I'm not sure. I have heard that he used a Chromebook as his computer recently.
Seymour Cray worked on for-profit companies all his life, building faster and faster (and more and more specialized) computers. He died while still working, and never retired.

Their successor as grand man of the Bell Labs OS research group was Rob Pike. He now works for Google, developing the Go language (which is in some aspects C++ done right, but also shares interesting characteristics with NodeJS), and last I heard uses a Mac as his computer.

I don't know who you mean by Kirk and Eric. There are quite a few folks with that name.

...who, if the need arises, might build a computer, from the raw silicon stuff...
None of these people (with the exception of Cray) ever dealt with raw silicon stuff. They left the building of the computers to experts. They did research on languages and operating systems.

... all the way up to best-working software;
That is at least very debatable. The early Bell Labs versions of Unix were not very usable by either today's standards, nor by the standards of computer usage of that day. The same applies to the C and C++ languages. They only started their inexorable march to victory once the researchers (at Bell Labs and elsewhere) handed control and development to commercial entities, which added all the stuff to make them actually useful.

Now, don't get me wrong: Multics and Unix and Plan9, and C and C++ (and Java and Go) were great leaps in systems research. The folks who worked on them were (and in some cases still are) geniuses. I'm very honored to have met a few of them personally. But they were not great software engineers, nor great strategists for the computer industry.
 

PMc

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 201
Messages: 562

For NodeJS, that might be 99.9% true, in the sense of: 99.9% of all CPU cycles used in NodeJS are being used in for-profit enterprises. But nearly the same statement is true for all software. I would make an educated guess that you if add up all the supercomputers, the server farms of the big internet companies (FAANG or whatever the acronym du jour is), and all the computers used as servers and desktops in corporations, that this accounts for at least 99% of all computing.
Hm, yes, maybe. I try a different approach: there are people who obtain money with their computers, and there are other people who have to pay to use computers. I would rather feel solidary with the latter, as the former already get their benefit.
But my initial question had a completely different ambition: to find out if I can construct some use-case (even if it is a fake one, as many of mine are) to have fun with that piece of software. Because only if that can be done, I might get interested in seeing to it that it runs well on FreeBSD. And that thing was already sitting on my systems for quite a while, and it is one of the few pieces where I don't know what it does in detail - and I might probably grab a chance to change this.
But ucomp has got this into some completely different throat.

And then, pieces that are mainly targeted to commercial use have a tendency to be boring, and no fun to play with. (E.g. postgres is the AFAIK only RDBS that is really fun.)

[I have to think awhile about Your second part of text.]
 
OP
OP
U

ucomp

Active Member

Reaction score: 35
Messages: 198

.....
You got the wrong sparrings partner, dude. ...
....But @ucomp has got this into some completely different throat.
😂 ucomp opened this thread to tell developers(even old bags like you :) exactly that what ralphbsz wrote :
You are free to make your own decisions on what you want to invest your time in. But if everyone followed your example, then FreeBSD would be a weaker operating system, because there would be no NodeJS for it.
 

PMc

Aspiring Daemon

Reaction score: 201
Messages: 562

Dennis is dead.
Brian is a professor at a big university, and has been for quite a while. He hasn't develop software in ages.
Ken went to work for Google for about a decade. I suspect he might be retired now, I'm not sure. I have heard that he used a Chromebook as his computer recently.
Seymour Cray worked on for-profit companies all his life, building faster and faster (and more and more specialized) computers. He died while still working, and never retired.
Seymour was talking to the Elves. Thats where his input came from.

And thats quite an interesting point. I don't think it matters much what these guys did before or after. I think it matters most that they were at the right place at the right time, and did something, maybe only once-in-a-lifetime, that really matters: to bring down something that exists only in the mind, an idea or vision, into something materialized; to be capable (by means of throughput) to channel that idea down and (by means of skill) pronounce it into something tangible. This is how visions become reality, this is how mankind evolves - and these are often one-time achievements and sometimes they may not even reach their true value during the lifetime of the creator.
In the case of unix, the achievement was to bring down the idea that a fully capable OS (i.e. multiuser, multitasking, timekeeping, filemanaging) can be created with the limited ressources of a mini. This led the way onwards, away from the concept that computers need to be big centralized things. Only from this point onwards the Internet-of-Things became already visible.

The achievement is NOT to build a perfectly functioning product, the achievement is to materialize the vision in a way that the further path becomes visible from there. It is not about usability; it is much more like giving birth to something - and it is totally unrelated to marketability. (Our language knows about that, it idiomatically talks about the "hour or birth" of major achievements.)

don't know who you mean by Kirk and Eric. There are quite a few folks with that name.
Well, BSD Kirk (McKusick) and sendmail Eric (Allman). :)
(The latter's team managed once to actually get my bugfix into head within less than 24 hours. On other projects I occasionally had to discuss about the definition of "bug", for a year or longer.)

That is at least very debatable. The early Bell Labs versions of Unix were not very usable by either today's standards, nor by the standards of computer usage of that day. The same applies to the C and C++ languages. They only started their inexorable march to victory once the researchers (at Bell Labs and elsewhere) handed control and development to commercial entities, which added all the stuff to make them actually useful.
That depends a lot. I learned C from the original work of Kernighan/Richie and found it a very practical and delightful way to design a macro assembler: it was fun to build hardware and then have such a tool to talk to that hardware.

Now, don't get me wrong: Multics and Unix and Plan9, and C and C++ (and Java and Go) were great leaps in systems research. The folks who worked on them were (and in some cases still are) geniuses.
Thats what I'm saying.

I'm very honored to have met a few of them personally. But they were not great software engineers, nor great strategists for the computer industry.
The question is, why would I need the latter? When it comes to the industry, it just wants to reduce me to a functioning consumer, and preferrably one that buys rather stupid things. (The only thing that was commonly regarded as positive in this was that the computers become cheaper and more powerful in the process of marketing bad software.)

This now leads back to Your former post. I don't really know why the BSD licence is as it is. I might assume a reason in the fact that it is originally a product of an university, i.e. community (taxpayer) funded.

I also don't know what kind of opinion the FreeBSD community prefers to have about the industry. My own opinion is not very positive: the industry tends to prefer the most marketable thing over the technologically best, and the market is easily deluded. One could garnish this with any of the Dilbert clips; they perfectly depict the reality of business. What is desireable in such? It's just a ship of fools.
 

drhowarddrfine

Son of Beastie

Reaction score: 1,364
Messages: 3,406

ucomp He didn't know what node was used for and, by implication, might lead some to wonder why one should dedicate their time to continue making it work on FreeBSD. My post gave some reasons.
 
OP
OP
U

ucomp

Active Member

Reaction score: 35
Messages: 198

ucomp He didn't know what node was used for and, by implication, might lead some to wonder why one should dedicate their time to continue making it work on FreeBSD. My post gave some reasons.
as you can read above today he's got really other problems than nodejs-FreeBSD-support , but maybe he could be one interesting developer if he would discuss politics on other places, I don`t know...
 
OP
OP
U

ucomp

Active Member

Reaction score: 35
Messages: 198

I bet, spreading this info via mailng lists will be much more fruitful.
that's a very tough judgment on this forum :D
I only use the mailing-lists when I am a project contributor myself.
I found this comment very realistic:

He says : "If you like FreeBSD, then there's a good chance you're a bit of a systems nerd and you might even enjoy the work we do around here across many systems." .... then I'm sure it could easily raise in status.

So,aragats , what do you think as a developer ? Should we team up ?
or is this forum just good for copying and pasting things that have been in the FreeBSD-Handbook for years? ;)
 

Anand Suresh

New Member

Reaction score: 1
Messages: 10

Is this still a thing? Has someone started working on this or is looking for a collaborator? I'd be happy to assist.
 

Anand Suresh

New Member

Reaction score: 1
Messages: 10

I reached out to the node.js team and from the initial conversations, it sounds like they need some FreeBSD folks to assist with building/testing node.js on different versions of FreeBSD. Starting from node.js v12, FreeBSD has been dropped from Tier 2 to Experimental support because there are one or more failing tests and not enough active developers on the platform.

I'm actively working on building a new production stack on Google Cloud running FreeBSD 12 and Node.js v8 in production, with a future upgrade to v12 once it is promoted to LTS. If anyone has any interest in collaborating, feel free to get in touch with me.
 
  • Thanks
Reactions: OJ

rigoletto@

Daemon
Developer

Reaction score: 1,068
Messages: 2,122

Not really. I would start with #FreeBSD at Freenode, and/or "freebsd-hackers" or "freebsd-questions" mail lists.
 
Top