<![CDATA[Musings on IT]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/https://blog.barysas.eu/favicon.pngMusings on IThttps://blog.barysas.eu/Ghost 5.59Sun, 24 Sep 2023 05:03:18 GMT60<![CDATA[Byte-sized movie reviews]]>So I've been watching movies. Mostly good ones. Some bad ones. Let's see what we've got.

I'm Totally Fine (2022) - 1/5
Any movie that uses Papa Roaches' "Last Resort" unironically should be taken behind the sauna, jumalauta.

https://blog.barysas.eu/some-of-the-movies-ive-seen/64e7a68521223b000151acb8Thu, 24 Aug 2023 20:19:36 GMTSo I've been watching movies. Mostly good ones. Some bad ones. Let's see what we've got.

I'm Totally Fine (2022) - 1/5
Any movie that uses Papa Roaches' "Last Resort" unironically should be taken behind the sauna, jumalauta.

Spring (2014) - 7/5
It's Benson & Moorhead, what did you expect. Literally an answer for the times when your significant other asks the question "would you still love me if I was a worm?". Bought a blu-ray just in case that ever happens.

A Minor Premise (2020) - 4/5
Actually not that bad even if a bit predictable and cliche'd. I remember being unimpressed, but I have seen much worse movies later on.

The Cold Blue (2018) - x/x
A must-watch for WW2 aircraft mission enthusiast. I am not one, but I definitely see the appeal of this movies' beautifully restored historical footage.

Avatar - The Way Of The Water (2022) - 0/5
If I pirated this movie for free, I'd still want my money back. What a tremendous waste of time.

Resolution (2013) - 5/5
After seeing Something In The Dirt (2022) and The Endless (2017) I was very anxious that this could be disappointing or otherwise change my opinion of Justin and Aaron, but it didn't. It's good in a different way these two were and (for better or worse) better than Synchronic (2019).

Living (2022) - 3/5
The short-lived Minister of Magic from Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (whenever that was released) is an aging bureaucrat who on the edge of death starts platonically chasing young tail and builds a children's playground sometime soon after WW2, for his young indirect apprentice to share a tear-jerking emotional moment with a pure-hearted constable on a dark winters' night. Subtle. Did Spielberg do this?

Sisu (2023) - 4/5
A very bad-ass gold prospector spends the majority of time killing literal dirty nazis with absolutely zero subtlety. Linear, predictable, full of cliches and ultimately enjoyable.

Guy Ritchie's The Covenant (2023) - 4/5
Another kind of a buddy movie that has more than enough pathos to leave you inspired and just enough grit to keep you on the edge of the seat up until the end that ultimately does let you down even if you know you wouldn't have it any other way.

Leave No Trace (2018) - 3.5/5
Papa was a rolling stone, and so was I; It is a good drama showcasing the whole spectrum of lonerism to community to society and how we fit differently on that octave.

Dungeons And Dragons (2023) - 5/5
A movie that fits its' niche so well and is so lovingly aware of itself and the niche that it's difficut to feel anything else than adoration towards it.

Polite Society (2023) - 2.5/5
Is it self-aware? Is it autoparodic? Unlike Everything Everywere All At Once (2023) it's not entirely sure it should embrace its' own shortcomings leaving you in a weird place.

Angry Black Girl And Her Monster (2023) / The Blackening (2023)
You should go watch something Jordan Peele filmed instead, in my opinion.

Barbarian (2022) - 3.7/5
Deliciously grotesque and repulsive, the storytelling managed to surprise me a few times.

Prisoners (2013) - 5/5
Oh, yes. Yes, please.

<![CDATA[Chainsaw man: a first year psychology students' look]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/chainsaw-man-a-first-year-psychology-students-look/6420486b4b359c00017589e6Sun, 26 Mar 2023 16:27:56 GMT

Let's get some things out of the way first.

The below text is an interpretation only, I am not an expert neither in interpreting media, nor in psychology, nor in cultural context of given media. I'm just a random asshole on the internet, and an amateur at that. I also use profanity and am mature enough to talk about human sexuality without much shame, so if that's not something you're fine with, you can close this page now and go read something more sanitized.

Second, shounen is, as a rule, shit: it follows the predictable formula of "protagonist is too weak to deal with shit, protagonist tries real hard, protagonist gets better", rinse and repeat for thousands of episodes consisting flashy fights, chibi-style emotes, occasional fanservice shots of boobs and crotches and superficial moral conflict, until it gets to the absurdity levels best intentionally illustrated by One Punch Man and is the anime equivalent of Twilight series or such.

Chainsaw man: a first year psychology students' look
How I feel about most shounen

There are exceptions to this rule, either because you've watched them when you were at the target age, or they're created, written and directed by people suffering mental ilness and would rather channel that into barely pubescent children piloting giant mechas to defend humanity against existential threats (I am happy though that Hideaki finally either got therapy or proper medication, judging from EOE 3), people who seem to have true talent like Watanabe-san or are so over-the-top that by itself it subverts the genre, either intentionally or not; not that it really matters. I'm looking at you, JoJo.

Chainsaw Man is none of these things. Reminiscent of Bleach in more ways than one, it follows ... frankly, it doesn't really matter, even though the pilot episode pulls at your emotional strings rather efficiently, the worldbuilding is commendable or the characters are pretty cool. I've seen that before. It is the other aspects that are more interesting for me, and how the creators of the show (or manga that I didn't read) expose the psychological paradigms any first-year student of psychology should be aware of. I also think that might be intentional.

I'll start with the obvious.

Chainsaw man: a first year psychology students' look
Maslows' hierarchy of needs (had to crop the damn pyramid away)

It's not a pyramid, it's a hierarchy, god damn it. And the hierarchy is not rigid, as it depends on individual, circumstances and peoples' actions are usually driven by more than one need.

Oh and you don't have to cover the lower hierarchies fully in order to have needs in the upper hierarchies, but i'm getting ahead of myself.

When we first meet Denji, our protagonist, we basically have an animal: his most basic needs are not met and have not been met for such a long time he only has a vague outline of the higher-hierarchy needs, expressed as "having a girlfriend". Denji is absolutely unaware that other needs higher in the hierarchy exist, because his goal is to "get a toast with jam", i.e. his most basic physiological needs are not met.

It is interesting though, that some of his needs higher in the hierarchy is met. His pet devil Pochita at least partially satisfies the need for friendship, connection and family. The events in the pilot of the series also mean that Denji gets to back the basic needs level when Makita picks him up. At that point his interest in her is on the most basic need level, and later on crystallizes as "the need to touch boobs".

The need to touch boobs and have sex is probably typical of most shounen media, either covertly or overtly, but in this particular case it ties very neatly into the hierarchy of needs, especially with other characters, with needs in the upper hierarchy (mostly seeking self-actualisation in form of revenge, for example) looking down on the fulfillment of lower-hierarchy needs, with Denji avidly (and rightly) defending the validity of such needs.  

His character at this point is mirrored by Power, who is a complete sociopath. She is also stuck in the lowest portions of the hierarchy of needs. But unlike Denji, she doesn't seem to progress.

The progression upwards in Denjis' hierarchy of needs is demonstrated by the disappointment(s) he experiences after touching Powers' breasts and subsequent distinction between act of reproduction and intimacy facilitated by Makima; in the later scene following Denjis' first kiss (damn, that is not what I expected it to be) his refusal to have sex also shows that he is becoming more aware of his higher hierarchy needs.

There are also Freudian angles in the series, and I believe it's intentional.

Chainsaw man: a first year psychology students' look
Paging Doctor Freud to penile trauma unit

I mean just look at the image and try to seriously claim that in that sexually charged scene this is not a Freudian reference, and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and of course scissors usually lay down open next to your documents when you're just stamping them with your Hanko. Considering these are official documents, that's not a simple Hanko too, it's a jitsu-in, a "true seal", your most private key certifying your identity. Losing your Hanko, especially a jitsu-in is kind of a big deal in Japan, as you can only have one. In other words, that's a fucking penis right there ladies and gentlemen and I refuse to believe otherwise.

So obviously, there's an angle here. It does seem that Makima is a mother character to Denji (she literally brings him into this particular world after deciding if he lives or not), and his intention, obviously, is to... In words of The Doors/Jim Morrison: "Mother, I want to – aughaughaaarrhhhh". Denji is living the Freudian dream, folks: both of his father figures are dead, and one of them he's killed himself. We'll see if any of father figures appear in season two, but meanwhile the position is vacant. It doesn't help that Makima actively encourages his Oedipal complex; however the image above is a very obvious reference to the subconscious male fear of castration as an outcome of this travesty.

Thankfully this is not the only part of the series that can be interpreted through Freudian prism, because that would be boring. You know what other, less cocaine-fueled and penis-centered, theories Freud had? Yes, the internal mechanisms of the psyche: Id, Ego and Superego.

Okay so let's refresh that.

Chainsaw man: a first year psychology students' look
Shamelessly stolen from wikipedia

So we have this sea consisting of depths of unconscious we can't look into it, but otherwordly creatures beyond our reach and understanding exist there, there's preconscious where it's dark, but with some effort and perhaps a good searchlight we can find things and bring them out into our daily mumbling of conscious life where we try to pretend there's nothing beside it.

In that sea floats an iceberg that's us, consisting of three parts again (see, gaben, people like number 3) - Id, completely submerged in the darkness, Ego and Superego extending into the tip of the iceberg. These are all essential for a human being and each one has a very important function in the psyche. Id hosts all of our drives, desires and impulses, it is also the only part that has actual psychic (as in psyche - soul, not as in telekinesis bullshit) energy. If we'd give Id complete control, it'd probably be a disaster. We would eat, fuck and kill without any furhter thought and the world as we know would be over in whatever time the nukes need to fly whenever they need to fly. Id keeps bothering Ego from below to do just that and promises to provide all the psychic energy needed to do that. Why exactly Ego doesn't just submit to Ids' wishes, I will get back to in a moment. Ego is "me" in a nutshell, all that's going through the first persons' mind; it's a bubble of "self". Now why Ego is not simply YOLOing and getting crazy is because it's being kept in check by Superego, who is keeping the castration scissors handy, figuratively speaking, in case Id and Ego step out of the line. It's scary in that aspect, but ultimately overextending its' powers and getting what Superego wants would detrimental to the host of the three entities as all of Ids needs would be denied and we would die of starvation, so Ego does this balancing act between the two.

This ties in neatly with the world of chainsaw man: devils are Id manifest, driven by primal needs and desires. They are also necessary for humans' survival as they provide the power so sorely needed by them. Devil hunters primarily represent Superego who wish to exterminates devils indiscriminately. Ego... well it's obvious, it's the protagonist of the shounen the young male audience would be identifying with, caught between a rock and a hard place.

Chainsaw man: a first year psychology students' look
So, can you guess which is which?

The characters above are a good illustration of traits associated with the three major mechanisms of the psyche.

Power is a representation of mostly Id - just look at her claiming food for herself, immediately grabbing apples as soon as she gets hungry and general sociopathic behaviour and her willing to side with whoever's winning - i.e. whoever can satisfy her needs best.

Chainsaw man: a first year psychology students' look
A hungry Id in action, denied by Ego while Superego lies incapacitated in a hospital bed

Aki is definitely a superego - he's overseeing the two literally under his supervision, telling them to be more polite, to behave more appropriately. As superego, he's also essentially powerless and since Id/devils are the source of power in chainsaw man universe are his mortal enemy, using that power directly is deadly to him; he's forced to employ the power of others, mostly via Ego to attain his goals.

Denji is the balancing act - he needs a Superego to survive, but his heart is a devil which gives him all of the power; he is successfully balancing between killing devils and being one.

I don't think I've noticed anything else that's standing out as obvious from Freudian perspective; there are hints of Jungian theory too, like devils being creatures that emerge from the collective conciousness (i.e. common psychic gestalt, in terms on how humans see the world, not the telepathy bullshit), and that Makima actively hides her devil part and that can be interpreted as her Shadow (something that ego denies existence of as it doesn't fit the ideal perception of self, i.e. something that needs to be hidden away real good), but it's, you know, not something that can stand on its' own legs at this time of the series.

As I've mentioned previously, I personally think at least some of these things are intentional, and while it's true that almost anything involving humans can be subject to such analysis, especially where Freud's concerned, it's just too obvious and easy.

On the other hand, it is shounen, so maybe it's just meant to be stupid, obvious and easy.

Until next time, friends. And remember, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Chainsaw man: a first year psychology students' look
<![CDATA[Let's talk media]]>Dear reader, I am apologising in advance. My command of this language is adequate at most, style overburdened, composition questionable and knowledge of subject matters, whichever they may be, superficial at best; if that were not enough, I tend to drone on and on with endless sentences that stray off

https://blog.barysas.eu/lets-talk-media/64203aa34b359c0001758893Sun, 26 Mar 2023 13:20:33 GMT

Dear reader, I am apologising in advance. My command of this language is adequate at most, style overburdened, composition questionable and knowledge of subject matters, whichever they may be, superficial at best; if that were not enough, I tend to drone on and on with endless sentences that stray off the topic far enough to forget what in the name of sweet baby rays was I even talking about. One of the reasons for this monstrous and essentially hollow self-deprecating paragraph consisting of two sentences one of which is 69 (nice!) words long is that, as long as I'm being honest, I kind of lost the passion for technology right now, as it's a rational endeavor of politely bashing the kafirs' head in trying to prove that bash is as good as php and java and .net and whatever flavour of javascript is in fashion this week.

That, combined with general perceived shittyness of life, pretty tense half of a year behind me and who knows how much ahead (both in my professional and personal life), means that writing about How everything is a state machine or Wouldn't it be nice if we could tell what a void pointer is pointing to when we're talking about the voids of a soul or something that didn't really go beyond the title Oh no, cringe~ is next to impossible. Writing. I bet you forgot the verb in that hot mess of a sentence. See, that's my shitty style and composition, and I'm keeping it because we're here on this earth to suffer and I want you to suffer with me.

Fuck, that was a paragraph. I'm glad I deleted the tangent I was writing about my other flaws - that'd made it even more pointless than it already is. But, see, for me writing is a process I have to get into, so please bear with me for a very short while until I get into whatever tidbit I really want to say.

Anyway, I've been watching a lot of movies, both prior to my almost twelve-year stint of being a family man with gender-traditonal responsibilities and few gender-traditional benefits, and after the beginning of the current cataclysm I'm trying to push through. Surprisingly enough, at least some of the media I consume, when I try to consume it in a active-perceptive state, gives things for me to consider, and when I'm done considering them my head is not unlike a septic tank and these thoughts need to be taken out and dumped somewhere or otherwise put outside of the container.

It's also good that people rarely get emotional about popular media.

Let's talk media

So, finally, the fucking point. I'll be talking about medias for a while now. So far my backlog is:

  • First-year psychology students' look at Chainsaw Man season one;
  • An ode to Benson and Moorhead consisting of The Endless, Something In The Dirt, Spring, Synchronic and possibly Resolution
  • An overview of European movies that take themselves seriously: Another Round, The Hunt, Man Without The Past
  • An overview of Japanese movies that don't: One Shot of The Dead, and I'm sure something else will pop up.
  • A glimpse into redpill fantasies: Faling Down and The Changed
  • A glimpse into bluepill fantasies: Get Out, Sorry To Bother You, Us
  • Fuck me sideways: a review of select Cronenberg movies (The Naked Lunch, Videodrome & possibly ExistenZ)
  • Various tidbit-sized reviews of more trivial media.
  • Some rage pieces about seriously bad movies (e.g. almost anything Spielberg directed)

So that's the plan. Wish me luck, remember to like and subscribe and give me your money on whatever crowdfunding platform is chic at the moment. See you soon.

<![CDATA[The Place Where Black Stars Hang]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/the-place-where-black-stars-hang/634af02f4b359c00017583cbSat, 15 Oct 2022 21:23:05 GMT

Wind beyond frigid howled in the mountain valleys around the monastery as icy shards of blizzard were cutting the last few leaves still stubbornly attached to the branches with a ting that, if it were a day, would emit a spark. But it was a night, in which the ashram stood lightless - the rats had gotten to the candle supplies, so darkness was considered a new standard, and the few remaining candle-ends were rationed only to ensure trips to latrine don't end in a tragedy. Of course, wood and coal were not as appreciated as beeswax by rats, so deep in the bowels of the building flames were roaring in the infernal furnace basking monks assigned to the fire duty in orange-white light and copious amounts of infrared radiation of a substitute sun.

It was the dark confines of his cell in-between the fires of heavens and the frigidities of hell (or vice versa) that Master Bodhisattva contemplated The Place Where Black Stars Hang. It was a wondrous even if dreadful place where an antipode of light exists instead of mere absence of light; something, if intense enough, would put out even the everbright light of hydrogen nuclei fusing together. It was said that soul posesses the power of a fusion device, but even souls that do shine so bright would be extinguished – and worse yet, what souls would be born of it?

It was rather obvious that things were not going great in the ashram lately. Between meditations on frozen Black Stars in the stifling darkness of his cell and on-fire duty considerations of The Dimension That Contains Only a Bowl of Two Oranges and which is accessible only by the act of self-immolation, Master Bodhisattva struggled to find a path among the irreconcilable opposites. He was a human, after all, only perhaps more aware of the absurd callousness of the universe, and he was lost.

Master Bodhisattva, however, tried real hard to keep an inquisitive mind and rather chose to perceive threats, even existential ones, as curious developments. He was failing to, recently. There was plenty to be happy about, even moreso to be thankful for, but there was a dark star radiating anti-light upon himself, the ashram, mountain range, the world and the whole forsaken universe, and it was putting everyones' souls out bit by bit. It was the dark anti-light companion, the Master thought, that waits around the corner for anyone ground in the wheel of samsara, just beyond perception, just before comprehension, of which people are at best dimly aware until it presents itself face-on and snuffs out the light of the soul; previous occupant of the throne of conciousness is gone and another, stranger, settles in, but only eventually. What walks the face of the Earth meanwhile? Master shuddered, then calmed himself: everyone is the ship of Theseus. Everyone is the grandfathers' axe. Everyone fails to be the same person stepping in the same river again; and even if the change is drastic, there is still continuity, there is still some constant, real or imagined, bridging "before", "during" and "after".

Even in death. Especially in death.

His mind fell silent, mid-breath. The wind shrieked ever stronger; Deep below the fire rumbled in a rhythm growing ever fiercer. He felt the dark companion approaching, nearing comprehension: soon, he would face it. The paragraph would end. The story would conclude. Master Bodhisattva here no more.

And it was all right, he resolved. Master opened his eyes to the darkness and raised his gaze towards the small window near the ceiling. He gasped: through a tear in the raging snowstorm, a single bright star twinkled.

<![CDATA[The Sacred Scroll]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/the-sacred-scroll/62f3a7244b359c00017580b1Wed, 10 Aug 2022 19:40:32 GMT

It was a cold and damp night, most unfit for traveling, yet Master Bodhisattva was, as it was usual for this time of year, on his way back to the ashram of Little Creek. Chill deep in his bone, he didn't even feel - it was nothing, compared to the task on which the survival during the harsh winter to come depended. A design most elegant bloomed like a lotus flower in Masters' head, yet he was not sure that even with all hands on the proverbial deck they would see it to fruition. In fact, he was pretty sure they would fail and starve, perhaps, even to death.

It was then, as the cold Master ruminated his darkest thoughts on the nihilistic principles of Buddhism, disregardful nature of the universe and the autosadistic nature of dukkha, when he saw a faint glimmer of a temple light in the deep forest outside the path. The light somehow meant hope and warmth and perhaps a warm cup of tea, barring the unlikely prospect of hot soup, and Master Bodhisattva strayed deeper into the darkness of the moonless night.

As he got closer to the temple, it became more and more apparent that even the hope of water was too brave: the temple (more of a wall-less shrine) was overgrown with vines and very apparently abandoned. What Master thought was a light, was a large flickering ember crystal hanging inside, just over a mummified body of a one-legged monk, clutching in one of their hands a kangling. The whole setting heavily implied that the femur-flute's origin was the same full-body sarira - an interesting juxtaposition, Master Bodhisattva noted, even more-so with the chöd damaru missing.

Behind the body there was a small altar-stone with a single scroll on it. The altar-stone was once inscribed, but ages were not as gentle to the stone as they were to the body, and the writings were illegible. It was only perfectly clear that the scroll was of the Importance and Not To Be Disturbed.

Black overcast sky grew even darker, and a single drop landed on the steps of the abandoned temple, followed by another and another and another and Master Bodhisattva, having briefly considered all the alternatives, decided with some reluctance, that he was less of a fan of pneumonia than spending nights in temples of dubious karma, and stepped inside.

The Sacred Scroll

It was considerably warmer and drier inside and the air smelled faintly of burnt incense, or, more fittingly, a memory of incense being burned; at a closer range the one-legged body even seemed somehow friendly, the mysterious crystal flickers were followed by crackles not unlike a fireplace, and the whole abandoned temple amongst the drenching autumn rain unexpectedly felt rather cozy. Master Boddhisatva relaxed a bit, and sat on a stone bench to the side of the full-body sarira, facing the reverend relic and allowed himself slip into a meditative state.

It is here that we should note a certain difference between the more traditional schools of meditating the noble eightfold path and the one practiced in ashrams like the one of Little Creek; very little traditional methods consisted of going from intents to requirements to data flows to component abstraction to interfaces to implementation itself and then going from this atomic level to high level system overview all while keeping the virtual ants carrying bits and nibblets and bytes within the minds' eye, even though that, at least some Masters felt, was not different from samādhi and prajñā, at all and, of course, was difficult, if at all possible, to attain mastery in without first cultivating a correct sīla.

In any case, just as Master began letting the lotus flower unfold, the demon of doubt, emboldened by karma of the temple, came breathing down the Masters' neck again. Instead of the systemic vipassana did Master Bodhisattva see the monks of his ashram in cold clarity: pale they were and they drew no breath, as they have frozen to death with quills in their hands, writing down the code that will never be run; Master shuddered. He knew it was his fault, and it was then that Master saw the claw of the demon clutching his human ego.

The Master was overcome by disgust and was about to begin a cleansing ritual, but instead opened his eyes to see the body of the one-legged monk, the femur-flute, and felt compassion towards the creature, so consumed by fear and doubt it just had to feed on others; It was its' own suffering that made others suffer like itself - and the Master suddenly clapped with a single hand; the cold autumn wind blew into the kangling, and the Ego was cut through once again - and as it bled, the demon fed upon it, becoming more and more placated until it slipped away, translucent, into the night.

Exhausted, Master fell on his side on a stone bench and fell asleep. He dreamed that the reverend monk had been alive and sitting by his side, smiling, as if to say - it is going to be fine, we, beings of enlightenment, have it all solved, and it's all laughably simple - and he laughed without making a sound - and I've got it all written down for everyone to read, and it will end all of suffering, everywhere, forever and free of charge - so Master got up and went to the altar-stone, and the writing on it shone in gold and sapphire and it spelled T-H-E T-R-U-T-H in beautiful ornate letters; He reached out for the scroll, and unrolled it, and cast his gaze on




The Sacred Scroll
<![CDATA[I am using a superior operating system and so should you]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/yospos/5fe9d651df7c020001fbcfd3Fri, 22 Jul 2022 14:37:20 GMTWarning: this is an opinion piece with hyperbolic opinions. Take it with a handful of salt. It has also been written in the duration of perhaps nine to twelve months, so expect certain disjointedness. Also if you have feelings and opinions about words and how people should use them, it is probably advisable to skip this piece.

As previously mentioned, Linux is indeed a superior operating system, which all of you should have been using as a daily driver at least beginning from 2007 back when Beryl was all the rage (and rightly so), and you should both feel sad that Beryl/Compiz has met its' untimely demise at the hands of GNOME 3 (who's that? Oh, Red Hat, carry on, you corporate soul suck) and ashamed that in this day and age of enlightenment you are still using vastly inferior operating system.


Of course, Enlightenment didn't catch on either, probably because behind it there wasn't a corporate behemoth bent on just screwing people over using software which is free both as in speech as in beer to do something that is akin to what evil old Microsoft* used to do - embrace, extend and extinguish, but Red Hat being Red Hat rather choose to change "extinguish" to "exploit" just about as recently, when they just said "screw it", and went on to "extinguish" step as their recent endeavors in CentOS show.

There is an asterisk next to evil old Microsoft; One would think that new Microsoft with WSL and putting .net core on github is somewhat less evil, but in reality they just found a way to exploit linux on azure, acquiring github has the same old developers developers developers feel to it, and fear not, if you are perceived as a threat, they will screw you over just the same as the old MS. We're just jaded because openly evil actors are kind of the norm nowadays.

I do miss the (presumably) cocaine-and-alcohol fueled public relations of the evil old Microsoft

But I digress.

In any case, most of the readers would wonder why would I claim that one specific brand of liquid detergents is vastly superior to established operating systems?

Superior OS

Let me tell you: all of the other operating systems are either boring or utterly unusable. If you're using a boring OS, you rarely have to really push your fingers into the viscera, as things usually work and you can only trigger a BSOD by shorting your usb cable and blowing a few capacitors off your motherboard in the process. That is not the case for Linux, who, bordering on usable, retains at least some sense of adventure. Check this out:

So you're using Rakuten Viber as your messaging device because, well, your significant other uses it, because some of their friends really chose cute girl stickers that really express what they mean over the guarantees of perfect forward privacy or end-to-end encryption or just a system that would-just-not-bcc-putin-when-you-send-nudes whatever. You just feel lucky it's not facebook messenger that just sucks your data like a famished leech and no amount of sweet baby rays can convince me that Zuck is a human and I'm not sure that being can be placated with just nudes. But I digress - in any case, your superior operating system is officially supported.

The problem lies that sometimes it tries displaying it's own notifications in a way that crashes the GUI. Why? who knows, your gnome session is gone, tough luck bub. The fix is simple - you turn off the notifications in the settings. Your phone will notify you instead. You can FOCUS now. Other messengers are not better, but at least you can write kill-assholes alias that sends a kill -9 to some severely stubborn processes like teams that just enjoy hanging out in the process list forever. You have a start-assholes alias as well but you don't think you've used it, like, ever.

Adventure doesn't necessarily stop with messengers.

Official nvidia-driver package gives you the sweet functionality that sometimes your GUI just hangs, mouse and all. Power management is the most likely suspect, apparently you should not turn that off if you just want a monitor that displays a grafana dashboard of your home heating management system; removing nvidia gpu fixes things. You also look with suspicion to apt-get dist-upgrade output that somehow promises you that you'll free about 400 gigs of disk space on a 256G nvme, which raises an eyebrow when next day it fixes itself.

Don't get me started on egpu weirdness, only fixable by creating xrandr buffers for egpu to draw in your integrated gpu buffers or something like that.

But it is so much better than the alternatives! Have you ever considered that a certain operating system from Redmond, WA is openly hostile to its' users?

An operating system that will gladly say screw your MBR, that tries to scare you into not running software you downloaded, yet still hides file extensions away from the user; an operating system that installs software (that is impossible to uninstall) without your knowledge and intervention (looking at you, Edge), in which it's normal to have a separate installer you have to install in order to install the software, because, of course, the hot mess that is Windows Installer (aka MSI) can't really be trusted to install and uninstall. It still boggles my mind how the folks with vastly inferior non-corporate intellect have managed to create package managers that not only manage to install and uninstall programs, but also their dependencies while I have twenty Microsoft VC++ redistributable entries in my uninstall list at all times.

It truly is.

Incredibly enough, my operating system doesn't ever force me to reboot and much to my surprise kernel upgrades make things work better, not worse. And since ksplice exists, I don't even need to reboot on kernel upgrades.

My operating system wasn't designed by people who can't really think about other people without displaying a rabid sneer, kicking a puppy just because, and proceeding to open a server message block server capable of IPC-over-network helpfully named "File Sharing" on with no auth.


I can sense the superior smugness on the ether; somebody somewhere nods in agreement, reading this on a sleek aluminum encased M1 costing approximately the same amount of money as a shipping container full of underage child slaves from somewhere in southeast Asia.

Well your operating system is no better: despite having BSD as its roots, it still is vastly inferior, albeit for different reasons.

First of all, it's not a tech company that it comes from. You're in an evil cult. There, I've said it. I can already feel the hail of stones flying at my head. But countless examples of being different just for the sake of being different, gaslighting your own customers, bad design hailed as revolutionary, downgrades presented as courageous upgrades and, of course, millions of fans vehemently defending any perceived offense towards the Great Holy Fruit just drive the point home. In the year 2021, Safari still doesn't fully support OGG Vorbis, an open audio format available since at least 2006. Come on, Great Holy Fruit, even Edge browser supports it since 2019! AAC is as dead as QuickTime movies and other proprietary crap you try to push (looking at you, bonjour). In the world of Great Holy Fruit no other systems exist, and should they be given a chance, none would.

I don't really mind harmless cults, I only hate on evil ones.

Then there are all of you... glorious perverts, for the lack of better word, using Qubes, Haikus and TempleOS, waiting on version 1.0 on HURD, riding the long tail of weirdness up to the unholy resurrection of Plan9 (was it ever truly, really dead? Who knows) - I salute you, the proud minority destined for permanent obscurity and, presumably, pains that I could never conceive the concept of, let alone endure - I salute you in my funny, funny, funny, funny way. Let me know when your OS can run classic Doom without you sacrificing your sanity at least.

In other words, dear reader, have you accepted Linus Torvalds as your personal Lord and Saviour? I have this little flash drive on me, just by chance...

<![CDATA[Being a bash developer in the twenty-first century]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/being-a-bash-programmer-in-the-xxi-st-century/611656cadf7c020001fbd0e4Wed, 20 Oct 2021 06:52:13 GMT

Programming is a drug. A successful program run is not unlike getting a good careless drag of a menthol cigarette after sweaty workout session, still riding the crest of runners' high endorphin rush.

And just like any drug, you build a tolerance to it and start chasing new highs.

I got hooked on bash as soon as I learned there are proper conditionals and loops on it. Thankfully PHP came along and doomed me to decades of writing systems of questionable reputation and quality with short interludes in a corporate self-indulgence that is .NET; but when I came back from that interlude, to my astonishment PHP had improved to a point where it could be considered by optically challenged to be an almost first-class programming language, with package management, mature frameworks, proper OOP, unit tests and bells. The whistles had been missing and were well within the roadmap PHP 8, or whatever.

However, I had been cursed with knowledge of PHP prior to 5.2 and versed in procedural-style (or, to be honest, goto-style) programming from the old days, when you could just

20 GOTO 10

and reach for the reset button because ^C had not been invented yet on an all-metal Z80 clone with 256k of RAM running a clone of CP/M called SCP.

Being a bash developer in the twenty-first century
Yep, these were the days (via http://computermuseum.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/dev_en/kc1715/)

Where was I? Oh, right; so when other people looked at the framework automagically collect and inject relevant services by tags with fascination and were content with accepting an explanation of how it works as magic and would respectfully whisper "have you heard? He optimizes container bootstrap by hand!" about their colleagues, I would have already peered into the bowels of the beast and seen that the newest PHP emperor still has the same shameful PHP bod under the fancy robes hiding the same shame it had when it used to be a Personal HomePage.

It so coincided that at the moment, following the cybersecurity laws being passed with great haste and little oversight, with wake of ACTA fresh on my mind, I was pretty involved in a hobby project that would maximise the bandwidth using multiple VPN connections. Since I was doing system programming of sorts and had not yet tasted the forbidden fruit of go, of course I chose bash for the job (as a part of good opsec practices, I of course created a separate gh account for that).

If you had followed that link and took a look at that monstrosity, you probably see that it was approaching unmaintainability at relativistic speeds. This, combined with knowledge that people managed to cover up PHPs' vicious innards, brought me to the next logical step: my own bash framework with blackjack^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H components and tests. I threw in a dependency downloader and "OOP" support just for fun and named it "Bash With Nails".

Being a bash developer in the twenty-first century
It rhymes with "Ruby on Rails". That's the joke. Please laugh.

Anyway, it was all good fun and I still use it for some hobby projects that have a tendency to run off, feature wise.

Being a bash developer in the twenty-first century
This is a healthy language balance for any web application.

I can trace back the moment when I broke to when I tried to make a lightweight site running on XML+XSLT1.0, and I had to wade through metric tons of crap just to output XML to stdout. In our infinite wisdom, we have exchanged writing boilerplate code for writing configurations and having, like, three types of applications. Using frameworks indiscriminately has left us with a "Any colour you like, as long as it's black" type situation.

But I digress.

The moment of breakage was when I finally had enough of all the crap and simply put an "index.php" on webroot that contained all the stuff i needed for my semi-static application (5 functions and 10 lines of glue code, all fitting within 100 lines) and none of the thousands of thousands of code lines of "lightweight framework" I never needed and would need to maintain as of course in these ~200kb of code there are bound to be bugs and security issues, and probably going forward something would change architecturally, so I'd have to adapt my code for the new and improved framework or get stuck with the old version and all the deities forbid I would change the language version, that would probably warrant a major version change that would definitely make it a work effort directly proportional to my application size and complexity.


There are people who revel in this dynamic environment as it's always exciting and you're on the top of things happening and it probably gives a good job security going forward and you can brag on hackernews how you made a modern website in 2021.

Being a bash developer in the twenty-first century
The cognitive dissonance is strong with this one.

I see this kind of complexity as something that is undesirable, and this is the reason that I can actually go to my storage, take a hard disk from 2006, take code that is on it, and run it on PHP8. It's stupid, but it works.

But I'm off on a tangent again.

One of the few things I loved about the old and unrefined PHP was that you could play with it. As Alan Watts put it so eloquently: "You don't work the piano, you play the piano". You would just drop the "index.php" file, point the browser to it and, voila, your app is online. Framework being a framework puts you in some, for the lack of better word, frame. And it's not frameplay, it's framework. You work it and get rewarded for not stepping outside the frames.

Consider the difference between this and the joy of terminal: where you take stdin, pipe it through, and write into stdout (or stderr). Where your cause and effect are instantaneous. A tool that you're so used to using that when you open up a bash shell, you suddenly feel at home. After all, it's what welcomes you on every server you own and any system you don't play games on.

Being a bash developer in the twenty-first century
No, but seriously.

Considering how rich the toolset of a typical unix-like operating system is, it is only logical to use the tools at hand. Of course the tools have their own quirks and require a different mode of thinking and it's probably difficult to consider the shell outside the bridge solution scope, but it is possible to write functional programs using bash and they still contain a third of code of "lightweight framework" that can only output "Hello World!". Sure, you'll have to take HTTP headers from environment variables and parse the HTTP body yourself, but the framework doesn't actually do that - PHP does. And you'll never forget how things work.

So now my go-to language is bash. Boiler on/off control? bash via cgi-bin. Temperature readings and putting them in grafana? bash. Online radio control using icecast? bash. GUI for said radio? bash. Http server? bash.

I guess it's true what they say: bash truly is a cursed hammer, which, when wielded, makes everything look like a nail. Especially your thumbs.

But no other hammer can scratch that itch.

<![CDATA[2021 Will Surely Be The Year Of Linux Laptop]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/2021-will-surely-be-the-year-of-linux-desktop/5fc4f236df7c020001fbcc23Tue, 01 Dec 2020 11:37:00 GMT

As the year 2021 looms upon us it seems that there's hope, just like every year - for GNU Hurd 1.0, for Mac gaming, Windows server and Linux desktop. Desktop, though, is easy mode nowadays, as Canonical really did the hard work of including non-free firmware and other ugly binary blobs and things mostly work. Laptops, however, continue to be another story, only giving way to the SoC-based concoctions running Linux Kernel 2.6.36 because that particular crappy SoC vendor wrote the code back in 2013 and thus you must suffer the hilariously outdated software that runs your freshly shipped (and probably rather exploitable) WiFi router.

That aside, there's good news for a fellow penguin lover, because after almost 30 years of penguins crawling through everyone's screens and the majority of the internet running on one gitty Finns' hobby project, some of the less crappy vendors have actually started providing laptops that just might run Linux in 2021 - making them Linux certified. Lenovo stands out for me as one of the best vendors if you want something that, yes, can run that exotic piece of software.

What do you mean there used to be more than 3 viable operating systems in the world?

In any case, Thinkpads are mostly Linux certified* (*if you run two flavours of Linux either known for being produced by corporate begemoth that is only marginally better than Oracle [and having a pwnie award winner on its' payroll] or introducing ads in your OS since 2012 - pick your poison). Yes, sure, Ubuntu is nice in the sense that most of the things actually kind of work because it goes to grab vendor drivers and other questionable binaries behind your back and you probably get Chromium with all the good binary blobs, but no, I actually have a long-running dream that 20xx is the year that Debian finally is the best desktop (laptop?) distribution in the world.

I got acquainted with Debian back in version 3, 2003, I think, it was the best distribution and probably is still, aside from the fact that its' legendary stability and functional completeness has perhaps, in my opinion, somewhat degraded (for example Docker in "buster" refused to work properly unless you reverted to iptables-legacy instead of nftables), but I digress; come, reader, and let's try to get Debian as our daily driver.

It all starts nicely enough. There are dozens of tools that can make your flash drive bootable and available as Linux installer. You marvel at the way we've gone from creating Linux boot floppies. The days of CD-ROM pretending to be a floppy with LILO are long gone: your 128GB flash disk pretends to be a very large optical storage now. Perhaps even a DVD-ROM, but still mounted under /media/cdrom. You choose a text-based install for the sake of old days and love of console. This part hasn't changed much. You proceed happily until it's time to set up your network. Consistent Network Device Naming (hardly consistent across computers) makes sure that enp0s31f6 doesn't roll off your tongue as softly or as easily as eth0 used to, but it is as good as any identifier to clearly indicate that Debian only takes your ethernet card as network interface. Where my non-aetheros wl0 at, bro?

Back in the day you would give up, take the twisted-pair cable that is always laying around somewhere and just plug it in to later on grab the Intel firmware from the non-free deb repo (or give up and install Ubuntu); but this time you come prepared, with all the possible firmware downloaded from the kernel.org repository. You even have it on a separate flash drive.

"Insert media and press enter to continue" - installer helpfully prompts. You do that. You do that again. You remove original installation media, and insert the flash disk. You try renaming the directory the firmware resides on to "firmware". You try putting the firmware directory on the installation media, but ...

Remember that we moved a long way forward? That your installation media now emulates a large optical media?... Yeah, that means that we're on a read-only ISO 9660 filesystem, tough luck bub.

Debian gatekeeping (Gandalf at the Doors of Durin by Darrel Sweet)

It's easy to overlook the fact that Debian installer has had a log on tty6 or 7 since 2003 or so, and if you look closely enough, just before it shows a couple of hundreds of lines where exactly the installer could not find the missing firmware, you'll see mount cursing at some wrong options or a filesystem it doesn't actually like (it's vfat, if you're wondering).

Then, it's as easy as spawning a shell on tty2 or 3, and mounting your flash disk manually, oh, I don't know, under /mnt.

Just like Gandalf figuring out the "speak FRIEND" riddle, which would have been so much simpler if only Elvish had quotation marks, you slap yourself on the forehead. "Insert media!" - you curse at yourself - "of course, you have to insert it into the system!", and just like that firmware is finally found and you have a consistently named device wlp0s20f3 (or, as you used to know it in simpler times - wl0). It works! And just like in the halls of Moria, treasure awaits.

And just like fool-of-a-Took you screw up when configuring your cryptfs. You'd think that you're smart enough to remember that /boot should actually be unencrypted. You're wrong. You've assigned all available disk space to /. It's encrypted. You can not continue. You have no /boot. You can't delete encrypted / - partition editor says it's in use. Game over.

The only thing worse is the shame of coming back.

You are now in hour one of installing Debian on your newish Linux certified laptop. It does start to seem like a true Linux experience.

You are disappointed: everything just works later on. You don't even have to tweak xorg.conf, i915 drivers are good enough for Wayland to handle just fine. You just copy /home directory over, install the same packages as you had (exported using apt list --installed from your previous Debian laptop), and it's like you never left.

And then you remember the reason you chose Thinkpad. Back in the day you used to work on a T560 and it was so fun to scan your fingerprint in sudo prompts.

Does this work, too? You type in sudo. It prompts for password.

You still remember the invocation: apt-get install fprintd libpam-fprintd; It installs. It doesn't work.

Your eyes light up. Yes, finally, the Linux experience. You start googling: ah, yes, Lenovo recently released Linux-compatible firmware for the fingerprint device. Almost two years after product launch. Linux (foundation) has not been still in terms of firmware, you notice as you read up on fwupd.

Yes! fwupdmgr doesn't detect the upgradable firmware. People on forums say it's because fwupd is outdated. You check the version: of course, Debian is still consistently behind the versions available from vendor. You build fwupd from source, or, more appropriately, you attempt to. Apparently even C developers had enough of ./configure and automake magic. They use Meson now. Meson claims to be user-friendly. It isn't.

It has happened to me, for sure.

You're now in hour two of your Linux Laptop experience. You've just built fwupd from source. It doesn't detect the upgradable firmware. People on the forums say it's because you have to get the version just right. You wince. You are enjoying this.

You update your sources, you upgrade, you dist-upgrade. Twice. You are now using Debian Sid. Sid never changes. Sid's never been released. Your life is Sid now.

And, finally, your fwdupd is just the right version. It detects and upgrades your fingerprint sensor. While you're at it, you upgrade your old Logitech wireless unifying device.

Yet your fingerprints still can't be enrolled. There's no device, fprintd claims, oblivious to the output of lsusb. People on forums say you have to build fprintd from source.

It's hour three of your Linux Laptop experience.

You are not surprised to see that fprintd also uses Meson. It's good that you got kind of acquainted with it. The build fails. You have to have libfprint2. You try to build it from the source. Building master branch fails with compiler error; it hurts so good.

Purely by incident you find a compatible package in the experimental Debian repo. You can now build fprintd. You build and install it.

SystemD unit for fprintd fails to start for reasons unknown; you're now in fourth hour of your Linux Laptop experience. Completely at loss you apt purge fprintd and reinstall it. Much to your surprise, you can now enroll fingerprints. Sudo expects you to authenticate using fingerprint reader now, ant it works great.

Until you foolishly try to enroll the same finger in windows. That somehow breaks the enrolled fingerprint database. It doesn't matter: you can just use different fingers for different OSes.

You go to sleep completely satisfied and absolutely sure that Linux will definitely be the laptop OS in 2021.

Next week you buy an eGPU: two days later you are knee deep in xorg configs, the rendering only works in specific monitor layout and breaks if you change it (you work around this changing the physical monitor layout), sometimes you have to modprobe nvidia_drm manually to get xrandr to work correctly and it all runs at responsive 25 fps (60 fps if you only use one monitor).

You are the happiest man alive. Linux will surely remain your laptop OS for a long, long time. Because

"It’s the joy of a man in his element, a man and machine working in perfect synergy, where a man asks the machine to do exactly what he wants it to, and the machine doing exactly what it’s told; which is not necessarily always the same thing, but that’s part of the joyous feeling that not many understand" - Linas Klimaitis

<![CDATA[The Journey to Virtue]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/the-journey-to-virtue/5f610d35df7c020001fbc744Tue, 27 Oct 2020 18:19:33 GMT

It was just moments after heavy morning rain poured down the mountain and it was then when three weary and wet travelers met at a crossroad. Two of them were brothers coming from different directions, ant the third one was sitting on a conveniently placed rock where the two roads converged into one.

"Hello, Andrey" – said one with the bald head, from which droplets of rain still ran down to his long damp beard – "I see from your frown you have not found the way to the legendary monastery of Opta?"

"Be also greeted, Aleksey" – another replied, his long hair stuck to his cleanly shaved face in wet strands – "I do believe I was as successful as you were, as here we are - together."

The third man stood up without saying anything and started down the road.

"Wait!" – the brothers shouted in unison – "don't just go alone! This country is wild, where wild beast and wild man alike run amok - we shall accompany you to where it's safe; it's our duty to help anyone in need and you need not go and fall victim to the wilderness!"

Good people they were, no wonder becoming later known as Saint brothers Dun of Sky: even when lost themselves, they would not turn their backs on someone in need of guidance through the treacherous land of Ruscovite Mus, and thus set on a journey on behalf of someone else. They were quick to catch up with a man who, as if without any worry at all, steadily and with no rush continued to the destination only he knew.

As they went along their silent companion, they would try to engage him – but to no avail: their associate was so silent, they even considered him a deaf-mute, until some bird launched into a song and he abruptly stopped, turned his head to the side, and silently smiled, closing his eyes. It then became apparent to Aleksey and Andrey that they were traveling with someone vowed to silence. It soon became very apparent that indeed, they were traveling with a learned monk, when they sat to eat and rest: their companion started scribbling diagrams with a stick on the mud which brothers, not uneducated themselves, quickly recognized as a mixture of UML and simple flowchart.

"Perhaps the Master of this monk could know the whereabouts of the distinguished monastery of Opta" – they thought aloud and to each other. – "perhaps it is destiny who brought us together so that finally we can learn what makes a man learned and what does it take to make a Master out of a learned man?"

Brothers have not taken a vow of silence, and so, soon after resuming their travel, began talking:

"Andrey, do you suppose that contemplation and knowledge is more important than action itself? You too have seen the horror of action without knowledge and contemplation: code without order, inflexible, brittle and ugly as sin," – Aleksey said – "abomination in Gods' eye; causing only suffering to all that touch it."

"You are of course right about the thoughtless action, Aleksey," – Andrey replied thoughtfully – "but consider the perfect design, ideal specification. What good does it do if it is never implemented, because nobody can take action? What good is a perfect thought combined with perfect knowledge if it can not be applied to bring joy to the man, because it allows no deviancy in its' perfectness. World is imperfect, we both know that, so why should code be?"

Brothers went silent soon after and walked on silently all until the evening until darkness fell and it was too dark to continue, so they started a fire to keep them warm throughout the night.

"I think," – began Andrey this time, his grey blue eyes never straying from the fire – "that indeed both knowledge and action are equally important. Like sailing a ship: if one doesn't know how to sail it, their life is forfeit, if one knows, but sails not, they get nowhere also."

"Right you are, my brother" - Aleksey continued - "However, by your own example, the wager you wager is not the same if you know what you're doing or not."

A silent snore interrupted their dialogue: their companion fell asleep while sitting by the fire. Both brothers smiled in compassion and continued their talking.

"Indeed, Aleksey" – Andrey said – "But here we speak of a very specific knowledge, one that lies beyond the knowledge of the world and concerns itself with the knowledge of oneselves' knowledge instead. How can one conceivably know what one knows not?"

A distant whistle, or perhaps a scream rang out in the night, all the birds fell silent and even the darkness itself seemed to become darker. The brothers hastily put out the fire as not to attract the Nightingale the Robber1 rumored to roam the woods, and soon only the faint glow of the embers could be seen.

"It is very simple to see in other peoples' work, I think," – Aleksey whispered – "you and me, we've seen code written without deeper understanding of what lies in the domain outside the code; likewise, we've both seen code that is written with the knowledge of the domain and its' rules, but with utter disregard of the laws of design –"

"– and in both cases the code is useless: either incorrect in its' behavior, or unbearable in its' ugliness. However, nothing's worse than code that disregards both the domain and the laws of design" – Andrey whispered back – "but the occurrence of such code is natural, and even prevalent, because rarely a junior even with seemingly vast experience understand their limitations until they encounter them themselves."

"Yes, indeed, the path to effortless elegance is paved with thorns of countless failures" – the brother responded. – "But enough of that, the night is late, and we better retire for the remainder of it."

And so they did.

Bright morning sun soon dissipated the dampness of the night and soon the three travelers were on their way again.

"So what makes a senior senior?" – Aleksey mused while walking – "I think we made clear yesterday that experience alone is not sufficient. Knowledge of both types is also important: if one knows what one knows not, that lack of knowledge can be quickly amended"

"I think, ability to tell what's beautiful and what's not" – said Andrey somewhat dreamily – "what's elegant and flexible and extendible and what's rigid and dead; a senior writes code that has quality outside of correctness"

Their companion abruptly stopped, and took his head into his hands as if something terrible had happened. He shook his head, and uttered "no, that's not right" under his breath.

"That's true," – Aleksey said, ignoring the strange behaviour of the learned monk, perhaps rightly intuiting that it was not a remark about their discussion – "but I believe that quality comes from patterns we know and follow. I don't think there's some inherent beauty in terms of ideal forms, but rather a senior is just Pavlov's dog that's been trained to salivate whenever a right pattern emerges and can actually emerge the right pattern when salivation is needed."

"And the pattern is right, because someone told us it's right, right, brother?" – quipped Andrey – "And how do you suppose someone knows that if not for the intrinsic rightness and fit of the pattern to the problem? Do you suppose procedural style was not inherently worse than object-oriented and those were not inherently worse than functional?"

"Worse? Brother, Smalltalk was too beautiful for the world, but some eight-out-of ten web programs used to be written in PHP" – Aleksey laughed – "and here you are talking about inherent beauty that lies outside the eye of the beholder!"

"Well perhaps PHP was intrinsically better than Smalltalk!" – Andrey shouted angrily, and they walked in silence for a while.

"Perhaps the inherent beauty is not as apparent," – he said after a while in an almost apologetic tone – "perhaps you are right, we do need someone, who is senior, who - I can't belive, but I agree - has been trained by nature itself, through negative and positive reinforcement, to see the beauty of certain patterns and repeat them as needed, to tell us what's right and what's wrong. However, I believe, the concept of right and wrong is ingrained in each and every one of us, regardless of our nurture"

"That I shall give you, brother - indeed it is not a trivial task to discern the right approach from the wrong one, and indeed, some things are universal for all beings, human or not. We all avoid suffering and seek pleasure; anything else is just a facade of these two simple drives" – Aleksey nodded – "Of course there are those who choose to partake in destruction and chaos instead of creation and harmony, following the principles of Thanatos; but, I believe, if we look closely enough, they just tap into their own, strange, perhaps, source of pleasure - or perhaps that what we perceive as harmony and creation hurts them in the ways we are unable to understand..."

Their nameless companion raised his hands to the air; his expression was that of the person about to attain enlightenment, mouth agape and almost speaking a relieved "Eureka!", but the expression suddenly changed as if he was plunged back into the depths of dark abyss; his arms fell down limply, he hunched down. If you would listen very closely, you would hear him whisper something akin to "that's not it, that's still not it". But brothers saint did not listen, as they were lost in discussion. They only noticed it has grown dark when one of them stumbled upon a root and went tumbling down the precipice on the side of the road.

"Aleksey!" – Andrey cried out.

"I am all right, don't shout," – his brother replied from below – "I seem to have hit my head something awful, though: I think it's too dark to continue today. Let's find shelter, build a fire and stay for the night. By the way, what we were talking about?"

"Oh, you know, mostly about why evil and ugliness exist in the world and whether they are entities by their own accord, or they simply are the absence of beauty and good" – Andrey told him helping him back up on the road – "and how certain virtues of knowledge and experience might help one reach perfection."

"Ah, yes," – Aleksey dusted himself off – "and how that path to perfection is a choice by the individual who simply wishes to avoid suffering, and perhaps, suffering of the others..."

Indeed, it was becoming clear that the brothers were finally on a clear path in their mind. They barely slept that night: talking, talking, talking; giving no notice to their companion nodding off after drawing a few flowcharts.

By the morning they had discussed everything: Andrey was to travel northwest and Aleksey northeast, so what if they did not find Opta, Opta would come to them instead, if they set out to listen, experience and grow. With time, grey hair, their disciples (and teachers) they would become true Masters of Opta and their teachings would become known and renowned in the world.

This was all true and meant to be as they thought. The last day of the journey right to the steps of some eastern mountain ashram went without any adventure - the brothers walked with silent determination. They then bowed to each other, their companion, and left in opposite directions.

Master Bodhisattva did not care much - he stood on the familiar path to his ashram, some insignificant part of him noted - he had been previously given a problem to tackle, back at the beginning of the journey home, and just before his foot touched the first step leading to the entry, he sighed with relief, lifted his head and smiled - the whole solution, full design of the system has finally come to him: monks will do the coding, the client will be pleased and there surely will be enough firewood and food to last through the coming cold winter months.

<![CDATA[Master Bodhisattva and The Incredible Story of The Infallible Developer]]>https://blog.barysas.eu/master-boddhisatva-and-the-infallible-developer/5f579f63df7c020001fbc3a0Wed, 09 Sep 2020 07:10:55 GMT

It was a cold and damp evening following a sunny autumns' day. As blood red sun fell behind tall mountaintops, darkness rose out of the valley, roots of the trees and within minutes were reaching the steps leading to the entrance of the Ashram of the Little Creek. Wind bells chimed softly and the sound of footsteps slowly approaching could be heard. These were the patient steps of old man, someone who didn't have anyplace to hurry to, perhaps finally free to simply be in his last years. It was Master Yeshe who on that clear and cold evening went for a stroll on a path that led to Master Bodhisattva's door.

"Dear friend!" - exclaimed Bodhisattva with some surprise - "Come in, let's drink tea"

"Thank you, friend," - Master Yeshe replied, - "but I'd rather sit here on the stone steps and watch the sun go down. I am old, there's a chill both in my soul and in my bones, and I have seen countless sunsets in my life; Yet I can not resist the beauty of suns' last rays illuminating the mountaintops before the world yet again plunges into the darkness that every evening comes from the east and can not but ponder whether I will see the light that forces the dark to retreat westwards the next morning"

He lit his pipe but did not smoke. Master Bodhisattva supposed he simply enjoyed the smell the thin thread of smoke brought to his nostrils.

"It was not like this always" - Master Yeshe talked as the sun hid beyond the jagged horizon - "I used to be young and foolish. I dreamed of fame, fortune and women. Then I got older, but remained foolish still: I yearned for perfection"

He fell silent and stars up in the sky lit up one by one, just like small bright perforations of dark azure cover of dusk. Master Yeshe's pipe went out and the stone steps were quickly getting uncomfortably cold. Bodhisattva said nothing; somewhere something howled.

"Yes, what a fool I was and what a fool, I wonder, I still am?" - Yeshe continued - "To strive for perfection, that's the most hollow wish one could have. To never make mistakes, to be infallible, what was it supposed to fill? A hole where mothers' adoration should have been? A place left for fathers' pride? Nevermind it now, the reason's forgotten, consumed by time."

He sighed heavily.

"You know, if you look for something, you're bound to find it. So did I. It was a small mountain retreat built upon ruins of once-great monastery. They worked with Windows, I recall, maybe a bit of Java. There weren't that many of them, perhaps a few dozen, and despite the reputation of being impeccable they never grew in number and in volume. And what a reputation they had! Their design was perfect, their code ideal, tests fast and precise, and the resulting system never had a single bug." - Master Yeshe paused briefly to religt the pipe, - "And I just had to know how. You see, I was not young, but I still somewhat innocently naive."

He shuddered ever so slightly; Master Bodhisattva only caught a glimpse. Old man's cold, he thought, I should offer him a coat. But Bodhisattva also didn't want to leave the old Master alone in the night, so he stayed together as the stars overhead twinkled in the infinitely cold and indifferent cosmos.

Still from George Lucas' THX 1138

"And so I went to them, disguised as a mere code monkey, a junior developer at best, expecting to do menial tasks, redesign things after scathing code review, again and again, do countless unit test katas, what have you, until I am learned like they were, worthy of a title of Master - my mind and my code in unison, perfect in every conceivable way" - Master Yeshe's voice trembled slightly, and Master Bodhisattva began suspecting that it was neither his senility, nor the cold at fault - "But I was not ready for the reality of the place. In old stained office chairs they sat, in front of their badly magnetized 17-inch CRT monitors, their Windows machines connected to a workgroup instead of domain, unpatched, unmaintained, teethering with malware maggots just beneath the surface; rats ran around their feet, gnawing away at a mess of 10BASE2 coaxial cables, through which, via SMB shares, badly cracked Visual Studio version 7 was shared."

Yeshe drew a breath and continued.

"And then I saw the code. O, Buddha! If statements nested hundreds of layers deep. Variables with numeric suffixes and obvious mistypes. Nested arrays within nested arrays passed on as function parameters in the global scope, all in files outside version control system; some of them were even suffixed with _0612_still_works. I was struck by disbelief - how in the world was it possible for a product that indeed was no less than perfect to originate from a place like this?" - Master Yeshe sounded agitated - "and when I came there, they were scrambling around like a bunch of cockroaches splashed with boiling water: all because they could not find a bug and the deliverable deadline was looming dangerously near."

Master Bodhisattva squirmed. The story had started to unsettle him.

"So their Master told everyone to get ready, as he was going to consult the Infallible One. We all went down the steps of old monastery ruins, step after step - a thousand or a thousand and a half steps deep underground, I think - damp walls glistening in torchfire light, until we came to a large hall, perhaps a natural cavern, decorated in bas reliefs of some old forgotten gods branding swords in their numerous hands, and stopped in front of a humongous vault door. We knelt, my friend, and the Master released the locks of the ancient gate." - Yeshe closed his eyes and went silent. It seemed that he even stopped breathing. When he continued, his voice was completely calm and flat. - "As soon as it opened, mist rolled in. It had some luminous quality about it and even though it had extinguished our torchlights, I could see very clearly the tenticles writhing within the doorway and the human figure floating out of them with a single finger outstretched, pointing at someone in the gathering. It was you, a disembodied voice boomed, line 924, column 4. You, the figure pointed to another one, line 82, column 1. You, the figure pointed to my neighbour, who has previously in confidence admitted to me that he hadn't written a single line of code, line 36, column 64. You, you, you, the voice continued, line 27, 368, 412, column 1, 5, 7. Then it was silent for a moment. The figure hung still in the air, it's finger still outstretched, as if waiting for something. Then there was a murmur, and I myself found myself whispering alongside others - "We accept. We accept. We accept." It went dark for a while, and when the torches relit themselves, we found the vault door sealed again and our numbers lesser than before."

Master Yeshe was pale. Or was it the moonlight? Master Bodhisattva couldn't tell.

"When we returned topside, the office chairs were clean again, the monitors degaussed, Windows machines updated and patched, there was not a single adware left and all the rats were mysteriously gone even from the kitchen. On the SMB server previously hosting the pirated copy of Visual Studio there was only one file, a self extracting rar, named project.exe, and it did contain the cleanest, most elegant code I have seen ever since." - Yeshe paused again - "yet that day, when I tried to remember the faces and the names of those who were gone for the sake of the code, I could not, no matter how hard I tried. Only ghostly silhouettes remained in my memory, and I started doubting they ever existed and began suspecting that everything before that was just a bad dream. I found myself elated, a step closer to perfection and willing to remain there forever."

A dark cloud covered the moon, casting the steps of the ashram into darkness. Behind the two masters, monks began extinguishing the lights. It was very late.

"Only when I returned to my chambers, I found a small package resting on my pillow. I unpacked it to find an old Pentium-S CPU with a hole drilled in one corner; there was a note, too, saying - I recall this very clearly - "Let this relic guard you as it had guarded me - Nyima". Nyima was his name, my roommate, his body, memory and name taken for the sake of another perfect project" - Yeshe took out something from his pocket. It was an old Pentium-S CPU with a hole drilled in one corner. - "So late that night, when everyone was asleep, I sneaked out the dormitory, went down to the abandoned monastery, set it on fire and ran. As the fire took, I heard screams from the retreat - I think they were trying to put it out - and countless - thousands upon thousands - rats came running down the mountain. The retreat was never heard from again."

They sat in silence and darkness for a moment. Then Master Yeshe stood up, bowed to Master Bodhisattva, and disappeared into the dark forest path below. Bodhisattva turned around to return to his ashram and frowned: a single fat rat ran across the stairs.