Changelog News – Episode #56

The open source licensing war is over?

+ LangUI, Mac mini modded to use PoE, Apple joins OpenUSD alliance & picking the worst tool for the job


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Matt Asay thinks the open source licensing war is over, LangUI is an open source Tailwind component library for your AI chat app, Ivan Kuleshov modded a Mac mini to run via PoE, Apple joins Pixar and others in the Alliance for OpenUSD & John D. Cook says sometimes you shouldn’t pick the best tool for the job.



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Notes & Links

📝 Edit Notes

All links mentioned in this episode of Changelog News (and more) are in its companion newsletter.



📝 Edit Transcript


Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧

What up, nerds? I’m Jerod and this is Changelog News for the week of Monday, August 7th 2023.

The software community was jolted over the weekend when the family of Vim creator Bram Moolenaar shared the news of his recent passing:

“It is with a heavy heart that we have to inform you that Bram Moolenaar passed away on 3 August 2023. Bram was suffering from a medical condition that progressed quickly over the last few weeks. Bram dedicated a large part of his life to VIM and he was very proud of the VIM community that you are all part of.”

Bram’s work improved countless lives, mine included. I only communicated with him once when I was putting together our Vim episode a couple years back. He respectfully declined to be on the pod, but offered a written interview instead. The plan was to do it as a follow-up once we shipped, but I soon forgot about it, missing a great opportunity to meet and thank someone who gifted me so much. Thank you, Bram.

Ok, let’s get into the news.

Matt Asay in Infoworld writes, “It’s time for the open source Rambos to stop fighting and agree that developers care more about software’s access and ease of use than the purity of its license.”

This, of course, prompted many “open source Rambos” to disagree and start fighting about licenses again… The context for Matt’s article is Meta’s claim that Llama 2 was open source despite its license restricting commercial use from players large enough to use it commercially. This means it’s not actually open source by definition. Matt agrees with that, but his point is that it doesn’t matter because nobody cares.

Matt continues, ““open source” doesn’t really matter anymore. Not as some countercultural raging against the corporate software machine, anyway. All of this led me to conclude we’re in the midst of the post–open source revolution, a revolution in which software matters more than ever, but its licensing matters less and less.”

I think Matt’s conclusion is actually on point, but the way he describes those who care about such matters (Rambos, Warriors, etc.) too flippant for me.

Stay tuned, though. We’ll be talking more about this subject on upcoming episodes.

Have you asked ChatGPT how to design a good UI for your AI app and gotten back bupkis? Check out LangUI: an open source Tailwind library of 60+ responsive (and dark mode enabled) components tailored for AI and GPT projects. What exactly does that mean? It means prompt containers, history panels, sidebars, message inputs, and other chatbot-related things.

So you can stop asking ChatGPT and build your own ChatGPT… with a sweet UI.

Hardware hacker Ivan Kuleshov modded a Mac mini to run via PoE and documented the entire wild adventure so we can ride along.

But before you get any crazy ideas…

I think you can replicate it, but I don’t think you’ll want to. Keep in mind it’s quite time-consuming. Something can go wrong at every step. You will void the warranty on your Mac mini. So it’s your responsibility. It was an experiment, a test of skills, a topic for discussion, and just a hardware-hacking project

Next up he’s thinking of adding Power Delivery so he can use the mini just by connecting a monitor (with Power Delivery support) with one cable.

Have you heard of Universal Scene Description, or USD? I first learned about it from NVIDIA’s Guy Martin at All Things Open last year.

He was quite excited by Pixar’s “first open source software that can robustly and scalably interchange 3D scenes”, but the big open question was (and often is with up and coming open standards) would it be adopted by enough key players to actually become a useful standard?

Enter the newly formed Alliance for OpenUSD with the likes of Apple, Adobe & Autodesk joining Pixar and NVIDIA behind the “standardization, development, evolution, and growth” of this 3D modeling tech that will now surely play a role in Apple’s visionOS and other metaverse-y products. Which begs the question: Where’s Meta?

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John D. Cook describes a tool acquisition strategy he picked up from Kevin Kelly: “If you need a tool, buy the cheapest one you can find. If it’s inadequate, or breaks, or you use it a lot, then buy the best one you can afford.”

John then applies it to the context of software tools: “There’s something to be said for having crude tools that are convenient for small tasks, and sophisticated tools that are appropriate for big tasks, but not investing much in the middle.”

I find myself doing this often. I use crude, simple, not-good-enough tools for as long as possible. Finally, when it’s painfully obvious that the job I’m using said tools to accomplish is worth investing in long-term… I make the big investment. The challenge with this is determining when to make that call.

That is the news for now. I leave you with a quote from Turing Award winning computer scientist Leslie Lamport, who will be my guest on The Changelog this Wednesday: “If you’re thinking without writing, you only think you’re thinking.”

Have a great week, tell your friends about Changelog News if you dig it, and I’ll talk to you again real soon


Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚

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