Aux.computer - an alternative to the Nix ecosystem

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Everyone is free to fork, but it’s important to consider what specific problems this fork aims to solve. Will it offer technical improvements over Nix/NixOS in terms of code quality and usability? Are there other advantages from an end-user perspective, such as accelerated innovation?

Given that the need for a ‘safe’ space has been mentioned as a reason for the fork, I recommend first establishing your own community spaces (in step 1 ‘soft fork’) and using those for communication rather than this forum. This approach will ensure that those who currently feel unsafe (eg. because of people like me who are skeptical about the reasons to fork) are immediately accommodated, since their safety should be #1 priority.

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I can understand, why some contributors feel the need to fork. However from an outside perspective this seems pretty quick, given how dynamic the situation is. I really fear rash actions like this might only make matters worse and divide the community even further, creating even harder fronts between the two sides of the conflict and making a proper resolution even more difficult.

I know that people have been hurt and burned out over this, so I can understand if they are not willing to move forward with the system as it stands now. But I think it is important to give the community and the project(s) the time to fix this and work on this. If we cannot work on issues like these we will eventually at a point like this over and over again and with the scope of the Nix ecosystem in mind, I don’t think it is possible or helpful to fork every time.

That said I hope your project brings some improvements to both the Nix community and any other communities that emerge from it as well.

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I am doing so. I flipped back and forth we on whether to post this here at all, but felt it may be useful to some people.

A core goal of the project is an improved governance model which, I feel, is the root of several problems in the Nix ecosystem.

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I very much like the stated values of (democratic) representation, kindness, collaboration, sustainability and accessibility! For me those are core values of FOSS in general and the reason why I use Linux in the first place. Personal preference for a project isn’t all about “technical improvements” and/or “accelerated innovation”. We aren’t robots whose functioning needs to be constantly optimized, we are humans and should treat each other as such. I might be naive and overly idealistic, but I regard these values as a matter of course for any and every human collaboration.

By the way @jakehamilton, thank you also for your excellent analysis of the current situation of Nix!

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Given its origins in opposition to the military-industrial complex, there is a huge opportunity for this fork’s branding to lean on “no state”.

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The reasoning for forking is “eh” to me, but reading it I do like the concept of splitting things in Nixpkgs out from a giant monorepo into “special interest groups” that can self-govern. The centralization around a for-profit, proprietary Git forge is too much lock-in for my tastes as well & excludes those in regions under US sanctions. If this fork’s were hosted outside of US corporate control & kept to the LGPL licensing & moved away from Matrix to an open chat platform that is less heavy/expensive, my interest would certainly be piqued. It would be neat to see an identity system akin to Pijul’s where your key is your identifier so you don’t have to give out info you are not comfortable with (like your email) & folks can change that info such as their name without having to ask maintainers to amend all their patches to not be dead-named–which is very different than the current Nixpkgs community member identifier.

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Does this mean we’re done working for change inside the nix* project(s)? I thought the fork was supposed to be an absolute last-ditch option that would signal the exiting of the moderators and the collapse of the nix communities?

It seems like it would’ve been prudent to at least hear from the foundation board first before the final hand was laid.

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not all forks are final. remember node and io split in acrimony and later re-integrated after reconciliation.

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I agree, and in theory that’d be the 2nd best outcome (behind fixing things here).

However, it is problematic that the open letter gave a date of May 1, 2024 that has now been undercut by the announcement of this fork. It looses a lot of leverage that the letter previously held. If you’re going to put a drop dead date, then push the button before then… what’s the point?

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I did not sign the open letter. However, that letter has had its public response. What more is there to wait for?

The date that was chosen in order to stay true to their own word and continue to demonstrate good faith towards the community?

To try and be more clear: I want to hear from the board. The board isn’t one person and it isn’t Eelco. That’s mean waiting one more day, and we’ve already waited quite some time. Was one more day just too much?

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I am not a vocal member of this community. I have not made many contributions to this community. Though, I do consider myself a net supporter of Nix, and NixOS, as have made use of the stack at my work, and all out developer environments make use of it. I am and have invested in Nix. So, I do care. I care because the extended community around Nix and NixOS has been, and continues to be extremely helpful and supportive when I have had issues or questions. Especially something as wild and as wonderful as fully declarative operating system.

I was emotionally effected with the news about Anduril, mostly because I thought the project was in alignment with my values. Especially after NixCon in Europe. It felt a bit like when you find out your favorite music artist thinks eating babies will give eternal youth. Then you have try to separate art from the artist, or just abandon that thing you love. That thing that gave you so much value, is not what you thought it was. That’s a hard moment. A wild, human, moment. It’s hard to accept that moment. That artist, that music they made, that music that you loved, was a gift; and now you have to decide if you want to keep the gift or not.

It reminds me of Rich Hicky’s open letter about the state of the Clojure Project, “Open Source is Not About You”. This came at a time for Clojure when community members were not aligned with the Clojure team’s short-term goals. I recommend you read that letter, but I will provide a short excerpt. I provide this because it seems the Nix developers and community are in a similar position:

As a user of something open source you are not thereby entitled to anything at all. You are not entitled to contribute. You are not entitled to features. You are not entitled to the attention of others. You are not entitled to having value attached to your complaints. You are not entitled to this explanation.

If you have expectations (of others) that aren’t being met, those expectations are your own responsibility. You are responsible for your own needs. If you want things, make them.

Open source is a licensing and delivery mechanism, period. It means you get the source for software and the right to use and modify it. All social impositions associated with it, including the idea of ‘community-driven-development’ are part of a recently-invented mythology with little basis in how things actually work, a mythology that embodies, cult-like, both a lack of support for diversity in the ways things can work and a pervasive sense of communal entitlement.

That second one. If you want things, you make them.

This is not Rich Hicky asking people to fuck off. This is Rich Hicky asking people to realize that they can be the change they want to see. I am proud of @jakehamilton and the future the Aux team. They are doing just that.

I hope Aux team meets success. I have hopes that they are able to create and maintain and effective governance environment. I hope that the environment will produce focused and tangible goals for their team, and their new community. I hope to help when I can.

I have hopes that the Nix team has the time and peace to self reflect; and that they can work effectively as well.

I hope, maybe, just maybe, Aux and Nix can both actually work together, and make something great.

P.S.: To those reading, I am sorry that this post is not shorter. I didn’t have much time.

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I still can not wrap my mind around how anyone could believe this, given the large swath of humanity that makes up nix et al.

That and the statement “The sponsors of the main community event are understood to be very close to values of the project.” from Kfearsoff summary are extremely confusing to me. I understand sponsors to be entities that want to pay money to get their logo in some space at an event and maybe mentioned in some “thank you sponsors” thing (which didn’t even happen at NixCon NA '24). I personally have never given a sponsor a second look because they were a sponsor. I acknowledge those are my own feelings though.

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It is confusing because it is not a summary but a colored/biased narration.

Anyway, the discussion does not matter anymore, with this fork, those who do not like @edolstra can simply move to Aux and let Nix be.

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The discussion does matter if you still believe there is something to be salvaged, which I think there is.

You’re misread what I’ve written or have been to quick to jump to some conclusions. I wanted to know why people thought that a huge project would align with their personal view points in the first place.

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Well, it was an emotional effect. Not one that comes from rationality. Which is why I eluded to the favorite band metaphor. We unfortunately think with our hearts from time to time.

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You do not understand why other people perceive this relation in this way, but you do understand that those other people do perceive it in that way. So it’s a fact: this relation can be seen in that way.

Then, can you imagine that for those people, seeing an open enemy of theirs in that position might be a harmful signal ?

I’m not going to make a list of countries which might feel threaten by US armies, but I’m pretty sure we have contributors from those.

So I think if we want to provide a safe space for those people (intersection of “thinking sponsorship = alignment” & “nix-community members” & “not in a position to feel safe because US armies”), and not divide the community by driving them away, then I think we must refuse this sponsorhip.

NB: Not sure if I’m on-topic or not, or if we really should talk about this here, so please feel free to hide my comment.

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I never said it wasn’t a fact and I did acknowledge people feel that way, I’m trying to understand why people expected a moral alignment from a project that includes people who they’d obviously not agree with.

The rest of the chain I understand. But I never expected the project, or any project which I’ve contributed, to align with my specific philosophical or political views.

I understand we’re a bit past that and I might not get a good answer.

Under this line of thinking, if people who expect moral alignment as still around, will we see a rejection of google as a sponsor of NixCon EU this year? Taking a billion dollars to provide infrastructure and compute services for Israel to decimate Palestinian women and children is not good.

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I don’t think anybody expect the project to be aligned to their values. I think people are expecting the project not to harm their values. I think this nuance is huge.

I mean: we should aim at finding the literal consensus of our members values. The 3 first values declared on this aux project seems to go in this direction.

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