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  • Inrupt, Tim Berners-Lee's Solid, and Me

    All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I have joined a company called Inrupt that is working to bring Tim Berners-Lee's distributed data ownership model that is Solid into the mainstream. (I think of Inrupt basically as the Red Hat of Solid.) I joined the Inrupt team last summer as its Chief of Security Architecture, and have been in stealth mode until now.

    The idea behind Solid is both simple and extraordinarily powerful. Your data lives in a pod that is controlled by you. Data generated by your things -- your computer, your phone, your IoT whatever -- is written to your pod. You authorize granular access to that pod to whoever you want for whatever reason you want. Your data is no longer in a bazillion places on the Internet, controlled by you-have-no-idea-who. It's yours. If you want your insurance company to have access to your fitness data, you grant it through your pod. If you want your friends to have access to your vacation photos, you grant it through your pod. If you want your thermostat to share data with your air conditioner, you give both of them access through your pod.

  • World wide web founder scales up efforts to reshape internet
  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Inrupt is Redesigning the way the web is to Work and Apple is working with them on their Data Transfer Project

    Inrupt, the start-up company founded by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to redesign the way the web works, is expanding its operational team and launching pilot projects in its quest to develop a "massively scalable, production-quality technology platform."

  • Inconsistent user-experiences with native lazy-loading images

    The specification for web browser native support for lazy-loading images landed in the HTML Living Standard a week ago. This new feature lets web developers tell the browser to defer loading an image until it is scrolled into view, or it’s about to be scrolled into view.

    Images account for 49 % of the median webpage’s byte size, according to the HTTP Archive. Lazy image loading can help reduce these images’ impact on page load performance. It can also help lower data costs by clients that never scroll down to images far down on a page.

    Historically, lazy-loading was implemented by responding to changes in the scroll position and tracking the image element’s offset from the top of the page. This could degrade page-scrolling performance. Comparatively, the new native lazy loading for images is easier to implement and doesn’t degrade scrolling performance.

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Not-actually Linux distro review: FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE

Desktop layer aside, the entire FreeBSD operating system doesn't seem to get as much developer love and attention as the typical mainstream Linux distribution. It doesn't take much use before you discover minor errors and paper cuts that really shouldn't exist—like pkg search not returning metapackages, or the disk partitioner not accepting its own example arguments as valid. My personal biggest frustration with FreeBSD—and the major reason I switched from it to Linux in 2008—is the lack of automatic security upgrades. FreeBSD does have tools to discover vulnerabilities in packages and update them, but they aren't designed to run in the background. They demand either interactive operation by an active and knowledgeable admin or significant tooling that the FreeBSD operating system itself does not provide. Worse yet, FreeBSD has at least two and often three entirely separate package systems to maintain. The source-based ports tree, the binary package system, and the base FreeBSD operating system itself—each uses entirely different tools for maintenance. If that's not bad enough, ports and packages actually conflict with one another, requiring even more care to make sure neither gets clobbered during upgrades. Digital Ocean has an excellent overview of basic FreeBSD maintenance, which we would strongly advise any new FreeBSD admin to read and understand thoroughly. Read more

Android Leftovers

How to set up a remote school environment for kids with Linux

COVID-19 has suddenly thrown all of us into a new and challenging situation. Many of us are now working full-time from home, and for a lot of us (especially people who aren't used to working remotely), this is taking some getting used to. Another group that is similarly challenged is our kids. They can't go to school or participate in their regular after-school activities. My daughter's elementary school closed its classrooms and is teaching through an online, web-based learning portal instead. And one of her favorite extracurricular activities—a coding school where she has been learning Scratch and just recently "graduated" to WoofJS–has also gone to an online-only format. We are fortunate that so many of our children's activities can be done online now, as this is the only way they will be able to learn, share, and socialize for at least the next several months. Read more

LOOPFS File-System Proposed For Linux

LOOPFS is the latest Linux kernel file-system proposal. LOOPFS isn't a traditional Linux file-system for competing with the likes of EXT4, F2FS, Btrfs, and XFS but is a loop device file-system inspired by Android's BinderFS. Read more Also: Loopfs: A New Loop Device File System For Linux Direct: [PATCH 0/8] loopfs