Our society rests on a layer of computing infrastructure which is increasingly broken, in a variety of ways.

This XKCD comic gets at part of it, I wrote a blog post about it glossing a talk by Jonathan Blow.

A friend of mine started a blog recently, hosted on Medium. I tried to convince him that he should be using some other software for a variety of good-citizen reasons: Medium’s UX is obnoxious, you don’t own your data and how your work is presented, etc. “Try GitHub Pages,” I said. “It’ll be easy,” I said.

We timeboxed an hour, and weren’t able to set it up in time. GitHub Pages is supposed to be an extremely easy-to-use tool and I set it up successfully for this blog less than two months ago.

Some issues we encountered:

  1. System Ruby vs user Ruby
  2. Gem executables (Jekyll) not on PATH
  3. GitHub repo in the wrong folder
  4. Unknown, some issue with the theme he selected (from GitHub’s selection UI).

Now, with a little more time, or a little more skill, we could have finished this, and GitHub Pages is still easier than most other options.

But the fact is – in 2020, 30 years after the creation of the web, we have moved backwards.