Steve Klabnik

“The most violent element in society is ignorance.” - Emma Goldman

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An introduction to economics under capitalism

The dismal science a difficult one. Many people have strong opinions about economics, and it determines many of their other political beliefs. As someone who has significantly different thoughts on this topic than many of my peers, I’m writing this post out to give a basic explanation as I see it. That doesn’t mean I’m inventing something here, just explaining the model that I currently prefer. I’ll give sources at the end, if you want to dig deeper. Speaking of ‘deeper,’ this is also an introduction, one could easily write a book or three on this topic. I’ll try to be clear where I’m making an assumption, and why I’m making it.

Finally, this is very much a draft, I may make small, or even maybe major errors. Nobody’s perfect. My spelling is terrible, and there’s a bug where my browser spellcheck isn’t working… anyway.

Let’s start from the beginning. And that beginning starts with

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An alternative introduction to Rust

Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to first impressions of Rust. On May 15, we’re going to have a lot of them. And you only get one chance at a first impression. So I’ve been wondering if our Intro and Basics are putting our best foot forward. At first I thought yes, but a few days ago, I had an idea, and it’s making me doubt it, maybe. So instead of re-writing all of our introductory material, I’m just going to write the first bit. A spike, if you will. And I’d like to hear what you think about it. This would take the same place as 2.4: Variable bindings in the existing structure: They’ve installed Rust and gotten Hello World working.

$ rustc --version
rustc 1.0.0-dev (dcc6ce2c7 2015-02-22) (built 2015-02-22)

 Hello, Ownership

Let’s learn more about Rust’s central concept: ownership. Along the way, we’ll learn more about its syntax, too. Here’s the program we’re going to

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Update Github Pages with Travis CI

Ever wanted to have your project automatically update Pages when you have a successful build?

I have a demo repository here:

It, of course, uses Travis to update its own Github Pages, which is here:

I hope that helps!

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I’m going write-only on Twitter for a while

This is something I’ve been joking about for a while, but I’ve decided for the near future, I’m just going to be posting things to Twitter, and not reading replies or anything.

So, if you don’t get a fav or a reply or something, it’s nothing personal.

There’s a lot going into this decision, but basically, I haven’t been actually doing a lot of things that I want to do because I’m super stressed out. Turns out Twitter is also a huge cause of stress in my life. Turns out Twitter is also a large part of my social interaction, so I’ve kept doing it even though I know it’s not great for me.

So, we’ll see what a post-read/write Twitter is like. You know how to get a hold of me otherwise.

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Rust’s documentation is about to drastically improve

Historically, Rust has had a tough time with documentation. Such a young programming language changes a lot, which means that documentation can quickly be out of date. However, Rust is nearing a 1.0 release, and so that’s about to change. I’ve just signed a contract with Mozilla, and starting Monday, June 23rd, I will be devoting forty hours per week of my time to ensuring that Rust has wonderful documentation.

A year and a half ago, I was in my hometown for Christmas. I happened upon a link: Rust 0.5 released. I’ve always enjoyed learning new programming languages, and I had vaguely heard of Rust before, but didn’t really remember what it was all about. So I dug in. I loved systems programming in college, but had done web-based stuff my entire professional life, and hadn’t seriously thought about pointers as part of my day-to-day in quite some time.

There was just one problem: Rust

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I’m bailing on San Francisco

I was always not quite sure about moving to San Francisco. I’ve heard about this place for my entire life: back in high school, during the first bubble, I would read Slashdot and wonder about life out west. But San Francisco is like a vortex for software developers. It’s got this gravitational pull that’s hard to escape. When I made the choice to move here, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to handle it. Turns out I can’t.

So I’m leaving. My job is great, but it’s not worth staying in this city. I haven’t done anything outside of work in a few months. I go to work, work hard, go home, and then go to sleep. I don’t go home late. I go home at five. It’s not work/life balance that’s the issue. I’m just not psyched for the ‘life’ part. San Francisco has sucked out all my creativity, most of my passion, and has

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Hypermedia FizzBuzz

I read a really great blog post last week: Solving FizzBuzz with Hypermedia. In it, Stephen Mizell builds a FizzBuzz service using Siren, and then shows how client code evolves. I wanted to explain exactly why I think this example is amazing, because I’m not sure it’s exactly obvious.

 FizzBuzz? Really?

The first thing that makes this post brilliant is that it uses FizzBuzz. While FizzBuzz has historically been a simple interview question to make sure that you can actually write some basic code, in this case, it works well because it’s a very, very simple programming problem. When writing examples, there’s always tension between real-world and straw-man examples. If you make it too real-world, all sorts of incidental details creep in and distract from your main point. If you make a trivial example, it can be claimed that it works for your simple example, but not for ‘real’ examples

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How to be an open source gardener

I do a lot of work on open source, but my most valuable contributions haven’t been code. Writing a patch is the easiest part of open source. The truly hard stuff is all of the rest: bug trackers, mailing lists, documentation, and other management tasks. Here’s some things I’ve learned along the way.

It was RailsConf 2012. I sat in on a panel discussion, and the number of issues open on rails/rails came up. There were about 800 issues at the time, and had been for a while. Inquiring minds wished to know if that number was ever going to drop, and how the community could help. It was brought up that there was an ‘Issues team,’ whose job would be to triage issues. I enthusiastically volunteered.

But what does ‘issue triage’ mean, exactly? Well, on a project as large as Rails, there are a ton of issues that are incomplete, stale, need more information… and nobody was tending to them. It’s

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Is npm worth $2.6MM?

Yesterday, npm, Inc. announced that it had closed a $2.6MM round of funding. This was met with a bunch of derision on Twitter. I feel this is not only unwarranted, but backwards: I think this investment signals a nascent trend within the VC community, and a more honest view of how open source actually works.

Disclaimer: I’m just some random dude. I don’t have any privileged information about this investment or any of the others I’ll discuss in this post. I haven’t talked to any VCs to actually see if this is what they’re doing, and if I tried, they probably wouldn’t tell me anyway. That said, it doesn’t really matter: what they do is more important than what they intend.

Further disclaimer: I work for a company which has received investment from people mentioned in this article. I have never talked to those firms directly either, and I have no privileged information as to why they

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A 30 minute introduction to Rust

I recently gave a proposal for Rust’s documentation. An important component of my overall proposal is a short, simple introduction for people who may have heard of Rust, so that they can figure out if Rust is right for them. The other day, I saw this excellent presentation, and thought it might serve as a great basis for this introduction. Consider this an RFC for such an introduction. Feedback very welcome on the rust-dev mailing list or on Twitter.

 This tutorial has now become the official one.

Rust is a systems programming language that focuses on strong compile-time correctness guarantees. It improves upon the ideas other systems languages like C++, D, and Cyclone by providing very strong guarantees and explicit control over the life cycle of memory. Strong memory guarantees make writing correct concurrent Rust code easier than in other languages. This might sound very complex, but

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