Dropbox Hesitates on M1 Support

An article piqued my interest this morning:

I don’t even have an Apple M1 device, nor do I have a Dropbox account, yet I can see how dumb this decision is. Major platform updates? You support it, especially if you have paying customers on it. Simple as that.

I’m beginning to wonder how relevant Dropbox is in this new era of cloud computing, where everyone has an online storage sync option. Their primary competitors, Apple’s iCloud, Google’s GSuite/Google Docs, and Microsoft’s OneDrive all have additional functionality of office suite apps that integrate directly with it, are easy to load on new machines and have near system level support. It’s a hard position to find yourself in.

Last time I used Dropbox, it was pretty decent at working consistently, cross platform, and decently fast without chewing up resources like some of their lesser competition. Still, they haven’t really found themselves a good niche. They were content, for many years, of being the only viable game in town, and focusing only on storage. Now, they’re fighting to survive.

I can’t imagine they’re going anywhere anytime soon, but these sorts of comments that the media picks up on, are usually signs of internal turmoil or failure to thrive in a new environment. Who knows? We’ll all be watching.

Update: I just learned that Dropbox had switched to an Electron-based app. Like 1Password before them, it seems like this is a common death knell for companies. They switch from their optimized, but expensive to support stack, to something lazier with electron and then just try and get subscribers to keep them afloat.

Lovely.

Pick Your Battles

Journalists are constantly having to defend themselves (both offline and, now online), often with people more powerful than they are. Sometimes these opponents are governments themselves. When you’re faced with a threat that can ignore laws, have access to mechanisms and security breaches that other attackers could have, you have to change the way you approach handling sensitive information.

Sometimes paranoia is the correct option.

There is no defense against a determined, state-level, actor. You just have to hope they lose interest in you, or you are no longer their primary target. The Eye of Sauron is, however, always watching.

Back to Windows

I spent the last few days running Debian, again. It was nice, like a comfy pair of shoes. The time felt familiar, and instructive, but ultimately the heaping piles of small issues, paper-cuts really, drove me back.

Some of the issues I encountered were easy enough to work around, even in a fully satisfactory manner. Others, like the excessive screen tearing, not so much. Eventually, these kinds of issues, plus the sort of uncertainty, and even reliance on the ArchLinux wiki for things that weren’t even for their distro was bothering me too much.

Consistency is a hell of a drug. I know that Windows is a crapshoot, and Apple seems to be fortifying their so-called “Walled Garden”, but damn if it isn’t at least internally consistent. It’s the consistency that I can walk up to pretty much every Windows or macOS device and know the how, the why and the methods to the madness, within a small margin of error. Walking up to any particular Linux (desktop) system, I can’t even be sure that it has the same init system, graphical layer, sound subsystem, packet filtering or even if the userland utilities are the same (busybox, vs gnu vs bsd).

I love Linux. I love what it stands for, what it can do, what it enables any half-way attentive idiot like myself to do with just an investment in time and energy. I also hate that part.

Covering this ground again feels repetitive, but time and time again I’m brought to account for it. I recently was working on my resume for a submission, and the only copy I had readily available was in LaTeX. Not ideal, still, I persevered and got it in shape. However, I know I had also been working on a Word copy that would have been absolutely mangled by LibreOffice (by no fault of its own) and been an ordeal to get working again. It’s this sort of setback and minor challenges that used to excite me. Now they just make me want to stop before I start.

I understand why Windows, and to a much lesser extent, macOS have the lion’s share of the market: Consistency. A fact that I have under-appreciated for far too long.