What is going on with Kbin

I almost feel like it's October last year, when I pled for improvement on all fronts regarding the Kbin development strategy. Now it seems development has ceased once again and there hasn't been chat on the matrix channels for over a week. Update: that's two weeks now (including his blog) and over a month of no visible Development.


Update: According to https://fedidb.org/software/kbin there are a grand total of 29 active kbin servers. Of 61,489 users on all instances, 59,962 of these are on kbin.social. To those users I would like to say that should kbin.social fail, there will always be Mbin servers to fall back to.

What is going on?

We can only speculate, based on what has happened in the past. Several mind bending theories can come to mind.

Perhaps Ernest (and whatever team still exists) is continuing development in the background, not publicly sharing his work on codeberg. He may have had enough of all the criticism and wants to do it his way without interference. This may sound a bit far fetched, but he's admitted in the past that he prefers concentrating on coding over communicating with his community.

Other theories could involve something bad involving Ernest personally, let us hope that is not the case. Ernest is a great person, nobody would wish anything bad upon him.

But in reality, speculation doesn't change anything, we can only deal with the situation at hand.

I believe waiting for a new release comes with too many risks in the current setting. Nobody can monitor the code during progress or do any testing for themselves while development is ongoing (assuming it is). If anything, what's coming next? Your guess is as good as mine.

A new version may well break compatibility between Kbin and Mbin. Mbin is trying to stay compatible with Kbin for as long as reasonably possible. However, staying compatible with something that is out of sight and out of one's control is challenging, if not impossible. A break in compatibility would mean there will be no easy way to migrate to Mbin after an upgrade for Kbin users who have patiently waited for one, should they want to.

I would not want the future of my instance to be dependent of such a level of uncertainty, now or in the future.

poliverso ,
@poliverso@feddit.it avatar

Kbin was a fantastic project and its developer deserves all our respect.

Unfortunately Kbin suffered a perfect storm that overwhelmed him:
-he was born at the wrong time; indeed: he was born at a very right time! That is, just before migration from Reddit reached its peak

  • it was too immature and too good at the same time: users saw how good it was and dived into it en masse
  • as if that wasn't enough, even more users flocked to Kbin due to a well-known Fediverse popularizer, blinded by ideological hatred towards the Lemmy developers, who recommended it to everyone as the best alternative to Reddit, saying something lie: immature software like Kbin CAN NEVER be a better alternative than mature software like Lemmy (oh yes, congratulations FediTips: you actively contributed to sinking the Kbin boat!)
  • the developer was alone, a very normal circumstance for a project in development; but this led to an absurd overload and a totally destabilizing overexposure!
  • finally, the usual dynamic of free software has struck again: herds and herds of ignorant, selfish, resentful people lacking any empathy began to DEMAND improvements, modifications and corrections to a software that (I repeat once again) was still immature, without giving ANYTHING, and when I say NOTHING I mean without financing the project.

I completely understand that the developer went into burnout! The meltdown of lone developers is a very frequent phenomenon in free software...
These pressures are almost impossible to bear: to bear them you need to have balls of steel, decent financial resources, many true friends and a pathological level of enthusiasm and self-esteem to resist such strong emotional pressure.

TheVillageGuy OP ,

and when I say NOTHING I mean without financing the project.

This is not quite true, the project was being partially financed by external parties

But you are right. And we all know this. Kbin/mbin still is a fantastic project. We all respect Ernest for creating it. The software was immature as you said, a lot of people jumped in and offered their help, including actually making the features they were, as you call it, demanding. He was no longer alone. When things went south, everybody sympathized and several people offered him help and advice in many ways, which he has explicitly refused.

But that was all then, circumstances were far from optimal, indeed. Things are back to normal now, have in fact been for quite a while. This would have been the chance to get things sorted, especially delegating access to the back end of kbin.social, but sadly, nothing has changed

poliverso ,
@poliverso@feddit.it avatar

👍🏼

InEnduringGrowStrong ,
@InEnduringGrowStrong@sh.itjust.works avatar

Being on lemmy, I never really used kbin much.
All I know is there's a ton of spam coming from there, and their moderation seems spread thin.

lambalicious ,

I would not want the future of my instance to be dependent of such a level of uncertainty, now or in the future.

You can always go to a big provider like Facebook. They'll surely won't have issues with your documented whining on Kbin.

originalucifer ,
@originalucifer@moist.catsweat.com avatar

he has already propose a solution in the fork to mbin, which is active and prospering. your comment is unhelpful.

Navarian ,
@Navarian@lemm.ee avatar

If it helps, you can just use something else like Lemmy and still access all kbin content, that's what I'm currently doing.

originalucifer ,
@originalucifer@moist.catsweat.com avatar

right, to his point; if users or admins are having issues with kbin, mbin is in active community development for accessing lemmy instance content.

if users or admins are having issue, they can jump to an mbin instance for a near identical experience.

it just sucks because we care about the source of k/mbin in Ernest, and he deserves our consideration.

TheVillageGuy OP , (edited )

He sure does and if he gets things sorted I'm sure we can all work side by side contributing to kbin & mbin

PlasterAnalyst ,

Then don't use it.

TheVillageGuy OP , (edited )

My point exactly, to instance operators, instead switch to Mbin, now that it's still possible

density ,
@density@kbin.social avatar

According to https://fedidb.org/software/kbin there are a grand total of 29 active kbin servers. Of 61,489 users on all instances, 59,962 of these are on kbin.social. Monthly active users being 4,775/4,938

kbin.social, as you are aware, is owned and run by @earnest.

In other words I am not sure who you are addressing here. >99% of kbin users are on a single server which has little chance of switching to mbin.

Why don't you just go and enjoy the platform of your choice? This performative misery is so strange.

TheVillageGuy OP ,

Correct. I am addressing the admins of those 28 servers

Of 61,489 users on all instances, 59,962 of these are on kbin.social.

That's kind of worrying then. I am also addressing them to remember there's always going to be Mbin servers to fall back to in case kbin.social fails

SGNL , (edited )

These types of threads always come across as whiny and overblown to me. Kbin works just fine the majority of the time, and it's still my preferred method for accessing microblogging/thread data.

The fediverse is a massive project, if you don't like what one part is doing go elsewhere, you can access most content in a variety of ways and it's good to have alternatives.

I'm far more appreciative of what kbin brings to the table than what all these naysaying posts and circle-jerks bring up everytime there is a lull.

Is there criticism of kbin, sure? But how is this constructive rather than whiny doom bait.

Edit: OPs whole post history is kbin whining. Whew.

HubertManne ,
@HubertManne@kbin.social avatar

yeah I chose kbin because out of the options I found at the time I liked it best. Im not going to make a new account somewhere unless either kbin just gets bad for some reason (and im not someone who jumps ship due to a day or two it would have to be extensive) or some other thing would have to have some sort of amazing features that made it worthwhile and given I like simplicity overall I doubt that will happen.

TheVillageGuy OP ,

If your instance admin would choose to switch to Mbin, you'd hardly notice and you'd definitely not have to make a new user account

HubertManne ,
@HubertManne@kbin.social avatar

I mean if kbin switched to mbin then yes I would be using mbin. I was talking more reasons I might make a new account because the old one was not cutting it.

originalucifer ,
@originalucifer@moist.catsweat.com avatar

the concern is one day you go to login, and it aint there. at all.

HubertManne ,
@HubertManne@kbin.social avatar

yeah. I would likely make an account in that situation unless it was temporary.

biscoot ,

If Mbin wants to keep compatibility, Maybe another fork should be considered. The new fork could go on to faster development while Mbin stays behind.

TheVillageGuy OP ,

I don't really understand (mbin stays behind) but it sounds interesting, could you explain a bit further?

roofuskit ,

Best of luck to Ernest, but whatever is going on in his life as long as kbin depends on him entirely it seems like kbin will never take off. The second kbin skyrocketed he should have worked on spreading out responsibility with like minded devs.

BarbecueCowboy ,

I'd be inclined to agree, ernest seems very competent, but he also seems to be trying to carry this entire project on his shoulders which with a project this size isn't doable if you have other life concerns.

Kata1yst ,
@Kata1yst@kbin.social avatar

He did though. And honestly the website has come very far in a short period of time, I really don't understand the concerns and whining in this thread...

From codeberg-

Core Team

  • ernest
  • szsz
  • cooperaj
  • rideranton
  • AnonymousLlama

https://codeberg.org/org/Kbin/teams

Design Team

  • cody
TheVillageGuy OP ,

That's great, assuming they're all contributing. If that's the case however, I can only assume it's being done behind the scenes, essentially deviating from the open source nature of the project

Kata1yst ,
@Kata1yst@kbin.social avatar

Why do you assume that? Why is your way of open source the right way?

All open source projects are run by a small team of people reviewing and accepting, rejecting, and prioritizing work. What part of this project's methodology bothers you?

TheVillageGuy OP ,

Please prove me wrong, but I am interpreting this as a confirmation of my feeling that development is currently ongoing in the background.

Open source and maintained in an obscure location do not go well together in one sentence. Perhaps if it had been like this all along from the start, so people knew what they were getting into. Taking OSS development offline whenever it suits one person, without any form of announcement let alone an explanation to the community, would bother me

Kata1yst ,
@Kata1yst@kbin.social avatar

What obscure location? Codeberg?

All the activity is open on Codeberg. You can see every member of that team actively merging and reviewing requests.

TheVillageGuy OP ,

My point is that there has been no commit to Codeberg for a month. So, if development is still ongoing, it is being done somewhere else.

Kata1yst ,
@Kata1yst@kbin.social avatar

Development is happening in the dev's branches. Branches are generally kept local until submitted for a PR. You can easily see this in the origin branches and open PRs.

Honestly I'm not sure if you're trolling, don't understand git development, or if you really think that a project needs to iterate main multiple times per month to be your definition of "healthy open source", but I'm tired of shooting down such lazy attacks and won't be responding further.

Have a nice day.

TheVillageGuy OP , (edited )

I am very sorry but am not seeing any commits in any of the branches? I may be overlooking something.

Update: sorry I did not read your reply thorougly enough.

But even if that's the case,

Up to a month ago it was common to see commits in the development branch on a regular basis. So it may be a change of strategy, but even if so, it's still without announcement or explanation.

That last thing for me is the issue. It's happened before, where Ernest left everybody dangling. Fair enough, he's written in his devblog. But the community doesn't know if any of that is based on reality and, sadly, due to things which happened in the past and given the circumstances, that makes me very skeptical

Nerd02 ,
@Nerd02@lemmy.basedcount.com avatar

I'm not too familiar with the drama but any time I visit kbin.social there's some error or outage going on. Also the documentation is pretty lackluster, developing 3rd party tools for kbin is pretty much impossible.

Mbin looks way more promising, if anything because of the better docs, new features and community-driven direction it's taking. I hope most kbin users jump ship.

PlasterAnalyst ,

There was a bunch of downtime over the holidays. I assumed it was due to the Lemmy update withholding posts for several days and then flooding kbin. It doesn't bother me in the slightest and I have multiple fediverse accounts.

misk ,
@misk@sopuli.xyz avatar

Ernest is still posting devlogs:

https://kbin.social/u/ernest

TheVillageGuy OP ,

At least we know he's doing alright then, that's a relief

nnullzz ,

Yeah and actually posted 3 days ago explaining a bit about what’s going on.

TheVillageGuy OP ,

It's the "a bit" part that worries me. Without commits on codeberg there's no certainty any progress is actually being made

TheVillageGuy OP ,

Which is now ~ 10 days ago with no sign of any progress. Ask yourselves, what is going on?

sab ,
@sab@kbin.social avatar

It's also not a huge mystery that what is essentially a one-man hobby project will slow down development in some periods, and speed up in others. I'm sticking with Kbin.social because I'm happy with the experience here despite some rough edges, but of course there are other platforms better suited for people who are unhappy about being beta testers of slowly developing software.

(For anyone interested, Fedia.io is the largest mbin instance!)

TheVillageGuy OP ,

Absolutely and that's totally fine. Ernest however had a lot of his community members believe that they were part of the project, but this turned out not quite to be the case. I fell for that as well, when I joined it seemed like a crowded project with several enthusiastic developers. Not judging, but if I'd known it was a one man project at the time I would not have chosen for kbin for rimworld.gallery

Blaze ,
@Blaze@discuss.tchncs.de avatar

Well, as you stated, nobody knows.

I am more hopeful with Mbin than Kbin for now. I just hope that Ernest is doing fine.

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