Comments on The Missing Semester of Your CS Education.

This used to be a Mastodon post, but felt too long to fit (after I pressed “Send”).

Disclaimer: it’s a solid course. Just pointing out things, some opinionated, some no longer valid.


(for example, 1.4 million people have installed Vim emulation for VS code)

Editors (Vim)

This proves the case for “VSCode” more than “Vim”.

Just yesterday I showed someone they could do all these in the vanilla VSCode GUI:

git add .                   # "add" button
git commit -m "Whatever"    # "commit" button
git push ; git pull         # "sync changes" button

git fetch # runs automatically in the background

If you trust them more than your ISP, that is a win, but otherwise, it is not clear that you have gained much.


Cloudflare WARP: jokes on you!

If I’m actually in MIT then there are definitely things I would not want the sysadmint to know. Not even IP addresses - “Hey, this person’s accessing [insert your favorite suspicious site]!”. Especially since my MAC address would probably be tied to my school account.

We discourage Windows for anything but for developing Windows applications


WSL2: jokes on you!

We now live in a world where the sentence “Microsoft will be shipping a Linux kernel with Windows” exists. What a good time to be alive.

Not so true anymore

Among other things, if you break your existing operating system installation so that it no longer boots, you can use a live USB to recover data or fix the operating system.


T1 chip & BitLocker: jokes on you!

Especially for Windows, since BitLocker is enabled by default on laptops with Modern Standby. Gone are they days where you could access files on any Windows machine with a flash drive and Windows PE on it.

For dual boot systems, we think that the most working implementation is macOS’ bootcamp


M1 Macs: jokes on you!

Go pay your “Apple Tax”. And not even to Apple - to Parallels Desktop, from $99.99/year.

Also, cheers to the Asahi Linux team for polishing Linux (specifically Arch Linux ARM) on Apple Silicom.

They even have a Virtual YouTuber, Asahi Lina. She belongs to a group called nullptr::live, and her machine is literally lina@fuwa. Very wholesome.


Chrome is a reasonably good browser both in terms of performance and usability.


Oh, well, except it’s Google.

FLoC & Manifest V3: jokes on you!

FLoC’s “origin trial” impacted users without consent or even notice.

And Manifest V3 is sort of like a test of what Edge & Firefox would do when people are unhappy about stuff (like making ad-blockers virtually useless). So far, I don’t think they’re doing enough.

[Firefox] excels for privacy reasons.


Fair, but not out-of-the-box.

There are instructions (ArchWiki, some other website) on making it better.

Another browser called Flow is not user ready yet


It’s closed-source, probably proprietary, and only distributes Rasberry Pi binaries as of writing.

Seriously, how did this get included.

Check out Servo by Mozilla instead - it’s in everyone’s new favorite language Rust!

Not opportunistic about its prospects *looks at Gecko though - I hope at least it gets similar traction than Deno (also in Rust) is getting right now.

Before that, I’d pursue the easier goal of telling everyone to use pnpm instead of npm.