The Enshittification Thread

Enshittification: n. - A term coined by Cory Doctorow to explain the tendency of things to change in a way that increases profits to the provider of the product or service while simultaneously reducing the convenience/usefulness of the product or service to those who use it. We already have a thread tracking the plummet of Twitter, and I know we've discussed how reddit may soon be following in its footsteps. But every day so many other, uh, worthy candidates pop up.

To start things off, how about Philips Hue as an example? Everyone is going on about the "Smart Home" and how wonderful it is supposed to be, and Hue lights were almost always a part of that. Buuuut it looks like Hue has decided to circle the ESFCn drain. First they introduced the Hue bridge/hub, which they said was required if you wanted to "unlock" (their actual word, not mine!) the full functionality of the Hue product lineup. BUT now it looks like they're going even further, with Signify (their parent company) now starting to require you to not only own a hub, but also to create an account with Philips Hue by next year "in order to enhance your home's security." I don't even have any smart bulbs yet, but I do have some places I want to put some. And now I'm not sure they'll be Hue, for the same sort of reason I won't use a Ring camera.

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Let me sum up what I've read in the reddit thread:
let’s examine how enshittification works. It’s a three-stage process: first, platforms are good to their users. Then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers. Finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, there is a fourth stage: they die.
There are four forces that discipline companies, serving as constraints on their enshittificatory impulses:
Competition. Companies that fear you will take your business elsewhere are cautious about worsening quality or raising prices.
Regulation. Companies that fear a regulator will fine them more than they expect to make from cheating, will cheat less.
Self-help. Computers are extremely flexible and so are the digital products and services we make from them.
And, finally, workers. Tech workers have very low union density, but that doesn’t mean that tech workers don’t have labour power. The historical “talent shortage” of the tech sector meant that workers enjoyed a lot of leverage. Workers who disagreed with their bosses could quit and walk across the street and get another, better job.
The pre-enshittification era wasn’t a time of better leadership. The executives weren’t better. They were constrained. Their worst impulses were checked by competition, regulation, self-help and worker power. So what happened?
One by one, each of these constraints was eroded, leaving the enshittificatory impulse unchecked, ushering in the enshittocene.
Then some examples of how each of these have been eroded/neutered, and of the laws that are being leveraged to protect those who are already entrenched.
I’m not going to cape for capitalism. I’m hardly a true believer in markets as the most efficient allocators of resources and arbiters of policy. But the capitalism of 20 years ago made space for a wild and woolly internet, a space where people with disfavoured views could find each other, offer mutual aid and organise. The capitalism of today has produced a global, digital ghost mall, filled with botshit, crap gadgets from companies with consonant-heavy brand names and cryptocurrency scams.
And the more-or-less closing statement.
it may be true that the law can’t force corporations to conceive of you as a human being entitled to dignity and fair treatment, and not just an ambulatory wallet, a supply of gut bacteria for the immortal colony organism that is a limited liability corporation. But it can make them fear you enough to treat you fairly and afford you dignity — even if they don’t think you deserve it.
Sooo...Broadcom acquired VMWare back around Thanksgiving or so. A month later, they celebrated this acquisition by immediately moving to ruin everything VMWare makes by eliminating "perpetual licenses" across all their products, meaning that everyone who uses VMWare's products (and that's a lot of products across a LOT of people/businesses -- seriously, something like 1 out of every 8 "cloud" servers runs on VMWare) is being put on notice that once their current product goes out of support, the only path forward will be to move to a subscription model for EVERYTHING, no doubt because Broadcom believes that the best way to leverage their new investment and build that long tail devoted customer base is to switch from selling (virtual) houses to being everyone's (virtual) landlord.

As a VMWare customer (for the workstation-level products, at least), this is BS. I specifically purchased the products I did to run them on older hardware I own and am really not the kind of customer they are hoping to "hook," since I am not going to constantly be in the cycle of alternately upgrading my hardware and virtualization software and don't need to stay on the bleeding edge of everything, I'm just a homelab kind of guy who wants to take a big computer and break it up into several smaller ones that are easier to manage when I need them or when I want to try something out without having to build a whole new computer for one thing that I may or may not actually use. Well they've set April as their final switchover date, so I have at least until then to download the final version of all the products I purchased and make sure my activation keys are still good and I guess I'll just grab a copy of their free ESXi product for my other older machines HOLD ON WAIT A MINUTE WHAT'S THIS
...dammit you said I had until April to download stuff, you bastards. I have tomorrow off and you can bet one of the things I'll be doing is to go and download everything I have access to before they go and cut THAT off early, too.

What, you expected Broadcom to not start cutting everything off that wouldn't put massive profit? I've seen lots of people start talking about going to Nutanix, Proxmox, and the like - especially in the enterprise level.
Until this acquisition, I only knew Broadcom for their ICs, and had no idea how they operated as a company. Well, I do now, and yes, I am also looking at Proxmox and other solutions I had previously discarded, because if this is how they are going to treat their customers going forward, they can kiss right off. I used to sing VMWare's praises as the most versatile solution(s) out there, but if their new owners' business plan is to stomp their existing customers like grapes until all the money has been juiced out of them, then they completely deserve the whole "Who could have possibly seen this coming?"exodus they're about to enjoy.

if you want an example of just how bad an idea this really must be, check out their stock price. Wall Street absolutely LOVES this, their stock is more than double their price last year. That's Capitalism, baby! Engulf! Grow! Profit!

Yeah - I work in the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure/End User Compute world, where the two major players are currently Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and VMWare Horizon, and Broadcom(VMWare) wants to drop Horizon and sell it off. Horizon is heavily tied into ESXi, so I don't know if it'd be possible to not run on it, or at least, it'll take a while to be able to get it to be able to run elsewhere.

Almost everything we work on for on-premise environments are running ESXi... People are questioning what to do since they killed off the perpetual licenses.

We're starting to see some people in Cloud compute, but reading a lot of people are thinking Nutanix and Proxmox might be the bigger gains for this, esp now that Dell has ended their agreement to distribute VMWare. Yes, Citrix has their "Hypervisor" but it's nowhere near as good as Nutanix.
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Ha, don't got into Azure Cloud then... it's all Hyper-V - one of my clients uses it and you see the Hyper-V boot screen briefly if you catch a boot image. But they don't let you actually log into a console...
a lot of people are thinking Nutanix and Proxmox might be the bigger gains for this
Stumbled across this article which seems to agree with you. I had not heard of Nutanix before you mentioned it, and this guy says they have a "community" version that even supports multiple nodes, which sounds better than what VMWare was offering.
with the new VMware by Broadcom, the direction has changed, the air feels different, and the community is no longer a priority with costs and revenue now the focus for Broadcom. Rest in peace VMware ESXi free edition, a virtualization platform to remember.
EDIT: Looks like the new management has noticed the rumblings:
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What you guys are talking about is way above my pay grade.

Alls I know is the internet fucking sucks ass now and the fact that I still understand the lost art of torrenting is the only thing keeping me online at all.


Staff member
Beware of online mental health companies like BetterHelp and Talkspace.

Enshittifciation of mental health therapy.jpg

Source: Is This the End of the Private Practice Therapist?

TL;DR once again a tech startup is trying to "disrupt" a system by all the usual anticompetitive, and often outright illegal means, and they're making the entire industry worse by doing so.

Beware of anything you see advertised heavily online. If you hear ad after ad for it on YouTube, that company probably has shitty business practices and they're trying to make up for that with propaganda.
If you needed any further encouragement to dump HP for anything printer-/scanner-related, here you go:
[HP] rents people a printer, allots them a specific amount of printed pages, and sends them ink for a monthly fee.
One of the most perturbing aspects of the subscription plan is that it requires subscribers to keep their printers connected to the Internet.
HP says it enforces a constant connection so that the company can monitor things that make sense for the subscription, like ink cartridge statuses, page count, and "to prevent unauthorized use of Your account." However, HP will also remotely monitor the type of documents (for example, a PDF or JPEG) printed, the devices and software used to initiate the print job, "peripheral devices," and any other "metrics" that HP thinks are related to the subscription and decides to add to its remote monitoring.
[The TOS agreement] says that HP may “transfer information about you to advertising partners” so that they can "recognize your devices," perform targeted advertising, and, potentially, "combine information about you with information from other companies in data sharing cooperatives" that HP participates in, and that "You hereby grant to HP a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free right to use, copy, store, transmit, modify, create derivative works of and display Your non-personal data for its business purposes."


Privacy aside, I know ink cartridges cost a lot but for $36 a month you would have to print an insane amount of stuff for that to be worth it. Buying that printer and printing on your own would probably only take 6 months or so to be cheaper than the subscription.

Sony bumps Crunchyroll prices weeks after shuttering Funimation

Today, Sony’s anime streaming service Crunchyroll announced that it’s increasing subscription prices as follows:
- The Mega Fan Tier, which allows streaming on up to four devices simultaneously, will go from $9.99/month to $11.99/month
- The Ultimate Fan Tier, which allows streaming on up to six devices simultaneously, will go from $14.99/month to $15.99/month



Staff member
Even Roku is starting to turn evil. They're talking about putting video ads both on the main menu screen and have them pop up when you pause whatever you're watching, even if it is a straight HDMI source into a Roku TV's HDMI port. I'm starting to worry that Plex might be the next domino to fall, and I might have to migrate my stuff to Jellyfin.
The video I linked talks about fragmentation, especially as regards streaming services and content, but I realized watching it that it also describes the complaint I've had about all my video gaming for the past few years:

-Every game I currently enjoy playing has introduced some kind of battle pass and/or daily quest system.
-Completing daily quests/battle pass items before their expiration REQUIRES a minimum daily time investment so large that it adds up to the point where it is impossible to complete all of them, meaning that instead of sitting down for a couple of hours/day to spend half an hour or so across 5-6 games, I have to commit to spending at least 2-3 hours across just TWO of them if I want to make any useful progress. It's the same thing with the movie subscriptions, except that in my case, I'm time-poor, and can "pay" enough minutes to subscribe to only a couple of them unless I want to dedicate almost an entire off day to catching up in whatever I've fallen behind.

It's not enough that the game prices are rising, that ever-increasing system requirements (and sizes) demand expensive upgrades to hardware/software/Internet every 2-3yrs, that microtransactions/DLC/subscriptions/battle passes fight over the money in your wallet, but now games are predatorily competing to squeeze each other out of my playtime like plants competing to spread their leaves in order to monopolize all the available sunlight for themselves and starve out the rest.

Even Roku is starting to turn evil. They're talking about putting video ads both on the main menu screen and have them pop up when you pause whatever you're watching, even if it is a straight HDMI source into a Roku TV's HDMI port. I'm starting to worry that Plex might be the next domino to fall, and I might have to migrate my stuff to Jellyfin.
I swapped from Plex to JellyFin about 2 years ago - the actual media swap wasn't bad - it was able to keep the same folder structure for the media and it picked it all up.

I don't have any data to back it up, but JellyFin seems to be performing better on the exact same PC (an old I3 with 4 GB of RAM running Win10) - all I did was remove Plex and install JellyFin and configure it.
You're aware that in GB's case that would mean also installing JellyFin on his... Father? I think? System, and troubleshooting a dozen other users who'd suddenly have to make the switch right? :p
You're aware that in GB's case that would mean also installing JellyFin on his... Father? I think? System, and troubleshooting a dozen other users who'd suddenly have to make the switch right? :p
Well, yeah. I was just referring to the actual switchover. The rest of it is all on him. :popcorn:
a lot of people are thinking Nutanix and Proxmox might be the bigger gains for this, esp now that Dell has ended their agreement to distribute VMWare.
Things suddenly changed, O'Connor said, when he received a phone call from [VMWare* who] was now "offering" a 10x to 15x price increase to use their product plus additional services, which persuaded O'Connor to push ahead with his original plan to exclusively use Nutanix.
Let's see if this causes Broadcom to maybe rethink things a bit.

*VMWare is not specifically named, presumably for lawyer reasons, but it's a REALLY good bet it was VMWare.