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The ethics of the tools we use

Something I’m struggling with a lot is the ethics of the tools we use vs. their “goodness” as tools to work with.

Firefox is exceptional for CSS development, but Chrome has some nice features that (for me, anyways) make it far better for JavaScript work. BUT… I don’t want to be part of Google’s surveillance capitalism network anymore.

Brave is a Chromium option, but it’s founder Brandon Eich (who also created JS itself) supported Prop 8 to ban gay marriage in California. They also collect money for content creators without informing them about it.

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The new Edge browser is Chromium, too. But Microsoft has a contract with ICE that they refuse to break, and thus actively profit from and support separating immigrant parents and children.

Safari is very fast, but if I find JavaScript dev tools in Firefox lacking, Safari definitely isn’t an option.

Similarly, I recommend the VS Code text editor to my students, because it’s very good and completely free. But it’s also made by Microsoft. Not everyone can swing a $70 Sublime Text license.

Microsoft owns Github, too. Should I stop using them? That would be a hard move to sell.

I don’t expect every company I work with to fart rainbows. But there are some basic ethical lines I’d like them to stay on the right side of.

How do you find balance between using the best tools, and not supporting things you don’t agree with?

Do you settle for a subpar experience? Or you do resign yourself to the notion that it’s impossible to be 100% ethical in modern society (ala The Good Place)?