Dear Reddit: thanks for breaking rtv

Let's just get this out of the way at the beginning: when it comes to certain things, I'm a dinosaur. I like manual transmissions. I like black coffee. I like pants that fit securely about my waist. And when it comes to computing, I like using native applications and I like working in terminals. I like reading plain text, typing commands, and using simple text-mode interfaces. It's just my preference. Some people wear plaid and eat head cheese, go figure.

Something else I like is to occasionally interact with intelligent people, and engage in interesting discussions online. And, I also visit Reddit.

I don't remember exactly when I started reading Reddit. I think I landed there from a search result for something technical, then I just started looking around from there. However it happened, Reddit eventually sucked me in. I sort of have this like/hate relationship with Reddit. The community and quality of conversation varies wildly from subreddit to subreddit, and finding the good stuff is like looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks (to invoke a Meat Loaf-ism). When you find it, it's awesome. You just have to do a lot of digging to get there.

But the biggest problem I have with Reddit is that the web interface is annoyingly inconsistent, changing in look and feel as you browse from one moderator-themed subreddit to the next. That visual noise, coupled with the fact that a) I generally don't want to touch the mouse, and b) the site looks and works like ass in a text-mode browser, generally limited Reddit's usefulness to me. Until I discovered rtv.

rtv (Reddit Terminal Viewer) is an awesome terminal application by a software engineer named Michael Lazar. The purpose of rtv is to suck all of the useful text and links out of Reddit and spit it out in your terminal in a nice, readable form without the images, flairs, CSS, Javascript, and visual distractions that you get in the web interface. In short, rtv makes Reddit readable (for me, anyway).

And yesterday, Reddit quite suddenly made a change to their API that broke rtv bad. The change effectively rendered the application useless. And for that, I would like to sincerely thank them.

You see, I realize that Reddit has become more and more of productivity-sucking time sink in my life. And much of that is due to rtv being such an amazingly usable program that I can tolerate reading Reddit at all. It's so good, I actually can't visit Reddit in a browser anymore, The normal Reddit experience sucks that bad.

So that's it for me and Reddit, I guess. I'm sure Michael Lazar is busy pushing a patch to Github to fix the breakage, but I install rtv with my package manager. It will be a little while (even running Debian Sid) before an updated package hits the repos. Maybe that time away will remind me that I have better things to do with my life than read tired Linux memes and look at riced desktop UIs.

Thank you, Reddit. Really.