Drew DeVault's Blog

Choosing a VPN service is a serious decision

There’s a disturbing trend in the past year or so of various VPN companies advertising to the general, non-technical public. It’s great that the general public is starting to become more aware of their privacy online, but I’m not a fan of these companies exploiting public paranoia to peddle their wares. Using a VPN in the first place has potentially grave consequences for your privacy - and can often be worse than not using one in the first place.

Status update, April 2019

Spring is here, and I’m already miserable in the heat. Crazy weather here in Philadelphia - I was woken up at 3 AM by my phone buzzing, telling me to take immediate shelter from a tornado. But with my A/C cranked up and the tornado safely passed, I’ve been able to get a lot of work done.

Announcing first-class Mercurial support on Sourcehut

I’m pleased to announce that the final pieces have fallen into place for Mercurial support on SourceHut, which is now on-par with our git offering. Special thanks are owed to SourceHut contributor Ludovic Chabant, who has been instrumental in adding Mercurial support to SourceHut. You may have heard about it while this was still experimental - but I’m happy to tell you that we have now completely integrated Mercurial support into SourceHut! Want to try it out? Check out the tutorial.

NewPipe represents the best of FOSS

NewPipe is a free and open-source Android application for browsing & watching YouTube. In my opinion, NewPipe is a perfect case-study in why free & open source software is great and how our values differ from proprietary software in important ways. There’s one simple reason: it’s better than the proprietary YouTube app, in every conceivable way, for free.

Rust is not a good C replacement

I have a saying that summarizes my opinion of Rust compared to Go: “Go is the result of C programmers designing a new programming language, and Rust is the result of C++ programmers designing a new programming language”. This isn’t just a metaphor - Go was designed by plan9 alumni, an operating system written in C and the source of inspiration for many of Go’s features, and Rust was designed by the folks at Mozilla - whose flagship product is one of the largest C++ codebases in the world.

Status update, March 2019

My todo list is getting completed at a pace it’s never seen before, and growing at a new pace, too. This full-time FOSS gig is really killing it! As the good weather finally starts to roll in, it’s time for March’s status update. Note: I posted updates on Patreon before, but will start posting here instead. This medium doesn’t depend on a proprietary service, allows for richer content, and is useful for my supporters who support my work via other donation platforms.

Announcing the release of sway 1.0

1,315 days after I started the sway project, it’s finally time for sway 1.0! I had no idea at the time how much work I was in for, or how many talented people would join and support the project with me. In order to complete this project, we have had to rewrite the entire Linux desktop nearly from scratch. Nearly 300 people worked together, together writing over 9,000 commits and almost 100,000 lines of code, to bring you this release.

Sourcehut's spartan approach to web design

Sourcehut is known for its brutalist design, with its mostly shades-of-gray appearance, conservative color usage, and minimal distractions throughout. This article aims to share some insights into the philosophy that guides this design, both for the curious reader and for the new contributor to the open-source project.

Tips for a disciplined git workflow

Basic git usage involves typing a few stock commands to “sync everyone up”. Many people who are frustrated with git become so because they never progress beyond this surface-level understanding of how it works. However, mastering git is easily worth your time. How much of your day is spent using git? I would guess that there are many tools in your belt that you use half as often and have spent twice the time studying.

Generics aren't ready for Go

In the distance, a gradual roar begins to grow in volume. A dust cloud is visible over the horizon. As it nears, the shouts of the oncoming angry mob can be heard. Suddenly, it stops, and a brief silence ensues. Then the air is filled with the clackings of hundreds of keyboards, angrily typing the owner’s opinion about generics and Go. The clans of Java, C#, Rust, C++, TypeScript, Haskell, and more - usually mortal enemies - have combined forces to fight in what may become one of the greatest flamewars of our time. And none of them read more than the title of this article before writing their comment.