Drew DeVault's Blog

Status update, July 2019

Today I received the keys to my new apartment, which by way of not being directly in the middle of the city1 saves me a decent chunk of money - and allows me to proudly announce that I have officially broken even on doing free software full time! I owe a great deal of thanks to all of you who have donated to support my work or purchased a paid SourceHut account. I’ve dreamed of sustainably working on free software for a long, long time, and I’m very grateful for all of your support in helping realize that dream. Now let me share with you what your money has bought over the past month!

  1. I can see city hall out the window of my old apartment 

Announcing code annotations for SourceHut

Today I’m happy to announce that code annotations are now available for SourceHut! These allow you to decorate your code with arbitrary links and markdown. The end result looks something like this:

Absence of certain features in IRC considered a feature

The other day a friend of mine (an oper on Freenode) wanted to talk about IRC compared to its peers, such as Matrix, Slack, Discord, etc. The ensuing discussion deserves summarization here. In short: I’m glad that IRC doesn’t have the features that are “showstoppers” for people choosing other platforms, and I’m worried that attempts to bring these showstopping “features” to IRC will worsen the platform for the people who use it now.

Status update, June 2019

Summer is in full swing here in Philadelphia. Last night I got great views of Jupiter and a nearly-full Moon, and my first Saturn observation of the year. I love astronomy on clear Friday nights, there’s always plenty of people coming through the city. And today, on a relaxing lazy Saturday, waiting for friends for dinner later, I have the privilege of sharing another status report with you.

My personal journey from MIT to GPL

As I got started writing open source software, I generally preferred the MIT license. I actually made fun of the “copyleft” GPL licenses, on the grounds that they are less free. I still hold this opinion today: the GPL license is less free than the MIT license - but today, I believe this in a good way.

Initial pre-release of aerc: an email client for your terminal

After years of painfully slow development, the aerc email client has seen a huge boost in its pace of development recently. This leads to today’s announcement: aerc 0.1.0 is now available! After my transition to working on free software full time allowed me to spend more time on more projects, I was able to invest considerably more time into aerc. Your support led us here: thank you to all of the people who donate to my work!

What is a fork, really, and how GitHub changed its meaning

The fork button on GitHub - with the little number next to it for depositing dopamine into your brain - is a bit misleading. GitHub co-opted the meaning of “fork” to trick you into participating in their platform more. They did this in a well-intentioned way, for the sake of their pull requests feature, but ultimately this design is self-serving and causes some friction when contributors venture out of their GitHub sandbox and into the rest of the software development ecosystem. Let’s clarify what “fork” really means, and what we do without GitHub’s concept of one - for it is in this difference that we truly discover how git is a distributed version control system.

Status update, May 2019

This month, it seems the most exciting developments again come from the realm of email. I’ve got cool email-related news to share for aerc, lists.sr.ht, and todo.sr.ht, and many cool developments in my other projects to share.

Webcast: Reviewing git & mercurial patches with email

With the availability of new resources like git-send-email.io, I’ve been working on making the email-based workflow more understandable and accessible to the world. One thing that’s notably missing from this tutorial, however, is the maintainer side of the work. I intend to do a full write-up in the future, but for now I thought it’d be helpful to clarify my workflow a bit with a short webcast. In this video, I narrate my workflow as I review a few sourcehut patches and participate in some dicsussions.

Calculating your donation's value following Patreon's fee changes

In January 2018, I wrote a blog post which included a fee calculator. Patreon changes their fee model tomorrow, and it’s time for an updated calculator. I’m grandfathered into the old fees, so not much has changed for me, but I want to equip Patreon users - creators and supporters - with more knowledge of how their money is moving through the platform.