Status update, July 2019

Published 2019-07-15 on Drew DeVault's blog

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!

First, my make a blog offer has closed for the time being, and the world is now 13 blogs richer for it. Be sure to check them out! I have also started a mailing list for tech writers: the free writers club, which I encourage anyone using free software to blog about technology to join for editorial advice, software recommendations, and periodic reminders to keep writing. The offer to get paid for your own new blog will reopen in the future, keep an eye out!

As far as projects are concerned, lots of good stuff this month. aerc has been making excellent progress. We just pulled in the first batch of patches adding maildir support, and will soon have sendmail and mbox support as well. We’ve also begun on mouse support, and you can now click to switch between tabs. The initial patches for tab completion have also been added. Additional changes include an :unsubscribe command to unsubscribe from marketing emails and mailing lists, basic search functionality, OAuth IMAP authentication, changing config options at runtime, and DNS lookups to complete your settings in the new account wizard more quickly. Building more upon these features, and a handler for mailto links, are the main blockers for aerc 0.2.0.

In Wayland news, VR work continues. I’ve taken on the goal of implementing DRM leasing for Wayland, which will allow VR applications to take exclusive control over the headset’s graphical resources from Wayland compositor. A similar technology exists for X11, and I’ve written a Wayland protocol for the same purpose on Wayland. I’ve also written a Vulkan extension to utilize this protocol in Vulkan’s WSI layer. I’ve written implementations of these for wlroots, sway, mesa, and the radv (AMD) Vulkan driver. The result: a working VR demo on Sway (audio warning):

There’s still some details to sort out on the standardization of these extensions, which are under discussion now. In the coming weeks I hope to have an implementation for Xwayland (which will get working games based on Steam’s OpenVR runtime), and get a proof-of-concept of a VR-driven Wayland compositor based on the demo shown in the previous status update. Exciting stuff!

I’ve also had time to write a few more chapters for my Wayland book, which I’ll be speeding up my work on. I’ll soon be leaving for an extended trip to Japan, and on these grueling flights I’ll have plenty of time to work on it. In additional Wayland news, we’ve been chugging along with small bugfixes and improvements to wlroots and sway, and implementing more plumbing work to round out our implementation of everything. Our work continues to evolve into the most robust Wayland implementation available today, and I can only see it getting stronger.

On SourceHut, I have plenty of developments to share, but will leave the details for the sr.ht-announce mailing list. The most exciting news is that Alpine Linux, my favorite Linux distribution, has completed their mailing list infrastructure migration to their own lists.sr.ht instance! I’ve also been hard at work expanding lists.sr.ht’s capabilities to this end. The other big piece of news was announced on my blog last week: code annotations. All of our services have also been upgraded to Alpine 3.10, and the Alpine mirror reorganized a bit to make future upgrades smooth. There’s all sorts of other goodies to share, but I’ll leave the rest for the sr.ht-announce post later today.

All sorts of other little things have gotten done, like sending patches upstream for kmscube fixes, minor improvements to scdoc, writing a new build system for mrsh, improvements to openring… but I’m running out of patience and I imagine you are, too. Again I’m eternally grateful for your support: thank you. I’ll see you again for the next status update, same time next month!

This work was possible thanks to users who support me financially. Please consider donating to my work or buying a sourcehut.org subscription. Thank you!

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

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