Status update, August 2019

Published 2019-08-15 on Drew DeVault's blog

Outside my window, the morning sun can be seen rising over the land of the rising sun, as I sip from a coffee purchased at the konbini down the street. I almost forgot to order it, as the staffer behind the counter pointed out with a smile and a joke that, having been told in Japanese, mostly went over my head. It’s on this quiet Osaka morning I write today’s status update - there are lots of existing developments to share!

Let’s start with sourcehut news. I deployed a cool feature yesterday - SSH access to You can now SSH into a failed build to examine the failure and investigate the root cause. You can also get a shell on-demand for any build image, including for experimental arm64 support. I’ll be writing a full-length blog post going into detail about this feature later in the week. Additionally, with contributor Ryan Chan’s help, received a huge overhaul which moved wikis out of’s dedicated git subsystem and into repositories, allowing you to make your wiki out of a branch of your main project repo or browse the git data on the web. I’ll be posting more news to later today if you want to hear more!

Screenshot of a failed build on offering SSH access to the build

aerc 0.2.0 has been released, which included nearly 200 changes from 34 contributors. I’m grateful to the community for this crazy amount of support - working together we’ll make aerc amazing in no time. Highlights include maildir and sendmail transports, search and filtering, support for mailto: links, tab completion, and more. We haven’t slowed down since, and the next release already has support lined up for notmuch, more tab completion support, and more features for mail composition. In related news, Greg Kroah-Hartman of Linux kernel fame was kind enough to write up details about his email workflow to help guide the direction of aerc. I’ll be writing a follow-up post next week explaining how aerc aims to solve the problems he lays out.

Sway and wlroots continue chugging along as well, with the release of Sway 1.2-rc1 coming earlier this week. This release adds many features from the recent i3 4.17 release, and adds a handful of small features and bug fixes. The corresponding wlroots release will be pretty cool, too, adding support for direct scanout and fixing dozens of bugs. I’d like to draw your attention as well to a cool project from the Sway community: Jason Francis’s wdisplays, a GUI for arranging and configuring displays on wlroots-based desktops. The changes necessary for it to work will land in sway 1.2, and users building from git can try it out today.

On the DRM leasing and VR for Wayland work I was discussing in the last update, I’m happy to share that I’ve got it working with SteamVR! I’ve written a detailed blog post which explains all of the work that went into this project, if you want to learn about it in depth and watch some cool videos summing up the work. There’s still a lot of work to do in negotiating the standardization of new interfaces to support this feature in several projects, but all of the unknowns have been discovered and answered. We will have VR on Wayland soon. I plan on making my way to the Monado and OpenXR to help realize a top-to-bottom free software VR stack designed with Wayland in mind. I’ll also be joining many members of the wlroots gang at XDC in October, where I hope to meet the people working on OpenXR.

I’ve also invested more time into my Wayland book, because I’ve realized that at my current pace it won’t be done any time soon. It’s now about half complete and I’ve picked up the pace considerably. If you’re interested in helping review the drafts, please let me know!

That’s all for today. Thank you for your continued support!

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