Drew DeVault's Blog

on Drew DeVault's blog

Shell access for builds.sr.ht CI

Have you ever found yourself staring at a failed CI build, wondering desperately what happened? Or, have you ever needed a fresh machine on-demand to test out an idea in? Have you been working on Linux, but need to test something on OpenBSD? Starting this week, builds.sr.ht can help with all of these problems, because you can now SSH into the build environment.

Status update, August 2019

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!

DRM leasing: VR for Wayland

As those who read my status updates have been aware, recently I’ve been working on bringing VR to Wayland (and vice versa). The deepest and most technical part of this work is DRM leasing (Direct Rendering Manager, not Digital Restrictions Management), and I think it’d be good to write in detail about what’s involved in this part of the effort. This work has been sponsored by Status.im, as part of an effort to build a comprehensive Wayland-driven VR workspace. When we got started, most of the plumbing was missing for VR headsets to be useful on Wayland, so this has been my focus for a while. The result of this work is summed up in this crappy handheld video:

FOSS contributor tracks

Just like many companies have different advancement tracks for their employees (for example, a management track and an engineering track), similar concepts exist in free software projects. One of the roles of a maintainer is to help contributors develop into the roles which best suit them. I’d like to explain what this means to me in my role as a maintainer of several projects, though I should mention upfront that I’m just some guy and, while I can explain what has and hasn’t worked for me, I can’t claim to have all of the answers. People are hard.

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!