This week, I want to give a special shoutout to Cole Helbling, who sent three patches to improve our documentation. Non-Alyssa Spectrum patches are quite rare at the moment, so it was very very nice to get these all at once. Thanks Cole!
This week has mostly been tidying up loose ends and working on documentation. But there's some good, concrete progress as well.
https://spectrum-os.org/ now links directly to my blog and This Week in Spectrum, so that people who come to the website can more easily see that development is ongoing and progress is being made. I've also made it a little more obvious how to find the IRC channel and mailing lists from the homepage, because a conversation on the fediverse made me realise that wasn't clear at all before.
Cole fixed the advice in the website's CONTRIBUTING file on sending patches for the website. I had written to set Git's "sendemail.subjectPrefix" configuration option, but the option is actually called "format.subjectPrefix".
Cole fixed a broken link, and I made the incorrect URL redirect to the right one as well, just in case.
: https://spectrum-os.org/git/www/commit/?id=8f37213cfd4d5dbd4a982bfc1899a3b38... : https://spectrum-os.org/git/www/commit/?id=6d1ce779016cd84c0413b225355715e5e... : https://spectrum-os.org/git/www/commit/?id=8f37213cfd4d5dbd4a982bfc1899a3b38... : https://spectrum-os.org/git/www/commit/?id=13c860e1e5bb02fce683012b851c44515...
Developer manual ----------------
Did you know there's a developer manual for Spectrum? There's not a lot in there yet, so for now it might not be all that useful, but it will be one day! I added a section about how to hack on Spectrum's crosvm, because it can be a bit non-obvious how to get up and running with it. I got some great feedback on it on IRC, and a diff from Cole with some fixes. Thanks to everybody who gave me feedback and helped get that documentation into shape. Setting up a crosvm build still isn't all that easy, but at least it's documented.
Two(?) people trying to clone all of Nixpkgs from the tiny VPS running spectrum-os.org caused the server to run out of memory and return 504 to those clones. It's quite important that people are able to get Spectrum's code, so I've arranged for the VPS to be upgraded with more memory, and so now I just need to reboot the machine so it picks it up. I plan on doing this tomorrow, since there's less likely to be mailing list traffic then than there is immediately after I send this.
In the medium term I'll host all this stuff on a more sensible machine, because it's quite clear the workload on this server (which also runs some other stuff) is starting to get beyond the "tiny VPS" territory.
Activity in #spectrum has really picked up all of a sudden. Hundreds of messages were sent in the second half of this week, mostly talking either about Spectrum or about the future of secure computing in general, and I'm extremely here for all of it. The best thing is that I wasn't even around for most of these conversations!
It's hugely motivating to me to feel that people are so interested in Spectrum, and it's great to have people with all sorts of useful knowledge and questions around.
If you weren't there, I recommend actually checking out the logs from this period, because the conversations being had were just a great read full of interesting stuff.
#spectrum feels like it's now at the point where you can start a discussion about secure computing, and be confident that you'll get at least a couple of extremely knowledgeable people involved in the conversation, and that's just fantastic.
I replaced Sway in the test VM derivation with our newly packaged Wayfire. I was worried at first because wf-shell wasn't starting properly, but strace helped me realise that wf-shell likes HOME to be set, and I hadn't actually done that in the VMs yet. So now that works.
There hasn't been much movement on my Wayfire PRs, or my PR to add Wayfire to upstream Nixpkgs, and that's down to me. I felt like after working on it all week last week, I needed a bit of a break. I'll try to get back to it next week so all those PRs can be gotten over the line.
I merged the latest crosvm changes from Google into Spectrum's crosvm tree. Doing this at the moment takes quite a while, because my work-in-progress "interguest" branch has about 50 commits that have to be rebased onto the new master, and quite a lot of those usually result in conflicts. This won't be as much of a problem once that code is ready to be included in master, because updating then will just be a single merge commit, but for now it's a bit of a pain, especially since I try to make sure every commit works.
I haven't had much of a look over what's changed yet. There's usually at least one cool new toy to be excited about when I merge Google's crosvm, though, so I look forward to finding out what it is this time.
I think that's it for this week, although honestly there have been so many different things going on I've probably missed something. Hopefully next week will be a bit more focused and I'll make more progress with interguest communication. This week, though, we've made some great improvements in several important areas. I'm optimistic that the increased IRC and patch volume are a sign of things to come. I'm looking forward to seeing where things will go from here. :)