Early 2024 updates

Apr 4, 2024

Since I didn't post monthly updates so far in 2024, here's a 2024 Q1 update on what I've been up to.


I've already mentioned Reticulum multiple times in my posts and so far in 2024 I've spent quite some time working on things around the Reticulum project. From small bug fixes (1, 2, 3) to contributing more to the community and replying more in Matrix and discussion threads.

One major thing I'm working on however is a browser based flasher for RNode devices. This is something that comes up often in the community as a thing that's missing and will provide a better user experience for new users, so I'm happy to spearhead this effort. I've learned a lot while developing this, from specifics about webserial and TypeScript to ESP internals and RNode details.

The proof-of-concept can be found here, I'll soon be publishing the source of all it too.


In previous posts I hinted at the fact that I was trying out NixOS to see if it had a place in my digital infrastructure. What was holding me back from using it full time was a fear that maybe the NixOS infrastructure is backdoored or in general that it might be less secure than Debian. This changed somewhat when I joined all of the NixOS Matrix rooms and saw how open and transparent some of the communications of the project is.

This happened to coincide with NixCon NA, a conference about Nix in North America, where a company from the Military-industrial complex happened to be a sponsor in the event. When the community got wind of this, an open letter was drafted and published stating how people were uneasy and against this sponsorship. Many prominent members of the community signed it and one person even resigned from their position in the infrastructure team as a means of protest. This showed to me that even if the NixOS Foundation doesn't care about this, the users and the community -which is the important part of a project- do. Seeing as how I'm aligned with the community, this boosted my confidence in the project.

Another point on my transparency claim, I packaged loramon for NixOS and it was very easy to get this accepted upstream and into nixpkgs. I'm now also regularly looking at PRs to see if there's any other places I can help with, but I'm still a bit over my head on some Nix workflows.

I understand that most distros are also transparent with a lot of communication happening in the open over mailing lists, but NixOS was the first time I felt the community being so welcoming. OpenBSD comes close to this, which is a project I've been reading its mailing lists for years, so maybe it comes down to community/contributor size/count?

For now, I'm running NixOS on two machines, my personal laptop and an old laptop that's cosplaying as a server under my desk. All of my NixOS configuration lives in a git repo and is reproducible so far. I still have some things to clean up, but soon I'll publish everything in GitHub and SourceHut.

Writing and other projects

Reticulum has started becoming more popular lately and some people came into the community trying to compare it to Meshtastic. I don't think that comparison is fair to either project, so at the end of January I wrote a small post about this.

I also have a draft post in the works about the history of Matrix (the protocol) and privacy. It's still a work in progress, but I hope to publish it soon as things around Matrix are changing lately and I don't want the information on it to go stale.

On the hardware side of things, I've delved deeper into RF projects, getting more use out of my NanoVNA, so maybe there will be a related post soon. I'm also building a DIY PiKVM for a friend to help with remote management of some computers, another project to document here?

That's all the updates for now, see you next time!

Tags: log nixos reticulum

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