Offpunk 1.5 : A Huge Thank You to Packagers
by Ploum on 2022-08-04
I’m releasing Offpunk 1.5 which mainly fixes a couple of bugs and add the "redirect" features (which was existing but hidden). Redirect allows you to block http domains or to redirect them to a privacy-friendly frontend. By default, facebook.com is blocked and twitter, medium, youtube and reddit are redirected to some frontends. 1.5 also adds the "open url" command which open current page in your browser.
Free Software and Packaging
I’ve been contributing to the free software community for more than 20 years, writing patches, books, documentation. In 2006, I created my first software from scratch (Conseil, a launchpad frontend to triage Ubuntu bugs). But it was not until 2009 that I started to write code that would be used by thousands of people. That year, with my friend Bertrand, we created GTG, a todo manager for GNOME which still has no equivalent to this day and was very popular at the time (featured on the first Ubuntu app store and in multiple media like Ars Technica and Linuxradar).
As I developped software, I realized that a critical component to make them available to users was packaging them. And that I was really bad at packaging. Like "really-really-really bad". I never managed to understand the logic behind it. It was really painful. I decided to focus on writing code and let others do the hard work.
Looking back, I start thinking that some code I’ve written may be my legacy. When I die, a little of me will stay on this planet as software I’ve created and continued by others. That’s why I’m very proud to see my software being packaged (and my books being read but that’s another topic).
GTG, of course, is quite well distributed (not anymore available on Debian/Ubuntu but well on flathub):
When writing GTG, I started a python library called liblarch which became a project on its own. I’m pleasantly surprised to see it back in Debian. It means that some people are still using it.
But those projects are now in the hands of other people. I don’t even use them anymore. I’m currently spending most of my time in another software I’ve written on the foundations layed out by Solderpunk : Offpunk.
Unlike any other of my projects, Offpunk quickly became stable. I may add a few features in the future but that’s not certain. Offpunk may not change for years as long as no bugs are found. I’m proud of it. I’m proud each time I see a mention of Offpunk in a gemlog.
That’s why I’m really thankful to the work provided by packagers. Offpunk is now available in Arch, Gentoo and Nix. It means people find it useful. It means people are using it. It means the world to me.
Thanks a lot, Offpunk packagers !