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Three Things That Made Me Smile Recently

July 15th, 2022

I feel as though I've been a bit too negative lately when it comes to technology. Tonight, I want to highlight some things I've seen recently that make me smile. Don't let yourself get beaten down, life is good!

1. The first Gitea pull request from a remote instance

Anthony Wang is making progress on adding federation to Gitea, a popular self-hosted code forge. He was able to make a pull request from an account on one instance to a repository on another. Isn't that wicked?

Here is the pull request, see it for yourself. According to the technical notes, this is done by keeping a mirror of the forked repository on the instance hosting the original. When the pull request is made, the information is sent to the original instance and it makes the pull request using the local mirror. You can see the local mirror here.

Federation would reduce friction even more for people and projects getting off of GitHub. People would only have to make one Gitea account and use it everywhere. If this system could be implemented in other code forges like GitLab, that would be even better. No fragmentation, and you get to use your choice of software.

2. The SerenityOS browser engine ported to Linux

Three years ago, the legendary Andreas Kling started work on an HTML library for SerenityOS, the graphical Unix-like operating system he was working on.

I'd like to have rich text, and we might as well use HTML for that. :^)

That library evolved and became part of the SerenityOS Web browser, which passed[nitter] the Acid3 test in March. According to Kling, it's the first open source browser to pass the test since it came out in 2008. That was an amazing accomplishment for Kling and his contributors, and now he has ported the browser engine to Linux and created a Qt6 GUI for it! What's more, he recorded the process[invidious], so you can watch it being made in real time.

The browser is called Ladybird. It's a bit bare-bones at the moment, but it works. Here's a screenshot [PNG, 18.7KiB] of my home page as displayed using Ladybird on 2022-07-22. A new, usable Web browser! Awesome!

3. A website hosted on 30 floppy drives in RAID 0

Sean from Action Retro[invidious], a YouTube channel dedicated to doing cool things with old computers, hosted a website on a RAID 0 array of 30 floppy drives, all running off of a PowerMac G5. Unfortunately, the site was taken down before I could get this post out.

It's probably for the best that it was put out of its misery. I couldn't get the image of the G5 to load once. I tried many times across the several hours the site was up. I later found out that it was because the array was being sabotaged! Disks were being removed left and right.

Of course, this is a terrible idea, but the fact that it works at all is just great. It was done just to see if it could be done, and that makes me smile. If you want a behind-the-scenes look at this monstrosity, Sean uploaded a video[invidious] about it.

I'm a big fan of the website-hosted-on-strange-hardware genre. This reminded me of the website hosted on an IBM PC110 palmtop computer. If you don't know what that is, there's a picture of it (with a Sprite can for scale) on the home page. It's currently at an impressive 443 days of uptime.

Well, that's all I've got for tonight. The bookmarklet series isn't over, I just wanted to get this out today. Until next time, folks. :)

Update 2022-07-16: Mentioned the Action Retro video about the floppy drive array, adjusted wording elsewhere in the section.

Update 2022-07-22: Added link to Ladybird screenshot