Keeping git-annex's momentum going strong
The easy to use webapp, ports to Android and Mac OS X, and Windows, and other great features I've worked on in the last year have brought git-annex to more users than ever before. Together we kick-started something awesome!
But now it's important to keep that momentum going. While lots of new people are trying out git-annex, I need to be able to devote all my time to fixing problems they find, and making it work really well.
Make no mistake, I'll continue working on git-annex no matter what happens here. The only question is, will I be able to give it my full attention in this critical period?
... Well, that question has been answered. I'm working on git-annex full time for another year! And maybe a little beyond.
There are so many features to add, and ways to improve git-annex, that I can't begin to list them all here, but here are a few:
- Integrate better with Android.
- Get the assistant and webapp ported to Windows.
- Refine the automated stress testing tools to find and fix more problems before users ever see them.
- Automatic recovery. Cosmic ray flipped a bit in a file? USB drive corrupted itself? The assistant should notice these problems, and fix them.
- Encourage more contributions from others. For example, improve the
special remote plugin interface so it can do everything the native Haskell
interface can do. Eight new cloud storage services were added this year
as plugins, but we can do better!
See also: the git-annex enhancement contest
- Use deltas to reduce bandwidth needed to transfer modified versions of files.
- Improved ssh password prompting when setting up a ssh remote in the webapp.
Focus on security & privacy
Git-annex users are storing their files securely encrypted in the cloud. They're avoiding getting locked into one proprietary service. They're able to sync and share their files without losing control of their data. Recent developments have highlighted the importance of software that helps you protect your privacy and avoid lock-in.
I was thrilled to see that git-annex is featured on prism-break.org as an alternative to DropBox, Google Drive, and iCloud. Proud to see it in the company with so much other good software that respects these principles. But also worried, since any software using encryption always has room for improvement.
So, this campaign has an additional focus on improving git-annex's security. Some of the areas I want to work on:
- Add easy support for encrypted git repositories using git-remote-gcrypt, so you can safely push to a repository on a server you don't control.
- Add support for setting up and using GPG keys in the webapp.
- Add protection to the XMPP protocol to guard against man in the middle attacks if the XMPP server is compromised. Ie, Google should not be able to learn about your git-annex repository even if you're using their servers.
- To avoid leaking even the size of your encrypted files to cloud storage providers, add a mode that stores fixed size chunks.
You can support me with a donation, made using Paypal, a direct transfer from your Bitcoin wallet, or with Bitcoin purchased via CoinBase. Just click on a button for the level you want to donate.
You can also send me donations of any size directly. Send PayPal donations to email@example.com. To avoid all payment processing overhead, you can send Bitcoin directly to me at 1joeygoqqHtkxkQ3MRnhDZsBXHqUNbEb9
This is a one-time thing. I do not plan to try to live off of the generosity of my backers indefinitely. But it's sure been great to spend a year building exactly what I feel needs to be built, with the ongoing feedback of my backers!
I do have some other Kickstarter-worthy ideas for projects that might involve git-annex in other ways, and might lead to a sustainable funding in the long term. I have not decided yet if I'll try to take such a project on.
Also, I've heard from a ton of people encouraging me to run another fundraiser, both happy Kickstarter backers, and people who missed their chance to contribute to the first one. Who am I to say no to that?
The initial phase ends on August 15th.
Since this is a somewhat open-ended campaign, I will extend it if the initial goal is met and it seems appropriate to do so.
The sponsored commits and the day's sponsor will happen in the order people signed up.
I'll work out a time to do the personal git-annex assistant gig, depending on when we both have time.
Stickers will be mailed out within 2 months.
One of the great things to come out of my original git-annex Kickstarter, that I did not anticipate, was that it helped inspire some other similar attempts. MediaGoblin had a successful croudfunding campaign. There is an ongoing campaign by the Software Freedom Conservancy to fund development of Non-Profit Accounting Software.
The Free Software community is still figuring out how to use crowdfunding effectively. Does it make sense to continue supporting a project that's already had one successful round of crowdfunding? I think it's best to leave the decision up to you!
Sure, just donate $50 x 2 = $100 to sponsor two commits, or combine other sponsorship levels. I'll get in touch if I can't figure out what you wanted based on the amount you donate.
No, it is not. However, I have structured this campaign to avoid other overheads that use up significant percentages of the funds raised by a typical Kickstarter project. That's one reason why I'm encouraging donations using Bitcoin.
git-annex is GPL-3+, and its webapp is AGPL-3+.
This web page is CC-BY-SA 3.0.
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