infotropique - an update

This April I announced the project that has been taking shape for a long time before the announcement, infotropique.

Because our website is still sub-optimal in terms of presentation, here’s is a quote from our roadmap:

The goals of infotropique are:
- to integrate GNUnet into a GNU/Linux system (Guix), with the focus on using gnunet-fs' to publish, exchange, and receivebinary substitutes’ (compiled software), sources and more.
- to build a highly modular, privacy aware OS based on GNU GuixSD. This includes a set of pre-configured applications and services in different variants of the OS.
- to build independent extensions for GNUnet.
- to document GNUnet for other developers and people who will make use of GNUnet in any way, resulting in an improved GNUnet Reference Manual and other public documentation outputs.
- to create a reusable example case of how an operating system can be created based on GuixSD.
- to provide easy access to the new internet as implemented by GNUnet. One of the primary motivations is to enable people to take back control of their everyday communication tools and data. This means we (and the projects we are involved in) are working on removing the mandatory points of authority people need to trust in their communication and usage of devices. Neither infotropique collective nor GNUnet (or Guix) are making any money with your data. We regard infotropique as a basic tool to enable whatever people want to achieve with a distributed network written by the people for the people.

So, onwards to the post. What has been achieved so far?

  • I have worked on the GNUnet Reference documentation GNUnet for most of the year. Recently this has been added to the infotropique roadmap as people need to be able to understand what GNUnet is, and how its many subsystems are supposed to work, how they can customize GNUnet, how they can develop applications with it, contribute to its development, and so on. Documentation is without question important. Throughout this work my knowledge about the Texinfo language and its integration methods into software projects improved greatly.
  • I have picked up GNUnet Guile and started to make sense of it. In all honesty: I’m a newcomer to Guile. I understood next to nothing in late 2015 when I started working on Guix. In late 2017, I’m still learning, but I know more than before and I’m good at understanding concepts of languages. I have started at fixing open TODO notes, reading the Guile Documentation and documenting GNUnet Guile based on what I understand of its code and the past discussions around it.
  • I’ve been bug hunting in GNUnet itself regulary.
  • Although it’s mostly myself with visible work at this point, there are more people involved than just myself in infotropique. We have discussed various aspects of the system layout over and over again throughout the year. A good part of getting from where we are right now with our own repository to a first prototype state is improving our own autotools based build system with integration in Guix aswell as building a set of operating system images through it.
  • With regards to FS (you probably know it as \“gnunet-fs\“) integration in Guix, I have started comparing old notes and ideas (and roadmaps) with my independent ideas about implementing this ‘binary substitutes distribution via GNUnet’. The short summary is that it won’t be ready tomorrow in a usable state. FS needs improvements, our release process as GNUnet needs to be improved (we will discuss this very soon), etc pp…
  • and more I probably forgot to list.

In summary: There is progress, but a big part of it isn’t visible online. It’s lots of constructions sites on multiple complex problems.