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Holiday Season Updates

Posted by Bjarni Rúnar on December 12, 2017

Happy holidays, dear readers!

It's been way too long since I updated this blog. Way too long!

Back in August, the plan was to quickly post job ads and start looking for people to hire for our next stages of work - building minimal Windows and Mac GUIs, and installers.

That timeline didn't quite pan out, mostly because I was distracted by other work. My other job needed my attention, then the Icelandic government collapsed, so I volunteered some of my time to help the Icelandic Pirates campaign. I also moved back to Italy from Iceland, which always slows me down for a while.

But enough excuses already!

After some intensive introspection and deep analysis of the Mailpile project's structure and history, we have identified our biggest problem: I am a bottleneck. OK, I made that up. We didn't perform any analysis, it's been obvious for a while that this is a problem. However, empowered by Bitcoin's latest shenanigans, we have finally done something about it.

We've hired a project manager!

The talented Oktavía Hrund has been hired to make sure things get done in spite of me. She has a contract in hand, a budget to work with and Mailpile installed on her laptop... she's here to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

We have changed ownership!

Another recent development, is Mailpile ehf, the Icelandic company founded around the project has changed ownership. Mailpile ehf used to be fully owned by the original project founders: Smári McCarthy, Brennan Novak and myself. Since then, Brennan has moved on to other things. Recently he sold his shares to Daniel Yeow. Daniel should be a a familiar face to the the speed skaters amongst you (I hear Mailpile is huge in the speed skating community... huge!), but he has also been helping out with coordination of our Transifex community while researching whether it is possible to use Raspberry-Pi-like devices to make a Mailpile hardware product.

You made this happen!

Your encouragement, your belief in our vision and your gracious donations (including Bitcoin donations) are what makes Mailpile possible. Bitcoin prices have risen dramatically, so much so that we now have enough magical Internet money to fund another round or two of work after this one - assuming Bitcoin doesn't collapse completely in the meantime! So thank you again for your trust and donations. They have given us the motivation and courage we need to keep going and make Mailpile available, easy and accessible to you all! We may be late, but never isn't an option.

That's the news for now.

I'm sure Okta will make me blog again soon. Until then, I hope you enjoy Santaseason, spend some quality time with your loved ones and enter the Gregorian Calendar New Year full of joy and optimism...

Take care!

Still Hacking Anyway

Posted by Bjarni Rúnar on August 13, 2017

Last weekend, I happily attended the Dutch SHA2017 Hacker Camp. I slept in a tent, gave a talk about Mailpile and had too much beer and almost enough interesting conversations.

The advertised title of my talk was "Four years later", because Mailpile itself was launched at the last Dutch hacker camp: OHM in 2013. So I talked about what Mailpile is, what has happened during the last four years and finally I announced our first 1.0 release candiate!

However, I sneakily changed the title to Still Hacking Anyway, because I just liked that better.

Thanks to the Chaos Computer Club media project, you can watch the talk here:

download the talk here

After the talk I gave away a bunch of Mailpile t-shirts and stickers, but mostly relaxed and enjoyed being surrounded by interesting hacktivists at the camp. It was a wonderful event and the organizers and volunteers all did a fantastic job.

The talk ended with a call for help; funnily enough, I'm roughly on schedule and would like to hire a couple of developers to help me complete the Plan for 2017. I will post more details about the positions later this month: if you know Windows or Mac desktop developers that are looking for 3-4 months of contract work, watch this space - or just get in touch!

A correction: I am aware of one factual error in my talk: I said that GnuPG 2.1 was moving towards making TOFU the default trust model. This is incorrect. My apologies!

SHA2017, Here We Come!

Posted by Bjarni on August 2, 2017


Sorry about the long silence. I've been so busy writing code and living my life, that the blog (and the Twitter account) have both been a bit neglected this year.

However, this weekend, I will crawl out of my cave and attend the SHA 2017 Hacker Camp! Smári will also be there, and I just know a whole bunch of our backers and wider community will be as well. In addition to sleeping in a tent and meeting awesome people (you, I hope) at SHA, I will be giving a talk to celebrate the Mailpile project's 4 year birthday.

Yep, Mailpile is turning 4 years old. Happy Birthday Mailpile!

For those of you who won't be able to attend the talk, a small spoiler: a huge amount of progress has been made towards a 1.0 release. It's happening, folks.

I'll post more after my talk.

A Plan for 2017

Posted by Bjarni Rúnar on January 30, 2017

Happy Belated New Year!

Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement in 2016. Although there was no "big news" from Mailpile in 2016, development continued and I was happy to see a whole bunch of new contributors submitting patches, reporting bugs and chatting with us on IRC. It's wonderful to have a community.

As any reader of this blog knows, my track record when it comes to predictions and planning, is absolutely abysmal. I'm sorry.

However, I still want 2017 to be the year Mailpile hits 1.0. The project will be 4 years old this summer and we need to make a release. Here is how I hope to accomplish that:

  1. Over the next few months, I will (with help from the community) chip away at the list of 1.0-blocking issues.

  2. Once (most of) the blocking issues are resolved, a release candidate will be tagged, packaged and made conveniently (apt-get install ...) available for Debian and Ubuntu Linux users.

  3. At this point, I will use some of the remaining Mailpile funds to hire specialized help to work on the Mac OS X and Windows integration and packaging efforts. With a couple of exceptions, I have been self-funding my Mailpile work since the beginning of 2015, so in spite of our failures to raise grant money, we do still have some cash in the bank (and our bitcoin wallets).

  4. Once a release candidate has been published, we will ask our community of international translators to finish their work and try and get some "QA" work done to ensure the translations are accurate.

  5. At this point, we will also encourage other Linux distributions to contribute build recipes so we can build packages for them as well.

  6. Feedback from early Linux adoptors will be used to squash bugs, polish the code and clean up the translations, eventually leading to a 1.0 release. Whether the 1.0 release will be simultaneous for all three platforms is undecided.

I think all, or most, of these things can happen within the next 11 months.

Especially with your help...

Older stuff

Some Tweets

Oh, hi! We're not dead. In fact, we're in the process of hiring a project manager to get the ball rolling a bit more visibly again. More news soon.
@MailpileTeam, Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:21

Have you tried the Mailpile Debian 1.0rc1 packages? We're looking for feedback on what works and what doesn't.
@MailpileTeam, Mon, 21 Aug 2017 10:45

As announced at #SHA2017, we now have a first release candidate for Mailpile 1.0. Linux (deb) packages are here:
@MailpileTeam, Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:30

We finally finished updating our website SSL certs. Big thanks to @letsencrypt - and all the folks that reported issues with the old certs!
@MailpileTeam, Thu, 03 Aug 2017 10:44

~95% of all e-mail goes through the servers of the top ten e-mail providers. Unencrypted. What does that mean for privacy?
@MailpileTeam, Wed, 02 Aug 2017 21:22

We're going to @SHA2017Camp! Our @HerraBRE will give a talk about Mailpile on Saturday and @smarimc will be flitting around too. Say hi!
@MailpileTeam, Wed, 02 Aug 2017 15:11

The crypto in Mailpile depends on @GnuPG - please support their work if you can!
@MailpileTeam, Tue, 13 Jun 2017 17:12

Ever wondered what sort of work goes into writing a secure e-mail client? We discuss most things in detail on #mailpile on Freenode (IRC).
@MailpileTeam, Wed, 29 Mar 2017 11:03

Looking for a weekend project? Like e-mail attachments? We could use help with these issues:
@MailpileTeam, Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:41

Our @HerraBRE is in Valencia until Wednesday to work on AutoCrypt and hopefully meet some #InternetFF attendees. Get in touch, say hi!
@MailpileTeam, Sat, 04 Mar 2017 11:15

Need a weekend project? Mailpile setup fails if the machine is low on disk space; it should be easy to fix:
@MailpileTeam, Fri, 03 Mar 2017 17:50 finally mirrors our tweets! We only display static tweet content (no widgets) so Twitter cannot track visits.
@MailpileTeam, Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:20

Should we start tweeting links to Mailpile issues our community could help us fix? Or would that be spammy? What do you think?
@MailpileTeam, Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:51

Mailpile 1.0 will implement Memory Hole, a standard for encrypting or signing e-mail headers. See thread:
@MailpileTeam, Wed, 15 Feb 2017 12:46