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Lab notes: Pest and Alcuin part two

November 07, 2021 — shinohai

Since the last installment there has been updates made to Alcuin, including a rename to Blatta along with a genesis.vpatch for the same, and more recently some bugfixes which I successfully applied and will be testing in the coming week.

So far in testing I have been able to:

  • Set up a testnet on localhost.
  • Peer with Blatta's creator remotely and pass messages.
  • Connect an ircbot using it's own station.1

Interest seems to be brewing in the project, so I hope to grow my WoT for this item and look forward to posting more about this item as work progresses.


Lab notes: Pest and Alcuin part one

October 19, 2021 — shinohai

Pest is, as defined in the draft spec:

a peer-to-peer network protocol intended for IRC-style chat. It is designed for decentralization of control, resistance to natural and artificial interference, and fits-in-head mechanical simplicity -- in that order.

The fall of TMSR and the subsequent fleanode collapse has evidently provided the catalyst to get the ball rolling on a replacement communications system that doesn't leave the user at the mercy of SJW's or fiat government stooges and other central points of failure. Discussion on the pest spec has been under way in dulapnet irc ever since asciilifeform first published the draft spec in September of this year, and yours truly has just now had time to carve out a bit of time to review the spec, chatlogs, and thimbronion's implementation of the pest spec in Python, known as Alcuin.

Weechat is my preferred irc client, and a few days ago in the logs thimbronion reported that weechat and some other clients would not send custom commands to the server. After looking into this a bit, I discovered weechat will send nonstandard commands to a connected server when prefixed with the `/quote` command. Even further digging into client behavior revealed that this behavior can be modified by simply changing a setting weechat has turned off by default:

/set on

After setting the above the Alcuin server seemed to process commands exactly as it should, though much work remains to implement the entire spec (as stated in the author's README file). After setting up Python 2.7 on a remote machine and obtaining the script to generate keys from thimbronion, I was able to set up two pest stations and interact between them.

To help make it easier to test and experiment with Alcuin, I have produced a temporary genesis vpatch and sig based on thimbronion's version 9994 tarball and containing the missing key generation script mentioned previously. I will make every effort to keep this updated as the project progresses.

To be continued .....

Tags: News, Linux, Tools

Suckless st and tabbed

July 15, 2021 — shinohai

In my quest to vpatch more things that I use regularly, I finally made a section on this site for my collection of suckless tools. While urxvt served me well for some time, it grows more and more into a bloated mess every update for so simple an item as a virtual terminal. st + tabbed combined have far fewer lines of code, is all in C, and with a few tweaks mimics all the good functionalities I need.

The st vpatch is vanilla st with the scrollback patches and externalpipe patch applied so I get a clean genesis starting point, and tabbed is the one found at but modified slightly to allow allow renaming of open tabs (more on that below).

Both items are pressed in the usual way using your preferred implementation of V. The `config.h.def` file can be adjusted further to operator preferences before building with `make`.

After the items are installed to your path, a couple of bash functions can be added to one's aliases to ease tabbed terminal startup and renaming of tabs:

function term() {
xid="$(tabbed -c -d -s -r 2 st -w x)"
st -w "$xid" bash &
function set-title() {
  if [[ -z "$ORIG" ]]; then

Now I have an easy way to open a tabbed terminal and quickly rename tabs to organize work. For me, it looks something like this:

These items can now be found here:

st vpatch and seals

tabbed vpatch and seals

Tags: News, Linux, Tools