LightDesktop Valentine’s Day Release – now Self-Hosting (ish)!

So – biggest thing is that I’ve replaced the horribly-performing WebDAV with a CREST-fs derived writable filesystem. It’s nice, writing both the server and client sides of a remote filesystem setup. I’m enjoying it, when I am not feeling like tearing my hair out. Because I am a fearful little wretch of a man, I did not write the ‘DELETE’ method yet. I’ll get there, just have to build up the courage. I think I wrote the client side, I just want to do something super wussy on the server end where I don’t delete it ‘just in case’…The new filesystem should have several attributes the old one did not have – it should work disconnectedly, it should be cache-aggressive, it should use the cache when disconnected, it should perform well, and it should have some support for symlinks.

I also modified the ‘root window manager’ thing – it has a sorta taskbar style doodad, with a wireless strength meter and a battery power meter, and some little quicklaunchey button things. Not configurable yet, but that’s probably one of the things that’s next.

I started by making it so that I’m able to compile a relatively simple project, with the storage all living in the Cloud. That compile was actually the root window manager/launcher thing for LightDesktop. Then I moved my LightDesktop dev directory over to a separate filesystem. And then booted up into LightDesktop, with that filesystem available as a secondary FS. Took me a while, but I got to where I can do a full compile, rsync, upload – everything – all from LD itself. I’m a little too afraid to put the entire compile for LD into the cloud itself – lots of stat() calls on lots of files causes lots of traffic, and the performance hit is a bit rough right now. But I’m inching my way there!

So, performance still is a little rocky – there are optimizations to be made on my end in plenty of places, I’m sure. I every now and then run into a weird problem where the system hangs on boot at some point after mounting CREST-fs. And lots of networking changes will occasionally confuse the filesystem to the point where it doesn’t work. I really want it to fail over to the cache when it can’t read something, but the allegedly time-out’ed recv/send calls seem to sometimes not work that way. Or maybe it’s my DNS stuff. If you’ve ever done any Unix network programming, I can assure you it is unnecessarily unpleasant, almost all the time. Just going from name to IP is like a page of code, it’s horrible. I see why every reasonably-sized app builds its own DNS cache every time, you can get stuck in DNS lookup hell real quick.

So at this point you could theoretically grab a copy of this thing, boot from it, and develop up a storm on it, building apps for it. I guess I’m kinda doing that now – though my source code is not on the Cloudy CREST-fs filesystem due to my fear of somehow blowing up all of my data (not completely unfounded of course…). But at least from here on out when I’m developing LightDesktop, I’ll at least be running it. That’s a start. I’m not at the point where I can ‘develop from anywhere’ until I can get the source into the cloud too – but that’s not far off. That will be pretty cool – I’ll sit on a VM on my Mac, or on Craptop, or maybe some new Desktop machine I get…or booted off a thumbdrive somewhere. And coding. How cool would that be?

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