Jan 312021

Art B. will present some work he has done at our Feb. 11, 2021 Virtual Meeting – see Meetings page for link to the meetup

FROM: Art B. Deduplicating backup software and version control for large binary files

Deduplicating backup software includes the likes of Borg, Restic and the horribly named Duplicacy. This is the current state-of-the-art in backup and makes efficient use of disk space while giving more flexibility in pruning old backups compared to backup software based on differential/incremental snapshots. I was thinking to give an overview of how Borg/Restic/Duplicacy stack against each other, the concepts behind how they work, and an example of using one of them. My current personal project [https://github.com/akbarnes/dupver] is a deduplicating version control system that I started at the beginning of the pandemic. I deal a lot with binary files that have a lot of structure like Sqlite databases and was lacking for a good way to keep track of versions. I’m thinking to give an overview of the design behind it along with a usage example. Warning! It’s an ambitious project at alpha-level quality.

The slow web – Gemini, Gopher & the tildeverse

In another area of interest and throwing out an idea for a future presentation if someone wants to take it on. Gopher has been making a comeback along with its younger brother Gemini. I’m old enough to miss the old days of forum culture. This along with the tildeverse scratches my nostalgia itch pretty hard. Maybe someone is familiar with setting up a Gemini server? I got playing around with Gemini and thought I’d share my experience in advance of this week’s meeting.
For folks that haven’t heard of Gopher, it’s a text-based predecessor and, briefly, competitor to the WWW. It lost out when folks saw WWW which was almost Hypercard over the internet and didn’t charge licensing fees as was the case for Gopher. Gemini is a re-imagined Gopher from some alternate cyberpunk universe with a cleaner document format and which runs over TLS. Project names borrow from the early days of the space race. It’s totally impractical, as it could have been implemented more easily with a subset of HTML or even as an alternate text/gmni MIME type on top of HTTPS. I still love it as it tickles my nostalgia centers for the earlier days of the internet. I’ll admit to having rose-colored glasses here. The modern internet is a place where you can get actual work done, but I sure miss the old times of weird personal interest pages and discussion forums. Gemini really brings me back to those days, especially since people don’t seem to quite know what to do with it yet.

Amphora and bombadillo are nice clients and there are a number of servers out there (jet force, molly brown, twins and agate are the most mature, with agate appearing to be the easiest to set up). Ironically it’s a little tricky to set up a server on account of TLS. There are some other hosting alternatives on the tildeverse, notably tilde.team and the Gemini-only tilde.pink
For those unfamiliar with the tildeverse, it’s a stupidly simple concept that has gained surprising traction: set up a VPS running Linux, give people accounts and let them create webpages in old-timey 90s html style.