Scuttleverse Newsletter #1

Published on April 4, 2019 by Scott

This is the first of hopefully many monthly newsletters from the Secure Scuttlebutt Consortium. In each dispatch, I and others, will try and capture and distill some of the golden sunshine of all that is the Scuttleverse.

On the topic of sunshine, this newsletter reaches you days after the passing of the Vernal Equinox. Equinox being Latin for *equal night*, when we can enjoy equal parts of night and day. *Vernal* was likely named after the ancient astrologer Vern who forgo staring at the sun and instead counted down the seconds he could get back to work. It was his hard work that led us to know on which day of the year this would would be. Thanks Vern! 

For those of you reading this in the Northern Hemisphere, your hearts should be delighted with the prospects of Spring, and it's welcome change of weather. Sunshine! For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, you've been enjoying what I hope was a beautiful Summer. Now is time to harvest all of the bounties of your hard work, and whatever else nature provides. As is the way of things, the Scuttleverse mirrors the physical world. There has been alot of growth and progress, with the rare moments of darkness and unrest. With many of the core team based in New Zealand, the recent tragic shootings was cause for contemplation on what it means to build a secure safe space for people of all backgrounds. This is not a new topic of interest, but all the more reminder of the importance of what the team has been building.

The big event of the last month was Scuttlecamp One, an intimate conference for folks to come together and work on the Scuttlebutt protocol's future and the effects it has on the communities that it fosters. There were a variety of topics covered in the sessions, ranging the whole spectrum from Inclusivity, Decolonizing of Cyberspace, the ValueFlows Network, Private Groups to new iOS app being built by the 'Verse team. Lots of work was done, but also a lot of fun was had by the attendees.

In the time since the camp, many members have utilized their newfound knowledge and invigorated spirit to produce new tools, and have further discussions, including:

- PatchFox, a Firefox plugin that serves as a SSB client

- Kayapo and Moinho mesh, two rural off grid mesh networks and economic platforms

- discussions around creating a Scuttlebutt New Zealad Incorporated, a legal entity for managing funds and maintaining contracts.

- Hacky-art, an image client which is experimenting with new methods of sharing graphic artwork. 

- A super simple *same-as* implementation which will allow multiple devices to be considered the same person

- Support of SSB replication over USB

- Dark Crystal, a useful tool for securely sharing shards of secrets amongst a network of friends for later retrieval.

 And lastly, Dominic has been heading up an initiative to overhaul the documentation of core libraries that make up the SSB stack, which should make the code base more accessible to newcomers. The group is following a new and interesting volunteer coordination model, the Village Issue Tracker, in which each volunteer commits to a limited but significant time per week and are assigned packages to review. Their contribution may range from a high-level assessment of the quality of the documentation for deeper review, which may be more accessible to newcomers unfamiliar with the code base, to re-writing and extending the documentation based on actual internal knowledge, for more experienced developers. 

This newsletter and each of the above contributions was made possible due to donations of mostly time, but also financial contributions such as those made to Open Collective. Thanks again for your support, and thanks in advance for any further help.

Later Alligators,