August 15, 2019 by Drew DeVault

What's cooking on Sourcehut? August 2019

Thank you for continuing to support Sourcehut during the alpha period! I have loads of exiting developments to share with you today. Let’s welcome our newest 369 users to the platform, which now totals 9,711 in number.

I’m happy to announce lots of cool features for this month. First, the VMs for failed builds are now being kept alive for 10 minutes after the completion of your build, and you can SSH into them to examine the failure more closely (if you do so, the 10 minute deadline is extended to the original time limit for your build).

Screenshot of a failed build prompting the user to SSH into the VM

You can also SSH into build jobs just if you’d find it useful. Need an OpenBSD shell to try something out?

image: openbsd/latest
shell: true

Paste that into and you’ll get your SSH connection details a few moments later. You can also still add all of your tasks, packages, repos, and such; perhaps cloning your dotfiles repo and installing your favorite text editor.

SSH access is still in its early stages, but development is well underway on features like submitting build manifests over SSH, e.g.

ssh submit < .build.yml

as well as tail -f-ing build logs in your terminal.

Additionally, I have progress to announce on experimental multi-arch support. arm64 is now available for Debian images, and is being kept up-to-date with automated builds. I’ve also made progress on ppc64el support using a similar approach. Currently this is done with software emulation via qemu, but in the next couple of months, I expect to have ppc64le hardware builds available.

The ubuntu/latest image now points to Ubuntu Disco and freebsd/latest to FreeBSD 11.3, following their respective upstream releases.

Thanks to the hard work of Ryan Chan and after a complex migration process, a major update to has been deployed. No longer are the backing git repos stored with itself - they’ve now been transferred to repositories and uses webhooks and the API to fetch content from them. This means you can now browse your wikis on using the fully featured git repository browsing interface, but you can also put your wikis directly into the git repos they document under a “wiki” branch or something similar. Thanks to Ryan for all your hard work!

A problem which has plagued for some time now is slow performance on git operations over SSH. Though there’s still many improvements to be made, I spent some time this month whetting down the bottlenecks and, as a result, git pull is 5x faster and git push is 2x faster. Thanks to Preston Carpenter for helping to identify some of the bottlenecks! The remaining bottlenecks are well-understood and I expect to make further improvements soon. Anyone interested in helping on this should reach out on IRC - there’s a lot of cool stuff involved.

Additionally, following the announcement of code annotations for, several projects have grown which add support for their favorite programming languages:

If you’re working on one yourself, please let me know!

Because Sourcehut requires the use of plaintext email, many email clients will run into this limitation quickly with their default configuration. Previously, you’d get a very user-unfriendly bounce message from postfix which doesn’t give you much help towards fixing this problem. Instead, the bounces are now sent from itself and replace the mail server diagnostic info with a friendlier description of the problem and resources to address it - namely,

Other error messages which can be returned by have received similar treatment.

Interesting projects using Sourcehut

The mutt email client is experimenting with a git mirror and mailing list, as well as CI.

Gio is an immediate mode GUI toolkit for Golang.

Thanks for using Sourcehut, guys! Be sure to let me know about your new projects - post them to the list.