September 15, 2019 by Drew DeVault

What's cooking on Sourcehut? September 2019

Another month of progress in the Sourcehut alpha! This month, we reached the big 10,000 user mark, and kept going: at the time of writing, there are 10,649 users. To the 938 of you who’ve joined us since the August update, welcome! I’m sure many of you have joined us after abandoning the sinking Bitbucket ship, and if so I hope you’ve found Sourcehut to your liking. If you have any questions or feedback, I can be reached at And a special thanks to the 1,093 users who have paid for their alpha accounts, which for the first time represents more than 10% of all registered users.

General news

First, I’ve redesigned to be a little bit more attractive and lend an air of professionalism to Sourcehut. I’ve also added to it a blog, which has a greater scope than I will be cross-posting these monthly “what’s cooking” updates there as well, for anyone who prefers to read them on the web or keep updated via RSS. Though the design of is a bit more flamboyant than in general, I’ve made a few conservative improvements to the layout of pages, notably centering everything and bumping the base font size up to the system default.

I would also like to thank Denis Laxalde for his hard work lately, thanks to which we’re starting to see a Debian repository come into being for sysadmins who want to run Sourcehut on Debian hosts. I hope we’ll see that finished up soon!

No notable developments this month, but there has been some planning I’d like to share with you. I’ve been working this week on improvements to libgit2 and pygit2 with the aim of improving integration between and (and later, but that’s a more difficult problem for technical reasons). To address goals like continuous integration for patches sent to the mailing list, expanding the diff context beyond what’s included in the patch, and a little blue “submit” button to apply patches from the web, I basically intend to create a libgit2 backend which allows you to create a Repository object which, instead of being backed by a git repo on disk, is backed by the API.

I also intend to add a similar backend for Github and Gitlab, if possible, and let you use to track patches against projects which aren’t hosted on Sourcehut. There’ll probably be lots of use-cases for this that I haven’t thought of! One interesting thing you’d be able to do with this is have a working git repository on your local machine which doesn’t have a .git directory, but instead does all of its operations remotely against a repository - albeit very slowly. I’m not sure why you’d ever want to do this. Interesting nonetheless!

Some minor bug fixes and improvements landed this month, but the most interesting addition is that of participating via email without an account. You can now send an email to the tracker or to a ticket to submit or comment on tickets without a Sourcehut account. If you are the operator of a bug tracker on the service, you can configure the permissions for such users by changing the “anonymous” permissions on your tracker. In the near(ish) future, I also plan on extending ACLs so you can give individuals more or less permission by email, which will make non-account holders first-class citizens on, more or less.

I wrote a blog post about how is being used by lots of software to improve their BSD support, give it a read if you’re interested. On a related note, I’ve received some offers for aid in finishing our NetBSD image, so hopefully we’ll see support for that soon.

Arch Linux developer Eli Schwartz has put some effort into making busybox’s gzip output deterministic and matching GNU’s gzip, which makes our source tarball downloads from consistently hash with ourselves and with other git hosts. Thanks Eli!

I redesigned it, now it doesn’t look like crap. Hooray! As part of this work, you can now explicitly enable or disable the generation of a table of contents for any page by updating its frontmatter.