May 2019 update

2019-05-05
André Staltz

Dear backers, thank you again for one more month of support! The consistent growth in number of backers and funds for Manyverse amazes and humbles me. You are now in total 57 backers, contributing over 420€ per month. In April, that covered 21 hours of my work to develop the app. In total, I worked 48 hours last month. It's less than the 120h last time, because I had to do some other work, such as preparing for conferences and writing grants.

Every month I aim at delivering at least a few features, but unfortunately this time there were only bug fixes. I spent a good amount of time updating some low level libraries (such as React Native and Node.js Mobile) that were long due of an update. The update was not a smooth task and required me to fix some of these libraries, such as fixing a compilation bug in nodejs-mobile and sending a pull request to nodejs-mobile-react-native. It was worth it, though, because updating React Native to 0.59 means significant speed improvements. Try it out! If the latest Manyverse doesn't crash for you, then the UI interactions are probably much more responsive.

Grants. Manyverse is growing, and I'm happy to inform some exciting news regarding funding. Last year, the Scuttlebutt (SSB) community received 85000€ from Handshake, and since then we have been holding meetings to democratically distribute this money across the different SSB projects. We finally agreed on a detailed budget, after listening to the preferences of dozens of SSB community members. Manyverse received approximately 8400€, and it will appear soon this month in this Open Collective! This will provide approximately 3 months of full time work on the app. This is the first such big grant, and it really excites me!

I have been sending grant applications for a while, I remember the first one I sent was in early 2018. Most of them have been rejected, but April was the first time one of them was actually approved! I sent a grant application for Manyverse to NLNet, and after some weeks, they replied with an approval! We still have to get on a phone call to agree on the amount and the details, so this is still somewhat vaguely defined. I hope all the funds will be sent to this Open Collective, for full transparency.

It is possible that with these grants we reach the target of funding one full-time developer (me, Andre Staltz), and that would be a success in itself. However, if that's the case, it also means it's time to increase the team size. Together with Gordon Martin (who helped bring Bluetooth to Manyverse) and Erick Lavoie (researcher, and runs the ACCESS Open Collective, to coordinate the Handshake funds), we sent a grant application to the LEDGER project. This is a project backed by the European Commission which can fund teams with up to 200k€. We did our best with the application and have our fingers crossed hoping that we pass. This would mean a significant boost to Manyverse, as much as 7x more effort: going from one developer part-time (me) to three developers full time.

Conferences. This month, May, is conference season and I have 4 conferences to attend. One of them is the fantastic Data Terra Nemo where many other SSB enthusiasts will be present. The other is MixitConf where I'll give a talk about the Internet in 2030, involving Manyverse and other P2P apps at the innovation edge of the internet.

I still hope to do some development on Manyverse during May, if I find the time. I have listened to a lot of feedback that the app needs to hold the SSB account (and identity) outside of the app folder, and I plan to work on that. I also want to improve the onboarding and "getting started" story by implementing a new type of SSB server. This is something I believe will be shipped latest June or July. Let's stay in touch, and thanks again for backing and reading this.

Best regards,

– Andre Staltz