Devious Fish
DCloud: the Devious Fish Cloud

Existing cloud solutions all have issues:

  • There are free services like Google, if you don’t mind them rooting through your data to learn about you.
  • There are free ones like Apple, if you don’t mind your data in a walled garden with access to it only on their terms and their hardware.
  • The open-source solutions are dodgy, where they exist at all.
  • Paid solutions are costly.

Seeking a private, reliable, free, self-maintainable solution for my-data-everywhere, I developed Devious Cloud. Set up a private Subversion or Mercurial repository for your cloud. Point Documents/Cloud on each of your machines at it. And the cloud command and friends do the rest.

And in case you’re away from all your machines, you can access your data on the web, where it’s secured behind an old-fashioned .htaccess file.

Project status

2018–09–23: r22 fixes Mercurial hooks and missing/empty calendars. During install for Mercurial, it now creates a .dcloudrc with the PATH captured (otherwise Mercurial provides a minimal PATH to the hook when invoked). If you already created a .dcloudrc, you’ll probably want to set PATH there.

For Subversion, the commit hook has moved to ~/bin/dcloud-post-commit, like for clients and Mercurial. The installation creates a stub Repositories/hooks/post-commit that captures HOME, PATH, and USER, then invokes the dcloud-post-commit script. Remove the existing script before install to have the new-style stub created.

Address Book

Although DCloud doesn’t have a formal address book format, you can keep your contacts in a plain-text file with entries separated by a blank line. There’s a remarkably utilitarian search command that’ll display matching “paragraphs”. A few aliases and you can repurpose the command for other uses. See: pn(1) man page (pdf)

$ pn winsted clerk
860-379-2713    Winsted Town Hall - vital records department (birth certificates $5)
                Town Clerks Office
                338 Main Street
                Winsted, CT 06098

As a bonus, pn also searches Google address books if goobook is installed.

Passwords

There’s a similar utility for managing passwords in an encrypted file. And it’s also easy to repurpose by wrapping it in an alias. See: pass(1) man page (pdf).

To-do lists

Make your to-do lists using Markdown’s tasks lists. DCloud’s tasks.py utility scans files, extracts to-do items, and writes them in HTML with appropriate CSS-ready mark-up. And it has options to remove complete tasks, or move them to a separate file (with an optional date) to keep a history of work completed. It understands subtasks, so works in progress remain untouched until the whole job is finished. tasks(1)

[ ] This is a to-do item
[ ] Polish the cat
- [x] Acquire cat polish
- [x] Acquire cat
- [ ] Wash cat
- [ ] Get first aid
- [ ] Polish cat
[x] Tune the fish

Calendars

iCalendar (RFC 5545) is fantastic for sharing calendars, but most calendar apps are a pain in the ass. Everything has to go into a certain field. Do you long for the days of the TRS-80 Model 100, when SCHEDL was a front-end for a text editor with a trimmed-down grep? You want queue(5) format, which can be wrangled into iCalendar or HTML by queue2ics, or viewed from the command line with now(1) (pdf).

2018-05-01 Holiday Beltaine - shag like it's the first of May @ My Favorite Sex Club
2018-05-05 13:00 Sink some mayonaise @ stream out back of Discordian HQ
2018-05-09 19:00 SciFi Night - Jessica Jones @ Mike's house
2018-05-11 16:00 - 21:00 Game night @ Ye Olde Gaming Centre - Settlers with Lori and Roy
2018-05-13 17:00 Surf the web http://perette.barella.org

And just in case you want to go the other way, queue2ics can read iCalendar and write queue files.

Documents

DCloud documents are just documents in a revision control system–so not only do you get one document everywhere, you get an automatic history of changes. You can just add/modify documents using your revision control commands, or use the cloud(1) wrapper.

Web exports

When updates are pushed into your cloud, the server constructs a web page containing some or all your documents. Set up a web server of your own, or provide an upload script to shove the website to your hosting site. publish_cloud(1), view pictures

Technical details

DCloud is written in Korn Shell and Python 3. Perl code has been eradicated.

History & Colophon

DCloud was refined into a package as result of moving off the Mac in 2018.

pn dates to my first UNIX machine, a second-hand AT&T 3B1 named Unixslut, circa 1993. pass was developed in the late 90s or early 2000s on Selantia, a Wintel Linux box, to deal with the quickly growing numbers of Internet passwords around that time.

queue2ics was originally a Perl script developed 2008ish on an iBook G4 named Mugenshi, for a file format that evolved in the late 1990s for a TRS-80/Linux file synchronization system. The format organizes my calendar to this day. queue2ics was rewritten and cleaned up in Python in 2018.

now was originally a shell alias for tail -15 <file>. It was replaced with a shell script that improved formatting around 2013. Terminal-size aware behavior and other enhancements were added in 2018.

publish_cloud.py and tasks.py were both originally coded in Korn shell in 2018, but were both rewritten to make the code more manageable. cloud was also written in 2018, but remains in Korn shell. All were developed on a Thinkpad E570 named Lenora running LinuxMint 18.3, with portability testing on a mid-2009 MacBook Pro named Stefanie running El Clownian, and server-side testing on a 2008 MacBook named Frank running Snow Leopard.

The web calendar styles, 12/24 hour time switching, and category switches were originally developed for the Rochester Kink Society website around 2009.