Discreet Log #25: Notifications, Cwtch 1.6.1, Fundraising

25 Feb 2022

Welcome to Discreet Log! A fortnightly technical development blog to provide an in-depth look into the research, projects and tools that we work on at Open Privacy. For our twenty-fifth post Dan Ballard talks about notification improvements in Cwtch, and some plans for the future

We have kicked off Open Privacy’s 2022 fundraising drive! We’ve gotten some wonderful new supporters, but currently not enough to support all our staff continuing on through the year. We’re starting to look at how we can keep pursuing our goals with reduced capacity.

As such, we will be changing the format of Discreet Log to lighten the writing load on staff and as a reflection of reduced development speed and capacity going forward.

Platform Notifications

mac notifications

With Cwtch 1.6 came notifications for Windows. In the early phase of the 1.7 release cycle we’ve added notifications on MacOS. Flutter doesn’t come with built in notifications so for each platform we’ve been pursuing an individual approach, for Android we handle them manually in Kotlin and the Android notification system, on Linux we were using Canonical’s desktop_notification package, and for Windows we have adopted win_toast.

For MacOS we opted for flutter_local_notifications which also can handle Linux, and we’ve migrated to. It’s a more featureful package than desktop_notifications and we’ve been able to add jump to conversation pane from notifications for Linux and MacOS. It also has sound support so if there was desire from the community we could look at adding a setting to enable sounds on notifications as well.

With 1.6 we also introduced our notification management settings, with the global settings getting options controlling when notifications happen and what their content is, and individual conversations have some capacity to override those. We even have added the ability for notifications to be localized, a long lasting item on our TODO list we were happy to check off.

Platform localization work like this is time-consuming for our small team. We’ve had requests from potential volunteers before on features they could work on. This kind of work makes excellent candidates. One of our next per OS projects is App life cycle management, specifically, exit detection and notification, for Mac and Windows. If anyone is interested in helping port the code we wrote for Linux to other platforms please get in touch.

Releasing Cwtch 1.6.1!

We also recently put out a point release of the 1.6 line of Cwtch with a few quick improvements:

  • Android API for LeaveConversation is now wired in
  • Word wrapping display issues on Android menus is fixed
  • Numpad-Enter now acts the same as Return

Fund Raising for Year 5

Existing recurring donations are enough to support the ongoing maintenance of Open Privacy projects. However, if we’re to keep up our pace of new research and development we need more funding.

Our plans for our fifth year feel very critical. I was recently asked two questions: what our short term plans are for Cwtch and what our pie in the sky long term plans would be.

For the next year we’ll be digging into groups under the hybrid groups project, bringing more options to group building and management, introducing contracts that allow for custom tailored approaches from peer to peer “groups” that include all your accounts and can optionally be server supported to enable offline delivery, to small private egalitarian groups of individuals whom all know each other, to small to medium-sized hierarchical groups, to large open public groups.

On top of that we rapidly want to built out multi-channel chat (think a bit like slack or discord) and then add in Bulletin Boards, bringing back the mode of older forums, or listing sites. We believe this could really be the next big killer feature for Cwtch that makes it truly useful to many and provides something that is in dwindling supply right now.

With that all in mind, please donate to help us reach that future, and if you happen to know any larger donors looking for a feel good cause, please suggest us. If there is a company out there that might like to donate or sponsor a developer even part-time, we’d be interested in talking.

Thanks as always and check below for our cool year 4 anniversary donor rewards, we appreciate you all so much!

Stickers and T-shirts!

Donations of $5 or more receive stickers as a thank-you gift, and $25 or more gets you one of our new sticker sheets! To celebrate our 4th anniversary, we’ll even count cumulative pledges since November 2021 to our Patreon.

Donations of $50 or more can claim a limited edition Privacy is Consent t-shirt as a thank-you gift! By popular request, these black tshirts use high quality screen-printing done locally in Vancouver. Available in both unisex and fitted sizes.

For more information about donating to Open Privacy and claiming a thank you gift please visit our Donate page.

Dan Ballard,
Director of Engineering,
Open Privacy Research Society

Donate to Open Privacy


Donations of $5 or more receive stickers as a thank-you gift, and $25 or more gets you one of our new sticker sheets! To celebrate our 4th anniversary, we'll even count cumulative pledges since November 2021 to our Patreon.

Open Privacy is an incorporated non-profit society in British Columbia, Canada. Donations are not tax deductible. You can Donate Once via Bitcoin, Monero, Zcash, and Paypal, or you can Donate Monthly via Patreon or Paypal. Please contact us to arrange a donation by other methods.

What is Discreet Log?

Discreet Log is a technical development blog to give a more in-depth look at the research, projects and tools that we work on at Open Privacy.

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