Peer-to-peer ephemeral public communities

Aether P2P dev.15 released

Happy holidays everyone!

This new release of Aether P2P brings several new features, compatibility with Mac OS Big Sur, availability of different packaging formats on Linux, and many other small fixes.

Aether is now also available on the Snap Store for Linux. From almost any Linux distribution, you should be able to do sudo snap install aetherp2p and you’ll be good to go — and Snap will keep your app updated automatically too.

The links for Linux .deb, .rpm, tar.gz and AppImage binaries are available on the Download page.

What follows is the changelog for the features shipped in this release.

Hope you all are staying safe, and here’s to a 2021 that won’t involve a civilisational collapse. 🙂

@b

Changelog

New features

Improved control over loading web content

  • You can now control which websites are allowed to auto-load content for inline viewing of linked images and videos. This option also manages the previews of many other non-media websites. This feature is an improvement over an existing one that was a fixed whitelist of several image hosting websites.

  • You can also fully disable remote content loading as well as fully enable it for all websites. (Fully enabling it for all websites is not recommended.)

Better inline viewing and previews for everything, not just images or videos

  • Aether gained the ability to query the websites on links (only to websites you trust, controlled by the feature above). With that new ability, it now attempts to generate previews for all linked websites, not just images or videos. For example, posting a link to The New York Times should by default generate a preview of the article in an image format, assuming NYT is in your allow list for remote connections.

  • You no longer have to link to the exact image when posting an image or video website, such as Imgur. Aether will now attempt to parse the link and extract the image from the link for inline viewing within the app.

  • Hovering over links anywhere within the app now shows you the exact location

Platforms

General

  • The app is now much smaller, in some cases dropping to less than 13 the size. For example, our Windows installer size drops from 196.8 Mb to 67.7 Mb, with similar level of improvements on Mac OS and Linux. This was thanks to the improvements in our build pipeline, and to our dependencies finally starting to wake up to the idea that a library that depends on hundreds of packages for trivial things is not a good idea. As a result, Aether now has a much smaller indirect dependency footprint. Our own direct dependencies did not change — we have always managed those very tightly and kept them to a minimum, but we were not able to do anything for indirect dependencies that we did not control. Now that the ecosystem is moving in the right direction, finally, we are starting to see the benefits.

  • All our dependencies are updated to their current versions to pull in the performance improvements. This should not be noticeable, except perhaps in the case of Snap package, where Snap developers have made significant improvements to the initial decompression speed of Snap-package apps.

Mac OS

  • Aether now supports Mac OS Big Sur!

Windows

  • The Aether installer for Windows is no longer fully automatic. It now asks the user to confirm twice, once by running the installer, and once by clicking start install.

Linux

  • Due to the improvements in the build pipeline, we now have many more packages for Aether than ever before. Aether is now built for and downloadable in these packaging formats:

    • .deb (Debian, Ubuntu, Ubuntu-like distros)
    • .rpm (RHEL, Fedora, RHEL-like distros)
    • Snap (Universal Linux)
    • AppImage (Universal Linux)
    • .tar.gz (Unpacked, for any Linux distro, or if you like to pack it yourself for a distribution you contribute to)
  • Mind that all of the above except Snap are brand new, and can potentially have issues. If you encounter them, please report back so we can fix it.

  • As of this release, the AppImage build does not work. It’s still being uploaded to let the community help in figuring out why it does not.

  • Aether is now officially available on the official Snap repositories, installable via ‘snap install aetherp2p’ without needing a separate download or flags. This should also automate updates on Linux. Once installed through this method, whenever you update your other Snaps, it will also update Aether, just like any other package. (Heads up: official availability might take a few days after the release of this version.)

Bug fixes

  • (Mac OS) A bug that was introduced by Big Sur where the Mac tray icon would look greyed out instead of white or black is now fixed by moving to the newer native Cocoa API that gives the correct dark-mode-aware behaviour.

  • (All) A bug where putting a native Aether link (a link starts with ‘aether://‘) into Markdown link syntax caused that link to fail to open is now fixed across all platforms.

  • (Linux) Aether links should now work better on Linux. Feedback needed from Linux users — reach out if you’re still having issues. This is unfortunately very dependent on packaging type and the desktop environment you’re running, so the more data, the better.

Design

  • Small design improvements to the logo and tray icons.
  • Tray icons for all OSes are updated to better align with the pixel grid at small sizes.