Status update, March 2022
Published on March 24, 2022
Table of contents
I have joined the board of ANSOL for the next two years. For the first few months I’ll be trying to improve/simplify some of our processes to speed up new memberships and free up some of our time to work on actual issues.
One of our infrastructure servers is setup using ansible and LXD containers, so I’ve been re-learning the former and learning the latter. Our setup is available in our code forge, even though it’s missing licensing information.
Initially, this required the ansible runner to have lxd installed, and I don’t
run Ubuntu, so I had to change that. There were some connection plugins that
worked with the server’s lxd via ssh, but they were outdated. I found that they
were initially forked from a project that was based on bsd jails which is still
maintained, so I took those two and combined them to make a working
connection plugin. You can find this plugin available under an MIT license:
Infrastructure-wise, We’re also thinking of switching to a different platform to manage membership subscriptions, payments, etc. We’re currently using CiviCRM, and from what I understand it’s a bit complex to use, causing unnecessary delays in processing membership requests and renewals, so we’re looking into alternatives.
Next week, on the 30th, we’ll be hosting an online discussion / meetup on the topic of Document Freedom. We’ll have a chat on the usage of open standards, the adoption of such standards by the Portuguese government, and other related topics. More info will be available on our website:
The process of converting the codebase to use prepared statements is finally
finished! After ~2 years of working on this, it’s finally done. We’ve covered
most of the security holes in the application except for a couple of things:
lack of CSRF protection and trusting user input in a particular form. The CSRF
stuff is probably handled by
Same-Site: Lax, but I need to double check that
it does what I think it does, I haven’t really caught up with how that works.
Once the trusting user input issue is fixed (I’m currently working on it) I’ll be changing all the passwords, publishing the repository, and hoping for the best.
I was thinking of setting up a temporary CLA that would allow us to close up the source code again in the first few months if something went wrong, but I don’t think it would do us any good, since the codebase would already be out there anyway.
Another big thing I worked on this month was the “Auto-proofer” tool, which takes player-submitted screenshots and automatically scans the scores contained in the image, making it easier to bulk-submit scores and reduce typos. This is limited to a handful of games and only works with full screenshots (not photos or cropped versions), but it’s been used a lot already. The scanning functionality is implemented in Rust on the browser using WASM, and I’ve written an article detailing how that works. The repository with the scanning code is available under the AGPL, so check it out as well:
We also added a new scoreboard this month, the Experience board. It tracks how hard you grind in certain games. Scores like “how many kilometers did you walk in Pokémon Go?” are rewarded.
AlumniEI’s mentorship program hasn’t had any progress in a while, so I suggested retiring it. The University of Porto has released a platform that seems to include mentorship as one of its goals, so it feels like a good time to shutdown this initiative.