Over the years, I have started many projects, and left many of them unfinished. It’s a pattern I recognize. I will start off enthusiastic, even obsessive about a topic, then drop off working on it.
Why do I do this? It’s easy to say “boredom” or “laziness”, but I suspect it’s something worse: fear. Fear of being successful. Fear of being responsible for a creation. Fear of looking foolish. I say “suspect” because I’m also uncertain any of those are the full story.
Mere Linux has tended to suffer the same fate. Fear could sometimes explain it, but the project also lacked real clarity of purpose. Often, I would get stuck in indecision. To get unstuck, I needed to reassess why I was working on it at all.
And so today I am announcing a revised and simplified purpose: to learn.
That may sound too broad or generic in scope. But it is more honest. It better reflects why I started the project, and what keeps me coming back to it. For a long time, Mere has been a vehicle for me to learn new thoughts, concepts and tools. All the while it provided a free space to engage my drive to be creative. As a side effect, in practice, making this a usable system for others became secondary.
If that’s the case, why publish Mere at all? For two reasons:
- Working on it in public and sharing the results is a good way to build up discipline needed for technical growth
- The system (or parts of it) and the shared experience may be helpful to someone else
This clear, simple purpose now frees me to pursue ideas that I avoided or vacillated with before. Trying to drive adoption didn’t line up with what I wanted out of the project, or what kept me building it.
So what’s next?
I want to create a Mere system that can be my main development platform. That means choosing some foundational desktop tools, and a lot of polishing.
I also want to write a new package manager in Zig. This will take time. In the meantime, I will continue to use pacman, but I want it to support a non-GPG package signing feature. I have a working patch using asignify. Upstream does not look like they will incorporate it. But considering I plan to build a new package manager anyway, using it in the short-term is the easiest path forward.
As I go, I plan to develop a consistent habit of writing about this journey. I expect that will help me stay organized. It should feed my creativity and build discipline as well. And so this website will document that journey.
To help with that, I wrote a little utility to manage my notes in git, called Jote. If, along the way, I encounter other interesting use cases for tools, I’ll take my time and create those too. Their life and story can add to the experience of this journey.
So there it is. A simplified vision. Two specific goals. And a new habit of writing. My hope is that these will help build a sustainable momentum of personal learning. And by extension, Mere will experience the same sustainable momentum.