Using MailWrap on macOS Monterey

Apple’s Mail Plug-In system is quite amazing, and has led to some innovative and brave developments as an MUA (Mail User Agent). These brave developments include: wrapping long lines like a decent MUA, quoting messages in replies correctly like a decent MUA, and an option to Wrap Text like a decent MUA.

I actually forgot to install MailWrap on my M1 when I built it up, and haven’t noticed mostly because I haven’t been posting to mailing lists lately. However, I feel deep personal shame for posting on lkml without remembering to install it first. Look at those long lines!

So I set out to install MailWrap. It certainly is a lot more difficult than it used to be.

#1: Allowing the installer to access ~/Library/Mail

The first time I tried to install MailWrap, I received the unhelpful message that access to ~/Library/Mail/Bundles was denied. This is because I had to grant Terminal the Full Disk Access permission.

You can do this in System Preferences under Security & Privacy. You’ll be helpfully reminded that you have to restart Terminal. Hope you don’t have six active SSH connections open, like I did!

#2: Using the correct UUID

Now we need to add the correct UUID to the Info.plist file. Open ~/Library/Mail/Bundles/MailWrap.mailbundle/Contents/Info.plist in your favourite plain-text editor. Scroll to where you’ll find “Supported10.16PluginCompatibilityUUIDs” and then add the following lines under the “</array>” line:

        <key>Supported12.2PluginCompatibilityUUIDs</key>
<array>
<string>6FF8B077-81FA-45A4-BD57-17CDE79F13A5</string>
<string>25288CEF-7D9B-49A8-BE6B-E41DA6277CF3</string>
</array>

Note that this says “12.2”; when 12.3 comes out, we will need to change this again.

#3: Sign and allow the bundle to run

Gatekeeper will try to keep you safe from untrusted code, which is generally a good thing. We can sign our bundle now:

$ cd ~/Library/Mail/Bundles
$ codesign -f -s - MailWrap.mailbundle

And now that it is signed properly, we can tell Gatekeeper to trust the signature:

$ sudo spctl --add --label “MailExtensions” MailWrap.mailbundle
$ sudo spctl --enable --label “MailExtensions”

Troubleshooting

Incompatible Plug-ins Disabled.  Mail has disabled the following plug-ins: MailWrap.mailbundle Contact the makers of these plug-ins for versions that are compatible with Mail 15.0.
Incompatible Plug-ins Disabled

If you receive this Incompatible Plug-ins Disabled message, then something has gone wrong with your UUIDs. You’ll need to try again and make sure that you’ve pasted those lines in the correct spot.

“MailWrap.mailbundle” is damaged and can’t be opened.  You should move it to the Bin.  Mail created this file on an unknown date.
“MailWrap.mailbundle” is damaged and can’t be opened.

I received this message when I edited the Info.plist file after running codesign. It means the CodeSignature doesn’t match the contents. You need to re-run the codesign command every time you change any file in the bundle to keep the signature updated.

“Mail” needs to be updated.  This app will not work with future versions of macOS and needs to be updated to improve compatibility.  Contact the developer for more information.
“Mail” needs to be updated.

This message is because MailWrap uses Python 2.7. Hopefully I will have some time to update it to Python 3 before the eventual removal of Python 2.7 from macOS. I’ve had success doing this before, so hopefully it goes well.

In conclusion

Now my emails are nice and wrapped and I’m not breaking a bunch of email clients in faraway lands. And all was quiet in the world. (Except not: the kernel is still broken, and Ukraine is still being invaded.)

I hope this post was useful to you. Happy hacking!

2 TB USB drive on a PowerBook G3 Pismo

I have a 2 TB USB SSD for my photo library, and I wondered: would it work on my PowerBook G3 Pismo with Mac OS 9? Let’s find out!

Here’s a quick, fun anecdote from the Retro Lab. I bought a Sandisk Extreme 2 TB USB NVMe drive on Black Friday. (Actually, I bought it the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.) My intention is to use it for storing my entire photo library.

I primarily intend to have it connected to my M1 MacBook Pro, but it comes with a USB-C to USB-A adaptor, and states it is compatible with “any computer with a USB port”. I decided to put that statement to the test with my trusty Pismo.

This computer was the top of the line for the year 2000, including a 500 MHz CPU and Mac OS 9. I tried to do some searches online to see the maximum volume size that Mac OS 9 can support. Most of my searches simply showed “more than 200 GB”. Okay, then!

I booted the Pismo and connected the drive to the rear USB port. Lo and behold, there really was no step 2: it showed up immediately in the Finder.

My new 2 TB NVMe SSD working perfectly on a Pismo running Mac OS 9.

It makes me happy that if I ever feel the desire to fire up Kai’s Power Goo again, I can do so with any photo in my library. Have fun, everyone!

Reimagining my blog

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written anything here. Part of that is due to my life being hectic lately. I’ve been dealing with health issues surrounding my family and I have also been happily adjusting to my new job.

When I started this blog, my goals were two-fold: a place for my long form writings on various topics, and status updates with the projects I work on. I still wish to write articles like those, but I want to share more content.

To that end, I would like to reimagine this blog. I intend to start sharing more, shorter articles with tips and tricks I learn, cool software and services I find, and also more cat posts.

On September 18th, we adopted a new kitten, Melody. She was born in July of this year, so she is still growing a little every day. She also has been adjusting to life with her big brother, Mr Gaz. These two get into hilarious hijinks regularly, so stay tuned!

I look forward to sharing more and interacting with my readers.

Really leaving the Linux desktop behind

I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life tomorrow. I will be starting a new job working at an excellent company with excellent benefits and a comfortable wage.

It also has nothing to do with Linux distributions.

I have asked, and been granted, clearance to work on open source software during my off time. And I do plan on writing libre software. However, I really no longer believe in the dream of the Linux desktop that I set out to create in 2015. And I feel it might be beneficial for everyone if I describe why.

1. Stability.

My goal for the Linux desktop started with stability. Adélie is still dedicated to shipping only LTS releases, and I still feel that is useful. However, it has made more difficult because Qt has removed LTS from the open source community, plainly admitting they want us to be their beta testers and that paid commercial users are the only ones who deserve stability. This is obviously an antithesis to having a stable libre desktop environment.

Mozilla keeps pushing release cycles narrower together, in a desperate attempt to compete with evil G (more on this in the next section). This means that the yearly ESR releases, which Adélie depends on for some modicum of stability, are unfortunately being left behind by whiz bang web developers that don’t understand not everyone wants to run Fx Nightly.

I think that stability may be the point that is the easiest to argue it could still be fixed. You might be able to sway me on that. There are some upstreams finally dedicating themselves to better release engineering. And I’ve been happy to find that even most power users don’t care about running the bleeding edge as long as their computer works correctly.

My overall hope for the future: more libre devs understand the value of stable cycles and release engineering.

My fear for the future: everything is running off Git main forever.

2. Portability.

It’s been harder and harder for me to convince upstreams to support PowerPC, ARM, and other architectures. This even as Microsoft and Apple introduce flagship laptop models based on ARM, and Raptor continues to sell out of their Talos and Blackbird PPC systems.

A significant portion of issues with portability come from Google code. The Go runtime does not support many non-x86 architectures. And the ones it does, it does poorly. PPC support in Golang is 64-bit only and requires a Power8, which is equivalent to an x86 program requiring a Skylake or newer. You could probably get away with it for an end-user application, but no one would, or should, accept that in a systems programming language.

Additionally, the Chromium codebase is not amenable to porting to other architectures. Even when the Talos user community offered a PowerPC port, they rejected it outright. This is in addition to their close ties to glibc which means musl support requires thick patches with thousands and thousands of lines. They won’t accept patches for Skia or WebP for big endian support. They, in general, do not believe in the quality of portability as something desireable.

This would be fine and good since GCC Go works, and we do have Firefox, Otter (which can still use Qt WebKit), and Epiphany for browsers. However, increasingly, important software like KMail is depending on WebEngine, which is a Chromium embedded engine. This means KDE’s email client will not run on anything other than x86_64 and ARMv8, even though the mail client itself is portable.

This also has ramifications of user security and privacy. The Chromium engine regularly has large, high-risk security holes, which means even if you do have a downstream patch set to run on musl or PowerPC, you need to ensure you forward-port as they release. And their release models are insanely paced. They rewrite large portions of the engine with significant, distressing regularity. This makes it unsuitable for tracking in a desktop that requires stability and security, in addition to portability.

And with more and more Qt and KDE apps (IMO, mistakenly) depending on WebEngine, this means more and more other apps are unsuitable for tracking.

My overall hope for the future: more libre devs care about accepting patches for running on non-x86 architectures. The US breaks up Google and kills Chromium for violating antitrust and RICO laws.

My fear for the future: everything is Chrome in the future.

3. The graphics stack.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that my personal opinion is that it would still, even today, be easier to fix X11 than to make Wayland generally acceptable for widespread use. But, let’s put that aside for now. Let’s also put aside the fact that they don’t want to work on making it work on nvidia GPUs, which represent half of the GPU market.

At the behest of one of my friends, who shall remain nameless, I spent part of my December break trying to bring up Wayland on my PowerBook G4. This computer runs KDE Plasma 5.18 (the current LTS release) under X11 with no issues or frameskip. It has a Radeon 9600XT with hardware OpenGL 2.1 support.

It took days to bring up anything on it because wlroots was being excessively difficult with handling the r300 for some reason. Once that was solved, it turned out it was drawing colours wrong. Days of hacking at it revealed that there are likely some issues in Mesa causing this, and that this is likely why Qt Quick requires the Software backend on BE machines.

When I asked the Wayland community for a few pointers at what to look at, since Mesa is far outside of my typical purview of code (graphics code is still intimidating to me, even at 30), I was met with nothing but scorn and criticism.

In addition, I was still unable to find a Wayland compositor that supports framebuffers and/or software mode, which would have removed the need to fix Mesa yet. Framebuffer support would also allow it to run on computers that run LXQt fine, like my Pentium III and iBook G3, both of which having Rage 128 cards that don’t have hardware GL2. This was also met with scorn and criticism.

Why should I bother improving the Wayland ecosystem to support the hardware I care about if they actively work against me, then blame the fact that cards like the S3 Trio64 and Rage128 don’t have DRM2 drivers?

My overall hope for the future: either Wayland compositors supporting more varied kinds of hardware, or X11 being improved and obviating the need for Wayland.

My fear for the future: you need an RX 480 to use a GUI on Linux.

4. Usability.

This is more of an objective point than a subjective one, but the usability of desktop Linux seems to be eternally stuck just below that of other environments. ElementaryOS is closest to fixing this, but there is still much to be desired from my point of view before they’re ready for prime time.

In conclusion.

I still plan to run Linux – likely Adélie – on all servers I use. (My fallback would be Gentoo, even after all these years and disagreements, if you were wondering.)

However, I have been slowly migrating my daily personal life from my Adélie laptop to a Mac running Catalina. And, sad as it is to say, I’ve found myself happier and with more time to do what I want to do.

It is my genuine hope that maybe in a few years, if the Linux ecosystem seems to be learning any of these lessons, maybe I can come back to it and contribute in earnest once again. Until then, it’s system/kernel level work and hacking POSIX conformance in to musl for me. The Linux desktop has simply diverged too far from what I need.