• sincerely 193 days ago

    I want to like this, ever since it was called eul. But features are consistently pushed back which suggests that the dev doesnt have a great handle on what is going on, the availability of mac/linux versions seems consistently misleading, it’s not open source, and it uses icons of services not available (e.g. gmail) in a way that seems dishonest. idk.

    • devindotcom 193 days ago

      I love the idea of this — it consistently baffles me how poorly web apps primarily serving me text perform — but I'd love to see a little breakdown telling me what's been cut out to make it so lean. I mean, maybe it's stuff I don't care about, but on the other hand maybe it's some file integration I use regularly, you know? On the other hand maybe it's a bunch of RAM-sucking junk and absurd text rendering that I'd just as soon do without.

      I'd love it if it was open source or at least public in some way considering the security questions. I realize that's a bit of a pony request but it is one of the things I've come to rely on in the community, that someone is curious enough to dig in and relay their findings.

      • jandrese 193 days ago

        I suspect a big savings comes from not being basically a web browser running a webapp.

        • devindotcom 193 days ago

          Oh for sure. I'm not a developer myself though so I don't know whether there are capabilities you lose such as common libraries and whatnot, and what the trade-offs are there. For all I know it includes or eschews certain javascript that's notoriously bad, or has to reach out to Slack for emoji calls, or whatever. A couple hundred words of documentation on this topic would really help me understand the product better.

          • OJFord 193 days ago

            Slack is an Electron.js app, meaning in GP's words it's a 'webapp in a web browser' - like running a car engine just to get the radio.

            Volt implements the radio alone, without the car, but accesses all the stations you otherwise get by running each one's propietary car.

      • mythz 193 days ago

        Interesting back story on why he created the "V" language to develop Volt:

        "Originally Volt app was written in Go, but after a couple of weeks of development I decided to re-write it in C for two reasons: easier integration with existing C graphics and UI libraries and much smaller binaries. The app size reduced from ~5 MB to ~100 KB.

        C development is not very productive, so I spent two weeks in October 2017 to create a very light and minimalistic language that can seamlessly interop with C. I called it V (the name is not final).

        V compiler is written in V. The language will be open-sourced later in 2019."

        -- https://volt.ws/lang

        • notafrog 193 days ago

          While the UI is not exactly polished or anything, it is really refreshing to see someone actually care about efficiency and storage.

          Nowadays a simple calculator app takes like 30 or 40 megabytes of space.

        • zan2434 193 days ago

          More than a little disingenuous. While they advertise that the app supports a number of services, when you actually download the app and try it only Slack and Skype are available - the rest are "coming later in February"

          • tim333 193 days ago

            Also it doesn't seem to allow phone calls for Skype which I guess is ok if you just want text messages but not what I use it for.

            • gergles 193 days ago

              And it's been "coming later" since at least this time last year when it was called eul.

              • dang 193 days ago

                Ok, we changed the title from "Fast, free, low memory, native desktop client for Slack, Messenger, Gmail, etc."

                • yellowapple 193 days ago

                  Even the edit seems misleading; might as well just say "Volt: Fast native desktop client for Slack and Skype".

              • chappi42 193 days ago

                They? Maybe 'they' is just a 'lone developer' who works in his spare time on this b/c he doesn't like bloated Electrons. And maybe it's difficult to work for free... -- If I were him, I'd immediately retract the promise to release as open source. Who knows what happens and if Patreon works out? I feel quite a sense of entitlement here.

              • amedvednikov 193 days ago


                Developer here. An unexpected surge of traffic => I'm on HN front page again:)

                V and Volt got lots of attention 5 days ago. Thousands of people downloaded the beta version and I've been working hard to fix all the crashes and bugs people reported.

                I was planning to release the Windows beta by the end of the day. So hopefully Windows and Linux (wine) users will be able to try it out today.

                • babypuncher 193 days ago

                  The prospect of a native client for Signal excites me. I've never been a big fan of their electron app.

                  • jandrese 193 days ago

                    Yeah, I tried the native Linux app for Signal and while it works its also a huge resource hog. So much so that my machine started swapping when I had a browser open alongside it. For what is effectively AIM + encryption. This is the future that people warned us about back when Node.js was new.

                    • basch 193 days ago

                      At some point will blink/node need to be expected parts of the operating system to undo this mess?

                      • entropicdrifter 193 days ago

                        More likely people will start developing with compiled languages, compiling down to WebAssembly, then still use Electron for the UI end just for the cross platform support.

                        • basch 191 days ago

                          That doesnt really address what I said. I was saying, the underlying components will need to be built into the OS, for battery life and memory reuse purposes. So you dont end up with 50 slightly different copies of blink/node running at the same time. Blink/node are what are powering electron.

                    • kitsunesoba 193 days ago

                      Yep, Signal sounds great in theory but there’s no way I can commit to a service with no client that takes desktop users seriously.

                    • ris 193 days ago

                      No source, no thanks.

                      • ngcc_hk 193 days ago

                        These day no source no trust.

                      • nelsonic 193 days ago

                        Looks promising. But will only be Open Source in "2021" according to https://github.com/voltapp/volt ... until then it's a root-kit for all we know that people are voluntarily installing.

                        • dzek69 193 days ago

                          i'm always surprised by such comments

                          beside Stallman do people not using anything that contain at least single line of closed/proprietary code really exist?

                          not every closed source stuff is evil, really

                          • danellis 193 days ago

                            > not using anything that contain at least single line of closed/proprietary code

                            It's not just that. The existence of source code doesn't mean the binaries are uninfected. You'd have to actually build it yourself from source. And even then, unless you've audited the source, you're still not sure. Of course, you'd have to build that compiler from source (that you've audited) using...? And all that on an OS with libc, libdl etc that you've built yourself.

                            • mont 193 days ago

                              Don't forget you have to audit the microcode running you're cpu too, and the gate networks executing the microcode, and...

                              • binaryblitz 193 days ago

                                You joke, but wouldn't we have caught SPECTRE or Meltdown a lot faster if someone had?

                            • sgeisler 193 days ago

                              > not every closed source stuff is evil, really

                              But how do you know that this closed source software isn't evil? You can't distinguish without an audit by a competent person you trust. Most closed source software isn't audited to a level that I'd deem sufficient for my security.

                              The problem is even worse: proprietary software has a single owner that can be coerced into including (even targeted) backdoors by state level attackers.

                              If I really want to run proprietary software I typically try to containerize it or even run it in VMs.

                              • seba_dos1 193 days ago

                                I do sometimes make exceptions, but definitely not for such crucial applications as main communicator. Plus there are other practical reasons to try to limit yourself to FLOSS than fear of hidden malware.

                                • bassman9000 193 days ago

                                  It's better to act as it is, than lament later.

                                  • sjcoles 193 days ago

                                    While there is a level where it becomes a masturbatory exercise I think caution is well advised with messaging applications in particular.

                                    Sure Slack/Discord are black boxes, but developed by companies that have time and capital invested in proving they are not doing malicious things.

                                  • amedvednikov 193 days ago

                                    Please read the FAQ. It covers this concern.

                                  • Orlan 193 days ago

                                    I still use https://fluidapp.com/ when I have to log into Facebook from the computer, hopefully, this will replace it!

                                    Looks cool, can't wait for support for the other websites.

                                    • derwiki 193 days ago

                                      Installed this and logged into my Slack, while it was loading messages it crashed. Oh well.

                                      • amedvednikov 193 days ago

                                        Sorry, it's a really early release. The first public version was released 5 days ago.

                                        For me everything works fine, but this is complex stuff. I'm working hard on fixing things. I wish people would wait a couple of weeks before posting this.

                                        • dzek69 193 days ago

                                          that's why they postponed Linux and Windows versions

                                        • BFatts 193 days ago

                                          Reminds me of Trillian back in the days of AIM and Yahoo! Messenger.

                                          • tuananh 193 days ago

                                            the author seems to be too obsessed with the size. I'm fine with it being 5MB. That's small enough.

                                            download size is the least of mine concern, speed and memory usage matter more.

                                            • vijaybritto 193 days ago

                                              Installed it and it doesnt redirect from slack auth window. Uses around 300Mb of RAM for this. Going against electron is a massive undertaking!

                                              • amedvednikov 193 days ago

                                                There are a couple of known memory leaks. They'll be fixed soon, and RAM usage should be 10-20% of Slack's.

                                                • vijaybritto 193 days ago

                                                  Memory leaks? Thats not gonna go well with these HN users. Was rust not fitting for use here?

                                              • kmarc 193 days ago

                                                Looks like a heavier version of bitlbee + a standard IRC client.

                                                Anyone care to compare the two...?

                                                • gabriel34 193 days ago

                                                  free as in 'free beer', supported by donations

                                                  they say they will open the code in 2021

                                                  • nkkollaw 193 days ago

                                                    They created a whole language to code this..?

                                                    Talking about reinventing the wheel!!!

                                                    • graphememes 193 days ago

                                                      It only works with Slack, and Skype.

                                                      • openloop 193 days ago

                                                        Prolly hire this guy.

                                                        • timeandtime 193 days ago

                                                          Also used to be known as a browser.

                                                        • michaelmior 193 days ago

                                                          Is it just me, or does anyone else get a little put off by phrases like "for all major web services."

                                                          Who decided which web services are major? There are certainly a number of "major" services that aren't included depending on how major is really defined.

                                                          • tomca32 193 days ago

                                                            I don't know. I think it's easily understandable what they meant by "major". Like, you've heard and probably used, every single one of the services listed there.

                                                            This is not an official definition of the word "major", it's just a list of services the client is compatible with. They're not insulting a race/religion/nationality, it's just a list of web services you have probably used.

                                                            • michaelmior 192 days ago

                                                              It's more so the "all" that I was talking about.

                                                              • tomca32 192 days ago

                                                                Ah I see, that's actually a fair point.

                                                            • benbristow 193 days ago

                                                              Major meaning that they're recognisable brand names and used by many companies/individuals perhaps?

                                                              Slack, Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram, Discord. You've definitely heard of at least one of them.

                                                            • mont 193 days ago

                                                              "for all major web services" sounds a lot better than "the web services we like using", and the only two things I'd consider missing are IRC/steam, and with IRC going the way of the dodo and steam not being a super popular messaging service.

                                                              • michaelmrose 193 days ago

                                                                Reports of IRC's death have been greatly exaggerated.

                                                                • andai 193 days ago

                                                                  I don't game much anymore but I always keep Steam up to date so I can talk to that one friend who only uses Steam chat...

                                                                  • babypuncher 193 days ago

                                                                    Steam support probably wouldn't even make a whole lot of sense, since users likely use it for their game library rather than just a messaging service. Unless this app wants to branch out and start competing with game library managers like Playnite.

                                                                  • babypuncher 193 days ago

                                                                    I imagine that list is decided by the Patreon supporters.