Friend Update - Week Ending July 31st 2020

It’s been a busy week here at Friend, with the release of Friend OS Hydrogen!

Message from the COO – Hogne Titlestad

Welcome to the first weekly update in a long while. We’ve been very busy at Friend building Friend OS Hydrogen, our new Long Time Support (LTS) version of Friend that will get updates for the next two years. And because of this, we have been a bit quiet, but this is about to change!

For those of you who have followed us for a while, you will notice that we have a new website. This one is better focused on what Friend Software Corporation can provide. Additionally, we have tried to be more specific about what Friend OS is, and how it is useful to users.

If you’re reading this update – it’s possible that you are already registered at FriendSky.cloud – if not, we urge you to get yourself a free account at https://friendos.com/register. We are gradually upgrading our Friend Sky servers to become a freemium service in production – and we hope you can participate and give us feedback on what works and what can be improved.

Friend OS Hydrogen

Our latest release of Friend brings many improvements, here are some updates you will find in the latest version:

Friend Core updates

  • New networking engine – ultra fast and reliable HTTP connections and more reliable socket connections with less packet errors. This has sped up all networking in Friend. Additionally, server-to-server connections now all use SSL.
  • Even faster websockets – real-time, persistent Friend server connections. We updated to the latest Libwebsockets version, which in concert with our rewritten network engine has seen great improvements in speed and reliability.
  • Support for 2+GB uploads – start migrating large archives to Friend drives.

Friend Chat improvements

  • Follow speaker mode now allows for a larger amount of participants in peer-to-peer video conferences.
  • Mobile support has been improved.
  • Support for iOS have been introduced.
  • Many bug fixes!

For further details check out github:FriendChat and github:Presence

Friend Workspace

  • We have refactored the file manager and added a gallery mode for large thumbnails.
  • We added icon labels for virtual desktops.
  • Further improved Workspace notifications with a fixed height, to avoid layout problems on some screens.
  • Removed popup-windows on mobile and instead implemented mobile widgets.
  • Faster start-up times for launching applications.
  • Improved caching of frequently used assets and javascript code blocks.
  • Improved mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Collaboration

  • Introduced new Shared drive that allows users to share any file with any workgroup or user.
  • Now supporting public files (publish on web) for both Home drives as well as Workgroup drives.

Misc improvements

  • Improved Admin app for managing Friend user accounts, workgroups and templates.
  • My account got support for unicode characters for avatars.
  • Security improvements.
  • Stability improvements.
  • And lots more!

Friend OS Hydrogen got changes to many of its bundled apps, like Notes, Friend Jukebox, My account, Friend Create, Friend Shell.

Please check the release page here.

Developer Update 

Friend is a large project. It consists not only of a powerful server technology, but a complete desktop environment and “userland” applications in several categories. When something changes in one app, it may affect a different part of the system as a whole.

We’ve worked painstakingly since March 2020 to bring you Hydrogen, and we believe it’s a great version and feature-set to commit to over the next two years.

Please see the release page with more information.

Community Update

We wish to do more for the community – and to bring more people together. We have today got several excellent channels where users and developers can interact. Our Discord server is buzzing with activity, but we would really like to see more users interacting on Friend Nexus so we will start communicating on different social arenas – as well as on blogs and zines – to bring more people in.

If you have any suggestions as to how we can become better at interacting with the community, feedback is welcome.

Events

Sadly with the ongoing Covid situation, we are unable to attend any in-person events at the moment, but we will be hosting a Webinar in the next couple of weeks.  This is designed to give you a full introduction to Friend OS Hydrogen, and see some of its best and most powerful features.  If you’ve ever wondered what YOU could use Friend OS for, please take the time to join us for the Webinar.  We will have a link and more information in next week’s update.

Until then, have a great weekend! 

Stay in touch with us on Twitter, Discord and Facebook.