Luc Perkins' blog

Thoughts on programming, the tech industry, politics, and more


The easiest way (I've found) to create your own Nix channel

August 10, 2020

There are lots of ways of creating Nix channels, but in this post I’d like to highlight the fastest and easiest way I’ve found thus far: via GitHub archives. I discovered this method when installing Home Manager. Nix channels are essentially tarballs that are available via an unchanging URL. Quite conveniently, GitHub has a built-in archive feature that automatically turns every branch in every GitHub repo into a tarball available at a URL with this structure:

From Homebrew to Home Manager

July 16, 2020

Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against Homebrew, the macOS package manager that most devs who run Apple laptops use on a near-daily basis. It’s served me admirably all these years and I’ve even written some Homebrew recipes. But I’ve become convinced that there’s a better way—or at least a way that suits my needs better. I recently switched from Homebrew to Home Manager, the Nix-based user environment manager created by Robert Helgesson, and I’ve been extremely pleased with the results so far.

Service mesh use cases

June 29, 2020

Service mesh is a blazing hot topic in software engineering right now and rightfully so. I think it’s extremely promising technology and I’d love to see it widely adopted (in cases where it truly makes sense). Yet it remains shrouded in mystery for many people and even those who are familiar with it have trouble articulating what it’s good for and what it even is (like yours truly). In this post, I’m going to help rectify that by providing a simple list of use cases for service meshes.

Recent database technology that should be on your radar (part 1)

June 15, 2020

I’m a huge fan of databases, so much so that I’ve written a book on so-called “NoSQL” databases, I spent some of my most fruitful years in tech working on the highly influential distributed database Riak, and I even built a database called Purple last year just for fun. Naturally, I’m always on the lookout for new and exciting developments in databases and DB-related tools when I scan (trash fires like) Twitter, Reddit, and HackerNews.

A new way forward for technical documentation? Part 1: the problematic status quo

January 21, 2020

I’ve contributed to many very large documentation projects in my day, including Riak, Kubernetes, Prometheus, Pulsar, Heron, BookKeeper, and several others. On all of those projects I worked as some combination of tech writer, web designer, and build system “plumbing” person (i.e. the person in charge of making sure that the documentation inputs are converted into the right outputs and that those outputs are shipped to the right place). In other words, I’ve seen as much documentation sausage being made as just about anyone in our industry.

Tract: a Hugo theme for ambitious documentation projects

December 2, 2019

Hello! I wanted to tell you all about an open source project I’m working on that I’m pretty excited about. It’s called Tract and it’s a Hugo theme for large documentation projects. I aim to release version 0.1.0 by the end of 2019. In the meantime, check out the current home page or a sample docs page.

Welcome to my blog!

November 28, 2019

All right folks, I’m doing it old school. I like Medium well enough, but I thought this would be a fun personal project and a chance to both flex my design muscles a little bit and gain full control over how I present information. Stay tuned!