I decided to buy the reMarkable tablet because of how open it was. You had root access and the company had released source for various parts of the system. It also seemed like it would be more useful than a notebook that keeps on getting filled up with lists of crossed off to-do items.
When I finally got my device it was a dream come true. I had complete access to the system and could do whatever I wanted. There was an active community and lots of interesting little projects people had thrown together. I immediately started playing around with little tweaks here or there to the system. Trying out what others had put together.
Eventually I started trying my hand at developing for the device. I began messing around with code in various frameworks with no real goal in place (You can find my messy code on GitHub). At first, I played around with libremarkable and tried learning rust. I decided that now wasn't really the time, and libremarkable didn't have what I wanted in a library yet. So I turned my eyes to the Qt framework and C++.
I was very quickly able to throw together various prototypes that were maybe 70% of the way to where they would be truly useful. One such application was a re-implementation of the draft launcher. I was giving all the prototypes names that were synonyms for "rust" (because naming schemes are fun). So I name this one oxide. I got the application usable enough that it completely replaced draft on my device for my everyday use. I played around with other prototypes for a little while longer and then stopped doing any development for the device.
I was semi-active in the community discord and pointed people at my code every so often, and I kept on meaning to get my launcher packaged up in a way that was easy for new users to pick up and use. I also wanted to play around with packaging up applications and providing a unified system for installing applications. Preferably using pacman, as I was most familiar with it, but I was willing to settle for opkg, since entware was already ported to the device. A newer member to the community started asking questions in discord, and began to speak to me in private chats. I shared as much information as I could, and then decided it was a good idea to finally get around to packing up oxide so that the community could use it.
So I moved it to its own repository, set some goals and then worked hard at getting it to a state where I was comfortable releasing it. I started pushing out various releases where it was in a state I was willing to have others use, but not quite what I would call actually released. Meanwhile, various others started working on providing a package repository. They all started independently at first, but quickly coordinated and toltec was born. I did my best to support the project, while still pushing hard on oxide development.
A couple of months ago I realized I had been pushing myself way too hard at my day job had to back off of developing oxide for a while. That said, v2.1 has progressed well, and I expect that I should be able to release it in Q1 of 2021.