This is Burak here — I was hard at work getting the improvements requested by you folks, and by the community. I got to most of the items on the patron-only roadmap Trello. (Which you should join!)
The changelog for this release is *huge*. You can see it here: https://getaether.net/docs/changelog/
It's probably too big — in that, under normal development practices, you want to release the features in a regular cadence so that if something breaks, you'll be able to find the issue easier. But since I've gotten a decent number of requests and ideas for improvements, this release should significantly improve the experience, and I did not want to keep features to myself longer than I have to.
Early access for Patreon supporters
My plan is that I'll be releasing new versions a few days to a week earlier than the general public to you guys, so that you'll have a chance to have a very early say on the new features, and give feedback. Consider it a small thank-you for your continued support. 🙂
These are pre-release, so they're not public yet. You don't need to uninstall the old version, just install this one normally and it'll automatically update the one you have. They'll be available in the next few days over auto-update, so even if you don't download and install them right now, in a few days, your client will automatically update itself with no need for a manual update.
Linux specific: You want to back up your 'Air Labs' folder in the snap. Snap deletes your user profile by default, so you need to move your profile to the new version manually. If you just move it over, it will delete your user profile. Just copy the 'Air Labs' folder out, install it, and put it back in after the new version is installed.
What happens now?
This will likely be the first release of Aether that is actually announced — I'll be starting to send a few emails, meet folks, give talks (Have a meetup / conference you want me in SF Bay Area? let me know) and generally start to make this something that people have actually heard about. My goal is to have at least a few communities that live within Aether to a degree that it becomes sustainable, and new content is regularly created.
What will happen after this?
I'll be starting to do the non-product improvements, like adding all your names to the website, updating Github, and taking a look at the Linux version to see what I can do to make it a little more polished.
After a few communities in place, the next thing to do is to finish the implementation of the Elections subsystem in the frontend. This requires some communities to be present, because elections do have a minimum number of participants, and we need to reach that number of participants to be able to realistically test moderator election systems.
When will the unique usernames start to be issued?
The good folks at Patreon told me that the usual way to deliver the benefits is after the first charge. This also works out overall, because I was busy working on everything in the changelog. After this release, I'll take a look at the name issuer code I have, make some improvements, and start to issue the names in December.
How can I help?
— Do you know any press / journalists that would be interested in this? If so, I'd love to be put in touch.
— I'm looking for sponsorships from companies (i.e. Patreon sponsor tiers). If you know a nonprofit that gives out grants in a relevant field, or a company that wants to put their logo on https://getaether.net, let me know.