status: week ending 10/23/2007

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I got a Mozilla Bugzilla account and commented on the bugs that Alex Faaborg created to track changes we want to make for Firefox 3.0. We've got a couple of months to do the changes, but Alex said that Chris said that he'd like to see it as an extension first. I'm not sure we can do that, but I plan on looking into it.

I spent an hour finishing up the Bugzilla timeline script that I've been working on over the last month or so and made it public. You can see it at

I spent a day or so pushing out rc0 and honing our ReleaseProcess documentation. I also did a pass through our bugs for low hanging fruit that we've been sitting on after looking at the LaunchPad bugs for Miro. I had problems with the Windows build machine which Matt helped me through.

Then I wrote some blog entries about our Gutsy situation so that users and developers knew what the status was. I worked on the gutsy packaging. BDK and I had an svn issue where he did an svn cp ... (r5515) and that wiped out my changes (r5512, r5513, and r5514). We're not entirely sure what happened.

I conversed with an unhappy and frustrated user who doesn't like that we've set up Miro to conflict with sun-java6-plugin. No one thinks it's an ideal solution, but it's the best one we've got right now. After talking about it on #miro-hackers, BDK created a bug to revisit the java plugin situation for 1.0. I'm going to see if I can find anyone at Mozilla that would know whether you can embed gtkmozembed without the plugins (I think that's the right question to ask--if not, poke me). The current consensus is that there's nothing we can do, but it sure would be nice to find out that we're wrong and the magic pixie in the sky can come down and make the problem go away.

Earlier today we released gutsy package in a new gutsy repository. It's my first packaging experience. Our README for it is really good; I made some minor updates while I was fiddling with things.

Also, I thought PodCamp was last weekend--turns out it's next weekend. That was confusing. I figured it out after traveling on the T, getting there, puzzling about why no one else was there, calling my wife to see if I was in the wrong place, sighing deeply when I found out I'm at the right physical location but the wrong chronological location, and then taking the T home. The good thing that came out of this is that I got to test my raincoat which I had just waterproofed--it works pretty well.

I spent Sunday upgrading my laptop from Feisty to Gutsy and trying to reproduce some of the gutsy bugs we've got--I haven't been able to. It's likely there are other things involved that I'm not aware of yet.

I'm going to spend some time to upgrade my desktop to Gutsy as well and then build virtual machines for Dapper, Feisty and Gutsy. So then we'll have another person who can cover Ubuntu releases and testing and such.

Update 10/24/2007: I forgot to talk about the Mediabar Firefox extension... I haven't touched it in at least two weeks--possibly more. It has some big issues that need to be figured out, but I've been spending time on other things. I do want to get it fixed up because it is a useful extension. I'll try to find some time for it in the next week or so.

Gutsy packages for available -- please help us test

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It's been a wild couple of days. I finished up the rc0 release for Windows and Mac OSX on Saturday, spent Sunday upgrading my laptop from Feisty to Gutsy and then on Monday we had some quirky subversion collisions.

We've worked out some/most of the issues with the Ubuntu packaging for Miro and build a package for Gutsy. This package is available in the Miro repositories.

Things to note:

  1. This package is release candidate 0 for version If you are at all squeamish about testing software in a beta state, you should wait for the final release which will be sometime this week or next week.
  2. Back up your ~/.miro directory BEFORE installing and using this package. If there were issues, you want to be able to go back to your previous Miro state.
  3. Miro conflicts with sun-java6-plugin. You can't have both installed at the same time. This is a workaround for problems we're having with the sun-java6-plugin, gtkmozembed, and Miro. If this is a problem for you, you should wait until the final release. It's possible we'll have a different fix for it by then, but it's more likely that this will happen in version 1.0 or later. If you know how to set up gtkmozembed so that it doesn't load plugins, let us know.

If you follow the directions at but use:

deb gutsy/

as the line to add, then you'll pick up the Miro repository for Gutsy.

What to do if things don't work:

Let us know if you have any problems. Good ways to do this would be:

  • add to an existing bug report or create a new bug report in our Bugzilla system, and/or
  • comment here (but make sure I have some way to reply to you)
  • hop on #miro on and let us know.
And if it worked great, we'd love to know that, too.

Gutsy package for Miro status (2)

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Someone (possibly Janet) created a gutsy keyword in Bugzilla, so I went through and tagged all the bugs that I think are gutsy related with the gutsy keyword:

There are a few other issues floating around that are related to our feisty packaging--I'm going to try to fix those while I'm fiddling with packaging.

I've copied over the debian-feisty packaging to debian-gutsy in the repository. Today I'm working on getting the kinks out of building, going through all the files to make sure they work, and testing the resulting package.

Once I get to a point where the resulting package is building and stable on both of my machines, I'll post the packages for other people to test.

That's where I am with things. I imagine this will be an all-day thing.

I'll post something here when I have a gutsy package ready for testing and solicit help in regards to testing from the people who have been posting bugs.

Any thoughts, suggestions, et al--comment below.

Gutsy package for Miro status

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Here's the current state of Miro on Gutsy:

  • we don't have a Gutsy package of Miro for (the current release)
  • Gutsy does work with what will become Miro (the very soon-to-be released release)
The first Miro version we plan on supporting for Gutsy is which will be released soon--probably in the next week if all goes well. We have been testing with Gutsy over the last month and we have instructions for building Miro on Gutsy in Trac. I want to emphasize that Miro will work nicely on Gutsy and the primary issue here is a packaging one.

The Gutsy universe repository has a Miro 0.9.8 package in it. I've tested it on my Gutsy box and it works for me, however it's missing a lot of the fixes that we've made for which should alleviate problems with Miro and specific video cards. So if it works for you, then that's great, but if it doesn't, then you're going to have to wait until

I plan on making a pass through Bugzilla and make sure any outstanding Gutsy issues are resolved. Additionally, I'll take a pass through LaunchPad and make sure we catch any bugs that didn't get reported upstream to us.

We'll be tagging our repository for rc1 soon--hopefully today and have an rc1 out by tomorrow for Windows and Mac OSX. We'll get a Gutsy rc1 out as soon as we can, but it'll probably take a few days.

If you want to help out with testing rc1, let me know and I'll be sure to point you in the right direction and/or watch the Miro Testing blog.

If you have any problems, please write up a bug in Bugzilla, comment on an existing bug with additional information, and/or hop on #miro on and let us know.

If you have any thoughts, please comment here and if the plan changes at all, I'll post an update.

As an aside, Gutsy is a great Ubuntu release--I'm running it on one of my machines already and look forward to upgrading my other machine.

first spam!

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Got my first spam comment on the blog. The current tally (as of this writing) is 1 real comment, 1 reply from me to the real comment, 1 trackback, and 1 spam. I think that qualifies as a full count.

status: week ending 10/16/2007

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I spent the last week pawning bugs off on other people while I come up to speed with Firefox development. Alex Faaborg wrote a blog entry about Firefox and Miro which piqued our interest. The result of the conversations around that blog entry launched me into Firefox development.

My first impression is that Mozilla has a massive code base. They've got a lot of code for a lot of products and they're managing it with an intricate series of make files and scripts. It has taken a while to come up to speed and I'm still spending time figuring things out. I've written some loose notes about getting started with Firefox development on my other blog. As a side note, it's tough having two blogs.

Today Alex formalized the issues into bug 400059.

I spent Saturday at the Ubuntu Massachusetts Install Fest which went fantastically. I talked to a bunch of people about Miro, Ubuntu and Free Software. Most people I talked to either hadn't heard of Miro at all or had heard of it, but didn't realize we had changed the name. I'm not sure what that means in the grand scheme of things, but everyone was pretty interested in the current state of the project.

This coming Friday is the start of PodCamp Boston 2. Dean, possibly Chris, and I are going to attend some/many/most of the days and talk to people about the Miro ecosystem. Dean's also talked to Chris Brogan about making the sessions available as a feed somewhere so that we can turn it into a channel and put it on the Miro Guide. I'm not a big fan of tech evangelism, but I think telling people about the Miro ecosystem is generally a good thing for everyone involved. It's good for us for the obvious reasons. It's good for content producers because it's important for them to understand the publishing side of the equation and that they don't have to be tied down to a host/publisher. It's important for the rest of the world because the more people realize they have options, the more those options continue to exist and the less likely it is that unpopular voices are muted. That's some serious stuff.

I think I'm going to spend the coming week continuing work on the Firefox patch and poking around with the Firefox code base. I suspect things will slow down a bit as I start asking more questions and waiting for answers. That'll give me time to continue working on the Mediabar.

As a side note, I'm now using Firefox 3.0 dev--it's pretty interesting.

Update 10-21-2007: I got this weekend confused with next weekend. Not quite sure how I did that. Next weekend (26th-28th) is PodCamp and FOSSCamp. It was a good thing, too, because I spent this weekend pushing out rc0 and upgrading my laptop to Gutsy.

Ubuntu Install Fest - 10/13/2007

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The Ubuntu Massachusetts LoCo Team is hosting an Ubuntu Install Fest on 10-13-2007 from 9:00am to 5:00pm in Cambridge, MA.

"The festival is an opportunity for the Ubuntu team to show normal computer users how easy using the Linux software has become. Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions, present demonstrations and help users install the free, open source Linux operating system. Ubuntu CDs, case badges, drinks and snacks will be available."

The case badges are pretty nice. I put one on my laptop a week ago and already people have asked about it.

I think I'm going to be bringing my laptop and depending on what's going on, I will demo Miro.

See the wiki page for more details (date, time, location, press release, ...).

status: week ending 10/9/2007

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It's been a really really busy week. I put Mediabar down and played catch-up with Miro and infrastructure.

I fixed (or at least think I fixed) a few UDE-type errors (#8705, #8706, #8699, #8820, #8737), passed a bug to BDK, passed a bug to Chris, and I think I may have passed a bug to Nassar, too.

We didn't previously have any official policy regarding contributions from non-PCF employees. I spent some time putting together a policy for handling code contributions and also for checking code into the SVN repository. I've talked with Ben and Chris about it so far and ironed out some issues. I think it's pretty decent now.

I spent some time going through all the code and adding GPL/Copyright headers to files that didn't already have them. I haven't done this to XML, XUL, or DTD files--I think I'm going to leave them be. Part of the reason is that there are a lot of them. The other part of the reason is that they're in a bunch of different markups and I'm not wildly psyched about trying to jam GPL/Copyright headers into them in such a way that it doesn't screw up how those files are used in the code.

I finished up an "alpha" version of the timeline script for Bugzilla. It needs some more work and it has some bugs, so it's not quite ready for prime time. I hope to have this done by the end of the week, but finding time to work on it has been difficult.

Dean is talking to contarc/Jay about skinning Bugzilla and making other changes. In order for that to work well, I needed to re-work things so we can manage the changes we're making to Bugzilla better. I spent today fixing my changes to meet the Bugzilla recommended method for changes and checked everything into SVN.

It'll be really nice to have a better Bugzilla, but we need to make sure that it meets the needs of the developers and testers as well as the rest of the community. I've heard a lot of opinions about what it should and shouldn't look like and that concerns me. While we're pushing to get Miro 1.0 and Mediabar 1.0 out the door, I don't think we should be spending gobs of time on changing minor things in Bugzilla unless the changes are necessary to fix some real problem we all agree exists.

On Sunday, Dean, Chris and I met up with Asheesh from Creative Commons and SJ from OLPC and talked about the world as it revolves around Miro and other things. It was really interesting stuff, but also pretty overwhelming. Then we went to a GNOME Summit bar thing.

I'm planning on switching back to Mediabar stuff tomorrow (Wednesday). I need to finish the tab-friendly re-architecture and I need to figure out how to deal with the recent rss-download issue Neil bumped into. Then there's a lot of little stuff that needs to be done. My rough guess is that I'll be working on Mediabar for another couple of weeks with some time spent on Miro and Bugzilla.

I think I'm going to lay low on IRC for the next week--I need to be talking less and doing more. My queue of things to do is starting to get too big for me to wrap my head around and I'm starting to feel a bit overwhelmed.

Boston Gnome Summit 2007

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The GNOME folks are meeting in Boston for the Boston GNOME Summit 2007. I met up with Asheesh (who turned out to be a PyBlosxom user I've known for a while) last night and talked with Stefan from Nokia about Miro, gstreamer, and the possibilities of porting Miro to the Nokia Internet tablets.

Tonight, Dean, Chris and I met up with Asheesh (Creative Commons) and SJ (OLPC) and talked about Miro in relation to Creative Commons and OLPC. After that, we headed over to Flat Top Johnny's and talked with more of the people who were here for the GNOME Summit.

Most of the people I talked to knew about Miro--that was neat. There's a lot of interest in Miro and its future directions. In many ways it's really exciting, but in some ways it's really daunting. How do you choose between the myriad of interesting future directions? We've got a limited number of people working on Miro, so we can't choose them all--at least, not for the next version after 1.0. It's a good spot to be in, but at the same time, a little depressing since it would be a lot of fun to do everything. :)