The roads I take...
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23. Juli 2009
This is a random collection of thoughts going around in my head - probably all of them would warrant a full blog post, but I don't come around to doing them, so I'll put down the short summaries.
- Geolocation: Why do we have to rely on Google magically knowing where someone might be? Wouldn't it be better to have a community-driven database we all could contribute to, which could give you croudsourced location data?
For example, I know where I am, I can give precise location of both my wifi IDs as well as a range of IPs up to the building, but Google Location Service (what Firefox uses for the internal geolocation module) just tells me I'm somewhere in Vienna. They don't have a way for me telling them my info and improving that information, but an open, community-based service could. And OpenStreetMap would even know full address data for this location. How dull that all our modern technology just tells me I'm somewhere in a multi-kilometer radius around the Vienna City Center.
- SeaMonkey Meetup: The SeaMonkey project has some amount of donations stacked up at Mozilla Foundation, and I think it would be cool to use that to finance a SeaMonkey meetup, paying for accommodation and travel of major contributors as well as the (if needed) the place to do the meetings. Would this be a good idea? Who would come, maybe even if we can't pay for him, in what city should we do this event?
- Contribution Statistics: I have thought a few times about doing a script that parses our Mercurial pushlog at least between releases, and gathers data on how many changesets and +/- codelines people have created and/or reviewed, to get a view of which people are how active in the community. The same could be done for bug triage. The result would be something like Jonathan Corbet's Linux Kernel Developer Statistics.
- SeaMonkey QA: We're really missing someone to lead and coordinate SeaMonkey QA work - Andrew Schultz is quite busy with some strange thing called "real life" nowadays and can't really do that work right now. I'm sure we'd all be quite happy if he could pass the torch and we'd support anyone who tries to do it with all help we can provide.
- Web-based Help and Support Resources: We have some weekness in SeaMonkey help and support resources on the web. While our in-product help is fine, it would be good if a Google search would turn up something helpful and if we could point people to URLs. One partial solution would be to have a script that periodically converts our inline help to usable web pages, and better solution would be to set up a copy of SUMO for SeaMonkey, with a knowledge base and possibly even a web forum - but someone needs to drive that. Any volunteers?
- SeaMonkey Marketing: Even though I'm theoretically responsible for marketing right now, I badly fail on getting anything done, starting from putting a page with a collection of logos and web buttons up, and moving on with all other possibilities of fostering community marketing. This is another area where I'd be happy to have someone come on board and drive this. I'm happy to support any efforts from a technical and project organization POV, but we probably need someone else to lead those efforts.
- Mozmill: Thunderbird is starting to automate tests on Mozmill now, Firefox QA people start using it for smoketests, could someone get it to run for SeaMonkey so we can do those things as well?
- SMILE, Weave, Jetpack: There are more things out there that probably need help: the equivalent to FUEL and STEEL, which we call SMILE, getting Weave to work for SeaMonkey, and last not least, getting Jetpack to work (which probably needs SMILE).
- Parallels: Why does it need to be so painful to run OSX in VMs? And does nobody else run a larger number of VMs, including OSX machines, on Parallels? I don't understand how we can have basic problem like not being able to run more than 8 VMs on one host and OSX VMs being unstable esp. if they have access to more then 1 CPU core and both thing not getting much traction from Parallels devs. It can't be that we are the only customer who see those problems.
- Statistics: I would love to have a lot more statistics on users, downloads, etc. for SeaMonkey and esp. SeaMonkey 2 but it seems to be hard to get the data and tooling that exists inside Mozilla systems out in a way we can use it. I guess Mozilla Corporation is not as open as it could and should be in some areas.
- openSUSE: With the inclusion of SeaMonkey 2.0 Alpha 3 (soon to be Beta 1, they already have Thunderbird 3.0 Beta 3), in the current openSUSE Factory, it looks very much like openSUSE 11.2 will be the first distribution to have SeaMonkey 2 in their official package repositories. Thanks to their package manager Wolfgang Rosenauer for making this possible!
- Moving: I'll finally be moving from a student dorm to my own flat in August, lots of stuff to think about there. Also, the machines building SeaMonkey 1.x nightlies and releases are about to be moved to a different location, Linux and Windows being unavailable there recently is connected to this, I had to clear up how to do this, and some missing responsiveness on the side of my provider contributed a lot to finally deciding to switch providers in that process.
- Vacation: I have already booked the flight for my vacation this year, I'll be away for three weeks in November, traveling through the US gulf region, circling from Houston via New Orleans, Pensacola, Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, Dallas back to Houston. It will be quite a distance to travel, but it should be manageable and be a good distraction from my usual work, and lots of things to see and experience. I easily get excited when talking about this.
- Music: Sometimes I'd love to be a signer in a local Blues/Rock/Country band, but I hardly find the time to practice the guitar any bit or type the lyrics of my recently written songs into the web database I have for them. At least I come around to some Karaoke singing every week.
- Space: How come that the great things NASA does is not worth more to the public than the half cent of every US tax dollar it actually gets? How come that it isn't worth more to other countries as well? Isn't exploration of new frontiers, world-wide cooperation to do amazing things not because they are easy, but because they are hard, aren't all those things one of the main drivers of what makes humanity great? Are we losing focus in that we are only caring about our own small biotopes and internal affairs and forgetting to expand our knowledge and horizons?
- Test Coverage: It would be so nice to increase coverage of SeaMonkey code with automated tests, but it's proving even hard to require tests for new things added, as we also don't want to slow down progress - esp. when we are already behind the schedules we hoped to follow a few months ago.
- Mozilla 1.9.2 and SeaMonkey/Thunderbird: Mozilla platform maintainers decided to do a 1.9.2 branch very soon now and base Fennec 1.0 on it as well as a Firefox 3.6, not featuring lots of application changes, but some good platform improvements. Some of those changes in the platform would be good to have for SeaMonkey and Thunderbird, but we also know of some problems we'll have there due to doing our experimental builds with mozilla-central all along. Moving over to the branch now would probably delay our stable releases for a few weeks more, but we are already running behind the schedules we wanted to have, so we think it's better to stick with 1.9.1 for now and get SM 2.0 and TB 3.0 out before even thinking of what to do about 1.9.2 - we could either ignore it completely or do smaller-step 2.1 and 3.1 releases on top of it just like FF does with 3.6, but we're not sure what's best. For now, we'll watch it but not actually do anything about it.
- MailNews API refactorings: It would be really nice if we could port the JS-driven folder pane and the various refactorings done for gloda search from Thunderbird to SeaMonkey UI, as those would sync our APIs with theirs and make life easier for add-ons, next to making work with folder and thread panes easier internally as well. Once again, what we're missing is someone to do the work - we are a volunteer open source project after all, and people here tend to work on those things that are fun for them, and of course only in the little free time they have.
- Local Communities: Every face-to-face meeting i had locally with open source developers around here in Vienna was very rewarding, and I should engage much more with those communities. Also, my recent talk for IT businessmen on "project management in open source" was a very exciting and successful thing, I believe I could, with the help of a few fellow open source community people, dampen a lot of FUD that arises with people used to traditional IT business but who are still interested in how thing work "on our side" - which I hope to have proven to not actually be that much different as they often think. By the way, and I got got comments like "Oh, so the suite is still being developed? Nice, I need to try SeaMonkey then!"