The roads I take...

KaiRo's weBlog

July 2011
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Popular tags: Mozilla, SeaMonkey, L10n, Status, Firefox

Used languages: English, German

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July 25th, 2011

Weekly Status Report, W29/2011

Here's a short summary of SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related work I've done in week 29/2011 (July 18 - 24, 2011):
  • Mozilla work / crash-stats:
    Continued per-build crash rate calculations for 6.0 betas.
    Moved Q3 priorities to a place that reflects them being official.
    Created reports on paired Flash hangs with how they are spread across Flash releases, so we shed some more light on things the Adobe people can work on.
    I also did quite some investigation of our top Flash hang on Beta/Aurora/Nightly, which comes up way too high in numbers, and I seemingly could track it down to a regression window in our own code, I hope we can find some solution before shipping the next Firefox release.
    Talked with the Socorro team on their plans to get better beta/release reports for us as well as what numbers there should be on the front page in the future.
    Kept myself informed on potential things that Apple's Lion release could bring to the light.
    Filed a bug on future Aurora/Nightly reports changes.
    Of course, looked into "explosive"/rising crashes with my experimental stats - now for Fennec 5 as well as several Firefox versions.
  • Data Manager:
    After some more discussions, did a patch for support of bare IPv6 addresses with some additions that also fixes potentially different but similar problems. I hope this can even still land for SeaMonkey 2.3 in the current beta cycle.
    I also worked on website storage support, but I didn't get around yet to finish a good test for that, so people still need to wait for an official patch and add-on update.
  • Various Discussions/Topics:
    SeaMonkey 2.0.14->2.2 Major Update, feedback from that MU, live bookmarks, Firefox developer tools, marketing messages, BrowserID, shuttle era ending, MeeGo, etc.

I'm pretty excited about BrowserID hitting the public now. We really need to work on making identity handling better for users (think fewer problems with remembering, forgetting and hacking passwords), but need to do it in a way that's easy to grasp for users (not confusing URLs like OpenID), decentralized (not like Facebook Connect or Google login everywhere), but also easy to implement for website so they adopt it reasonably. And it should be integrate-able into browsers so chances of spoofing are reduced and your browser can be your single-sign-on solution (if you like). The proposed BrowserID should provide all that, and probably more - and we're of course open for feedback to make this even better, we always are here at Mozilla. I really hope this solution or something coming from it will take off. We really need that on today's web.

We also need solutions for enabling web apps to be as good as traditional applications, for those to be delivered to people in some kind of collection/store/market or whatever you call it, and all that in open and decentralized ways - and Mozilla will work on all that and more with our spirit of following a mission of openness, innovation and opportunity on the web.

And meanwhile, I'll try to help making Firefox and other Mozilla software more stable, and I think that's also going well so far - but we need to get even better, as does the web as a whole, and that's what I'm working for. :)

By KaiRo, at 22:27 | Tags: L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | no comments | TrackBack: 0

July 21st, 2011

Atlantis Ending A Historic Era

The city of Atlantis is a historic myth, the symbol of an era of science, wealth, and great achievements.

Today's story on Atlantis is no myth at all, but it's about an era of science, wealth, and great achievements coming to and end - this time all the knowledge and achievements hopefully don't get lost but are used to seed another great era.



When I was a small boy in school, I became a follower of space exploration and a big fan of the Space Shuttle program. I found and still find the idea of a reusable space craft very compelling, one that can bring larger payloads into orbits but also back down. I have lived practically my whole life with the Space Shuttles being the very symbol of human space travel, even though they helped build an even greater icon in the recent decade with the International Space Station. As a huge space enthusiast, it's a bit hard to see that program go away, esp. with no clear picture of the future and surely nothing in the books at all that can replace the capabilities of bringing cargo of that size down or servicing satellites like Hubble in orbit.

30 years ago, creating the technology of the "most complex machine ever flown" was an achievement way ahead of its time, and today it's still unmatched. Still, it showed pretty well that humanity can create out of this world experiences and go beyond what many believe it's possible. Almost on the day 42 years ago the people of Planet Earth showed that with humans landing on the moon, in the last three decades with the Space Shuttle, and in the very recent 10 years with the ISS. I really hope there's more to come, like a moon base and a manned mission to Mars - esp. as I agree with Stephen Hawking that humanity needs to learn to survive outside this planet for its own survival, the risk of man- or nature-made disaster on Earth being too large not to invest in alternatives.

Of course, the Shuttle had its downsides. While it enabled great achievements in low Earth orbit, it couldn't go beyond that. While it was set out to allow cheaper access to orbit, it never gained the frequency needed for that and required way larger investments in maintenance and safety than anticipated, esp. after reacting to the Challenger and Columbia losses. Still, it made the ability to travel to space sound like a commodity enough that most normal people are not concerned with it any more, not seeing an interesting challenge there for humanity or any of our nations. In the end, even that might actually be an achievement, even if it creates problem with financing future space endeavors in harsh times for public budgets of democratic countries.

The end of the Shuttle era should mean the start of at least preparations for a new era, though, and some pieces, like the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, seem to mostly exist already. I for myself recently faded out a legacy program in my life and started into a new one nearer to innovation, I guess my favorite space agency has to do the same - I hope funds will allow for that. I for myself would donate to NASA if I could, just to show my support for their human space programs.

With the final landing of Atlantis, the Shuttle leaves a great legacy of Discoveries and Endeavors, but leaves us and future generations with the great and challenging task of doing even better - and to continue to go where no one has gone before.

By KaiRo, at 14:10 | Tags: NASA, Shuttle, Space | 1 comment | TrackBack: 1

July 19th, 2011

Weekly Status Report, W28/2011

Here's a short summary of SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related work I've done in week 28/2011 (July 11 - 17, 2011):
  • Mozilla work / crash-stats:
    More calculations of crash rates for distinct betas, first 6.0 beta included.
    Followed up on discussions with the Socorro team on getting graphs and topcrash reports updated for the new release process.
    As always, looked into "explosive"/rising crashes with my experimental stats.
  • Data Manager:
    Discussions of missing data when unknown URL syntax is encountered. We still need to find out what actually happens here, but there are some mitigations we can try, and IPv6 URLs seem to trigger this as well right now - might even be a bug in nsIURLParser.
  • Page Zoom:
    Discussed and somewhat-reviewed rsx11m's great work on more flexible page zoom levels. Nice to see other people now fixing those corners where I had to take shortcuts in heavy-lifting porting work I did for SeaMonkey.
  • Various Discussions/Topics:
    SeaMonkey 2.0.14->2.2 Major Update work, mozilla.org/.com merge, about:memory improvements, "old look" and FF4+ UI customization, Mozillians tagging schema, MeeGo, etc.

A quite large amount of my time this week went into representing Mozilla at the SotM-EU conference as well as taking pictures of the conference. The led to a number of interesting discussions, including about Mozilla, Firefox and reasons for us sponsoring the event, as well finding out about cool new work like OpenWebGlobe, a 3D globe running as WebGL right in the browser.
The conference was a great success and brought a lot of people esp. in the European OpenStreetMap community closer together, 200 people from 25 countries had a lot of fun, exchanged a ton of information, and hopefully also learned on the sidelines that Mozilla is proud to support open, innovative web-based projects! :)

By KaiRo, at 17:51 | Tags: L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | no comments | TrackBack: 0

July 17th, 2011

OpenWebGlobe - 3D World in the Browser

The "State of the Map - Europe" conference in Vienna was a full success, 200 members of the OpenStreetMap community had inspiring talks and discussions here and everyone had a lot of fun and inspiration. I also couldn't be more proud of acting as a Mozilla representative on the conference and I had a lot of interesting discussions in that role, including people being thrilled that Mozilla sponsors such and event "just" to move openness and innovation on the web forward. But that's not what this post is about, I actually want to highlight one thing I heard about in a talk there.

Martin Christen from Switzerland had a really great talk on the OpenWebGlobe SDK today, and I was completely thrilled to see this as it does a lot of things I had wished for in the days before. When there I dreamed about "something similar in spirit to Google Earth, but completely in the browser", I didn't know yet that the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland was already working on the basis for all that and had demos pointing in that direction.



Doesn't that look cool? Remember that this is actually running as a 3D environment in the browser - and directly in HTML, not needing any plugin!
Oh, and all its code is open source software (the web viewer is available via github under MIT license, there's a download for the SDK, I didn't check its license but I think it's MIT as well)!

OpenWebGlobe for WebGL is in an alpha stage, but it's usable under Firefox now (other WebGL-capable browsers might work but haven't been tested enough). Martin said they found that JavaScript is still not as fast as they'd like, esp. when compared to their tests on native C++ code using the same base SDK. Maybe Mozilla developers can help there and make JavaScript even faster than it is now. ;-)

In any case, check out the work of his team, it's absolutely awesome. If you don't believe me yet, there's even an alpha preview you can test yourself right now! :)

And a video of his talk will become available very soon (watch out for a camera icon in the box for his talk on the SotM-EU schedule), if you're interested in what he presented in Vienna.

By KaiRo, at 19:30 | Tags: Mozilla, OSM, WebGL | 3 comments | TrackBack: 0

July 14th, 2011

Representing Mozilla as Sponsor of SotM-EU

I've recently enlisted into the Mozilla Reps ("ReMo") program, mainly to procure sponsoring by Mozilla for the 1st European OpenStreetMap conference, known as "State of the Map - Europe" (SotM-EU).



I'll be the sole representative this weekend of Mozilla being one of the major sponsors of this event, and I'm also helping somewhat with organizational matters, as my colleagues from the "OpenStreetMap Austria" association are the organizers of the conference.

It will be an interesting role to represent Mozilla, and I'm very proud of that, as this gives me a chance to talk a lot about the one thing in Mozilla I'm most passionate about: our mission.
Supporting a conference on an open, innovative project that creates opportunities for everyone on the web and beyond goes to the heart of what Mozilla is, and I couldn't be happier about being present there.

Image No. 22588

Things start off with a public pre-event discussion tomorrow evening and the conference itself is taking place from Friday to Sunday, so don't expect to see me online a lot in the next few days, I'm exploring this strange place called "real life" with other geeks - and probably mapping it out some more. ;-)

By KaiRo, at 02:50 | Tags: Mozilla, OSM, ReMo, Vienna | no comments | TrackBack: 0

July 11th, 2011

Weekly Status Report, W27/2011

Here's a short summary of SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related work I've done in week 27/2011 (July 4 - 10, 2011):
  • Mozilla work / crash-stats:
    Continued calculations of more real crash rates for recent release and beta versions.
    Discussed with the Socorro team on getting improved graphs.
    Followed the source uplift and new version coming out of it, useful data from the new version is only to come in the upcoming week.
    Stayed in the loop on GC crash instrumentation, MethodJIT fixes and MemShrink outcomes that all could or should influence crash data.
    As always, looked into "explosive"/rising crashes with my experimental stats.
  • SeaMonkey Build & Release:
    Helped Callek to get the final 2.2 release out the door, including website updates as Jens was on vacation.
    Got Linux64 updates going for 2.0.*->2.0.14 and 2.1*->2.2, major update will follow once it goes public for the other systems as well.
    I also helped to get the major update billboards up on a https website (mozilla.org, in this case).
  • SeaMonkey L10n:
    Went through the first round of sign-offs for aurora 2.4 and beta 2.3 for SeaMonkey.
  • German L10n:
    Updated the German website for SeaMonkey 2.2, and synched DOMi, SeaMonkey and toolkit localizations for all of -central, -aurora, and -beta.
  • Various Discussions/Topics:
    Source uplift, input/feedback sites and non-supported browsers, new release process and "enterprise" users, MeeGo N900 CE, N9/Harmattan/MeeGo and Firefox mobile, Mozilla sponsorship for SotM-EU, etc.

I feel we start moving more and more in directions to improve the situation with crashes on Firefox by attacking some of the larger areas where we are seeing problems - unfortunately, we have three large areas where the "signature" doesn't tell us a lot about what the actual problem was (GC and MethodJIT crashes as well as plugin hangs) and so those areas are hard to work on and need more instrumentation. Still, we are moving there as well. Reducing memory usages in MemShrink should help reducing out-of-memory crashes. And we just uplifted another version to the Beta channel, which should get it finally exposed to enough users to do good crash analysis. If you want to see more interesting work, though, you should check out Aurora, which already contains some more of that work on memory usage, etc. I love working in an area where you see things really moving toward getting better! :)

By KaiRo, at 22:47 | Tags: L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | 2 comments | TrackBack: 0

July 4th, 2011

Weekly Status Report, W26/2011

Here's a short summary of SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related work I've done in week 26/2011 (June 27 - July 3, 2011):
  • Mozilla work / crash-stats:
    Continued calculations of more real crash rates for the 5.0 release.
    Discussions and planning of how to get better graphs and reports directly in Socorro for all channels in the future.
    More looks at 5.0 data to find if anything bad comes up - so far we look quite good.
    Had a meeting with JS team members to discuss how we can instrument and attack GC crashes.
    Continued looks at Flash hang report rates by Flash version, more investigation will come when I have time.
    Followed discussions on a fix for a high-ranking MethodJIT crash often seen with the new Yahoo! Mail.
    Followed the Socorro 2.0 release.
    Continued discussions on that large GC fix that impacts memory usage and possibly OOM crashes, but it will not be rushed into the next release, making the normal process, probably.
    As always, looked into "explosive"/rising crashes with my experimental stats.
  • SeaMonkey Build & Release:
    Helped Callek some more to get 2.2 Betas moving forward and final coming near.
    Tried to get Linux64 updates going, looks like the manual tries worked, the automated ones possibly not.
  • SeaMonkey L10n:
    More work on L10n sign-offs for SeaMonkey 2.2 Beta, the amount of locales in 2.2 seem to get to match 2.1 almost or even completely.
  • German L10n:
    Cared to get all the 2.2 Betas up on the German website, and the Release Notes updated.
  • Various Discussions/Topics:
    "Firefox in the enterprise" discussions, testing Linux 3.0 Mozilla build fix, MeeGo N900 CE, N9/Harmattan/MeeGo and Firefox mobile, securing Mozilla sponsorship for SotM-EU, etc.

The upcoming week, we're uplifting the source once again and finally are completely in the new release schedule - from now on, every six weeks there will be an update part of the continuing security and feature support series of Firefox, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey. I was even quoted on an LWN.net weekly security page for putting the new process that way. :)

As mentioned, SeaMonkey is following that as well, albeit with different version numbers, the 2.2 version that is on the same level with Firefox 5 and Thunderbird 5 is coming in the next days, 2.3 and the following versions should be even more in sync with the respective releases of our cousins, or brothers, or whatever y'all wanna call 'em. ;-)

And right before 2.2 went into its final stages, I even managed to write up my personal thoughts on SeaMonkey 2.1 in a blog post. It was - and is - an interesting and, if I may say so, awesome ride I had and still have with Mozilla in general, SeaMonkey, and Firefox!

By KaiRo, at 22:32 | Tags: L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | no comments | TrackBack: 0

July 2nd, 2011

Personal Thoughts on SeaMonkey 2.1

I know, we are already 3 weeks past the release of SeaMonkey 2.1, and we'll actually see a 2.2 release next week, but I wanted to get some words up here about 2.1, given that I had been project coordinator and release manager for most of its release cycle.

In the end, it was Callek who built the release and InvisibleSmiley who updated the website, though I did send the announcements - but as always with SeaMonkey, it has been a simply great achievement of an all-volunteer community, and I would like all the great people in that team for all they did and continue to do.

That release was a somewhat emotional moment for me - I have said for a few months that this would be "my last release", and even if I didn't do the final steps in the end, I have been working a lot since 2.0 to make this happen before transitioning over to working on Firefox crash analysis for Mozilla.

I even did some UI and build system code work, including some heavy lifting and some very visible code, for example lightweight themes (Personas) support, defaulting to tabbed browsing, switching to places bookmarks, turning on out-of-process plugins, adding the Data Manager, OpenSearch support, using omnijar, and an optional search bar and an OpenSearch engine manage, not to speak of the release engineering and management work.

This brought SeaMonkey up to date with Firefox 4 not only in the platform and in the web-facing parts, but also in many other user-facing features - and even added a unique feature that Firefox doesn't offer by default (Data Manager).

I also organized a first SeaMonkey Developer Meeting in October 2010, where the core team had a great opportunity to talk about the past, present and future of the project and, most importantly, meet face to face. This showed what a cool, diverse, and great group there is at the heart of SeaMonkey, but it also made me think even more deeply about my personal priorities.

For several years I coordinated a vibrant community project, and with the 2.1 release, it has delivered a really great product, starting a new era - the updates will follow in faster succession and be even closer in time and code to what Firefox is shipping.

For myself, it also marked the start of a new era as I passed the baton on project coordination back to the collective of the SeaMonkey Council and the great volunteer team and community, which I trust to make the project continue doing great Internet suites for quite some time to come.

I learned a lot in this project, and the project management experience there made it possible for me to now work in program management at Mozilla to help making Firefox more stable than ever before. I'm very passionate about the Mozilla mission and believe this is the best way I can make a difference to support it and drive it further to success, but I'll still be in reach to help and support SeaMonkey as part of my free time - just not in such a prominent role. I'll still be around in discussions, do small things here and there, esp. in support of Callek in release engineering, work on the Data Manager as well as some other add-ons that work in both SeaMonkey and Firefox - and I'll try to make "the official Mozilla" and SeaMonkey work together as well as possible.

This is a great release, project and community, I thank you all for making all that possible, for supporting me and us all over the years, and I hope you will take care well of this baby I helped to grow up and that you will help it grow even more mature over the next few years!

By KaiRo, at 02:16 | Tags: Mozilla, SeaMonkey, SeaMonkey 2.1 | 3 comments | TrackBack: 0

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