The roads I take...

KaiRo's weBlog

December 2007

Displaying entries published in December 2007. Back to all recent entries

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

Used languages: English, German


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December 31st, 2007

Weekly Status Report, W52/2007

I kept my computer off most of the Christmas holidays, but here's a short summary of SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related things I could still work on in week 52/2007 (December 24 - 30):
  • SeaMonkey Project Organization:
    Didn't come around to write an announcement text for the Council reorganization or SeaMonkey 2 Alpha criteria blog post, both are high on the TODO list for next week/year. ;-)
  • Tinderbox:
    The missing SeaMonkey Mac OS X tinderbox has been re-setup with a new system and reinstalled and works fine again now.
  • Source L10n:
    On December 24th, the day where we actually have our Christmas celebration in the evening, I could add four language to ChatZilla localization (Czech, French, Russian and Slovak).
    The files there showed up a bug in the "python preprocessor", which should be fixed soon.
  • German L10n:
    Fixed a small error I introduced in error pages, but there wasn't much else to do this week.
  • Various Discussions:
    Sidebar lists, death of Netscape, etc.

This, of course, is the last of my reports for this year, but as with the code set free almost 10 years ago by the now-dead Netscape, the saga continues for SeaMonkey as well. In 2008, we hope to see our toolkit-based 2.0 release coming into shape and aim to go stronger than ever before.

I wish you all out there a happy and successful year of 2008!

By KaiRo, at 19:18 | Tags: L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | no comments | TrackBack: 1

Web Discrimination Or Browser Racism?

I have previously blogged about sucky UA strings or dynamic spoofing as a possible solution for this, even set out a large bug bounty for creating a mechanism that does just that. But those things only fight the symptoms of an underlying problem: discrimination against certain or unknown browsers on the web.

In earlier times, the now-dead Netscape tried to preach to web developers for granting basic access to their sites to all browsers in an effort called "Tech Evangelism". I think this terminology is too weak for such an effort though. This is not about preaching a better belief about some obscure tech stuff. The problem here is that people are closed out from using certain web sites just by their mere "look", by the identification their web client is sending to the site, and therefore by the "race" of their browser.

The cases listed as dependencies in our tracking bug are only the tip of the iceberg - and all those things are not minor technical difficulties, they are severe cases of discrimination against "weaker", less popular or simply unknown Internet clients. This tactic doesn't only interfere with principle 2 of the Mozilla Manifesto by not keeping the Internet open and accessible, it even violates the common sense behind human rights, by closing out people from those web services just by their appearance/identification.

Therefore, I encourage everyone in our community to use the terms web discrimination or even browser racism when talking about those barriers placed in our way by web developers.

It would be a nice idea to even set up a Firefox extension that alerts users when they are accessing a site that uses such discrimination tactics, powered by a list dynamically maintained by a good community of users, on some collaborative website that also explains the problem and points out better tactics and guidelines for web developers to follow, as well as access points for community members to inform the developers and maintainers of the respective websites about their discriminative/racist approach.

By KaiRo, at 16:31 | Tags: Mozilla, SeaMonkey, UA String | 4 comments | TrackBack: 1

December 28th, 2007

The Saga Continues

As a few other Mozillians reported, the Netscape browser is finally declared dead, after a long time of going down.

Still, Netscape was originally the "Mosaic Killer" codenamed "Mozilla", and this name is carrying on the great legacy of the legendary Internet browser. The code lives on in the form of Mozilla-based browsers. Firefox is regaining the lost market share for this great legacy and showing how innovative the spirit from back then still can be. And SeaMonkey is continuing the Internet suite that Netscape started more than a decade ago.

So the Netscape-branded browser may be dead, but the saga it started is continuing.

Just see what those who following the footsteps of this legacy will be able to show up in 2008 and everyone will see we are going strong even without that brand name - the code, the browser, and even the suite.

By KaiRo, at 21:46 | Tags: Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, SeaMonkey | no comments | TrackBack: 1

December 23rd, 2007

Specifying codecs for the web

You might remember the recent blog post about codecs for <video> we saw on Planet Mozilla recently. I immediately informed my favorite online magazine about open source,, about this when I read it, as they and their readers usually are quite interested in anything involving open standards and patents.

A few days later, they ran an article called Specifying codecs for the web about this topic:

Audio and video content are increasingly important components of the World Wide Web, which some of us remember, initially, as a text-only experience. Users of free software need not be told that the multimedia aspect of the net can be hard to access without recourse to proprietary tools. So the decisions which are made regarding multimedia support in the next version of the HTML specification are of more than passing interest. A current dispute over the recommended codecs for HTML5 shows just how hard maintaining an interoperable web may be.

As it got public this week (the "weekly edition" is subscriber-only for 7 days), this should be also worth a read by anyone in the Mozilla community who is interested in the HTML5 <video> tag.

By KaiRo, at 19:40 | Tags: codec, Mozilla, patents, video | 1 comment | TrackBack: 0

Weekly Status Report, W51/2007

This week, a lot of work that was ongoing for some time could be completed - here's a short summary of my work in SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related areas I did in week 51/2007 (December 17 - 23):
  • Artwork:
    I could check in the transparent Modern toolbar icons for making toolbar customization look nicely enough with that theme, additionally we now have small and large versions of those primary browser buttons and can even display the print icon in fullscreen mode in Modern.
    Additionally, the "M" icon in Modern's component bar got replaced with a globe and the component bar and window menu icons are in PNG using image regions after I now have resolved this bug.
  • Automated Update System:
    For SeaMonkey 2, we want to use the same automatic update system (AUS) that people know from Firefox, and for the first Alpha, we'd like to have it working well enough that testers of that version can upgrade to the next version using this new function. I filed a bug on getting AUS to work with SeaMonkey and could even implement the first step for this, which is making tinderbox generate complete update packages and build the updater system itself into SeaMonkey. We still need server- and client-side work to fully use this, but some good ground work has been laid.
  • SeaMonkey Project Organization:
    The Council had some more internal discussion about its own structure and we finalized it, I'll post this to the SeaMonkey blog and project news as soon as I come around to it between or shortly after the holidays.
    We also defined some rough SeaMonkey 2 Alpha criteria, a posting about them will follow soon here on my blog.
  • Tinderbox Problems and more:
    The SeaMonkey Mac OS X has been missing for this whole week now, which means we've had no Mac nightlies since Monday. Unfortunately, the issue doesn't seem to be simple, the box does not boot and Mozilla IT folks are trying to re-setup the whole box. We hope they find time for that soon.
    As a note, I now have the necessary permissions to do changes to the SeaMonkey tinderbox waterfall pages, I'll look into updating their introduction messages when I come around to it.
  • Source L10n:
    The biggest work I did this week was on CVS-based ChatZilla language packs, which got a reality this week, after the roadblock of pulling all L10n files on tinderboxen was out of the way and enabled optional L10n directories. A few followup fixes could also go in this week, the only remaining item is some SeaMonkey installer work that depends on ChatZilla being an optional install though.
  • German L10n:
    German trunk was kept green, and was also the first locale to get both ChatZilla L10n and complete update packages for SeaMonkey (naturally, as I was doing the related en-US checkins and did pull German along, partly for testing purposes).
  • Various Discussions:
    Mac dmg design, projects list, AMO improvement plans, memory management improvements and regressions, Mozilla 2, FOSDEM 2008, etc.

I expect the upcoming week won't be really centered around work for most people in our community, just like for myself. I wish everyone in this community who celebrates that holiday a Merry Christmas, have fun, relax and enjoy some time with your family and/or other loved ones. To everyone not celebrating this holiday, please be patient if questions or other requests take longer than usual this week, most of us are gathering energy and building up strength this week to build an even better SeaMonkey and/or other Mozilla applications in the weeks and months to come.

By KaiRo, at 18:33 | Tags: L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | 4 comments | TrackBack: 0

December 18th, 2007

Weekly Status Report, W50/2007

Another week crammed with private life has passed, still I managed to do quite a bit of work as well, here's a short summary of work I did in SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related areas in week 50/2007 (December 10 - 16):
  • Artwork:
    For the work being done on making the browser toolbars customizable, I spent some more time on transparent Modern toolbar icons so that users of that secondary theme we ship can also use that feature well enough when it's implemented.
    While on that topic, I remembered the long-standing bug of the "M" icon in Modern's component bar and worked on replacing it with a globe as the symbol for the browser.
  • Certificate Error Page:
    SeaMonkey 2, as every Gecko 1.9 browser, will show an error page instead of warning dialogs on SSL certificate problems. Users can add security exceptions for specific certificates, but we want to keep that a solution that nobody should ever just click through, so security gets improved. Still, clicking through prefs, opening a dialog from there, entering the domain name again manually, display that certificate's problems and then add the exception is probably too complicated, even for advanced users - so we added a button to open that dialog with the domain prefilled to the error page. This still needs you to go through various clicks on different places on the error page and the dialog, but saves a complicated search for the dialog or re-typing the domain, which we hope to be a good compromise between tight security and user-friendliness.
    Interestingly, I started into that bug, copying a blob of JS code I didn't understand from Firefox - after reviews I had not only changed that code significantly, I even understand what it's doing, why it's working as it should and what's different from how Firefox does it (we also discovered at least two bugs related to the Firefox implementation). Thanks to Neil and jag for pointing out all that stuff - those guys are the living proof for how reviews improve open source code quality.
  • SeaMonkey Project Organization:
    I tried to get the discussion in the Council going again for our internal restructuring, this seems to be getting along nicely now.
    I also tried to define and get us to discuss criteria for a SeaMonkey 2 Alpha, we seem to be mostly in agreement here, I'll post those soon.
    And the SeaMonkey blog now got a more SeaMonkey-style design and is linked on the SeaMonkey website on the community page and a pointer on the development page.
  • Small Remarks:
    I drove a patch for using "plugin" as consistent spelling (many places still had "plug-in") through the needed reviews and approvals - thanks to Giacomo for the patch and Reed for landing it.
    To track getting the automatic update system working in SeaMonkey trunk, I filed a SeaMonkey AUS2 bug - we want to have this working by Alpha in the sense that upgrading from SeaMonkey 2 Alpha to later development and stable releases will work through that service.
    And sometimes fun ideas can lead to interesting bug reports: My girlfriend wondered if she can have spellcheck do pink underlines in her Firefox, and I found out that red is hardcoded there, which might be a problem in themes that give textboxes a red tone.
  • Source L10n:
    Further progress in the area of ChatZilla and venkman localization is currently blocked by one of the reviews in Axel's queue - he's assuring me he's working through his backlog after being back from MV meetings and a great conference. Read his report while waiting on that review ;-)
  • German L10n:
    German trunk is in good shape, we usually don't lag much behind en-US and have green trees now most of the time.
  • Various Discussions:
    Mac dmg design, customizable toolbars, listing JS in page info "links" tab, pref pane rework, future directions for address book and mailnews in general, feed discovery and support, projects list, AMO improvement plans, memory management improvements and regressions, etc.

If you are not a core SeaMonkey developer, but would be interested in getting involved with Mozilla/SeaMonkey programming and looking for a relatively easy task, the preference window migration should be something to look into. There's still a good list of panels to be migrated from the legacy pref window to the new preferences window, and there are a few panes that have already been converted, which should make good examples.
Also, people in the #seamonkey IRC channel are surely happy to help you get started with such a contribution.

By KaiRo, at 03:30 | Tags: L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | no comments | TrackBack: 0

December 14th, 2007

Politisch stressige Vorweihnachtszeit

Hier eine Presseaussendung meines Alter Ego in Power of Politics, dem Salzburger Landtagsabgeordneten Bobby Emperor:

Es tut sich einiges bei uns in der Vorweihnachtszeit, obwohl ich mir manchmal Sorgen mache, dass ich zu wenig Zeit für die Bevölkerung habe in diesen Tagen. Jetzt habe ich zumindest wie letztes Jahr den Silvesterurlaub mal gebucht, ich hoffe, diesmal muss ich ihn nicht wieder kurzfristig absagen. Auch den Christbaumhändler meiner Wahl weiß ich bereits, nur den Baum muss ich noch kaufen.
Am Montag hab ich kurz ein Gespräch vom Eventmanager Jakob Drschklsaa belauschen können, der gerade einen Medienstar zur großen Weihnachts-Charity-Gala eingeladen hat. Wir Politiker werden ja nicht direkt eingeladen, wir müssen einfach selbst hinkommen, aber jetzt weiß ich den Termin und hab mir fest vorgenommen, dort zu sein.
Am Weihnachtsmarkt waren bei der Wahlveranstaltung etwas wenig Leute, da kam nicht viel von meinen Reden zur Wissenschaft an. Die Glühweinparty am Dienstag hat wenigstens mein Ego etwas aufgebaut. Noch besser in dieser Hinsicht war es bei Tante Olma, die ist immer so lieb zu mir und ich durfte in Kindheitserinnerungen schwelgen und ihr beim Backen der Weihnachtskekse helfen. Und nebenbei ist es immer wieder interessant, was sie von ihren Connections erzählt. Die hat doch überall ihre Freunde, bis in die höchsten Positionen in Wirtschaft, Kultur und Politik. Nebenbei konnte sie mir etwas Geld von denen zustecken - obwohl sie meinte, es wäre vielleicht mehr drinnen gewesen, aber dass mein Bundesland derzeit von der Mafia regiert wird und einige meiner Parteifreunde nach der Weltherrschaft streben, das gefiel ihren Geldgebern nicht ganz so gut. Na gut, da werden wir schauen, dass sich das bis zum nächsten Mal wieder ändert...
Jetzt muss ich dann gleich weg, ich kann nur sagen, der Small Talk beim Punschtrinken heute hat meine Message zu mehr Leuten rübergebracht als diese pompöse Wahlveranstaltung, von der ich vorher gesprochen hab. Na gut, der Christkindlmarkt heute war auch schöner. Gut, ich wünsche noch viel Spaß, ich fahr jetzt für den Nachmittag etwas zum Schifahren nach Tirol (ist ja ein Katzensprung von Salzburg) und hoffe, dass der momentane Schneefall auch dort gute Pisten beschert.
Wir sehen uns - und nicht vergessen: Meine neue Informationsbroschüre über die Technik von heute liegt zum Verteilen im Parteibüro auf!

By KaiRo, at 14:28 | Tags: PoP | no comments | TrackBack: 0

December 11th, 2007

Weekly Status Report, W49/2007

Last week was packed with a huge mount of non-work activity for me, but here's a short summary of SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related work I've managed to do in week 49/2007 (December 3 - 9):
  • SeaMonkey Statistics:
    This week, I came around to do updated blog posts about SeaMonkey download statistics and browser statistics. Both give interesting looks into numbers about our user base and I think it was good to share a current state of those.
  • Window Icons:
    The long-standing bug on window icons matching the SeaMonkey artwork has now been fixed for Windows, Linux and OS/2 on trunk. You may remember that I posted requirements for those in August and a proposed set from spinello in September. Now, I added those proposed icons, some of which have been revised due to comments since, into our codebase, including the SVGs they were created from. There's probably still room for improvements, but those icons now are surely more fitting for a modern SeaMonkey suite than the previous Netscape4/Mozilla-style ones.
  • Even More Artwork:
    For toolbar customization, we need alpha-transparent navigation icons in the Modern theme. I took this as a good case for training my GIMP skills and looking at the new 2.4 version of that open source graphics tool and created such a set.
    For completing the in-code URL changes for the new website (posted in last week's status update), I also updated the splash screens for branch builds.
    And then, I also created a proposal for a new background image to add for Mac disk image improvements.
  • SeaMonkey Project Structure:
    Was once again too busy to drive this forward this week, will pick it up again soon. (yes, I know, c&p from last week ;-) )
  • Source L10n:
    I created a patch for always checking out all files for a locale when building localized builds for it, so that optional localization can work. I hope this gets reviews so finally CVS-based ChatZilla langpacks can be done.
    Additionally, I added one more language for trunk L10n (Swedish). I'm looking forward to add even more in the future. :)
  • German L10n:
    Trunk core was kept in sync with en-US, so that FF 3 Beta 2 can also be released in our language.
  • Various Discussions:
    Leaks, customizable toolbars, feed discovery and support, projects list, Firefox freezes, release tags, popup blocking notification, SeaMonkey blog, etc.
Justing Wood ("Callek") has put in some work to get the SeaMonkey team blog up and running again, where we'll inform about releases (including candidates), project-wide status and other official news (while this blog here always represents my personal opinion). The blog is syndicated on Planet Mozilla as well as mozillaZine feedHouse and will be linked from the SeaMonkey website soon. Thanks to Justin for this effort!

By KaiRo, at 16:37 | Tags: artwork, L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | no comments | TrackBack: 0

December 7th, 2007

Over 50% of SeaMonkey on German Project Site

As I reported earlier on those numbers, I think I should give you an update on SeaMonkey rates on the German project website - where the new suite accounted for over half of all hits the second month in a row now!

When I posted here last in August, SeaMonkey just had overtaken the old Mozilla suite in hits on that site dedicated mainly to suite downloads and hosting the default start page for both suite.
Now, SeaMonkey (blue line) goes strongly at over 50% while the Mozilla suite (red) has dropped under 40% in November:

Image No. 17993

Absolute hits/pages/hosts numbers have been about steady since April, slightly decreasing in summer but gaining again in fall, which means that we gain more and more SeaMonkey users, while the Mozilla suite is equally falling in market share. As 60% of the hits on that website come from people hitting the default home page, or "start page", of German SeaMonkey (and Mozilla suite), web site visits have some correlation with overall adoption of those applications.

In November 2007, we had 96% of all hits on the site coming from Gecko-based browsers (53% SeaMonkey, 39% Mozilla suite, 4% Firefox, other Gecko browser sum up to under 0.1%), a bit below 2% from IE and a bit over 1% from various bots, with about half of the other percent unknown and the other half split between Safari, Opera and consorts.

Split by versions, SeaMonkey 1.1.6 and 1.1.4 top the list with 11.5% each, followed by Mozilla 1.7.12 at 8.6%, SeaMonkey 1.1.5 at 8.3%, 1.1.1 as 6.7%. Mozilla 1.7.13 and 1.7.3 are both over 5%, the rest ranges below that mark. A sum of all SeaMonkey 1.0.x versions reveals 7.1% using the older series still, which means that about 13% of SeaMonkey are on the older versions, which is surely better than how things worked with Mozilla suite, but quite some room for improvement.
Interestingly, IE7 now ranks slightly above IE6 with 0.81% vs. 0.78% of hits.

A short look on OSes tells us that still 77.8% of those hits come from WinXP, Win2000 is at 8.6%, while Vista is still only at 3.7% - which is good from our perspective, as SeaMonkey 1.x has some small glitches on that OS that will only get fixed in the SeaMonkey 2 series.
Linux at 2.3% and Mac systems at 1.7% are surely the vast underdogs in hits on our page, but probably they are a bit underrepresented due to users of those OSes usually being more advanced and more likely to switch to a non-default home page in their browser.

I hope that the numbers continue to grow as they do for SeaMonkey, so that hopefully more and more users of the old, insecure Mozilla suite switch over to the well-maintained, secure alternative we are developing.

By KaiRo, at 19:47 | Tags: Mozilla, Mozilla Suite, SeaMonkey, stats | 1 comment | TrackBack: 1

December 4th, 2007

Weekly Status Report, W48/2007

It's time again to give you a short summary of SeaMonkey/Mozilla-related work I've done in week 48/2007 (November 26 - December 2):
  • SeaMonkey Releases:
    I spent lots of time this week on the SeaMonkey 1.1.7 release. When we were just ready to push the builds out to the public mirrors, we got word of the <canvas> regression that finally also triggered Firefox and we went into respinning and retesting builds instead of releasing what we had. We still managed to release on Friday, thanks to people from the community who did a great job on getting us QA of the new builds in such a short time. We wouldn't be able to do our great releases without that help.
  • SeaMonkey Website URLs:
    I changed trunk and branch to use the new URLs instead of the old ones for pointing to the SeaMonkey project site or pages.
    Localizers don't need to follow this, as the redirects from to work fine, but it would be a good idea to change the URLs so that people go to the right locations directly.
  • SeaMonkey Project Structure:
    Was once again too busy to drive this forward this week, will pick it up again soon.
  • SeaMonkey 2 Certificate Error Pages:
    Gecko 1.9 will be much pickier about wrong security certificates than older version, replacing the easy-to-click-through certificate warning dialog with an error page that is displayed in place of the web page one wants to view. It's still possible to define exceptions so that specific errors of specific certificates can be ignored, but the way to do this is buried deep in advanced security preferences. This is good because a secure-looking page with a bad certificate is worse than a non-encrypted page in that it pretends to be secure.
    Still, people probably want to add an exception if they are hitting such pages often or for testing purposes. Firefox overrides the whole localization file for net error pages and adds a button there to open the dialog for adding exceptions from there in a non-click-through but still reasonably easy way. Other applications, like SeaMonkey, would have needed to override the whole localization as well or not have that possibility. Because of that, I split up netError.dtd so we can override just that part, and I hope to get the SeaMonkey side of this in soon as well, so that we have the same functionality as Firefox.
  • Source L10n:
    I filed a bug on figuring out checkout of optional localization like esp. ChatZilla so that CVS-based ChatZilla langpacks can finally land.
  • German L10n:
    German trunk is being kept green again, this will be much more so now, as I've been declared a peer for core, and I'll check in all patches awaiting reviews in the meantime so that we can go green fast and only fix review nits afterward.
  • Various Discussions:
    Window icons, login manager, access keys and tabs/decks, customizable toolbars, popup blocking notification, branch launch XML errors (fixed and not fixed), feed discovery and support, AMO improvements, dictionary licensing, SeaMonkey blog, unit tests, etc.
I very much hope that SeaMonkey 1.1.7 is the final release for this year so that we can concentrate on trunk even more for the next weeks. One thing I'd like to start soon is start triaging Alpha blocker nominations, starting with the big items we need fixed so that we can get a better image of when we can get this first preview release for SeaMonkey 2 out to the greater testing community.

By KaiRo, at 13:55 | Tags: L10n, Mozilla, SeaMonkey, Status | no comments | TrackBack: 0

December 3rd, 2007

2.5 Million Tracked SeaMonkey Downloads

As we just released SeaMonkey 1.1.7 on Friday and it's some time since I posted the last update on download numbers, I think it's a good point in time to look at current statistics.

I have stated this in the last such posts, but just for clarity: All statistics we have are from the main 3 links to our official release builds, i.e. those that go to, as those go through the "bouncer" tool that also keeps track of download numbers. Downloads of any other builds (.zip or tarballs, other platforms and other languages) are not counted, as well as downloads that are issued directly from FTP servers, or through other means of distribution (Linux distro packages, etc.) - so the real number of SeaMonkey downloads is in the dark to us, but the counts of the three main download links should cover a significant portion of our downloads.

The total number for all SeaMonkey downloads tracked by bouncer is now up to over 2.5 million - 2,559,247 exactly at the time I took the statistics, which was on Friday, shortly after we had announced the 1.1.7 release.
Of those downloads, 912k are from 1.0-1.0.9 versions, 44k from 1.1a/b, and 1.1-1.1.6 account for 1602k downloads, so the 1.1.x series is much more successful than 1.0.x ever was:

Image No. 17992

As you can see, 1.1.1 and 1.1.4 form peaks of ~380-390k downloads, those were also the most long-lived releases with 91 and 77 days of being the most current stable SeaMonkey out in the public, but then, 1.1.6 got its 181k downloads in only 25 days before the new SeaMonkey 1.1.7 was announced. Because of that, I think the red line, which is the rate of downloads per day of being the most-current release is quite interesting. It shows well that the download rates are growing - given that 1.1 was released between 1.0.7 and 1.0.8, there's a good increase of people downloading SeaMonkey, which makes me think we are successful in getting people to use our software more and more, and the market for the suite is not really dying out, but going stronger again.

While SeaMonkey 1.0-1.0.7 were averaging at 2.3k downloads/day, the SeaMonkey 1.1.x series has now more than doubled that to 5k/day, which I'd think is pretty good. :)

If you're interested in exact numbers, I have set up a download statistics page that I manually refresh from time to time with current numbers directly from bouncer.
One data point from there that is even newer than the data of the graph above: SeaMonkey 1.1.7 saw 34,350 tracked downloads in the roughly three days since it was released. ;-)

By KaiRo, at 16:20 | Tags: Mozilla, release, SeaMonkey, stats | 2 comments | TrackBack: 4

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