For the last week I’ve been working with 230 other Ubuntu people in Washington, DC. We have sprints like this pretty frequently now and are a great way to collaborate and Get Things Done™ at high velocity.
This is the second sprint where we’ve invited some of the developers who are blazing a trail with our Core Apps project. Not everyone could make it to the sprint, and those who didn’t were certainly missed. These are people who give their own time to work on some of the featured and default apps on the Ubuntu Phone, and perhaps in the future on the converged desktop.
It’s been a busy week with discussion & planning punctuating intense hacking sessions. Once again I’m proud of the patience, professionalism and and hard work done by these guys working on bringing up our core apps project on a phone that hasn’t event shipped a single device yet!
We’ve spent much of the week discussing and resolving design issues, fixing performance bugs, crashers and platform integration issues, as well as the odd game of ‘Cards Against Humanity’ & ‘We Didn’t Playtest This At All’ in the bar afterwards.
Having 10 community developers in the same place as 200+ Canonical people accelerates things tremendously. Being able to go and sit with the SDK team allowed Robert Schroll to express his issues with the tools when developing Beru, the ebook reader. When Filippo Scognamiglio needed help with mouse and touch input, we could grab Florian Boucault and Daniel d’Andrada to provide tips. Having Renato Filho nearby to fix problems in Evolution Data Server allowed Kunal Parmar and Mihir Soni to resolve calendar issues. The list goes on.
All week we’ve been collaborating towards a common goal of high quality, beautiful, performant and stable applications for the phone today, and desktop of the future. It’s been an incredibly fun and productive week, and I’m a little sad to be heading home today. But I’m happy that we’ve had this time together to improve the free software we all care deeply about.
The relationships built up during these sprints will of course endure. We all exchange email addresses and IRC nicknames, so we can continue the conversation once the sprint is over. Development and meetings will continue beyond the sprint, in the virtual world of IRC, hangouts and mailing lists.Tweet
Last night I mostly patched my local copy of less to build and link against the PCRE regular expression library.
I've wanted to do that for a while, and reading Raymond Chen's blog post last night made me try it out.
The patch was small and pretty neat, and I'm familiar with GNU less having patched it in the past. But it doesn't contain tests.
Test cases are hard. Many programs, such as less, are used interactively which makes writing a scaffold hard. Other programs suffer from a similar fate - I'm not sure how you'd even test a web browser such as Firefox these days - mangleme would catch some things, eventually, but the interactive stuff? No clue.
In the past MySQL had a free set of test cases, but my memory is that Oracle locked them up. SQLite is famous for its decent test coverage. But off the top of my head I can't think of other things.
As a topical example there don't seem to be decent test-cases for either bash or openssl. If it compiles it works, more or less.
I did start writing some HTTP-server test cases a while back, but that was just to automate security attacks. e.g. Firing requests like:GET /../../../etc/passwd HTTP/1.0 GET //....//....//....//etc/passwd HTTP/1.0 etc
(It's amazing how many toy HTTP server components included in projects and products don't have decent HTTP-servers.)
I could imagine that being vaguely useful, especially because it is testing the protocol-handling rather than a project-specific codebase.
Anyway, I'm thinking writing test cases for things is good, but struggling to think of a decent place to start. The project has to be:
Comments welcome; but better yet why not think about the test-coverage of any of your own packages and projects...?
Yesterday I received a small rush of SPAM mails, all of which were 419 scams, and all of them sent by "Mrs Elizabeth PETERSEN".
It struck me that I can't think of ever receiving a legitimate mail from a "Mrs XXX [YYY]", but I was too busy to check.
Today I've done so. Of the 38,553 emails I've received during the month of October 2014 I've got a hell of a lot of mails with a From address including a "Mrs" prefix:"Mrs.Clanzo Amaki" <email@example.com> "Mrs Sarah Mamadou"<firstname.lastname@example.org> "Mrs Abia Abrahim" <email@example.com> "Mrs. Josie Wilson" <firstname.lastname@example.org> "Mrs. Theresa Luis"<email@example.com>
There are thousands more. Not a single one of them was legitimate.
I have one false-positive when repeating the search for a Mr-prefix. I have one friend who has set his sender-address to "Mr Bob Smith", which always reads weirdly to me, but every single other email with a Mr-prefix was SPAM.
I'm not going to use this in any way, since I'm happy with my mail-filtering setup, but it was interesting observation.
Names are funny. My wife changed her surname post-marriage, but that was done largely on the basis that introducing herself as "Doctor Kemp" was simpler than "Doctor Foreign-Name", she'd certainly never introduce herself ever as Mrs Kemp.
Trivia: In Finnish the word for "Man" and "Husband" is the same (mies), but the word for "Woman" (nainen) is different than the word for "Wife" (vaimo).
Debian is thrilled to participate in the 9th round of the GNOME FOSS Outreach Program. While OPW is similar to Google Summer of Code it has a winter session in addition to a summer session and is open to non-students.
We have reached out to several corporate sponsors and are thrilled that so far Intel has agreed to fund an intern slot (in addition to the slot offered by the DPL)! While that makes two funded slots we have a third sponsor that has offered a challenge match: for each dollar donated by an individual to Debian the sponsor will donate another dollar for Debian OPW.
This is where we need your help! If we can raise $3,125 by October 22 that means we can mentor a third intern ($6,250). Please spread the word and donate today if you can at: http://debian.ch/opw2014/
If you'd like to participate as intern, the application deadline is the same (October 22nd). You can find out more on the Debian Wiki.
On Thursday 9th, after weeks of low-level frustration at having to press “close” on every login, I sent a complaint to Barclays asking them to stop asking me on every single login to switch to paperless statements with a dialog box that has only two options:
This morning they replied:
Please be advised that it is currently not possible for us to remove the switch to paperless statements advert.
So, uh, I suppose if you’re a web developer who thinks that it’s acceptable to ask a question on every login and not supply any means for the user to say, “stop asking me this question”, there is still a job for you in the banking industry. No one there will at any point tell you that this is awful user experience. They will probably just tell you, “good job”, from their jacuzzi full of cash that they got from charging people £5.80 a month to have a bank account, of which £0.30 is for posting a bank statement.
Meanwhile, on another part of their site, I attempt to tell them to send me letters by email not post, but the web site does not allow me to because it thinks I do not have an email address set. Even though the same screen shows my set email address which has been set for years.
After light mocking on Twitter they asked me to try using a different browser, before completely misunderstanding what I was talking about, at which point I gave up.