ZNC to Notifo

Update: ZNC to Notifo has been renamed to ZNC Push, and given support for multiple push notifications services, including Boxcar and Prowl. Please update your links to the new ZNC Push page.

ZNC to Notifo is a module for ZNC that will send notifications to a Notifo account for any private message or channel highlight that matches a configurable set of conditions, including the user’s /away status, time since the last notification, number of clients connected to ZNC, and more.

The module is released under the MIT license, and the source code and documentation can be found on the project’s Github repository page.

Neighbor

Yesterday evening, I received sorrowful news. My neighbor had passed away in her sleep, to the surprise of everyone who knew her. An active grandmother, her personality exuded a quiet energy, a presence that brightened your day and made you smile. The loss is palpable.

Rest in peace, Joyce. You will be missed.

Android is Open

I am biased. But hopefully I can still be insightful and argue this point. This was sparked by a thread on Hacker News, in which someone commented:

Android is all but open.

I’m calling this out. Android, as a software project, is completely, 100%, open. It’s released by Google with the Apache license, which is recognized by OSI and the FSF as a Free/Libre, Open Source license. The Android code itself is freely available, freely redistributable, and can be compiled and flashed onto any compatible device.

However, there is a significant portion of the Android ecosystem that is not “open” by the same definitions above:

  • Device drivers for individual phones are open or closed depending on the device and the individual chipsets in question, but that is a moot point in my opinion as there are plenty of people who use Free desktop operating systems with closed “binary” drivers. Therefore I will leave this topic for another discussion.

  • All of the Google-branded applications — including the Market, Gmail, and Maps — are closed-source and must be licensed with Google to be included on a phone. This means that Cyanogen is not allowed to include these apps when he releases his amazing CyanogenMod firmware. Other services that Google then builds on top of these closed applications are also closed by nature, including their proprietary “push” communication model.

For some purists, this is a major problem, and I would generally agree. But unlike Apple and iOS devices, none of these Google-branded apps are “privileged” applications; they don’t get special treatment from Android, and they don’t have access to anything that “normal” applications can’t access through the SDK.

But more importantly, these apps are not Android, and they are not necessary to delivering an Android phone or firmware. Developers can write and release competing or nearly indentical applications that replace these closed system apps, and indeed, there are multiple competing “app stores” for Android, with Amazon rumored to be creating yet another. There are even better alternatives for Chrome to Phone already available. And if you insist on not using — or have a phone without — the Android Market, Android is perfectly capable of “side-loading” software packages, and nobody needs to pay Google for the rights to do so.

What is all this proclaimed openness worth if it still boils down to exploiting security systems if you want to run that system you just modified?

That is the real problem, and in my opinion the blame is firmly with the carriers; not Google, and certainly not Android. I specifically purchased a Nexus One because it supports the ability to flash the phone with unsigned firmware. I can download the Android source code, compile it, and flash that resulting firmware to my phone, without needing to root, exploit, or jailbreak my phone. I could do that with my Openmoko Freerunner, and I can do that with my Nexus One.

If enough people insisted on purchasing phones with this capability, then the carriers and manufacturers would pay attention and deliver. Or perhaps Google should be standing up to carriers and demanding that all Google-branded and licensed Android phones have this capability. But even if they could get away with that demand, they can’t enforce it on all Android devices; the very definition of Free Software allows carriers and manufacturers to take Android and do what they want with it if they don’t like Google’s terms.

Maybe the real lesson is that Free Software is a double-edged sword, and if you want corporations to join in, you have to be willing to play their game too.

Dvorak

(Originally posted by myself on Hacker News)

I’ve been typing with the Dvorak layout for about three years now. I personally can’t fully touch type, and never have been able to, although these days I’m getting pretty close if I stop thinking about it and just start typing. My typing speed has slightly increased, but is more or less limited by the speed at which I can think about what I’m trying to type. The real benefits are in the related experience.

I’ve noticed a dramatic reduction in wrist strain at the end of the day, mainly due to the shorter movements for the majority of keystrokes, as well as the proper alternation between hands. Both are hallmarks of the Dvorak layout’s primary design requirements.

Regarding impact on programming efforts, My biggest complaint is that the brackets are on the number row instead of just above the home row, but when I’m writing Python code, I use them far less, so it’s not much of an issue; when I’m writing PHP, C, or Java code though, it can get a bit annoying, but it’s a good trade-off since the +/= and -/_ keys are now closer at hand.

For my editor, I’ve been using Vim for longer than I’ve been using Dvorak, but I’ve never used the hjkl keys for normal movements; I bought keyboards that specifically have the arrow keys right under the Enter key, so moving to use those is very simple, and allows me to use Vim without having to remap any of the normal movement keys.

In all, I highly recommend the switch, especially for anyone who plans to do a lot of typing in their daily routine. The benefits have far outweighed any of the drawbacks. And purchasing a purpose-built Dvorak keyboard will be one of the best investments you can make. I personally love and highly recommend the TypeMatrix keyboards, not only for their great layout, but because it has a physical toggle switch for moving between Qwerty and Dvorak layouts, which is priceless when you want to be able to play games that aren’t friendly to non-Qwerty layouts.

If you’d like an entertaining way to learn more about the Dvorak layout, DVZine has a very informative comic book about the history and benefits.

PHP Bugs Me, or Where Type Coercion Causes Bugs

I really like PHP as a technology, both for its extensibility and its deployment style. I think it is the quickest and most straightforward platform to create web applications with, and frameworks like CodeIgniter make it even better.

I’ve long been on the fence regarding PHP’s type coercion and comparison issues, but a recent bug in Mantis Bug Tracker has made me /facepalm for the first time in my long history of working with PHP:

When I click on “Edit” next to 1.2, mantis shows me the 1.20 properties. When I click 1.1 it shows me 1.10!

The offending snippet of code:

foreach( $g_cache_versions as $t_version ) {
   if ( ( $t_version['version'] == $p_version )
      && ( $t_version['project_id'] == $c_project_id ) ) {
      return $t_version['id'];
   }
}

At first glance, it seems perfectly normal… and then you read the commit log, emphasis mine:

This is due to an incorrect version name comparison in version_get_id whereby the following check between strings was occurring:

if( "1.1" == "1.10" ) { ... }

PHP evaluates this expression to true because 1.1 and 1.10 are treated as floats. We however need to preserve the string type during this comparison, thus we need to use the === comparison operator instead.

I thought I’d seen it all…

1000 Commits!

I’ve just reached the 1000 commit milestone as recorded by my Ohloh profile. By far, most of them are related to my work on the MantisBT project and associated plugins.

Now if only I could find a job local to Cincinnati… If you are interested in hiring me, or know someone who’s looking for an open source developer, take a look at my resume.

Detailed Integration of Subversion in MantisBT

Chris Dornfeld at Unitz has an excellent, detailed overview of the options available when importing Subversion repositories into MantisBT using my Source Integration framework. My previous article on the topic fails to go into particulars with SVN repositories, mainly because many of the options weren’t even dreamed of at the time, let alone implemented.

Anyways, the information and explanations presented in his article are pretty accurate. Until I can get the time to fully document the SVN and Git plugins, or the framework as a whole, consider Chris’s post to be canonical information.

Cheers

The Good King Lisp

From HN:

The Good King Lisp raised his glass and toasted with the Knights of Lambda, “To much recursion!”

Twenty Four

Happy birthday to me.

What’s twenty-four?

  • Six by four
  • Eight by three
  • Twelve by two
  • Six past legal
  • Three past drinking
  • One before cheap insurance
  • Space Shuttle Discovery
  • SLR cameras

Nifty.

MantisBT Source Integration - BarCamp Presentation Slides

Since I’m about to present the topic, I’m making the presentation slides available for all. There will indeed be video of the talk, which I will post as soon I can afterwards.

The slides are hosted directly on Google Docs: http://docs.google.com/Presentation?id=dffhxmhs_1273ct3kc8

BarCamp Rochester

Context: BarCamp Rochester — Anyone and everyone is invited to attend, and everyone is highly encouraged to present something of their own, no matter what it is. It’s happening this weekend at RIT, where I’m studying (and graduating in about a month!) for Software Engineering.

I’ll be attending it to give a presentation on MantisBT and the Source Integration framework. Specifically, I’ll be covering the myriad of new features that have made it into the project over the past week and a half. I plan to walk through setting up a project in Mantis, creating a new repository on GitHub, linking the Source Integration framework to that, and showing how the branch mapping and auto-resolving features work. Should be interesting.

After the presentation, I plan to post the slides, along with my presentation notes, up here. If anyone decides to video the talk, I’ll also make sure I can get a copy of that as well, but no promises.

Cheers!

Integrating Source Control Tools with Mantis Bug Tracker

Update: The information in this post is unfortunately out of date. While much of the code samples are similar, the new method of creating new plugins has changed in subtle, but very significant ways. Until a new guide can be written, please refer to the existing plugins for code examples.

Considering that my last post on Integrating Git and SVN has garnered a fair amount of attention, I thought that it would be useful to discuss my Source Integration framework in more detail. Specifically, I’ll be covering topics such as the design and implementation of the framework and, more importantly, how developers can go about implementing support for other version control tools.

The point of this is to show that it’s quite possible to integrate just about any type of version control tool with the Source Integration system; indeed I planned from the beginning to create a generalized framework that would support many different types and paradigms for version control. This should at least be evident in that I have already created extension plugins for Git and Subversion - it should be quite possible to extend the concepts further to Mercurial, Bazaar, CVS, or any other tool.

For the point of brevity, I’ll make the assumption that the developer at least has a fair understanding of PHP, their version control tool, and how events and plugins work in MantisBT. If you are not yet familiar with the plugin system, there is currently a basic introduction in the MantisBT Developer’s Guide, which I’ll hopefully be adding more information to in the near future.

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Classic Wit

This is how I like to answer these types of questions.

Thank you Explosm, you’ve just made my day! :)

Integrating Git and SVN with the Mantis Bug Tracker

With the ongoing work towards a 1.2 release, the Mantis Bug Tracker features a brand new plugin and event system, which will allow users to implement entirely new features for MantisBT without ever needing to touch any of the core codebase. It’s a very extensible system, and allows plugin authors to implement only what they need, while still allowing advanced plugins as much flexibility as possible. Plugins can be as small as a single file with 20 lines of code, or as large as entire hierarchies of files, pages, with their own API’s.

As the core developer of the new plugin system, I have been working on a variety of plugins. In particular, I have created a vastly improved method of integrating source control repositories within MantisBT. The plugin package is named, aptly enough, Source Integration, and implements a generic framework that will allow integration with multiple repositories, each potentially using any source control systems available, simply by creating an extension plugin for each new tool. Currently, I have implemented integration packages for both Git and Subversion, my two source control tools of choice.

The Source Integration package tracks repository information based on a series of changesets, each of which may have a list of affected files. The data representation is generic enough to cover version control concepts used by all types of tools, from the ubiquitous CVS and Subversion, to modern distributed tools like Git and Hg. However, the system takes the stance of implementing as few details as possible, so it relies on existing repository-viewing tools for tasks such as viewing commit diffs, file contents, tree browsing, etc. Extension plugins handle translating tool-specific information, like history logs or checkin data, into the generalized data objects used by the framework. Extensions also generate URL’s for viewing files and diffs, but everything else is handled automatically by the core framework.

The true benefit of the Source Integration package lies in the amount of repository integration that it implements within MantisBT. When importing changesets from your repository, Source looks at the commit message of each changeset for references to bug numbers in your tracker, and sets up links in the database for any bugs mentioned. When viewing bugs mentioned in commit messages, a new section is displayed after the bugnotes called “Related Changesets”, giving a list of linked changes, including information about the changeset, such as the branch, author, timestamp, and a list of changed files.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone, happy holidays, and a happy New Year. Cheers!