Michal Čihař - Blog Archives for English

Back from FOSDEM

Yet another FOSDEM is behind us and I'd like to thank all people organizing it. It was a great event as usual.

This year there were some changes - the conference grew and there was an extra building. This is great, but on the other side, there were more tracks to follow and occasionally I wanted to be in four places at once, what is of course not manageable.

Combined with quite freezing weather (well it was still much warmer than it is now in Prague), moving from one side of campus to another was not that comfortable as in last years, but there is not much man can do with that.

And the biggest change for me - I did not manage beer event this year. We enjoyed great team dinner on Friday evening and while it ended, I was too lazy to move to crowded beer event and rather enjoyed bed in my hotel.

phpMyAdmin goes github

Yesterday we did held phpMyAdmin team meeting and we discussed several things for project future. One of discussed things was to move our repositories to github for easier collaboration and management of private repositories.

After some discussions we've decided to go for it. As I write this blog, all repositories are being pushed there and once all developers will get their access rights there, we will move completely.

But even right now, you can fork us on github, the code is already there and will be updated obsessionally until we fully move there.

Enjoying FOSDEM

Again, as usual in last few years, I'm spending first weekend in February in Brussels, where FOSDEM is happening.

This year we've again decided to do make this team meeting for phpMyAdmin, so people from five countries and three continents came to one conference to discuss future development and other stuff.

But of course this is not only thing I'm going to do here. I came with openSUSE folks, where we've brought lot of beer, some DVDs and hardware to show. You're welcome to check it out.

And of course there is about 430 talks to visit during weekend :-).

How not to ask questions

First of all, take this blog post as a rant from developer. I don't expect that this will change anything in how people ask me questions.

Anyway before you write me email with some questions, please check following easy bits:

  1. Have you tried to write your question into Google?
  2. Most projects have documentation, have you looked at it?
  3. There are mailing lists or discussion forums, do you really need to write directly to me?
  4. Writing subject like "!important" or ALL IN CAPS will work other way than you probably expect.
  5. Yes I have more email addresses, that does not mean you should write to all of them.

If you do follow these basic rules, you might get more help than usual. If you are interested in knowing more, there is famous How To Ask Questions The Smart Way which will tell you more information than I did in this rant.

phpMyAdmin translations status

As phpMyAdmin is approaching to 3.5 release, it has come time to share about translations status. Here comes second round of translation status update.

Since last update we have two more translations at 100%:

  • English (Great Britain)
  • French
  • Russian
  • Slovenian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish

There are few which are really close to 100% and I hope they will get there soon:

  • Danish
  • Japanese

Just on next level is Czech, where I'm progressing quite slowly and would welcome help :-).

There was also great improvement in Romanian in past week so I hope we will see it soon on top of the list as well.

Was your language not mentioned? It's now perfect time to contribute to it.

Future of Gammu

All of Gammu and Wammu related projects are slowly dying under my hands in past months (maybe I could even say years). The reason for this is lack of motivation and time to work on that properly.

Last year I've managed to collect some bugfixes and to fix some bugs myself what lead to releasing Gammu 1.31.0, which seems to be quite good release. But since then, I've again hardly done any work there and my biggest motivation for working on Gammu is that without my involvement the project would be probably completely dead. This is definitely not the best motivation and the outcome can be clearly seen.

The project definitely has it's problems (I could name them, but let's avoid making this blog post too long), but there are quite a lot of users using it. Currently most interesting feature seems to be SMS daemon, which is probably superior to what others provide, because this is where Gammu gets most of it's new users.

Unfortunately not much of them are active in development, the biggest contribution I can expect there is to fix issues they face. On the other side bug tracker and mailing list are full of reported bugs. Not speaking of feature requests to support new phone models. Some of them should be easy to support like new S40 based Nokia's, but things like Android, iPhone or Windows Mobile would require much more work.

Of course the big question is whether somebody needs anything else than SMSD. In modern phones, you anyway have most of the data on "cloud" as well, being it Google, Apple or Microsoft and possibility of doing backups to the computer are not that important as in past.

I'm definitely not using Gammu to backup my phone (anyway MeeGo is not supported) and I don't think I will in near future. Simply there are better and easier ways to get my data out of phone than implementing support for Gammu.

Anyway if anybody is willing to help Gammu now or in future, I'm definitely willing to help him.

Dictionaries for N9/N950

I was just about to start writing own viewer for StarDict dictionaries for Harmattan, when I noticed that somebody already took the effort and the application is available. It's called DictionaryStar and it's developed on gitorious.

With the hard part done, I've adjusted packaging of various dictionaries I've made available for StarDict so that it works fine on Harmattan. For now only English-Czech one is completed, you hopefully be able to get it soon at Nokia store.

The reason I've started with only one is that this pretty much does not fit into content guidelines for Nokia store and I expect problems when this will be passing their QA. So I've decided to push only one for now and once I get it through, adding others will be easy.

It's too early for GSoC 2012

It looks like with start of the new year, people started to ask for phpMyAdmin's projects for GSoC 2012. Given that we have no information whether there will be Google Summer of Code this year and whether we will be chosen to participate, these questions look quite premature.

On the other side you can start contributing any time and if you are already known in the community, you might have better chance being accepted. So forget speaking about hypothetical GSoC projects for now and start fixing some bugs, which is something much more needed right now (given that 3.5 is in alpha state).

If you are looking for more information, we have basic facts for developers on our website, there is also a wiki page mentioning some tasks for junior developers.

More on Flattr

My last post about Flattr has received much more attention than I would expect from short rant, but the feedback forced me to think a bit more about the issue.

I guess that most of Flattr early adopters jumped in for getting some money for things they produce (regardless it is music, text, software or anything else). The initial setup required users to also give money to others and this limitation was later removed and now you can only receive money without giving anything out. In the beginning every now and they I've discovered some interesting thing to flattr, so I usually had to postpone it to next month to give at least some reasonable value. This way initial money people have put there circulated between users and on each transaction they were reduced by 10% fee, what could lead to natural reduction of money available in the system.

Flattr is of course trying to introduce new features to attract new users. Flattr-a-Twitter is probably nice thing, however I somehow did not really get on Twitter train and I think I never will. The new catalog looks nice, still I don't think I will spend time browsing it and looking for content there. So basically this adds nothing useful for me.

Another recent feature - thanking to people who have flattered your thing in last month is IMHO bad idea. I've always seen Flattr as simple way to give little money to lot of various things. In case everybody would send thank you email, it would become every month spam, which I would simply ignore.

phpMyAdmin translations status

As phpMyAdmin is approaching to 3.5 release, it has come time to share about translations status. Same as with past releases, you can expect this "spam" every week or so.

The 3.5 release comes with lot of new strings, so it's some work to get to 100%. However some translators have already managed this and we currently have five translations on 100%:

  • English (Great Britain)
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Turkish

There are few which are really close to 100% and I hope they will get there soon:

  • Danish
  • French
  • Japanese
  • Slovenian

Just on next level is Czech, where I'm progressing quite slowly and would welcome help :-).

Was your language not mentioned? It's now perfect time to contribute to it.