Michal Čihař - Blog Archives for Debian

Fifteen years with phpMyAdmin and free software

Today it's fifteen years from my first contribution to free software. I've changed several jobs since that time, all of them involved quite a lot of free software and now I'm fully working on free software.

The first contribution happened to be on phpMyAdmin and did consist of Czech translation:

Subject: Updated Czech translation of phpMyAdmin
From: Michal Cihar <cihar@email.cz>
To: swix@users.sourceforge.net
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 11:23:36 +0200
X-Mailer: KMail [version 1.2]

Hi

I've updated (translated few added messages) Czech translation of phpMyAdmin. 
I send it to you in two encodings, because I thing that in distribution 
should be included version in ISO-8859-2 which is more standard than Windows 
1250.

Regards
    Michal Cihar

Many other contributions came afterwards, several projects died on the way, but it has been a great ride so far. To see some of these you can look at my software page which contains both current and past projects and also includes later opensourced tools I've created earlier (mostly for Windows).

These days you can find me being active on phpMyAdmin, Gammu, python-gammu and Wammu, Debian and Weblate.

Changed Debian repository signing key

After getting complains from apt and users, I've finally decided to upgrade signing key on my Debian repository to something more decent that DSA. If you are using that repository, you will now have to fetch new key to make it work again.

The old DSA key was there really because my laziness as I didn't want users to reimport the key, but I think it's really good that apt started to complain about it (it doesn't complain about DSA itself, but rather on using SHA1 signatures, which is most you can get out of DSA key).

Anyway the new key ID is DCE7B04E7C6E3CD9 and fingerprint is 4732 8C5E CD1A 3840 0419 1F24 DCE7 B04E 7C6E 3CD9. It's signed by my GPG key, so you can verify it this way. Of course instruction on my Debian repository page have been updated as well.

Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2016-W09

The last week was mostly spent on bugfixing and cleanup after security releases. Hopefully the amount of security reports will go down now.

Most of the bug fixes were in the SQL parser which influences quite a lot of parts of phpMyAdmin. It is responsible for splitting queries on import, generating queries for export or linting the queries as users type them.

Additionally Debian packages were also updated, for both unstable and testing and for Ubuntu PPA.

Handled issues:

Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2016-W04

As I've already mentioned in separate blog post we mostly had some security issues fun in past weeks, but besides that some other work has been done as well.

I've still focused on code cleanups and identified several pieces of code which are no longer needed (given our required PHP version). Another issue related to security updates was to set testing of 4.0 branch using PHP 5.2 as this is what we've messed up in the security release (what is quite bad as this is only branch supporting PHP 5.2).

In addition to this, I've updated phpMyAdmin packages in both Debian and Ubuntu PPA.

All handled issues:

Canon MF8540Cdn on Debian Linux

I've recently bought this beast and of course want to run it on Linux. Vendor does provide Linux drivers which even come with source, so that looked quite okay in the beginning.

However it turned out not to be that easy. First attempt was to install the 64-bit drivers and all I got from the printer is almost blank page with:

**** Unable to open the initial device, quitting.

Okay, that's not much helpful. Meanwhile I did install i386 system where it worked just fine. I started to smell some problems and looked at the source. It turned out to be almost complete, there was just single i386 binary, which is obviously needed by the driver.

Once realizing this, it was quite easy to make it work on 64 bit system as well:

dpkg --add-architecture i386
apt install libxml2:i386 libstdc++6:i386

Not that I'd be happy to run binary blob on my system, but at least printing now works.

Scanning from the device is easy - all you need to configure access to email and Samba and it works pretty without problems.

Security work

As you can now see on phpMyAdmin's security page, we've managed to spend 9 security announcements on todays release. Hopefully it won't continue that bad in rest of the year.

Anyway receiving such extensive report was really challenging for us - correctly tracking and fixing all reported issues, discovering which versions are affected. This proven to be quite difficult given that most of the affected code has been refactored meanwhile. But I'm quite happy we've managed to fix ll issues on three supported branches in two weeks.

Another challenge (especially for Isaac) was that this all came with change of our release manager, so forgive us some minor problems with the releases (especially not updated changelogs), we will do it better next time!

PS: Updated packages are on their way to Debian and phpMyAdmin PPA.

PS2: It seems we've messed few more things, so expect quick followup releases for older versions.

Supporting Software Freedom Conservancy

Last week the Software Freedom Conservancy has launched fundraiser to be able to continue operation under new circumstances, where some sponsors left them after GPL enforcement activities.

I think Conservancy does quite a lot for free software ecosystem and GPL enforcement is something what has to be done, if we want to protect free software world. That's reason, why I've decided to become their supporter:

Become a Conservancy Supporter!

Packaging python-gammu

After Monday release of separate Gammu and python-gammu, the obvious task was to get the new package to distributions.

First I've started with Debian packages, what was quite easy as from quite complex CMake + Python package it is now purely CMake and it was mostly about removing stuff. Soon the updated Gammu package was uploaded to experimental. Once having that ready, I've also update the backports for Ubuntu and these are available in Gammu PPA. Creating new python-gammu package was a bit harder as this is the first Python 3 compatible package I've created, but it's now ready and sitting in the NEW queue.

While working on python-gammu package, I've realized that some of the data used in testsuite are missing in the tarball. While not being critical, this is definitely not nice, so I've decided to release python-gammu 2.1 today. It also includes fixes for some corner cases found by coverity.

For openSUSE the packaging was quite easy as well, stripping out unneeded parts of Gammu package went smoothly and it's now in hardware project, SR to Factory is pending. With python-gammu it turned out to be much harder as the testsuite had failed there with some strange error coming out of libdbi. After looking deeper into it, the problem is in new return type available in Git snapshot openSUSE is shipping. Fortunately producing fix was quite easy, so next Gammu upstream will handle that properly and package in hardware project is already patched. You can now use python-python-gammu from devel:languages:python and SR to Factory is pending as well.

Changes in phpMyAdmin support

As usual with our phpMyAdmin team meetings, quite a lot things get decided there and it was no difference this year, when we've met at DebConf 13.

We've discussed quite a lot of topics and some had quite interesting outcome.

One of already changes is that we're going to consolidate our support efforts on Stack Overflow. We've provided various support channels so far (IRC, mailing list, web forums and support tracker), which have overlapped quite a lot and we simply lack manpower to do all of that properly.

So users on IRC mostly get bored and left before somebody got to them. The mailing list received just few mails in a month, so they were almost not used. The web forums worked quite well for answering questions, but nobody was able to find answers there (the forums on SourceForge are quite hard to get properly indexed by Google), so the questions got repeated quite a lot. In the end we've decide to use Stack Overflow as it was anyway already used by lot of our users and concentrating our effort on single channel will even improve this.

DebConf day trip

Yesterday, we've spent nice day on a day trip of DebConf. I took the long hike, which ended up at Creux du Van, what is wonderful rocky place.

The way up was through nice nature and we've met quite a lot of cows on the way:

They we've finally arrived to Creux du Van:

Of course we could not miss an opportunity to take a group photo:

After wandering around the rocks, we took a lunch and headed to Neuchâtel, where some music festival was going on:

The whole day was nicely finished on a boat with a dinner.

PS: More DebConf photos are available in my gallery.