Michal Čihař - Blog Archives for English

Preparing for Google Summer of Code 2010

It might be quite premature, but in phpMyadmin we've started our preparations for this year Google Summer of Code. This is basically just one of followups to the team meeting at FOSDEM, where we decide to apply again this year, but to try as hard as we can to be standalone project and not hidden inside of MySQL. We're grateful for participation in their project, however we feel it would be easier to manage if we're standalone project.

So if you are a student who might be interested in participating, you can already browse our ideas list (this time PHP coding skills are not strictly necessary as I've given there a documentation improvements also) or come with your ideas and follow our student checklist, to see what you can do to get accepted (in case we're accepted to GSoC).

Big changes in phpMyAdmin future

The main reason for me to go to FOSDEM this year was to meet with other phpMyAdmin developers to be able to discuss some things personally rather than on mailing list or irc.

We had quite a big list of topics to discuss and besides discussed some other things which will be made public at some point later.

The good thing is that both my proposals were accepted, so we're about to migrate to Git, what will make our development less blocked by slow SourceForge.net VCS server (what mostly affected people sitting in Europe). The migration will happen shortly, I expect to provide testing repository during next few weeks and we will switch for real once all developers get used to it.

The other important change is to switch our translation system to Gettext. The primary motivation behind this is to allow translators to use wide range of standard tools available for po files and also to allow web based translation using Pootle server in similar way we currently handle documentation translation. I have already prepared the migration plan to Gettext, but it will not happen before migration to Git as I want to benefit integration of Pootle with Git, what makes translations directly commit to the local repository.

Travel agenda before FOSDEM

In last few days I spent some time with travel agenda. Tomorrow morning I am leaving for FOSDEM, so I'm arranging last minutes things like online checking. Whoever wants to meet me just drop me an email or just check things I want to visit and find me there.

Meanwhile got open registration for Debconf 10, so when I was in travelling mood, I also filled in that one. Right now it looks like it will be quite tough for me to pay this trip, but there is still some time to sort it out :-).

Gammu is being used in vendor software

I always thought Gammu to be workaround for phones whose vendors do not provide software for your favorite operating system. We try to do our best job to work with variety of phones, even though this is hard and never finished job.

However today I was really surprised to find out that some phone vendor built their official application for managing phone on Gammu. The application is of course closed source and available only for Windows, but this does not change anything on the fact they use it. They seem to have modified code slightly, adding some new functions and removing others, separated the code to several DLLs, however I'm 100% sure it is Gammu as they use some unique (read awful) things we have in our code.

I'm not going to disclose their name right now as I want to give them fair amount of time for reaction on my asking for sources. But you will for sure find more information later in my blog.

PS: Gammu is of course not the only free software used inside this application, you can find more there (and you will find there more than I did if you will look longer than few minutes I spent on examining rest of code).

phpMyAdmin 3.4 will be feature killer

I know this is quite premature as we're just about to release 3.3, however development on 3.4 has already started in SVN and we've already implemented more than 20 requests from our features tracker. This is even bigger number than release 3.3 will have!

Well the fact is that most of these things are cosmetic or tiny improvements, on the other side some of them were requested for very long time (the oldest one currently dates to 2003).

The new features bring things such as direct blob download (thing we definitely should have earlier), links to documentation for SQL commands in highlighted SQL (what was quite easy, but nobody requested such thing and I added the feature after seeing that Adminer does this), possibility to directly bookmark most pages or exporting user privileges. See ChangeLog for more detailed list of features.

You can try all new features on our demo server.

New security issues

I just published three new security issues on phpMyAdmin. They are not exactly something what you would call new as you can see from CVE ids and even from phpMyAdmin version which does fix them (none of them existed in 3.x branch and were fixed in 2.9.10 for 2.9 branch).

However they got assigned CVE ids recently what means that we should tell about them to our users even when we don't think these are that important. So don't be frightened of them :-).

Prague airport prices

Martin, Prague airport used to be (one of) most expensive airport for food and drinks prices. They recently reduced prices quite a lot, but I still think they fully qualify to be in the group of most expensive airports.

But it has great advantage that every other airport looks cheap for us. This is almost same as prices for taxi, which is also usually cheaper than in Prague :-).

Going to FOSDEM 2010

Some time ago we decided in phpMyAdmin team to create yet another team meeting (after five years) at FOSDEM 2010. It took some time, but now I should have all travel things arranged (thanks to my employer who sends me there).

So if anybody wants to meet there, just drop me an email and I will try to put you on my schedule.

Fun with processing patches from users

Once you release something what gets at least a little bit popular, you can expect to receive fixes in various strange forms. Since I started to use Git for Gammu development merging all these crazy things is much more easier.

The problem with these changes in past was that they are generally based on some random old versions (for example random daily snapshot). Now I just find the right place in history where to start (ChangeLog usually gives good hint where to search in the history), create branch and start to apply changes I received.

I worst case (like it happened today) the "changes" is whole tarball with different changes made to different files. Fortunately I recently found great git add -i, which allows me to pick whatever changes I want from the patch. When all this is done, all I need is to merge changes back to master and Git is usually clever enough to handle it.

PS: And yes, I'd really love if people would be able to send me series of patches, but it does not seem to happen in near future.