Michal Čihař - Blog Archives for Gammu

Think twice before making your private data public

Data, once put on the internet, are quite hard to delete. You can most likely delete (or ask for deleting) them from place where it has been originally distributed, but you can be never sure where else it has appeared.

Recently, I've seen several requests to remove some data from Gammu testsuite. This testsuite was created using public data available in our bug tracker, simply to be able to verify that we won't break stuff which was earlier fixed.

It turns out that some people did make public some very private stuff, which was included in the testsuite in the end. None of the developers had clue about content of these messages, being in language which nobody of us understands (and being too lazy to run them through Google translator to understand them).

Of course we've removed the data on request, but it's probably already copied in dozen other places on the internet...

Android support in Gammu

Android support in Gammu is one of frequently requested features. I don't have neither time to motivation to do that, so unless somebody else will step up, it won't be done.

Recently, I got offer from MyPhoneExplorer author to share it's applet for communicating with Android phones. It basically provides protocol similar to Sony-Ericsson phones Gammu already supports, just over TCP/IP. So all what would have to be done is glue layer for using TCP/IP and possibly some minor adjustments to Sony-Ericsson code. Both of these should be quite easy tasks and I'm willing to guide you through this process.

In case anybody would be interested in this challenge, just let me know :-).

l10n.cihar.com switched to Weblate

I've just switched https://l10n.cihar.com/ to Weblate as I think it's stable enough to replace Pootle installation there. This change immediately affects translation of all projects which were done there - phpMyAdmin, Gammu, Wammu, GePeS or Ukolovnik. In addition Weblate itself is also being translated there.

Your old usernames and passwords should be valid (in case you've activated the account and used it in last year), but you might want to adjust your profile as the settings were intentionally not imported (many users had corrupted name in Pootle and hope this will let them fix it).

Let's see how many bugs will this switch reveal, but I expect it will work quite smoothly.

Cleaning up websites, say goodbye to Twitter

Finally I've found some time to do small cleanup on my websites. First of all I've removed links to my Twitter and Identi.ca profiles as they are dead and I don't think I'm going to make them alive any time soon. I never really got into this business and only used it as one interface to feed posts to Facebook (via Identi.ca's app there). Together my mostly read only Facebook usage, there is nothing going on there.

While touching the website code, I also did some cleanup on Wammu website (where Twitter and Identi.ca still stays as announcement media for new versions). Most notable change is that I've reduced usage of external (and in times heavy) javascript and links to social media are now just static HTML, which also nicer fit into website layout. It did indeed remove several options, but I don't think these were worth of the load it introduced.

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.

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.

Looking forward to FOSDEM

I just got confirmed my flight bookings for FOSDEM 2012, so I'm looking to meet all great people there again. This year we've again arranged there meeting of phpMyAdmin developers, now it also includes three new faces from last years GSoC.

As for my schedule I did not yet find time to check all the schedule, but what definitely sounds interesting for me is Open Mobile Linux Devroom and some talks in MySQL and Friends Devroom. Rest will be (as usual) scheduled on the fly as I meet people there. This year I decided to deliberately skip keysigning as last year I anyway did not manage to attend it and I expect this year to be equally busy.

In case you want to meet me there, just let me know, we can try to arrange something in free slots :-).

PostgreSQL setup for SMSD testing

This is mostly note to myself, when I will set this up for next time.

Every time I set up test environment for Gammu SMSD, I'm lost in PostgreSQL configuration. Simple reason is that I do not use it at all for any other reason.

Adding user and creating a database:

# su - postgres
postgres@rincewind:~> psql template1
psql (9.1.1)
Type "help" for help.

template1=# CREATE USER smsd WITH PASSWORD 'smsd';
CREATE ROLE
template1=# CREATE DATABASE smsd OWNER = smsd;
CREATE DATABASE
template1=# GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON DATABASE smsd TO smsd;
GRANT
template1=# \q

Next stem is to allow anybody to connect as smsd user. There might be better ways to do that, however I've chosen the simplest one - to trust any local connection - as testing of Gammu SMSD is anyway the only thing this database server does. Edit /var/lib/pgsql/data/pg_hba.conf:

# "local" is for Unix domain socket connections only
local   all             all                                     trust
# IPv4 local connections:
host    all             all             127.0.0.1/32            trust
# IPv6 local connections:
host    all             all             ::1/128                 trust

Back on track with Gammu

During summer, I somehow managed to collect huge backlog on Gammu. This consisted on few hundredths of emails to reply, bug reports, not reviewed records in phone database and so on. Today I can finally say this is mostly over and I should be able to react more quickly. Though this does not change anything on previous statements about limiting my involvement there.

Processing emails went quite smoothly, luckily some of them resolved themselves or others have helped on mailing list. With bug reports it is more troublesome, because there are topic which I don't want to touch and thus looking for volunteers to work on that. Maintaining Gammu packages in Ubuntu PPA so that users would be able to install latest version easily is one of such tasks, which are waiting for somebody.

Anyway I feel much better without those unread emails and I hope not to collect so huge pile of them again :-).

Limiting involvement in Gammu

As people on Gammu mailing lists probably already noticed, I don't have enough time for Gammu in past months. Simply mi priorities have shifted and can not spend so much time there anymore.

I've decided to make clear cut what I'm going to do and what not.

First of all I'm not going to put any extra effort on support for platforms I don't use. Today's release of Wammu no longer includes Windows binaries (they were broken anyway). Gammu releases will include them as long as they do not need extra effort. The very same applies to Ubuntu packages. Sorry, but backporting packages which are using up to date tools from Debian sid is more effort than I can put into it. Of course volunteers are welcome for both areas.

For phones support, I will limit my attention to things I'm interested in or use daily (what means AT phones, Meego and possibly Symbian). Others (especially S40 Nokia phones) can not expect much support from me.

And of course I still plan to maintain the projects themselves, Debian packages and packages in openSUSE Build Service.