Back in 1991, my dad replaced the aging Apple ][ with a brand and shiny new Macintosh LC. I had started hacking disks and memory using the nice call -151 on the Apple IIe - I was a geek and hooked.
Before the LC, the way I would acquire new software would be through friends and Dad , he’d bring new cracked games (CCB and others thank you). One day dad came back with a Mac version of Dark castle and I asked where it came from and his answer was ‘the network’. I was curious and wanted to know more. The year after I would spend a few hours a week using my dad’s computer to explore that thing called the network. I would go in a room with a terminal (can’t tell the type) that was connected to the university unix machines. I used emails to contact software authors. Discovered ftp and the umich archives. Created an account on the freenet to have my own email.
At that time I had an atari Falcon so I did atari related stuff. Started using Mosaic 1.0 and 2.0 on the mac or on windows 3.11 - still at my dad’s work. The main machine I was browsing the web with was running a 68030 running at 20 Mhz with a whopping 17 MB of Ram. In those days I was using, irc - email - newsgroups and a bit of web.
Then I went for some military duty.
After that I started studying again and became a fan of BeOS. Got myself a bebox and we had a crappy NetPositiv browser. I was using Macs, Unix and windows with Netscape installed on these. and most of the time N+ wasn’t doing the job. I started using mozilla at M8, trying to report bugs - thinking that fixing mozilla on Linux and windows (eg My work machines) would make a great browser on BeOS later.
I also started building web pages. In 2002 I started hacking on Opendarwin a little bit and discovered Chimera that became Camino. In 2003 version 0.7 had stalled for a long time and when Safari got released - and I liked Camino so much that I started annoying Mike Pinkerton on #developers to make things move. Started doing patch testing, patch writing (eg when an API change would break the tree) and getting involved. Later I switched to doing L10n cause I couldn’t build on my current systems. That led me to attend fosdem 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. I was there when Mozilla Turned 10.
In 2008 the project I was working for started to go wrong and I applied to mozilla messaging to work on Thunderbird. I got the job. Since then I’ve been trying to make the Internet (which is way more than the web) the open place I’ve always known it to be.
It’s been a fun ride. I like the fact that the web is browsable these days from any device any os, and I’m sure that this is due to mozilla. I’d resume mozilla with one picture :
If you haven’t tried that new feature in bugzilla do. The url looks like https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/page.cgi?id=mydashboard.html and you need to be logged in.
Thanks to the dashboard I’ve cleaned up a bunch of old cruffy bugs last week. Send a few emails around to clean more.
If you use bugzilla and the feature is available try it - you won’t be able to do without-it. It has small issues (like creating the list of all the bugs I’m cced on - but that list is probably HUGE).
to whom ever came up with that feature : THANK YOU
Right now I’m pretty sure a Teacher in a Tech school is teaching it’s student something on filling bugs and on using bugzilla, mozilla’s bug reporting system. At some point in the lesson they are handed a paper with a workshop instructions.
How do I know that ? Well I follow a number of things in bugzilla and we get :
Now that I’ve explained what’s going on (and this goes one like maybe once a day on the course of the last few weeks).
I love that people are teaching how to use bugzilla and giving them real hand try and experience on the product but it’s bad.
Why is that bad ?
On a system like bugzilla.mozilla.org that is almost at 800000 bugs, you have a lot of users, a lot of things are happening. When you create a useless bug (e.g. an school exercise) you are wasting a lot of time of many people. When a bug is created emails are sent to a huge group of people and a good portion of them will spend a few minutes reading it - and will loose all this time instead of working on issues that affect the mozilla codebase.
When the same thing happens on landfill, it won’t affect as many people. So consider using it instead.
There’s a bugzilla test installation, it’s called landfill, and it’s here: landfill.bugzilla.org.
This year I was fortunate enough to attend another mozcamp. This one was very special to my heart as before the mozcamp, we had a Thunderbird submit which included the current paid staff and a good number of contributors (and yes I didn’t take a group picture, so kick my b…). The submit had plenty of good discussions about how Thunderbird will go on past 17.0.
I had a mozbuddy from Finland it was nice to meet you ville.
The venue was nice even, if I think it was a bit far away from the hotel (eg I would I loved to be able to walk to it). Of course we had WiFi and I was able to use it while everyone was attending the keynote, but after that it got a bit flaky to say the least. We managed to release Thunderbird 16.0b2 nonetheless over that flaky network.I liked the plenary talks about the direction of the projects and it’s move to the mobile space. The open question forum was also very interesting. The community stand up , where some communities presented themselves and their project was probably a tad too long. I love the talk on performance done by Benoit , Taras , and
the unfortunate third guy who names escapes my mind right now Vlad Djeric. Very interesting on all level, because with it next time I feel Firefox is slow, I’ll be able to gather data and send it to the perf team for analysis.
I took a bunch of pictures of course, they are available on flickr as usual. If a picture is unnamed , please leave a comment so I can name it with the contributors’ name or nick.
The best part of the week-end was the QA session from JB and Mitchell on Thunderbird. I can’t find a link to the video right now, but here is a transcript from the questions and their answers , we didn’t write down the names of the people asking question because we didn’t know their name, however we wrote down who gave the answer. Please be aware that these are the notes from a live transcript - It’s not complete and might contain errors.
Q Gecko is going to Break Thunderbird, who will fix it ?
A Irving and Mark, and contributors are welcome to help
Q What if there are large changes ? Would you fork gecko ?
A We’ll sort it out if it comes up later.
Q What are the plans for mobile Thunderbird ? Why can’t mozilla drive Thunderbird anymore ?
A Micthell (A-M) Similar to the blog post. The impactful things of Firefox are the scale and the platform. Thunderbird has neither. We believe that no amount of investment will make it have an impact.
A JB (A-JB) Thunderbird is not designed for mobile. See the XUL Firefox on Android. FirefoxOS has an email client , but not plans to have it on the desktop.
Q From the manifesto, what are the differences between the web and the internet. Emailclients is a way for many users to have control over email.
A-M Mozilla has two parts. We are about the web and changing the state of the web. Fewer and fewer people use email (and thus OSS desktops apps to read email). But we’ll continue to maintain Thunderbird.
Q How do you see the future of email when identity on the internet is based on email ?
A-M I didn’t mean that email was going away, but that desktop email client was. And many new forms of communication are not emails (sms,IM etc …)
Q I don’t think we’ve thought about the next email.
Q How do you explain TB’s growth if email is declining ?
A That’s Thunderbird growth not email’s growth
Q But who are the new users ?
Q Thunderbird is the only really nice client for linux and institutions. How will I be able to download all my mail to my computer without Thunderbird ?
Q We can innovate in Thunderbird without changing it.
Q You said you need Thunderbird. Mozilla has promised to keep it alive !
Q Being a TB developer is lonely. This move is inevitable with your world view, you did the right thing. With our view , we want something different. I hope you are open to the new proposals. What pressure has Thunderbird put on localizers?
A-M I also live in Thunderbird and understand your point of view. DavidA and I wrote out the traits of email clients to try to make it successful. At mozcamp last year, localizers were struggling to localize TB, but felt they had to.
Q I like the innovations in TB. Can Thunderbird get more visibility on the mozilla websites ?
A-JB It’s always been a problem, but we gain users even without it.
Q Would it be a problem for the community to use mozillamessaging.com for itself ?
A-JB We can talk about that. Community engagement is also a contributors function.
Q is The decision political or economic ?
A-M Any time you have people together you can claim it’s political. The decision is based on the best chance of having the impact we want. It’s not a financial decision, it’s a decision of focus and time. We could have continued but it wouldn’t have changed the network.
Q I’m a TB user since Netscape 4 in 1997. But the decision make sense. Today is about mobile and TB isn’t going mobile. Sometimes change is hard.
Yesterday and the day before my machine was on it’s knees. I wouldn’t respond to anything , be it keyboard or mouse and when it did, it really was very slow. I tried looking at the culprit sucking CPU but couldn’t find it. The culprit looked like it would be either Firefox of Thunderbird. I then noticed that mdworkera process was stuck (thanks to trusty top).
I issued the following command sudo fs_usage -w -f filesys mdworker | egrep “open” and found that Library/Cache/Firefox had plenty of file that where being worked on simultaneously by those spotlight process and Firefox itself.
I then went to System preference , spotlight and added the Library/Cache/Firefox directory to the list of things I didn’t want to be indexed for privacy reasons. My machine’s perf is now back to normal.
I’m reading the reactions on what mozilla just announced about the future of Thunderbird, on twitter. Most people are reading what we are saying as Thunderbird just died and was axed. I’ve replied to a few but I thought that a longer reply would explain more by a lengthy post than a bunch of 140 char tweets.
Like Mike, I work on the Thunderbird Team, I do Quality Control. And like mike I don’t read the announcement the end of Thunderbird. The plan is to release 14, 15, 16 before we release 17 and with 17 we plan on starting our new way of supporting Thunderbird. After 17 is release the plan is to allocate less work time on Thunderbird - ie I spend 100% of my work time on the product - on a weekly basis, and a bit more around release time. I’m not the only one who is going to end up like that. Effectively it means that we won’t have the time to work on specking, developing and testing new features.
New features will have to be discussed, developed and tested by our community with our help for organizing things. How exactly things will work ? I don’t know, and we are starting a discussion on the tb-planning mailing list to figure things out. Now is the time to jump in that conversation and help us shape how Thunderbird will go on.
We’ll also need a lot more help in the following areas : Quality, support, development and docs. If you ever thought about contributing but never found good reasons, now is the time to rethink about it :-)
Joshua who’s been contributing for a few years is also giving his thoughts.
Jb my current boss is giving his thoughts too.
From Patrick the maintainer of enigmail :
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE----- Hash: SHA256 Hi everyone I was recently contacted by several maintainers of Linux distributions asking me how I would support Thunderbird ESR releases. The current official Enigmail version working with Thunderbird 10 ESR is 1.4.0. My intention is to release new versions of Enigmail only for the most recent stable versions of Thunderbird. If new severe and/or security related bugs are fixed, I will backport them to the latest official version for the ESR releases (i.e. currently the 1.4.0 branch). If this will happen, I will send an email to the Enigmail mailing list; in addition will contact the recipients of this email. If you know of other people I should inform, or if you do not wish to receive such emails, then please let me know. - -Patrick -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: GnuPG/MacGPG2 v2.0.17 (Darwin) Comment: Using GnuPG with Mozilla - http://enigmail.mozdev.org/
As some of you may know I’m the QA lead for mozilla’s email client Thunderbird. I’m responsible for the quality of the product that is used by millions of users. There is no way for me during a release cycle to test all the servers that do POP3, IMAP, SMTP, LDAP, NNTP, that are running on the Internet. A good portion of our quality process relies on crowd testing.
This means we rely on having enough users using betas and alphas and filing bug so that we can fix them before we release to a broader public. I’ve been running various alphas and betas and nighlies for the last 3 years on a daily basis and never experienced any data loss (either on pop or imap (and yes it’s easier to save data using imap)). On beta with have 0.28% of our user. This is low and we really need to get more users using beta so we can find issue before we release instead of after. Running beta is easy just download it and run it. And when you find something that doesn’t look right, file a bug.