Archive for 2004

Holidy Party Eating Tips

Tuesday, December 7th, 2004
  • Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.
  • Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single-malt scotch, it’s rare. In face, it’s even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can’t find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas.
  • If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.
  • As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.
  • Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?
  • Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.
  • If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as smany as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.
  • Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?
  • Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.
  • One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Reread tips, start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

Crypto is Now Built by Default

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004

I have reversed the configure flag --enable-crypto to be --disable-crypto, so that crypto is on by default. See bug 272189 for the patch etc.

Since some countries (not in the US) may still have use or export restrictions on cryptology, builders in these countries should be aware of their local laws and be careful to abide by them.

In addition, this change means that Firefox builders no longer need to use browser/config/mozconfig, but can just specify the following options in their mozconfig or on the command line:

mk_add_options MOZ_CO_PROJECT=browser
ac_add_options --enable-application=browser

To build manually, follow this basic pattern:

cvs co mozilla/
cd mozilla
make -f checkout MOZ_CO_PROJECT=browser
cd my_objdir; # this is optional
/path/to/mozilla/configure --enable-application=browser

Please post somments and replies on the newsgroup netscape.public.mozilla.builds. Happy hacking!

Another Inbox Bites the Dust

Monday, November 29th, 2004

I read Ben Goodger’s note about losing an inbox with vague interest a few days ago. Then it happened to me, almost exactly the same way it happened to him:

I routinely get upwards of twenty thousand virus mails, junk mails, undeliverable-return-to-sender return envelopes for messages I did not send, and other crap mail per week. A large portion of these should be caught by my ISP virus filter, but oops! Covad doesn’t have an email virus filter. I have six manual filters that catch about 80% of the mail and delete it automatically, and about another 15% is caught by the Mozilla mailnews junk mail filter. That leaves about one thousand junk mails per week that I have to delete manually. What I didn’t notice is that the junk mail and auto-deletion filters don’t cause compaction of the inbox mbox file. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I left my mailnews client running in a VNC server, but I didn’t shut it down or tend it at all. During this time period the mbox file for my Inbox, Junk Mail, and Trash folders all went above 2G. Apparently this causes mailnews to go crazy and die. It tried automatically rebuilding the MSF file for my Inbox several times, and then keeled over and deleted the entire Inbox.

So, I have a couple questions for mailnews cognoscenti:

  1. Can manual filters really delete mail so that they’re not even in my Trash?
  2. Can the junk mail filter delete mail, instead of moving it to Junk Mail?
  3. Can mailnews automatically detect that a folder is really large and compact it before it hits 2G?
  4. Or at least stop retrieving new mail when it gets close to 2G?
  5. Are there other “workaround” automated ways to avoid dying when I’m away from my email for a few days?

Build Changes on Trunk

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

In order to make the mozilla build process less painful for beginners and support additional work to make the build more modular, I will be landing bug 261232 very soon after the tree opens. This bug will require all builders to specify two flags in their mozconfig file:

ac_add_options --enable-application=foo

Available options are as follows:

  • suite (Seamonkey)
  • browser (Firefox)
  • mail (Thunderbird)
  • composer (standalone composer/NVU)
  • calendar (Sunbird)
  • xulrunner
  • standalone (used for various build options like standalone xpcom and xpconnect)

a flag for to specify what sources to checkout

mk_add_options MOZ_CO_PROJECT=foo,foo2,foo3 (same options as above, except “standalone” is unnecessary).

This will require everyone to update their standard .mozconfig file, and require updating most/all of the tinderboxen.

In addition, the following variables will change:

MOZ_INTERNAL_LIBART_LGPL will be obsolete; use
mk_add_options MOZ_CO_MODULE=mozilla/other-licenses/libart_lgpl

MOZ_MAPINFO will be obsolete; use
mk_add_options MOZ_CO_MODULE=mozilla/tools/codesighs instead

I will coordinate with Chase and other members of the Foundation staff to make sure that the core tinderbox build machines are configured properly.

Please reply and discuss on the newsgroup netscape.public.mozilla.builds.

Incremental steps to libxul

Friday, November 5th, 2004

I have written a document about incremental steps moving toward libxul. Please read it if you are interested in Mozilla’s build systems or code architecture.

Smoketesters Needed for Localized Builds

Wednesday, October 27th, 2004

This is a call for volunteers to smoketest the localized releases of Firefox RC1:

We have produced the localized builds that we want to become the RC1 localized releases. They are available at

In order to certify that these builds are usable and ready for RC1 release, we would like each build to be smoketested. This basically means that a human has to download and run the build, and certify that the build basically works as intended.

Volunteers are asked to download any builds that they are able, test them, and report the results on the smoketest wiki page:

Since many localization teams do not have access to a mac, anyone with a mac and time to do testing would be greatly appreciated.

Please try to test the following items in particular:

The installer custom install options (if you are testing an installer build)
The help system (some builds have only English help, that’s OK as long as it works!)
The Options/Preferences dialog

We hope to “bless” these builds as RC1 tomorrow, unless serious errors are found. (Yes, we know that the linux builds don’t have working talkback. No, we don’t know why.)

Note To Extension Authors

Saturday, October 23rd, 2004

When preparing for the localized releases of Firefox RC1, we discovered a chrome registration error that might bite extension authors in the behind. Extension authors, please apply this fix to any contents.rdf files which register locales.

NVU Wishlist

Tuesday, October 19th, 2004

NVU is great, and I want it to get even better. So I’m presenting my “NVU wishlist”, organized in no particular order other than what I could remember being annoyed by. I am thinking in terms of what I want as a user, not how hard it would be to implement, so some of these requests are unlikely to make a NVU 1.0 release:

  • Smart quotes. I like proper open- and close-quotes, they make a page look professional. And when the quotes are serialized, I want them to use numeric entities instead of “ and ” because that is much more portable than the HTML entities.
  • Don’t use “body text”. I don’t ever want to use body text, I always want real paragraphs. Currently (as of .50) using paragraphs is fairly painful, because mysterious body text blocks appear where I don’t want them.
  • Have a structured outline mode. Instead of the left-hand ruler, which I don’t ever use, I would like a structured outline displaying my headings and paragraphs. It is not necessary that this allow the headings/paragraphs to collapse, although that might be kinda cool.
  • Auto-TOC and auto-index features. I would frequently like to be able to have an index page with links into sub-pages (and sometimes back again). Also, automatic or semi-automatic linking of index and glossary pages; using DHTML to display these glossary items in another popup window would be a cool addon. Note that this is something that might be handled really well by an NVU extension, whenever NVU moves to the toolkit extension-management architecture.
  • Upload/save relative-linked documents properly. My FTP server loads the website from ~/httpdocs/, and I make extensive use of site-relative links (link href=”/index-new.css”). These links are not loaded properly in edit mode, because the relative-URI parsing tries to load them from FTP ~/index-new.css which fails miserably. This is really a bug and not a feature request, and glazou and I have already discussed a technical solution, so it may be already happening in the NVU 0.6 series.
  • Local/Remote site manager. The left-hand toolbar is nice if you are editing pages directly, but I frequently need to keep a local copy of the website and update it in batches. A Dreamweaver-style local-and-remote site manager would be invaluable to me.

Anonymous access to the Localization CVSROOT

Friday, October 1st, 2004

Anonymous access is now available for the localization cvs repository, thanks to the hard work of Mike Shaver and Dave Miller. Thank you! You can now check out and build any Firefox localization with the following procedure:

  • cvs -d co -r AVIARY_1_0_20040515_BRANCH mozilla/
  • Create a file mozilla/.mozconfig with at least the following contents:
    . $topsrcdir/browser/config/mozconfig
    mk_add_options MOZ_CO_LOCALES=ab-CD you can also specify 'all'
    ac_add_options ----enable-ui-locale=ab-CD
  • cd mozilla;
    make -f

To look at the available locales and whether they are building correctly, see the temporary tinderbox.

Langpacks Available

Friday, October 1st, 2004

My local machine is running a tinderbox for localizations of Firefox 1.0. You can see the tinderbox page here.

Martin Creutziger has graciously agreed to host the langpacks which are produced by this build here. Note that these langpacks will install on a Firefox PR build, but you won’t be able to use them unless you start Firefox with the command-line argument -ui-locale ab-CD. If you install my locale-switching extension, recent aviary branch nightly builds should “just work”.

I currently do not have the machine set up properly to produce good binaries (it is a RH9 box hacked with updated RPMs from Fedora Core, and a gcc 3.5 trunk compiler with a couple of custom patches). The good folks at the Mozilla Foundation are working feverishly to set up a tinderbox which stages localized builds to the main FTP server.

For the record, getting anonymous access to the l10n CVS tree (and the website tree) is covered by bug 211375. There is a mysterious error message which needs to be debugged.