Archive for June, 2008

Firefox and the untrusted SSL “warning”, even more to it

There seem to be some heat about the new Firefox feature that only allows you to open https urls with untrusted certificate after 5 clicks.

The situation is actually worse than what is depicted. Why? Because not only did they put crap to their users, and actually, if they want to, that’s their problem, but they also imposed their crap on embedders.

Yes, this means applications such as epiphany, kazehakase, galeon, and others *must* use this crap. I know, there is a browser.xul.error_pages.enabled to disable the error page (note it also disables standard network connection error messages). But, the alternative is not any better: It opens a dialog, with raw HTML in it, allowing to… do nothing. That’s it, you can only acknowledge you’ve been denied access to the so-called untrusted site.

The best part is that these applications can’t (or maybe they can, but in several months nobody found how) make the exception dialog work properly: the user will have to enter, himself, the url to add the exception for. And before even reaching the state where you can get the dialog to open from the error page, or even get the buttons to be displayed in the error page itself, you have to add clutter to your application code.

For those still wondering what happened to the Gecko platform or whatever you call it (xulrunner, libxul, mozilla-embed, etc.), here is your answer: Gecko evolves with what Firefox needs. If your application needs something else, well, too bad for you. Firefox developers obviously have a big problem taking embedders into consideration when they change the Gecko API, and while it can be fixed afterwards, it’s not a good thing to “tag” a Gecko milestone at the same time as a Firefox release under such conditions.

Anyways, what I did in the xulrunner-1.9 package is to forward-port the old interfaces (nsIBadCertListener) allowing embedders to have their own UI for this. While it was certainly far from perfect (and displaying as many dialogs as different errors on a certificate is definitely not something nice), it is still better than something not working at all.

2008-06-27 08:15:54+0100

firefox, xulrunner | 1 Comment »

Pissing users off

It seems some people don’t like the new about:config warning in Firefox 3.0. The sad thing is this message was not intended to piss people off.

The localization note intended for translaters reads:

<!-- LOCALIZATION NOTE: aboutWarningTitle.label should be attention grabbing and playful -->

It’s not even necessarily talking about warranty in other locales:

<!ENTITY aboutWarningTitle.label "Attention, danger !"> (fr)
<!ENTITY aboutWarningTitle.label "¬°Zona hostil para manazas!"> (es-ES)
<!ENTITY aboutWarningTitle.label "Here be dragons!"> (en-GB)

Seems like the en-US version has a strange definition of playful.

2008-06-25 20:40:28+0100

firefox | 3 Comments »

Fixing a longstanding bug while passing by

While digging what was happening in bug #473557, I happened to get just in the right place of Iceweasel’s code to fix the longstanding issue of it proposing “less” and other terminal-only applications as helpers for some MIME types.

The upstream bug is 6 years old.

The fix is 3 lines.

One of these lines is “}”

It will be in next xulrunner upload to unstable.

2008-06-21 00:47:42+0100

firefox | 4 Comments »

Setting a world record

Josselin thinks it’s the most stupid world record, my take is that it is only a useless one.

World records are interesting when they are challenged, not when they are set. And the fact is Firefox will become the world most downloaded software in a day in the world because nobody else tried to set this record before. Most Guinness records are such records, by the way: they’re set, not challenged.

Speaking of stupid records, and how they are set (… or not), I quite like the following story, which happened live on french television. Some years ago, a guy wanted to set the record for spitting a greenpea as far as he could (*that* is a stupid record). The Guinness records guy was there, obviously, so that the record could be homologated. I don’t remember the numbers, but it’s not very important after all. Anyways, the guy sets his record, he is happy, and for fun, the TV show host tries. First try, first win, he broke the record that had been set a few seconds before ; without even trying to beat it.

Coming back to the Firefox record, it’s useless to set a record you already know is not an absolute record. Microsoft service packs and affiliated are downloaded massively the day they are released, Microsoft just never considered submitting it to the Guinness book. And if they’d have tried, they would have set it at least an order of magnitude higher than Firefox will set it. Then Firefox would have needed to come up with a catch phrase like “the most downloaded free (as in free speech, because a MS service pack is free as in free beer) software” to get its moment of fame.

So, how long before Microsoft tries to break it, with, say, IE8 ? And what will be the new marketing trick for Firefox 4.0 (after a full page in NYT for 1.0, “get your name in Firefox” for 2.0 and a Guinness record for 3.0) ?

2008-06-18 10:33:58+0100

firefox | 10 Comments »

Don’t bother downloading Firefox today

The fact is, the 3.0 release is just exactly the same code base as version 3.0rc3, which only has a MacOSX-only fix more than 3.0rc2, which is what we have in unstable, already.

2008-06-17 22:55:17+0100

firefox | 5 Comments »

You know SMTP is a dead end when…

… you receive more than a thousand “Mail Delivery Error” messages in a few hours. Needless to say I sent none of the original emails which I’m getting these error messages for…

2008-06-17 22:49:49+0100

p.d.o | 1 Comment »

Turning 30

… is not much different than turning 29. Maybe turning 0x20 will make a difference…

2008-06-16 09:18:35+0100

me, p.d.o | 1 Comment »

ADSL woes

For 10 days now, I’ve had ADSL problems. Basically, there is something fishy somewhere between my end and the DSLAM. That can be anything, and for the moment, all I can do is wait for either my ADSL provider or France Telecom, whichever is responsible for the problem, to fix this. Anyways, my network connectivity is sometimes working (though quite slowly, especially on uploads), but more often not, with sometimes connectivity for a few seconds (enough to download small files or pop mail).

The server being behind this ADSL line, it means that you’re probably not able to see this post. Or maybe a feed-reader/planet/whatever got it while the line was somehow working. Note I’ve been able to setup another MX server, so that mail sent to my domain go somewhere I can fetch them. Don’t worry about sending me messages, they will reach me. Just that it may take time for me to be able to see and/or answer them.

Anyways, the main downside is that it makes it harder to handle the upcoming xulrunner transition.

On the other hand, the upside is that I finally could take some time to work on ext3rminator again, basically rewriting the code from scratch for reasons I’ll explain when it will be ready for a release. It’s good to see that some new APIs in libext2fs, added since 2002~2003, when I first wrote ext3rminator, make some of the work easier. It’s still sad there is nothing to handle reading the journal. Not that it’s difficult (though not documented much), but that would downsize my code some more ;).

Update: It seems to be back to normal.

2008-06-08 16:39:56+0100

ext3rminator, p.d.o, website, xulrunner | Comments Off