Cardinal is currently certified at Journeyer level.

Name: Matt McClanahan
Member since: 2000-11-16 21:39:03
Last Login: N/A

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Notes:

Notes.. Hmm. Well, I'm 23, live in Portland, Oregon, and do PHP development. As a result, I spend entirely too much time on #php and #web on OPN Freenode answering questions.

Occasionally I pretend that I know C and submit relatively insignificant patches to projects such as E's epplets, Imlib2, Galeon, and PHP.

Recently, I've been poking at stuff largely outside the PHP realm. Annotea, FOAF (And by extension, RDF), XUL, and whatever else slips in the mix.

This account now known as mattmcc.

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Clearing HTTP Auth in Mozilla

So over the years, I've wondered why certain things aren't commonplace features in browsers. One of those is a way to log out of HTTP auth, a long-standing issue with web apps. But it wasn't until recently that, when asked in #web about it, that I actually thought to check if Mozilla did in fact have an interface in its arsenal to do it. Lo and behold, it does.

Since it does exist, I sat down and wrote the world's most trivial Mozilla extension: Clear HTTP Auth. Now, the next time I'm testing HTTP logins, no more closing the browser. At least, not until the time comes to test in other browsers.

That's the beauty of XUL. Even a lousy web developer like me can tweak Mozilla, given a little digging around. Warning: this diary entry employs copious use of the <tt> tag.

dalke: Obviously the bug you quoted isn't resolved yet, so I don't know what the 'right' way to disable Ctrl-Q is (or rather, will be). However as a short term option, you can hack in a confirmation prompt to protect from inadvertant key combinations. This is, of course, a sub-optimal solution, since it'll get overwritten next time you upgrade Mozilla.

Short version:

Open up toolkit.jar and add this line (or something similar) to the top of goQuitApplication() in content/global/globalOverlay.js:

if (!confirm('Do you really want to exit?')) return false;

Long Version:

  1. Find toolkit.jar in your copy of Mozilla's chrome directory.
    On Windows, typically C:\Program Files\mozilla.org\Mozilla\chrome
    On Unix (Well, Debian at least), /usr/lib/mozilla/chrome
  2. Extract toolkit.jar into a temp dir. It's just zip file, so you can extract it with any zip tool.
  3. Open content/global/globalOverlay.js and add the line mentioned in the short version to the top of goQuitApplication().
  4. Re-create toolkit.jar with the changed file. Make sure the directory structure is preserved.
  5. Start up Moz and try Ctrl-Q. You should get a JS confirmation prompt, and selecting Cancel should keep Mozilla open.

Since PHP is an open source project, #php on OPN inevitably attracts the regularly repeated discussions on what free software is, should be, etc. It's always interesting to see what people think it should be, especially the people who aren't contributors themselves.

bytesplit's latest reminds me of one such discussion, since he uses the same example app to argue his point, editors. Everybody who wants to has written one, and that's fine. Are there "way too many"? Maybe, but who cares? Nobody owes you a quality editor, bytesplit. The individuals or groups that wrote these "way too many" apps that don't meet your expectations probably aren't too concerned. The reason is simple. When people work on free software projects, they do so because they want to. Everything you see around you, every little editor that doesn't have any unique features, or every major accomplishment in software development, it all came into being because somebody wanted to write it. So when you say that there aren't enough quality apps, and that this is a major issue, I can't help but feel a little indignant. But, I'm not going to start ranting about how a meritocracy works tonight.

So, there are a whole lot of sub-bytesplit-quality editors. Well, tough. The people who write them want to write them, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Moving right along...

The question I hear from many people, and mind you I am much more of a Windows user at this point than a non-Windows user, is this: Why should I move to another platform when there aren't very many great products like Office 2000 and games like Madden Football 2002 can't be played on anything other than Windows

I hear this question a lot too. Here's my answer.

Maybe you shouldn't. No operating system will ever be all things to all people. I don't know why anyone who is using Windows should feel compelled by another person to switch, as if they're doing something wrong by using one OS instead of another. If you need/want products like Office 2000 and games like Madden Football 2002, stick with the platform you can use them on. Why should you switch, if the games you like, and the tools you're used to are already available to you? Maybe you shouldn't.

As far as documentation goes, I'm not sure why you're looking to FreeBSD for a newbie-friendly system. That doesn't seem to be a high priority for the BSD community, but that's just what I've observed from afar. I don't even recommend my distro of choice to newbies, because it just doesn't feel like it's there yet. I tend to direct newbies interested in Linux towards Mandrake, because they've put a lot of hard work into that audience.

In any case, documentation isn't all that different from "low quality" editors. The folks that write it do the best job they can. Once more, nobody owes you perfect documentation. And again, I can't help but feel rather indigant about this gripe. Especially with my knowledge of some documentation groups like the PHP doc team, who have assembled and who actively maintain what I consider one of the better manuals for a language anywhere, and I know I'm not alone. We regularly get people in #php who have either started with other languages, or are starting with PHP, and almost without exception, they mention how impressed they are with the PHP manual.

You don't have to be a good writer to contribute, either. If you find it so disturbing that all the docs around you are gibberish, all you have to do is send some suggestions on how to improve it to the authors. Maybe throw in some example paragraphs, as you'd like to see them, from the perspective of a user reading their docs. Who knows, maybe that's your calling in free software. Maybe that's how you can earn the certification of Journeyer you've already given yourself.

www.slashdo, er, www.advogat...

Sigh. I promised myself I wouldn't comment on this mess, but it's consuming the recentlog to the extent that it's actually degrading the value of the forum. So, what he hell. Into the fire.

Quoting one of bytesplit's many entries from today (or yesterday, by the time I finish these thoughts),

No, tk, you see someone who originally came to advogato.org to respond to someone else's childish games of slander.

This was a poor decision, I think. You've been basing your comments over the past three weeks on the assertion that you are a reasonable, mature adult. Yet the only reason you came to this forum was the lack of what I consider to be one basic aspect of maturity, that of restraint.

I can appreciate the affect that being publically insulted has on one's state of mind. We've all gotten caught up in a heated discussion before. I doubt there's a mailing list yet that I've been on where at least one flamewar didn't get personal and people got carried away. It happens, we're human. However, generally we learn from mistakes, and posting to a mailing list when emotions are running high is never a good idea. The same certainly goes for web forums.

But this mess, I think, is a slightly different situation. Sure, chipx86 may have been out of line in what he said, but to be blunt, I seriously doubt anyone who read his advogato diary knew who you were, or cared, until you felt it necessary to confront him here. Given some time to pause and avoid acting on heated emotions, I would like to think the option to ignore his post here would've been the preferred way to go.

Instead, we've witnessed your persistant efforts to get the last word in. In the process, labeling everyone who has disagreed with your view a child, an idiot, and morally bankrupt. This is hardly behavior that is likely to improve the situation in any way.

A couple quotes I find ironic, then I'm done.

i am known as a very fair person, by both people on this site and off. who they are is not important to you, their opinion is. and, i like to keep it that way. you treat me like shit, you'll get it right back!

Yes, very fair. An eye for an eye, truly an adult way of dealing with a situation. I won't pretend to suggest I'd have done any better in the same situation, I couldn't say that with certainty. But surely the contradiction in that sentence wasn't lost on you, if even after the fact.

So, I'll do the admirable thing: ignore the trolls and the liars and let them wallow in their own misery. I'm just going to use this site for what it was meant to be used for, unlike some others who like to start public battles on here.

You said that over a week ago, but it didn't seem to stick. Maybe a second try is in order. Don't try to get an agreement from everyone who has commented, that's not important. Just let the matter drop, and others probably will too. And if they don't, re-read the quote.

It feels funny to say, but I've been using and advocating the use of Debian for well over six years now. Its distinction as a completely volunteer-driven distro is something I find very appealing, and I have a lot of respect for the people that make that possible.

This is much more than merely the hundreds of developers across the world, this includes QA people, documenters, translators, advocates, and donators of bandwitdh and hardware. And it includes bug reporters.

So, when the behavior of some developers in this bug report comes to my attention, I get fairly pissed off.

Now, I'm not dilluted enough to think that just because evrybody's contributing to a greater good means that they'll get alone or be civil to one another in the process. Quite the contrary, some developer lists are home to some of the fiercest arguments I've seen. It pretty much goes with the territory that anyone who cares enough to donate their time to Debian has some pretty string feelings about how they think Debian's future should look, and won't hesitate to defend their views. I can appreciate that. However, there are forums where some degree of etiquitte is required. I consider a bug database to be one such forum.

One of the core ideas behind the success of free software projects is peer review. More eyeballs, and all that stuff mbp was recently talking about in his diary. When we talk about having more eyeballs, some of those are the eyes of other developers reviewing code. But most of them are the eyes of users submitting bug reports. This is what sets us apart from the properitary world. A user see something they think isn't working right, or something they simply think could be better, and they have the means to tell the developers. And they get a response. That response is a voice from somebody who has the authority to represent that project publically.

Put another way, developers who respond to Debian bug reports are representing Debian, all of it, in their words. Users are told that their report has been seen, and a problem they reported fixed, or a suggestion they've made noted for consideration. And, if the response is a good one, the user is thanked for their time to fill out the report.

So, now that I've rambled for several paragraphs about what I think things should be like, allow me to be somewhat crass.

Daniel Stone, your response to that bug report was utter bullshit. I'm disgusted that you had the nerve to reply to someone who was volunteering their time to try to make Debian a little better in their eyes with such behavior. Now, perhaps I'm being too harsh, or perhaps you were trying to be funny in some odd teenage way that escapes me. But I think, in the future, you should take a moment of pause before corrosponding with bug reporters in the future. Think about how your actions will be viewed by the person on the other end of the message, and the people observing from afar. People like me, who have a lot of pride in what Debian has grown into, and don't like seeing this kind of shit from someone who is supposed to feel the same way.

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