Older blog entries for dwmw2 (starting at number 137)

10 May 2006 (updated 10 May 2006 at 17:55 UTC) »

A while ago, I wrote:

"Also, the Ximian monkeys were just too much of a pain to deal with. For example: even a simple RFC-compliance bug fix like the "don't use underscore in HELO" one, where I supplied a simple patch, was something which required me to argue with idiots. I believe the patch for that is still only carried in the Red Hat package rather than being accepted upstream."

Well, the patch did eventually get applied. Today, however, the person about whom I was speaking above (who is no longer an Evolution maintainer) took offence at what I'd said, and spontaneously reverted the fix from CVS -- presumably without getting the patch approved by the maintainer. The commit message is quite amusing too -- "David Woodhouse can fix his own damn server since he configured it to be broken." This was a fix for an RFC2821 violation which will cause Exim in its default configuration to reject the (erroneous) HELO greeting. I didn't have to do anything special to my server to make it do that.

He also went on a spree through my bugs in bugzilla, closing some valid bugs and making strange and unhelpful comments in others -- using his @novell.com identity to do so.

I haven't re-opened them myself; I'll let someone more closely involved with GNOME and/or Novell do so, and hopefully they will also consider the question of what privileges he should retain to Evolution CVS and bugzilla, given this behaviour and the fact that he is no longer supposed to be working on Evolution.

Now, I'll freely admit that I can be an arsehole at times, but I'd never go through bugzilla closing all someone's bugs just because they called me an idiot, let alone revert RFC-compliance fixes which were already committed, just because the bug was originally reported by the person who'd done so. That really is overstepping the mark, IMO.

(NB: 'took offence' link changed on 2006-05-10 to point to an archived copy of the original post.)

Quote of the week: "Get this through your head: This is not Fedora bugzilla."

Seen in a a Fedora bug, of course :)

Got shiny new Motorola SLVR L7 phone. I have to say I'm not very impressed with it, although it is shiny.

Although I don't like receiving phone calls, and I'd prefer for people just to email me instead -- I don't think my phone should enforce that. Twice I've observed it start to ring... and then spontaneously reboot, losing the incoming call. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't think that's how phones should behave.

Its dialup behaviour isn't particularly impressive either -- it gives me the first line or two of the login prompt from the remote system before giving the CONNECT response. That isn't really handled too well by most chat scripts, wvdial etc...

ATD01789835243^MHello 07815910501

obelisk.infradead.org login: CONNECT 9600 dwmw2 Password: Last login: Mon Apr 3 22:23:35 from 07815910501 obelisk /home/dwmw2 $

Those are just the two major flaws which are why I'll probably return it to Orange -- especially as Orange don't seem capable of contacting Motorola to even report the problems and ask if there is a firmware update pending. But they're a telco, so I suppose I shouldn't expect anything else.

There is an email address for Motorola customer care listed in the user manual, but it bounces.

But there's a whole bunch of other, more minor problems with it too; they just don't seem to pay anywhere near as much attention to detail as Ericsson do. When it gets a receipt for a delivered SMS message, it treats that just as an incoming message rather than marking the outgoing message in the outbox as 'delivered'. It doesn't let you set a default to request receipts on all messages, either.

It's also fairly astonishing that it doesn't even have an automatic keypad lock -- it does have a lock to prevent you from accidentally making calls while it's in your pocket, but there's no facility for the lock to come on automatically after a minute or so of inactivity. What were they thinking?

It's rather strange that it can't even do IMAP+SMTP over a v.110 dialup connection, too -- although at least it can do them with TLS over the real Internet (by GPRS), which is about the only way it's any more advanced than the Ericsson T630 I've had for years. In every other respect (other than the sexy 11mm profile and the shinyness), Ericsson beats them hands down.

Last time I checked, though, Ericsson weren't doing any quad band phones. I don't really want much from a phone -- I want quad band, Bluetooth, sensible email (which can use TLS and ideally Bcc every outgoing mail to a configured address), v.110 dialup which works, and generally for them to have paid a little attention to detail when they designed it. Orange have said they'll let me swap it... but I'm not sure what else there is that fits the bill.

The program 'evolution' received an X Window System error.
This probably reflects a bug in the program.
The error was 'BadAlloc (insufficient resources for operation)'.


Bloody telcos.

For a long time, there was a second mobile phone on my account, which was no longer used (for various reasons) but never got cancelled. I paid Vodafone a fair amount of money because I never quite got round to cancelling it.

They have a duty of care to their customers -- arguably they should have contacted me and asked if I realised that I was still paying for this phone which was never even switched on. But they didn't.

Last year, I finally got round to calling them and telling them that I wanted to close the account.

A month or so later, I closed the direct debit and informed them that I had done so.

Now, I'm receiving threatening letters from a debt collection agency, demanding payment for the three or four months more which elapsed before Vodafone finally did close the account at their side.

Now, are they just being muppets, as we have come to expect from telcos, or are they deliberately behaving dishonestly in an attempt to defraud me?

The extra few months' line rental is nothing in comparison with what I paid during all the time I left it due to my own incompetence -- there's a school of thought that says I should just pay it and make them go away. But obviously I'm far too obstinate to let them get away with that.

Jack asks "why did we ever abandon Mutt and Pine?"

I don't know about you, but I didn't. I still swear by pine -- I use it on handheld devices a lot, because it does actually integrate well enough into that environment. With a touch screen, and pine's 'mouse-in-xterm' option, you can just tap on menu options, on mails in the folder index, etc. You don't actually need to use the fake on-screen keyboard for anything much in order to read mail with pine.

I also often find myself running pine on 'real' computers -- I often fire it up to read my mail while I'm waiting for Evolution, in fact. But the main reasons I don't use it all the time are twofold:

Firstly it's because I just don't think I could live without the little tree of folders which you see on the left-hand side of just about every GUI mailer these days -- the one which tells me how many unread messages are in each folder. That's integral to how I deal with mail these days.

Secondly, I very much like composing new email in separate windows, rather than in the main mail reader window. I have habit of hitting 'reply', perhaps making a half-hearted attempt to respond to an email, and then getting distracted and leaving it for days before I eventually find it the composer window on my desktop again, finish it off and send it. If I didn't do that, then stuff would just get lost and I'd never reply to it. I'm bad enough already.

For short-term use though, such as when I quickly connect by GPRS to check for new email in my inbox, pine is just great.

I'm not sure why Pete seems to suggest that, as a text mode application, cut and paste shouldn't work. Yes, they're not "integrated with the desktop" and they don't have dbus notifications or panel applets, but cut and paste generally work fine in an xterm. In fact, it's Evolution where cut and paste is generally screwed, in my experience. I've never had a problem using cut and paste with pine.

Hopefully the Sylpheed crash will get looked at more quickly than Evolution bugs do, and I'll be able to properly assess Sylpheed's suitability some time soon.

26 Mar 2006 (updated 26 Mar 2006 at 13:49 UTC) »

I'm not entirely sure why David is so happy about Jesse filing Evolution bugs. I've been doing that for years and it never really seems to have much of an effect -- even when I include patches, in some cases.

But since it makes him happy, and since I like making people happy, I suppose I might as well transfer a couple of the real showstopper bugs which prevent me from upgrading to FC5 from Red Hat bugzilla to GNOME bugzilla to see what happens.

Here we go then:

Bug #336074 (RH #167805): Check for new mail only in active folders, not in multiple years of archive folders.

And the real killer:

Bug #336076 (RH #183219): Evolution no longer uses STATUS to check for new mail -- instead it SELECTs every single folder in the system, downloads all headers and flags for every mail.

David Nielsen writes:

"Anyways, both Jesse Keating and David Woodhouse have been posting lists of Evolution shortcomings and one thing that struck me was.. where are the bugreports?"

For historical reasons, most of mine are here in Red Hat bugzilla rather than here in GNOME bugzilla. This is partly because for a very long time Evolution bugs were in Ximian bugzilla, which could never seem to be able to set and use cookies correctly, so I couldn't actually use it -- it would just ask me to log in over and over again.

Also, the Ximian monkeys were just too much of a pain to deal with. For example: even a simple RFC-compliance bug fix like the "don't use underscore in HELO" one, where I supplied a simple patch, was something which required me to argue with idiots. I believe the patch for that is still only carried in the Red Hat package rather than being accepted upstream.

Thankfully, there seems to have been a change of guard in Evolution-land in recent times. The new maintainers seem to be a whole lot saner, so things might be looking up.

"I'll make myself guilty of complaining over Evolution without filing bugs as well."

I try to make sure it's all in bugzilla but I've certainly been guilty of complaining without filing bugs occasionally, it's true. To a certain extent, I don't see the point in filing more bugs, while the bugs in NEW state about "Evolution crashes when I view the attached mail" are still being ignored. Once we actually start to look at the potential security holes we knowingly shipped in FC-5, I might be more inclined to spend some time making sure everything else is in bugzilla too. Until then, it doesn't seem worth it.

Now that I can actually use the bugzilla which we're supposed to use for Evolution, and now that the Evolution maintainers seem to have a little bit more of a clue, I suppose I should make sure more of these are in GNOME bugzilla and also attempt to clean up and submit some of the patches I've been using in my own builds for years... especially as I think I've given up on the idea of switching to kmail right now. Maybe I'll try it again at some point, but the weird way it shuffles the folder index in front of my eyes while I'm using it is just too screwed up. That needs to be fixed before kmail is a serious contender.

Having also been evaluating new mailers over the last week or two, I've a few comments to add to jkeating's mailer comparison:

Evolution supports IMAP over SSH, unlike Thunderbird and Kmail -- it can get at its mail server by running 'ssh $MAILSERVER exec imapd'. That's quite important for me, since the mail 'servers' I use don't actually have an IMAP dæmon listening, and the only way in is SSH. And I don't want my MUA knowing my passwords (or asking me for them either). Authentication is what I keep ssh-agent for.

Evolution certainly used to have an option for not displaying HTML mail. If it's not there in 2.6 then it's a regression. That's not a feature I'd want to live without.

The other thing that I found really suboptimal about kmail when I tried it was the way it handled deletion of messages. When you mark a message for deletion in any other MUA, it stays in the mailbox index. You can read your way down the mails in the folder index, deleting them as you go, and occasionally maybe glancing at the actual text of the mail. But kmail does something really weird -- it first crosses through the message in the inbox as you'd expect, but then it actually removes it. So as your eye is scanning down the folder index, kmail is moving it all around and making it hard to follow. Since I spend quite a lot of time just glancing at mail and deleting it, that's really quite an important misfeature for me.

Evolution can only check mail in all folders, or only the INBOX. That's fairly crap when 'all folders' contains many years of archived mail which is never going to change. What I want is to check mail only in active folders. I have patches to Evolution to do that, and kmail is capable of it too. It can't use the subscribed status of the folders, but you can configure each folder to either be included in the mail checks or not -- and it's not difficult to do that en masse by editing kmailrc directly.

Another thing I want from a mailer is the ability to send patches inline without it eating them. I know that Evolution can do it if you load them from a text file with the 'Preformat' style. I assume that Kmail can, but I'm told that Thunderbird will eat them.

Also, I want my MUA to be able to handle the standard way of sending stuff like party invites to multiple people:

To: Some people : ;
Bcc: my@friend.com, my@otherfriend.org

Evolution silently drops the To: header, while Kmail tries to qualify it by adding @infradead.org to it, and then complains that ':' isn't a valid character in it. Stupidly.

I also found sylpheed to be a non-starter, because it would segfault as soon as it connected to the mail server.

Pete, I'm not sure you count, since you've had access to the final FC5 tree for almost a week now anyway -- if you're only downloading it today, then you blatantly aren't one of the people who's desperate to have it while it's hot. But your answer does confuse me a little, in two ways.

Firstly: I've reported a bunch of installer bugs in recent times, and I don't remember Dave or Jeremy once suggesting that the problem is due to not using 'magic' ISO images -- despite the fact that I almost always use network installs because I think that using CD/DVD media is just a pointless waste of beermats. I appreciate that some people do have reasons for actually burning it to those round shiny things, but I'm surprised at how many take that option, and I'm vaguely surprised that you're amongst their number. Network installs are perfectly well supported; you seem to be implying that they're not.

Secondly: Even if for whatever reason you did want to use the 'magic' ISO images and deal with the unreliability that comes with using real CD/DVD media, they're really not hard to fetch -- you certainly don't need to muck about with anaconda scripts. For a start, the images/ directory is already there for download anyway.

I'm not sure if BitTorrent is as clever with its 'seed' as rsync is, but if you'd downloaded rawhide during the last week or so you could just 'cat' the whole set of RPMS and other files into appropriately-named ISO files and then rsync the real images using those as seed. You still end up downloading a few megabytes, but that's still a whole lot less than the 3.4 gigabytes you'd be downloading otherwise, if you started without a seed.

But still, my confusion is predicated on the assumption that people want it quickly, and you blatantly don't seem to be be one of those people or you'd have it already anyway -- so the fact that you didn't bother is perhaps less surprising than it might be.

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