Oh, the Windows/Fedora time schizophrenia…

Every other beta test release, my time zone goes askew, thanks to Windows defaulting to keeping the hardware clock at localtime and Linux kernel+userland’s ever shifting way of dealing with this (to be fair, at least they tried – OS X just insisted on the clock being set to UTC).

Right now it seems that systemd¬†expects the kernel to assume the clock was UTC and so it had to do the heavy lifting of adding the 7 hours offset — but somehow the kernel (or some other utility?) has already added those 7 hours, with the result that my clock ended up 14 hours ahead. And somehow this didn’t manifest itself until I booted to Windows to pull some pictures from my Lytro…

Going to try a clean installation first, to reduce the possible things that could go wrong – and help test the new Anaconda installer in advance of the Fedora 18 beta – but if this fails, I’m seriously going to just tell Windows to use UTC (though *that* codepath there is not well tested either, and used to be buggy in Windows XP and Vista).

Update: after a complete reinstall (still using the F17 installer since the pre-beta live image is broken), having verified that on F17 prior to upgrading it works, the same issue still occurs. Bug filed; moving on to more productive endeavors for the rest of the weekend.

Important milestone in support for Clojure in Fedora reached

Screenshot of Leiningen 1.7.1, installed from RPM on Fedora 17

It works! A major part of our (Kushal Das and myself) proposed Clojure feature for Fedora 18, the Leiningen build tool used by Clojure project, is now up and running.

After packaging many dependencies, rigging up build scripts, and reporting bugs against other components we depend on (some are not fixed yet but hopefully all the fixes will get applied soon) — now we can turn our attention to packaging real apps. Yeah!

To follow our progress (and chip in — volunteers welcome!), see our progress documentation, with complete links to issues in Fedora’s bug tracker.

Firefox and Thunderbird 13.0, zero installation required*

Now that Mozilla has released version 13 of both Firefox and Thunderbird, it’s high time that I port their relevant 0install interfaces — they were last updated when I was with the OSR group, as the versions packaged in Fedora have been up to date for the past few months.

A simple invocation of

0desktop http://hircus.multics.org/interfaces/2011/firefox-launcher.xml


0desktop http://hircus.multics.org/interfaces/2011/thunderbird.xml

would give you desktop launchers for those two; they will check for updates periodically and you can manually override which version you want to run, out of the ones listed in the feed.

*you’d need to install zeroinstall-injector first, either through your distribution package or by hand.

e.g. on Fedora:

yum install zeroinstall-injector

and on Debian/Ubuntu:

apt-get install zeroinstall-injector 

0install feeds in transition

A heads-up to those who have been using the 0install application feeds I used to maintain for the OSR group at mojo.informatik.uni-erlangen.de: as I’m no longer employed there, the service has been disabled.

I’ve transitioned the feeds to http://hircus.multics.org/interfaces; the Git repository is now on Github. Currently only Skype (and its dependencies) and Eclipse JEE (and its Java dependency) have been switched over; the other feeds are still set to the previous hosting site. Please file bugs if you need need a particular application feed fixed, find a problem, or file an enhancement request if you’d like to see an app packaged!
Oh, and for those who saw the lightning talk at FUDCon:
$ su -c "yum install 0install-injector" $ 0desktop http://rox.sourceforge.net/2005/interfaces/ROX-Filer # to get the ROX-Filer file manager added to your desktop # or $ 0alias rox http://rox.sourceforge.net/2005/interfaces/ROX-Filer # to get a command-line launcher in your path 

A guide to Thunderbird for Gmail users

James Fallows of The Atlantic — a highly-recommended journalist and blogger, for those who have not come across his writing yet — recently re-expressed his dissatisfaction with Gmail’s new UI; and mulled switching to Thunderbird but worried about memory usage.

From Screenshots

As someone who did the same transition a while back, I remember going through that issue and then some. Memory usage, lack of integration with Google Contacts (exacerbated with the seamless contact sync of Android phones), a UI that makes it hard to manage multiple email accounts, and vertical space being taken up by the menu bar.

Thankfully, Thunderbird being extensible, there are setting tweaks and extensions for all of these; as James found them useful, I thought I’d re-share them here:
  • Memory usage – a well-documented problem; the solution is to not synchronize your All Mail folder.
  • Using Gmail folders – While you’re at it, Thunderbird’s auto-configuration for Gmail accounts does not use the special folders by default; you’d want to set them in Copies & Folders and Junk Settings. You’d probably also want to visit Server Settings and disable “Check for new messages” (so TB would use Push-IMAP instead of polling) and set the deletion behavior to “mark it as deleted” instead of moving it to Trash – remember that Google would archive your mail instead of deleting it. Optionally disable Message Archives in Copies & Folders – just use the web interface to find old messages
  • Drafts folder – an advantage of using Gmail’s drafts folder, instead of the local one, is that you can access drafts from other computers. A drawback, though, is that TB auto-saves regularly as you edit your message, and if you use an IMAP folder, it discards old drafts by moving them to trash. The Auto Save Drafts Folders extension let you adjust this behavior (in Copies & Folders); just use the local drafts folder for auto-saved copies.
  • Handling multiple inboxes – View->Folders->Unified. This really ought to be the default…
  • Contact syncthere’s an extension for that. It’s flawless for reading your Google Contacts; I’d not use it to edit contacts though, just in case some information gets lost due to mismatches in available fields
  • Compact menu – Firefox’s main menu has recently been reworked, but Thunderbird’s has not; you can use this extension if, say, you use a widescreen laptop and want to recover vertical space real estate.

Hope that’s of some use to some folks!

Org-mode syntax highlighting for GtkSourceView

If you’re an old-school Emacs user, and you are into GTD organizers, outliners, or would like a less messy way of generating LaTeX documents (from papers to presentations), you’re probably already familiar with Org-mode.

Org-mode is really quite tightly integrated with Emacs — so under normal circumstances there’s no reason to support it elsewhere. But at work we’ve recently had to collaboratively edit Org documents, and alas, Emacs’ Rudel no longer work reliably on newer Linux releases. We’re forced to use Gobby, which is a fine collaborative editor but is simply not Emacs. What is one to do?

I’ve thus started a GitHub project to create a language definition file for GtkSourceView (and, by extension, any editors on the GNOME desktop, including gedit and Gobby. Do check it out here — I’m adding support for language elements as I need them, and my schedule is rather busy these days, but feel free to file requests and/or enhancement patches (but if you do the latter, please include a statement licensing your contribution under the same MIT license you can see in the header of org.lang

More cnucnu release monitoring goodness

I just spent a few minutes clearing up Fedora’s Upstream Release Monitoring todo list — more packages will now get bugs filed against them on Bugzilla when a new version comes out, including gnucash, links (3 minor versions behind) and, surprisingly, Xaw3d, which has been resurrected on freedesktop.org after years of inactivity — we’re still packaging the old unmaintained version.

Note to self — figure out how to integrate the Python tool used by URM, cnunu, to keep track of non-Fedora software. My 0install feeds could use some release monitoring love…