Replacing Google Groups for Mozilla Newsgroups?

This article is a repost of a previous article, but since I didn’t get very many responses, I figured I’d try again with a more attention-grabbing headline. 🙂

Does anyone know of any decent web interfaces for NNTP out there? Preferably open source that we could host ourselves. There appear to be a LOT of them, so what I’m really asking is, which of all of those are actually any good, and would work for what we need? 🙂 (or be close enough that we could modify it to get the rest of the way there easily)

Currently, Mozilla’s newsgroups are gatewayed to Google Groups, so we can use that as the web interface. Unfortunately, we’ve had continuous problems with spam originating via Google Groups, and there’s very little we can do about it. Google’s policies prevent messages from being deleted unless there’s legal violations (i.e. DMCA notices), so we can’t clean up after it, and as much as they try to fight the spam from happening in the first place, they’re a big target. For the sanity of our newsgroups, we really need to move elsewhere, and hosting it ourselves would really make our lives a lot easier.

Related: bug 425122

Web interfaces for NNTP

Does anyone know of any decent web interfaces for NNTP out there?  Preferably open source that we could host ourselves.  There appear to be a LOT of them, so what I’m really asking is, which of all of those are actually any good, and would work for what we need? 🙂  (or be close enough that we could modify it to get the rest of the way there easily)

Currently, Mozilla’s newsgroups are gatewayed to Google Groups, so we can use that as the web interface.  Unfortunately, we’ve had continuous problems with spam originating via Google Groups, and there’s very little we can do about it.  Google’s policies prevent messages from being deleted unless there’s legal violations (i.e. DMCA notices), so we can’t clean up after it, and as much as they try to fight the spam from happening in the first place, they’re a big target.  For the sanity of our newsgroups, we really need to move elsewhere, and hosting it ourselves would really make our lives a lot easier.

Related: bug 425122

Seven Things

So yeah, I got tagged for this by both Eric Shepherd and Sean Alamares.

Ground rules:
1. Link to your original tagger(s) and list these rules in your post.
2. Share seven facts about yourself in the post.
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged.

On to the seven things you may or may not have known about me:

1. I grew up as the son of a United Methodist pastor.  So yeah, that makes me a PK.  Somehow I managed to avoid falling into either stereotype of that situation (I knew several people who fit one or the other of them though).  United Methodist pastors typically get moved around between churches every few years.  Most of the time, my dad managed to stay put longer than most, so I only ever moved twice with my family before moving out on my own, once in the middle of Kindergarden, and the other time in the middle of 8th grade.  I would never recommend to anyone ever to move their kids in the middle of a school year.  Just don’t.  But I survived. 🙂

2. With the exception of two exchange programs that I participated in, I’ve never lived outside of the state of Michigan.  It’s a great place to live, when the economy doesn’t suck.  Michigan is currently the only state in the U.S. with a two-digit unemployment rate (10.6% for December 2008).  We can thank the failing auto industry for that.  I count myself very fortunate right now that I work for a company that’s still doing well despite the recession.

3. One of the above-mentioned exchange programs was a pastoral exchange when I was 12 years old.  My dad traded churches (and parsonages) with a pastor in Fleetwood, Lancashire, in the UK, for 6 weeks. We went and lived in his house, and he came and lived in ours. It was a pretty fun experience, and the first (and last) time I’ve ever been to a salt water beach.  The tide pools and miles of sand when the tide was out were quite fascinating.

4. The other of the above-mentioned exchange programs was a student exchange just after I graduated from high school.  I went and stayed with a host family in Concepción, Chile, for 2 months.  Yes, that was also on the ocean.  No, I never went to the beach while I was there.  It was the middle of the winter and too cold. 🙂  I had a tremendous amount of fun while I was there, and I didn’t want to come back.  The exchange organization that I had gone through for the exchange also had 6-month and 1-year programs in addition to the 2-month program, and I almost managed to get it extended to 6 months.  The only thing that stopped it from happening is my parents had already paid my tuition for the fall semester at college.  I was tremendously shy as a kid, and never had very many friends, mostly because I was too shy to make them.  I wholeheartedly credit this trip with bringing me out of my shell. 🙂

5. I met my wife while hiding in a dormitory basement with 80 other people during a tornado warning 3 weeks into that fall semester my freshman year at college.  I guess it’s a good thing I did come back from Chile when I did. 😉  It was about a year later before we were seriously dating though, and several months after that before we decided to get married.  We held off until after she graduated to get married.  A few months from now we’ll have been married for 15 years, and I love her now more than ever.  We have 2 children, who are now in 1st and 4th grades, and are absolute joys to be parents of… most of the time. 🙂

6. I never graduated from college.  I was working toward a Computer Science degree, and the computer area at Adrian College was pretty much falling apart around my Junior year, for both a lack of qualified faculty and limited number of participating students.  All of the computer classes there were considered part of the Math department at the time.  This wasn’t exactly a good fit.  They had three professors there who actually knew what they were doing with computers.  One of them was the chairman of the Political Science department (and thus only taught one or two computer classes).  One of them was the chairman of the Chemistry department (and thus only taught one or two computer classes).  The third was actually full time in the computer department, but was a native of India, and didn’t have a very good command of the English language, so you couldn’t understand anything he lectured about.  The remaining professors were all math teachers, and didn’t really understand computers well.  I understand that they split computers off to its own department and had a huge push on modernizing it with equipment and qualified faculty not long after I left, but it was already too late for me.  Also adding to the mix, I had gone in with a friend on an off-campus apartment, hoping to get cheaper housing.  My roommate ended up backing out on it after the lease had been signed, so I got stuck with the apartment by myself (which was no longer cheaper as a result).  This meant I had to go get a real job (rather than just a student job on campus) to pay for the rent, and homework of course suffered, and eventually there was no point in continuing school.  After we got married, Lori moved into that apartment with me.  But as strange as it seems, that lowly job working in the hardware deparment at the local Meijer store did actually lead to a career working with computers.  It took seven years to get there, working a little way up and down the chain within Meijer, but it did.  There’s enough meat there for a whole other blog post (or you can just go read my bio on the About page linked at the top, most of it’s in there 🙂 )

7. I’m a huge fan of Asian media, mostly anime.  My taste is mostly in high school dramas, fantasy, scifi, magical girls, and slice-of-life stuff.  I tend to avoid mecha (which is what most people think of when they think of anime for some reason) and Naruto-style stuff.  My current favorites (minus a few) are listed over on the right on my blog.  You can find more (and some of the older stuff) if you dig around in the Anime category on my blog.  The Anime industry is in the middle of a huge upheaval right now, with many of the publishers starting to catch on to online distribution.  Personally I think it’s a great time to be a fan…  having more and more places to go to get good shows right from the publishers.

Tag, you’re it!

Actually, after looking around a little, I can’t find anyone with a blog who hasn’t already been tagged for this, so I guess it’s time to let it die.  It tends to get out-of-hand if you let it grow loosely anyway.  I’ve seen this mème going around Facebook listing both 16 and 25 as the number of things and people to list.  Consider yourself fortunate that the Mozilla community managed to keep it at 7. 🙂

Serving AppleShare from RHEL5 with Netatalk 2.0.3

So I was recently trying to set up a fileshare in one of our offices and trying to get it visible to the filesharing stuff in Mac OS X, since several people in the office have Mac laptops.  The original thought (since it’s supposedly better-supported on Linux) was to set up Samba, but our authentication in the office is all LDAP based, and I gave up trying to get Samba to work with our LDAP server after a few days.  Samba seems to want complete control over your LDAP server, and won’t deal with a read-only one that just happens to have all the Samba auth info in it already.  This seems wrong, and I’m sure there’s a way to do it, but I sure couldn’t find any documentation to tell me how.

So then I thought maybe I’d try Netatalk.  None of the usual packaging repos seemed to carry a netatalk RPM, but I did find one for Netatalk 2.0.3 in Fedora 8.  I took the SRPM from that and rebuilt it on my RHEL5 server.  Then I went about trying to configure it.  Turns out the documentation for Netatalk SUCKS ROCKS.  Everything I could find was written in 1998 and last touched in 2002 or so, and there’s been several new versions of Netatalk since then.  When all was said and done, the configuration part turned out to be really easy, you just couldn’t figure it out from the docs.

I did find a tutorial for setting up Netatalk for TimeMachine on Ubuntu, which turned out to be incredibly helpful.  So my main reason for blogging about this is to help that tutorial get some more pagerank, since it wasn’t nearly high enough in the search results on Google. 🙂

So without further ado, here’s the Netatalk How-to for Ubuntu that I found.

bugzilla.mozilla.org update

On Friday, I pushed a small update to bugzilla.mozilla.org that fixed bug 452799, where users who didn’t have ‘canconfirm’ privs in Bugzilla were posting bugs that had a status of NEW rather than UNCONFIRMED.

This morning, I pushed an update to bugzilla.mozilla.org containing a plethora of additional fixes to address concerns raised since the Bugzilla upgrade.  This morning, we’ve picked up fixes for:

  • Bug 452793: (The other half of the issue which was fixed Friday) The default status selected when you file a new bug and do have ‘canconfirm’ privs is now NEW instead of UNCONFIRMED.
  • Bug 452810: The wording surrounding the checkbox to add youself to the CC now says “Add me to the CC list” when you aren’t on it, instead of just “myself.”
  • Bug 452734: The keyword chooser has been replaced with keyword autocomplete.  NOTE: If you installed the greasemonkey script to remove the keyword chooser, you’ll probably have to remove that script to get the autocomplete, since it hooks on the same event listener.
  • Bug 452798: The CC list is now visible again by default, and as a bonus, it’s now searchable via Firefox’s find-as-you-type feature.
  • Bug 452733: The [Classification] is no longer shown in front of the bug summary.
  • Bug 452746: The link to the bug in the header no longer contains an extra space.
  • Bug 452891: The “visually jarring” dashed border next to the line numbers in the Diff Viewer has been removed.
  • Bug 452749: The midair page once again specifies who you midaired with.
  • Bug 344559: Add a Commit button near the form fields at the top of the show_bug page so you don’t have to scroll to the bottom of the comments if you’re only changing a field at the top.

Fixes for admins:

  • Bug 452898: Milestones can once again be marked inactive.
  • Bug 452914: Multiple problems were fixed in the flag editor related to the “fixed in version” field not being dealt with correctly on a product change.

Hopefully this fixes up some of the more major concerns people had.  There’s still more to come.  At this point I’m plannng on daily pushes to production as the fixes become available.

UPDATE: Some people are reporting broken CSS and things looking strange…  hold the Shift key and hit Reload if that’s you.  Your browser is probably caching the old CSS.