SeaMonkey/Developer Meeting:2010:Conrep

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Ratty's Con Report

Day 00 Friday 22nd October 2010

Flying In

I flew in via Schiphol (Amsterdam) which is a rather nice airport but there was a big crowd and long queues at the security checkpoint going to the transfer flights. The guy behind me was getting agitated because he thought that he was going to miss his flight. I suspected I might too but I thought that could always get a later one so I wasn't too stressed about it. In the event I made to the departure gate of my connecting flight with out five minutes to spare. An hour and a half later I was in Vienna airport at 9am. I had booked online a ticket for a combined CAT train to the city centre and a taxi from there to the hotel so I arrived in good time at about 11am.

Odd Food

After unpacking I decided to get a bite of food for lunch but not knowing the city and not wanting to get lost especially while totally jetlagged I went to the restaurant next to the hotel and part of the same conference centre. Unfortunately they only had menus in German so I shrugged and picked one item at random. This turns out to have been a mistake. :P

Getting Online

The room I was in had two ethernet sockets. The one above the desk wasn't working but the one on the opposite wall was. The CAT5 cable I brought with me wasn't long enough and I really didn't want to sit on the floor to connect to the internet. So I went down to the reception to complain and the receptionist said that she could lend me a longer cable. She dissappeared into the back and eventually emerged triumphfully with a longish cable that looked like it might be long enough, and it was, just. I got on to IRC and when eventually KaiRo wandered in to #seamonkey I asked him for some recommendations for a nearby restaurant that had menus in English. It turned out that there was a rather decent on about three minutes away called Herman Prilisauer. Then ewong popped his head in to IRC to say he had just arrived and was using the hotel WiFi. We three arranged to meet at 6ish at the hotel lobby for dinner. InvisibleSmiley, Mnyromyr and Aqualon from Germany, Callek from the USA, and stefanh from Sweden, were expected to arrive that evening so we hoped that they could arrive in time to join us for dinner.


At around 6 ewong phone me so I went down to the lobby to wait with him for KaiRo. Callek had arrived later in the afternoon but there was no sign of him in the lobby so ewong called his room and found that he had gone to sleep. Eventually he wandered down to the lobby and then while we were chatting KaiRo showed up and the three Germans who had also arrived earlier met us in the lobby. So I finally got to meet in person people I had been interacting with in the SeaMonkey community for years but didn't even know what they looked like!


According to KaiRo stefanh had just called him to say he was at the Vienna airport, so we left word with the reception about where to meet us for dinner and headed off. The restaurant was quite crowded so they put us in the pub area. While waiting for our table stefanh walked in and so we were eight. The food here was much better than what I had for lunch and there were some great conversations lubricated by beer and more beer. Ewong, Callek and I had either water or coke. I stuck to non-alcoholic stuff because even in normal situations alcohol makes me sleepy and I was already jetlagged something terrible. We swapped horror stories about our journeys to Vienna and obviously talked a lot about SeaMonkey stuff among other things. KaiRo spent half the time talking in German to Aqualon, no idea what except that it was probably something to do about football. Eventually we staggered off around midnight, KaiRo towards home and the rest of us to the hotel.

Day 01 Saturday 23rd October 2010


I wandered down to breakfast around eightish and just as I had started stefanh wandered in and joined me. Breakfast was typically continental. Breads and spreads and cereals. IanN came in looking slightly dazed. Apparently Swiss Air lost his luggage so all he had was a tee-shirt. They did give him a toiletries kit however so that he could brush his teeth. It also contained a spare tee-shirt and a packet of washing powder presumably so that he could wash his clothes. We all swapped travel horror stories. Then it was time for us to return to our rooms to collect our gear.

1100am KaiRo's welcome speech

First a welcome round and every body introduces themselves. It was really great putting faces to irc nicks and email addresses. Ewong was very pumped. As the newbie of the group he was obviously having a great time (when not suffering from jetlag). KaiRo had a pile of SeaMonkey and Mozilla gear on the table including badges and stickers.

KaiRo starts off by briefing us on the schedule which was subject to change depending on whether the speaker could make it on time also some and last minute changes due to people arriving late or having to leaving early.

1130 Future of SeaMonkey

First a few questions about SeaMonkey:

  • What do you like?
  • What differentiates us?
  • What do you want to see?
  • Why do you contribute to SeaMonkey instead of say Firefox or Thunderbird?
  • What would you do if the SeaMonkey project died?

Then KaiRo briefed us on what Mitchell told him on his recent working trip to Mountain View

(( To be written up ))

By this time sgautherie (French rail strikes) AdrianK had arrived. We all break for


Lunch was at the restaurant on the hotel grounds. See later for pictures.

1400 Sync: Presentation by InvisibleSmiley

InvisibleSmiley presented on the current state of his efforts to port the built in Firefox Sync to SeaMonkey. Efforts are progressing very well and his patches are currently undergoing review. This will definitely make SeaMonkey 2.1.

In the past during the Mozilla Suite time frame we had Roaming:

  • Integrated.
  • Incomplete.
  • Insecure.
  • Inglorious.
  • Incomprehensible.

The assumption was that you had already used roaming in Netscape 4 and were transitioning to Mozilla Suite. It did not consider new users. You could never get it to work right and even if you did somehow it would fail after a while.

At present we have add-ons:

  • Firefox Sync (aka Weave Sync).
    • Compatible with SM.
    • New version partly broken.
    • Discontinued after FF4 release?
  • MailNews Sync.
    • Feeds and Newsgroups.
    • Statuses: Read, Tags.

In the future:

  • SeaMonkey Sync.
    • Coming with SM 2.1. Similar to FF4.
    • Integrated into Browser and MailNews.
      • See next slide.
  • MailNews Sync.
    • Might be integrated later.

SeaMonkey Sync currently:

    • Able to Sync bookmarks passwords preferences history and tabs.
    • Extensible (cf Mailnews Sync).
    • Secure by design.

InvisibleSmiley the did a Sync demo.

  • Multi-account, multi-client capable.
  • Easy to set up and configure.
  • Tested since it is already working in Firefox 4.

1500 Mac UI: Presentation by stefanh

Differences with Windows and Linux.

  • Don't assume that you have a browser window.
  • Menu items can be in other places.
  • Styling is different, blindly copying winstripe styles does not work.
  • Short cuts can be different, Forget F9, F11 etc.

When you port something from Firefox and copy something from Winstripe for Classic then you can/should also copy the same from Pinstripe to our Classic/Mac theme. Discussion follows.

1530 Automated Tests: Presentation by sgautherie

  • Automated tests.
  • SeaMonkey tinderboxes.
  • What are each type of tests for.
  • How to download the tests and run them if you don't do your own builds.

This was followed by a demo on KaiRo's notebook. Unfortunately it was running the German version of SeaMonkey and Serge is French so he had a slight language problem.

1630 Tea Break

1645 Project Areas: Discussion led by KaiRo

Gives an Overview however this webpage is nottotally up to date. Some newer areas not included.

  • What areas need to be changed or added.
  • What modules need to be changed.
    • KaiRo takes notes manually. His l33t online editing tool had a bug stopping him from editing the list in real time.

Updated daily. Scrapes mercurial check-ins and bugzilla.

((Had to leave the room for a while so I missed the next part))

1730 Reviews: Discussion led by KaiRo

Are people happy with the review rules, or are there things that you want changed?

We go through the list in and decide what needs to be changed.

Some points raised:

  • Do we need super-review as well as review since sr is meant more for over-arching changes that cross module boundaries?
  • UI changes currently require sr. This should be a ui-review.
  • More than one review should be required for patches that touch "dangerous areas". These patches would benefit for a second pair of eyes so rather than having a s+sr from the same person.

2000 Dinner

We were running late so we leave almost immediately for dinner. We travel by subway (U2) from Hütteldorf to Karlsplatz and then we took the tram to the city center so that KaiRo could point out things of interest such as the parliament building and the city government building. Dinner was in a restaurant with a typical Viennese atmosphere at 8pm in Restaurant Zum Leupold, Schottengasse 7.

Since we had originally budgeted for 25 people but only 15 people were there KaiRo said we could afford to splurge a bit. Then someone suggested ordering champaign but KaiRo paled slightly at the suggestion. Anyway everyone had a great time and very interesting discussions flowed lubricated by alcohol and good fellowship.


Day 1 on Flickr

Day 02 Sunday 24th October 2010


0900 Discussion by KaiRo

Where do we go after 2.1, in features, version numbers, et cetra?

  • MailNews
    • Show web content e.g. RSS feeds.
    • Merge differences between the browser and mailnews tabbrowsers. This would automatically get us the AllTabs button.
  • Nice features we might want from Firefox:
  • TabCandy. Nice concept but still very unstable. A long way to go before it is usable.
  • App Tabs, Pinned Tabs.

This discussion needs to continue some other time but for now we need to move on to the next presentation.

0930 Organization Presentation/Discussion: by BenB

BenB showed us the results of the survey he did yesterday morning.

A) Conservative

  • 1. Firefox and Thunderbird changes too much.
  • 2. Nostalgia for the Suite.

D) Product

  • 1. Integration.
  • 2. Advanced Features.
  • 3. Avoids the meme of just copying what others do e.g. copying chrome and safari.

B) Organization

  • 1. community driven.
  • 2. easier to write patches and to contribute.
  • 3. Open.
  • 4. Better attitude.
  • 5. Doesn't have the politics that go on in Firefox and Thunderbird.

F) Future

  • 1. Calendar.
  • 2. Tab everything.
  • 3. More Jobs.
  • 4. Better UI.
  • 5. To keep up with changes.
  • 6. Monetization.
  • 7. Vision.
  • 8. More contributors.
  • 9. More users.
  • 10. Marketability.

Next BenB did a presentation on creating an organization to support the project with resources.

1245 Lunch

Buffet at the Vom Feinsten, the restaurant attached to the hotel complex.

1400 SeaMonkey Council: by Discussion KaiRo

Mark Banner (Standard8) and Christian Biesinger (biesi) don't have the time to commit to the Council so have resigned.

We all agreed that it was time to add people to the council. Ratty and Callek were co-opted in. Do we need more? We also discussed several other issues but I forgot to write them down and I can't remember now.

1445 Mercurial Queues: Presentation by Aqualon

Bruno gave a quick run through on the basics of Mercurial queues for beginners and people thinking of using queues. Some useful advice on what Mercurial queues were capable of and how it can help your workflow.

1530 Tea Break

Munch munch. chatter chatter.

1545 Preferences UI: Discussion by IanN

  • Too Cluttered.
  • Disorganized.
  • Old fashioned look. Since Netscape4.
  • Show fewer preferences.
  • Expose all preferences.
  • Different level of exposure for different people.
  • One problem is having two different settings windows one for preferences and one for accounts.

How do we reorganize panels to make things more discoverable? We looked at how Firefox, KDE, Open Office did their implementations. Eclipse has a search field that searches all the preferences and shows only those preferences that match.

1615 Messaging Future: by Presentation/Discussion Mnyromyr

Modern Communications

  • 1969 email.
  • 1970s talk, ftp.
  • 1980s IRC, Usenet.
  • 1990s
    • Web (HTTP, Gopher), RSS.
    • "Instant Messaging" AIM, ICQ, MSN, Jabber.
  • 2000s
    • Peer to peer networks: eDonkey, bittorrent.
    • "Social web" Facebook, Twitter.

Near Future: Technical Goals

  • Tabbrowser merge to allowing in future the showing of mail/ news/ web/ whatever content tabs all in one window.
  • deRDFication where useful (e.g. folderpane).
  • Gloda
  • Sessionrestore
  • Sync
  • Lightining?
  • Enigmail?

Far Future: Strategic Goals

  • "Unify". Just one window for "everything".
  • New account types e.g. Twitter.
  • SOHO/Groupware features.
  • "power user features" (explicit mailing list support).
  • Privacy Options (GPG).

1700 Infrastructure: Presentation by Callek and KaiRo

  • The Tinderbox waterfall.
  • The buildbot system.
  • How does the buildbot know when to do a new build.
  • How the build proceeds.

This was all very interesting although it also sounded vastly complicated. And I learnt a lot of things some of which I had only picked up fragments of over IRC. It was great to see how it was all put together.

Dinner at Käuzchen

This is one of those strange restaurants. Kaffee Restaurant Käuzchen. Where does KaiRo find all these weird places?


Day 2 on Flickr

Day 03 Monday 25th October 2010

Whole Day Hack Session

The whole day hacking session took place at Museums Quartier Wien, quartier 21, Raum D

Room D / quartier21

Open Room for Discourse on Digital Culture

The „Quartier für Digitale Kultur“ (QDK) and the „quartier21“ jointly operate a fully equipped event and discourse room for digital culture topics and projects. The room is also available for co-operation projects designed by groups, initiatives and institutions that are not QDK members.

Today we were down to ten members since the rest of the participants had to head off for home. It was a productive session and since we were all in the same room we could ask each other directly questions such as "Mnyromyr, why did you do this bit of code like this?" while I pointed out stuff on my notebook screen. The room is glass fronted and the occasional passerby looked curiously in. The room we were in would be used for the overflow area for people who couldn't get in to the main avenue of the Annual Big Brother Awards being held nearby at 8pm so we packed up and left at around seven.


Dinner was at Centimeter II.

Day 04 Tuesday 26th October 2010

Since we were down to about three or four people today the planned session was cancelled.


I wandered down to breakfast at around eight. Ewong who had breakfast earlier joined me and we chatted for a while. MReimer, IanN and Misak then arrived for Breakfast as well. At around 9am we returned to our rooms where we got on to IRC and talked to KaiRo about our plans. KaiRo wanted to go back to sleep for a while so we decided to have a mini hacking session down in the lobby. There are some power points underneath one of the sofas in the open area next to the conference rooms so we went there and started hacking on random stuff. IanN had to leave for the airport at around 12 noon.