Bugzilla Permissions

  • February 26, 2007
  • Brian Tarricone

Finally! I can't wait until 3.0 final (or, rather, 3.0.1 or 3.0.2) is released. It'll be nice to be able to properly restrict permissions on b.x.o.

Bugzilla Permissions

  • February 26, 2007
  • Brian Tarricone

Finally! I can’t wait until 3.0 final (or, rather, 3.0.1 or 3.0.2) is released. It’ll be nice to be able to properly restrict permissions on b.x.o.

Mail Clients That Don’t Suck

  • February 24, 2007
  • Brian Tarricone

I really want a MUA that doesn't suck. I suppose "doesn't suck" is a bit prejudicial. I have a few requirements unrelated to suckitude that have to be met before I'll even consider a client, one of which being it has to be gtk2-based on X11.

For years I've used Thunderbird (and Mozilla Mail before that, and Netscape Mail before that). Like its cousin, Firefox, it tends to be a memory hog. It also has a bunch of annoying bugs: the in-memory message cache gets corrupted often if it has more than one connection to the IMAP server; folder names stay bolded (and they keep the new mail icon) if the mail was marked read from another mail program (e.g., on another machine). It also just tends to do weird things, like after a while spin the throbber forever, and never stop.

Don't get me wrong, Thunderbird is a great mail client. But I have a machine at work that only has 256MB of RAM. No, upgrading it isn't feasible right now. What I have to work with is... well, it's what I have to work with. With both Thunderbird and Firefox open, my system quickly starts swapping, and it kinda sucks waiting 30 seconds just to switch to another window.

I recently installed Claws Mail on my laptop (a renamed Sylpheed-Claws, apparently). I installed an older version, Sylpheed-Claws 2.6.0, on my machine at work, since that appears to be the latest version available on Ubuntu. Both versions seem to be a huge improvement over the last time I tried it (over a year ago, I guess).

Still, though, there are some major annoyances. When I'm sending mail (which seems to take a bit longer than it should), the entire UI blocks and I can't do anything else (like read other unread mail). That's retarded. I can't open the account editor dialog when I have any mail compose windows open. That's also retarded. It just cries "I was designed poorly". Fairly often, it'll get into a weird state while checking for new mail (on IMAP), and it'll hang there and not let me do anything without restarting. Occasionally it'll get into a different weird state where it just isn't able to check for new mail anymore without restarting. Occasionally it'll get into yet another weird state where it tries to check for new mail, but keeps reading garbage from the server, and sits there in a loop, and needs to be restarted.

There are some functional annoyances, too, like no shortcut (or option at all, as far as I can see) to mark all messages in a particular thread as read. There also doesn't appear to be a keyboard shortcut to mark all messages in a particular folder as read, but I suppose that's ok. I also can't mark a message read without opening it, unless I temporarily hide the preview pane, which is annoying. It doesn't pay attention to the concept of 'subscribed' IMAP folders, so I can't hide my spam folders (and unhide them once a month when I go through them). I prefer that the client not remember my password for me; however it takes my security paranoia a bit farther than I care about: if I ever get disconnected from the server, it asks for my password again. I'd really prefer that it just keeps my password in memory (mlock() is your friend), and forgets it entirely when I close the app.

Weirdly, even if I set it to convert HTML mail to plain text, it still displays <a> tags as if they were rendered as HTML. So for phisher URLs embedded 'underneath' a supposedly-legit-looking URL, you see the legit URL, and clicking it takes you to the phisher's site. I of course know better than to indiscriminately click on fake bank URLs, but why offer the option of ditching HTML if you're... not actually ditching HTML?

The PGP support doesn't let me assign particular recipients to which I want to always sign mail by default (it only lets you do that on a per-account basis). I like to sign messages I send to various OSS-related mailing lists, but not for personal correspondence. (Otherwise, I do like the PGP support here better than Thunderbird/Enigmail.)

On the plus side, it uses memory much more efficiently than Thunderbird does, and it doesn't seem to randomly lose mail from its cache. I've decided I'm going to try to use Claws Mail for a month before really deciding if I can use it permanently, just to give myself time to get used to its quirks (just as I've been spending years getting used to Thunderbird's quirks), but it's not looking good. Having to restart the client 3-5 times a day because it breaks in some unrecoverable way is not acceptable, though this may be a function of the slightly-older version I'm using on my machine at work. After I use the latest version on my laptop a bit longer, I may go to the trouble of compiling the latest version for my work computer if it seems like it would offer an advantage.

So, anybody else have any Gtk2 MUA recommendations? (I'll only consider non-Gtk2 clients if they're perfect.)

Update: I noticed that you can edit keyboard shortcuts, so I was able to add a ctrl+shift+c shortcut for marking all read, and I changed the 'next unread message' shortcut from shift+n to just n. I also changed 'check for new messages' and 'check for new messages in all accounts' to ctrl+t and ctrl+shift+t. This all mirrors Thunderbird, so I feel a little more at home. I'm still missing a 'mark thread read' action, though. Also, I found Ubuntu packages for Claws-Mail (on their website, oddly enough), so I can install the latest version on my computer at work and not be basing my opinion on an older version of Sylpheed-Claws.

On Pizza Toppings

  • February 3, 2007
  • Brian Tarricone

I don't really understand the "everything on it"-type pizzas, or the people who order them.

A pizza is a sacred object. In its most pure and unadulterated form, it consists of the following: bread (crust), sauce, and cheese.

Anything else, and you have the potential to destroy it.

Now, I'm not saying I'm a cheese-only man (or extra-cheese-only, even). Every now and then I'll have them throw on some sausage, pepperoni, or chicken... maybe even some broccoli if I'm in a weird mood. Olives can add an interesting taste.

But why, oh, why, would you want to put seven different toppings on it? At that point, the essence of the pizza is only a memory. How can you taste the sauce (arguably, the most important part of the pizza)? How can you taste the cheese? If you've piled too much on, the crust might not even be able to withstand the pressure, and collapse. Then what are you left with?

And what of the cacophony of topping flavors themselves? How can you tell them apart? They just blend into one mass of strange homogeneous taste. It's not good, ladies and gentlemen. It's not good.

So, I suggest you step back. First, go cold turkey. Spend some time ordering nothing but plain cheese. Try a few different pizzerias. The ones who can make a great-tasting plain pizza are the ones who really have talent.

Of course, it also helps to live in a place where pizza is, on average, good (i.e., not northern California). But that's a rant for another day.

Naming Meme

  • February 2, 2007
  • Brian Tarricone

YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet and current street name) Misty Camino

YOUR "FLY Guy/Girl" NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your middle name) B-Jam

YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Orange Cheetah (I don't really have a favorite animal, but that was the first one that came to mind.)

YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) James Neptune (I think this one actually sounds more like a cool detective name.)

YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 2 letters of mom's maiden name) Tar Br Ki

SUPERHERO NAME: ("The", your favorite color, favorite drink) The Orange Guinness (I guess using a beer name is cheating, but my fav mixed drink changes often.)

NASCAR NAME: (the first name of both your grandfathers) Albert Arthur

FUTURISTIC NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne and the name of your favorite kind of shoes) Oldspice Sandal (Er, I don't wear cologne... oh well.)

WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother & father's middle name ) Barbara Anthony (Awesome, I get to be a transsexual witness.)