Archive for the ‘Chandler Project’ Category

Chandler Desktop 1.0.3.1 released (Ubuntu Jaunty only)

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

As noted by commenters on this blog, the Debian packages available for Chandler 1.0.3 don’t work on the newest Ubuntu release (9.04, a.k.a. Jaunty Jackalope). I fixed the problem in Chandler trunk a while back: It turned out that Python 2.6 introduced some errors that weren’t hard to address.

So, for Jaunty users only, there are now Chandler 1.0.3.1 Debian packages available here.

Thanks to Matt Schafer for suggesting this, and for reminding me after I completely forgot to send out the announcement when I came back from vacation a couple of weeks ago.

For the record, the bugs fixed in this release are:

  • 12792 Chandler does not work under Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty
  • 11059 Upgrade twisted to 8.2.0

OSAF/Chandler outage report for 2009-04-28

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

We’re back! The entire OSAF/Chandler world was offline for about 24 hours from April 27th at 2pm to April 28th. This outage has been fixed with no permanent damage.

The root cause was “sparking” (ouch) on the power lines reported by PG&E.  Our colo hosts, Hosted @ ISC, switched over to their generator as a precaution but the generator failed.  ISC started shutting down machines when they knew the outage would exceed their UPS power.

Here’s where our outage stretched out longer than it needed to. ISC didn’t let us know they were powering down the machines, or that power was back up a couple hours later. They responded to my 3pm inquiry to their ticketing system late on the 27th, saying that everything should have been fine hours ago. Unfortunately, I had already gone to bed, so the OSAF/Chandler outage had to wait out the night.

In the morning of the 28th, I asked ISC to hit the power buttons on the machines for me, but nothing happened. I packed up quick tech kit plus some spare machines and hopped in the car for the hour drive to Redwood City. On-site around noon, I confirmed the machines appeared dead. Weird. Hopefully the power issues hadn’t killed all 4 physical machines’ power supplies or motherboards at once, right?

Turns out, our managed power device that lets us turn machines on and off remotely had taken a header. I started moving machines’ power around, finding out by the end which ports on the power switch were dead. The Hub machine moved off the power switch entirely.

That would have all be relatively simple, except for the extended duration, but there were other post-shutdown details that smacked me around for a while. I found that the tightened DNS configuration implemented back when DNS security went crazy kept our DNS machines from answering questions from themselves. I kept production machines like Hub off until I had DNS sorted out.

But far worse was a surprise related to the Debian Etch to Lenny upgrade. Since Lenny was released a few months ago, I’ve been upgrading OSAF machines in the background. I don’t know how I missed this, but the upgrade can remove the package used to bring up networking (ifupdown). I had been breaking the cardinal sysadmin rule of always rebooting machines after upgrading the OS, so I was very very confused when some machines came back up without any networking. Including our primary DNS server. And the secondary DNS server seemed broken because of the DNS config error I mentioned above.

I shot myself in the foot even more because before I realized all this, I had decided that the already-extended outage “seemed a good time” to upgrade the Hub from etch to lenny. After the reboot, no networking! Gah, it was just working fine before the upgrade!

So, after getting a grip on what was going on, tracing through networking startup scripts, and tracking down the missing ifupdown package issue, I go bumming through the ISC office for a USB key. I use one of the existing machines to pull the ifupdown package (both i386 for the virtual machines and amd64 for the Hub) using a command-line web browser, troll through syslog to figure out what device to mount, and get these packages onto their needed machines. Luckily, this all works and all machines come back up.

All’s well that ends well I suppose, but this was a tough outage to swallow after the 9 hours from the big fiber cut less than a month ago. Natural questions like “is our hosting good enough?” and “should we move?” come up.

My view is that weird things happen in every hosting environment; moving is not a cure-all for reliability issues. Our reliability isn’t as good as we’d like or as good as could be achieved, but I feel it’s still better to sit tight. The main reason is cost: hosting the Hub consumes a good amount of bandwidth (about 8Mbps) and ISC is providing all services (space, power, bandwidth, remote hands) for free for 9 rack units worth of equipment. It would be possible to move some services like mailing lists, code repositories, and wikis to other free services and someday the community may choose to go that route.  But it’s nice to not have restrictions on capabilities or capacity that we get from hosting almost all of our own services; many open source projects would love to have access to the resources and flexibility that OSAF enjoys.

Overall I think we’ve just had a spate of bad luck and while a very rare 24-hour outage might be unacceptable to a commercial venture, as long as they stay very rare, they are acceptable to OSAF and Chandler communities and very worth the tradeoffs.

There are three items I want to undertake as a result of the outage:

  • Place a DNS secondary outside of ISC
  • Print out some phone numbers, IP ranges, and other “might need it offline” info
  • Talk to ISC about coordinating during outages

As a final note, it turns out I could have determined that “everything should be fine now” by going to status.isc.org where there was some information about the outage, including when it ended. I hadn’t been checking that page during the outage but I certainly will (as well as using the phone as needed) during any future outages.

Chandler 1.0.3

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

A new Chandler Desktop release, version 1.0.3, is now available.

Highlights include better support for Google’s CalDAV server,
the addition of a menu for choosing the calendar’s first day of the week
and, lastly, we’ve built .deb packages — for both 32-bit
and 64-bit processors — for Ubuntu 8.04 (“Hardy”) and
8.10 “Intrepid”).

Here is the full list of bugs fixed in 1.0.3:

  • 11038 Feature request: a UI affordance for selecting the starting day of the week
  • 12228 Get Mac native spell checker working again
  • 12253 Sy&nc Mana&ger… (note two ampersands) in menus.py:223
  • 12274 Deprecated libiuc36 dependency
  • 12278 Support Google’s CalDAV implementation
  • 12328 make all binaries in internal fails with: NameError: global name ‘log’ is not defined
  • 12472 ValueError: too many values to unpack (selected message has angle brackets within the name as well as the SMTP address)
  • 12484 Won’t start (Mandriva and possibly other Linuxes)

You can download the app here,
or by using the “Check for Updates” feature in Chandler.

Chandler Users discuss Things 1.0

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Things recently released their 1.0 and there’s been some interesting discussion about it vis-a-vis Chandler on the Users-List.

Some interesting analysis of relative pros and cons include:

- Things’ more native Mac OSX experience
- New ability to sync Things with Apple iCal
- Chandler’s ability to share and sync across multiple computers
- Always present notes pane (Chandler) versus separate pop-up (Things)
- Lack of printing in Chandler

Have you tried out Things? What has your experience been? What do you like about Things that you would like to see incorporated in Chandler?

Things and Chandler

Screenshot of Things was taken from the Culture Code website.

OSAF update

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

I have been fairly silent on the blog and mailing lists so I thought I would follow Eugene’s lead and post an update. My role over the past several months has been largely behind-the-scenes to tackle administrative and operational issues that support our transition to an all volunteer organization. Those activities are soon coming to a close and I look forward to resuming more outward participation in the project and engaging with our growing community. It has been great to see all the activity on the users list particularly from newcomers stepping up to help answer questions, log bugs and engage in discussions.

As Eugene mentioned, the new board met for the first time in mid-November. Also in attendance were the remaining OSAF staffers, Mimi, Grant and Jeffrey. Katie was also on hand to help provide some context for the new board. This meeting was an opportunity for all the new board members to get to know each other and meet in person. We also talked about where the project is today, the assets we have and what we might want to achieve in new year. For me, it was a forum for soliciting feedback on wide range of administrative issues that needed to be taken care of. Both Grant and Jeffrey provided an update on the architecture project and we agreed to let them continue to build out the data and interactions models and we would access our progress in early 2009. Last week Mimi posted our plan through the end of Feb 2009 on the dev list.

Our next board meeting is scheduled for February 6th, 2009. Our agenda hasn’t been finalized but will likely focus on the state of the architecture work and nailing down a plan for evangelizing the progress we have made so far. Both Grant and Jeffrey will be transitioning to volunteers at the end of February but will remain active members of our community, joining many former OSAF staffers.

I am still using Chandler on a daily basis to manage my kids lives. I blogged about this earlier in the year. Since then, my collections have expanded to include a number of other personal projects. I am very proud of what we accomplished in 2008 and am energized to help further build out our community in 2009.

News for the New Year

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Late last year, I had the distinct pleasure of joining the OSAF board. I had gotten to know Mimi, Katie, and several other OSAF staffers over the years and had watched the project evolve with some interest. Chandler had gone through a very public awkward period, but it had also gone through a less public maturation period. Chandler had become something that was very cool, something that I’ve been using every day for almost a year now. More importantly, I found the larger vision exciting and the unique development process compelling.

All that said, I had a bit of trepidation when Sheila and Mimi approached me about joining the OSAF board. OSAF was in the process of transitioning from an organization with paid staff to an unfunded steward of the Chandler code. The Chandler code was in the process of being rearchitected, something that was much needed, but wouldn’t be complete before the OSAF transition. I wasn’t sure what the future held for the project.

The more I talked to the Chandler team, the more those fears began to dissipate. Everyone in the community — developers, designers, and users alike — was excited about the project and its future. So were Andre Mueninghoff and Alex Russell, who ended up joining the board with me.

Last November, the new board spent two days together in San Francisco, where my enthusiasm reached a new high. Chandler has a ton of things going for it:

  • Chandler is unique in that it’s a task-oriented tool for managing your information
  • You can access Chandler anywhere, thanks to the lesser-known Chandler Server and its superior support of standards, such as CalDAV.
  • Chandler works with the iPhone. It plays nicely with Apple iCal, Google Calendar, and Evolution. And again, because of its support of open standards, the mashup possibilities are endless.
  • The Chandler community is active. New versions of the Server and Desktop were released last September and October. The user community is active, friendly, and growing.
  • The Desktop rearchitecture is going swimmingly, and it’s going to get Python developers excited, not to mention users who will benefit from its new design.
  • The people are great.

I can’t reiterate that last point enough. OSAF’s transition to an all-volunteer organization will soon be complete, thanks to thebehind-the-scenes effort of Sheila and Jared. The future of the project rests not only on the power of the ideas, but on the passion of the participants.

With this in mind, for those of you already participating, thank you! For those of you thinking about participating, please engage with us! Join our mailing lists or come on our IRC channel, and find out how you can help!

Happy New Year!

Partial server outage Nov 12th

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

On Wednesday Nov 12th, our final OSAF/Chandler Project servers will migrate to ISC.  The affected services include chandlerproject.org web and wiki, subversion, and downloads.  Mail and Chandler Hub will not be affected.  Overall downtime should be from about 1pm Pacific to about 4pm.
Your patience is appreciated.  Please report any problems you have after the outage to the chandler-users mailing list and IRC channel.

Leaving the board…

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Six months ago, I had to step away from the project unexpectedly due to a family crisis. I’ve really missed working with the team — I’m very proud of them for shipping a solid Chandler 1.0, web and desktop. I’m also so heartened to watch the successful transition to an all volunteer organization. OSAF is lucky to have such great people join the new board and user advisory group — I’m excited to see new energy come to the project. Thank you, Sheila, for stepping in when I needed to be away and keeping things on track!

I have been following the project even as I’ve been away, keeping up with the lists and the blog. When I have a little more free time and energy I’ll be looking for ways to help out — perhaps a bit of coding on Chandler 2.0. Looking forward to seeing what happens in the next phase of the project…

OSAF board changes and project next steps…

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

I am very pleased to announce that Eugene Kim, Alex Russell and Andre Mueninghoff will be joining the OSAF board of directors. The Chandler project has undergone significant changes over the past year, starting with the restructuring of the organization in January. We’ve been working for some time now to form a new board, to inject the project with new energy and new ideas. You can read more in their bios below…
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

EUGENE KIM: Eugene is the cofounder and principal of Blue Oxen Associates, a think
tank/consultancy focused on improving collaboration. He has developed
collaborative strategies for a number of organizations, focusing
especially on inter-organizational collaboration and collaborative
learning. Past clients have included World Economic Forum, NASA,
Institute for International Education, and Socialtext.

Eugene’s research centers around identifying patterns of
high-performance collaboration across different domains. He is also a
thought leader in the collaborative tool space, focusing especially on
Wikis, digital identity, and usability. He most recently directed
computer pioneer Doug Engelbart’s HyperScope project.

In addition to his work at Blue Oxen Associates, Eugene serves on the
board of the Leadership Learning Community and the Open Source
Applications Foundation and on the advisory boards of Tomorrow Makers
and Dreamfish.

Previously, Eugene was the Senior Technical Editor at Dr. Dobb’s
Journal. He’s published numerous articles as well as one of the first
books on web application development. He received his A.B. in History
and Science from Harvard University.

Eugene’s thoughts on Chandler: I love Chandler for two reasons. First and foremost, as a tool,
Chandler is useful. It helps me stay organized, and it helps me
collaborate with others. Chandler fulfills a critical need that
prevents groups of all sizes from collaborating effectively.

Second, I love the people involved with the project. I’ve known Mimi
and Katie since they participated (and rocked) our first FLOSS
Usability Sprint three years ago, and I’ve enjoyed meeting the rest of
the team and members of the community since. Moreover, the way they
are incorporating user-centric design with open source development is
cutting-edge, and I believe that it will serve to be a model for many
projects to come.

I’m thrilled to be joining the OSAF board. I think it’s an exciting
time for the Chandler project, and I’m looking forward to being part
of the team.

ALEX RUSSELL: Alex is Director of R&D for SitePen, President of the Dojo Foundation,
and a founder and former project lead of the Dojo Toolkit. He contributes to
the CometD project and is a co-author of the Bayeux specification for Comet.
From ‘06 to ‘08, Alex served as a founding Steering Committee member of the
Open Ajax Alliance.

Before joining SitePen, Alex was a Senior Engineer at JotSpot and Informatica
where he helped build highly interactive web interfaces. His earlier Open
Source involvement included stints as editor of the OWASP Guide to Building
Secure Web Applications and primary author of the netWindows DHTML toolkit.

Alex’s thoughts on Chandler: The mission of Chandler inspired me the very first time I heard of the project. As Chandler has evolved and matured, I find that I’m delighted by the clear utility of the finished product. It takes a very level-headed organization to understand the large shifts from desktop to web that have taken place in the span of the project’s history, and Chandler Hub and Cosmo give me deep faith that the Chandler team is in sync with the needs of users.

ANDRE MUENINGHOFF: Andre is an IT Director experienced in software design and
development, and enterprise application management. He has led
off-shore, near-shore, and on-site teams using lean, agile-oriented
methodologies. In addition to supporting the open source software
movement, Andre invests his spare time in coaching FIRST LEGO League
(FLL) robotics teams.

Andre is a long time user and follower of the project and is a member of the Chandler User Advisory Group.

Andre’s thoughts on Chandler: What excites me is the commitment to the goal of having users be
involved actively in all phases of the development process, particularly
at the front-end of the process. The early goals for the Chandler
application held great promise. The 1.0 release delivers on many of
them, and foreshadows many more. The desktop application rearchitecture
work currently underway is expected to enable the project to be even
more responsive to evolving and new user requirements.
__________________________________________________________________________________

We have also recruited OSAF staffer Jared Rhine to join the board and I will replace Katie Parlante who is resigning her position. Katie will be following up with a blog post of her own. Long time board members Mitchell Baker and John Lilly will be moving on as well. We thank Mitchell and John for their support and involvement in the project over so many years and Katie for her leadership and contributions to the project in all areas of the organization.

We have accomplished a considerable amount over the past 10 months. We released Chandler 1.0, a “Note-to-Self Organizer” designed for personal and small-group task management and calendaring. Our 1.0 offering builds on what we released for Preview and shaped itself from a wide range of feedback we received over the past year. We not only worked on new features, fixing bugs and improving usability but we also spent considerable time on our marketing message and evangelizing how Chandler is useful through the many user stories that appeared on our blog. We introduced the Quick Entry and iPhone widgets to reach out to both the new users and the development community.

As of the end of November 2008, OSAF will be moving to a mostly all-volunteer organization. For this reason, we have been focusing on projects that will set up Chandler for this new phase. In addition to assembling a new board, we have put together a great User Advisory Group that will take on a prominent role supporting the needs of our existing and new users. Grant and Jeffrey have been moving forward with the re-architecture project which is central to building our developer community. They will be staying on staff for some time to see this project through. We have many volunteers who have been and will continue to contribute to the project on many levels. In addition to joining the board, Jared will continue to volunteer to run the Hub service. Mimi will continue to support the user community and help with design issues.

We have been planning for this transition for some time and look forward to all the unknowns and opportunities of this new era.

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Chandler 1.0.2

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

We are releasing a new Chandler Desktop, version 1.0.2, in order to address a couple of serious issues some users have reported. The following two bugs affect data export and reload:

  • 12335 Total data loss on chandler startup – restore not possible
  • 12353 Export to .chex fails

There is also a fix that addresses an interoperability problem that came up testing the
iPhone/iPhone Touch Quick Entry widget:

  • 12381 Make eim lowercase all keys

You can download the app here,
or by using the “Check for Updates” feature in Chandler.

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