Saturday, March 29

"Home" toolbar button on Firefox 3

The "Home" toolbar button seems to have been removed from the default configuration of Firefox 3. Moreover, it not trivial to get it back as it is not available in the "Customize toolbar" list of optional buttons either. It turns out that to add it you have to drag it from the bookmarks instead.

Tuesday, March 25

Reverting to packaged translations on Launchpad

It turns out that I did a poor job of looking for information on how to revert to packaged translations on Launchpad Translations. There is a bug report (#107737) on the very same issue with some useful information. Interestingly, the German team which reported the problem was even contemplating reverting all local Launchpad translations.

Furthermore, there is already a high-priority Launchpad blueprint for reverting translations of whole packages. There is no news on its implementation, but at least the idea is there.

Saturday, March 22

Pianofiles

pianofiles.com, a sheet music exchange site which I had mentioned two years ago, has gotten a nice facelift. It used to be very slow and neither very pretty nor convenient. Most of these shortcomings have now been corrected. It's a great place to look particularly for modern tunes which, unlike classical works (which are usually public domain anyway), do not have a canonical version, but heaps of arrangements and transcriptions of live performances. Quality of course varies, but point is that you can get your hands on many versions and compare them. Typical latency of requests is about a day. For example, just yesterday I fired off a few emails, and today I have got three versions of "Nardis" by Bill Evans. Feel free to ask for any sheets I've got.

Friday, March 21

Launchpad translations revisited

I am trying to add some order to the mess that is the Launchpad translation repository. Problem is, strings translated just once through Launchpad stick around forever, even if you change them in upstream later. In effect, a lot of translation bugfixes were not reaching Ubuntu users. I thought I had that covered. Unfortunately it's not the case.

I just noticed that in the Launchpad package list sorting by changed strings only sorts the first page! Initially I had noticed random package names and mistakenly thought that the whole package list was sorted. The whole list (~1500 packages, shown in 75 package chunks) is sorted by "importance", so it's basically random. Good luck finding modified packages in that haystack.

Seeking computer-literate monkeys.
Earn up to five bananas per hour!
Must be able to use mouse.

Unless... how about increasing the batch size? Turns out that in Launchpad the batch size is not capped, so by changing a URL parameter you can just set it to a high number, wait a few short moments, and get the complete list of packages. Sort that by changed strings and we're done, right?

We're done finding the local translations, but not fixing (reverting) them. The new, larger list reveals that there are more than a few of those with quite more than a few strings that should in 99% of the cases be reverted to packaged versions. Here's how that works:

Monkey operator instruction manual

  1. Click on 'Packaged' radio button for all 10 entries on page (no batch size modifications allowed here...)
  2. Click 'save'
  3. Repeat until the page says 'No more translations'
  4. Done. Not! When you click the 'Save button', the starting offset is changed for the next page. However, the translations you just marked are removed from the list at the same time. So, if you were looking at translations 1-10, after pressing 'Save & Continue' you will actually be looking at translations 21-30, not 11-20! To get to the 'lost' translations, you have to retrieve the list from the start again. So, load the initial page and go to step #1 to fix the remaining half of translations. Next time you reach this step, half of those will be left. Next time, half of half of those. Isn't that fun!

Where's that monkey ad again?

A brute force solution could be to write a script. That could save some bananas. Not that we could run out of them as this whole thing is pretty much bananas. That does not look like a clean solution though. Does anyone know if there there is a better way?

Thursday, March 20

Trickle the userspace traffic limiter

trickle (available in a package repository near you) is a neat little tool to limit network bandwidth of a particular app. It's very useful for those situations where you don't want your connection gobbled up, but the application in question does not implement traffic limiting. For example, to run a dist-upgrade capped at 30 KB/s, run this:

trickle -s -d 30 apt-get dist-upgrade

(Care to guess what I'm doing now?)

Note that trickle does not seem to work across the sudo boundary: don't do trickle -s -d 30 sudo foo, do sudo trickle -s -d 30 foo .

Wednesday, March 12

Launchpad translation synchronization

Ubuntu package translation storage in Launchpad used to annoy me, primarily because the synchronization workflow between Launchpad and upstream was unclear. My questions have been partly answered on Launchpad Answers. Others working with translations in Launchpad might be interested in this information.

Here's another tip for translation coordinators. I used to worry about translation pollution in Launchpad, until I found that you can clean up efficiently by sorting packages by the number of translations changed locally in Launchpad (to try it out, you can go here and click twice on the "Changed" column). Click on the number of changed translations in a given package and you will be presented with a list of the changed translations, which you can reset to upstream versions one by one by choosing "packaged" versions. It seems to be a good idea to perform such a cleanup once in a while, to keep the amount of cruft to a minimum.