Blog

Worked On Plone Conference Add-On And With Navigation Root

I worked further on a Plone add-on to manage conferences and had to work with the navigation root of a Plone site. I moved this navigation root to the container object of the conference add-on. The navigation worked as expected yet (the objects in top container made it to the main navigation menubar), but the login and register links at the top of the site didn’t work anymore. Thus I had to edit the links of this actions / portal_actions inside the ‘Site Setup’ or the Plone ‘Management Interface’. I added a short howto about this.

Working On Plone Conference Add-On

I created a Plone conference add-on a longer time ago, which was used to run two LibreOffice conferences. I published the code of this add-on on the Plone collective Github account.

This add-on was created and used within Plone 4 and the Grok method. This is not the usal way to develop on Plone anymore thus I decided to first drop all grok ties and replace them with other Plone methods, especially make better use of configure.zcml. I’ll finish this work during the next days.

The goal of my work is the migration of the conference add-on to Plone 5.2.x and Python 3 and add new features afterwards to support the work of organizers of analog and online conferences.

The code of the conference add-on is available at: https://github.com/collective/collective.conferences

New Releases Of Collective.Addons And Collective.Templates

I added a feature to choose if the name and / or the contact e-mail address of an addon project should be published on the projects page during the last days. Today I created a release from this changes and published it on the Cheeseshop (https://pypi.org): https://pypi.org/project/collective.addons/

The source code of this Plone add-on is available on its Github repository:
https://github.com/collective/collective.addons

In addition I made a small bugfix release for the Plone add-on collective.templates and published it to on pypi.org:
https://pypi.org/project/collective.templates/
The source code of this add-on could be cloned from Github at:
https://github.com/collective/collective.templates.

New Release Of Collective.Templates

I worked further on the source code of the Plone add-on collective.templates and added a feature to display the username and the e-mail address of a project owner on his/her choice. The new release contains also an improved user documentation.

You could download the new release from the Cheeseshop (https://pypi.org):
https://pypi.org/project/collective.templates/
The source code is available from the Github repository of the Plone collective:
https://github.com/collective/collective.templates

Matrix-Synapse Install And Testing

I installed the Matrix-Synapse server on Debian Buster running inside a virtual maschine. I got Matrix-Synapse configured and running. I installed the ufw firewall and allowed ‘http’, ‘https’ and ‘8008/tcp’.

I configured the Debian machine within its network settings from NAT to bridged network and I could reach the running Apache, running on that Debian. But it was not possible to reach the Matrix-Synapse server from the host system yet. I had to reconfigure ‘homeserver.yaml’ and change the bind_addresses variable from ‘127.0.0.1’ to the IP of the network bridge (the network address of the interface of the Debian box). After a restart of matrix-synapse I could connect via <IP-Address of the Debian box>:8008 (the ip address of the Debian box and port 8008). I could then connect with the Riot webclient from the host to the Matrix-Synapse server and a Riot client on the Debian box.

I was able to create rooms and invite into them. It was also possible to start phone calls. But there were currently no emoticon available in the chat application.

New Releases Of TDF.Templateuploadcenter and TDF.Extensionuploadcenter

I worked on some improvements of the code of the Plone add-ons tdf.templateuploadcenter and tdf.extensionuploadcenter. This add-ons were used to drive the current LibreOffice extensions and templates website.

I moved all unicode strings to ‘safe_unicode’ strings to make it more smooth to migrate the content of the current website to the current version of Plone, 5.2, and Python 3.x.

I published a new release of the add-on tdf.templateuploadcenter (https://pypi.org/project/tdf.templateuploadcenter/) on the Cheeseshop (https://pypi.org) during the weekend. Today I submitted a new release of the add-on tdf.extensionuploadcenter on the Cheeseshop (https://pypi.org/project/tdf.extensionuploadcenter/).

The source code of both Plone add-ons is available in their Github repositories:
https://github.com/andreasma/tdf.templateuploadcenter
https://github.com/andreasma/tdf.extensionuploadcenter

Worked On Collective.ClamAV

I worked with the Plone add-on for virus scanning yesterday and evaluated an issue with a new feature in the Plone add-on plone.formwidget.namedfile. If a file field was not changed (no replacing upload) the return is ‘NOT_CHANGED’ and validator module of collective.clamav was not able to get any data to scan. But there was no need to run a scan in such a situation and thus I added a appropriate check to the validator module. There will be no virus scanning for unchanged file fields anymore.

My changes are already in the Github repository of collective.clamav available: https://github.com/collective/collective.clamav.

The add-on is compatible with Plone 5.2 and Python 3.

LibreOffice Extensions Website Repository Updated To Python 3

I worked on the complete migration of the LibreOffice extensions and templates website repository to Python 3 and Plone 5.2.x during the last days. I was able to upgrade the staging (development / single instance) buildout first. I worked on some Plone add-ons to reach this goal in my spare time during the last weeks.

But for the success of the migration to Python 3 and Plone 5.2.x is necessary a working production buildout. Thus I worked on the live.cfg buildout script for the site and created a new version of it: live2.cfg. I used this new script for the setup of a pure zeoserver with four instances. I could also add the supervisor controller to start and stop the zeoserver and its instances.

Supervisor monitor on my local Plone 5.2.x Python 3 buildout / environment

Then I worked on adding the support of Varnish to it. I used the add-on plone.recipe.varnish from the Github repository for that and changed Varnish to the a current LTS version 6.0.6. I could start varnishd with supervisor although I got an error message with supervisorctl status for it. The Varnish log stated that it could not get the socket of the port, it is configured to run on.

I looked with netstat -pln into the processes running on my PC and found varnishd running and listening. Thus Varnish had been started, but supervisor lost control over it. I was not able to stop Varnish with a supervisorctl command.

I worked further on the migration of HAProxy to the new Python 3 setup. I got a hint from a member of the Plone community that he already created a working branch of plone.recipe.haproxy for Python 3. I changed my buildout scripts to use this branch and I could build and run HAProxy too. But HAProxy didn’t get in contact with Varnish and the zeoserver instances in my setting. It stated that this instances were not running / available, although they are.

I got another hint from this community member and changed my buildout further. I changed the ‘bind’ Varnish configuration line to point to the Haproxy port of my buildout setting. The error message from Varnish disappeared. I was under control of supervisor yet.

Then I read in a blog about an issue of the HAProxy configuration, if it checks via http for the availability of Plone instances. I removed this option (httpchk) from the haproxy.conf file and everything went green. I could finish the migration to Python 3 and Plone 5.2.x.

HAProxy Monitor on my local Plone 5.2.x Python 3 buildout / environment (only 2 of 4 instances are started by supervisor)

The next step would be a test with a copy of the database and content of the current LibreOffice extensions website. I asked for this some days ago, but got no answer yet.

Time To Say Goodbye To Python 2

The Python version 2.x is soon reaching the end of it’s lifecycle. The last release of this Python version will be published Mid of April 2020 (https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0373/), thus in less than three weeks. After this date Python 2 will not get any updates, not even for security reasons.

If a software is using Python 2 and not using only a Python 2 supported by a Linux distribution, it’s time to move forward to Python 3 and publish a new release for this switch. If a software project especially targeted to enduser is not able to do this switch at least to the end of April 2020 (or short after this date), the software should not delivered anymore and the user of the software should be informed accordingly. If there is an suitable alternative to the software the user should be pointed to that alternative.

Today I looked into the source code repository of a well known open source software for office worker and it seemed this software (Apache OpenOffice) is using only Python 2.7.x (see http://openoffice-vm1-he-de.apache.org/xref/aoo418/main/python/) and has not been upgraded to Python 3. In contrast the other succesor of OpenOffice.org , LibreOffice, has been ported to Python 3 for some time. Thus the Python bindings of this open source software is more up-to-date and the use of LibreOffice secure and forward-looking. If the open source project Apache OpenOffice will not be able to publish a new release with Python 3 bindings at least at the beginning of May 2020, the software should not be delivered anymore and the current user should be informed accordingly with a link to the successful and vibrant successor.

Open Source Software lebt nicht von Historie sondern von Dynamik

Auch eine gute quelloffene (Open Source) und freie Software lebt nicht allein von ihrer Historie, sondern sie wird auf Dauer nur überleben, wenn sie mit der technischen Entwicklung Stand hält. Dazu ist es notwendig, dass der Quellcode modernisiert wird und sich an Neuerungen der verwendeten Programmiersprache (z.B. der Programmiersprachen C und C++) anpasst. Hierduch lassen sich dann beispielsweise neue Funktionen der Programmiersprachen einsetzen und zuvor für diese Fälle erstellte Eigenentwicklungen müssen nicht mehr mühsam selbst gepflegt werden (und damit werden Programmierer-Arbeitsstunden für andere Aufgaben, z.B. das Programmieren neuer Funktionen, frei).

Gerade das Erstellen neuer Funktionen oder die Verbesserung alter Funktionalitäten sind für die Weiterentwicklung einer Software wichtig, unabhängig davon, in welchem zeitlichen Rhythmus diese dann in neuen Releases veröffentlicht werden (und wie lange Hauptversionen des Programms mit Patches [Updates] jeweils versorgt werden).

Um den Quellcode einer quelloffenen und freien Software aktuell zu halten und ihm neue oder verbesserte Funktionen einzufügen, bedarf es einer ausreichenden Anzahl von Programmierern (bezahlt und/oder freiwillig Beitragender) und einer leistungsfähigen Infrastruktur zur Zusammenarbeit der Beteiligten.

Dies gilt umso mehr, wenn es sich um eine Software mit umfangreichem Quelltext mit Millionen von Programmierzeilen handelt, und diese Software von Büroarbeitern zur Bearbeitung von Textdokumenten, Tabellendokumenten oder Präsentationen eingesetzt wird und mit ihr auch auf Datenbanken zugegriffen wird.

Wenn man sich die Weiterentwicklung des Quellcodes und der Software der freien Bürosoftware OpenOffice.org ab dem Jahr 2010 anschaut und die persönlichen Ressourcen (Man-/Women-Power) betrachtet, die in beiden Projekten am Werke ist, stellt man sehr schnell fest, dass allein das LibreOffice-Projekt den Quellcode (der zum Teil noch aus den 1990-Jahren stammte) modernisiert und neue / verbesserte Funktionen eingefügt hat. Demgegenüber hat die Software Apache OpenOffice nach dem Ausstieg von IBM aus dessen Entwicklung keine für die Entwicklung bezahlten Programmierer mehr zur Verfügung. Eine Weiterentwicklung dieser Bürosoftware hat seitdem nicht mehr wirklich stattgefunden. Der Quellcode ist seit 2010 nicht wesentlich modernisiert worden. Apache OpenOffice ist – anders als LibreOffice – nicht in der Lage, das neue Microsoft-Dateiformat OOXML zu lesen und zu schreiben. Dies ist aber – leider – für eine Bürosoftware aktuell erforderlich, da in heterogenen Arbeitsumgebungen / Kundenbeziehungen nicht alle Beteiligten das offene Dateiformat ODF (Open Document Format) verwenden.

Es ist müßig, darüber zu streiten, wer der “wahre” Erbe von OpenOffice.org ist. Für den Anwender einer quelloffenen und freien Bürosoftware kommt es allein auf deren aktuelle Funktionalität und den gesicherten Support (z.B. für Fehlerbehebung und neue Funktionalitäten) an. Ein Open Source Projekt, das dies nicht (mehr) bieten kann, sollte seine Software nicht mehr bewerben und ihren Vertrieb solange einstellen, bis der Support wieder voll gewährleistet ist. Sofern diese notwendige Konsequenz nicht gezogen wird und die aktuellen Benutzer der Software nicht über die verfügbaren Programm-Alternativen zeitnah informiert werden, schadet eine solche Verfahrensweise letztlich der gesamten Idee von freier Software und dem zugehörigen beruflichen Umfeld.