FOSScamp Syros 2017 – day 1

During Debconf17 I was asked by Daniel Pocock if I can attend FOSScamp Syros to help with Debian’s l10n in the Balkans. I said I would be happy to, although my visit would be short (2.5 days) due to previous plans. The main idea of camp is to have FOSS people meet for about 1 week near a beach. So it’s sun, water and free software.  This year it takes place  in Syros, Greece.

After take the morning ferry, I met with the guys at noon. I didn’t know how would it be, as it’s my first time with this group/meeting, but they were very nice and welcoming. 10 minutes after my arrival I found myself setting with two of the female attendees starting to work on Albanian (sq) translation of Debian Installer.

It took my a few minutes to find my where to check out the current level1 files, as I thought they aren’t in SVN anymore, but ended up learning the PO files is the only part of the installer still on SVN. As the girls were quick with the assinged levle1 sublevels, I started to look for the level2 and level3 files, and it was annoying to have the POT files very accessible, but no links to the relevant git repositories. I do want to have all the relevant links in one central place, so people who want to help with translation could do that.

While some of the team member just used a text editor to edit the files, I suggested to them using either poedit or granslator, both I used a few years ago. Yaron Shahrabani also recommended virtaal to me, but after trying it for a while I didn’t like it (expect it’s great feature showing the diff with fuzzy messages). For the few people who also have Windows on their machine, both poedit and Virtaal have windows binaries for download. So you don’t have to have Linux in order to help with translations.

In parallel, I used the “free” time to work on the Hebrew translation for level1, as it’s been a while since either me or Omer Zak worked on it. Quite soon the guys started to send me the files for review, and I did find some errors using diff. Especially when not everyone use a PO editor. I also missed a few strings during the review, which got fixed later on by Christian Perrier. Team work indeed (:

I found it interesting to see the reactions and problems for the team to work with the PO files, and most projects now use some system (e.g. Pootle) for online web translation. Which saves some of the head ace, but also prevents from making some review and quality check before submitting the files. It’s a good idea to explore this option for Debian as well.

A tip for those who do want to work with PO files, either use git’s diff features or use colordiff to check your changes (notice less will require -R parameter to keep the color).

Although I met the guys only at noon, the day was very fruitful for Debian Installer l10n:

  • Albanian (sq) level1 – from 78% to 82% (Eva Vranici, Silva Arapi)
  • Albanian (sq) level2 – from 20% to 24% (Nafie Shehu)
  • Hebrew (he) level1 – from 96% to 97% (me)
  • Greek (el) level1 – from 96% to 97% (Sotirios Vrachas)

Some files are still work in progress and will be completed tomorrow. My goal is to have Albanian at 100% during the camp and ready for the next d-i alpha.

I must admit that I remember d-i to have many more strings as part of the 3 levels, especially levels 2+3 which were huge (e.g. the iso codes).

Except all the work and FOSS related conversations, I found a great group who welcomed me quickly, made me feel comfortable and taught me a thing or two about Greece and the Syros specifically.

TIP: try the dark chocolate with red hot chili pepper in the icecream shop.

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PDO_IBM: tracking changes publicly

As part of my work at Zend (now a RogueWave company), I maintain the various patch sets. One of those is the changes for PDO_IBM extension for PHP.

After some patch exchange I decided it’s would be easier to manage the whole process over a public git repository, and maybe gain some more review / feedback along the way. Info at https://github.com/kaplanlior/pecl-database-pdo_ibm/commits/zend-patches

Another aspect of this, is having IBMi specific patches from YIPS (young i professionals) at http://www.youngiprofessionals.com/wiki/index.php/XMLService/PHP, which itself are patches on top of vanilla releases. Info at https://github.com/kaplanlior/pecl-database-pdo_ibm/commits/zend-patches-for-yips

So keeping track over these changes as well is easier while using git’s ability to rebase efficiently, so when a new release is done, I can adapt my patches quite easily. Make sure the changes can be back and forward ported between vanilla and IBMi versions of the extension.

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Open source @ Midburn, the Israeli burning man

This year I decided to participate in Midburn, the Israeli version of burning man. Whiling thinking of doing something different from my usual habit, I found myself with volunteering in the midburn IT department and getting a task to make it an open source project. Back into my comfort zone, while trying to escape it.

I found a community of volunteers from the Israeli high tech scene who work together for building the infrastructure for Midburn. In many ways, it’s already an open source community by the way it works. One critical and formal fact was lacking, and that’s the license for the code. After some discussion we decided on using Apache License 2.0 and I started the process of changing the license, taking it seriously, making sure it goes “by the rules”.

Our code is available on GitHub at https://github.com/Midburn/. And while it still need to be more tidy, I prefer the release early and often approach. The main idea we want to bring to the Burn infrastructure is using Spark as a database and have already began talking with parallel teams of other burn events. I’ll follow up on our technological agenda / vision. In the mean while, you are more than welcome to comment on the code or join one of the teams (e.g. volunteers module to organize who does which shift during the event).

 

 

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First uses of the PHP 5.4 security backports

I recently checked the Debian PHP 5.4 changelog and found out this message (5.4.45-0+deb7u3 and 5.4.45-0+deb7u4):

* most patches taken from https://github.com/kaplanlior/php-src
Thanks a lot to Lior Kaplan for providing them.

I was very pleased to see my work being used, and I hope this would save other time while providing PHP long term support.

Also, while others do similar work (e.g. Remi from RedHat), it seems I’m the only when that make this over GIT and with full references (e.g. commit info, CVE info and bug number).

Comments and suggestions are always welcome… either mail or even better – a pull request.

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Anonymous CVE requests

A year ago I’ve blogged about people requesting CVE without letting upstream know. On the other hand, per requests from Debian, I’m working on improving PHP upstream CVE request process. For the last few release this means I ask the security list members which issues they think should have CVE and ask for them in parallel to the release being made (usually in the space between the release being tagged publicly and is actually announced).

In the last week, I’ve encountered a case where a few CVE were assigned to old PHP issues without any public notice. The fixes for these issues have been published a year ago (August 2015). And I find out about these assignment through warning published by the distributions (mostly Debian, which I’m close to).

Sometimes things fall between the chairs, and it’s perfectly OK to ask for CVE to make sure security issues do get attention even if time has passed. But after the issues (and fixes) are public, I don’t see a reason to do so without making the request itself public as well. And even if the request wasn’t public, at least notify upstream so this info can be added to the right places. Most of these bug were found out when I started to add sequential number into the CVE search after getting an a notice from Debian for two of the issues.

  • CVE-2015-8873 for PHP #69793
  • CVE-2015-8874 for PHP #66387
  • CVE-2015-8876 for PHP #70121
  • CVE-2015-8877 for PHP #70064
  • CVE-2015-8878 for PHP #70002
  • CVE-2015-8879 for PHP #69975
  • CVE-2015-8880 for PHP aa8cac57 (Dec 2015)

And while working on processing these issues for PHP, I also notice they weren’t updated for libGD where appropriate (including recent issues).

Beyond keeping the eco-system up to date, another aspect of publicity is getting opinions from other parties. For example, in the case of CVE-2015-8879, RedHat doesn’t agree with the classification of the bug as security. To give an example of a way things should happen is the request of CVE for PHP 5.5.34 in April, in which the Gentoo security team asked for assignment without upstream knowledge, Debian representative CCs upstream (Thanks!) and also asks CVE for issues covered by Ubuntu, to which the Ubuntu guy then adds some details.

I hope this blog post will reach the anonymous people behind these CVE requests, and also the people assigning them. Without transparency and keeping things in synchronization, the idea of having a centralized location for security warning is not going to accomplish its goals.

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Implementing NATO’s standards (STANAG)

I recently joined Linnovate, and while working on one of the open source projects the company produces, we needed to process video content according to NATO’s standard agreement (STANAG) 4609: NATO Digital Motion Imagery Standard.

Obviously we started with trying to find code already done, but we only found some implementation in Java, while our project is written in JavaScript. We decided to just implement the standard in the way most convenient to us, and later refactoring the project when more standards (STANAGs) will get implemented.

So I’m happy to introduce our new project: STANAG at https://github.com/linnovate/stanag , also available with NPM (see https://www.npmjs.com/package/stanag).

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Backporting of PHP security fixes

4 months ago I wrote my thoughts about PHP support during the “PHP 5 support timeline” vote:

I think we should limit what we guarantee (meaning keeping only one year of security support till end of 2017), and encourage project members and the eco-system (e.g. Linux distributions) to maintain further security based on best effort.

This is already the case for out of official support releases like the 5.3 and 5.4 branches (examples for backports done by Debian: 5.3 and 5.4). And of course, we also have companies that make their money out of long term support (e.g. RedHat).

On the other hand, we should help the eco system in doing such extended support, and hosting backported fixes in the project’s git repo instead of having each Linux disto do the same patch work on its own.

But suggesting to others what they should do is easy, so I decided to finally find the time to also implement this myself. I’ve started with back porting PHP 5.5 fixes to PHP 5.4, resulting in a GitHub repository with all the fixes, including CVE info NEWS file entries and references to the original commits. See https://github.com/kaplanlior/php-src/commits/PHP-5.4-security-backports . I hope this would later on find it’s way into PHP LTS packages for Debian Wheezy.

Next step would be to start doing the same for PHP 5.3 (back porting from PHP 5.4, and later on also from PHP 5.5). This can be in use for RHEL 6.x (as LTS support for Debian Squeeze was recently finished).

The main idea of this repo, is to have a more central location for such work, hoping people would review and contribute fixes that should be taken into consideration.

During the process of digging into the CVE information and the commits, I’m also filling up a info such as CVE IDs to the NEWS file (e.g. https://github.com/php/php-src/pull/1892/files) and the web changelog (e.g. https://github.com/php/web-php/commits?author=kaplanlior), so users and researchers would find this info where it should be instead of digging themselves.

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Filed under Debian GNU/Linux, PHP