Aiming for 7.18.0 in January 2008

cURLThis info was also posted to the curl-library list today.

I previously thought of releasing 7.18.0 in December but since there are still outstanding topics in the list and since there’s no pressure due to any serious bug fixes or anything, I decided we can just as wait until January. I want January 13th to be the feature freeze day after which no new features will be committed until the release, which hopefully then could be done by January 28th or so.

The live updated TODO-RELEASE document will change over time, but it currently contains these items:

Is there anything we’ve forgotten we should include in the next release? To get a feel for how the next release will look like, check out the RELEASE-NOTES in progress, or try out a daily snapshot!

10K Commits

ohloh.net counts my commits done in 11 different open projects over roughly the last 8 years. (I am a member of 17 projects on sourceforge, but the remainders are old and/or dead projects.)

I’ve now truly surpassed 10,000 public commits, making roughly 3.5 commits per day over the years! Clearly that number and the number of people giving me “kudos” on the site makes me rated #55 out of 83,000. At least currently, my rating is slowly falling…

ohloh profile for Daniel Stenberg

Anyway, since I’m a fan of stats and numbers, I encourage you to register your own projects and contributions there!

Maybe we should form a 10K commit club? 😉

library for proxy detection

Only days after I wrote about the pacparser, another and in many ways more complete approach to detecting what proxy to use for accessing various internet resources emerge: libproxy.curl tiny

One of the main authors of it, Alex Panit, already submitted a feature-request for libcurl to support this. but I’m not at all convinced that is a good idea. It seems the authors submit “please include support for this”-requests all over in similar and related projects – similar in style to how metalink did.

As usual, I value your input and feedback so please raise your voice and speak up!

So far this young project lacks docs on API and install process, so I haven’t yet even been able to build it for a test drive…

Jun-Ichiro

Today I just casually noticed the NetBSD 4.0 release, but what really caught my interest was the dedication of the release. It is dedicated to Jun-Ichiro “itojun” Hagino, who apparently passed away in October this year only 37 years old. See also this “memorial”.

Anyway, the reason I noticed is because I remember him and his contributions in the curl project back in 2001 and 2002 when he provided a set of very good and useful patches (for example this) that made curl take a huge step forward in its IPv6-support. It is of course with sadness that I get to hear about him again this way. I’m sure he will be missed in many camps.

curl icons

I got a question on the #curl IRC channel and I have to admit that the curl and libcurl icons are a bit hard to find on the curl web site, so I thought I’d paste them here too to put the lights on them a bit more.

If you use (lib)curl in your projects or site, please consider making this noticeable by mentioning it and possibly using an existing curl icon to show:

powered by libcurl powered by libcurl powered by libcurl powered by libcurl powered by libcurl

powered by libcurl powered by libcurl powered by libcurl

small curl icon small curl icon with border libcurl icon

cURL libcurl

… as you can see there are plenty to choose from! 😉

And please, if you are capable of drawing logos, bitmaps, icons or the likes and you feel like you can do better than these, please step forward and bring on your work!

Parsing those Dreaded PACs

Since a long time companies all over have found it suitable to use “PAC” (proxy auto-config) scripts to control browsers and tell them what proxy to use for what particular URL and more, and this has been a major nuisance for people who use other (automated) means to go through the proxy than one of them huge gui-based browsers.

For a long time, Ralph Mitchell’s take on this was the only half-decent way to get it working. Half-decent only because it was never packaged and provided in a convenient way to people, it was fully functional.

Now, Manu Garg seems to have stepped forward and introduces pacparser which is a C library for parsing PAC files. Period. It looks (very) similar to Ralph’s approach, in that it incorporates the Mozilla’s javascript engine Spidermonkey, with nothing really special added. So, it’s basically the same approach but this time it is packaged, shipped and documented how it is used!

Announced on the curl-users mailing list today!

The Bourne Nmap

Over at insecure.org we can read about nmap‘s appearance in The Bourne Ultimatum (IMDB) movie and they also show two screenshots, out of which I’ll show you one (click on it for hires):

Screen shot from The Bourne Ultimatum showing nmap

I couldn’t resist trying to resolve the host name in there, only to find that telservice.net is a Korean company/network (which kind of makes it less likely to have the address of the Guardian UK – supposedly the hacking target in the movie) and of course the specific host name in this shot doesn’t resolve and the IP address showing isn’t belonging to telservice.net… Wow, who could’ve guessed that? 😉

And yeah, I’m jealous. I want one of the projects I participate in to appear in movies too!

curl keeps connections alive

Just in the last few days we modified curl to enable the SO_KEEPALIVE option on connections it creates. It basically means that curl will now detect connections that are idle after a certain amount of time, even if that time is something around two hours by default and that’s what most systems will have it set to.cURL

The main problem that caused us to finally enable this (you can still disable this by using –no-keep-alive) is when people do (long-lasting) FTP transfers and they use a NAT, firewall or router that detects and removes what it considers are idle connections. An FTP transfer is using two connections, but the control one where the commands are sent over is completely quiet while the actual data transfer is in progress so when the transfer is done, the control connection has been nuked by the router/NAT. Of course curl survives this as good as possible, but it can’t do proper error-checking etc in this situation.

Funnily, there’s no really good fix for the FTP situation since the two hours SO_KEEPALIVE timeout will many times be too long to help (although most modern systems allows you to change the timeout or a system or application level), but the other “obvious” fix is to send a “NOOP” command on the control channel every once in a while during the transfer. But no, that doesn’t work fine either on most servers since it seems the servers often don’t listen on the control connection during the transfer, so all we’d get is curl sending commands that won’t be replied to until the end of the transfer, and thus it will end up causing problems.

Note: curl sets this option. libcurl still doesn’t, so if you want your app to set the option you can use the same CURLOPT_SOCKOPTFUNCTION callback that curl uses. This requires libcurl 7.16.0 or later.

The Mythical Man-Month

The Mythical Man-MonthFrederick Brooks wrote this classical book already back in 1975 and added a few extra chapters for the twenty years anniversary 1995…

Large portions of it feels of the age and there’s a lot of talk about Fortran, System/360 and PL-1 as if we should know about them (which made me fast forward over some chapters). But there are gems as well, and the most significant things people seem to remember Brooks’ book for are still pretty valid and fine.

Adding more people to a project leads to the need for more communication and thus it may slow down development rather than speed it up. Also known as Brooks’s law.

Given the complexity of software and software development, there’s no single method or concept that will lead to an improvement by an order of magnitude – within a decade. There’s No Silver Bullet. (This section was not in the original edition of the book.)

The risks involved when rewriting something and wants to fix everything that was wrong in the previous version so you over-work and over-design the successor. The so called Second system effect.

A lot of the book is spent on thoughts and theories around how to manage really really large software projects, like when you involve thousands of persons. Is it even possible to make such huge projects successful and if so, what does it take? The extra chapters do indeed add value since they offered Brooks a chance to re-evaluate his earlier claims and ideas and to check what seemed to be truths and what mistakes he did in the original edition.

A very interesting read that I’m glad I finally got time to get through!

tech, open source and networking