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Building templates for Quickly and new webber-app template Thu, 29 Apr 2010

Quickly is an application that makes it easier to start new software development projects by filling in a lot of the skeletal structure from a set of templates. I've read about it a bunch on Jono's blog in the context of his push for "opportunistic developers".

Chris Webber and I have been throwing together web applications most of which have the same basic structure: WebOb, Jinja2, simplejson, and routes with some glue and stuff in between.

I spent some time building a Quickly template for this structure. The results of this are at

It was kind of a pain in the ass. There's no docmentation that I could find on creating templates for Quickly, so I had to look through the ubuntu-project template and read through the Quickly code. Even then, I bumped into a few gotchas.

  1. the command scripts are run as scripts and not imported as Python modules
  2. commands cripts must be executable, otherwise Quickly silently skips them when building its commands list
  3. probably better to develop the template in your ~/quickly-templates/ directory rather than as a project and schlepping things in and out like I did

I was using the Quickly that comes with Ubuntu Karmic which is 0.2.6. Ubuntu Lucid has a newer version, but I didn't want to fiddle with trying to get it to install on Karmic given that it's got dependencies that aren't readily available in Karmic.

After talking with Chris, he suggested I redo it with Paste templates. There's a good explanation at It'd be interesting to see if I could build a set of templates that works with both Quickly and Paste.

Anyhow, the project is there if it's interesting to anyone. Email me or comment below if you have questions, comments, concerns, whatever.

Update 5/2/2010 - Didier (Quickly dev) says there is documentation for creating templates at

Miro 3.0.1 released! Thu, 15 Apr 2010

We pushed out Miro 3.0.1 a couple of days ago to address a few problems that we discovered with 3.0. If you haven't upgraded to 3.0.1 yet, it's definitely worth doing.

Release notes for Miro 3.0.1 are here.

The other big change with this release is that I've moved our Ubuntu packages from repositories on OSUOSL to our miro-releases Launchpad PPA.

As of 3.0.1, we're no longer pushing packages to our repositories on OSUOSL.

Details on the miro-releases PPA are at here.

I do plan on doing packages for Lucid, but there's a problem with Miro's embedded XULRunner browser on Lucid. It's captured in bug 13169. Ben and I are working on it, but if you've got experience with XULRunner, GTK, and/or gtkmozembed, we could use some help. Details and status of the problem are in the bug. This bug is definitely blocking packages for Lucid. If you can help, ping us on #miro-hackers on

Update 4/22/2010: Lucid packages are in the PPA, too.

Miro 2.5.3 packages for Ubuntu Karmic released! Thu, 22 Oct 2009

I just pushed out packages for Karmic for Miro 2.5.3. Until Karmic is out, consider these packages beta quality. If you use these packages and run into problems, let us know as soon as you can.

Ubuntu installation instructions

Miro 2.5 Ubuntu packages coming soon! Sat, 25 Jul 2009

The Miro 2.5 release had a couple of issues that affected users with large databases. We've been working on those issues and helping those people out for the last couple of days. This work culminated in a Miro 2.5.1 release.

Because I was working out issues with Miro 2.5 release and helping users work through issues (more on that in a future blog post), I haven't worked on the Ubuntu packaging yet. My current plan is to wait until Sunday (tomorrow) and do packages for Miro 2.5.1 skipping 2.5.

I apologize for not getting packages out sooner, but I:

  1. was busy fixing Miro 2.5 issues and helping users
  2. thought it'd be better to hold off until the Miro 2.5 issues were worked out
  3. discovered World of Warcraft

If for some reason I can't/don't push out packages on Sunday, I promise I will do them as soon as I can. I use Ubuntu, too, so this affects me as well as all of you.

If for some reason this isn't satisfactory and you want/need it sooner than I can provide, I encourage you to build your own Miro from source. There are instructions here.

Hardy tips for resolution fixing when using it in a VirtualBox vm Sat, 19 Apr 2008

I'm trying to get Ubuntu Hardy support for Miro. I installed Hardy Beta 1 in a virtual machine with VirtualBox. The install went fine. I had problems fixing the resolution, though.

Hardy starts off with an 800x600 resolution which is too small to run Miro. To fix it, you have to:

  1. run sudo displayconfig-gtk from a terminal
  2. click on the dropdown for models and choose LCD Panel 1024x768
  3. click on the Test button to make sure it works
  4. click on the OK button to apply that one change
  5. log off
  6. log on again

DON'T change the monitor AND the resolution of the screen at the same time. If you do that, you see no errors, no changes get made, and you'll spend a while scratching your head wondering what happened.

If all went well, you should see the resolution you were looking for.

Note that since Ubuntu Hardy is beta software, this could all change tomorrow.

Updated: 4/19/2008 - It looks like they took displayconfig-gtk out of the menus in the Hardy release candidate so I updated the instructions above.

Miro 1.2.3 plans, hardy support, bug fixes, et al Sat, 05 Apr 2008

I'm hoping to do a Miro 1.2.3 release in the next 7 days or so. This release will include support for xulrunner 1.9 on gtkx11, support for Ubuntu Hardy, updated translations, vlc 0.8.6f, and a bunch of bug fixes for bugs found in Miro 1.2.2 and previous releases including some more "Miro crashes on startup" type issues.

There are three things you can do to help:

  1. help with translating Miro into languages you know -- see
  2. testing Hardy packages -- see for the repository
  3. send encouraging words and positive energy
Also, we'll definitely need help testing the Miro 1.2.3 rc0 build which will be out in a few days--hopefully before Thursday.

I'll be on #miro-hackers on Also, if you have problems, submit a bug report at or find someone to do it for you on #miro or the forums.

status of Miro 1.1.1 builds for Ubuntu Thu, 24 Jan 2008

I put out Gutsy, Feisty and Dapper builds for i386 for Miro 1.1.1 on Tuesday when we did the Miro 1.1.1 release. But... I'm using new scripts and I goofed up the miro-data package. I didn't have time to figure out the problem, so I attempted to back out the Gutsy amd64 packages and in the process screwed up something else.

I thought I had it all working by Tuesday night, but there were a couple of users that were still experiencing "size mismatch" errors on the miro-data package. So I took some time today to figure out how to deal with the miro-data package I was building, roll up a set of Miro 1.1.1-3 packages for Gutsy i386 and amd64 and push everything out.

Theoretically there should be good Gutsy i386 and amd64 packages for Miro 1.1.1 in addition to the Feisty and Dapper i386 packages I rolled out Tuesday.

Sorry for the delays. I think things are straightened out now. If you're still having problems feel free to leave a comment below and/or find me on IRC or by email.

status of Miro 1.1 builds for Ubuntu Dapper and Feisty Tue, 15 Jan 2008

I haven't put Dapper and Feisty builds for Miro 1.1 into the repository yet. The Gutsy builds are there, but there are some issues with segfaulting when watching videos with them. I've only heard about Gutsy segfaulting with Miro 1.1 from one person and there aren't any new bugs for the issue. From that I'm guessing the issue is pretty limited user-wise, but don't really have a good way to measure.

The last few days went like this. We did a Miro 1.1 release on Thursday and I started building Ubuntu builds for Dapper, Feisty and Gutsy that afternoon using the new pbuilder-based scripts I've been working on. The pbuilder-based scripts are great in that I can automate building packages for Dapper, Feisty and Gutsy for i686 on a single machine (no longer need VMs) and they verify the build-depends lines in the .dsc files. That'll make building from source possible.

The problem with Miro 1.1 is that the switch from BitTorrent code to libtorrent code causes compiling to take longer. Additionally, the pbuilder-based scripts pull down all the dependencies and build the environment to do the build in for each distribution and that takes a while, too.

When working on builds, I had problems with the Dapper and Feisty builds segfaulting when playing videos during testing. I first blamed the new build scripts. I spent 8 hours or so fiddling with them, verifying all the build steps, and eventually running them in the distribution VMs I had. On Saturday, I decided that theory wasn't a good one.

I tried a few other things and then started bisecting the svn changes since Miro 1.0 in my Feisty VM to see if I could find the checkin that caused the problem. After a few more hours, I discovered that it was a change to xine_impl.c that I made for bug 9373 that causes the segfaults when viewing videos. Another hour later and I verified this is the same problem with the Dapper build.

I backed out that change and re-ran and re-tested everything.

In summary, the pbuilder-based scripts are fine and backing out that xine_impl.c fix fixes the issues I was seeing.

We're working on a Miro 1.1.1 release that has some changes that allow for co-branding. We decided to push these changes off to 1.1.1 so that we could release Miro 1.1 a week earlier. I decided that I'd skip builds for Feisty and Dapper for Miro 1.1 and instead do builds when we released Miro 1.1.1 this week. That should happen in the next day or so.

I really apologize for the current situation. It was a confluence of several circumstances that led to me taking a long time to figuring out the cause of the problem which sucked.

I should have 1.1.1 builds of Gutsy, Feisty and Dapper out by Friday night if not sooner.

Ubuntu Install Fest - 10/13/2007 Thu, 11 Oct 2007

The Ubuntu Massachusetts LoCo Team is hosting an Ubuntu Install Fest on 10-13-2007 from 9:00am to 5:00pm in Cambridge, MA.

"The festival is an opportunity for the Ubuntu team to show normal computer users how easy using the Linux software has become. Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions, present demonstrations and help users install the free, open source Linux operating system. Ubuntu CDs, case badges, drinks and snacks will be available."

The case badges are pretty nice. I put one on my laptop a week ago and already people have asked about it.

I think I'm going to be bringing my laptop and depending on what's going on, I will demo Miro.

See the wiki page for more details (date, time, location, press release, ...).

Right alt key Fri, 20 Apr 2007

I don't use the right alt key much and at some point in time it just stopped working. I thought the key itself was dead, though that was puzzling. Turns out Ubuntu Feisty (and possibly earlier versions--I have no idea) maps the right alt key to a third-level character input key for extended characters.

I bumped into the System \rightarrow Preferences \rightarrow Keyboard panel and also discovered I can very easily switch my caps lock key to a control key. Ahhh... happy emacs pinky....

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