LegRoom Downtime and Upgrade

Submitted by jbreland on Sat, 12/02/2006 - 20:18

LegRoom.net was down for a couple hours Thursday night, and again Saturday afternoon for a shorter period of time. This was due to a planned upgrade that didn't go quite as planned. However, all issues are now worked out.

So, what was the upgrade? The LegRoom.net server, as well as all associated network equipment, is now connected to a couple of brand new UPS backup units. These should provide about an hour of power for LegRroom.net should the main power fail/flicker/surge. This should hopefully keep things a bit more reliable in the future.

Universal Extractor 1.4.2 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 11/28/2006 - 19:59

I just posted Universal Extractor 1.4.2. This version has a lot of improvements, including a fix for the crash issue in 1.4.1. Highlights include:

  • Full internationalization support for installer
  • New preferences page for installer to set history and debug options introduced in 1.4
  • Four new languages included by default
  • Various bug fixes for Windows 9x

The usual links:

Universal Extractor Download

Universal Extractor ChangeLog

Universal Extractor Feedback

Enjoy!

Inno Setup Scripts Updated

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 11/28/2006 - 19:32

I made some improvements to the support scripts I use with my Inno Setup installers in the process of readying the Universal Extractor 1.4.2 release.

The biggest improvement was made to the Inno Setup CLI Help script. This script allows end-users to pass /?, /h, or /help to the installer package to get a list of available command line arguments. The new version supports custom parameters as well as the components and tasks lists that were available in the previous version. I also changed the delimiter, so if you use the script in your own installers, please be sure to read the ChangeLog.

I also updated the Modify Path Inno Setup script, but this was purely a documentation update to make it a bit more clear. No functionality changes were made.

Universal Extractor 1.4.1 Update

Submitted by jbreland on Mon, 11/27/2006 - 02:34

As noted in the previous Universal Extractor post, there's an issue that can cause UniExtract to crash under certain circumstances. I've since had time to investigate the issue, and have determined UniExtract will crash anytime the archive is selected via the GUI browse button (the '...' button to the right of the "Archive/Installer to extract" field). This is due to an improper variable declaration that crept in during the 1.4.1 updates.

I've also determined that UniExtract will not crash if one of the other supported methods is used:

  • right-click on file and use UniExtract context-menu integration
  • drag-and-drop file onto UniExtract GUI
  • select previous file from archive history

Of course, this isn't a solution, but it's a workaround for those of you that may have already installed it and are experiencing the issue. It also explains why some users have not reported it, as well as why I missed it during my testing (I generally test using the three methods above, which are faster for me than using the browse button).

I had planned on releasing 1.4.2 quickly to fix the issue, but there are some additional improvements that I want to make in 1.4.2 as well that's taking longer than I had anticipated to get working correctly. So, in the meantime I'm making available a "patch" (for lack of a better term) to fix the issue for current 1.4.1 users. You can download an updated version of the UniExtract.exe binary from here:

Edit: Removed download link. Please use UniExtract 1.4.2 instead.

Replace the copy of UniExtract.exe in your existing install with this new version, then use as you normally would. I should have a proper 1.4.2 release out within the next day or so, so unless you're currently affected by the crash issue, you may want to just hold off until then before upgrading.

Universal Extractor 1.4.1 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Tue, 11/21/2006 - 20:32

Update: 11/26/2006
Please see this post for additional information.

Update: 11/22/2006
A few people have reported an issue with version 1.4.1 that prevents it from extracting any archives. I recommend that you do not upgrade to version 1.4.1 at this time. It may be a few days before I'm able to fix the problem and release a new version, so please continue to use 1.4 or 1.3.1 for now. I'll post another note once I've had a chance to fully investigate.

As hinted at in the 1.4 release post, some bugs and other issues related to internationalization support were found rather quickly. Functionally 1.4 should work fine, but there were some display issues, etc. that needed to be tweaked. So, I'm releasing 1.4.1 as a quick bugfix release to address these problems. I included translation files for Chinese (Simplified), French, and German with this release. Any contributed language files that I receive after this release will be posted to the main Universal Extract page for download, and they'll also be included in future versions.

Universal Extractor Download
Universal Extractor ChangeLog
Universal Extractor Feedback

Universal Extractor 1.4 Released

Submitted by jbreland on Sat, 11/18/2006 - 18:39

I just posted Universal Extractor 1.4. The two primary goals of this release are to make it more "portable" (making the history tracking optional, allowing the user to specify where the debugging file is written, etc.) and to add support for internationalization. I also added a few tweaks and fixed a few bugs to try to speed up installer extraction.

Warning: Adding support for internationalization required a substantial number of changes to the code, which may have introduced some new bugs. If 1.3.1 is working fine for you, it may be a good idea to stick with it for a little while until 1.4 is more thoroughly tested. If, however, you are a not a native English speaker, typically run applications from a portable USB drive, or just live for bleeding-edge software, then I do recommend upgrading to 1.4.

Anyone interested in translating UniExtract to another language should follow the instructions in English.ini. If you do this, please send me the completed translation file so I can include it in the next version of UniExtract (as well as probably make it available for download directly from my site). This way everyone can benefit from your work.

The usual links:
Universal Extractor Download
Universal Extractor ChangeLog
Universal Extractor Feedback

It's Official: I'm NOT Random

Submitted by jbreland on Sun, 11/05/2006 - 21:49

Contrary to popular belief, it turns out that I am, in fact, NOT random. Here's the proof:

I know, I'm actually pretty surprised about that myself. :-)

Update
I was bored so I took one more:

So in addition to not being random, I also apparently have confirmation that I have no life whatsoever. Yay!

New Website in Progress

Submitted by jbreland on Sun, 11/05/2006 - 03:04

By the way (since I'm actually posting some news right now), I wanted to mention that I'm currently working on an overhaul of LegRoom.net. This current version has served me well for about 2 years now, but it's starting to show its age.

I hope to have the new site ready sometime within the next month. Porting over all of the content is going to take quite a while, but I've already started making some progress. Once I get farther along (and make a final decision on which CMS I'm going to use), I'll post a preview link for some feedback before it goes live.

In the meantime, if I don't seem to be posting very often, just know that it's because I'm hard at work on LegRoom v3 (and other projects). :-)

The Linux Distribution Support Vacuum

Submitted by jbreland on Sun, 11/05/2006 - 02:58

Reg Developer has recently published an article exploring the "support vacuum" created when a distribution substantially modifies an application's default configuration in its package system. From the article:

They've configured it right, but Apache ignores it because it needs some extra distro-defined magic to activate the configuration file in question. Now they're banging their head in desperation, and we can't help because we don't know the magic. And we get the blame.

The author uses Apache and Debian/Ubuntu as an example, but this is an issue with most (if not all) distributions. I've had similar problems myself trying to get Apache configured correctly under Gentoo (though the situation has improved substantially in recent versions).

Obviously a distribution will have to make certain modifications to a given application to make it fit in properly with the rest of the system. Sometimes there's just no avoiding it. But the author raises a great point; who will support the applications? If the application developers don't know what changes the distribution made to the application, and package maintainers do not know enough about the application to answer a question, who does it go to?

I hope package maintainers read this article and take it to heart. As I stated above, there will likely always be changes that need to be made here and there to provide a consistent feel across the distribution, but it's important to remember that the more drastically the application is changed, the more difficult it will be for the distribution's own users to get help.

Article link:

http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2006/11/04/apache_packages_support_vacuum/