Just in time for 2012 I am very pleased to announce Smuxi 0.8.9 codenamed "One Giant Leap". During the development 56 bug reports and 33 feature requests in 593 commits were worked on making this release a major milestone of the Smuxi project. At the Chaos Communication Congress (28C3) in Berlin I was doing the final development sprint to get 0.8.9 done, which was a very intensive and refreshing experience.
Here are the highlights of this release:
After the 0.8 release it became clear that a continious and short development -> test cycle is important to keep the project going quickly. At some point I have received requests if the project is dead while it was more active than ever. The lack of new releases (for about 15 months) lead to this wrong impression. Thus Smuxi can be obtained from development builds now. This includes daily builds for Debian (Squeeze, Wheezy, Sid), Ubuntu (Lucid, Maverick, Natty, Oneiric, Precise) and Windows. Thanks goes to Hannes Tismer for providing the Windows autobuilder and to Canonical for the PPA autobuilder.
We invite everyone to use these daily builds to keep track of the latest development of Smuxi. Issues and regressions are fixed in a very short period (usually the same day). Thanks to our users who ran development builds and reported issues which led to many bug fixes prior to this release.
On the other hand one of my New Year's resolutions are to "release early, release often" So there should be no nerd left behind...
With the help of Steven McGrath (Steve[cug]) who created the initial Mac OS X installer for Smuxi we now have official support for Mac OS X. The download page contains the instructions how to obtain and install Smuxi on Mac OS X. This makes the 4th platform where Smuxi can be used on besides Windows, Linux and *BSD.
For now Smuxi 0.8.9 doesn't feel as native as it could as it relies on the GTK+ port. We are looking into enhancing the experience though, just stay tuned.
The most exciting feature in this release I think are the "persistent message buffers". With this feature I could solve one of the biggest drawbacks IRC ever had: IRC does not retain any messages you have sent or received. All messages are only relayed to all users. The issue is that if you close your IRC client or even just leave a channel, all your received messages are gone.
One workaround in most clients was to create text log files which then contains the chat history, but it is annoying and not user-friendly to open some text file somewhere from your disk to read the history outside of your IRC client.
Now with Smuxi 0.8.9 you no longer have this issue, all chat history gets automatically written and read to a message database when you start Smuxi, join channels or open queries! As this feature is not fully stable yet it is not enabled by default. If you want to try it go to: File -> Preferences -> Interface and change "Persistency Type" from "Volatile" to "Persistent", hit OK and restart Smuxi. Now all messages are saved into the database and will automatically be shown.
You probably have friends not on IRC and Twitter, say on Jabber, gTalk or Facebook? This is where the new XMPP engine of Smuxi comes into play. You can send and receive messages to/from them now! The implementation is far from complete, though. It has no buddy list for example and needs only to be treated as a technical preview of what will be coming in future Smuxi releases.
This is the first release that contains a text frontend based on the STFL library. STFL is a library that uses ncurses to draw text based user interface using a markup language (like Glade for GTK+). This frontend is in early alpha state and lacks a lot of interface features and likes to crash. It is still included to attract potential developers who want to enhance this frontend. The frontend can be enabled by passing --enable-frontend-stfl to the configure script and then by executing smuxi-frontend-stfl.
Everyone with a laptop knows how annoying it can be to suspend and resume when network based applications suddenly go crazy because they have lost the connection and either spew errors or take forever to get back in shape. Smuxi will now detect the network state right away with the help of the new Network Manager support. It automatically reconnects when needed right away for you.
You can now connect to IRC servers using the IPv6 protocol
Users had real issues to find out how to search for channels, thus Bianca Mix added a neat feature. The /list command will now simply open the Find Group Chat dialog for you. This way everyone used to IRC will find it in no time. Searching for channels on freenode wasn't working correctly, this is now fixed. Smuxi also supports the SAFELIST feature of the IRC protocol now which allows to retrieve a full channel list and do client side search which makes consecutive searches much faster.
For a long time you could not use Smuxi with the latest GTK# version of 2.12.10 on Windows. The issue was that Smuxi relied on SVG support which 2.12.10 no longer had. Smuxi is no longer using SVG instead it uses pre-scaled PNG images thus it works just fine with GTK# 2.12.10 on Windows now. At the same time the issue that the maximized state of the main window was left when restoring from task bar is fixed with GTK# 2.12.10.
Smuxi used by default the FixedSys font on Windows to give it the typical IRC look most people are used to. Since Windows Vista there is a better console-like font available called Consolas. Smuxi will now use the Consolas font instead on Windows Vista or later.
Another important enhancement is that Smuxi no longer has issues with multiple GTK+ installs on the same computer, which was getting more common with more popular ported GTK+ applications such as GIMP or Pidgin.
IRC with SSL was only working with the default port of 6697. Thanks to Jo Shields now any port can be used with SSL.
Desktop notifications could crash Smuxi in case of errors related to the notification system or an absent notification daemon. There was a chance that the crash dialog simply disappeared which made reporting bugs more difficult no longer happens. Rapid use of ctrl+w, /window close (Jimmie Elvenmark) and opening the Find Group Chat dialog on the Smuxi tab do no longer crash. Also number-only network names, /network switch freenode and GTK+ install without SVG support no longer lead into a crash.
Notices will no longer open query tabs for you instead it will show them on tabs you share with the person who sent it with the server tab as fallback. This also avoids ChanServ, NickServ and spammy IRCop tabs.
Twitter made some changes to their API which broke the Twitter support of Smuxi 0.8. This was taken care of and also a few other issues were solved allowing Smuxi 0.8.9 to work smoothly with Twitter again.
When connecting to a smuxi-server you had to wait till Smuxi finished the synchronization before you could use the interface. Also you could not tell how far the synchronization was and just had to wait till it was completed. With Smuxi 0.8.9 the connect just takes a few seconds and all chats are synchronized in the background with a progress bar so you can use the interface from the first moment on and know how far it is. The speed how much it takes to synchronize all chats also reduced drastictly by 400%!
When using a smuxi-server the interface sometimes had load times like when opening the preferences or when using the nickname completion (Andrew Kannan). These operations are done in the background and no longer blocks the interface. Also when the communication is lost to the smuxi-server the frontend will now automatically reconnect to it in the background.
When it comes to mobile internet connectivity such as UMTS/HSDPA, Edge and GRPS it can be a real pain to connect to the smuxi-server as it has to transfer all the messages over that. If you just want to ask someone you know then you don't need any old messages to do that. With the "Low Bandwidth Mode" you can now connect to the smuxi-server without loading old messages which makes the connect very quick. You find this option in the engine connect dialog.
Initially I didn't plan to make the protocol of Smuxi stable before the 0.9 release, but as it turned out the 0.8 protocol was good enough to still use it and for that reason Smuxi 0.8.9 is still compatible with 0.8. The 0.8 protocol will see no breakages, instead the next protocol will be on-top or opt-in of the current one. This means future Smuxi versions stay compatible with it.
You can now shutdown the smuxi-server if you like using the /shutdown command. It it safe to use the command, it will do a clean shutdown sequence for you. For example it makes sure all messages are written to disk in the case of enabled persistent message buffers. If you have your smuxi-server daemon monitored (e.g. with runit) it can also automatically be restarted and upgraded this way.
It is no longer needed to fiddle with the .ssh/config file or pagent to get SSH key authorization working. You can now simply tell Smuxi which SSH keyfile you want to use to connect to your smuxi-server.
Contributors to this release are the following people:
Thank you very much for your contributions to Smuxi!
After reading this whole pile of text, head over here and grab this smexy stuff!