3.5.1-RC available

Just a short note to let you know, that we branched off a branch for the 3.5.1 release candidate on github. If no serious issues are found while testing this branch, the release of Friendica version 3.5.1 should follow soon. If you want to have a sneak peak at the changes, you can take a look at the CHANGELOG file at the 3.5.1rc branch.

If you want to help us testing, the most easy way to do so is when you use git to manage your installation. Then all you have to do is a

git pull
git checkout 3.5.1rc

and enjoy the testing phase. Note that depending from which point on the develop or master branch you switch to the RC branch, the database will receive some updates to the structure that can take some time to be applied. How long exactly depends on the size of your database and the resources on the server.

If you join us testing the RC branch and find anything suspicious, please let us know at the support forum.

33c3 Session: The Federation

At the 29th December during the 33c3 at Hamburg some 40 people gathered together in a small seminar room to attend my short introduction session to The Federation which was part of the FSFE Assembly. Not everyone attending was new to the Federation, or the concept of decentralized social networks, allowing their members to communicate across the project borders. Some came from the Diaspora Assembly. But some interested people, who had never heard about it before, attended as well.

We had an hour slot, but the talk was never meant to fill the entire slot. So afterwards we had plenty of time for a nice vivid discussion over a couple of topics related to decentral social networks. The problems now, and the future. But for me the more interesting questions came up later on days 3 and 4 of the congress in private talks, following the session. I hope to see some of your ideas alive.

Thanks everyone attending the session! And thanks to the FSFE for having this session as part of their Assembly.

The slides of the talk can be found on my FSFE Fellowship Wiki page. We tried to have our own streaming and recording of the talk, but sadly the tech worked not as well as during the testing, so you cannot rewatch the session 😉

Berlin Hackathon 2016

Last weekend Berlin featured mixed up weather, warm, rain and some sun. It also featured this years Friendica Hackathon. We met again at the e-lok youth club which kindly allowed us to use their Media-Room as Hackcenter.

It was a wonderful, productive weekend, with some discussions about future plans how to prepare for those and how to tackle some problematic issues. We tagged the work that arrived the repository at github, but you don’t need to follow that link to get the important stuff we worked on.

  • The user interface got some love, especially our new Frio theme. Alongside the UX was improved in some corners where problems were reported for. Please note that we decided to delete some themes, which got deprecated two years ago. If you really miss them, for historic reasons they will be archived in a special repository.
  • The Vagrant VM now supports Ubuntu 14.04 and 16.04, so you can now easily switch between PHP5 and PHP7 environments to test your work.
  • The admin interface got some extensions, and will get more in the near future, though likely after the 3.5.1 version was released.
  • And of course the interiors of Friendica got some attention and the documentation was enhanced.

Thanks to all who have joint at e-lok and the IRC. And many thanks to the team of the e-lok for letting us use the venue and sharing their meal with us on Saturday!

With the work done at the Hackathon we plan to have a feature freeze at the end of November to release Friendica 3.5.1 during December before the end of the year season.

Friendica 3.5 “Asparagus” released

After one and a half year of developing the “Lily of the Valley” (these are some 2100 commits by 26 people) it is time to welcome the “Asparagus”, which brings many exciting new things, small improvements and many fixes along the way. Big Thanks to everyone who was involved in the process.

Growth of the Asparagus from Tobias Diekershoff on Vimeo.

What is new in Friendica 3.5?

For the users most visible are the new theme Frio (which is currently marked as experimental) and enhancements to the vier theme. Both are mobile friendly so you don’t need to select a special theme when you are using one of them. Another visible aspect are the events. You can now signal your attendance to an event. Also sharing events was improved. Profiles now contain an overview of the public events and, if you like, links to export these events as ical or csv file.

Behind the curtain large parts of the code have been rewritten to improve the performance of Friendica and the federation with other projects using the OStatus or Diaspora protocols. The background processes can now be better controlled by the node admin(s) by managing the workers. For a better overview in the code, you can now use doxygen.

With this release we also dropped the support for old versions of PHP and MySQL. The requirements are now PHP 5.4+ and MySQL 5.5.3+. or an equivalent alternative for MySQL (MariaDB, Percona Server etc.).

For a more complete list of changes, please have a look into the CHANGELOG.

How to update?

If you have an installation using git, all you have to do is a git pull in the friendica and the addons directory. That will fetch the new version from the master branch and you are ready to go. Alternatively you can find a zip file of the released version of friendica at github.com for download. Just unzip it on your local machine and replace the files on your server with the new files.

Changes to the database will be applied automatically in the background. Especially on larger nodes the changes to the database structure might take some time in which your server will be in the service mode (maybe several hours). Additionally there are several changes to the data that are done in the background. These changes will cause a higher system load for some time (perhaps several days or weeks) but should not affect it too much since they are done sequentially to spare ressurces. Until the data update is finished some functionality will not work completely. For example the search for user posts will not return all data.

If you want to use the bleeding edge code and thus helping the project to discover problems, you should use the git method. Then checkout the develop branch of the source tree and let us know if you encounter something odd.

Update (Sept 17th): Some users reported unexpected high system load and hight numbers of PHP processes after the update to Friendica 3.5. This did not manifest in the tests before. To avoid these, please deactivated the cron job before making the update. Make the update as described above and then go to the admin panel. There is a new section “Worker“, which is a new mechanism to handle the background process. Please activate it and also activate the fastlane. Afterwards reactivate the cron job again.

How to contribute?

If you want to contribute to the project you do not need to have coding experience. There are a number of tasks listed in the issue traker with the label “Junior Jobs” we think are good for new contributors. But you are by no means limited to these – if you find a solution to a problem(even a new one) please make a pull request at github or let us know in the development forum.

Contribution to Friendica is also not limited to coding. Any contribution to the documentation, the translation or advertisement materials is welcome or reporting a problem. You don’t need to deal with git(hub) or Transifex if you don’t like to. Just get in touch with us and we will get the materials to the appropriate places.

Have fun 🙂

P..S. as in the last years, we are planning a Hackathon at e-lok in Berlin in November on the weekend of the 19th and 20th.

notifyall Addon

Rabuzarus has ported the hubwall addon from Hubzilla over to Friendica, it is now in the addon repository. under the name notifyall

When activated this addon allows the admin of a Friendica node to send an email to every user of the instance. The content of the email may be formatted using the usual BBCode tags.

Bugfix for communication problems in the develop branch released

A recent pull request to the “develop” branch introduced a nasty bug that blocked the background processing that is used to distribute messages, to import feeds and to do several more stuff.

Please update your system as soon as possible if you are running with the “develop” branch and the “worker” background processing isn’t enabled.

See you at the lakeside!

After the fun of last years community meeting at the lakeside of Lake Zwenkau (not far from Leipzig) we decided to repeat it this year. So if you are around Zwenkau at the weekend of August the 20th/21st we would be glad of you join us.