Blogs

Aaron Seigo's picture

transactional b-trees and what-not

transactional b-trees and what-not

Over the last few months I've been reading more than the usual number of papers on a selection of software development topics that are of recent interest to me. The topics have been fairly far flung as there are a few projects I have been poking at in my free time.

By way of example, I took a couple weeks reading about transitory trust algorithms that are resistant to manipulation, which is a pretty interesting problem with some rather elegant (partial) solutions which are actually implementable at the individual agent level, though computationally impractical if you wish to simulate a whole network which thankfully was not what I was interested in. (So reasonable for implementing real-world systems with, though not simulations or finding definitive solutions to specific problems.)

This past week I've been reading up on a variety of B-tree algorithms. These have been around since the early 1970s and are extremely common in all sorts of software, so one might expect that after 40+ years of continuous use of such a simple concept that there'd be very little to talk about, but it's quite a vast territory. In fact, each year for the last two decades Donald Knuth has held a public lecture around Christmas-time about trees. (Yes, they are Christmas Tree Lectures. ;) Some of the papers I've been reading were published in just the last few years, with quite a bit of interesting research having gone on in this area over the last decade.

roundcube's picture

Why Roundcube Next will save your day as a developer

While Roundcube One originates from a private fun project with email – and only email – in mind, we have learned our lessons and are committed to do Roundcube Next right from the ground up. In the year 2015, communication combines a variety of tools we need to connect to each others. And that’s exactly what we aim to cover with the architectural design of Roundcube Next. It shall become a solid and open foundation for building communication apps on top of it. Email will certainly remain a key component as it still is the most important means of communication today. But there’s more and therefore we want to make Roundcube Next the WordPress of communication if you will.

After we opened Roundcube up for plugins in version 0.3, we witnessed an amazing creativity in what people start building around an open source email application. From a car dealer system to mailing list archives, many custom solutions were built on top of Roundcube. This definitely inspired us to support and facilitate this aspect in the very core of the new system.

The plugin infrastructure of Roundcube Next will be your new best friend for building web apps for your specific communication needs. The new core will provide an easy-to-use framework with lots of reusable components for both building the UI of your application as well as for synchronizing the data to the server and the underlying storage backend of your choice.

So if you’re a developer who got annoyed with the limitations of closed systems from the big vendors and you don’t want to build a complex web application from scratch, Roundcube Next deserves your attention and support. Go to https://roundcu.be/next and get yourself a backstage pass for the Roundcube Next forums or even a seat in the advisory committee. And don’t forget to spread the word about this new opportunity for the free software world.

bruederli's picture

Why Roundcube Next will save your day as a developer

While Roundcube One originates from a private fun project with email – and only email – in mind, we have learned our lessons and are committed to do Roundcube Next right from the ground up. In the year 2015, communication combines a variety of tools we need to connect to each others. And that’s exactly what we aim to cover with the architectural design of Roundcube Next. It shall become a solid and open foundation for building communication apps on top of it. Email will certainly remain a key component as it still is the most important means of communication today. But there’s more and therefore we want to make Roundcube Next the WordPress of communication if you will.

After we opened Roundcube up for plugins in version 0.3, we witnessed an amazing creativity in what people start building around an open source email application. From a car dealer system to mailing list archives, many custom solutions were built on top of Roundcube. This definitely inspired us to support and facilitate this aspect in the very core of the new system.

The plugin infrastructure of Roundcube Next will be your new best friend for building web apps for your specific communication needs. The new core will provide an easy-to-use framework with lots of reusable components for both building the UI of your application as well as for synchronizing the data to the server and the underlying storage backend of your choice.

So if you’re a developer who got annoyed with the limitations of closed systems from the big vendors and you don’t want to build a complex web application from scratch, Roundcube Next deserves your attention and support. Go to https://roundcu.be/next and get yourself a backstage pass for the Roundcube Next forums or even a seat in the advisory committee. And don’t forget to spread the word about this new opportunity for the free software world.

greve's picture

Pushing fast forward: Roundcube Next.

If you are a user of Roundcube, you want to contribute to roundcu.be/next. If you are a provider of services, you definitely want to get engaged and join the advisory group. Here is why.

Free Software has won. Or has it? Linux is certainly dominant on the internet. Every activated Android device is another Linux kernel running. At the same time we see a shift towards “dumber” devices which are in many ways more like thin clients of the past. Only they are not connected to your own infrastructure.

Alerted by the success of Google Apps, Microsoft has launched Office 365 to drive its own transformation from a software vendor into a cloud provider. Amazon and others have also joined the race to provide your collaboration platform. The pull of these providers is already enormous. Thanks to networking effects, economies of scale, and ability to leverage deliberate technical incompatibilities to their advantage, the drawing power of these providers is only going to increase.

Open Source has managed to catch up to the large providers in most functions, bypassing them in some, being slightly behind in others. Kolab has been essential in providing this alternative especially where cloud based services are concerned. Its web application is on par with Office 365 and Google Apps in usability, attractiveness and most functions. Its web application is the only fully Open Source alternative that offers scalability to millions of users and allows sharing of all data types in ways that are superior to what the proprietary competition has to offer.

Aaron Seigo's picture

G+ Hangout With Thomas Brüderli Today

Today at 13:00 UTC I will be hosting a Google+ Hangout with Roundcube founder and lead developer, Thomas Brüderli. I will link the video below once we are done, but everyone is welcome to join us live and provide feedback and questions in IRC while we're chatting.

So, what are we going to talk about? Well, Roundcube, of course! :) I'll be asking Thomas why he decided that now was the appropriate time for a refactor of Roundcube, what it means for Roundcube 1.x (the current stable release), and if we have time we'll start tucking into the current feature and design thinking.

So come join us on the Roundcube G+ page / Youtube channel as well as the #roundcube channel on irc.freenode.net today at 13:00 UTC!

Hope to see you all there!

Update: The video is up on Youtube, with some blank airtime (and a fun moment of feedback) edited out .. you can watch it below:

roundcube's picture

Roundcube Next is ready for take-off

It all started with this hypothetical question: how would we implement Roundcube if we could start over again? And now this idea has already grown into a concrete plan how to create the responsive, fast and beautiful successor of Roundcube.

The architectural changes necessary for this are clearly too big to be applied to the current Roundcube codebase without breaking the compatibility for most plugins and extensions. So we won’t take that risky path but rather define Roundcube One as feature complete and focus on a new core engine for the future Roundcube webmail application. This will enable everybody to participate in the process of reshaping the architecture and to adapt the existing plugins to the new API as we go along.

There’s no doubt that such a major refactoring is a huge endeavor and requires a substantial effort in concepts, development and testing. Nothing to be done over the weekend but we also don’t want to spend another 10 years to make this become reality. Luckily we have strong partners and supporters to push this forward. Kolab Systems has offered to drive this project by contributing their well established software development capabilities, from project management, developer power to QA and testing. In addition to that, the folks at Kolab Digital can’t wait to share their expertise on the UX and design part. However, such a level of professionalism also comes with a price.

Getting help from the crowd to back this

In order to enable both Kolab Systems and Kolab Digital to actually assign the necessary resources to the “Roundcube Next” project, we sat together and decided that it would make sense to reach out to the entire Roundcube community to help make this happen. Yesterday, we proudly announced the crowd funding campaign at the end of the Kolab Summit in The Hague.

bruederli's picture

Roundcube Next is ready for take-off

It all started with this hypothetical question: how would we implement Roundcube if we could start over again? And now this idea has already grown into a concrete plan how to create the responsive, fast and beautiful successor of Roundcube.

The architectural changes necessary for this are clearly too big to be applied to the current Roundcube codebase without breaking the compatibility for most plugins and extensions. So we won’t take that risky path but rather define Roundcube One as feature complete and focus on a new core engine for the future Roundcube webmail application. This will enable everybody to participate in the process of reshaping the architecture and to adapt the existing plugins to the new API as we go along.

There’s no doubt that such a major refactoring is a huge endeavor and requires a substantial effort in concepts, development and testing. Nothing to be done over the weekend but we also don’t want to spend another 10 years to make this become reality. Luckily we have strong partners and supporters to push this forward. Kolab Systems has offered to drive this project by contributing their well established software development capabilities, from project management, developer power to QA and testing. In addition to that, the folks at Kolab Digital can’t wait to share their expertise on the UX and design part. However, such a level of professionalism also comes with a price.

Getting help from the crowd to back this

In order to enable both Kolab Systems and Kolab Digital to actually assign the necessary resources to the “Roundcube Next” project, we sat together and decided that it would make sense to reach out to the entire Roundcube community to help make this happen. Yesterday, we proudly announced the crowd funding campaign at the end of the Kolab Summit in The Hague.

roundcube's picture

Roundcube Next is coming and we need your help

Roundcube prouldy announces the crowd funding campaign to
bring our vision of a better email experience to reality.

The web has evolved a lot in the last decade, and we want Roundcube
to take full advantage of the best web technologies available today.
Therefore it’s time for a dramatic change to the Roundcube architecture
and to also to rethink email in general, how it’s used today and how we
could use the new technologies to give the best user experience to
everyday communication.

Applying what we’ve learned from our first 10 years of experience developing
Roundcube, we have been working on a development plan for how to achieve our
new goals. And in order to finally make this happen, we also need your support
to drive the professional software development process behind this plan.

Please join the fun at roundcu.be/next and support our
crowd funding campaign either directly or by simply spreading the word about it.

Roundcube Next Campaign Video

Aaron Seigo's picture

Roundcube "Next" crowd funding campaign!

Today we closed out the first (and quite successful) Kolab Summit in front of both the Kolab and openSUSE attendees with some really big news: the Roundcube team has launched a significant new development project to give Roundcube, the world's most popular free software webmail system, a modern fluid "single-page" user interface. The UI will be rendered entirely in the browser, and the server will only do minimal business logic in support of that.

The focus is on modularity (to make it easier to extend Roundcube's core features), scalability, and deployability. At the same time, the Roundcube team needs to maintain the current version (we have commitments to clients and users that stretch years into the future) as well as build a migration strategy to the new version when it becomes available. Thomas, the founder and project lead for Roundcube, gave a great presentation explaining the whole thing.

As you might imagine, achieving these goals will involve refactoring nearly the entire codebase. We plan to commit three developers along with a UI designer to the project with support of the Kolab Systems project management infrastructure and staff.

So this is a pretty big project, but quite achievable. While discussing how best to make this all happen, the Roundcube team decided that it would make sense to reach out to the entire Roundcube user community to help make this happen, and therefore launched a crowd funding campaign today at Indiegogo.

Quite a way to close out the conference!

http://igg.me/at/roundcubenext

Together, we can make this a great success! Please help spread the word, back the campaign with a pledge, and join us for what is going to be a fantastic journey. Regular updates will be posted to the crowdfunding page, and we are excited to make the run to our initial goal of $80,000 with you!

Aaron Seigo's picture

collaborative editing for the win

On the first day of the Kolab Summit we announced that Kolab is getting full extended MAPI support. That was in itself a pretty fantastic announcement, but it was accompanied by announcements of instant messaging, WebRTC and collaborative editing.

Here is a picture which I think captures what the LibreOffice and WebODF people think about this direction, captured over lunch today: