Improving user experience under Ubuntu

Marco Scopesi and I have written a Neubot command that shows the web user interface in an ordinary window, provided that Gtk and WebKit bindings for Python are available. In practice, this means that Neubot now uses its own GUI instead of the browser, at least under Ubuntu. This work will be included in Neubot 0.4.2.

Here is how it looks like:

pywebkit image

Many thanks to Marco for his help!


Released Neubot 0.4.1

Version 0.4.1 is the sixth generally-available stable release of Neubot, distributed for Ubuntu >= 10.04, MacOSX >= 10.6 and Windows >= XP SP3. It is also available in source format (.tar.gz and .zip).

This release contains 92 patches. The diffstat says: 92 files changed, with 4851 lines inserted and 522 lines deleted.

Here are the most relevant changes:

  • new installer for Mac that (i) installs Neubot as a daemon so that it runs at startup and (ii) shows privacy policy and asks for privacy permissions;

    see also;

  • new neubot/www/lang/en.js to start from in order to translate the web user interface to other languages;
  • more code rationalizations, bug fixes and unit tests.

The release candidates have been tested on Ubuntu 10.04, Windows XP SP3, Windows 7 and MacOSX 10.6. We've not been able to find a MacOSX 10.5 machine to test the new package, so we don't know whether the new installer has issues with such version.


Web Interface Internationalization

Neubot 0.4 is the first release to support internationalization. Its web interface is now fully available in English and Italian. Using a gettext-like philosophy, the standard interface is written using English, while translations in other languages applies over the English strings when necessary. You can see the implementation code browsing the source code of Neubot to neubot/www/js/i18n.js.


Released Neubot 0.4

Version 0.4 is the fifth generally-available stable release of Neubot, coming after two months of hard work. It is distributed as: a .deb package for Debian and Ubuntu; a zipped application for MacOSX; an installer for Windows XP SP3+. It is also available in source format.

This release contains 475 patches. The diffstat says: 126 files changed, with 8686 lines inserted and 1837 lines deleted.

Here are the most relevant changes:

  • the bittorrent test has been finalized and now runs in background by default. A tab has been added to the web user interface to show the results of the test;
  • the web interface is now internationalized and a full Italian translation is available;
  • on login, under Windows and Ubuntu, now Neubot notifies the user if she needs to update her privacy settings and/or a new release is available;

Video: Neubot development history

A Neubot contributor, Roberto D'Auria, shared this awesome video on YouTube that depicts the history of Neubot development:

Neubot devel

Best student paper award!

Last friday our article received the best student paper award at the IEEE 16th International Symposium on Computers and Communications (ISCC'11) in Corfu!


Internationalized web interface

Thanks to the recent work of Neubot contributor Alessio Palmero Aprosio and me, now it's possible to internationalize the messages of Neubot Web User Interface. See for example the following screenshot, with many messages translated into Italian:

i18n web interface


Recreated debian package to update my GPG key

My GPG key expired so I had to recreate the debian package to provide an updated key. As a result, version 0.3.7-2_all of the debian package is now available:

Unfortunately, the package manager, be it APT, Synaptic, UpdateManager, Ubuntu Software Center, or whathever, will complain because of the expired key. However testing with Ubuntu 11.04 suggests that the package manager should offer to update to the new version, which ships with the updated key and fixes the issue. See, for example, the following screenshot, that shows what happens when upgrading via APT:

apt complains but installs

as you can see, you need to force the installation of 0.3.7-2_all because by default APT refuses to install a non-authenticated package.

If the package manager does not seem to update Neubot, i.e. it keeps reporting over and over again an error that patterns after this one:

      W: A error occurred during the signature verification. The repository is
      not updated and the previous index files will be used.GPG error:  Release: The following signatures were
      invalid: KEYEXPIRED 1307547537
      W: Failed to fetch
      W: Some index files failed to download, they have been ignored, or old
      ones used instead.

then, in this case I suggest to download the updated package and install it at hand: Installing the updated package over the old one should fix the issue as well. (For more information on how to install it please see "how to install the debian package".)


Have you already set the privacy permissions?

Neubot 0.3.7 allows you to set the privacy permissions via the web user interface. Have you already done that? When setting the privacy permissions, please consider giving us the permission to share your Internet address (and hence your results) with other researchers, to empower the whole community (see also the F.A.Q. and the privacy policy). Thanks!


Testing geographical redirection to a nearby server

Today I've committed and deployed code that allows to redirect your Neubot to a nearby test server. When your Neubot connects to the central server, we geolocate it to get the country, using MaxMind's GeoLite. Then we choose a server at random among the ones available for that country. Currently, I'm testing this redirecting Italian Neubots to an alternative server with probability 16%.



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