A word of caution on CMS plugins for the Kaltura video platform


When the Kaltura video platform was announced in 2007 it made lots of people interested to know more. The promise of a commercially supported open-source video hosting platform, along with the choice of either running your own hosted content server or paying someone else, would be a great choice for both large firms looking to cut costs where they can, small & mid-size sites that want to use an open platform, and (us) developers who want to tinker with something.

Personally speaking, I was very excited about the potential, but was very frustrated when they kept breaking their previously published launch dates for public code releases. During 2008 I got involved with the Drupal CMS and in 2009 researched Kaltura as a standard platform for my then employer. Unfortunately, at the time several components were missing for our needs, so we went back to a different provider.

Skip ahead a year and I notice the excellent Drupal developer Dave Reid complaining that the Kaltura Drupal module had spyware problems along with a link to a discussion about it. After more than a year of the issue sitting there untouched by the module's maintainers (a Kaltura employee), Dave led the discussion to what quickly became a major issue for the Drupal webmasters group. As it turned out, the module was radioing home during both the install and uninstall processes, and despite multiple requests to remove the tracking code nothing was done about it.

After much discussion during which the original developer lost their CVS access, a patch was applied that removed the offending code, an official drupal.org security notice was published and the latest version is now bug-free.

Happy days for Drupal site maintainers.

The question remains, however: of Kaltura's official extensions how many still include the tracker code?

My Drupalcamp Wisconsin presentations


Over the past two days a number of Drupal developers from around the country converged in the college town of Madison, WI to share & learn. It was good seeing a few people I'd met before and great to meet several others, plus sample some really tasty druplicons :-)

I volunteered to do two presentations and had a good time with both. As promised, here are the slides from the presentations:

If you attended either of the presentations please let me know what you thought, particularly if there's anything you think I could improve on for next time.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to a great Drupalcamp, particularly the organizers, the University of Wisconsin which housed the event, and the many sponsors who kept us clothed and fed.

Unthought Known - Pearl Jam's best song in a decade


I grew up listening to Pearl Jam's Ten, Vs and Vitalogy, with Ten still being one of my favorite albums some twenty years later. I've also watched & loved their MTV Unplugged performance, placing it as one of the best musical performances I've heard bar none.

That said, their music was definitely changing over the course of their first three albums, at times feeling a bit confused and lost, and that impress continued with their later albums. I didn't like many songs on No Code, Yield or Binaural and gave up on them. When I finally gave in and picked up Riot Act and their self-titled 2006 album in some garage sales I just didn't like any of the songs on either album.

And then I heard Unthought Known off their Backspacer album during a Saturday Night Live show and I'm a fan again. It is an infectious and brilliant song which feels much more positive than the rest of their work from the last decade, much less of the "world is going to hell" noisy fury. Honestly it feels like lead singer, songwriter and composer Eddie Vedder finally grew up, got over his inner turmoil and looked to the future for his (currently) two young children, which really resonated with me as a father of two myself.

Thanks to this one song, for the first time in a dozen years I'm looking forward to their future work. Rock on Eddie!

Pressflow-6 and Pantheon-Mercury on GitHub (updated x2)


In the past year I've discovered two things:

  • The revision management system Bazaar (aka "bzr") is an occasionally flaky little thing and I've experienced several crashes doing mundane tasks. I much prefer using Git or even Subversion as they've proven to be rock solid in my use of them over the years.
  • The Drupal fork Pressflow has a lot going for it.

However, because Pressflow uses Bazaar rather than Git I've been reluctant to bother trying it. Now that I'm working somewhere that is starting to use Pressflow for production sites I figured it was time to get over the headaches and start contributing.

As my first step towards this goal I've set up what I'm intending to be a semi-permanent mirror of Pressflow-6 on GitHub. While there were two existing mirrors neither of them had been updated yet, so now at least there is an up-to-date mirror of it available. In doing this I am committing to keeping this current for as long as I am using Drupal 6 for work, which should continue through 2011 and probably longer.

I'm also going to see if I can get involved a bit more with the Pressflow group, possibly throw some ideas learned during my days at Bonnier to help improve Drupal 6's performance for high-traffic sites, especially for logged-in users.

One of the most common uses of Pressflow is as part of the larger Pantheon Mercury project, which is a custom OS configuration for making installations of Linux tailored specially for running Pressflow, complete with a reverse-proxy engine and a local install of the Solr search engine. At Bluespark Labs we're standardizing on using this as the basis for all new production installations so it's in my best interests to know how it works and, potentially, contribute to the effort. So, like with Pressflow, my first step towards this is to create a GitHub mirror of the Pantheon project, which I'll try to keep current.

Update: You can also access the repository using Subversion, which can be useful to e.g. use svn:externals to save some steps when updating:

  • svn checkout http://svn.github.com/damienmckenna/pressflow-6.git

Update x2: FourKitchens, one of the leaders in the Pressflow group, have announced their own official git and svn mirrors of the bzr repository:


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