Janitor News #9

published

#1

Hi there!

This is your recurrent burst of good news about Janitor.
Thank you ever so much for being part of this community. It really means a lot.

Announcing Windows Environments

Janitor is great for quickly fixing platform-specific bugs in your projects, especially if you don’t normally develop on that platform. Today, we only provide Linux containers (Ubuntu 16.04) but many of you asked for native Windows environments on Janitor, so that’s exactly what we plan to give you.

We want to make it easy for you to work on all operating systems, without the hassle of setting up a VM or maintaining a dual boot. In fact, you won’t even need to install anything other than a good web browser (like Firefox Quantum) because our Windows environments will be accessible from the web, with a graphical VNC environment, just like our current Linux containers.

We’re looking into Windows VMs on Azure and TaskCluster workers on AWS. If Mozilla plays along, you should see Windows environments for Firefox on Janitor within just a few months. (If you can help us get there faster, please let us know here, here or here.)

Announcing Janitor 0.0.9

So much has happened this year that it was hard to find time to write about our progress. This version bump was long overdue.

Here is a quick rundown of what we did since July:

  • Now serving Cloud9 IDE directly from Janitor (no c9.io account required anymore)
  • Made both IDE and VNC load much faster (thanks to browser caching improvements)
  • Improved our Docker proxy to allow working in multiple containers at the same time
  • Added the Discourse open source project to Janitor (thanks notriddle!)
  • Added janitor.json configuration files to automate your project’s workflows on Janitor (thanks ntim!)
  • Added two new Docker servers to our cluster (thanks IRILL for the much needed sponsorship upgrade!)
  • Added a “Reviews” IDE sidebar with code review comments you need to address (thanks ntim!)
  • Now pulling automated Docker image builds (thanks to Docker Hub and CircleCI)
  • Expanded our API to manage Docker containers (to create / inspect / delete containers and image layers)
  • Created a Docker administration page to efficiently manage our container farm
  • Cleaner UI and more controls in our “Projects” and “Containers” pages (thanks ntim, Coder206 and fbeaufort!)
  • Dropped the “The” in “The Janitor” because it’s cleaner (thanks arshad!)
  • Refreshed Firefox, Servo and Chromium project logos (thanks Coder206, arshad and ntim!)
  • Switched Firefox (hg) from mozilla-central to mozilla-unified (thanks ntim)
  • Upgraded to Git 2.15.0
  • Upgraded to Mercurial 4.4.1
  • Upgraded to Clang 5.0 and replaced Gold with LLD 5.0 (now links Firefox 2x faster)
  • Upgraded to Rust 1.22.1 / 1.23.0-nightly (installed via rustup 1.7.0)
  • Upgraded to Node.js 8.9.1 and npm 5.5.1 (now installed via nvm 0.33.6)
  • Upgraded to Ninja 1.8.2 (now with bash completion)
  • Upgraded to rr 5.0.0
  • Upgraded to the latest Vim 8 and Neovim
  • Installed the latest valgrind (for nbp)
  • Installed the latest tmux (for Paul Rouget)
  • … and many more improvements and bug fixes.

Our Cluster Just Got Bigger

Janitor is now used by over 400 developers and our hardware was starting to feel small, so IRILL upgraded their sponsorship, growing our cluster to a total of 6 servers (4 Docker hosts, including 3 at IRILL in Versaille and 1 at Mozilla in California, as well as 2 VPS web app hosts at OVH in Gravelines). This means that Janitor now runs on 42 CPUs, 120 GB RAM and 4 TB disk space.

Here is a picture of EtienneWan and I manually installing the new servers in IRILL’s data center near Paris.

You can really thank IRILL and Sylvestre for keeping us going! In the future we’ll make it much simpler for anyone to join our cluster, in order to accept many more open source projects and developers to Janitor.

Janitor Around the World

Here are some events we went to, or are planning to attend:

  • Watch how Coder206 presented Janitor to Sudbury’s Google Developer Group, with a cool side-by-side comparison of hacking on Servo.
  • Come see two Janitor lightning talks at Mozilla’s All Hands in Austin this December, in the Firefox Lightning Talks and Power tools for open source tracks.
  • Come hack on open source software with Janitor at INSA Lyon or 42 in Paris in just a few months (two hackathons to be announced).

Last Stretch to Beta

2017 has been such a wild ride. We significantly lowered the barrier to new contributions for several major open source projects, allowing many people to contribute to Firefox, Chromium, Servo, Thunderbird (and more) for the first time, and we proved that it was possible to modernize software development at scale. Now we just need to finish a few more things before we can call our Alpha a resounding success.

In 2018, Janitor Beta will get us to the next level, with Windows environments (and maybe MacOS too); massive Docker scaling improvements; an open build farm that anyone can join; new open source partnerships; and even more radical automation to make software development faster and more fun. More on that very soon.

And that’s a wrap for today. How is everything going? We’d love to know! Also our Discourse and IRC channel are great resources to ask questions and learn more about this project.

Stay safe,
Team Janitor

P.S. One more thing: Here is a sneak peek at the beautiful new design that ntim, arshad and notriddle are working on for Janitor.


#2

Previously in Janitor News (stats)

We use MailChimp for our newsletters, because its free plan makes it easy to send beautiful-looking emails that usually don’t end up in spam (as opposed to our badly configured email-login sign in emails… which we should really switch to MailChimp as well).

MailChimp also shows some stats about how many people open the emails (based on embedded), or click on links. For the curious, I’ll share some data about previous newsletters here:

Janitor News #5

Janitor News #6

Janitor News #7

Janitor News #8


#3

Looks great! Thanks for giving me credit!

A couple questions:

  1. Do you still think it’s worth while explicitly mentioning that Contributions are now Containers?
  2. What are your plans with:
  1. The Road to Beta
  2. ?

Best regards,

Coder206


#4

You’re very welcome! :slight_smile:

I’m open to suggestions on this one. Ideally we’d keep the list of changes relatively small, but this is a “user visible” change. Maybe we could group it with other renames and tweaks in the Containers page? (We removed the Logs feature, renamed “Edit in Cloud9” to “Open IDE”, and “Updated” to “Built”)

I’m not sure yet, and am open to suggestions here as well. I usually make up topics as I find interesting contents to share.

For 2) I thought that maybe we could say we’re in the last stretch for moving from Alpha to Beta, and that we only miss the things described in issue #166 (and maybe encourage people to have a look if they want to help out?), and maybe also mention that once we’re in Beta we’ll be able to open Janitor to a lot more users, and support many more projects.


#5

Very good!

I’m open to suggestions on this one. Ideally we’d keep the list of changes relatively small, but this is a “user visible” change. Maybe we could group it with other renames and tweaks in the Containers page? (We removed the Logs feature, renamed “Edit in Cloud9” to “Open IDE”, and “Updated” to “Built”)

Ok, I think your suggestion makes more sense to keep the newsletter concise.

I’m not sure yet, and am open to suggestions here as well. I usually make up topics as I find interesting contents to share.

For 2) I thought that maybe we could say we’re in the last stretch for moving from Alpha to Beta, and that we only miss the things described in issue #166 (and maybe encourage people to have a look if they want to help out?),

Yes I think this is another great idea, inviting more contributors to help out (for the Beta) and share their opinions and past experiences to best Janitor possible.

[M]aybe also mention that once we’re in Beta we’ll be able to open Janitor to a lot more users, and support many more projects.

Could this also be an opportunity to reach out to people interested in building/migrating projects to the Janitor platform?


#6

I agree, and I’d also like to start working on a Survey for Janitor users and non-users as well, in order to get a better idea of how people perceive this project’s usefulness, and collect suggestions / feedback.

This survey would also be a great opportunity to ask every user to list the contributions they’ve made with Janitor, in order to get some data showing the project’s impact.

Most definitely! Once we hit Beta, I’d love to reach out to all the developers of all our currently supported projects, and tell them about Janitor / invite them to try it (and maybe to sponsor Janitor with additional server resources if they like it), and it’s a great idea to also reach out to the communities of other potential projects, including our suggested next projects, in order to add many more supported projects.


#7

What kind of email provider are you using for Discourse? Just want to keep track of all the mail mechanisms you’re using; it seems pretty nice to try to keep it down to one or two.

(I’ve been using Mailgun with Discourse; they have both SMTP service, a JSON/HTTP API for sending mail, and they’ll call a webhook upon receiving mail)


#8

Ah, great question! I believe right now it’s using “Gandi Mail” (the domain name janitor.technology comes from gandi.net, and they offer free email accounts with SMTP/POP access).

We may want to switch it over to MailChimp’s “automation” as well (it became free recently, and it should hopefully make it very easy to send unified emails that won’t go to spam). But I’m also open to suggestions, e.g. do you think switching everything to Mailgun is a better idea?


#9

I’m mostly just thinking that you want to use one mail provider because you want DKIM. You usually get a few “Ham Points” for having it, and you lose a lot if DKIM is set up on a domain but the email isn’t signed.

I wouldn’t bother switching off of MailChimp if it does what you want. I would, however, look into getting reply-by-email set up for this forum. This works for forum.bors.tech.


#10

TODO:

  • coder206’s video
  • all hands talks
  • new design sneak peek

EDIT: All done. I’ll try to send this out today.


#11

This was sent out to our mailing list!

Now I’ll publish it on our blog as well, and Pascal kindly agreed to tweet and repost it on Mozilla’s Release Management blog (see this issue).


#12

And here is MailChimp’s current data about the latest newsletter, 5 days after it was sent:

Janitor News #9

Edit: It’s worth noting that our Janitor blog post received significantly more traffic than before, and that the newsletter was re-posted to Mozilla’s Release Management blog. All these additional reads are not counted here.