Archive for February, 2009

Jabber Mail Notification

I always struggled to find the right mail notification applet for my desktop. Furthermore I always stumble over the question: Why do I have to ask the mail server in a defined time interval “Do I have a new e-mail?”. Wouldn’t it be better if the mail server notifies me if a new e-mail arrives?
This is probably somehow a new form of the good old question “mailing list vs bulletin board” or in general: Do i have to fetch the information or does the information come to me? Personally i always preferred to get the information and not to hunt around for them.

Thinking about this question i realized that notification through Jabber would be perfect and the open XMPP protocol virtually invites one to do such things.

The idea was born. Now the first step was to find a easy to use XMPP implementation for a scripting language like Python, Ruby or PHP. At the end I found a quite nice and easy to use PHP library. While searching such a library I also found this guidance (German only), borrowed some code from it and my solution was born:

// The script gets the input either as an argument, from a REQUEST-variable or from stdin
// If you use it within procmail you will get the input through stdin 
if ($argv[1]) {
    $msg = $argv[1];
} elseif ($_REQUEST['msg']) {
    $msg = urldecode($_REQUEST['msg']);
} else {
    // open stdin. Only read the first 4096 character, this should be enough to match
    // the FROM- and  SUBJECT-header
    $stdin = fopen('php://stdin', 'r');
    $msg   = fread($stdin, 4096);
    if (empty($msg)) {
        $msg = "empty";
    } else {
        // Get FROM und SUBJECT
        preg_match('@From:(.*)@i', $msg, $from);
	preg_match('@Subject:(.*)@i', $msg, $subject);
        $msg = "\n" . $from[0] . "\n" . $subject[0] . "\n";
// now init xmpp and get the notification out
include 'XMPPHP/XMPP.php';
$conn = new XMPPHP_XMPP('', 5222, 'user', 'password', 'xmpphp', '', $printlog=false, $loglevel=XMPPHP_Log::LEVEL_INFO);
try {
    $conn->message('', $msg);
} catch(XMPPHP_Exception $e) {

Now I just had to tell procmail to pipe the mails through the PHP script. If you want to get notified about all mails you can simply put this line at the top of your procmail rules (Or maybe at least behind the spam filter rules ;-) ):

|php /home/schiessle/bin/mailnotification.php

I want to get notified only about some specific mails so I extended my procmail rules in this way:

* ^(To:|Cc:).*
        |php /home/schiessle/bin/mailnotification.php

That’s it! All in all it was quite easy to get e-mail notification through Jabber. Now I don’t have to search for the right applet, configure it etc.. All I have to do is to start my Jabber client and I will get notified about new mails whatever desktop or computer i’m using.

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Today the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) announced their latest initiative: The initiative started in the Fellowship and is coordinated by the Fellows Hannes Hauswedell and Jan-Hendrik Peters. The Fellowship increases FSFE’s financial independence, FSFE’s political weight, FSFE’s workforce and is the source of many great projects, activites and campaigns. Read more about the Fellowship.

Many websites with PDF documents have a link to a proprietary PDF reader from one specific company. This initiative tries to change this and offers buttons to link to which leads people to a list of free as in freedom and vendor neutral PDF readers.

FSFE president Georg Greve explains: “Interoperability, competition and choice are primary benefits of Open Standards that translate into vendor-independence and better value for money for customers. Although many versions of PDF offer all these benefits for formatted text and documents, files in PDF formats typically come with information that users need to use a specific product. provides an alternative to highlight the strengths of PDF as an Open Standard.”

Jan-Hendrik Peters, one of the coordinators of this initiative says: “Free Software gives us control over the software we use, and Open Standards give us control over our data and allow implementations by many different groups. We wanted to show that with the Portable Document Format people can have both.”

Support Free Software and Open Standards! Put one of the next to PDF files on your websites!

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An awesome event is over: KDE 4.2 Release Party and Fellowship Meeting at Stuttgart

At Friday, 30.Jan.09 we had a joint event between KDE and the Fellowship of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and it was simply awesome! Beside a lot of KDE and FSFE people we had a lot of visitors and at the end we were about 40 people! All interested in KDE 4.2 and Free Software.

Introduction by Frederik

At the beginning Frederik started with an introduction and showed all the new and cool things in KDE 4.2. After that i gave a talk about the work of FSFE, especially in 2008, explained the role of the Fellowship for FSFE and highlighted some cool activities from our Fellows. My slides can be found here (German). I think i could attract some people and would be really happy to see some new faces at our next Fellowship meeting (probably somewhen in March). If you don’t want to miss it, subscribe to our mailing list for South Germany.

Frank talked about the KDE community

After my talk we made a small break and than Frank continued with a very interesting talk about the KDE community and how to get involved as a developer, writer, artist or user. Last but not least Sven talked about the new version of Amarok and what we can expect from the new release.

This was the official part. Now the party started and we had a lot of fun and many interesting discussions between KDE developers and users, FSFE Fellows and all the other people who joined us at this evening. We also discussed some possible activities for the Fellowship Group Stuttgart. Some Fellows seems to be quite interested in the topic “Free Software in school and education”. I also think that this is a really important topic. Remember, the pupils from today are the decision makers from tomorrow.

Martin (KDE Developer from the very first days) told a lot of interesting stories

As it becomes later a small group of people survived. One of them was Martin Konold, a KDE Developer from the very first days of KDE. He told us a lot of interesting and funny stories about the beginning of KDE and the development of the Free Software desktop.

At 2:30 at night a great event was over. I really want to thank Frederik for his great help in organising this event and all the other KDE people who helped to make this event that awesome! It was a lot of fun and a great cooperation between KDE and FSFE people! Looking forward for the next opportunity to organise such a great event!

More pictures can be found here.

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