Thursday, November 07, 2013

Mozilla Summit 2013
Mozilla Summit 2013 [1] in Santa Clara was my first International Mozilla Event out of the region. The first one was Mozilla South Asia Inter-community Meet-up [2] which was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in February this year. Mozilla Summit 2013 was held from 4th to 6th of October in Brussels, Santa Clara, and Toronto in parallel. Most of the Mozilla communities in Asia including but not limited to Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh were invited to Santa Clara.

I was excited as it was my first flight outside the region, a long one of course and because I am going to meet a lot of Mozillians. After a long flight of almost 15 hours from Dubai we (Rohana, Suresh and myself from Mozilla Sri Lanka community and a lot more from India and Bangladesh communities) landed in San Francisco airport where I was warmly welcomed by the Mozilla team and after about 30 minutes ride we were there in The Santa Clara Marriott hotel where the summit was going to unveil and where we were going to stay for the next couple of awesome days.

Welcome Pack
Photo courtesy: Danishka Navin
Three t-shirts for the three days, that was cool. It was a sound sleep on 3rd, so sound it was I missed the photo walk the next morning. Fortunately it was not only me who missed the photo walk, a couple of others also were there in the lobby who has missed the photo walk. We started by our own, a self guided photo walk, we named it.

Day 1, Friday kicked offed with Michel Baker's keynote speech on The Nature of Mozilla where she emphasized the idea of Know More, Do More and Do Better. "Where do we want Mozilla and the web to be in 10 years", the speech by Brendan Eich was followed by the world fair, where participant from different communities show cased their community activities, their delicious food, their games, their culture basically. That was great to have that number of communities, in one place. Several sessions took place in the evening and "Firefox OS in 2014 and Beyond" was one in which I was of great interest. Next was the group photo, outside the hotel, a huge one of course. The day concluded with dinner and karaoke. Food throughout the event was awesome :-)

Day 2, morning session was interesting with the videos and demos from different ongoing projects in Mozilla. New Firefox OS Marketplace, App Maker and App Manager are some of the many of interest. Next was the innovation fair where the new products and technology from Mozilla were presented. We, the Mozillians at the summit were lucky that we got the chance to be exposed to the latest products and technologies from Mozilla before the rest of the world do. In the evening there were some sessions going on and next we went to Great America, an amusement park just a few blocks away from the hotel. It was a night full of fun, the halloween theme, drop tower, roller coaster, games, music and a lot more.

Day 3, the final day of the summit was more into people getting into small groups and discussions and brainstorming on the products that they are interested in. It was nice to see the ideas for a better web being pasted on the paper covered walls by the individuals. The last day at the summit concluded with dinner and DJ.

It was fun, informative and a great experience to participate at the Mozilla Summit 2013 and after a long flight I was back in my motherland with the determination that I should contribute more towards building a open web and to aware people about Know More, Do More and Do Better.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Electricity Bill Cal | My first app for Firefox OS

Home Screen of Electricity Bill Cal

I am happy to say that my very first app, Electricity Bill Cal [1] for Firefox OS has been accepted by the Firefox Marketplace [2].

Electricity Bill Cal is an app to calculate the bill for the electricity consumption of domestic and religious consumers in Sri Lanka. The calculations are done based "Electricity Tariff Revision - May 09, 2013" which is the latest approved tariff structure in Sri Lanka for the moment.

Electricity Bill Cal is a hosted app (Firefox OS apps can be either hosted or packaged). The app is hosted in github pages [3] which is a good option to host web apps in this small scale. This is basically a web app and the manifest file makes it eligible to be submitted as an Firefox OS app in the Firefox Marketplace. At the submission to the Firefox Marketplace it stated that it will take approximately 18 working days to get the app approved but it took only about 8 days. At the moment app reviewing is done by a small group of volunteers [4] that it takes a number of days to get an app reviewed. If you are interested you may become a Firefox Marketplace app reviewer [5] and thus contribute to Mozilla and the community.

If you are interested in developing apps for Firefox OS which is not that hard, Firefox OS in Mozilla Developer Network [6] is a good place to start with.

[3] and

Friday, May 24, 2013

Keon | It's here :-)

Keon on my diary :-)

Two days back I received Keon, Firefox OS [1] developer phone by Geeksphone [2]. It was shipped under the program to ship devices to Mozilla Reps [3]. Since it was a mobile phone, it was detained by the customs, had to get the approval from TRC [4], a few other docs and in the whole process it cost me around 70USD. But the effort was worth enough and I am happy with the Keon on my palm.

The device is cool, nice design. The OS also is pretty much stable, just a few automatic restarts during charging. I tried some of the apps in the market place, the restarts may be due to those apps as well, not sure. Anyway I am going to flash it with the latest image [5] that is available there in geeksphone forum. In the current version (Build identifier 20130307190626) it supports contact sync only from facebook, which I dislike. It would be better if it can sync with Google contacts as well, since in my case, most of the contact numbers are in Google contacts.

Wi-fi, GPS, FM radio they works fine. I couldn't check the camera, gallery since I don't have a memory card right now.

My contribution to Firefox OS would be in terms of testing the OS and developing apps for the market place [6]. I will blog on those apps once I finish them and they are in the market place.

One last note, the S/N and the IMEI of the device is to be found in the package of the phone. It was looking for it in the phone settings and found only the IMEI. Thanks to Priyanka [7] I learned that they are mentioned in the package. Those who requested Keon and need to update their request in bugzilla, this may be useful.

That's all about Keon and Firefox OS  for the time being and will write more on my experience with them and apps in future.



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

PHP Report Maker | A life saver


Recently I was involved in developing a registration site for SLUG (Sri Lankan University Games) 2013 [1] where we wanted to produce several reports at the end.Thanks to Mr. Samudaya Nanayakkara [2], I came across PHP Report Maker 6 [3], a php dynamic web report generator with data sources MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft Access, Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle for the moment. In my case it was with MySQL.

The basic steps would be,
  • Connect to the database
  • Create a view
  • Create a report
It is possible to create several reports with different fields and filters from the same view. Apart from that it is possible to make a table, view as a report as well.

PHP Report Maker supports extended filters, which comes in handy in filtering report data. The filters can be configured simply to result in a complex functionality.

Stuff that didn't work in localhost

I created several extended filters for the reports and I configured them to have 'SELECT-ONE' type, that is the drop down. But in the browser, the drop down was not fed with the distinct values of the relevant field, is was left with only 'Please select'. The issue was not there when I moved the files to the server :-)

Moving reports to the server, pay attention

There are views created in the database server in the process of creating the reports. They need to be formed in the server, a mysql dump and restore would do.

Next is the database info in the server. If they differ from those in your localhost, modify them. They can be found in ewrcfg6.php in phprptinc in your report out put directory.

In my case all the table names were in lower case in the mysql dump of views where as in the saver they were in camel case. Grep and sed can be used to replace them accordingly.

More info

video tutorial :
online demo :


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mozilla South Asia Inter-Community Meet-up 2013

First ever Mozilla South Asia Inter-Community Meet-up was held successfully on 23rd and 24th February 2013 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

All most all the participants had landed in Kathmandu by 22nd night. We all had dinner, traditional Nepalese with marvellous traditional dancing at Yak & Yeti Hotel where the meet-up was to be hosted and where accommodation was provided as well.

On the official first day of the meet-up, 23rd, the session kicked off with introducing each other, our role in Mozilla and how we hope to contribute to Mozilla in the year ahead. A SWOT analysis was done on community basis. In the afternoon we all attended the Open Data Day which was a public event organized by the FOSS communities in Nepal. There several small sessions each with a time span of around 15 minutes were carried out on Mozilla as an organization, Firefox OS, Webmaker and Localization. A load of thanks to Gen, Deb, Gautham, Mac and Huda. A few Firefox OS developers phones were available and the participants had the chance to have hands on experience of the Firefox OS. That was the firsts hands on experience of mine as well and that was simply superb. Next we had a discussion with Nepalese FOSS communities on "How to sustain with FOSS". There we discussed about the issues that are faced by the FOSS communities, how to retain the existing contributors, financial sustainability of the projects, how we can adopt from other communities etc. Back at the hotel we discussed the issues faced by Mozilla communities in each country and solutions as suggestions based on the SWOT analysis in the morning session.

On 24th, officially the last day of the meet-up, common issues for the Mozilla communities in each country were identified and categorized.  Participants were listed under each category as their interest. A task force for each category was formed and they discussed separately to come up with a road map for the year 2013 so that the common issues raised earlier are addressed properly. I hope that through inter community support and collaboration, we as the Mozilla South Asian community will be able to spread the word and contribute to make Mozilla products better.

It was a wonderful experience, the stay at Nepal and the meet-up. Many thanks to all the participants, Mozilla Nepal community and other supporters for the great hospitality and organization. Special thanks to Suresh and Lumbini FOSS community for the immense support rendered to Danishka and myself during our visit to Lumbini the following day.

Hope to see you all and more in the next meet-up with all the tasks in the road map ticked :-)

More info:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Entering its 3rd year, the latest release : Hanthana Linux 17 (Sithija) is available now!

Project began with the goals of Introducing and promoting Free and Open Source Software to the masses, especially to those with low technical knowledge, no access to the Internet or under privileged, and has now been deployed in a lot of schools, individuals, private sector offices, public sector institutes and government offices.

Hanthana Linux operating system was officially released on the 19th of September 2009 and by now the the number of copies distributed by the Hanthana Linux Project and individuals has counted up to the thousands. According to the SourceForge website, just one of the repositories that provides the distribution, there’s over 6000 downloads from all over the world. From those, at least 8 countries (excluding Sri Lanka) has downloaded a minimum of 100 copies and at least 96 countries has at least one download.
This information excludes the local repository, LEARN, which is used by Sri Lankans as well as the Ibiblio repository.

The School Labs project which was inaugurated in 2012 by the Hanthana Linux project has already facilitated labs to 2 schools already and is planned to provide for more schools.

Schools in the Walapane educational zone of the Nuwara Eliya district and in the Kebithigollewa educational zone of the Anuradhapura district are next in this project and you too can join this project in facilitating IT knowledge to underprivileged school children in these areas.

Hanthana Linux is not just another Fedora respin. As a project it facilitates the deployment of Free and Open source Software amongst the everyday PC user as well as the localization of FOSS software,Documentation and provide training workshops as well.

Hanthana Linux is not a commercial product. Its a project for the betterment of the community by the community.

Hanthana Linux 17 (Sithija) is released!

Hanthana Linux 17 (sithija), the latest release of Hanthana was released on the 3rd anniversary of the Hanthana Linux project. In addition to the host of applications, the new release has the official LibreOffice guide provided by the Document Foundation.

Get your copy of Hanthana Linux 17 today!

The Hanthana Linux project takes this moment to give our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who worked for the project as well as everyone who sent the project their best wishes. Thank You.