Rob Lanphier | 27 Feb 20:42 2015

Welcome Eric Evans to the WMF Services team

Hi everyone,

I'm pleased to welcome Eric Evans as a new engineer in our Services team.
Eric lives and works in San Antonio, TX

Eric's formative years in his current career were at Rackspace, which at
the time he joined (February 2000) was a small 30 person hosting company in
southern Texas. At the beginning of his tenure, he was responsible for
customer-facing sysadmin work. As he progressed with increasing
responsibilities, he eventually led a small team in the architecture and
implementation of a multi-petabyte storage system that would become
Rackspace's Cloud Files offering. By the time he left Rackspace, he was a
core contributor on the Cassandra storage software project, contributing
CQL (Cassandra Query Language) among other things. He also is given
credit/blame for having coined the term "NoSQL".

Eric left Rackspace in 2011, and has since worked in a couple of
Cassandra-related roles, first at a London-based startup (Acunu) where he
honed his remote collaboration skills, and later at The OpenNMS Group,
where he developed Newts, a Cassandra-backed time series data store used as
part of the larger network management stack.

Eric has deep roots in the free software world, and contributes even when
not strictly necessary for his job. He is a longtime contributor to the
Debian Project, where he met our very own Faidon Liambotis, and hence, a
big reason why he's here. He also created Lumens, which is software for
controlling Chrismas light displays.

Eric's first job here is to help get RESTbase ready for production use.
RESTbase is a Cassandra-backed (see a theme yet?) revision caching/storage
(Continue reading)

Bahodir Mansurov | 27 Feb 19:32 2015

Moses decoder


I’ve been learning how to use Moses decoder [1] for creating machine translation models for the Uzbek
language and was wondering if anyone else has any experience with. After talking to Amir, we decided to set
Moses up in a Labs instance. Is anyone else interested in this? How was your experience with the decoder?


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Legoktm | 27 Feb 17:57 2015

[RfC] AuthManager


Anomie, bd808, CSteipp, and myself have been working on updating Tyler's
previous AuthStack RfC:

Our goal is to build an authentication system that is flexible enough to
support the variety of usecases that MW currently supports and those it
should support in the future, without requiring tons of hooks or ugly hacks.

Please leave comments and feedback on the talk page :)

-- Legoktm

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Brion Vibber | 26 Feb 19:03 2015

Possible parser test breakage in cases using <gallery>

The <gallery> tag generation has been updated to include srcset attributes
for high-density displays: <>

An unfortunate consequence is that if extensions have parser test cases
including a <gallery> they will need to be updated for the new HTML.

The only one I noticed on my setup with in Cite, so I submitted a patch to
fix that; but keep an eye out for surprise test failures elsewhere.

It's an easy fix -- run the parser tests, find the failing test, and
copy-paste the 'srcset' attribute from the generated HTML into the test
case expected output.

-- brion
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Brion Vibber | 26 Feb 18:11 2015

Config change: anon dismissal for DismissableSiteNotie

I've gone ahead and flipped a long-requested config change for
DismissableSiteNotice (which controls local, not Central, site notices) to
allow anons to dismiss them.

IIRC the only reason the dismiss wasn't allowed for anons was that back in
2007 or so it would have been prohibitively expensive to deal with more
cookies, especially since I think local sitenotice was still being used for
fundraising banners and such.

My understanding of our current cookie-handling config in the caching layer
is that this shouldn't explode. But if it does, or it doesn't seem to be
working right, deployers please feel free to revert it and we'll poke at it
some more until it works better -- it's an easy config switch, just revert
and sync the settings file.

If there's a better process I should follow on this sort of thing do let me
know, I don't mean to step on any toes!

-- brion
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Quim Gil | 26 Feb 12:15 2015

Extension:Newsletter seeks co-mentor or hackathon buddy

The day Extension:Newsletter is deployed, everybody will ask themselves why
didn't we have this feature before.

While this happens, I keep trying to find a GSoC / Outreach co-mentor, and
now a hackathon buddy in Lyon just in case this alternative model works
better. Someone willing to write a prototype of this MediaWiki extension.

I have a clear idea of what we need and I can help sketching the UI,
writing strings, testing, discussing improvements, promoting the features,
perhaps even recruiting more people. If you are interested, please check

Possible Project for a Newsletter MediaWiki extension

Public / private questions and feedback are very welcome!


Quim Gil
Engineering Community Manager  <at>  Wikimedia Foundation
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Quim Gil | 25 Feb 09:02 2015

Wikimedia Hackathon travel sponsorship

Hi, we are hoping to open registration to the Wikimedia Hackathon in Lyon
next week. Those of you relying on travel sponsorship can start preparing
your requests already now:

# Familiarize yourself with the goals of the hackathon:

# Join or propose a demo-able project in Phabricator:

# Find a hackathon buddy in the Wikimedia communities or related projects
out there:

Here you have a draft form to get an idea of what questions you will be
asked: (not a real form; data submitted will
be ignored and deleted)

Your feedback about the process is welcome, especially in the related
Phabricator task:


Quim Gil
Engineering Community Manager  <at>  Wikimedia Foundation
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Rachel Farrand | 25 Feb 00:36 2015

Tech Talk: Hack - An Evolution of PHP: March 4th

Please join us for the following tech talk:

*Tech Talk**:* Hack: An Evolution of PHP
*Presenter:* Josh Watzman from Facebook
*Date:* March 4th
*Time:* 1800 UTC
Link to live YouTube stream <>
*IRC channel for questions/discussion:* #wikimedia-office
Google+ page
place for questions

*Talk description: *Although PHP has several features that allow engineers
to be extremely productive in it, it also has several rough edges and
pitfalls that cause problems (and often give the language a bad name). This
talk will introduce Hack, Facebook's dialect of PHP. Hack keeps most of the
PHP language -- all of the parts that make engineers so productive -- but
sands down several of the more problematic sharp edges. It also introduces
several new features, such as a simple yet extremely powerful syntax for
asynchronous IO, to make the language even more effective for existing PHP
programmers and newcomers alike.
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Quim Gil | 24 Feb 15:52 2015

New process for Gerrit repository ownership requests

The on-wiki process to request ownership of Gerrit repository has been
moved to Phabricator.

We hope this change will contribute to a faster processing of requests, not
because Phabricator is intrinsically magic, but because you can now
associate requests to relevant Phabricator projects and CC existing repo
owners to your requests.

These are the people who can approve repository ownership: Ideally all of you
would watch this project to receive notifications as soon as new requests
are submitted... instead of leaving almost all the work to Chad and QChris.

By the way, there seems to be an open request:

Replacing mwalker with cscott for the OCG repositories

PS: this migration has been discussed at


Quim Gil
Engineering Community Manager  <at>  Wikimedia Foundation
(Continue reading)

Gabriel Wicke | 23 Feb 22:48 2015

Announcing service-runner, a startup module / supervisor for node services

Hi folks,

in our quest to simplify the creation of production-quality services we
have recently made some modest progress with a service-runner module [1]
and an early service-template-node prototype [2]. The latter deserves its
own discussion (and is at a very early stage), so I'm focusing on
service-runner in this thread.

Service-runner [1] is a small module that we moved out of restbase. It
generalizes some simple start-up, monitoring and supervision facilities
that we refined while building services like Parsoid, Mathoid or RESTBase:

- commandline option parsing & yaml config loading (with a standard format)
- worker pool management using the cluster module; graceful restarts
- logging via gelf to logstash, with option to configure other backends
- generic metric reporting (txstatsd, statsd or simple logging for
- general worker monitoring & debugging: V8 heap metrics & limiting,
support for heap dumps

For small (third party) installs with limited memory, we also added the
capability to cleanly run multiple services in a single process.

The uniform way to run and configure services provided by service-runner
should let us create a shared puppet module to manage most of the
per-service tasks [3]. Another possibility is to automatically build
packages for these services [4], which can help to distribute these
services to third-party users.

So, please have a look & let us know what you are missing / would like to
(Continue reading)

Brian Wolff | 23 Feb 22:09 2015

Increase min mysql version to 5.0.3

Currently the min mysql version we require is 5.0.2. In order to fix
T6715 [2], I'd like to bump it to 5.0.3. This would allow us to have
varchar fields larger than 255. Anyone have any objections?

5.0.3 was released in march 2005 (8 years ago!), so this is hardly
bleeding edge. As far as I can tell, Wikiapiry says this would affect
no wikis [1]



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