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October 21, 2009

SeaMonkey 2 contributor interviews: Ratty

Here's the second installment of a series of interviews with SeaMonkey 2.0 contributors, let's hand over the stage to someone known as "Ratty" on IRC:

Who are you?

James Bolivar DiGriz, aka "Slippery Jim", aka The Stainless Steel Rat. Criminal Mastermind.

Or perhaps not. Let's try again.

Name: Philip Chee.

Where from: I live in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Daytime work: Currently I'm a self-unemployed IT consultant but previously I was the head of the IT department of a manufacturing company. I have ten years experience installing and managing Netware and Solaris servers, Oracle databases, and Oracle Financials. The most notable thing I did as part of that job I think was writing a two way interface between an Oracle Financials installation and an instance of the Maximo plant maintenence system entirely in PL/SQL.

Other notable things: I've been involved in science fiction fandom since the early 1980s and have been to several worldcons including Conspiracy '87 held at the Brighton Metropole (which at that time was run by the "Manager from Hell"). I plan to be at the Melbourne worldcon in 2010. See you there Sander!

How did you become a SeaMonkey contributor?

I started as a Flashblock contributor at the time when the current developers had given up support for the then Mozilla Suite. I revived support for the Suite and then continued making sure that Flashblock ran on the latest versions of SeaMonkey. Eventually I became the project owner.

As time progressed more and more extension developers were abandoning support for the Mozilla Suite or just writing extensions solely for Firefox. I became increasingly irritated that extensions that I really wanted to use only ran on Firefox. In particular there were two extensions that I wanted to use, Dev Boi and Scrapbook, but I had to start Firefox everytime I wanted to use them. So I set out to port the extensions I needed to SeaMonkey. Early on I wrote xSidebar for SeaMonkey to implement a minimal Firefox API compatibility layer to make it easier for me to port Firefox extensions. At first I was only doing extensions that I personally wanted but early on I started an extension porting service whereby SeaMonkey users would request extensions to be ported and this proved amazingly popular. To date I've ported more than a hundred Firefox and Thunderbird extensions to SeaMonkey. This gave me a unique insight into the API differences between Firefox and SeaMonkey and led Chris Thomas (CTho) to invite me to join #seamonkey. Incidentally CTho was convinced that "Jim diGriz" was my real identity and that "Phil Chee" was just an online pseudonym. He took some unconvincing :D .

What notable contribution did you make to SeaMonkey 2.0?

Implementing customizable toolbars in SeaMonkey which at that time was one of the major UI advantages that Firefox had over SeaMonkey.

How can users give something back to you?

I've turned on the "Contributions" button on the Flashblock page at addons.mozilla.org. Contributions happily accepted.

Why, in your eyes, should people use SeaMonkey 2.0?

SeaMonkey 2.0 is the latest iteration of the internet suite and contains the latest advances in Mozilla technologies. Unlike Firefox, SeaMonkey is aimed at power users and as such is more configurable out of the box in comparison.

What next step do you see for SeaMonkey, and what would you like to happen in the Mozilla and SeaMonkey projects?

To quote Buzz Lightyear: To Infinity and Beyond!

Posted by KaiRo at October 21, 2009 5:00 AM

Comments

So that's where you've been hiding, you aging con man, Jim!

Posted by: Harold Peters Inskipp at October 21, 2009 11:57 AM

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