Wednesday, August 19, 2009

PeerBlock r93 Interim Release

A fair amount of development has gone on since the release of PeerBlock 0.9.1 (and the follow-on bugfix release 0.9.2). While these changes have been pretty well-tested by our Beta Team, I wanted to share a wrapup of of them with a slightly wider community. So I'm releasing this new Interim Release, r93.

Please note that this release is not necessarily entirely stable! It is labelled an "Interim Release" for a reason, that reason being that we haven't spent as much time ensuring that it's stable as we generally do with the Public Releases released on the main website. However if you'd like to stay on the "bleeding edge" of PeerBlock development, this is the release you're going to want to check out.

What's Changed

As compared with the latest available PeerBlock Release, here's what's new:
  • Checks for Updates - Public Releases from 0.9.2 on will always check for new Public Releases, and Interim Releases like this one will now check for new Interim Releases (redirecting here to the Dev Blog main page if one is found). (Issue #7, #46)

  • Smaller History.db - When archiving/deleting history file, perform an SQL "vacuum" operation on history.db to cause it to shrink in size. This means that your history.db should generally be much smaller than it might have been previously, so long as you have the "History" section on page 1 of the Settings panel set to "Archive and Remove". (Issue #29)

  • Permanent Blocks list now actually Blocks - Prior to this fix, this list defaulted to Allow; you needed to manually reset it to Block after adding something to it. (Issue #27)

  • Auto-Close Update Window - For new installations (i.e. where no .conf file is found, and it runs you through the Startup Wizard) we default to auto-closing the Update Window after 10 seconds. (Issue #34)

  • Fixed FwpmCalloutAdd0 Error and Crash - Rare bug and accompanying OS crash; fixed in 0.9.2 as well. (Issue #33)

  • XP Pro x64 Detection - Previously, the program would detect XP Pro x64 as Windows Server 2003 x64, and log it as such to peerblock.log. (Issue #31)

  • iBlocklist Lists - Switched P2P, Ads, and Spy lists from PeerGuardian-hosted ones to the iBlocklist-hosted variants; removed Gov list as it was long ago merged into P2P. Note that this will not update your pre-existing blocklists, only if you run through the Startup Wizard (e.g. first run after clean install) or add new lists via the List Manager. (Issue #30)

  • Exception Logging - We now should be logging information on all exceptions to peerblock.log. (Issue #39)

  • Log Timestamps - Peerblock.log now includes date/time-stamps. This should help us track down performance issues, and figure out what was going on closer to the time of failure when troubleshooting. (Issue #39)

  • FwpmEngineOpen0 Messagebox - If the "Base Filtering Engine" isn't set to Automatic (and running), we used to get a very obtuse error message before PeerBlock terminated. We're now trapping this error, and displaying a much more user-friendly message I think. (Issue #25)

Known Issues

The primary issue I'm concerned with is that the automatic list-updates feature doesn't appear to be working as you'd expect it to right now, I think only if you're running with "Auto-close Update Window" on though. I believe this is a "day one" bug we inherited from the old PG2 code, which is why I'm letting this one out the door. So make sure that you manually-update lists every so often. Will be working on a fix for this soon, don't you worry.

Get it Here

PeerBlock r93 Installer


That's it for now. Like I said I wanted to get something out to y'all, since I think there's some goodness in there. And it's been a little while now since we last released anything publicly, and I know that many of you like getting releases relatively often. With this release you should be able to stay on the Interim Release train as well, since as I said it will automatically check for updates and direct you here if a new version is found.

And of course, if you find any bugs in this or any other version of PeerBlock, let us know! You can report them on our Issue Tracker over at Google Code, or via email, or at our new Forums.


        ---  Mark  ---

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