Wednesday, September 23, 2009

PeerBlock r172 Interim Release - 1.0 Release Candidate 2

We've fixed a few issues with our previous r162 "PeerBlock 1.0 Release Candidate" release, so wanted to get some additional airtime with one more Release Candidate before we announce PeerBlock 1.0 on the main site. Unless any of you report an extremely critical "show stopper" type bug within the next few days, we're planning on releasing a PeerBlock 1.0 version on the main www.peerblock.com site this weekend.

Once again, though, please remember that this is still an Interim Release, and as such will be updated more often than a Public Release would, and could potentially still contain some bugs. We will still be making a few changes before we release PeerBlock 1.0, but will release a "PeerBlock 1.0 'RTM'" version at that same time so that you all get those changes at the same time.


What's Changed

Here's what's different between the last Interim Release (r162) and this one. Not as many as last time, don't worry...
  • Fix for Outlook 2010 / Live Mail problem - For some reason if you were running Outlook 2010 or the MS Live Mail desktop client, PeerBlock could experience some problems if you tried starting up a second instance of it - the second instance of peerblock.exe would show up in the task manager until you exited that email program. This is fixed now!
  • Default "Show Splashscreen" to False - Due to many peoples' complaints about how bad the splashscreens looked (my attempt at lame "programmer art" early on, sorry), and the fact that they really are quite unnecessary, we're now defaulting this option to False on fresh installs. You can always turn 'em on yourself if you want to see them. Won't affect you on upgrade, unless you reset PeerBlock's settings on install.
  • Added "View" Buttons to List Manager - You can now view the contents of your Default Lists. This was an unintended consequence of moving these lists to checkboxes: there was no way to view them anymore!
  • Default List Descriptions Swapped - Previously, the "Spyware" and "Advertisements" lists' descriptions on the List Manager were swapped.
  • Disable Exception Reporting - We don't have a server (or software written to run on one) available to receive this sort of data right now, so disabled the built-in automatic exception reporting (that "this problem has been reported to Phoenix Labs" stuff).
  • More Performant Tracelogging - Updated the tracelogging routine to abort more quickly if we're attempting to log a message at a level below that which we're currently configured to display. This should help out a (minor? insignificant?) bit with overall performance of the app.
  • "XP dropdown list squashed" UI Issues - Think we've found the last of these: the "Protocol" and "Action" in both the main History window and the File -> Export to... menu of the History window.
  • Remove .DMP on Uninstall -Not that you're ever going to want to uninstall PeerBlock of course, but just in case you do for whatever reason we will now clean up that peerblock.dmp file (if created) instead of leaving it around on your disk.
  • User Manual - We're starting to put together an HTML User Manual for PeerBlock. In addition to hosting this on our main www.peerblock.com site, this will be included in your installs. Note that since we're trying to make this usable by newbies as well as experienced users we're including lots of screenshots; this has caused the size of our download to increase by about 500k. Also note that the documentation is still under construction at this point - and yes it's utterly unstyled and incomplete - we're only including it here to make sure that our Installer stuff is correctly installing/uninstalling it so that we'll be ready to rock once PeerBlock 1.0 comes out. If there's anything you'd like to see in there, please let us know!

Known Issues

Again, the Installer for this version will not detect whether a pre-r162 PeerBlock is running or not. So if you're upgrading from r131 or earlier, it is important that you make sure that PeerBlock is not running before installing this one.

Other issues can of course be found on our Issue Tracker.


Get it Here

PeerBlock r172 Installer - This is the recommended download for most users.

PeerBlock "Portable" Packages:


We're Almost There...!

Thanks to everybody who donated after I mentioned last time that we were "underwater" as far as donations go!

We're now up to $880 worth of total donations, versus $817 worth of expenses! But don't forget, we are still accepting donations to help pay for rental of a VPS server which should let us create a "real" online-update feature, and we will of course be needing to purchase another $230 code-signing certificate in less than 12 months. So if you find PeerBlock useful, please consider donating a few dollars to help keep us afloat!



And again, to all those who have donated already - multiple times for some of you - THANKS! We wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for your generosity.

Expect another Interim Release to be posted sometime around this weekend, to coincide with the release of our official PeerBlock 1.0 release - maybe 24 hours earlier to get an ultra-quick "sanity test" out of it. After that it will likely be a few weeks until the next one, unless we have to release something to fix a particularly nasty bug. But don't worry, we are far from done! Lots of stuff on our "To-do List", including some stuff that we really haven't wanted to start working on yet so that we don't destabilize things while we're gearing up for 1.0. I'll post more about where we're headed next week, after 1.0 is out the gates...

Thanks again for all your support, whether it be monetarily, reporting bugs or suggestions, or even just sending in a little "Thank you, you guys rock!" feedback.

        ---  Mark  ---

23 comments:

  1. "allow HTTP" could be enabled by default for the next release ? :(

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  2. To those of you who checked this post as soon as I posted it, my apologies. I once again accidentally built it as a Test Release instead of an Interim Release - had to rebuild it to fix that. It took awhile because every time I'd re-download the file to make sure it was in fact an Interim Release I think it was using an older download, or a cached copy of the install file, or something. Either way, I think it should be correct now!

    After installing this release it should show up as "r172 - Interim Release". Anything else and I messed it up again - lemme know if that ends up being the case.

    Sorry for the confusion,

    --- Mark ---

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  3. Anonymous: as far as HTTP Blocking goes, we recommend this because otherwise programs can easily use port 80 (or 443) to access the Internet, thereby completely bypassing PeerBlock's protection. We are looking into some ways to make it easier to allow HTTP in the future - for example, putting in an "Allow HTTP for X minutes" option - but this really is something we don't recommend turning off completely.

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  4. The "show allowed connections" nearly helps, but it shows all allowed connections so the few HTTP ones can be lost in the log. An option "Show allowed connections: none/http/all" might help.

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  5. Great work with amazing evolution.
    Thank you, Mark and staff, for all hard work. We're very much happy.
    (did you realize all the good you're doing, world-wide?)
    This software will be used for decades, and you will be remembered.
    Some politicians and cientists should follow your example...

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  6. Would it be possible to allow HTTP (or disable filtering completly) on a per-application basis? I want just the P2P apps to be protected, not my web browser..

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  7. Very strange. I upgraded from r162, and now when I open up the List Manager PB hangs up (the gui at least). I can still see it logging blocks though. Maybe I will try a clean install. Windows 7 64bit.
    Anyone else see this issue?

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  8. FYI - I also upgraded it on my Windows XP 32bit machine. This one did *not* have the List Manager issue where it hung when opening.

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  9. I'm experiencing a weird issue. I use the portable version and I upgraded from r162, which was working fine, and the blocking doesn't seem to be working at all. I tried going back to r162 and it's still broken - the log window is blank and so is the history, even tho I have set it to log allowed connections as well. The lists update fine. What can be wrong?

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  10. Almost forgot, I'm using 64-bit version of Win7.

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  11. Tough to tell what's wrong without seeing peerblock.log. If those of you having problems could post the log to our Issue Tracker (http://code.google.com/p/peerblock/issues/list), Forums (http://forums.peerblock.com), or even just send me an email (http://tinymailto.com/pblock), that would be appreciated!

    As far as the per-application controls go, that is in the planning stages right now. Once we release 1.0 we'll start targetting new features like that. If you look through our Issues List you'll see a few enhancement requests related to this: Issues #12, 16, 112, and maybe a few more - one of the comments to Issue #12 in fact contains mention of your suggestion (though I'll likely break that out into its own bug one of these days). If you see any Issues you'd love to see fixed/implemented, "star" them! That's one of the things we'll be looking at when we're prioritizing which things to work on first...

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  12. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for being very active with the development. This is one of the most important projects out there and you are the one that didn't let it die.

    I just have a question regarding the source code. Is it possible to move the source code to git instead of svn. I am not sure if Google Code supports it, but there are excellent code repositories such as Github and Gitorious, of which I am sure you have heard. Github would make it a whole lot easier for you to accept code contributions, while not compromising the quality of your branch (i.e., pull requests, easy forking, etc.) Source code control and open source development are moving forward, and I just don't think that SVN and GoogleCode are up to speed anymore. That's just my two cents!

    Again, thanks for PeerBlock!

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  13. MarkSide: Thanks. I performed a clean reinstall and the issue is gone. If it reappears I will create a ticket.

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  14. Thanks for your work, guys! It is really great and stable on my Win7 64bit! Looking forward to 1.0!

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  15. what happened to the uninstall feature in the program directory?

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  16. Anonymous: I still see the uninstaller there, "unins000.exe"... Was this a new install, or an upgrade?

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  17. yes it was new install. I did start > Programs > and peer block wasn't in the installed programs, like 0.9.2 was. It was my bad for not looking at the actual program folders. Yes the uninstall is there.

    thanks

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  18. hey I was also lookin for the uninstall folder in program files and it doesn't exist. What is the name of the folder or the exact file name?

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  19. The uninstall routine should be in your Start -> Programs -> PeerBlock folder; the only reason for it not to be there should be if you deselected that option during install, or if you "installed" it by downloading a "portable" version and extracting it somewhere on your harddrive.

    If you installed it via the Installer package, it would have installed into C:\Program Files\PeerBlock by default (you could have changed that during install) - the uninstaller should be in that directory, named something like "unins000.exe". If you used the portable version, it'll be wherever you unzipped it; to "uninstall" it you'll just need to delete that directory, though if you told it to "start with windows" you should probably disable that option before deleting PeerBlock so that you're not left with any registry cruft.

    Hope that helps,

    --- Mark ---

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  20. Nope, I never deselected any options during install, nor did i see an option. I installed PeerBlock_r187_Win32_Release on windows xp. If I go back to R86, do I need to uninstall R187? I really can't find this folder. Even If I go into my C drive and look through the directory, it doesn't exist. I see no peer block folder installed. Its very strange.

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  21. thanks Mark for the program! I didn't see the installer on the download page. Sorry for being a pain. thanks again.

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  22. Okay, cool, glad that's settled then. =;) Thanks for the update!

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  23. Will peerblock.com be back up soon? Will there be full support for Windows 8?

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