Re: White Pine CUSeeMe Version 3.1.1

Jason Williams (
Sat, 18 Apr 1998 19:22:21 -0500 (CDT)

On Fri, 17 Apr 1998, Scott Lacroix wrote:
> Well, I wasn't going to respond... But I came in late tonight, and (like
> everyone else it seems) I'd had my Wheaties so I was all fired up...

Thanks for the detailed response...and quite helpful as well :)
So is still a preview/beta? :)

> Possibly, but not a word one about the Greyscale fix, not even a thank
> you! *sigh* Passed right over it in favor of pointing out the flaws.

I'd gladly point it out, except for the fact that it's still buggy too
from what I can tell. I loaded up in grayscale and connected to
my MPCS server. People got the first frame, but no movement at all.
Granted, I didn't test it out for hours and on multiple reflectors, etc.
If I was officially beta testing it for White Pine, I probably would. But
as it stands, I can hardly stand the interface as it is :)

> Yes, and that's a completely different thing. And not a bug... The older
> clients have never been able to tell the difference between private &
> public chat. That's been a problem since GeekTalk. And yes, correctly used
> GeekTalk will modify the chat so that it's flagged as private. I know.

So it's a "feature"? Hehe..
>From the Enhanced CU 2.X user's point of view, it's a bug. As far as I
know, GeekTalk, private chat on the Cornell 0.92b2 version, GeekPC, etc.
all tag the private chat. So this "feature" only appears in the 3.X
versions and I have yet to see anyone thank White Pine for including it.
Perhaps there's a reason for this.

> What Brian did is to modify every private chat packet outgoing to an older
> client. I'm glad he took it apon himself to do that, it's a big help to
> some people.

"Some people" include those that use the older White Pine clients. You're
only punishing your PREVIOUS customers this way. Every other version of
CU-SeeMe that I know of correctly sends and displays private chat.

I suppose this could be a tactic to try and force people to upgrade to
3.X. "As an added incentive, you'll be able to distinguish public chat
from private chat".

> Modifying users chat as it passes through the server is a
> choice not all people would agree with, however. Is there an option NOT to
> do that for certain conferences? Not that it's a big deal one way or the
> other, just curious...

I don't believe there is, but then the USER isn't modifying the chat, so
it's not that big of a deal. And the reflector only modifies private chat
from the buggy 3.X clients. Again, it's a backwards compatibility issue.
Private chat in 3.X breaks the 2.X client. Since White Pine doesn't
believe in doing anything this, I'm glad Brian has.

> At 03:55 PM 4/16/98 -0500, Jason Williams wrote:
> >An old email from Brian concerning this:
> >"BTW there appears to be an oddity with WPCU 3.1.* in regards to chat
> >recovery. Seems that if it doesn't know about the client that's making the
> >recovery request (hasn't ever received an OC packet from them) it'll send
> >the requested chat lines as public (client->group instead of
> >client->client). This behavior is of course induced by a conference with
> >too many participants for it to list"
> Just a random thought on that one... It seems to me you guys do some
> incredibly detailed testing/debugging... I don't suppose you ever
> considered mailing your tests and/or results to WhitePine to get a fix?

Ahh, but that email I got from Brian was CC'd to me. It was also sent to
your fellow co-worker Gary Dietz back on January 7th, 1998.

> Since it's obvious that you are very concerned with the quality of our
> software (and I think that's great), why don't you send the data to the
> beta-test program rather than blasting WhitePine in a public mailing list?

I've attempted to send bug reports to the MPCS beta-test list but was
told by Anne Migliozzi that the beta-test list was for White Pine
internal list use only. As far as client bugs, I submitted a few :)

I know Brian has told me that he's tried sending bug reports to White Pine
as well but never hears back from anyone. In one case, the bug fix was
one line of code.

> At 04:03 PM 4/16/98 -0500, Jason Williams wrote:
> Again, it's not compatability that's an issue. The private chat
> sends/recieves just fine between 3.X & 2.X clients. The problem is that the
> 3.X client doesn't stuff "<privately>" (or whatever the ERef is inserting)
> into the outgoing chat.

Ahh, but it's not JUST the Eref. It's also the Cornell PC client, GeekPC,
The Mac Cornell's Geektalk addon, etc.

> If you're sending priv chat to a user that can't tell, do it yourself.

Yep. So the users are supposed to be made aware of the bugs of White
Pine's OLDER clients so that they can cope with them. I always thought
that's what the software was supposed to do for THEM: make their life
easier. As mentioned before, the 3.X's chat style only breaks older White
Pine clients, not any others.

> if they don't have the ability to download thier contact card, they
> probably can't tell the difference between priv chat and public.

That's incorrect. Only the White Pine 2.X versions can't distinguish
private chat from public. Perhaps if the documentation mentioned what all
people would have to go thru to ensure the recipient of private chat KNOWS
that it's private chat, then it might simplify some things.

> BTW, I know the arguement that it makes it easier to tell if someone is
> harrassing you with private chat... But most people can tell pretty quick
> if they are the only ones getting obnoxious messages. And stuffing
> "<privately>" in the chat won't stop people from sending it anyway...

It's not just harrassing. I've come across lots of innocent conversations
on my reflector which have turned into one sided conversations with the
3.X user private chatting and the 2.X user responding publicly without
even realizing it was private chat. Once I told both parties about the
bug (er...feature) they realized what they didn't like.

> If you state the one, the other become irrelevant. I think you're wrong on
> the first statement, however... In fact I KNOW you're wrong about the
> Cornell client compability issue. It may be broken today, but imperfect
> humans have bugs. They get fixed in beta cycles. Be patient, we're not done
> yet... :)

Perhaps I am wrong. I'd love to be wrong in this case. As long as these
important bugs get worked out and White Pine doesn't take the stance that
their client will ONLY work on White Pine reflectors/servers then I don't
see any problems. The message from Wayne before (as I understood it)
states that he sees nothing wrong with White Pine stating that their
client no longer works with the Cornell/Enhanced Reflectors and clients.
If White Pine's market no longer included the Cornell users, I could
understand. I'm hoping that that isn't their market.

> Ok, so lets assume you're basing this on the RTP mention that Brian made
> earlier. What difference does it matter if the WhitePine client supports
> RTP, H.323, and Pete Jones' Spiffy standard? (Ok, I made the last one up...
> :) So long as it handles the basic Cornell-defined standard, it's CU-SeeMe.

I'd prefer the Spiffy standard :)
As long as it handles the basic Cornell-defined standard, there's nothing
wrong with it. As it stands now, that compatiblity doesn't exist fully.
But it's being worked on :)

> Actually, there are four as I see it. The base Cornell reflectors, the
> WhitePine 2.X reflectors, the ERef, and the MPCS. And I don't know WHAT the
> MAIN one is, but I'd LOVE to see a survey! How bout a show of hands...
> Everyone that runs a ref that's reading this list: What type/version of
> reflector/server do you use?
> This should be interesting, eh? :)

My reflector scanner keeps track of versions of reflectors. It can
distinguish between Cornell, Eref, WP 2.0, WP 2.1, and 3.0 (MPCS)
The stats, ranked in decreasing order:
WP 2.X reflectors: 96
Enhanced Reflectors: 61
Cornell reflectors: 48
MPCS servers: 26
Total: 231

So the two most "numerous" reflectors are the White Pine 2.X and the
Enhanced Reflector.

> Uhm, all software has bugs. It's a sad, sad fact of life. Like I said,
> we're all human. Would you preferr that the list be distributed WITH the
> product, or go back to Win311's cryptic "Fatal Error 302157" type dialogs?

I'd prefer the bugs me addressed in later versions, not just stated in
the current version. What I got out of Wayne's messages is that, as long
as the bugs are stated, there's no pressing demand to fix them. But
perhaps I'm reading too much into what he said. It reminds me a lot of
government agencies that allot lots of money just to study if something is
harmful but does nothing to try to solve the problem that they found. So
yes, it's nice to include the bugs in the readme for informational

> Hmmm... that's not entirely accruate either. Those are certainly the two
> biggies, but there is an OS/2 client, an Amiga client, a Java client, and a
> Linux client that are all developed independantly.

I was referring to the "official" versions...distributed by White Pine and
Cornell. I also regularly use the Linux client so I see your point.

> An excellent point, lets add them in too...
> Now, tell me again how simple it would be to keep support for all four
> existing server implementations? :)

Not hard at all since the code for backwards compatibility presumably
stays the same. The Cornell protocol certainly doesn't change. And
considering the White Pine and Cornell clients are the "official" sources
of CU-SeeMe, it would be up to the other clients to comply to the

> Mmmhmmm. To my knowledge, you cannot connect NetMeeting 2.0 clients to
> NetMeeting 2.1 clients... but I'm not SURE about that. They certainly will
> work ALOT better if you use the same version numbers!

I agree..and considering MS doesn't charge for an upgrade to 2.1 (as White
Pine charges for its upgrade from 2.1) then it's a moot point.

> By-the-by (again :) the H.323 standard is only MOSTLY standardized...

Yep...I'm still waiting for the chat protocol to be standardized so CU
clients can chat with other H.323 clients.

> First off, Brian's VERY good at what he does. I'm impressed that the ERef
> is maintained by ONE guy! And second, if there are issues you've got with
> the MPCS, send them to me offine. You've got my email address... I'd be
> happy to look into them.

I believe Brian told me he HAD mentioned a few of the issues to a couple
of the White Pine employees with no response...but I don't know.

> Mmmm... and as stated above, there are FOUR versions of the
> reflector/server from the Tech Support point of view.

>From tech support, perhaps. But I believe from the technical viewpoint,
there's the Cornell/WP 2.X flavor of connections and protocols. Then
there's MPCS's RTP handling for the 3.X client.

> Just my (very vocal) $0.02...

Again, thanks for your input :)

--    * Jason Williams -- Austin, Tx.  |     |       * University of Texas at Austin  | ___ |         * BS Computer Science             \_|_/
*************** **************|