[jitsi-dev] Re: Jitsi 1.0.1 on Linux first bugs and impressions


#1

Daniel Zucchetto <dzmail90-voip@yahoo.it> said:

Hi,
I'd like to comment and propose something about these things.

THanks for the response.

> I just installed jitsi 1.0.1 on LinuxMint 12 (somilar to ubuntu). Here's
> what I hit.
>
> I use twm(1) as window manager. This window manager does not have
> close button or "balloon messages". I have chosen twm as
> my window manager due to its simplicity and barebones design.
>
> 1. There is no way to close jitsi dialog boxes, such as "Options".
> This is very annoying because once the dialog box is open, it
> stays open until I kill jitsi process. Every dialog box should
> have a close button in the application itself (it should not
> rely on windowmanager for this function). Alternately, perhaps
> even preferrably, every jitsi window, including dialog boxes
> should be closeable by typing Ctrl-W.

It's the first time I note this, and I used Jitsi a lot. But I think a
close button (like in Firefox preferences) could be useful.

There was a time when Mozilla did not have close button, but over the
years enough people like me complained and it got added. Adding
the Ctrl-W to every window and dialog would be my priority, though.

> 2. The fact that dialog boxes can not be closed leads user to wonder
> if his settings were saved. It would appear that they are not
> saved. There should be Save settings button.

Since it isn't necessary to "save" anything, it could be added a "Save"
button that does nothing. It sounds a bit silly to me, but I don't mean
it shouldn't be added.

Ok, so if settings changes are supposed to be instantaneous (not require
save or close of the Options dialog), then I think some of the settings
are not properly saved. I was not keeping good track, but at least
I recall turning off notification sound and having the sound back on
after restart.

> 3. There seems to be no way to turn off popups or balloon messages.
> I find them very distracting and would rather not have them (I also
> always turn off the notification sound). In Options/General/Popup
> notification type menu there should be an option to turn them
> off entirely.

Have you tried tweaking the Options/Events tab?

Thanks. The whole purpose of Events tab was not clear to me so I did not
touch it. Perhaps a phrase on top of the table to expain what
it does would help thousands of users. I will now use it to
disable any and all balloons and sounds.

> 4. During initial installation process there is no easy process to get
> a SIP or Jabber account. One must
>
> a. already know that you need one,
> b. go to the web (outside jitsi install process) and engage in
> confusing SIP provider selection exercise (confusing because
> if you do not know what SIP is, how the hell are you supposed
> to make an informed choice between the myriard providers - and
> why do the need email to register? I want instant
> messages so my email should be irrelevant.)
> c. Or you could be a guru and at this point install your own jabber
> server or whatever.
>
> All this account creation confusion creates steep learning curve.
> Skype has solved these issues in a much more elegant way (albeit
> evil as they are happy to be the single place where acconts are
> provisioned).

Maybe at the first start, before the new account wizard, it should
appear a window informing the user that they need a free account which
can be chosen in the next windows. After that the new account wizard
should appear. There you can register to a provider without going to the
web (sometimes, it depends the provider you choose). Let me say that
there are no so much differences between sip providers, so a lot of
times the "informed decision" is really a "random choice". The only

Well, if the message is that Skype is evil, then it stands to
reason to suspect that at least some of the SIP providers are
evil, too, and you would not want to accidentally choose one
of those, would you?

thing that could help the user in the choice is picking a provider and
presenting it as the default. But which to pick? And why? I think that
this choice could be very hard.

Indeed it is. What you need is short list of providers that do not
have known technical problems and after that summary of who owns them,
profit or other motive, summary of their privacy policies, and where are
they based.

Or do what skype does: blatantly advocate one SIP provider (your own)
as the default, but allow those who care or know better to change this
choice.

For the email thing: in the ippi account creation window in Jitsi it's
described why ippi needs an email address, and to register to an xmpp
server you don't even need it.

Understood. I also found ways to bypass the email requirement by supplying
works-only-once email, but it is a hassle that users do not like.

> 5. Half of my friends that try jitsi try to bypass the account creation
> hell by choosing SIP with noserver (lan version). The next thing I
> see is them trying to chat with me but their accounts are of
> the form foobar@192.168.1.101. When I try to reply them on the chat
> I get confusing "408 Message Timed Out" error. I figured that
> its not working because I can't talk to their private IP SIP server.
> But how is a normal user supposed to figure this out?
>
> a. One improvement would be to have the 408 error message explain
> what is going on. I think the pattern is easy to identify: if there
> is @192.168 in the other party's SIP address, then there is trouble.
>
> b. Better improvement would be to alert the initiator of the chat session
> that it is hopeless due to @192.168 address on one side or another.

Chat with registrarless sip accounts should work in LANs, so you can't
simply tell the user that "you can't chat", because in various
situations they can. And the 408 error could mean various things. Maybe
a router in the LAN just failed or a mouse cut the LAN wire.

I grant that registrarless SIP can be useful on LAN, but the way it is
percived by at least 50% of my trial population was that it is the easy
way out so you do not have to worry about choosing a SIP provider.

The fact that proper SIP registration is a hassle and that this option
appers so temptingly simple, creates a usability problem for the first
time users. And once they are disappointed, they may abandon further
interest with Jitsi and just advocate perpetuation of Skype. You can't
win them over if it does not work for them, even if it was their own
fault for not reading the fine print.

The 408 error message may happen for other reasons, agreed, but the
pattern where it happens in conjunction with @192.168 address is
so easy to detect that the error message code should be written
explicitly to produce a good explanation in this special case.

> c. The best solution would be for the chat protocol to actually carry
> full detail how to contact the other end even without SIP server
> being contactable. If a message gets through in one direction or
> the other, then communication should be possible irrespective of
> other misconfigurations or network inavailability of SIP.

This is a proposal for the IETF, not for the Jitsi team, isn't it?

I do not know. I have not studied what protocols Jitsi uses. But even if
you think IETF should solve it, it continues to hurt Jitsi, and therfore
us Jitsi advocates, as potential new users are hit by it and they
argue for going back to Skype.

I think the best thing to do is to alert the user of possible
malfunctioning when they choose to use a registrarless sip account, and
offer them the possibility to register an account using a public sip
provider.

That is a good start. But misguided or ignorant users (the ones that
will ignore any warning in order to avoid establishing a relationship
with a SIP provider - in their opinion a difficult choice) that hit
the 408 message should also be guided back to the right track.

> 6. Overall jitsi's chat connectivity does not seem as robust
> as Skype's. I do not know what blackmagic skype does that jitsi
> does not, but the net-net end result for user is that skype is
> more reliable.
>
> 7. No matter how much I try to deactivate Spell Checker (it is very
> annoying) the deactivation is not remembered across Quit and
> start again. I have not tried deleting the spell checker yet.
>
> 8. There is no simple sound test, like Skype Test Call.

You can try echo@iptel.org, but it is a thing that need to be provided
by a (sip) provider, not by the application.

Yes, that works. All that is needed is for it to be on the new user
contact list by default, like Skype Test Call is. Experienced users
can easily remove it afterwards.

The Skype Test Call is better than echo in that it provides audio
to test your sound output prior to the sound input testing section.
The echo just echoes what you produce and you can't tell whether
it is the sound input or output side that is screwed when you
hear nothing.

> 9. I have turned on "Require Private Messaging", but it seems
> chat windows still appear where this is not on. I think
> it is a serious security threat that the settings give you
> an impression that you are protected when in fact you
> are not.
>
> 10. Selecting "Start private conversation" or clicking the padlock
> on the toolbar does not appear to turn the private conversation
> on.
>
> 11. Encryption on (does "private" mean same thing as encrypted?)
> indicator should be available even if I have hidden the toolbar,
> which I ofetn do because I do not want to waste screen realestate
> on toolbars.
>
> 12. What the hell is OTR? Off The Record? That does not sound any
> crypto at all. I get a feeling that jitsi has a big snakeoil
> factor to it because it is all too easy for users to think they
> are protected when they actually are not.

I'm not an expert in cryptography but, as far as I know, OTR does
provide a strong message encryption.

I do not take you as an authority on cryptosystems, much less on
algorithms, so I need something more substantial. More importantly,
the people I try to convince need something easily available
on the Jitsi web site.

Jitsi documentation fails to explain this adequately. For example
the FAQ page https://jitsi.org/Documentation/FAQ does not discuss
it (FAQ mentions someone's cool pet project called ZRTP, but fails
to address OTR). Overall with acronyms, it would be better to
spell them open. Cryptic acronyms just cause the snakeoil assumption.

> 13. In the chat window, it would save vertical screen realestate if
> the author tag and the message were on the same linr (like they
> are at least in older skype clients).
>
> Cheers,
> --Sampo
>
> P.S. I found out about jitsi in FOSDEM'13
>
Cheers,
Daniel

More...

14. In Options/Security/Chat my fingerprint display is truncated with
    threedots so there is no way to know the entire fingerprint (may
    be this is triggered by my fontsize or something, but it is dysfunctional
    never the less). Furthermore, I can't cut and paste the fingerprint.
    In Generate key dialog I remembered there was a button to copy the
    finger print to clipboard, but I did not have the foresight to
    do that then. Clearly it should be possible to do it in this
    screen as well.

15. In Options/Security/Chat: I have two contacts visible, but they
    are marked as Verified=No and without Fingerprint. The buttons
    Verify Fingerprint and Forget Fingerprint are disabled despite
    me selecting one of the contacts. How are these supposed to work?
    I know that at least one of my contacts had generated a key before
    becoming my contact. Thus I would expect to see his key fingerprint,
    but this is not available. For the other contact that generated his
    key after becoming my contact, how do I get his key and fingerprint
    visible? IMHO this should be automatic (but not the verify part).
    I would expect the "Forget Fingerprint" button to be always available
    even if the contact does not have a fingerprint. In that case the
    button would simply dlete the contact from the known fingerprints list.

16. In the buddylist the fully qualified SIP address should be shown. Now
    I have one friend twice in the list as foobar@192.168.47.5 and as
    foobar@sip2sip.info, but I can not easily see in the buddlylist which
    is which.

17. I tried voice call. The sound quality was near unusable with
    cracking and frequent drop-outs. I assume the voice traffic
    is peer2peer. How can I determine why the quality is so bad?
    What tools does jitsi provide to pinpoint the reason for poor
    quality.

18. The multiple providers megascreen (where registrarless SIP is
    a prominent option) is available on first run, but not
    afterwards - at least not through Options where I would have
    expected it to be. I think there should be a way to access
    it afterwards as it is a useful screen that many users may
    bypass too lightly on first run and then regret that they
    can't ever access it again (uness they uninstall and reinstall
    Jitsi - which is too much to ask).

Cheers,
--Sampo

···

On 16/02/2013 16:38, sampo@zxidp.org wrote:


#2

Hey folks,

Daniel Zucchetto <dzmail90-voip@yahoo.it> said:

Hi,
I'd like to comment and propose something about these things.

THanks for the response.

I just installed jitsi 1.0.1 on LinuxMint 12 (somilar to ubuntu). Here's
what I hit.

I use twm(1) as window manager. This window manager does not have
close button or "balloon messages". I have chosen twm as
my window manager due to its simplicity and barebones design.

1. There is no way to close jitsi dialog boxes, such as "Options".
    This is very annoying because once the dialog box is open, it
    stays open until I kill jitsi process. Every dialog box should
    have a close button in the application itself (it should not
    rely on windowmanager for this function). Alternately, perhaps
    even preferrably, every jitsi window, including dialog boxes
    should be closeable by typing Ctrl-W.

It's the first time I note this, and I used Jitsi a lot. But I think a
close button (like in Firefox preferences) could be useful.

There was a time when Mozilla did not have close button, but over the
years enough people like me complained and it got added. Adding
the Ctrl-W to every window and dialog would be my priority, though.

We do want Ctrl+W to work on very window/dialog so we would definitely
want to fix this. Could you please open a ticket mentioning as many
windows as possible for which you know it wouldn't work?

I don't think we are likely to add close buttons to all windows and dialogs.

2. The fact that dialog boxes can not be closed leads user to wonder
    if his settings were saved. It would appear that they are not
    saved. There should be Save settings button.

Since it isn't necessary to "save" anything, it could be added a "Save"
button that does nothing. It sounds a bit silly to me, but I don't mean
it shouldn't be added.

Ok, so if settings changes are supposed to be instantaneous (not require
save or close of the Options dialog), then I think some of the settings
are not properly saved. I was not keeping good track, but at least
I recall turning off notification sound and having the sound back on
after restart.

Yup, I believe I've also witnessed this. Could you please open a ticket?

3. There seems to be no way to turn off popups or balloon messages.
    I find them very distracting and would rather not have them (I also
    always turn off the notification sound). In Options/General/Popup
    notification type menu there should be an option to turn them
    off entirely.

Have you tried tweaking the Options/Events tab?

Thanks. The whole purpose of Events tab was not clear to me so I did not
touch it. Perhaps a phrase on top of the table to expain what
it does would help thousands of users. I will now use it to
disable any and all balloons and sounds.

4. During initial installation process there is no easy process to get
    a SIP or Jabber account. One must

    a. already know that you need one,
    b. go to the web (outside jitsi install process) and engage in
       confusing SIP provider selection exercise (confusing because
       if you do not know what SIP is, how the hell are you supposed
       to make an informed choice between the myriard providers - and
       why do the need email to register? I want instant
       messages so my email should be irrelevant.)

Jitsi does provide you with ways of creating new accounts on jit.si for
XMPP and ippi for SIP. I do agree that they are not in the most visible
places but that comes with the territory: Jitsi is a client, not a
service. Think of Jitsi as you would think of Thunderbird or Outlook or
Mail or whatever e-mail client you are using.

It is our role to work with as many standards based providers as
possible not to limit you with one.

I realize this implies increased complexity and we might try to make the
XMPP service on jit.si more prominent in the future or even add a SIP one.

Still, we will always be mostly a client and we would always want to
give you the freedom of using you with whatever service you choose to.

    c. Or you could be a guru and at this point install your own jabber
       server or whatever.

    All this account creation confusion creates steep learning curve.
    Skype has solved these issues in a much more elegant way (albeit
    evil as they are happy to be the single place where acconts are
    provisioned).

Maybe at the first start, before the new account wizard, it should
appear a window informing the user that they need a free account which
can be chosen in the next windows. After that the new account wizard
should appear. There you can register to a provider without going to the
web (sometimes, it depends the provider you choose). Let me say that
there are no so much differences between sip providers, so a lot of
times the "informed decision" is really a "random choice". The only

Well, if the message is that Skype is evil, then it stands to
reason to suspect that at least some of the SIP providers are
evil, too, and you would not want to accidentally choose one
of those, would you?

The point of encryption mechanisms such as ZRTP and OTR is that they
would not allow third parties to eavesdrop on your calls without you
knowing that there's a chance of that. In other words you simply don't
need to trust your provider. (Unless you are making calls to the PSTN in
which case you are trusting several kinds of providers).

We may still reference providers such as ippi.com, getonsip.com,
iptel.org or sip2sip.info, but this doesn't mean that we are vouching
for the non-evilness of their maintainers.

thing that could help the user in the choice is picking a provider and
presenting it as the default. But which to pick? And why? I think that
this choice could be very hard.

Indeed it is. What you need is short list of providers that do not
have known technical problems and after that summary of who owns them,
profit or other motive, summary of their privacy policies, and where are
they based.

Great idea! Would you like to start a wiki page? We'll integrate it in
the user documentation on jitsi.org

Or do what skype does: blatantly advocate one SIP provider (your own)
as the default, but allow those who care or know better to change this
choice.

For the email thing: in the ippi account creation window in Jitsi it's
described why ippi needs an email address, and to register to an xmpp
server you don't even need it.

Understood. I also found ways to bypass the email requirement by supplying
works-only-once email, but it is a hassle that users do not like.

E-mails are mostly used for password recovery so not entering one or
using ephemeral addresses would definitely apply more hassle for no reason.

5. Half of my friends that try jitsi try to bypass the account creation
    hell by choosing SIP with noserver (lan version).

Right. We should probably make it harder for users to create such
accounts and make sure that only happens when this is indeed their
intention.

    The next thing I
    see is them trying to chat with me but their accounts are of
    the form foobar@192.168.1.101. When I try to reply them on the chat
    I get confusing "408 Message Timed Out" error. I figured that
    its not working because I can't talk to their private IP SIP server.
    But how is a normal user supposed to figure this out?

A normal user is really not supposed to use serverless accounts.

    a. One improvement would be to have the 408 error message explain
       what is going on. I think the pattern is easy to identify: if there
       is @192.168 in the other party's SIP address, then there is trouble.

408 responses are generated from servers so they need to be the ones
figuring this out.

    b. Better improvement would be to alert the initiator of the chat session
       that it is hopeless due to @192.168 address on one side or another.

Chat with registrarless sip accounts should work in LANs, so you can't
simply tell the user that "you can't chat", because in various
situations they can. And the 408 error could mean various things. Maybe
a router in the LAN just failed or a mouse cut the LAN wire.

I grant that registrarless SIP can be useful on LAN, but the way it is
percived by at least 50% of my trial population was that it is the easy
way out so you do not have to worry about choosing a SIP provider.

Understood. And yet it is NOT a way at all, so we are going to think
about a way of hiding this option or fronting it with a scary "NOTHING
WILL WORK" warning.

The fact that proper SIP registration is a hassle and that this option
appers so temptingly simple, creates a usability problem for the first
time users. And once they are disappointed, they may abandon further
interest with Jitsi and just advocate perpetuation of Skype. You can't
win them over if it does not work for them, even if it was their own
fault for not reading the fine print.

The 408 error message may happen for other reasons, agreed, but the
pattern where it happens in conjunction with @192.168 address is
so easy to detect that the error message code should be written
explicitly to produce a good explanation in this special case.

As Daniel pointed out @192.168.X.Y is a valid address on a LAN and there
is no straightforward way of knowing whether or not an address belongs
to our own or a different private network.

    c. The best solution would be for the chat protocol to actually carry
       full detail how to contact the other end even without SIP server
       being contactable.

Well it does carry such information, however connections are simply not
always possible and hence the errors you are seeing.

This is why you do need a server and why you shouldn't use serverless
accounts. Again, we'll make sure we add something that makes them less
than an obvious option in order to avoid confusion (of which I agree
that there is plenty).

6. Overall jitsi's chat connectivity does not seem as robust
    as Skype's. I do not know what blackmagic skype does

The kind that does not allow you to create serverless accounts.

Granted, the notion of a "server" is somewhat stretched in Skype, but
you are always connecting to their service, going through their login
servers and using their infrastructure.

7. No matter how much I try to deactivate Spell Checker (it is very
    annoying) the deactivation is not remembered across Quit and
    start again. I have not tried deleting the spell checker yet.

Thanks for the catch! Could you please open a ticket?

8. There is no simple sound test, like Skype Test Call.

Most of the services I quoted above do have echo test numbers. The one
on ippi is *1400, there's echo@iptel.org (as Daniel already pointed) and
I believe sip2sip.info have a 3333 number.

I guess we could add this information to the provider compilation page I
mentioned above.

You can try echo@iptel.org, but it is a thing that need to be provided
by a (sip) provider, not by the application.

Yes, that works. All that is needed is for it to be on the new user
contact list by default, like Skype Test Call is. Experienced users
can easily remove it afterwards.

This is really part of the service though and not the client. Once you
create an account, your provider can very easily populate this with an
echo number.

The Skype Test Call is better than echo in that it provides audio
to test your sound output prior to the sound input testing section.
The echo just echoes what you produce and you can't tell whether
it is the sound input or output side that is screwed when you
hear nothing.

The *1400 service on ippi does the same, but again, this is really not a
Jitsi discussion - we are not a service. If we do decide to run a
proof-of-concept jit.si SIP service at some point, we would definitely
take this into a ccount.

9. I have turned on "Require Private Messaging", but it seems
    chat windows still appear where this is not on. I think
    it is a serious security threat that the settings give you
    an impression that you are protected when in fact you
    are not.

Could you please open a ticket?

10. Selecting "Start private conversation" or clicking the padlock
     on the toolbar does not appear to turn the private conversation
     on.

Can you describe exactly what is happening?

11. Encryption on (does "private" mean same thing as encrypted?)
     indicator should be available even if I have hidden the toolbar,
     which I ofetn do because I do not want to waste screen realestate
     on toolbars.

This does make sense but I don't think we'll have the time to work on a
second indicator in the near future.

12. What the hell is OTR?

A cryptographic protocol

     Off The Record? That does not sound any
     crypto at all. I get a feeling that jitsi has a big snakeoil
     factor to it because it is all too easy for users to think they
     are protected when they actually are not.

I'm not an expert in cryptography but, as far as I know, OTR does
provide a strong message encryption.

I do not take you as an authority on cryptosystems, much less on
algorithms, so I need something more substantial. More importantly,
the people I try to convince need something easily available
on the Jitsi web site.

Jitsi documentation fails to explain this adequately. For example
the FAQ page https://jitsi.org/Documentation/FAQ does not discuss
it (FAQ mentions someone's cool pet project called ZRTP,

I understand that you might have written this after experiencing
frustration or simply after having one coffee too many, but we'd really
appreciate it if we kept the discussion civil. Keep in mind, that just
as yourself, people responding to you are doing so on a voluntary basis
and on their free time.

So, I am not sure what made you qualify ZRTP as a pet project but rest
assured that it is a perfectly viable cross domain key negotiation
protocol and it probably represents the most reasonable solution that
people are currently implementing.

but fails to address OTR).

Good point. I have added a new FAQ entry:

https://jitsi.org/Documentation/FAQ#otr

Thanks for the suggestion!

Overall with acronyms, it would be better to
spell them open. Cryptic acronyms just cause the snakeoil assumption.

13. In the chat window, it would save vertical screen realestate if
     the author tag and the message were on the same linr (like they
     are at least in older skype clients).

That's already somewhat better with the message grouping we added in the
latest nightlies. I don't think we'll have the time to further optimize
chat layout in the near future.

14. In Options/Security/Chat my fingerprint display is truncated with
    threedots so there is no way to know the entire fingerprint (may
    be this is triggered by my fontsize or something, but it is dysfunctional
    never the less). Furthermore, I can't cut and paste the fingerprint.
    In Generate key dialog I remembered there was a button to copy the
    finger print to clipboard, but I did not have the foresight to
    do that then. Clearly it should be possible to do it in this
    screen as well.

You should be able to resize that window and make it big enough to see
the fingerprint (unless your window manager is also preventing your from
doing this).

I agree that copying it would be a good idea too so feel free to open a
ticket.

15. In Options/Security/Chat: I have two contacts visible, but they
    are marked as Verified=No and without Fingerprint. The buttons
    Verify Fingerprint and Forget Fingerprint are disabled despite
    me selecting one of the contacts. How are these supposed to work?

Fingerprints should be filled in after you establish an OTR session with
that contact.

16. In the buddylist the fully qualified SIP address should be shown. Now
    I have one friend twice in the list as foobar@192.168.47.5 and as
    foobar@sip2sip.info, but I can not easily see in the buddlylist which
    is which.

The full address is shown in a tooltip once you hove over the contact entry.

17. I tried voice call. The sound quality was near unusable with
    cracking and frequent drop-outs. I assume the voice traffic
    is peer2peer.

Not necessarily, you can check that out from the call info dialog during
a call (you can open that from the "i" button on the call dialog).

  How can I determine why the quality is so bad?
    What tools does jitsi provide to pinpoint the reason for poor
    quality.

There quite some information in the call info window but I suspect that
in your case it's most likely due to the sound system. Are you using
PulseAudio, PortAudio or JavaSound?

Quality should decrease in that order.

18. The multiple providers megascreen (where registrarless SIP is
    a prominent option) is available on first run, but not
    afterwards - at least not through Options where I would have
    expected it to be. I think there should be a way to access
    it afterwards as it is a useful screen that many users may
    bypass too lightly on first run and then regret that they
    can't ever access it again (uness they uninstall and reinstall
    Jitsi - which is too much to ask).

The window will appear every time you run jitsi until you create at
least one account. After that users are expected to use the "Add
account" menu.

Cheers,
Emil

···

On 16.02.13, 20:03, sampo@synergetics.be wrote:

On 16/02/2013 16:38, sampo@zxidp.org wrote:

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