OpenX Ad Server v2.8.6 released (or not?)

Note: this is a cross-post from my contribution at OpenXtips.com yesterday.

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.6 released for download

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.6 released for download

Just like in March 2010, a new version of the OpenX software has been released recently, but not a single byte of publicity has been devoted to it. No mention on the OpenX blog or on Twitter, nothing. Judging from the dates on the files in the download archive, the new release was completed on September 2nd of 2010, so almost a week ago.

This new version 2.8.6 seems to be mostly about the security issue that was found and fixed a few weeks ago. Back then, on August 12, a somewhat cryptic announcement was posted on the OpenX forums, informing people how to fix the security problem. That post also hinted at a new release that would be out soon.

The release notes file in the 2.8.6 archive points to the OpenX Developer site for more details, but the issue tracker for version 2.8.6 is still open and most issues in it are still marked as unresolved. And the version check inside the OpenX software doesn’t give any notifications about upgrade availability.

Altogether, this is a pretty strange situation. Obviously, it’s smart to upgrade to a new version as soon as it’s released, especially if the upgrade is about fixing security issues. On the other hand, what should we think about a release that is not announced in any way, shape or form?

Download the OpenX Community edition v2.8.6.

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.2 released for download

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.2 released

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.2 released

Just before the weekend, version 2.8.2 of the OpenX Ad Server was released. This new release had been announced a few days earlier.

What’s new?

The major changes in this version are in fact invisible to the naked eye. The OpenX.org team have said that they’ve fixed problems in the previous release that sometimes resulted in over or under delivery of contract campaigns. Another fix is for campaigns with companion positioning enabled, preventing the display of blank zones in some specific situations. The new type of invocation code for Facebook apps that was recently added to OpenX Hosted is unfortunately not part of this new v2.8.2. download release. Most likely this is a separate plugin that is not provided to download users.

Should you upgrade?

I just completed an upgrade procedure for my own OpenX 2.8 reference installation, and all went perfectly fine. This new release also contains upgrades to a few of the plugins that come with the standard download package. And the extra plugin that I have in my system as a test was upgraded without any problems.

If you run version 2.8.0 or 2.8.1 on your own site or server, an upgrade is a must, if only because of that security problem that was fixed. I do recommend doing a proper test upgrade on a copy. And of course: make backups!

OpenX Ad Server version 2.8.2 can now be downloaded from the OpenX website.

Update October 20

The availability of OpenX Ad Server v2.8.2 has now been announced on the OpenX weblog. The announcement also has a link to the release notes. If you want to know all the details, there is a complete overview of all 113 changes on the OpenX developer site.

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.2 announced

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.2 announced

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.2 announced

On October 12, OpenX have announced the imminent release of version 2.8.2 of the OpenX Ad Server. It will be available for users of OpenX Hosted initially, as of Tuesday October 13. The download package will be released a few days later. The news was announced on the OpenX blog, which also contains more detailed information about the new enhancements, improvement and fixes.

This is the first major update to the OpenX Ad Server software since late May 2009, and the improvements in this release focus on improving accurate delivery of contract campaigns, avoiding serving blank zones when using companion positioning and fixing a number of security issues. [Read more...]

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.1 released

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.1 released

OpenX Ad Server v2.8.1 released

Just before the weekend, version 2.8.1 of the OpenX Ad Server was released. This new release is mostly about bug fixes, a fix for a pretty serious security problem, and a few nice improvements.

Improvements

The functional changes in version 2.8.1 of OpenX Ad Server focus on the integration with OpenX Market:

  • There is a new screen in the ‘Inventory’ tab, called ‘OpenX Market Quickstart‘. It allows traffickers to set multiple campaigns to use OpenX Market in one pass, while at the same time setting a floor price for all of them or even a separate floor price for each individual campaigns. This new feature will be welcomed by users managing many campaigns, because it makes it so much easier to start using OpenX Market.
  • Also new is an ‘Ad Quality Tool‘. This screen provides an overview of ads that were served through OpenX Market onto any of the websites, even allowing the user to stop some ads from showing up again (for instance to prevent competitor ads from being displayed on a site).
  • It is now possible to link more than one OpenX Ad Server installation to OpenX Market. This is particularly useful for publishers that have more than one OpenX installation, or perhaps an OpenX Hosted account in addition to a self-hosted OpenX Ad Server.

It is no surprise that the new features and improvements all have to do with OpenX Market. That is, after all, the major force in the OpenX business model, and making it easy for publishers to start using OpenX Market or use it more often is a smart move.

Bug fixes

Version 2.8.0 was the first release of the 2.8 branch. It was bound to have some bugs in it, even after pretty long and intense beta testing. So a bug fix release was needed, and that is what version 2.8.1 is also about. The release notes have all the details. A big problem in version 2.8.0 that has now been fixed would allow any user to log in as an administrator.

Upgrading from an earlier version

The release of version 2.8.1 was my cue to try upgrading an existing v2.8.0 system to this newer version. There is a set of upgrade instructions on the OpenX website.

I was particularly interested to find out how the plugins would be upgraded, since that is something new to version 2.8 and I had no experience upgrading them. It turns out the developers have built a pretty neat trick for that. During the upgrade procedure, you get to specify the folder path of the previous installation, and the upgrade wizard will look at all the plug ins it finds there. It will then check for any upgrades available on the OpenX website and finally it initializes each plug-in in the upgraded installation. All of this is completely automated and it worked like a charm. Well done!

Should you upgrade?

I think if you run OpenX 2.8.0 on your own site or server, an upgrade is a must, if only because of that security problem that was fixed. This new version 2.8.1 was also the first that presented not a single problem when upgrading an older v2.6.5 system. I still recommend doing a proper test upgrade on a copy, but this new version 2.8.1 looks like it’s ready for the world!

I do have one bit of criticism: I’m personally not a huge fan of releasing an upgrade just before the weekend. As with any upgrade, there will always be people that run into problems upgrading, and they will have a harder time finding support during the weekend than in the middle of the week.

When OpenX Hosted was announced last year, many people feared this would result in less attention for the downloadable edition. It turns out that it is actually the other way around. OpenX Hosted is currently still running on version 2.7.30-beta. So hosting OpenX on your own server has the benefit of being able to run a newer version than using OpenX Hosted.

OpenX Ad Server version 2.8.1 can now be downloaded from the OpenX website.

I’m going to start experimenting with upgrading larger OpenX installation to this new release. If anything interesting comes up, you can be sure I will write about on this blog.

OpenX version 2.6.5 released

OpenX version 2.6.5 released

OpenX version 2.6.5 released

It got a little bit snowed under by the unveiling last week of the new OpenX Ad Server version 2.8, but a new version of the 2.6 branch has also been released. This brings the most recent release there to version 2.6.5.

OpenX v2.6.5 contains fixes for 30 bugs and security issues and one new feature.  Some highlights: AdSense click tracking was fixed after the change in Google’s URL for delivery those ads, some fixes for people running OpenX on PostgreSQL, and the API now supports adding or changing delivery limitations to banners. All details can be found here (warning: very technical!).

As always, when a security release is available, it is wise to upgrade existing systems as quickly as possible. Upgrading from any earlier version of OpenX 2.6 to this v2.6.5 is rather simple, since it doesn’t involve any database changes.

You can download OpenX version 2.6.5 from the releases archive.