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Programming/Development: Minicoin, GNU Gengetop and Python

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  • Building and testing on multiple platforms – introducing minicoin

    While working with large-scale (thousands of hosts), distributed (globally) systems, one of my favourite, albeit somewhat gruesome, metaphors was that of “servers as cattle” vs “servers as pets”. Pet-servers are those we groom manually, we keep them alive, and we give them nice names by which to remember and call (ie ssh into) them. However, once you are dealing with hundreds of machines, manually managing their configuration is no longer an option. And once you have thousands of machines, something will break all the time, and you need to be able to provision new machines quickly, and automatically, without having to manually follow a list of complicated instructions.

    When working with such systems, we use configuration management systems such as CFEngine, Chef, Puppet, or Ansible, to automate the provisioning and configuration of machines. When working in the cloud, the entire machine definition becomes “infrastructure as code”. With these tools, servers become cattle which – so the rather unvegetarian idea – is simply “taken behind the barn and shot” when it doesn’t behave like it should. We can simply bring a new machine, or an entire environment, up by running the code that defines it. We can use the same code to bring production, development, and testing environments up, and we can look at the code to see exactly what the differences between those environments are. The tooling in this space is fairly complex, but even so there is little focus on developers writing native code targeting multiple platforms.

    For us as developers, the machine we write our code on is most likely a pet. Our primary workstation dying is the stuff for nightmares, and setting up a new machine will probably keep us busy for many days. But this amount of love and care is perhaps not required for those machines that we only need for checking whether our code builds and runs correctly. We don’t need our test machines to be around for a long time, and we want to know exactly how they are set up so that we can compare things. Applying the concepts from cloud computing and systems engineering to this problem lead me (back) to Vagrant, which is a popular tool to manage virtual machines locally and to share development environments.

  • GNU Gengetopt - News: 2.23 released

    New version (2.23) was released. Main changes were in build system, so please report any issues you notice.

  • Abolishing SyntaxError: invalid syntax ...

    Do you remember when you first started programming (possibly with Python) and encountered an error message that completely baffled you? For some reason, perhaps because you were required to complete a formal course or because you were naturally persistent, you didn't let such messages discourage you entirely and you persevered. And now, whenever you see such cryptic error messages, you can almost immediately decipher them and figure out what causes them and fix the problem.

  • Sending email with EZGmail and Python
  • Creating and Importing Modules in Python

More in Tux Machines

Proprietary Software and Security

  • Windows REvil ransomware gang taken down by US spies and allies: claim [iophk: Windows TCO]

    On Wednesday, the news surfaced that the REvil site on the dark web was offline. One Dmitry Smilyanets, who works for the threat intelligence firm Recorded Future and also writes for The Record, a website belonging to the company, claimed to have found a thread claiming to offer the reason for the disappearance of REvil. The CIA's investment arm, In-Q-Tel is an investor in Recorded Future.

  • Governments turn tables on ransomware gang REvil by pushing it offline [iophk: Windows TCO]

    According to three people familiar with the matter, law enforcement and intelligence cyber specialists were able to [crack] REvil’s computer network infrastructure, obtaining control of at least some of their servers.

    After websites that the [attacker] group used to conduct business went offline in July, the main spokesman for the group, who calls himself “Unknown,” vanished from the [Internet].

  • Company That Buys Zero-Day Hacks Now Wants Exploits for Popular VPNs

    Uh oh. An infamous company that pays thousands of dollars for iOS and Android hacking techniques is now out to acquire zero-day exploits for three popular VPN services. Zerodium today sent out a tweet calling for “zero-days” or publicly unknown attacks that work against ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or Surfshark. The attacks must be capable of leaking information from the VPNs, such as a computer’s IP address. Zerodium will also pay for exploits that can trigger a VPN to remotely execute computer code.

  • Verizon 'Visible' Wireless Accounts Hacked, Exploited To Buy New iPhones

    Wireless subscribers of Verizon's Visible prepaid service received a rude awakening after hackers compromised their account, then ordered expensive new iPhones on their dime. Last week a company statement indicated that "threat actors were able to access username/passwords from outside sources," then utilize that access to login to Visible customer accounts. Hacked users say the attackers then utilized that access to order expensive kit, and, initially, getting Visible to do anything about it was a challenge:

Android Leftovers

Stable vs. Bleeding-Edge Linux Distros: Which One Should You Choose?

Linux distributions have multiple ways of delivering software to their users. But which one should you go for—stability or the latest software? One of the major choices that many Linux users face when choosing a Linux distribution is its stability, or how much the software changes. Some distros favor stable, tried-and-true software while others will include newer software that may not be as reliable, also known as "bleeding-edge," a play on "cutting-edge." So, which one should you choose? Let's find out. Read more

This week in NeoChat

Last Saturday we had an improvised NeoChat mini development sprint in a small hotel room in Berlin in the occasion of the 25th anniversary of KDE. In a good KDE tradition, Carl spent this time on improving NeoChat settings. He ported both the NeoChat general settings and the specific room settings to the new Kirigami.CategorizedSetting component. Tobias fixed a lot of papercuts and now the power level should be fetched correctly, we show the number of joined users instead of joined+invited users in the room information pane, the user search is now case insensitive. Nicolas focused on fixing our Android build by making the spellchecking feature compile on Android. Read more