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The birth of the Bash shell

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Shell scripting is an essential discipline for anyone in a sysadmin type of role, and the predominant shell in which people write scripts today is Bash. Bash comes as default on nearly all Linux distributions and modern MacOS versions and is slated to be a native part of Windows Terminal soon enough. Bash, you could say, is everywhere.

So how did it get to this point? This week's Command Line Heroes podcast dives deeply into that question by asking the very people who wrote the code.

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More in Tux Machines

Keeping a Web Site Safe and Available With or Without a CDN


THE site Tux Machines is and has been online for over 15 years. It has not suffered security-related incidents. The same is true for Techrights, which soon turns 13. Tux Machines uses Gallery and Drupal, whereas Techrights uses MediaWiki, WordPress and Drupal. WordPress is its most important component as it contains over 26,000 posts. Tux Machines has about 130,000 nodes in Drupal. We don't use a CDN as we have a reasonably powerful server that can cope with the load on its own. For security we use best practices and keep critical issues plugged. I was recently asked for advice on these matters and explained things as follows.

There are mainly two types of attacks (maybe three if one includes social engineering, e.g. tricking a citizen journalist/blogger/administrator into a trap): 1) capacity-based, e.g. DDOS attack 2) exploiting vulnerabilities to degrade/compromise site's quality of service (similar to (1) above but not the same), access site data (confidential), spy on people (writers/staff/visitors) without them being aware. WordPress runs lots of stuff and powers a lot of the Web, maybe 20% (or more) of today's Web sites. It's regularly checked for security issues and bugs are regularly fixed. Updates can be set to automatic, which means they happen in the background without user intervention. I check the site for updates several times per day, e.g. this one from yesterday. I've used WordPress for 15 years as an early adopter and developer. What's known as the "core" of WordPress is generally secure if kept up to date, manually or automatically (for large sites it might make sense to apply patches manually to reduce risk of unnoticed incidents and enable quality control, patch assessment etc). It's also important to keep the underlying operating system and pertinent packages like PHP (programming language), mysql/psql (WordPress and Drupal typically use MariaDB or MySQL as the database, but PostgreSQL should be possible too) and Apache (there are simpler alternatives e.g. NGINX for Web server) up to date. If we get to keep everything up to date, and moreover we don't install WordPress extensions that cannot be trusted or are no longer maintained (or scarcely maintained), we should be OK. The social engineering part involves stuff such as phishing, e.g. someone sending out an E-mail in an attempt to obtain passwords of privileged users. If you use a CDN for content distribution, e.g. CloudFlare, then availability will be mostly down to the CDN company. WordPress generates pages on the fly (dynamic), but it has caching mechanisms that can be further improved with extensions. The CDN likely obviates the need for those. So, if the site is receiving 'too many' requests, the CDN can probably scale to deal with that (maybe a more expensive protection plan). I peronsally would never use CloudFlare (for a lot of reasons), but to many people it's the only CDN that 'counts' or exists. Brand recognition perhaps.

Security and BSD Leftovers

  • Security updates for Wednesday

    Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (go, go-pie, pacman, and xpdf), CentOS (java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, and patch), openSUSE (gcc7), Red Hat (firefox, kernel, and qemu-kvm-rhev), Slackware (mozilla), SUSE (kernel, libcaca, openconnect, python, sysstat, and zziplib), and Ubuntu (libxslt, linux-azure, and linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws).

  • os-release file appears

    There’s now (well, for DragonFly 5.7 users) an /etc/os-release file to show the installed DragonFly version.

  • samsung ativ book 9

    Physically, it’s in the ultraportable category with a 12 inch screen and weighing about two pounds. It’s a completely fanless design, using an M-5Y31 CPU (Broadwell generation). My model came with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, but it’s possible to find some with half that. Everything is a bit tiny and compromised, so in my opinion it wouldn’t make for a good all around machine (like the Carbon X1), but if space and weight is at a premium, it’s a good substitute.

    I immediately installed OpenBSD 6.6 when it arrived and have been using it for a few days. I have a few complaints, and I’m not confident in recommending it, but no regrets.

Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 Release

Kugi has outdone himself this time. With this update you'll find a new way to edit text via the Ubuntu Touch on-screen keyboard: the Advanced Text Functions. Using this feature, you can move around your typed text, undo and redo actions, move around a text selection rectangle, and use the cut/copy/paste commands, all from the same overlay. To get started, press and hold the space bar! We are still unsure about the discoverability of this feature, so stay tuned for changes that will make it even easier to find and use! This update also adds the option of a Dvorak keyboard layout for the refined OSK user. The PR included fixes to allow multiple keyboard layouts to share the same correction dictionary and word overrides. Huge thanks, zoenb! Rounding off the updates to the keyboard are improvements to the Polish layout, removing some diacritics that are not used in the language (Thanks, Daniel20000522!); the same treatment for the French-Swiss layout (Thanks, wilfridd!); and a tweak to the Japanese layout so that it respects your settings better (Thanks, Fuseteam!). If you'd like to get in on the keyboard-improving action, Tallero added instructions for building and testing the keyboard to its Readme at Read more Also: UBports' Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 Released

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