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Site News

Malicious Spam

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FOR those who may be wondering, we didn't get compromised or anything. We never had any such incidents. What happened earlier is that some spammer, who had created an account before we limited account creation (due to spam), made the spam expandable to the whole screen, covering many of the pages with that spam (overlay). We are working on code to help prevent such spamming so that legitimate users can post comments etc. without spammers ruining the experience for everyone else.

Baidu Stages De Facto DDOS Attacks (Updated)

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Summary: A 2-hour investigation reveals that Tux Machines is now the victim of an arrogant, out-of-control Baidu

TUX MACHINES has been mostly offline later this morning. It has evidently become the victim of Baidu's lawlessness, having fallen under huge dumps of requests from IP addresses which can be traced back to Baidu and whose requests say Baidu as well (we tried blocking these, but it's not easy to do by IP because they have so many). They don't obey robots.txt rules; not even close! It turns out that others suffer from this as well. These A-holes have been causing a lot of problems to the site as of late (slowdowns was one of those problems), including damage to the underlying framework. Should we report them? To who exactly? Looking around the Web, there are no contact details (in English anyway) by which to reach them.

Baidu can be very evil towards Web sites. Evil. Just remember that.

Update: 3 major DDOS attacks (so far today) led to a lot of problems and they also revealed that not Baidu was at fault but botmasters who used "Baidu" to masquerade themselves, hiding among some real and legitimate requests from Baidu (with Baidu-owned IP addresses). We have changed our firewall accordingly. We don't know who's behind these attacks and what the motivations may be.

Record Week

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Encounter with a penguin

QUIETLY but surely, last week marked an important milestone, with traffic at the back end (not the cache layer*) exceeding 1.8 million hits, thus establishing a new record. So far this week it looks as though we are going to break this record again. We hope that the new format, which places emphasis on high importance links (as standalone nodes) and puts less important links in topical groups (grouping like games or howtos), makes reading the site more convenient and makes keeping abreast of the news easier, without getting overloaded in a way that is not somewhat manageable (links inside groups are typically less important, as intended). We're open to any suggestions readers may have to ensure we remain a leading syndicator of GNU/Linux and Free/Open Source software news. Any feedback can improve the site.

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* It is difficult to measure what happens at the Varnish layer as it's shared among several domains, including Techrights.

Back to Normal Next Week

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IN CASE it's not already obvious, we have been posting fewer links since the 14th of this month because we are both away and we catch up with some news only when time permits. Today's hot day (38 degrees) will probably allow us to stay indoors more time than usual and therefore post some more links (from Rianne's laptop), but a week for now is when we'll properly catch up with everything that was missed and gradually get back to normal, hopefully for a long time to come.

Please bear with us while we enjoy our last chance to have a summer vacation. It's already cold back home in Manchester.

Operating Systems in Tux Machines

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Summary: Some numbers to show what goes on in sites that do not share information about their visitors (unlike Windows-centric sites which target non-technical audiences)

THE common perception of GNU/Linux is that it is scarcely used, based on statistics gathered from privacy-hostile Web sites that share (or sell) access log data, embed spyware in all of their pages, and so on. Our sites are inherently different because of a reasonable -- if not sometimes fanatic -- appreciation of privacy at both ends (server and client). People who read technical sites know how to block ads, impede spurious scripts etc. These sites also actively avoid anything which is privacy-infringing, such as interactive 'social' media buttons (these let third parties spy on all visitors in all pages).

Techrights and Tux Machines attract the lion's share our traffic (and server capacity). They both have dedicated servers. These are truly popular and some of the leaders in their respective areas. Techrights deals with threats to software freedom, whereas Tux Machines is about real-time news discovery and organisation (pertaining to Free software and GNU/Linux).

The Varnish layer, which protects both of these large sites (nearly 100,000 pages in each, necessitating a very large cache pool), handles somewhere between a gigabyte to 2.5 gigabytes of data per hour (depending on the time of day, usually somewhere in the middle of this range, on average).

The Apache layer, which now boasts 32 GB of RAM and sports many CPU cores, handled 1,324,232 hits for Techrights (ranked 6636th for traffic in Netcraft) in this past week and 1,065,606 for Tux Machines (ranked 6214th for traffic in Netcraft).

Based on VISITORS Web Log Analyzer, this is what we've had in Techrights:

Windows: (36.2%)
Linux: (31.8%)
Unknown: (e.g. bots/spiders): (23.0%)
Macintosh: (8.8%)
FreeBSD: (0.1%)

As a graph (charted with LibreOffice):

Techrights stats

Tux Machines reveals a somewhat different pattern. Based on grepping/filtering the of past month's log at the Apache back end (not Varnish, which would have been a more sensible but harder thing to do), presenting the top 3 only:

Tuxmachines stats

One month is as far as retention goes, so it's not possible to show long-term trends (as before, based on Susan's summary of data). Logs older than that are automatically deleted, as promised, for both sites -- forever! We just need a small tail of data (temporarily) for DDOS prevention.

Mollom Issues

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TUX MACHINES has been having some issues with the spam filter, so people who regularly submit material, including comments, may have struggled to do so over the past fortnight of so. If that's the case, please re-attempt and report any issue you encounter to us (feedback button on the right).

Spring in Tux Machines

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Tux Machines traffic

Tux Machines traffic has been increasing during spring. The DDOS attacks are behind us thankfully, the latest problem is just a lot of spam, which we are deleting as soon as we can.

Blog posts

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D

UE TO a growing SPAM problem (dozens per day making the front page), we have disabled -- temporarily at least -- the ability of random visitors to create new blog posts after registering for an account. We apologise in advance to any legitimate users this restriction may affect.

Catchup Mode

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IN the coming days we will prioritise very recent news and of course important news, but at the same time we shall be catching up with some older but important news that we missed. This means that some older items (one or two weeks old) may occasionally appear. In lieu with requests from readers we will also stop abbreviating long summaries of news, such as today's leftovers and howto roundups.

On Break

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Site News

KDE laptops

THIS COMING WEEK, starting Tuesday in particular, will be a lot less busy than usual because Rianne and I are flying away and will be absent for a couple of weeks. Depending on availability of Wi-Fi, we ought to be able to still post some links, just not the usual volume of links.

We kindly ask anyone who is interested and willing to submit links highlighting relevant news, as every registered user can do that. It will greatly help us run the site while we are very far away in east Asia.

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More in Tux Machines

Review: Linux Mint 18 (Sarah)

If you were looking to jump the Ubuntu ship completely, then we recommend taking a look at our recent Review of Fedora 24. It’s equally as good as Mint 18 and equally worthy of your consideration. Between Linux Mint 18 and Fedora 24, we reckon it’s exciting times in the Linux world. With the exception and onset of the boring world of vanilla Ubuntu releases, Linux feels reinvigorated and fresh once again. Jump on board, because it can only get better from here. Read more

Security Leftovers

GNU News

Leftovers: OSS

  • Mozilla Firefox 47.0.1 Is Now Available in the Arch Linux and Solus Repos
    Mozilla quietly delivered the first point release of the Mozilla Firefox 47.0 web browser to users of Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems on the day of June 28, 2016. However, because the built-in updater of the Mozilla Firefox web browser doesn't work on GNU/Linux distributions, users have to wait for the latest version of the software to be first pushed by the maintainers of their operating systems on the main repositories before they can upgrade.
  • Questions loom about the future of open source at VA
    The CIO for the Department of Veterans' Affairs sought to reassure stakeholders that the agency was committed to open source in the future, but with Congress pressuring the agency to give up the homegrown health record system VistA, the open source community is a bit perplexed.
  • Watch out for job offers from Google after this open source course
    Over five lakh polytechnic students from 500 colleges across Tamil Nadu would begin training on open source software from Friday, learning more about the nitty-gritties of ‘free’ software under a programme run by the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay along with the Tamil Nadu government.
  • Bombay Stock Exchange: Open source is a mindset
    Open source is still gaining momentum in the industry worldwide. Despite naysayers, open-source software and hardware are making believers out of a broad array of users. In the case of Bombay Stock Exchange, LTD (BSE), the transition has been cost efficient, as well as has improved order processing power. By switching from proprietary hardware to open source, Kersi Tavadia, CIO of BSE, reported going from being able to process 10 million orders a day to 400 million. Even with the increase, the new open-source hardware is only using 10 percent capacity.
  • GitHub releases data on 2.8 million open source repositories through Google BigQuery
    GitHub today announced that it’s releasing activity data for 2.8 million open source code repositories and making it available for people to analyze with the Google BigQuery cloud-based data warehousing tool. The data set is free to explore. (With BigQuery you get to process up to one terabyte each month free of charge.) This new 3TB data set includes information on “more than 145 million unique commits, over 2 billion different file paths and the contents of the latest revision for 163 million files, all of which are searchable with regular expressions,” Arfon Smith, program manager for open source data at GitHub, wrote in a blog post.
  • How one company is using open source to double its customers’ mobile business
    Most retailers today stay a step or two behind when it comes to modern technology, especially on the mobile side. Sawyer Effect, LLC, a consultant for J.Crew Group, Inc., has been using Red Hat, Inc.’s open-source product Ansible, an IT automation engine, to get its customer’s mobile business up to speed and greatly improve its business.
  • Can Capital One change banking with open source, mobile apps, and NoSQL?
    Oron Gill Haus of Capital One came to MongoDB World to present on Hygieia, an open source DevOps dashboard built on MongoDB. Behind that dashboard lies an ambition to change the customer banking experience – no small feat. Prior to his keynote, Haus shared his team’s story with me.
  • How bank Capital One developed an open source DevOps visualisation tool based on MongoDB
    In order to keep up with customers' expectation of a proactive service available 24x7 on many devices, US bank Capital One moved to an agile DevOps structure and a year ago released its own DevOps dashboard. While visualisation tools were available for continuous integration, scanning and testing, Capital One's development team was unable to find one that provided a complete overview of the whole production process. The dashboard they developed, called Hygieia, was open sourced to encourage rapid development. It is currently in version 2.0. VP of engineering Gil Haus explained some of the thought processes that went into the creation of Hygieia.
  • What is DC/OS?
    What if we could take the total amount of power in any cloud computing datacentre and provide a means of defining that as one total abstracted compute resource? This notion has given brith to DC/OS, a technology base built on Apache Mesos to abstract a datacentre into a single computer, pooling distributed workloads and (allegedly) simplifying both rollout and operations.
  • What's holding your conference back
  • Airtel Leverages Cloudera Enterprise to Improve Customer Experience and Product Personalization
  • Airtel adopts Cloudera for business intelligence
  • Airtel moves customer data on an open source platform
  • ​RightScale can help you pick out the right public cloud
    For example, let's say you need a local cloud in Australia. With the tool, you'll see that Google can't help you while the others can. Or, for instance say you've tied your business to Oracle and you want Oracle Linux as your operating system. The program will quickly and easily tell you that AWS and Azure are the clouds for you.
  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache® Bahir™ as a Top-Level Project
    Apache Bahir bolsters Big Data processing by serving as a home for existing connectors that initiated under Apache Spark, as well as provide additional extensions/plugins for other related distributed system, storage, and query execution systems.
  • Bahir is the Latest Big Data Project to Advance at Apache
    Recently, we've taken note of the many projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support and more.
  • MongoDB launches Atlas, its new database-as-a-service offering
    MongoDB, the company behind the eponymous open source database, is launching Atlas today, its third major revenue-generating service. Atlas is MongoDB’s database-as-a-service offering that provides users with a managed database service. The service will offer pay-as-you-go pricing and will initially allow users to deploy on Amazon Web Services (AWS), with support for Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform coming later.