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Tux Machines is Now on Mastodon

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Tux Machines on Mastodon

Summary: We can now be found in Mastodon too

A FOSS and decentralised Twitter alternative has received plenty of media attention/traction lately, so Tux Machines belatedly joins in and we invite readers to follow us there if they wish to create an account. The popularity of the platform exploded (number of users quadrupled so far this month).

We've Made It! 100,000 Nodes

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A thousand dollars

Summary: Another milestone for Tux Machines, which will turn 15 in a couple of years

100,000 nodes in Tux Machines will have been published later tonight. This one will be assigned node ID/#99995. Earlier today someone anonymous told us, "I just wanted to say thank you for all the work you've done and new information updates at tuxmachines.org."

That's what we are here for -- to help spread information. We don't profit or gain anything from this site, but it's our way of giving back to the Free/Open Source software community.

On to 200,000 (this may take another decade or more).

Record-Breaking Traffic

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Summary: Quick report about site traffic

Tux Machines has been enjoying growth in recent weeks, though it's hard to attribute it to anything in particular. The following are the past 4 weeks' logs (we delete all logs after 4 weeks, for privacy reasons, assuring no long-term retention).

-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 389699117 Oct  9 04:40 access.log-20161009
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 454715290 Oct 16 03:46 access.log-20161016
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 478747167 Oct 23 03:12 access.log-20161023
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 499911551 Oct 30 03:40 access.log-20161030

We recently quadrupled the servers' CPU capacity.

The above is not the complete picture. That's omitting all the Varnish activity, which handles the majority of the traffic but simply cannot cache all pages. We are still trying to reduce the frequency of spam incidents (some of the spamy submissions manage to inject JavaScript very briefly).

We'll soon reach the 100,000-node milestone of this Drupal site.

Web Site Traffic Growing

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The Linux Foundation recently added the Platform for Network Data Analytics (PNDA)

Panda

Panda

Summary: Network/traffic analytics for Tux Machines

ULTIMATELY, here in Tux Machines we strive to include every bit of relevant news (standalone pages for more important news, clusters of links for the rest, grouped by topic). We rarely blog although sometimes we add an opinion (marked "Ed", shorthand for "Editor").

It has been a long time since we last wrote about statistics. As readers may know by now, we only retain logs for up to 4 weeks (security/diagnostics purposes), then these get deleted for good so as to maintain privacy (we cannot be compelled to hand over data). Those logs show only direct hits, they don't include pages served through the cache* (Varnish) and here is the latest, where the date stands for "week ending":

-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 224439408 Aug  7 03:17 access.log-20160807
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 310050330 Aug 14 03:22 access.log-20160814
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 343901488 Aug 21 03:17 access.log-20160821
-rw-r--r--.  1 root root 344256886 Aug 28 03:15 access.log-20160828

The above indicates that, judging by the back end (not cache), traffic continues to increase. Over the past week the site was sometimes unbearably slow if not inaccessible. In the worse case we'll upgrade the server for extra capacity, assuring decent speed. Worth noting is that in the latest log (ending August 28th) less than 1,000 hits came from Edge, so very few among our visitors use the latest and 'greatest' from Microsoft.
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* The cache server services several domains, notably Tux Machines and Techrights, and it averages at around 1.5 GB of traffic per hour.

Tux Machines Turns 12

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THE past few weeks were exceptionally busy for the site as readership grew considerably and the site turned 12. Originally, the site did not share Linux news but had various other sections. Years later Susan Linton made it the success story it is today and in 2013-2014 we only modernised the theme and kept the old tradition, format, etc. We hope this pleases longtime readers of the site. Comments on how the site is run are always taken into account.

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.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • State of Linux Containers
    In this video from the Stanford HPC Conference, Christian Kniep from Docker Inc. presents: State of Containers. “This talk will recap the history of and what constitutes Linux Containers, before laying out how the technology is employed by various engines and what problems these engines have to solve. Afterward, Christian will elaborate on why the advent of standards for images and runtimes moved the discussion from building and distributing containers to orchestrating containerized applications at scale. In conclusion, attendees will get an update on what problems still hinder the adoption of containers for distributed high performance workloads and how Docker is addressing these issues.”
  • ONS 2018: Networking Reimagined
    For the past seven years, Open Networking Summit (ONS) has brought together the networking industry’s ecosystem of network operators, vendors, open source projects, leading researchers, and investors to discuss the latest SDN and NFV developments that will shape the future of the networking industry. With this year’s event, taking place March 26-29, 2018 in Los Angeles, ONS will evolve its approach as the premier open source networking event. We’re excited to share three new aspects of this year’s ONS that you won’t want to miss:
  • AT&T contributes code to Linux open source edge computing project
    The Linux Foundation recently announced a new project, dubbed Akraino, to develop an open source software stack capable of supporting high-availability cloud services for edge computing systems and applications. To kick off the project, AT&T will contribute code made for carrier-scale edge computing applications running in virtual machines and containers.
  • AT&T Brings Akraino Networking Project to Edge of the Linux Foundation
    The Linux Foundation has been particularly busy in 2018 thus far consolidating its existing networking project under a single umbrella, known as LF Networking. That umbrella might need to get a bit larger, as on Feb. 20 the Linux Foundation announced the new Akraino project, with code coming initially from AT&T.
  • FreeOffice 2016 – An Efficient Alternative to Microsoft Office
    FreeOffice 2016 is the latest version of the Office software from SoftMaker. In fact, you wouldn’t be wrong if you called it the free version of SoftMaker Office 2018 seeing as it features the same suite of applications.
  • Stellaris 2.0 'Cherryh' patch & Stellaris: Apocalypse expansion released, over 1.5 million copies sold
    Stellaris: Apocalypse [Steam], the latest expansion for the grand space strategy game from Paradox Development Studio is out. The big 2.0 'Cherryh' patch is also now available. Paradox has also announced today, that Stellaris has officially passed 1.5 million copies sold making it one of their most popular games ever made. I'm not surprised by this, as I consider Stellaris their most accessible game.
  • Action-packed platformer with local and online co-op 'Vagante' has left Early Access
    After being in Early Access for quite some time, the action-packed platformer 'Vagante' [Steam, Official Site] has now officially left Early Access.
  • Gentoo has been accepted as a Google Summer of Code 2018 mentoring organization
  • Getting Debian booting on a Lenovo Yoga 720
    I recently got a new work laptop, a 13” Yoga 720. It proved difficult to install Debian on; pressing F12 would get a boot menu allowing me to select a USB stick I have EFI GRUB on, but after GRUB loaded the kernel and the initrd it would just sit there never outputting anything else that indicated the kernel was even starting. I found instructions about Ubuntu 17.10 which helped but weren’t the complete picture. What seems to be the situation is that the kernel won’t happily boot if “Legacy Support” is not enabled - enabling this (and still booting as EFI) results in a happier experience.
  • Dell PowerEdge T30
    I just did a Debian install on a Dell PowerEdge T30 for a client. The Dell web site is a bit broken at the moment, it didn’t list the price of that server or give useful specs when I was ordering it. I was under the impression that the server was limited to 8G of RAM, that’s unusually small but it wouldn’t be the first time a vendor crippled a low end model to drive sales of more expensive systems. It turned out that the T30 model I got has 4*DDR4 sockets with only one used for an 8G DIMM. It apparently can handle up to 64G of RAM.
  • Quad-Ethernet SBC and controller tap new Renesas RZ/N1D SoC
    Emtrion’s Linux-ready “SBC-RZN1D” SBC, which will soon power a “Flex2COM” controller, features a Renesas dual-core -A7 RZ/N1D SoC and 4x LAN ports, and is designed for multi-protocol fieldbus communications. Emtrion, which recently announced its emCON-RZ/G1H module based on an octa-core Renesas RZ/G1H SoC, has unveiled a Renesas based, quad-LAN port SBC-RZN1D SBC focused on industrial communication. The SBC-RZN1D taps the Renesas RZ/N1D (R9006G032), one of a new line of RZ/N1D SoCs launched last year by Renesas for industrial multi-protocol communications. Renesas recently collaborated with Avnet to ship its own dual-Ethernet Renesas RZ/N1D Solution Kit (see farther below).
  • Postage-Stamp Linux
    There was a time when big operating systems ran on big iron. IBM, Data General, Burroughs, DEC, and other computer makers built big machines with big, blinking lights, and big price tags. They ran grown-up software and they supported multiuser operating systems. If you wanted a toy, you built a microcomputer. If you wanted a real machine for serious work, you bought a mainframe. Maybe a minicomputer, if it were for lesser tasks.
  • Most Popular Android Versions In February 2018 (Always Updated List)
    Android is the most used operating system on the planet. In fact, it’s almost omnipresent in the mobile ecosystem. Even the Android versions, like Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop, etc. have been able to build their individual fan following.

Red Hat and Fedora: David Egts, Radcom, Google Summer of Code 2018, FOSS Wave

  • Red Hat’s David Egts: Microservices Tech Could Help Simplify App Deployment
    David Egts, chief technologist for Red Hat’s public sector, told MeriTalk in an interview published Wednesday that the microservices technology works to help the developer split complex, large applications into small components and share them with other members of the DevOps team.
  • Radcom partners with Red Hat for NFV management
    Radcom announced it is collaborating with Red Hat to provide operators with a fully virtualized network visibility solution running on Red Hat OpenStack Platform. As operators transition to NFV, a critical first step is gaining end-to-end network visibility. This collaboration enables operators to attain cloud-native network visibility without the hassle of building their own private cloud infrastructure, the vendor said. Once the operator's transition to NFV matures, integration efforts with the NFV and MANO infrastructure can be simplified.
  • The Markets Are Undervaluing these stock’s: Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), Xerox Corporation (XRX)
  • Meeder Asset Management Inc. Has $1.75 Million Holdings in Red Hat Inc (RHT)
  • Justin W. Flory: Humanitarian open source work: My internship at UNICEF
    In December, I received the happy news of an offer for a internship position at UNICEF in the Office of Innovation. The Office of Innovation drives rapid technological innovation by rapid prototyping of new ideas and building full-stack products to make a positive impact in the lives of children. This is a simple answer, but a more detailed description is on our website. My internship at UNICEF is unique: I support open source community engagement and research as my primary task for the MagicBox project. For years, I’ve done this in open source communities in my free time (namely SpigotMC and Fedora), but never in a professional role. As I navigate my way through this exciting opportunity, I plan to document some of the experience as I go through blogging. My intent is that my observations and notes will be useful to someone else in the humanitarian open source space (or maybe to a future me).
  • Fedora participating in Google Summer of Code 2018
    GSoC is a summer program aiming to bring more student developers into open source software development. It enables students to spend their summer break working with open source organizations on projects proposed by participating organizations and supported by mentors.
  • FOSS Wave with Fedora at KGISL, Coimbatore
    Recently, I was invited by Prem to NASSCOM to give a brief talk on FOSS and Technology as part of the FOSS Wave community. Prem is doing a great job there by putting his effort in helping students from Tier2 and Tier3 cities. Around twenty enthusiastic students were selected and invited to Bengaluru to take part in such events. Mine was one of them. I conducted a GitHub session after Intro to FOSS and a brief intro about Fedora Project.

OSS Leftovers

  • Comment: Many happy returns to open source
    Twenty years ago the phrase “open source” was first used and the development of software – and hardware – was changed forever. Very few designers today will not use some element of open source software in their development projects.
  • Percona Unveils Full Conference Session Schedule for the Annual Percona Live Open Source Database Conference 2018
  • Worth seeing in Barcelona: Open source for white box vRAN solutions
    News this week from cloud and carrier infrastructure platform company Kontron builds on our earlier coverage of the emerging virtual radio access network (vRAN); a promising technology that could help the evolution to 5G by maximising available bandwidth while lowering costs. The market for open vRAN solutions is gaining wider acceptance as operators seek more cost-effective approaches to network architectures and deployment. According to analyst firm Research and Markets, the growth of the vRAN market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 125 per cent during the next three years.
  • Barcelona is the first city council to join the FSFE's "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign
  • Earlham Institute releases open source software to help identify gene families
    Researchers at Earlham Institute (EI) have released ‘GeneSeqToFamily’, an open-source Galaxy workflow that helps scientists to find gene families based on the ‘EnsemblCompara GeneTrees’ pipeline. Published in Gigascience, the open source Galaxy workflow aims to make researchers job of finding find gene families much easier.
  • 3 reasons to say 'no' in DevOps
    DevOps, it has often been pointed out, is a culture that emphasizes mutual respect, cooperation, continual improvement, and aligning responsibility with authority. Instead of saying no, it may be helpful to take a hint from improv comedy and say, "Yes, and..." or "Yes, but...". This opens the request from the binary nature of "yes" and "no" toward having a nuanced discussion around priority, capacity, and responsibility.
  • 5 rules for having genuine community relationships
    As I wrote in the first article of this three-part series on the power and importance of communities, building a community of passionate and committed members is difficult. When we launched the NethServer community, we realized early that to play the open source game, we needed to follow the open source rules. No shortcuts. We realized we had to convert the company in an open organization and start to work out in the open.
  •  
  • Rust Typestates
    A long time ago, the Rust language was a language with typestate. Officially, typestates were dropped long before Rust 1.0. In this entry, I’ll get you in on the worst kept secret of the Rust community: Rust still has typestates.
  • It's Time To Do CMake Right
    Not so long ago I got the task of rethinking our build system. The idea was to evaluate existing components, dependencies, but most importantly, to establish a superior design by making use of modern CMake features and paradigms. Most people I know would have avoided such enterprise at all costs, but there is something about writing find modules that makes my brain release endorphins. I thought I was up for an amusing ride. Boy was I wrong.

OpenBSD Gets Mitigated For Meltdown CPU Vulnerability

  • OpenBSD Gets Mitigated For Meltdown CPU Vulnerability
    A few days back FreeBSD 11 stable was mitigated for Meltdown (and Spectre vulnerabilities), which came more than one month after these nasty CPU vulnerabilities were disclosed while DragonFlyBSD was quickly mitigated and the first of the BSDs to do so. While OpenBSD is known for its security features and focus, only today did it land its initial Meltdown mitigation.
  • Meltdown fix committed by guenther@

    Meltdown mitigation is coming to OpenBSD. Philip Guenther (guenther@) has just committed a diff that implements a new mitigation technique to OpenBSD: Separation of page tables for kernel and userland. This fixes the Meltdown problems that affect most CPUs from Intel. Both Philip and Mike Larkin (mlarkin@) spent a lot of time implementing this solution, talking to various people from other projects on best approaches.

    In the commit message, Philip briefly describes the implementation [...]