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Contact Private Internet Access (PIA) Managers to Help Save Linux Journal From Shutdown

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Private Internet Access

TUX MACHINES turned 15 almost exactly two months ago. The site has operational costs, as one can expect, mostly the hardware and bandwidth. We've thankfully had these resources very kindly donated to us last year, basically saving us the massive burden of bills somewhere around $10,000. Running a site with a lot of traffic isn't cheap and it isn't getting cheaper, either. As an overhead or addition to server maintenance (uptime requires habitual work on repairing databases, managing backups, patching of software and agonising system upgrades once in a few years) it takes a lot of time to compose new material and moderate to keep spam out.

A lot of the mainstream media is bashing Linux Journal right now. It makes it seem like its demise is a problem with GNU/Linux itself. These are villainous lies from self-serving foes of Linux, sometimes people who are aligned with Microsoft or salaried by Microsoft (we don't want to link to their provocative clickbait). But anyway, the bottom line is that keeping Linux Journal online may be costly and people should prepare for the possibility of Linux Journal becoming unavailable (offline) some time soon. I try very hard to prevent this (today and yesterday). "There is a real (and ever-growing) danger that a massive trove of GNU/Linux and Free software history will vanish unless urgent action is taken right now," I said. There are ways to avoid this (writers of that site need to unite in a union-like sense). I also secure my own sites from such a fate, having reached almost 13 years in Techrights. This week the site is experiencing all-time traffic records.

I've decided to contact Rick Falkvinge (Dick Greger Augustsson), founder of the Swedish Pirate Party and head of privacy at Private Internet Access, which owns Linux Journal. Bear in mind he used to work for Microsoft. We're still friendly online (we've exchanged some messages over the years) and he probably has sufficient clout at Private Internet Access to sway their decisions. In case they plan to shut down the site, we must act fast. Please contact him; as per his Web site, his E-mail address is x1bpsas66na001@sneakemail.com and any message he receives he can relay to other high-level people at the company. I don't personally know anyone else at that company, so that's the only contact I'm able to provide.

Photos: 15-Year Anniversary Party

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Tux Machines Over the Past 15 Years

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2005

Tux Machines site in 2005

2010

Tux Machines site in 2010

2012

Tux Machines site in 2012

2013

Tux Machines site in 2013

Late 2013

Tux Machines site in late 2013

2014

Tux Machines site in 2014

2015

Tux Machines site in 2015

2019

Tux Machines site in 2019

Happy 15th Anniversary to Tux Machines

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Anniversary of Tux Machines

Summary: Anniversary of Tux Machines is today, a special anniversary too

Today Tux Machines is celebrating its 15th year of existing. When we bought the website it was about 10 years old, so kudos to Susan Linton who devoted time to make and keep the site on pace. We promise to keep the website up to date with lots of insightful OSS/FOSS/Linux/Android-related articles. We hope to continue the job well into the distant future.

Tell Us About Your (or Others') GNU/Linux Blogs

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THE MEDIA online is dying. It's no secret. Not all sorts of media are dying but traditional media struggles to survive. Causes for these have been explained for years if not more than a decade. This won't be the subject of this post.

Tux Machines does not produce a lot of original material. Susan used to publish GNU/Linux reviews (with galleries of screenshots), but other than that we mostly cluster and syndicate news. This has been the case for nearly 15 years (our anniversary is next month).

Each year it feels like mainstream media produces a lot less stories (not just about GNU/Linux but about anything, in general terms). So we're 'mining' more and more RSS feeds, typically of blogs. Do you have a GNU/Linux blog or know one/s you wish to recommend? Let us know in the IRC channel because we always hunt for more news sources, no matter if they're 'mainstream' or not as long as they're credible, reliable, and on topic.

Fifteenth Anniversary of Tux Machines Coming Soon

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NOT many Internet enterprises or even protocols outlast the Web. IRC is under attack, E-mail is being hijacked by large corporations (the business model of spying), and copyright monopolies compel ISPs to disconnect from USENET. Even without the Web there's a similar problem; not many sites last a decade; some last a few years until interest is lost or life-changing events cause stagnation and ultimately shutdown (it's not cheap to keep a domain registered and it can be technically difficult to keep a host going). Some sites or blogs remain active only for days, weeks, months. Not many sites have lasted 2 decades. Some become dormant and shelved. Some suffer the "Google Plus effect" (host decides it's not viable to carry on hosting, mostly for selfish "business reasons").

Tux Machines domainTux Machines remains very active. Every day, almost every hour. Even when we're on holiday (or abroad) we still log in and post the more crucial news. We never wink or lose a heartbeat. Dedication like this becomes almost addictive.

In less than a couple of months the site will turn 15. We're planning to celebrate locally somehow (a little party), knowing that it's a rare event and seeing how the Web becomes just "apps" and "social media" it's hard to guarantee we'll reach 20 (we sure hope so). Over the years we've considered modernising the site (CMS overhaul), but such novelty may entail bloat, speed losses, 'UX' erosion, and a lack of 'traditional' feel, maybe even issues associated with navigation, user familiarity, backward compatibility of URLs (we still use node numbers!) and so on.

Real-time Tux Machines Chat Over IRC (Internet Relay Chat)

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The first IRC server
"The first IRC server, tolsun.oulu.fi, a Sun-3 server on display near the University of Oulu computer centre." Credit/licence: CC BY 2.5, Urpo Lankinen

TUX MACHINES reached all-time record traffic in the past couple of weeks. This (raw) traffic now stands at about 4 million hits/week, with 3,970,777 hits in the past 6 days and 4,289,540 hits last week (predating these 6 days). It's just a shame that interaction with readers became hard; the forums had a severe spam issue, as did comments and submissions (by new registrants, always, more so at a later stage) -- to the point where it became impractical to allow any new registrations (except adding people manually upon request). The open/incognito registrants would overrun the site within minutes (we tried several times over the years and saw the effect immediately).

So we've decided to try IRC and have added "IRC" to the menu at the top with an applet (JavaScript) to make life easier for those who aren't familiar with IRC clients.

Here's how to join us. This is still experimental. Real-time updates with posts (as they are posted) will in due course be shown in the channel and we can all casually chat in real-time, too. We are also still working on our Android app these days.

Testers Wanted: Android App for Tux Machines Site

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APK icon

Diaspora logo Mastodon logo Pleroma logo

Tux Machines is turning 15 this summer and as we noted over the weekend, many people now access the site using mobile devices, for which the site provides a subpar experience due to legacy. RSS feeds are therefore recommended. There's our RSS feed for news, RSS feed for Tux Machines Blogs and another for Techrights, where I write my original articles.

Most readers, however, do not use RSS feeds. Consider the 700 followers of our Twitter account, the 2,365 followers of our Diaspora account, 1,080 followers of our Mastodon account, and 63 followers of our Pleroma account (so about 4,000 in total). Those are dependent on third parties (we do not self-host these platforms). Even if "apps" are used for access to these social media platforms/sites, the links would lead to Tux Machines Web pages, which don't render particularly well on small screens (phones). So we've made this simple "app" for the site, but we're still testing it. If anyone out there can try it on an Android device and report back to us, we'll appreciate it greatly and use the feedback to improve it.

Screenshot Tux Machines app

Mobile Interfaces, Internet, Devices and UX

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A mobile phone

Summary: Visitors who use mobile phones get a subpar experience, but that's an issue that boils down to preservation versus novelty

TUX MACHINES is turning 15 later this year. Longtime readers may very well know that the appearance or the layout of this site barely changed over the years. The key components have been in place since the very start. We still use node IDs as URLs (not ideal, but that works), mobile devices are barely supported (they were barely used on the Net at the time the site started), and due to SPAM we can no longer allow new user registrations (they overwhelm the site with a flood of SPAM submissions, i.e. noise such as pornographic comments, abusive blog posts etc.) within hours. We know because we tried opening up these registrations several times in the past. Any loosening of these restriction means a complete and utter mess.

"Mobile users who struggle with the site contact me routinely and my best suggestion for them is an RSS reader (many exist for mobile devices), which overcomes these issues and bypasses all the 'cruft'."

So-called 'UX' (buzzword for user interfaces/experience) in Tux Machines is far from ideal, especially for those who use a phone. We are aware of it, but the overhaul required to change that would be truly massive because of the number of pages, images, and the underlying framework, which was heavily modified and tailored for the existing user experience. I spent a lot of time making things work as they do. Susan had also invested a great deal of effort.

Mobile users who struggle with the site contact me routinely and my best suggestion for them is an RSS reader (many exist for mobile devices), which overcomes these issues and bypasses all the 'cruft'. Taking all the implications into account (endless work associated with a change), we don't plan a site redesign/overhaul. Maybe in the distant future, but not any time soon. The RSS feed is already used by a lot of people, even desktop/laptop users. We have no ads and no surveillance in this site, so RSS feeds don't impact some "business model" or whatever. In fact, it helps lower the strain on the server.

Come and Join Tux Machines in Pleroma, Part of the Fediverse

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Pleroma logo

Summary: Tux Machines is on Pleroma.site, a lesser-known part of the Fediverse

Tux Machines has been on the Fediverse for quite some time (our Mastodon account), but months ago we also joined Pleroma, which is an exciting new alternative written in Elixir.

Just a few weeks ago somebody published this "Guide for GPlus [Google Plus] refugees to choose a new social network in the Fediverse" because "G+ will close on April 2nd. So to help people that haven’t decided yet where to go in the Fediverse I made some pointers. I divided this guide in a number of sections. Each section describes a certain use of social networks and which networks are most suitable for this specific use. Combine this with your preferred use of a social network and you should be able make a decision."

Pleroma too is part of the Fediverse and Pleroma.site, one large instance of Pleroma, recently completed hardware upgrades. GNU/Linux aficionados can follow us there.

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More in Tux Machines

Events: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON, Intel's OSTS, LibreOffice Hackfests and Debian at ICFP 2019

  • GNOME on the Road: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON

    Linux Fest Northwest took place back in April, and we were there! Sri Ramkrishna and I hung out in Bellingham, Washington (USA), meeting GNOMEies, free software contributors, and open source enthusiasts.

  • Intel Shares Highlights From Their 2019 Open-Source Technology Summit

    Taking place back in May at the beautiful Skamania Lodge in Washington was Intel's OSTS 2019 for their annual Open-Source Technology Summit that traditionally was internal-only but has begun opening up including allowing external participants this year. I was at OSTS 2019 and it's by far my highlight of the year with many really great sessions and a lot of useful networking at the event. Intel's open-source team has now shared some video recordings from this open-source/Linux event. 

  • Annual Report 2018: LibreOffice Hackfests

    Most LibreOffice developers are working from their home offices, so hackfests provide a unique opportunity to spend some time working shoulder-to-shoulder with their peers. In 2018, LibreOffice developers and community members met at four hackfests in Brussels, Hamburg, Tirana and Munich.

  • ICFP 2019

    ICFP 2019 in Berlin ended yesterday, and it was – as always – a great pleasure. This year was particularly noteworthy for the quite affordable conference hotel and the absolutely amazing food during the coffee breaks.

OSS Leftovers

  • How open source is benefitting SUSE, its channel partners and customers

    Open source technology is being talked about even more rampantly today. Phillip Cockrell, Vice President of Global Channels, SUSE articulates, “More than anything, open source is the core of innovation. It is by all and for all and propelling all aspects of technology development today.” SUSE, a native open source software company, which provides reliable, software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions that give organisations greater control and flexibility, is a seasoned 25-year-old player in the domain.

  • What is AOSP? Android Open Source Project, the ‘Android without Google’

    AOSP is the acronym for Android Open Supply Challenge ; that’s, ‘Android Open Source Project’. So it's simply the supply code of Android, the cellular working system of the Mountain View firm. However what’s it for? Its fundamental software is by OEMs; cellular producers obtain AOSP and make their 'ROM inventory', but additionally serves as the premise for customized ROMs and forks. AOSP, or Android Open Supply Challenge, isn’t the identical as Android Inventory . Whereas AOSP is the supply code of the working system, Android Inventory is the 'pure model' with out bloatware of any sort and solely with apps and Google providers, in addition to the native launcher. AOSP, nevertheless, is the premise of Android Vanilla , which is the model that’s distributed to smartphone producers and is topic to modifications. On it, the producer's personal purposes and providers are launched, and naturally the customization layer and the variations which can be essential for particular elements to work.

  • How to Avoid Technical Debt in Open Source Projects
  • Introducing OpenDrop, an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python

    A group of German researchers recently published a paper “A Billion Open Interfaces for Eve and Mallory: MitM, DoS, and Tracking Attacks on iOS and macOS Through Apple Wireless Direct Link”, at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (August 14–16), USA. The paper reveals security and privacy vulnerabilities in Apple’s AirDrop file-sharing service as well as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks which leads to privacy leaks or simultaneous crashing of all neighboring devices. As part of the research, Milan Stute and Alexander Heinrich, two researchers have developed an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python – OpenDrop. OpenDrop is like a FOSS implementation of AirDrop. It is an experimental software and is the result of reverse engineering efforts by the Open Wireless Link project (OWL). It is compatible with Apple AirDrop and used for sharing files among Apple devices such as iOS and macOS or on Linux systems running an open re-implementation of Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL).

  • The Top 13 Free and Open Source Storage Solutions

    In this article we will examine free and open source storage solutions by providing a brief overview of what to expect, as well as blurbs on each tool.

  • Open Source Origination Technology Platform for Online Lenders

    DigiFi was founded by Joshua Jersey and Bradley Vanderstarren in 2014. It started its life as Promise Financial, an online lender, and raised $110 million in credit capital. It built up its own proprietary tech as there was no solution provider in 2014 offering an end-to-end loan origination platform that could automate the entire process. They sold off the tech to a large lending institution in 2017 and pivoted to DigiFi, one of the world’s first open source loan origination systems (LOS) which equips the lenders with flexible and modern tools to create unique platforms and digital experiences.

  • IT favors open source networking over Cisco ACI, VMware NSX

    Companies trying to avoid or lessen the use of expensive network automation software from Cisco and VMware are turning to open source tools that are often good enough for many tasks associated with managing complex modern networks. Cisco's application-centric infrastructure (ACI) and VMware's NSX are powerful technologies for operating networks built on the vendors' respective products. But many large enterprises have data centers filled with perfectly good multivendor hardware and software that very few organizations are willing to swap for an all Cisco or VMware alternative. Therefore, companies are turning to open source networking products, such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet and SaltStack, for automating many network-related chores across as much of the data center as possible, while relegating ACI and NSX to Cisco- or VMware-only portions of the network.

  • What Attorneys Should Know About Open Source Software Licensing

    With the next waves of technological change, such as autonomous vehicles, blockchain, and IoT, newer, more complex OSS licenses may be drafted, and argued in the courts, to protect the interests of software innovators and the OSS community.

Open Data: Schlumberger and Waymo

  • Schlumberger open-sources data ecosystem, contributing to industrywide data development
  • Schlumberger Open Sources Data Ecosystem

    Oilfield services company Schlumberger said it will open source its data ecosystem and contribute to The Open Group Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU) Forum to accelerate the delivery of the OSDU Data Platform. The OSDU Forum is an international forum of oil and gas operators, cloud services companies, technology providers, suppliers of applications to oil and gas operators, academia and other standards organizations working together to develop an open, standards-based, data platform that will bring together exploration, development and wells data.

  • Waymo open-sources data set for autonomous vehicle multimodal sensors

    Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary that hopes to someday pepper roads with self-driving taxis, today pulled back the curtains on a portion of the data used to train the algorithms underpinning its cars: The Waymo Open Dataset. Waymo principal scientist Dragomir Anguelov claims it’s the largest multimodal sensor sample corpus for autonomous driving released to date. “[W]e are inviting the research community to join us with the [debut] of the Waymo Open Dataset, [which is composed] of high-resolution sensor data collected by Waymo self-driving vehicles,” wrote Anguelov in a blog post published this morning. “Data is a critical ingredient for machine learning … [and] this rich and diverse set of real-world experiences has helped our engineers and researchers develop Waymo’s self-driving technology and innovative models and algorithms.”

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