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Site News

On Break

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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.

Holidays Calm

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Xmas
Our living room this past weekend

TOMORROW is my birthday, so we are going away to Liverpool for a while. Over the holidays we won't be too active in this site, at the very least because there is no major news, no announcements of substance, and we also wish to spend some time with our extended family.

As always, anyone in Tux Machines can create an account and submit stories to the front page (as of late only spammers have been doing that almost every morning). We encourage readers to submit any links which they find relevant and of interest to the community.

Tux Machines is under attack

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My husband has been spending many of his hours fighting blow by blow in the back end, saving Tux Machines from a cyber attacker who really spent his freaking time hammering the website in an attempt to cripple Tux Machines. At first I was bit astonished by how the website behaved while I was posting some articles, I thought of checking the load to make sure the server worked well and to see that every visitor's page request had been served well, only to know that slowness of the website was been masterminded by an attacker. Perhaps this person is so desperate to put the Tux Machines website down, perhaps an enemy of FOSS and Linux advocacy.

We want to reaffirm our visitors and readers and apologise for the slight inconvenience and weired behavior of the website for the previous hours. All we have done is to protect our readers and visitors from this an acceptable gesture even until now he/she has been trying to penetrate the website. My message to this attacker is, leave Tux Machines in peace and go find some games to play with.

Windows-Shocked

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There are rogue bots hammering on this site all day long. It has gone on for quite a few days and it is getting worse. The bots are getting harder to block. Strategies are changing. They are all acting like zombies/botnet and they all have a "Microsoft Windows" in their HTTP header.

The corporate media seems preoccupied with a bug in GNU Bash. It predicts gloom and doom, just as it did when there was a bug in OpenSSL that Microsoft partners dubbed "heartbleed" (although not so much actually happened in terms of damages).

Perhaps it is time to remind that media that Microsoft, with its back doors, is causing turbulence on the Web. Among the outcomes there are GNU/Linux Web sites that are brought down, with administrators who work around the clock trying to block Windows-running PCs from trying to take down their sites.

Rogue Bots

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Aggregators in Tux Machines have been universally disabled (temporarily we hope) after a week or so of heavy load that took the site down (well, over capacity and hence not accessible). The culprit seems to be mostly -- although not exclusively -- a bunch of bots that hammer on the aggregators with spammy requests. It's sad that so many hours need to be spent just keeping script kiddies out of the site, resulting in fewer bits of output, slower pageloads (performance degradation), and restlessness (monitoring alerts all day long), not to mention crafting of rules that merely keep the site running. Running Tux Machines is not quite as peaceful and trivial/simple as it may seem from the outside. It's like a full-time job, or at least it feels like it, especially whenever the site gets flooded by rogue bots, necessitating special attention 24/7.

Recent Changes in Tux Machines

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Work

TODAY we have taken a bit of a break. It's Sunday after all. But here is a bit of a site status update.

The site's design has evolved a bit and it hopefully makes navigation a little better. SPAM is still a problem, but we do our best to keep it out of the sight of visitors. It's the result of a permissive policy that lets everyone publish a story, blog post, etc.

In terms of server load, we are still coping most of the time, but sometimes there's a flood of SPAM/rogue traffic that renders the server virtually unreachable. We use some ad hoc filters for to address this nuisance, but if we are away, then the site can be paralysed for a long time. We still need to find better solutions to that.

Thanks in advance for any feedback you may have and thanks for reading Tux Machines.

It's Summer Again

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THE WEATHER has been getting more pleasant and the news too is pleasant these days. Software patents are in a state of perpetual demise, Microsoft is dealing with its large-scale demise (layoffs also), FOSS is being adopted by very large nations (Russia and China are among them), the UK has adopted OpenDocument Format as the standard, and our family benefits from government migrations to FOSS (Rianne and I work through a FOSS specialist).

While it may seem like the FOSS world is quiet (judging by the volume of news), the truth of the matter is that FOSS professionals are busy migrating many systems from proprietary to FOSS. These people are committed to the cause not just with words but also with actions.

Tux Machines, realising that games for GNU/Linux are now a dozen a week (not literally), lumps together gaming news. Android, being a Linux-based platform with huge worldwide impact, receives frequent mentions. If anyone wishes to suggest other editorial priorities, please share with us in the comments.

July's Record

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TODAY was the last day of the log rotation. The uncached requests to Apache (bypassing Varnish proxy) exceeded the record by a huge gap (around 20%) and nearly reached 300 megabytes.

It is reassuring and gratifying to know that our readers base is expanding each week and we welcome submissions (news, blogs, etc.), which can be automatically pushed to the front page by any subscriber.

June Traffic

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June traffic

TuxMachines Record Traffic

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FIVE days ago TuxMachines turned 10 years old. Rianne and I were on holiday in Scotland at the time, but were still able to keep the site up to date, owing to a Wi-Fi connection which we had to work exceptionally hard for (an open Wi-Fi connection is hard to find in the UK, especially one that enables anonymous use).

Running the site requires a lot of dedication because in order to stay up-to-the-minute TuxMachines requires non-ending research/survey of news. It's truly life-changing, potentially affecting the first hours of the morning and the little hours of the night. Sometimes it affects holidays and every couple of days I browse through news and post links in-between sets at the gym. Both Rianne and I are very dedicated to the site.

Since this site keeps growing in size and in traffic (the past week saw traffic climbing 20% above the previous record) it's all worthwhile at the end, and we have no intention of slowing down. What's more, seeing how Linux expands in use (and clout) around the world assures us that efforts to popularise GNU/Linux are succeeding.

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More in Tux Machines

Servers/Networks

  • Rackspace to be Acquired for $4.3B
    Rackspace announced that it is being acquired in an all-cash deal valued at $4.3B. Pending regulatory anti-trust approval, the firm will be taken private by a group of investors led by Apollo Global Management in Q4 of 2016. This valuation equates to a price of $32/share. The 38% premium cited in the announcement is calculated against a base share price from August 3, as the news about the pending acquisition began increasing the company stock price as early as August 4. For historical context, this valuation falls considerably below the company’s peak market capitalization in January 2013 when Rackspace was worth $10.9B. This means that the company’s current valuation – including the premium – is less than 40% of what it was at its highest point.
  • More on Open Source Tools for Data Science
    Open source tools are having a transformative impact on the world of data science. In a recent guest post here on OStatic, Databricks' Kavitha Mariappan (shown here), who is Vice President of Marketing, discussed some of the most powerful open source solutions for use in the data science arena. Databricks was founded by the creators of the popular open source Big Data processing engine Apache Spark, which is itself transforming data science. Here are some other open source tools in this arena to know about. As Mariappan wrote: "Apache Spark, a project of the Apache Software Foundation, is an open source platform for distributed in-memory data processing. Spark supports complete data science pipelines with libraries that run on the Spark engine, including Spark SQL, Spark Streaming, Spark MLlib and GraphX. Spark SQL supports operations with structured data, such as queries, filters, joins, and selects. In Spark 2.0, released in July 2016, Spark SQL comprehensively supports the SQL 2003 standard, so users with experience working with SQL on relational databases can learn how to work with Spark quickly."
  • SDN, open source nexus to accelerate service creation
    What's new in the SDN blog world? One expert says SDN advancements will be accelerated, thanks to SDN and open source convergence, while another points out the influence SDN has in the cloud industry.
  • Platform9 & ZeroStack Make OpenStack a Little More VMware-Friendly
    Platform9 and ZeroStack are adding VMware high availability to their prefab cloud offerings, part of the ongoing effort to make OpenStack better accepted by enterprises. OpenStack is a platform, an archipelago of open source projects that help you run a cloud. But some assembly is required. Both Platform9 and ZeroStack are operating on the theory that OpenStack will better succeed if it’s turned into more of a shrink-wrapped product.
  • Putting Ops Back in DevOps
    What Agile means to your typical operations staff member is, “More junk coming faster that I will get blamed for when it breaks.” There always is tension between development and operations when something goes south. Developers are sure the code worked on their machine; therefore, if it does not work in some other environment, operations must have changed something that made it break. Operations sees the same code perform differently on the same machine with the same config, which means if something broke, the most recent change must have caused it … i.e. the code did it. The finger-pointing squabbles are epic (no pun intended). So how do we get Ops folks interested in DevOps without promising them only a quantum order of magnitude more problems—and delivered faster?
  • Cloud chronicles
    How open-source software and cloud computing have set up the IT industry for a once-in-a-generation battle

KDE and Qt

GNOME News

  • Fresh From the Oven: GNOME Pie 0.6.9 Released
    For a slice of something this weekend you might want to check out the latest update to GNOME Pie, the circular app launcher for Linux desktops.
  • GUADEC 2016 and the Butterfly Effect
  • GUADEC 2016 Notes
    I’m back from GUADEC and wanted to share a few thoughts on the conference itself and the post-conference hackfest days. All the talks including the opening and closing sessions and the GNOME Foundation AGM are available online. Big thanks goes to the organization team for making this possible.

Security News

  • Thursday's security updates
  • Priorities in security
  • How Core Infrastructure Initiative Aims to Secure the Internet
    In the aftermath of the Heartbleed vulnerability's emergence in 2014, the Linux Foundation created the Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII)to help prevent that type of issue from recurring. Two years later, the Linux Foundation has tasked its newly minted CTO, Nicko van Someren, to help lead the effort and push it forward. CII has multiple efforts under way already to help improve open-source security. Those efforts include directly funding developers to work on security, a badging program that promotes security practices and an audit of code to help identify vulnerable code bases that might need help. In a video interview with eWEEKat the LinuxCon conference here, Van Someren detailed why he joined the Linux Foundation and what he hopes to achieve.
  • Certificate Authority Gave Out Certs For GitHub To Someone Who Just Had A GitHub Account
    For many years now, we've talked about the many different problems today's web security system has based on the model of security certificates issued by Certificate Authorities. All you need is a bad Certificate Authority be trusted and a lot of bad stuff can happen. And it appears we've got yet another example. A message on Mozilla's security policy mailing list notes that a free certificate authority named WoSign appeared to be doing some pretty bad stuff, including handing out certificates for a base domain if someone merely had control over a subdomain. This was discovered by accident, but then tested on GitHub... and it worked.