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Site News

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

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Site News

Non-cached site traffic still increasing

Stats chart for Tux Machines

Tux Machines has been my favourite GNU/Linux news site since I first discovered it around 2005. I publicly recommended Tux Machines for several years. Susan knew how to select important stories and she contributed objective articles of her own.

Running Tux Machines

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Roy Schestowitz

TUX Machines has become an integral part of our life right here in this humble home. It's a rewarding experience but also a demanding experience. I personally write my articles in the lounge (which is no 'press room') and it requires many hours of digging and researching news. In Tux Machines, unlike in Techrights for example, it's mostly about finding news of high relevance and importance, and finding them fast! Timing counts. We don't want readers to waste their time wading/going through irrelevant, unimportant and out-of-date reports.

24/7 coverage of news is easy for us. Rianne works mostly at daytime, whereas I usually work at nights (customers are mostly government/public sector and they require 24/7 coverage). When Rianne is working I take over the responsibilities at Tux Machines and vice versa. We swap responsibilities like this when it comes to housework as well; we work out together when we are out of the house (also separately in terms of gym sections, e.g. cardiovascular/weights). This week we go to yoga classes as much as 5 times, but we usually just to Town for other facilities like pool, table tennis, sauna (men and women separately), gym, etc. This is our main escape from Tux Machines; given Wi-Fi (scarce coverage but definitely existent in Manchester City Centre), we sometimes update Tux Machines while out of the house as well.

The site forums are now open for participation and every registered member can add blog posts and push them to the front page (now that we've got the spam epidemic under control). Please do consider participating. This week, as in previous weeks, we are seeing a ~10% growth in traffic (week-to-week), perhaps owing to the slight redesign, loading speeds (Varnish cache), and very frequent updates. We check for news once in a few hours in order to keep abreast of breaking events.

Running Tux Machines will hopefully become more of a community effort over time. Anyone who is logged in can now submit stories. Unless this gets abused by spammers, we will keep it that way.

Mollom Works

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Drupal's very own Mollom is a Free/Open Source (collaboratively-developed and freely-shared) software for battling script kiddies and fighting against SPAM. The past 2 weeks were difficult because spammers exploited the fact that we had opened up the site for registration/subscription (to leave comments). After exploring some options for dealing with the problem (spam making it to the front page even!) we found that Mollom was good enough to eliminate almost 100% of all of spam (so far). Hence, for the time being, it seems safe to say now that we beat the script kiddies. Thanks, Mollom!

Mollom

First Month on the New Server (Updated)

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Tux Machines behind Varnish cache proxy

Chart for Tux Machines

Summary: Tux Machines growth and a note regarding SPAM prevention after a week or so of experiments

Here are the first four weeks' log sizes, plotted with LibreOffice and demonstrating week-to-week growth since the site's nameservers changed and the server moved to CoPilotCo. After 4 weeks all logs get deleted (logrotate) to ensure privacy through lack of data retention (except short term in case of DDOS).

Opening Up Communications (Updatedx5)

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Script kiddies can't get their way

Diversity

Summary: Script kiddies made it impractical to manage comments and forum posts; we are trying to tackle this issue today

IN ANOTHER attempt to restore user registrations, this time on the new server which has just been configured for mail, we are enabling anyone to quickly self-register (takes less than a minute and requires no verification), then immediately post comments, forum posts, etc.

Site Update (Updatedx2)

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Newspaper

Summary: Recent changes at Tux Machines, in just a nutshell

INSPIRED in part by Slashdot, we recently added topical icons to submissions, applying these changes retroactively to over 50,000 older pages. The idea was, this can improve orientation by helping to quickly associate text with topics. More minor modifications were made as well, some textual and some layout related. They are subtle but they can be seen. After receiving feedback regrading icons size we made further modifications. Regarding social media buttons, some of the ones we initially found were unbelievably privacy-infringing (allowing Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. to see visitors of this site), so we disabled them immediately and replaced them with static buttons. Right now we can assure that whenever loading pages in this Web site nothing except our security-aware network gets contacted. We share no data about visitors (with anyone) and Apache logs get shredded for good after a few weeks, leaving sufficient trail just in case of attacks on the site, which would merit investigation. Log rotation is similarly privacy-respecting at the cache level, which leads to the following point.

Today, after the above changes had been made and stability attained (there were some network disruptions yesterday), we also updated Drupal, ensuring it is secure and fully up to date (the latest minor bugfix release is a month old). There is still an issue with Varnish and until we tackle this issue users who are not logged in might be getting error pages. One way to overcome this is to append "?something" to the URL requested. This bypasses the Varnish cache until we finish our investigation of this issue and resolve it for good.

Update: The issue with Varnish turns out to be a conflict between two caching layers. It's fixed now. If you spot an issue, still, please let us know.

Update #2: Yesterday we identified another issue and soon thereafter fixed it. After Twitter syndication had failed we realised that RSS feeds were not standards-compliant, due to a blank line at the start of each generated page in Drupal. This is a common issue and it is a nightmare to debug (requires a complete code review with help of GNU utilities like grep). After 4 hours of investigation I found the culprit and fixed the coding error. RSS feeds are back.

This is "See Ya Around"

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I started to say "this is goodbye," but just because I sold the site doesn't mean I won't be around Linuxville. I'm still writing at ostatic and I may turn up here now and again as well. I'll be looking around to expand my writing after the new year too, so you're not rid of me yet. But the sale on tuxmachines.org has been completed.

Sold! (tentatively)

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I guess tuxmachines.org has been sold for $1000. I know it's kinda low, but times have changed and the new owner plans to carry on the tuxmachines tradition.

going twice

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going twice

fair warning - going once....

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Well, I think I'm going to accept one of the two $1000 bids received, unless anyone else wants to bid...

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More in Tux Machines

GNOME 3.25.3 Released, GTK Development

  • GNOME 3.25.3 Now Available
    GNOME 3.25.3 is now available as the latest stepping stone towards September's release of GNOME 3.26.
  • GNOME 3.26 Desktop Environment Development Continues, New Milestone Is Out Now
    Matthias Clasen has informed the community via an email announcement that the third milestone of the upcoming GNOME 3.26 desktop environment is now ready for public testing. After a one day delay, GNOME 3.25.3 is now available, and it's the third development release of the upcoming GNOME 3.26 desktop environment that could be used by default in popular GNU/Linux distributions, such as the Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark) or Fedora 27, both due for release later this year. It brings a bunch of updates and new features to several of its components and apps.
  • Eight years since first release and still no usable theme?
    Well, let me be frank. Ever since gtk-3.0 I've been skeptical of it, especially of the theming aspect. In gtk-2 we had (and still have) many themes ranging from trash to excellent, almost every kind of taste could have been satisfied. Not so in gtk-3. First issue is constant changes to theming API, meaning that despite there being hundreds of themes, only handful of them actually work right :( And among them, I still have yet to find one that would work on my fairly usual 15,6″ laptop screen with 1366×768 px resolution. Basicaly I have two issues.

Microsoft Dirty Tricks and Entryism

Security: Windows Causes Chaos, Routers With Back Doors, Patching of UNIX/Linux

  • Traffic lights in Australia hit by WannaCry ransomware [Ed: Well, who uses Microsoft Windows to manage traffic?!?!]

    Radio station 3aw reports that dozens of pole based traffic calming measures are infected and that this came as a surprise to the local minister and Road Safety Camera Commissioner when radio reporters told him about it.

  • Honda shuts down factory after finding NSA-derived Wcry in its networks
    The WCry ransomware worm has struck again, this time prompting Honda Company to halt production in one of its Japan-based factories after finding infections in a broad swath of its computer networks, according to media reports. The automaker shut down its Sayama plant northwest of Tokyo on Monday after finding that WCry had affected networks across Japan, North America, Europe, China, and other regions, Reuters reported Wednesday. Discovery of the infection came on Sunday, more than five weeks after the onset of the NSA-derived ransomware worm, which struck an estimated 727,000 computers in 90 countries. The mass outbreak was quickly contained through a major stroke of good luck. A security researcher largely acting out of curiosity registered a mysterious domain name contained in the WCry code that acted as a global kill switch that immediately halted the self-replicating attack.
  • GhostHook: CyberArk finds new way to attack Windows 10

    Researchers at CyberArk Labs have discovered a new way of gaining access to the innards of Windows 10 64-bit systems that can bypass existing safeguards, including the kernel patch protection known as PatchGuard that Microsoft developed to improve system security.

  • John McAfee claims 'every router in America has been compromised' by hackers and spies

    Technology pioneer John McAfee believes that every home internet router in America is wide open to cyberattacks by criminal hackers and intelligence agencies. He makes the claim speaking after revelations from WikiLeaks that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) targets the devices.

  • 'Stack Clash' Smashed Security Fix in Linux
    What's old is new again: an exploit protection mechanism for a known flaw in the Linux kernel has fallen to a new attack targeting an old problem.
  • Continuous defence against open source exploits
    Register for next month's expo for the public sector DevOps community to hear key speakers from the front line of public sector digital transformation and see the latest technologies at first hand. Andrew Martin, DevOps lead in a major government department, has been added to the line-up of speakers to talk about the importance of getting the approach to security right with open source software.
  • IoT goes nuclear: creating a ZigBee chain reaction [iophk: "use 6lowpan instead"]

    If plugging in an infected bulb is too much hassle, the authors also demonstrate how to take over bulbs by war-driving around in a car, or by war-flying a drone.

  • Passengers given a freight as IT glitch knocks out rail ticket machines

    The network of machines are operated by the individual franchises, but share a common infrastructure from German software company Scheidt and Bachmann.

OpenBSD Development News

  • OpenBSD now has Trapsleds to make life harder for ROPers
  • Historical: My first OpenBSD Hackathon

    I was a nobody. With some encouragement, enough liquid courage to override my imposter syndrome, and a few hours of mentoring, I'm now doing big projects. The next time you're sitting at a table with someone new to your field, ask yourself: how can you encourage them? You just might make the world better.

    Thank you Dale. And thank you Theo.

  • Finish the link-kit job
    We've had the linkkit components in the tree for a while, but it has taken nearly 20 rounds between rpe/tb/myself to get the last few bits finished. So that the link kit is cleanly used at reboot, but also fits in with the practices kernel developers follow.