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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"

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)



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.
* 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.

* 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

Android Leftovers

today's leftovers

  • Purchased a PlayStation 3 Between 2006 and 2010? You May Be Entitled to $65
    PS3 owners first qualified to receive compensation from Sony following the settlement of a lawsuit in 2016. That case dealt with the "OtherOS" feature that came with the console when it debuted. With OtherOS, Sony promised a new PlayStation that would operate like a computer, allowing users to partition their hard drive and install third-party operating systems like the open-source Linux software.
  • Moro – A Command Line Productivity Tool For Tracking Work Hours
    Keeping track of your work hours will give you an insight about the amount of work you get done in a specific time frame. There are plenty of GUI-based productivity tools available on the Internet for tracking work hours. However, I couldn’t find a good CLI-based tool. Today, I stumbled upon a a simple, yet useful tool named “Moro” for tracking work hours. Moro is a Finnish word which means “Hello”. Using Moro, you can find how much time you take to complete a specific task. It is free, open source and written using NodeJS.
  • Twenty years, 1998 – 2018
    curl 4.0 was just a little more than 2000 lines of C code. It featured 23 command line options. curl 4.0 introduced support for the FTP PORT command and now it could do ftp uploads that append to the remote file. The version number was bumped up from the 3.12 which was the last version number used by the tool under the old name, urlget.
  • What’s New in ArchLabs 2018.03
    ArchLabs 2018.03 is the latest release of Linux distribution based on Arch Linux featuring the Openbox window manager as the primary desktop interface. The project’s latest release ArchLabs 2018.03 brings a few fixes and improvements and improve the user. Powered by Linux kernel 4.15 series and based-on latest version of Arch Linux. LUKS and encryption is now working, for those security concious users out there you should be all go on the encryption side. There have been a few installer updates, base-devel is included at install time. Also the mirrorlist is optimised at the same time.
  • [Older] openSUSE.Asia Summit 2018: Call for Host
    The openSUSE.Asia organization committee is accepting proposals to host the openSUSE.Asia Summit during the second half of 2018. The openSUSE.Asia Summit is the largest annual openSUSE conference in Asia, attended by contributors and enthusiasts from all over Asia.
  • TidalScale Software-Defined Servers Now Support SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
    TidalScale, the leader in Software-Defined Servers, announced today that working in partnership with SUSE, the world’s first provider of Enterprise Linux, TidalScale has achieved SUSE Ready certification to ensure full compatibility with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. TidalScale’s breakthrough scaling platform allows multiple industry standard servers to be combined into a single Software-Defined Server running a single instance of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
  • 8 Best Radio Apps For Android To Stream Online Music In 2018

Kernel and Graphics: Torvalds, Linux Foundation, Nouveau and libinput

  • Which Linux Distribution Does Linus Torvalds Use in 2018?
    We know a sizeable amount of his views on Linux distros, thanks to an interview he took long ago in 2007, but who knows – could he have changed his mind? In a 2007 interview, Linus professed that he didn’t use Debian because he found it hard to install, a statement I find interesting because he’s the guy who wrote GIT in C. Anyway, he buttressed his reason for not using Debian in a later interview from 2014, when he explained that because he is responsible for maintaining his computer and all the computers used by his household, he likes to use an OS with virtually no installation hassle. [...] As far as I know, he uses Fedora on most of his computers because of its fairly good support for PowerPC. He mentioned that he used OpenSuse at one point in time and complimented Ubuntu for making Debian accessible to the mass. So most of the flak on the internet about Linus disliking Ubuntu isn’t factual.
  • Linux Foundation, Intel launch open source IoT hypervisor
    The Linux Foundation has unveiled plans for a new open source project to provide streamlined embedded hypervisors for IoT devices. Called Acrn, the project has been assisted by Intel, which contributed code and engineering. The main thrust of the project is to create small, flexible virtual machines. ACRN comprises two main components: the hypervisor and its device model, complete with I/O mediators. The Linux-based hypervisor can run many ‘guest’ operating systems at the same time.
  • Nouveau NIR Support Appears Almost Baked, NV50 Support Added
    Karol Herbst at Red Hat started off this week by publishing his latest patches around Nouveau NIR support as part of the company's effort for getting SPIR-V/compute support up and running on this open-source NVIDIA driver. Red Hat's grand vision around open-source GPGPU compute still isn't entirely clear especially with Nouveau re-clocking not being suitable for delivering high performance at this point, but it must be grand given the number of developers they have working on improving the Linux GPU compute stack at the moment.
  • xf86-input-libinput 0.27.0 Released
    Aside from a few touchpad issues and other minor random issues with select hardware, libinput these days is mostly in great shape for being a generic input handling library that is working out well for both X.Org and Wayland users.

KDE: KDE Applications 18.04, KDE Connect, KMyMoney 5.0.1 and Qt Quick

  • KDE Applications 18.04 branches created
    Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the KDE Applications 18.04 release to them :)
  • KDE Connect – State of the union
    We haven’t blogged about KDE Connect in a long time, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve been lazy. Some new people have joined the project and together we have implemented some exciting features. Our last post was about version 1.0, but recently we released version 1.8 of the Android app and 1.2.1 of the desktop component some time ago, which we did not blog about yet. Until now!
  • KMyMoney 5.0.1 released
    The KMyMoney development team is proud to present the first maintenance version 5.0.1 of its open source Personal Finance Manager. Although several members of the development team had been using the new version 5.0.0 in production for some time, a number of bugs and regressions slipped through testing, mainly in areas and features not used by them.
  • Qt Quick without a GPU: i.MX6 ULL
    With the introduction of the Qt Quick software renderer it became possible to use Qt Quick on devices without a GPU. We investigated how viable this option is on a lower end device, particularly the NXP i.MX6 ULL. It turns out that with some (partially not yet integrated) patches developed by KDAB and The Qt Company, the performance is very competitive. Even smooth video playback (with at least half-size VGA resolution) can be done by using the PXP engine on the i.MX6 ULL.