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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

Debian-Based Q4OS Linux Distro to Get a New Look with Debonaire Desktop Theme

Q4OS is a small GNU/Linux distribution based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux operating system and built around the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE). It's explicitly designed to make the Microsoft Windows to Linux transition accessible and more straightforward as possible for anyone. Dubbed Debonaire, the new desktop theme uses dark-ish elements for the window titlebar and panel. Somehow it resembles the look and feels of the acclaimed Arc GTK+ theme, and it makes the Q4OS operating system more modern than the standard look offered by the Trinity Desktop Environment. Read more

today's leftovers

Software: GIMP, VLC, Cryptsetup, Caprine, KWin and NetworkManager

  • GIMP 2.9.8 Open-Source Image Editor Released with On-Canvas Gradient Editing
    GIMP 2.9.8, a development version towards the major GIMP 2.10 release, was announced by developer Alexandre Prokoudine for all supported platforms, including Linux, Mac, and Windows.
  • GIMP 2.9.8 Released
    Newly released GIMP 2.9.8 introduces on-canvas gradient editing and various enhancements while focusing on bugfixing and stability. For a complete list of changes please see NEWS.
  • It Looks Like VLC 3.0 Will Finally Be Released Soon
    VLC 3.0 is something we've been looking forward to for years and it's looking like that big multimedia player update could be released very soon. Thanks to Phoronix reader Fran for pointing out that VLC 3.0 release candidates have begun to not much attention. VLC 3.0 RC1 was tagged at the end of November and then on Tuesday marked VLC 3.0 RC2 being tagged, but without any official release announcements.
  • cryptsetup 2.0.0
  • Cryptsetup 2.0 Released With LUKS2 Format Support
    A new major release is available of Cryptsetup, the user-space utility for dealing with the DMCrypt kernel module for setting up encrypted disk volumes. Cryptsetup 2.0.0 is notable in that it introduces support for the new on-disk LUKS2 format but still retaining support for LUKS(1). The LUKS2 format is security hardened to a greater extent, more extensible than LUKS, supports in-place upgrading from LUKS, and other changes.
  • Caprine – An Unofficial Elegant Facebook Messenger Desktop App
    There is no doubt Facebook is one of the most popular and dynamic social network platform in the modern Internet era. It has revolutionized technology, social networking, and the future of how we live and interact. With Facebook, We can connect, communicate with one another, instantly share our memories, photos, files and even money to anyone, anywhere in the world. Even though Facebook has its own official messenger, some tech enthusiasts and developers are developing alternative and feature-rich apps to communicate with your buddies. The one we are going to discuss today is Caprine. It is a free, elegant, open source, and unofficial Facebook messenger desktop app built with Electron framework.
  • KWin On Wayland Without X11 Support Can Startup So Fast It Causes Problems
    It turns out that if firing up KDE's KWin Wayland compositor without XWayland support, it can start up so fast that it causes problems. Without XWayland for providing legacy X11 support to KDE Wayland clients, the KWin compositor fires up so fast that it can cause a crash in their Wayland integration as KWin's internal connection isn't even established... Yep, Wayland compositors are much leaner and cleaner than the aging X Server code-base that dates back 30+ years, granted most of the XWayland code is much newer than that.
  • NetworkManager Picks Up Support For Intel's IWD WiFi Daemon & Meson Build System
    NetworkManager now has support for Intel's lean "IWD" WiFi daemon. IWD is a lightweight daemon for managing WiFi devices via a D-Bus interface and has been in development since 2013 (but was only made public in 2016) and just depends upon GCC / Glibc / ELL (Embedded Linux Library).

Linux Foundation: Servers, Kubernetes and OpenContrail

  • Many cloud-native hands try to make light work of Kubernetes
    The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, home of the Kubernetes open-source community, grew wildly this year. It welcomed membership from industry giants like Amazon Web Services Inc. and broke attendance records at last week’s KubeCon + CloudNativeCon conference in Austin, Texas. This is all happy news for Kubernetes — the favored platform for orchestrating containers (a virtualized method for running distributed applications). The technology needs all the untangling, simplifying fingers it can get. This is also why most in the community are happy to tamp down their competitive instincts to chip away at common difficulties. “You kind of have to,” said Michelle Noorali (pictured), senior software engineer at Microsoft and co-chair of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America & Europe 2017. “These problems are really hard.”
  • Leveraging NFV and SDN for network slicing
    Network slicing is poised to play a pivotal role in the enablement of 5G. The technology allows operators to run multiple virtual networks on top of a single, physical infrastructure. With 5G commercialization set for 2020, many are wondering to what extend network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) can help move network slicing forward.
  • Juniper moves OpenContrail's SDN codebase to Linux Foundation
    Juniper Networks has announced its intent to move the codebase for OpenContrail, an open-source network virtualisation platform for the cloud, to the Linux Foundation. OpenContrail provides both software-defined networking (SDN) and security features and has been deployed by various organisations, including cloud providers, telecom operators and enterprises to simplify operational complexities and automate workload management across diverse cloud environments.
  • Juniper moves OpenContrail’s codebase to Linux Foundation, advances cloud approach
    Juniper Networks plans to move the codebase for its OpenContrail open-source network virtualization platform for the cloud to the Linux Foundation, broadening its efforts to drive more software innovations into the broader IT and service provider community. The vendor is hardly a novice in developing open source platforms. In 2013, Juniper released its Contrail products as open sourced and built a user and developer community around the project. To drive its next growth phase, Juniper expanded the project’s governance, creating an even more open, community-led effort.
  • 3 Essential Questions to Ask at Your Next Tech Interview
    The annual Open Source Jobs Report from Dice and The Linux Foundation reveals a lot about prospects for open source professionals and hiring activity in the year ahead. In this year’s report, 86 percent of tech professionals said that knowing open source has advanced their careers. Yet what happens with all that experience when it comes time for advancing within their own organization or applying for a new roles elsewhere?