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Site News

Tux Machines Turns 14

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Site News

Man's clap

IN JUNE 2004 Tux Machines was registered, which makes this site nearly a decade and a half old. Running this site is more than a full-time job; it's not just a hobby but more like a 24/7 duty, not even with holidays or weekends off. But as long as people find the site useful, it makes all the work worthwhile. RIanne and I will keep refreshing our RSS feeds and keep this site abreast of the news.

Tux Machines Privacy Statement

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Summary: Today, May 25th, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into full effect; we hereby make a statement on privacy

AS a matter of strict principle, this site never has and never will accumulate data on visitors (e.g. access logs) for longer than 28 days. The servers are configured to permanently delete all access data after this period of time. No 'offline' copies are being made. Temporary logging is only required in case of DDOS attacks and cracking attempts -- the sole purpose of such access. Additionally, we never have and never will sell any data pertaining to anything. We never received demands for such data from authorities; even if we had, we would openly declare this (publicly, a la Canary) and decline to comply. Privacy is extremely important to us, which is why pages contain little or no cross-site channels (such as Google Analytics, 'interactive' buttons for 'social' media etc.) and won't be adding any. Google may be able to 'see' what pages people visit because of Google Translate (top left of every page), but that is not much worse than one's ISP 'seeing' the same thing. We are aware of this caveat.

Shall readers have any further questions on such matters, do not hesitate to contact us.

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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Site News

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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Site News

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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Site News

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.

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More in Tux Machines

Public money, public code? FSFE spearheads open-source initiative

Last September, the non-profit Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) launched a new campaign that calls for EU-wide legislation that requires publicly financed software developed for the public sector to be made publicly available under a free and open-source software license. According to the ‘Public Money, Public Code’ open letter, free and open-source software in the public sector would enable anyone to “use, study, share, and improve applications used on a daily basis”. The initiative, says the non-profit, would provide safeguards against public sector organizations being locked into services from specific companies that use “restrictive licenses” to hinder competition. The FSFE also says the open-source model would help improve security in the public sector, as it would allow backdoors and other vulnerabilities to fixed quickly, without depending on one single service provider. Since its launch, the Public Money, Public Code initiative has gained the support of 150 organizations, including WordPress Foundation, Wikimedia Foundation, and Tor, along with nearly 18,000 individuals. With the initiative now approaching its first anniversary, The Daily Swig caught up with FSFE spokesperson Paul Brown, who discussed the campaign’s progress. Read more

Best Tools to Access Remote Linux Desktop

Nowadays, you can’t carry your system or laptop everywhere. So to make the things more manageable, there is a service of remote access that gives you full access to your system from anywhere. It is made possible by the Microsoft that developed a remote desktop protocol (RDP), which offers a graphical interface to connect to a remote system over a network connection. Read more

Ubuntu: Server Installer, IoT Security, Snaps, Xubuntu

  • The improved 18.04.1 LTS Server Installer - Call for testing!
    With the release of 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver the new server installer was introduced. At the time, it still lacked certain critical features which have now been implemented.
  • Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS Introducing Revised Server Installer, Adds Missing Features
    With the April release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on the server front was a brand new, in-house developed server installer created by Canonical to differentiate it from Debian's long-used text installer for the Ubuntu Server images. While it offered a fresh look and some new features, it shipped without many features common to Linux server installers. Fortunately, that is changing with the upcoming Ubuntu Server 18.04.1 release. As expected, Canonical is filling in the gaps with their new server installer dubbed Subiquity. With the upcoming Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS release they will be shipping a new version of this installer. This updated installer now supports LVM, RAID, VLAN, and bonds -- important features missing originally from Ubuntu Server 18.04.0. The functionality is now in place with the latest daily images although the text-based user-interface is still being refined.
  • IoT Security at Scale: Managing end-to-end security
  • Perfectly Formed Snaps Challenge
    Snaps are perfect for the smaller things in life too. Looking away from the graphical flagship apps, the snap store hosts lightweight server daemons, command line utilities, developer tools and even tiny games. Recently, a couple of petite snaps were published in the store. Sparky is a simple game played in a terminal, and a modest 32KB on disk. Bash-Shell-RPG is similarly diminutive at only 8KB. Neither contain an excess of additional libraries, just the absolute minimum needed to function everywhere.
  • What’s New in Xubuntu 18.04 LTS
    Xubuntu 18.04 LTS is the latest release of Xubuntu, it now available to download and install on your laptop and PC. This release features latest version of Xfce 4.12 as default desktop, include latest Xfce components. Xubuntu 18.04 LTS also comes with an updated Greybird GTK+ theme that includes a new dark style, better HiDPI support, greater consistency between GTK+ 2 and GTK+ 3 apps, GTK+ 3 styles for Google Chrome and Chromium web browsers, smaller switches, and improved scales. However, the GTK Theme Configuration tool was removed and it’s no longer possible to override colors in themes.

Software: Latte Dock, Emacs, Ick, REAPER

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  • 3 Emacs modes for taking notes
    No matter what line of work you're in, it's inevitable you have to take a few notes. Often, more than a few. If you're like many people in this day and age, you take your notes digitally. Open source enthusiasts have a variety of options for jotting down their ideas, thoughts, and research in electronic format. You might use a web-based tool. You might go for a desktop application. Or, you might turn to the command line. If you use Emacs, that wonderful operating system disguised as a text editor, there are modes that can help you take notes more efficiently. Let's look at three of them.
  • Ick version 0.53 released: CI engine
    I have just made a new release of ick, my CI system. The new version number is 0.53, and a summary of the changes is below. The source code is pushed to my git server (git.liw.fi), and Debian packages to my APT repository (code.liw.fi/debian). See https://ick.liw.fi/download/ for instructions.
  • REAPER 5.93 Brings New Linux-Native Builds
    Since 2016 we have been looking forward to the REAPER digital audio workstation software for Linux while with this week's v5.93 release, the experimental Linux-native builds are now officially available.
  • Digital Audio Workstation REAPER Adds Experimental Native Linux Builds
    REAPER, a popular music production tool, added experimental native Linux builds to its download page with the latest 5.93 release. Initially released in 2005, REAPER (Rapid Environment for Audio Production, Engineering, and Recording) is a powerful digital audio workstation (DAW) and MIDI sequencer, available for Windows, macOS and Linux. Cockos, the company that develops REAPER, was founded by Justin Frankel of Winamp and Gnutella peer-to-peer network fame. The application uses a proprietary license and you can evaluate it for free for 60 days without having to provide any personal details or register. After the free trial ends, you can continue to use it but a nag screen will show up for a few seconds when the application starts. A license costs $225 for commercial use, or $60 for a discounted license (details here).