Fireworks continue to appear all over the place, even a day after Guy Fawkes Night. Yesterday the city was full of smoke (as though it is under heavy fog all around), but that is just an annually-recurring tradition. It's very bad for the environment, but hey, lots of people enjoy it.
Over 400 Guy Fawkes tried to destroy the House of Lords, just as some gang or a person has been trying now for nearly two months to keep Tux Machines offline. Thankfully, however, the attacks are not succeeding anymore because we have refined our defenses and the offending zombie PCs are being banned left and right (all day long). Surely the plot has been foiled. All we need now is effigies. █
It has been a month since my relatives from Bradford visited us here in Manchester. Our usual routine if they come to spend the holidays with us is to go to the gym to work out, to run on the treadmill and play pingpong. The best part of the workout, which we enjoy the most, is swimming afterwards. We get relaxed at the jacuzzi and then get hot and sweaty inside the sauna. It is a good exercise and offers relaxation after a stressful day of work. We have so much fun in the gym.
We arrived home around 8:00 pm after having a good round of walk in Manchester City Stadium. We were lucky to see the Manchester City football team; they had a match against Roma, so crowds were flooding in the streets. There were about a thousand spectators coming to watch the game who walked past us.
At home I prepared the meal. We had candlelights and red wine to enjoy while having our soup, vegetable salad and chicken for dinner; mango smoothies were the final dessert.
After the meal we chatted about the economy, healthcare, jobs, business, and technology in the U.K. I have learned a lot from Albert, my aunt's husband. He is an economist.
Albert explained to me that he was struggling with his PC. It was a brand new PC. It had a touchscreen and the laptop was thin and powerful. Albert's problem was not the laptop. As it turns out, his problem was Windows. The computer came with Windows 8. He already wasted a lot of money because shops exploited him. He did not even have an office suite installed. The computer was useless. He hardly used it. He hardly even had any files on it.
I then explained to Albert about GNU/Linux. I told him about Stallman and GNU. I also told him about the dirty tricks of Microsoft and about the true Bill Gates, including his involvement in GMO. Albert listened to me and he wanted to know more. I hope he learned something from me, just as I had learned from him.
The following morning I asked my husband for help. He was working all night and in the morning he was available to help Albert. Based on Roy's analysis, the machine was full of malware or some other mess. It was almost impossible to do anything with it. Windows 8 was hard to work with and it was hardly even possible to download and install a program like LibreOffice. The interface was confusing. It took ages to do very simple things.
Albert insisted that we should install GNU/Linux, but we didn't have a recent version of a distro at that time. Either way, Albert was so frustrated with Windows that he was willing to throw it all down the drain, along with his files.
This was my first time seeing Windows 8. I usually use Android or KDE. Microsoft Windows has become full of pop-ups, spam, marketing and other garbage. I am glad to use GNU/Linux and Albert will soon join us. By all means, Albert now wants to use Open Source and he already learns how to use LibreOffice. █
These are some instructions i put together to get plexweb working from home over https using an NGINX reverse proxy. Might be useful to someone.
Summer is finally over, but summertime or the climate hasn't officially changed yet. I wonder if I can still do something out of the ordinary, but the weather is disrupting my planned activities outside. Sometimes there is sunlight, but the next minute the dark clouds covers the beautiful sky and it makes the day dull and cold.
Two days ago my husband and I went to stroll inside the mall and ended up buying some personal stuff in a store. While I was in a queue to pay my husband was in a hurry to add this tiny bit of stuff which I didn't recognise at first. I thought of ignoring and not buying that tiny little thing. Then my husband said "look what I found" and then I asked what is it -- it's tux! Tux Claus. Soon I saw a tiny penguin dressed in Santa clothes; the design was simple ,but it was artistically made. I know it is still early, but we're both excited to add Tux under our Christmas tree and be merry. █
TUX MACHINES HAS BEEN under attack for nearly two weeks now. We need not really comment on our technical means of defence and how we mostly overcome these attacks (we are not giving too many clues to the attackers, who are mostly deflected with blacklists and redirects for the time being), but for the most part the Web site continues to run and to serve visitors. That's what is important. We work hard to keep posting the latest news and not let distraction, aggravation or sabotage get in the way. It is hard to imagine who would want to attack a site like this. This site is not even political or controversial.
In more general news, Manchester has had a nice and warm September. It continues into October (so far). Today we started seeing some hybrid (partly electric) double-decker buses and today we also found out that the health club we always go to has been voted best in the north west and third-best in the UK for the second year in a row. We still post some news whilst out of the house (if a wireless connection becomes available) and this morning the weather was so fine that we managed to play some badminton outdoors.
Life goes on and no level of attacks on the site is going to stop it. There are many ways to combat DDOS attacks, so they are merely a nuisance. The attackers should know that they are only wasting their time; there are much better things to do in life. Those commandeering Microsoft Windows botnets would be better off targeting the KKK or something, not a GNU and Linux news site. █
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. █
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. █
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. █
What privacy can you expect?
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. █
Consider this common scenario. A directory contains multiple files that are named using a common convention: for example, image-001.png, image-002.png, image-003.png, etc. You want to rename the files to, say, upload-001.png, upload-002.png, upload-003.png, etc.
The coders among us can write a bash script to automate the process. For expedience, this post shows how to use the built-in rename command to achieve the same goal.
As an Ubuntu user i always keep an eye out on other distros i've used over the years Sabayon, OpenSuse however CentOS is never a desktop distro i'd think of, always felt like heading back to 1990 on the desktop.. Time it seems however have changed
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. █
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. █
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. █
SEVERAL days ago we visited Trafford Centre, which is a large shopping mall in Greater Manchester. The place is quite nice as it embodies very modern (yet classic) ornamental features, encompassing the best of outdoor and indoor decorations. It's all geared up towards consumerism, but there is also a nice cinema there. Now, here's the deal. Upon entering the mall one cannot help noticing that there is strong, universal Wi-Fi signal. Let's leave aside health implications. It's the same in other malls, such as the Arndale Centre near our house. It is also the same at airports, but if there is no payment needed for the Wi-Fi, then the user's identity is requested (if a payment is made, then the payment itself exposes the user's identity).
Following basic principles and common sense, I gave some fake details so that I can use the 'free' Wi-Fi anonymously and log into Tux Machines (checking the latest), but I not help wondering, still. Given what we know about NSA- and GCHQ-centric plans for surveillance on in-flight Wi-Fi, what are the chances that users' identities are being requested not just for marketing purposes but also for surveillance? It is becoming very hard to access the Net anonymously now. The UK is cracking down on 'free' Wi-Fi, saying that it facilitates copyright infringement and our home hub, which is open for all to use (no password needed), keeps warning us that it is "not secure" (because it facilitates sharing). This is actively being discouraged if not forbidden. In all sorts of beverage-serving places (hot or cold, or alcoholic) and restaurants it is getting hard to gain anonymous Wi-FI access and the only way I've found (out of curiosity) to attain anonymous Wi-Fi use is First Class in high-speed British rail, provided one purchases the train ticket with cash. Similarly, it is getting harder to purchase groceries with cash here, at least without being penalised (not receiving a discount in exchange for identifying cards like Nectar). It sure seems like the very idea of anonymity here is becoming synonymous with crime. For experimental reasons I researched which shops in the UK still enable people to purchase a mobile phone anonymously. It's not easy, but it is still possible. Maybe it's no longer possible because I haven't surveyed the shops in almost 3 years.
We are entering a new unprecedented norm as those in power gradually phase in scary forms of governance in society, where the assumption is that anonymity deserves to be maligned and people should always identify themselves everywhere (also enable tracking of themselves by carrying a mobile phone) so as to avoid looking "suspicious". That's the mentality of mass surveillance that people have become accustomed to (and rather apathetic towards) in the UK.
It's stuff like this that made me exceptionally stubborn about deleting server logs in Tux Machines and not connecting to any third-party entity (e.g. with interactive social buttons, cookies), unlike most other GNU/Linux/FOSS sites. █