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Opening Up Communications (Updatedx5)

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Site News

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.

For well over a year it has been hard to leave feedback in this site and it's all the fault of script kiddies. This site is ranked 40126th for traffic in Netcraft (without us using the toolbar, which helps one game the numbers, extrapolated from a relatively tiny sample set), so it's a shame that people can hardly leave a comment. We occasionally hear from people who want to but can't (simply cannot register), so hopefully we can resolve this issue. New software has been set up to mitigate the problem of spam, so hopefully this latest attempt to open up communications is here to stay.

Update #1: Spammers are hitting the front page with story submissions from newly-created accounts. This gives us no choice but to stop story submissions by arbitrary registered users.

Update #2: Comment spam gets past our filters, but for the time being it seems manageable with standard moderation.

Update #3: Now it's blog posts that get exploited by spammers (faster than we can cope with). And yet another feature is killed by them.

Update #4: Forum posts are now being targeted, with about 50 spam threads started last night alone. Maybe we should explore some kind of CAPTCHA mechanism for signup and posting rather than suspend abilities one by one.

Update #5: Spam in the forums is now too much to bear (nearly 100 per day), so the spammers killed that too.

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OSS Leftovers

  • What motivates the open-source community?
    Many of us will have been involved in a free-software community that ran out of steam, and either ended up moribund or just plain died. Some of us will have gone through such cycles more than once; it's never nice to watch something that used to be a vibrant community in its death throes. Knowing what motivates the sort of people who get heavily involved in free software projects is really useful when trying to keep them motivated, and a systematic approach to understanding this is what Rina Jensen, Strategist at Mozilla, talked about at FOSDEM 2017. Mozilla talks a lot about promoting innovation and opportunity on the web, and the organization does care a lot about those objectives, but the realities of day-to-day life can interfere and make working toward them tedious. The thinking was that if Mozilla could help make the experience for contributors better, then the contributors could make Mozilla better — but doing that required understanding how things could be better for contributors.
  • Shuttle Music Player is now Open Source
    Music is a major part of everyone’s life, and our smartphones allow us to truly enjoy our music anywhere. Over the years, Android has received a fair share of excellent music player apps, and Shuttle Music Player has managed to stand out. Shuttle is a music player following Google’s Material Design guidelines, and its listing is nearing 4 Million downloads. Currently, the app offers two versions: free and paid. The paid version is priced at $0.99 and has received over 50 thousand downloads on the Play Store already.
  • OpenStack isn’t dead. It’s boring. That’s a good thing.
    The first OpenStack Project Teams Gathering (PTG) event was held this week in Atlanta. The week was broken into two parts: cross-project work on Monday and Tuesday, and individual projects Wednesday through Friday. I was there for the first two days and heard a few discussions that started the same way.
  • NetBSD 7.1_RC2 available
  • NetBSD 7.1 RC2 Released
    The second release candidate to the upcoming NetBSD 7.1 is now available for testing. NetBSD 7.1 RC2 is primarily comprised of fixes since 7.1 RC1, and in particular, security fixes. The raw list of NetBSD 7.1 changes can be found here.
  • Pentagon Launches Open-Source Experiment
    With a new website showcasing federal software code, the Pentagon is the latest government entity to join the open-source movement. The Defense Department this week launched Code.mil, a public site that will eventually showcase unclassified code written by federal employees. Citizens will be able to use that code for personal and public projects. Code written by government employees can be shared with the public because that material usually isn't covered by copyright protections in the U.S., according to the Pentagon.
  • Coder Dojo: Kids Teaching Themselves Programming
    Despite not much advertising, word has gotten around and we typically have 5-7 kids on Dojo nights, enough that all the makerspace's Raspberry Pi workstations are filled and we sometimes have to scrounge for more machines for the kids who don't bring their own laptops. A fun moment early on came when we had a mentor meeting, and Neil, our head organizer (who deserves most of the credit for making this program work so well), looked around and said "One thing that might be good at some point is to get more men involved." Sure enough -- he was the only man in the room! For whatever reason, most of the programmers who have gotten involved have been women. A refreshing change from the usual programming group. (Come to think of it, the PEEC web development team is three women. A girl could get a skewed idea of gender demographics, living here.) The kids who come to program are about 40% girls.
  • Microsoft hasn't turned a phone into a PC just yet [Ed: copying GNU/Linux again]
    Using the Lapdock wired to the X3 charges the phone and provides the most reliable connection for Continuum. I found the wireless connection made things a little unreliable and choppy on some more graphically intense things like full-screen video playback. Connecting the phone is as simple as just plugging it in and watching a Windows 10 desktop burst to life on the Lapdock. While the Windows 10 desktop looks familiar, this is exactly when I realized just how limited Continuum really is. There’s a Start Menu that’s basically the home screen of a Windows phone, and access to Cortana, but there’s a lot missing. Things like putting apps side by side simply don’t exist in this Continuum world, nor do a lot of the typical places you’d right-click on apps or use keyboard shortcuts to get to the desktop. If you’re a Windows power user like me, or even if you’re just used to a standard window management system, it’s immediately frustrating.

today's howtos

UKSM Is Still Around For Data Deduplication Of The Linux Kernel

Several years back we wrote about Ultra Kernel Samepage Merging (UKSM) for data de-duplication within the Linux kernel for transparently scanning all application memory and de-duping it where possible. While the original developer is no longer active, a new developer has been maintaining the work and continues to support it on the latest Linux kernel releases. Read more