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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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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.

Mollom Issues

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TUX MACHINES has been having some issues with the spam filter, so people who regularly submit material, including comments, may have struggled to do so over the past fortnight of so. If that's the case, please re-attempt and report any issue you encounter to us (feedback button on the right).

Spring in Tux Machines

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Tux Machines traffic

Tux Machines traffic has been increasing during spring. The DDOS attacks are behind us thankfully, the latest problem is just a lot of spam, which we are deleting as soon as we can.

Blog posts

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D

UE TO a growing SPAM problem (dozens per day making the front page), we have disabled -- temporarily at least -- the ability of random visitors to create new blog posts after registering for an account. We apologise in advance to any legitimate users this restriction may affect.

Catchup Mode

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IN the coming days we will prioritise very recent news and of course important news, but at the same time we shall be catching up with some older but important news that we missed. This means that some older items (one or two weeks old) may occasionally appear. In lieu with requests from readers we will also stop abbreviating long summaries of news, such as today's leftovers and howto roundups.

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More in Tux Machines

Server Administration

  • MicroBadger and the Awesome Power of Container Labels
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  • 7 Tips for SysAdmins Considering a Linux Foundation Training Certification
    Open source is the new normal for startups and large enterprises looking to stay competitive in the digital economy. That means that open source is now also a viable long-term career path. “It is important to start thinking about the career road map, and the pathway that you can take and how Linux and open source in general can help you meet your career goals,” said Clyde Seepersad, general manager of training at The Linux Foundation, in a recent webinar.
  • 3 Unique Takes on the Linux Terminal at Your Command
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  • OpsDev Is Coming
    OpsDev means that the dependencies of the various application components must be understood and modeled first before the development process begins.
  • One DevOps tool for all clouds: Cloudify
    Who doesn't want one program to run multiple clouds? I know I do. Cloudify, an open-source orchestration software company, now claims it can support all the top five public clouds and Azure, OpenStack, and VMware, with its latest release, Cloudify 3.4.
  • 5 sysadmin horror stories
    The job ain't easy. There are constantly systems to update, bugs to fix, users to please, and on and on. A sysadmin's job might even entail fixing the printer (sorry). To celebrate the hard work our sysadmins do for us, keeping our machines up and running, we've collected five horror stories that prove just how scary / difficult it can be.
  • A guide to scientific computing system administration
    When developing applications for science there are times when you need to move beyond the desktop, but a fast, single node system may also suffice. In my time as a researcher and scientific software developer I have had the opportunity to work on a vast array of different systems, from old systems churning through data to some of the largest supercomputers on the planet.

Leftovers: Gaming

Red Hat and Fedora

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Learn from the Experts at The Linux Foundation’s Europe Events
    The Linux Foundation has released session details for three major conferences coming up this fall: MesosCon Europe, Embedded Linux Conference / OpenIoT Summit Europe, and LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe. MesosCon Europe, which will take place August 31-September 1 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is an annual conference organized by the Apache Mesos community, bringing together users and developers for two days of sessions about Mesos and related technologies. This year, the MesosCon program will include workshops to get started with Mesos, keynote speakers from industry leaders, and sessions led by adopters and contributors.
  • The Firebird Project's Firebird Relational Database
    Firebird distills its identity into the phrase "True universal open-source database" and boasts not only of being "free like free beer" but also, fittingly, of being "free like a bird". The latter permits anyone to build a custom version of the Firebird, as long as the modifications are made available for others to use and build upon.
  • Report: Austria can benefit from Big Data solutions
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  • Report: over half of Spain’s regions now use SaaS
    In 2014, 59% of Spain’s regional governments used Software as a Service, according to the 2015 eGovernment report published on 30 June by PAe, Spain’s eGovernment portal. Next most-used cloud computing service is Infrastructure as a Service (40%), and third is Platform as a Service (20%). The usage of cloud computing is just one of the attributes of and indicators for eGovernment services that are aggregated in the report. The document shows the use of document management systems and support of electronic signatures. The text looks at interoperability, open data portals and eParticipation, lists region’s maturity levels of eGovernment services, from the availability to download forms online to the fully electronic management of applications.
  • Software Freedom in Kosovo, Waiting for Xfce Mint & More…
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  • Friday's security updates
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