Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Site News

Web Site Traffic Growing

Filed under
Site News

The Linux Foundation recently added the Platform for Network Data Analytics (PNDA)



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.
* 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

Filed under
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

Filed under
Site News

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)

Filed under
Site News

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

Filed under
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.

* 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

Filed under
Site News

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

Filed under
Site News

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

Filed under
Site News

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

Filed under
Site News

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

Filed under
Site News


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.

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Acer updates Chromebook 15 with 12-hour battery life -- $199 exclusively at Walmart
    Chromebooks are not for everyone, but for many home users, it is absolute perfection. If you live in the web browser -- as many people do nowadays -- laptops running Google's Linux-based Chrome OS are a godsend because they are maintenance free. No need for confusing OS upgrades or anti-virus software. It just works, and it works well. Since they can now run Android apps too, they could become a serious threat to Microsoft and Windows 10. One of the most attractive aspects of Chromebooks is price -- they are often quite affordable. Today, Acer refreshes its 15.6 inch Chromebook 15 with a mind-boggling 12 hours of battery life. Best of all? It starts at $199. Yes, this model will get Android app support in a future update too.
  • Of Life, Linux and Karma Angels
    Angel filed appeal after appeal only to be denied on every attempt. Texas is an "at will" employment state so being terminated for cause can mean anything. Over the next few weeks, Angel became more and more fearful of losing her house, as she had just purchased it a year before. On top of that, her HP desktop had taken a nose dive into severe brokeness and that made it extra difficult for her to look for work. I put together a decent desktop for her and installed it that day, and was a Linux computer. Angel didn't have even the slightest problem with the new machine, and she wasn't particularly good at using one. So, let's put another slash in the falsehood that Linux is too hard for the everyday user. Most of them anyway. YMMV. To her glee, the OS picked up and configured her Epson all in one without her lifting a finger to do so. She almost clapped for happiness, stating that in Windows, installing that printer had been a nightmare, even with the included driver CD. And just to pinpoint the time frame for you, it was the summer of 2006.
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to launch on Linux in November, Mac version delayed
    Feral Entertainment has announced that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be launching on Linux in November. Feral Interactive is currently working on the Linux port of the game. In September the game development studio announced that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided would make its way to two additional platforms: Linux and Mac. The Linux version of the game will most likely make use of OpenGL or Vulkan to power its graphics engine.
  • Mad Max: It Came From The Desert to Linux
    First of all, let me get one thing straight out of the way, so you know where I come from. I did not like the recent Mad Max movie. Like, not at all. Not that I mind the post apocalyptic theme. I used to like the older Mad Max’s just fine (probably the first one the best). The new one…meh. The Max character had virtually no back story (as thin as a sheet of paper) and he was just acting like a crazy person from beginning to end. The story’s premise was boring and just an excuse for endless and not so impressive action scenes. So there was nothing redeeming it. I know this is not the mainstream opinion of the movie (everyone apparently thought it was the best thing ever since sliced bread) so I can only attribute this phenomenon to either mass hysteria or simply a clear decrease in movie expectations. The Force Awakens‘ success, despite being a mediocre movie and certainly underwhelming compared to the original trilogy, certainly echoes the same trend. I guess you cannot beat nostalgia. Just tag a Millennium Falcon on and you get a free ride no matter how incoherent the story or the characters are.
  • Budgie Remix 16.10 Overview
  • I Switched To OpenSuse Tumbleweed :)
  • 50-day Moving Average Of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) At $76.67
  • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) – Is this large market cap stock undervalued?
  • Fedora 25 new features, Perl removed from Build Root
    Fedora is the fast-paced bleeding-edge distribution of Red Hat. Fedora 25 is the second release of 2016 the other being Fedora 24. Let’s discover what lies in the future of this popular Linux distribution especially among developers.
  • "dnf update" considered harmful
    Updating a Linux distribution has historically been done from the command line (using tools like Debian's apt-get, openSUSE's zypper, or Fedora's yum—or its successor dnf). A series of crashes during system updates on Fedora 24 led Adam Williamson to post a note to fedora-devel and other mailing lists warning people away from running "dnf update" within desktop environments. It turns out that doing so has never truly been supported—though it works the vast majority of the time. The discussion around Williamson's note, however, makes it clear that the command is commonly run that way and that at least some users are quite surprised (and unhappy) that it isn't a supported option.
  • Supporting UEFI secure boot in Debian
    The Debian project can be accused of many things, but jumping too quickly on leading-edge technology is not one of them. That can be seen in, among other things, the fact that there is still not a version of the distribution that supports the UEFI secure boot mechanism. But, as Ben Hutchings explained during his 2016 Kernel Recipes talk, such support is in the works, and it will be implemented in a uniquely Debian-like manner.
  • The Lenovo Yoga Book Is the Future of Laptops, But It's Missing an Operating System
    For this review I spent a week with the Android version of Lenovo’s slick new backflipping laptop. Guts-wise it’s identical to the Windows 10 variant. They both feature Intel Atom x5-Z8550 processors, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of on-device storage, and 1920 x 1200 resolution displays. The Android version starts at $500 and the Windows version starts at $550.
  • Another Broken Nexus 5
    In late 2013 I bought a Nexus 5 for my wife [1]. It’s a good phone and I generally have no complaints about the way it works. In the middle of 2016 I had to make a warranty claim when the original Nexus 5 stopped working [2]. Google’s warranty support was ok, the call-back was good but unfortunately there was some confusion which delayed replacement. Once the confusion about the IMEI was resolved the warranty replacement method was to bill my credit card for a replacement phone and reverse the charge if/when they got the original phone back and found it to have a defect covered by warranty. This policy meant that I got a new phone sooner as they didn’t need to get the old phone first. This is a huge benefit for defects that don’t make the phone unusable as you will never be without a phone. Also if the user determines that the breakage was their fault they can just refrain from sending in the old phone.

Key financial blockchain technology is open sourced

Kernel Space/Linux

  • Linux 4.9's Efficient BPF-based Profiler
    Linux 4.9 skips needing the file entirely, and its associated overheads. I wrote about this as a missing BPF feature in March. It is now done.
  • UBIFS Working On File Encryption Support
    Following EXT4 file-system encryption and F2FS per-file encryption support, the UBIFS file-system is also bringing in encryption support built off this fscrypto framework used by EXT4/F2FS. In making use of fscrypto, the UBIFS file-system encryption support is similar to the EXT4/F2FS implementations and supports not only encrypting the file contents but also the file name. In making use of this framework, it only took around one thousand lines of new code to make it happen from the kernel-side while the user-space changes for supporting UBIFS encryption are still baking. UBIFS for those out of the look is the Unsorted Block Image File-System that's built atop UBI and designed for raw flash memory media.
  • An important set of stable kernel updates
  • Linux Kernels 3.16.38, 3.12.66, 3.10.104, and 3.2.83 Patched Against "Dirty COW"
    We reported the other day that an ancient bug, which existed in the Linux kernel since 2005, was patched in several recent updates, namely Linux kernel 4.8.3, Linux kernel 4.7.9, and Linux kernel 4.4.26 LTS. One day later, the maintainers of other supported Linux kernel branches patched the bug, which is dubbed by researchers as "Dirty COW" and documented as CVE-2016-5195. As such, today we'd like to inform those of running GNU/Linux distributions powered by kernels from the Linux 3.16, 3.12, 3.10, and 3.2 series that new updates are available for their systems.
  • Linux users warned over serious vulnerability affecting many versions
  • MuQSS - The Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler v0.112
    It's getting close now to the point where it can replace BFS in -ck releases. Thanks to the many people testing and reporting back, some other misbehaviours were discovered and their associated fixes have been committed.
  • Linux Raid mdadm md0
    Linux Raid is the de-facto way for decades in the linux-world on how to create and use a software raid. RAID stands for: Redundant Array of Independent Disks. Some people use the I for inexpensive disks, I guess that works too!
  • On Linux kernel maintainer scalability
    LWN's traditional development statistics article for the 4.6 development cycle ended with a statement that the process was running smoothly and that there were no process scalability issues in sight. Wolfram Sang started his 2016 LinuxCon Europe talk by taking issue with that claim. He thinks that there are indeed scalability problems in the kernel's development process. A look at his argument is of interest, especially when contrasted with another recent talk on maintainer scalability.
  • First comparison of Vulkan API vs OpenGL ES API on ARM
  • Prime Indicator Plus Makes It Easy To Switch Between Nvidia And Intel Graphics (Nvidia Optimus)
    The original Prime Indicator hasn't been updated since February, 2015. André Brait forked the indicator (while also using code from the Linux Mint version), improving it with both new functionality and bug fixes, and the new app is called Prime Indicator Plus. Using the nvidia-prime package, Ubuntu users can switch between Intel and Nvidia graphics by using Nvidia Settings (under PRIME Profiles), which then requires restarting the session (logout/login) to apply the changes. Prime Indicator makes this easier, by allowing you to switch graphics from the indicator menu, including triggering the logout.
  • Features You Will Not Find In The Mesa 13.0 Release
    While Mesa 13.0 is coming along for release next month with exciting features like OpenGL 4.5 for Intel, unofficial GL 4.4/4.5 for RadeonSI/NVC0, and the addition of the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver, there is some functionality that sadly won't be found in this release. Below are some features/functionality not currently found in Mesa 13.0. Some of the mentioned items have patches floating on the mailing list that weren't merged in time while other items are more along the lines of pipe-dreams that would have been fun to see in Mesa for 2016.
  • Crucial MX300: Good Linux Performance, 525GB SSD For Only $120 USD

Leftovers: Software

  • i2pd 2.10 released
    i2pd (I2P Daemon) is a full-featured C++ implementation of I2P client. I2P (Invisible Internet Protocol) is a universal anonymous network layer. All communications over I2P are anonymous and end-to-end encrypted, participants don't reveal their real IP addresses. I2P client is a software used for building and using anonymous I2P networks. Such networks are commonly used for anonymous peer-to-peer applications (filesharing, cryptocurrencies) and anonymous client-server applications (websites, instant messengers, chat-servers). I2P allows people from all around the world to communicate and share information without restrictions.
  • Pixeluvo Review | Photo Editor for Linux & Windows
    A review of Pixeluvo, a great photo editor available on Linux and Windows. Pixeluvo is not free or open source.
  • Blit, A Retrospective On My Largest Project Ever
    I’ve always been someone who’s liked art and programming. Especially combining the two. One of my favorite genres is pixel art, or sprites as they are also known. I’ve dabbled in making a few other art programs before, but nothing like this. Originally Blit supposed to be only a sprite animation tool that had a modern look and feel, but my ideas for it grew greater (*sigh* feature creep). There are many other sprinting tools out there like GrafX2, Aseprite, (and other 2D animation programs like TVPaint). I’m not saying that it’s wrong that they make their own GUI toolkit, but it feels kind of odd. I really wanted to bring these types of programs out of the days of the Amiga. After doing some initial research, I settled on using Qt.
  • An alert on the upcoming 7.51.0 release
    In two weeks time, on Wednesday November 2nd, we will release curl and libcurl 7.51.0 unless something earth shattering happens.
  • Desktop Gmail Client `WMail` 2.0.0 Stable Released
    WMail is a free, open source desktop client for Gmail and Google Inbox, available for Linux, Windows, and Mac.
  • SpaceView: Ubuntu File System Usage Indicator
  • FunYahoo++: New Yahoo Messenger Plugin For Pidgin / libpurple [PPA]
    Yahoo retired its old Messenger protocol in favor of a new one, breaking compatibility with third-party applications, such as Pidgin, Empathy, and so on. Eion Robb, the SkypeWeb and Hangouts developer, has created a replacement Yahoo prpl plugin, called FunYahoo++, that works with the new Yahoo Messenger protocol. Note that I tested the plugin with Pidgin, but it should work with other instant messaging applications that support libpurple, like BitlBee or Empathy.
  • GCC Lands Loop Splitting Optimization
    The latest GCC 7 development code has an optimization pass now for loop splitting.
  • GCC 7 To End Feature Development Next Month
    Friday's GCC 7 status report indicates the feature freeze is coming up in just a few weeks. Red Hat developer Jakub Jelinek wrote in the latest status report, "Trunk which will eventually become GCC 7 is still in Stage 1 but its end is near and we are planning to transition into Stage 3 starting Nov 13th end of day time zone of your choice. This means it is time to get things you want to have in GCC 7 finalized and reviewed. As usual there may be exceptions to late reviewed features but don't count on that. Likewise target specific features can sneak in during Stage 3 if maintainers ok them."
  • GNU Parallel 20161022 ('Matthew') released [stable]
    GNU Parallel 20161022 ('Matthew') [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.
  • GNU Health 3.0.4 patchset released
    GNU Health 3.0.4 patchset has been released !
  • guile-ncurses 2.0 released
    I am pleased to announce the release of guile-ncurses 2.0 guile-ncurses is a library for the creation of text user interfaces in the GNU Guile dialect of the Scheme programming language. It is a wrapper to the ncurses TUI library. It contains some basic text display and keyboard and mouse input functionality, as well as a menu widget and a form widget. It also has lower level terminfo and termios functionality.
  • Unifont 9.0.03 Released
    Unifont 9.0.03 is released. The main changes are the addition of the Pikto and Tonal ConScript Unicode Registry scripts.
  • PATHspider 1.0.0 released!
    In today’s Internet we see an increasing deployment of middleboxes. While middleboxes provide in-network functionality that is necessary to keep networks manageable and economically viable, any packet mangling — whether essential for the needed functionality or accidental as an unwanted side effect — makes it more and more difficult to deploy new protocols or extensions of existing protocols. For the evolution of the protocol stack, it is important to know which network impairments exist and potentially need to be worked around. While classical network measurement tools are often focused on absolute performance values, PATHspider performs A/B testing between two different protocols or different protocol extensions to perform controlled experiments of protocol-dependent connectivity problems as well as differential treatment.
  • The Domain Name System