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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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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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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.

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More in Tux Machines

Graphics: Wayland/Weston, Mesa and AMD

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    Two release candidates of Wayland 1.16 / Weston 5.0 were not originally scheduled, but it's been necessitated due to some pressing issues both with Wayland and its reference compositor. Samsung's Derek Foreman issued these "RC2" releases on Friday rather than going straight to the official Wayland 1.16 and Weston 5.0 releases. On the Wayland front, Michael Srb found and fixed issues that could cause pointer overflows within Wayland's connection code. These overflow fixes are the only changes in this Wayland 1.15.94 (RC2) version.
  • RAGE & Doom Get Radeon Workarounds In Mesa 18.3-dev
    If you are looking to enjoy id Software's RAGE or Doom VFR games this weekend on Linux via Wine, they should be playing nicer with the latest open-source Mesa graphics driver code. Timothy Arceri at Valve has added a workaround to get RAGE working under Wine with RadeonSI. The workaround is a DRIRC configuration addition for allowing GLSL built-in variable redeclarations. This is enough to get RAGE working with RadeonSI on Mesa Git. Though only RadeonSI is working out currently since the game relies upon the OpenGL compatibility profile mode that is only supported currently by RadeonSI when it comes to the Mesa drivers. Thanks to Valve's developers and others, the OpenGL compatibility profile mode for RadeonSI has matured into great shape these past few months.
  • Adreno 600 Series Support Lands In Mesa 18.3 Gallium3D
    With the Adreno 600 series support going into Linux 4.19 for the kernel bits, the user-space OpenGL driver support for the latest-generation Qualcomm graphics has now been merged into Mesa. Kristian Høgsberg Kristensen of Google's Chrome OS graphics team (yes, Kristian of Wayland and DRI2 fame) has been working on the Gallium3D support for the Adreno 600 series hardware along with Freedreno founder Rob Clark. This A6xx support is being tacked onto the existing Freedreno Gallium3D driver and amounts to just over six thousand lines of new code. Keep in mind this A6xx Freedreno back-end must also be used with the supported MSM DRM driver in the Linux 4.19+ kernel.
  • AMDGPU-PRO 18.30 Radeon Linux Driver Released with Support for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
    Featuring official support for the AMD Radeon PRO WX 8200 graphics cards and initial Wattman-like functionality, the Radeon Software for Linux 18.30 finally adds support for some of the most recent Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and CentOS Linux distributions. These include Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.5, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.10, CentOS 7.5, and CentOS 6.10. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop and Server (SLED/SLES) 12 Service Pack (SP) 3 is supported as well, but not the latest SUSE Linux Enterprise 15.
  • AMDVLK Vulkan Driver Update Fixes Witcher 3 Issue, Bug Fixes
    In addition to AMD releasing AMDGPU-PRO 18.30 on Friday, they also did their usual weekly source push of their newest "AMDVLK" open-source Radeon Vulkan driver code.

Kernel: Linux 4.19 Staging and Greg Kroah-Hartman's Very Many Stable Releases

  • Linux 4.19 Staging Brings EROFS File-System & Gasket Driver Framework
    Following the USB subsystem updates, Greg Kroah-Hartman sent in the kernel's staging area work for the Linux 4.19 merge window. This experimental/testing area of the Linux kernel is adding a new file-system with 4.19: EROFS. EROFS is developed by Huawei for possible Android device use-cases. EROFS stands for the Extendable Read-Only File-System and is developed to address shortcomings in other Linux read-only file-systems. EROFS features compression support and other features, but the on-disk layout format isn't 100% firm yet -- hence going into the staging area.
  • USB Patches Posted For Linux 4.19 Kernel, Including The New USB-C DisplayPort Driver
    Having wrapped up his latest stable kernel wrangling and the fallout from L1TF/Foreshadow, Greg Kroah-Hartman got around today to sending out the feature pull requests for the kernel subsystems he oversees. His first new batch of changes for Linux 4.19 today is the USB subsystem work.
  • One Week Past Linux 4.18.0, The Linux 4.18.3 Kernel Is Already Out
    Greg Kroah-Hartman had a fun Friday night issuing new point releases to the Linux 3.18 / 4.4 / 4.9 / 4.14 / 4.17 / 4.18 kernels only to have to issue new point releases minutes later. It was just on Thursday that Linux 4.18.1 was released along with updates to older stable branches for bringing L1TF / Foreshadow mitigation. Friday night then brought Linux 4.18.2, Linux 4.17.16, Linux 4.14.64, Linux 4.9.121, Linux 4.4.149, and Linux 3.18.119 with more patches. Those kernels brought various fixes, including in the x86 PTI code for clearing the global bit more aggressively, crypto fixes, and other maintenance work.

Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.5

  • 2018.08.18: Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.5 Released!
    The Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) development team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the new TDE R14.0.5 release. TDE is a complete software desktop environment designed for Unix-like operating systems, intended for computer users preferring a traditional desktop model, and is free/libre software. R14.0.5 is the fifth maintenance release of the R14.0 series, and is built on and improves the previous R14.0.4 version. Maintenance releases are intended to promptly bring bug fixes to users, while preserving overall stability through the avoidance of both major new features and major codebase re-factoring.
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    For those that have fond memories of the K Desktop Environment 3, you can still enjoy a KDE3-derived experience in 2018 with the just-released Trinity Desktop R14.0.5. Trinity Desktop continues to see occasional updates as the fork of the KDE 3.5 packages. Trinity Desktop R14.0.5 is the new release this weekend and their first since R14.0.4 was released last November.

Mozilla: Bitslicing, Mixed Reality, and Sharing

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