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Site News

Signal-to-Noise Ratio

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Site News

Non-cached site traffic still increasing

Stats chart for Tux Machines

Tux Machines has been my favourite GNU/Linux news site since I first discovered it around 2005. I publicly recommended Tux Machines for several years. Susan knew how to select important stories and she contributed objective articles of her own.

Running Tux Machines

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Roy Schestowitz

TUX Machines has become an integral part of our life right here in this humble home. It's a rewarding experience but also a demanding experience. I personally write my articles in the lounge (which is no 'press room') and it requires many hours of digging and researching news. In Tux Machines, unlike in Techrights for example, it's mostly about finding news of high relevance and importance, and finding them fast! Timing counts. We don't want readers to waste their time wading/going through irrelevant, unimportant and out-of-date reports.

24/7 coverage of news is easy for us. Rianne works mostly at daytime, whereas I usually work at nights (customers are mostly government/public sector and they require 24/7 coverage). When Rianne is working I take over the responsibilities at Tux Machines and vice versa. We swap responsibilities like this when it comes to housework as well; we work out together when we are out of the house (also separately in terms of gym sections, e.g. cardiovascular/weights). This week we go to yoga classes as much as 5 times, but we usually just to Town for other facilities like pool, table tennis, sauna (men and women separately), gym, etc. This is our main escape from Tux Machines; given Wi-Fi (scarce coverage but definitely existent in Manchester City Centre), we sometimes update Tux Machines while out of the house as well.

The site forums are now open for participation and every registered member can add blog posts and push them to the front page (now that we've got the spam epidemic under control). Please do consider participating. This week, as in previous weeks, we are seeing a ~10% growth in traffic (week-to-week), perhaps owing to the slight redesign, loading speeds (Varnish cache), and very frequent updates. We check for news once in a few hours in order to keep abreast of breaking events.

Running Tux Machines will hopefully become more of a community effort over time. Anyone who is logged in can now submit stories. Unless this gets abused by spammers, we will keep it that way.

Mollom Works

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Drupal's very own Mollom is a Free/Open Source (collaboratively-developed and freely-shared) software for battling script kiddies and fighting against SPAM. The past 2 weeks were difficult because spammers exploited the fact that we had opened up the site for registration/subscription (to leave comments). After exploring some options for dealing with the problem (spam making it to the front page even!) we found that Mollom was good enough to eliminate almost 100% of all of spam (so far). Hence, for the time being, it seems safe to say now that we beat the script kiddies. Thanks, Mollom!

Mollom

First Month on the New Server (Updated)

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Tux Machines behind Varnish cache proxy

Chart for Tux Machines

Summary: Tux Machines growth and a note regarding SPAM prevention after a week or so of experiments

Here are the first four weeks' log sizes, plotted with LibreOffice and demonstrating week-to-week growth since the site's nameservers changed and the server moved to CoPilotCo. After 4 weeks all logs get deleted (logrotate) to ensure privacy through lack of data retention (except short term in case of DDOS).

Opening Up Communications (Updatedx5)

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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.

Site Update (Updatedx2)

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Newspaper

Summary: Recent changes at Tux Machines, in just a nutshell

INSPIRED in part by Slashdot, we recently added topical icons to submissions, applying these changes retroactively to over 50,000 older pages. The idea was, this can improve orientation by helping to quickly associate text with topics. More minor modifications were made as well, some textual and some layout related. They are subtle but they can be seen. After receiving feedback regrading icons size we made further modifications. Regarding social media buttons, some of the ones we initially found were unbelievably privacy-infringing (allowing Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. to see visitors of this site), so we disabled them immediately and replaced them with static buttons. Right now we can assure that whenever loading pages in this Web site nothing except our security-aware network gets contacted. We share no data about visitors (with anyone) and Apache logs get shredded for good after a few weeks, leaving sufficient trail just in case of attacks on the site, which would merit investigation. Log rotation is similarly privacy-respecting at the cache level, which leads to the following point.

Today, after the above changes had been made and stability attained (there were some network disruptions yesterday), we also updated Drupal, ensuring it is secure and fully up to date (the latest minor bugfix release is a month old). There is still an issue with Varnish and until we tackle this issue users who are not logged in might be getting error pages. One way to overcome this is to append "?something" to the URL requested. This bypasses the Varnish cache until we finish our investigation of this issue and resolve it for good.

Update: The issue with Varnish turns out to be a conflict between two caching layers. It's fixed now. If you spot an issue, still, please let us know.

Update #2: Yesterday we identified another issue and soon thereafter fixed it. After Twitter syndication had failed we realised that RSS feeds were not standards-compliant, due to a blank line at the start of each generated page in Drupal. This is a common issue and it is a nightmare to debug (requires a complete code review with help of GNU utilities like grep). After 4 hours of investigation I found the culprit and fixed the coding error. RSS feeds are back.

This is "See Ya Around"

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I started to say "this is goodbye," but just because I sold the site doesn't mean I won't be around Linuxville. I'm still writing at ostatic and I may turn up here now and again as well. I'll be looking around to expand my writing after the new year too, so you're not rid of me yet. But the sale on tuxmachines.org has been completed.

Sold! (tentatively)

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I guess tuxmachines.org has been sold for $1000. I know it's kinda low, but times have changed and the new owner plans to carry on the tuxmachines tradition.

going twice

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going twice

fair warning - going once....

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Well, I think I'm going to accept one of the two $1000 bids received, unless anyone else wants to bid...

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today's howtos

Linux Foundation: Juniper/OpenContrail and Bell Canada at Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP)

  • Juniper Expands Contrail, Moves Open-Source Project to the Linux Foundation
    "Fortunately at Juniper we have a secrect weapon and one that i'm so very proud of and that's Contrail," Rami Rahim, Juniper Networks CEO said during his keynote. "The way we have been investing and innovating in Contrail over the last few years is sort of similar to how a car company would invest in a Formula 1 car, it's essentially a proving ground for the world's best technology." Rahim commented that the use-cases for Contrail so far have been somewhat limited, but that's about to change. "The future of Contrail is as a platform, a single controller that can solve a variety of really compelling use-cases with ease and simplicity," Rahim said. "Whether it's management of overlay and underlay, or SD-WAN connectivity, or multi-cloud fabric management." Juniper originally acquired Contrail in December 2012 in a deal valued at $176 million. In September 2013, Juniper open-sourcedthe Contrail technology, creating the OpenContrail project.
  • Juniper Networks' OpenContrail software defined network joins The Linux Foundation
    The Linux Foundation is far more than just Linux. It's also the home of many open-source networking projects such as the software-defined network (SDN) OpenDaylight, Open Platform for Network Function Virtualization (OPNFV), and Open Network Automation Program (ONAP). Now, networking power Juniper Networks has announced that OpenContrail, its open-source network virtualization cloud platform, will join the others as part of The Linux Foundation.
  • Juniper Moves OpenContrail to the Linux Foundation
    Juniper first released its Contrail products as open source in 2013 and built a community around the project. However, many stakeholders complained that Juniper didn’t work very hard to build the community, and some called it “faux-pen source.”
  • Juniper Moves SDN-Based OpenContrail Project to The Linux Foundation
    Juniper Networks today announced the codebase for OpenContrail, its open source network virtualization platform for the cloud, is moving to The Linux Foundation.
  • Bell Canada says open source ONAP adds modularity, flexibility to its network
    Bell Canada has become one of the first service providers to deploy Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP), focusing its initial attention on automating its data center tenant network provisioning process. By making this transition in its network, the service provider said it will provide its operations teams with a new tool to improve efficiency and time to market. This is the first step in using ONAP as a common platform across Bell’s networks on its journey towards a multipartner DevOps model.
  • Bell Canada First to Deploy Open Source ONAP in Production
    Canadian communications provider Bell is the first organization to deploy an open source version of the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) in a production environment. The milestone was noted in a blog post by Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking and orchestration with the Linux Foundation.

Software: Everdo, GIMP, Notepadqq

  • Everdo – A Todo List and Getting Things Done App for Linux
    Everdo is a modern and beautifully-designed Electron-based task management application with which you can keep track of your work using tags, project folders, smart filters, and schedules. It doesn’t need a cloud account to work so your data will remain save on your PC. Everdo features a modern and minimalist User Interface with an extremely clean, clutter-less, and uniform design in order to enhance speedy and distraction-free productivity.
  • GIMP 2.9.8 Released with On-Canvas Gradient Editing, Better PSD Support
    GIMP 2.9.8 has been released with on-canvas gradient editing, better handling of Adobe Photoshop PSD files, and support for those using GIMP on Wayland.
  • GIMP 2.9.8 Released With On-Canvas Gradient Editing, Wayland Support
    GIMP 2.9.8 has been released as the newest development version of this widely-used, open-source Photoshop-like program in its road to GIMP 2.10. Earlier this week I happened to highlight many of the changes building up for GIMP 2.9.8 as featured in A Lot Of Improvements Are Building Up For GIMP 2.9.8, Including Better Wayland Support.
  • Getting started with the Notepadqq Linux text editor
    I don't do Windows. The operating system, I mean. At least, not on my own computers and not with any of my own work. When I was a consultant, I often had to work out of my clients' offices, which meant using their hardware, which also meant using Windows at many of those offices. Even when using Windows, I tried to install as much open source software as I could. Why? Because it works as well as (if not better than) its proprietary equivalents. One of the applications I always installed was Notepad++, which Opensource.com community moderator Ruth Holloway looked at in 2016.

Getting started with the Notepadqq Linux text editor

I don't do Windows. The operating system, I mean. At least, not on my own computers and not with any of my own work. When I was a consultant, I often had to work out of my clients' offices, which meant using their hardware, which also meant using Windows at many of those offices. Even when using Windows, I tried to install as much open source software as I could. Why? Because it works as well as (if not better than) its proprietary equivalents. One of the applications I always installed was Notepad++, which Opensource.com community moderator Ruth Holloway looked at in 2016. Read more