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Teradici's Cloud Access Platform: "Plug & Play" Cloud for the Enterprise

Linux Journal - Mon, 02/06/2017 - 12:51

Teradici's Cloud Access Software and Cloud Access Platform enables enterprises and solution providers to migrate desktops, workstations, workloads, workflows, and graphics-intensive applications to any cloud, public or private – including, for the first time, Linux instances. more>>

Categories: Linux News

The Weather Outside Is Frightful (Or Is It?)

Linux Journal - Fri, 02/03/2017 - 10:03

Blistery cold weather is sinking in, which ought to ignite an instinctual desire to get your house in order and monitor it so the water pipes don't freeze and burst. So, let's take a timely look at a project setting up some temperature probes in various areas, reading them and reporting in a custom dashboard. more>>

Categories: Linux News

Understanding Firewalld in Multi-Zone Configurations

Linux Journal - Thu, 02/02/2017 - 07:27

Stories of compromised servers and data theft fill today's news. It isn't difficult for someone who has read an informative blog post to access a system via a misconfigured service, take advantage of a recently exposed vulnerability or gain control using a stolen password. more>>

Categories: Linux News

Linux Journal February 2017

Linux Journal - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 14:53
Everything Is Data, Data Is Everything

It doesn't take more than a glance at the current headlines to see data security is a vital part of almost everything we do. more>>

Categories: Linux News

Montréal-Python 62: Karyokinetic Liberation

Montreal Python - Wed, 02/01/2017 - 00:00

It's a new Pythonic year and what could be better than starting it with a Montreal-Python meetup. Come discover different ways of using our favorite programming language.

As usual, snacks will be provided, but eat before, or even better, after by joining us at Benelux so you can network with the speakers and other attendees.

It's also with great joy that we announce that PyCon Canada 2017 will be held at home, here in Montreal. Add it to your calendars! For more information and to stay informed about the upcoming news, visit the PyCon Canada website at https://2017.pycon.ca/.

Presentations Roberto Rocha: GIS with Python: 6 libraries you should know

A quick demo of libraries for doing geospatial work and mapping. The libraries are: geopandas, shapely, fiona, Basemap, folium and pysal.

Jordi Riera: How to train your Python

Let's go back to basics. We will review how to make a python code more pythonic, easier to maintain and to read. A set of little tricks here and there can change your code for the best. We will talk about topics as Immutable vs mutable variables but also about core tools like dict, defaultdict, named tuple and generator.

Rami Sayar: Building Python Microservices with Docker and Kubernetes

Python is powering your production apps and you are struggling with the complexity, bugs and feature requests you need. You just don't know how to maintain your app anymore. You're scared you have created the kraken that will engulf your entire development team!

Microservices architecture has existed for as long as monolithic applications became a common problem. With the DevOps revolution, it is the time to seriously consider building microservice architectures with Python.

This talk will share strategies on how to split up your monolithic apps and show you how to deploy Python microservices using Docker. We will get hands-on with a sample app, walk step-by-step on how to change the app's architecture and deploy it to the cloud.

No longer shall you deal with the endless complexities of monolithic Python apps. Fear the kraken no more!

Where

Shopify Offices 490 de la Gauchetière street Montréal, Québec

When

Monday, February 13th, 2016 at 6pm

We’d like to thank our sponsors for their continued support:

  • Shopify
  • UQÀM
  • Bénélux
  • Savoir-faire Linux
Categories: External Blogs

Testing new hardware with Stressant

Anarcat - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 19:36

I got a new computer and wondered... How can I test it? One of those innocent questions that brings hours and hours of work and questionning...

A new desktop: Intel NUC devices

After reading up on Jeff Atwood's blog and especially his article on the scooter computer, I have discovered a whole range of small computers that could answer my need for a faster machine in my office at a low price tag and without taking up too much of my precious desk space. After what now seems like a too short review I ended up buying a new Intel NUC device from NCIX.com, along with 16GB of RAM and an amazing 500GB M.2 hard drive for around 750$. I am very happy with the machine. It's very quiet and takes up zero space on my desk as I was able to screw it to the back of my screen. You can see my review of the hardware compatibility and installation report in the Debian wiki.

I wish I had taken more time to review the possible alternatives - for example I found out about the amazing Airtop PC recently and, although that specific brand is a bit too expensive, the space of small computers is far and wide and deserves a more thorough review than just finding the NUC by accident while shopping for laptops on System76.com...

Reviving the Stressant project

But this, and Atwood's Is Your Computer Stable? article, got me thinking about how to test new computers. It's one thing to build a machine and fire it up, but how do you know everything is actually really working? It is common practice to do a basic stress test or burn-in when you get a new machine in the industry - how do you proceed with such tests?

Back in the days when I was working at Koumbit, I wrote a tool exactly for that purpose called Stressant. Since I am the main author of the project and I didn't see much activity on it since I left, I felt it would be a good idea to bring it under my personal wing again, and I have therefore moved it to my Gitlab where I hope to bring it back to life. Parts of the project's rationale are explained in an "Intent To Package" the "breakin" tool (Debian bug #707178), which, after closer examination, ended up turning into a complete rewrite.

The homepage has a bit more information about how the tool works and its objectives, but generally, the idea is to have a live CD or USB stick that you can just plugin into a machine to run a battery of automated tests (memtest86, bonnie++, stress-ng and disk wiping, for example) or allow for interactive rescue missions on broken machines. At Koumbit, we had Debirf-based live images that we could boot off the network fairly easily that we would use for various purposes, although nothing was automated yet. The tool is based on Debian, but since it starts from boot, it should be runnable on any computer.

I was able to bring the project back to life, to a certain extent, by switching to vmdebootstrap instead of debirf for builds, but that removed netboot support. Also, I hope that Gitlab could provide with an autobuilder for the images, but unfortunately there's a bug in Docker that makes it impossible to mount loop images in Docker images (which makes it impossible to build Docker in Docker, apparently).

Should I start yet another project?

So there's still a lot of work to do in this project to get it off the ground. I am still a bit hesitant in getting into this, however, for a few reasons:

  1. It's yet another volunteer job - which I am trying to reduce for health and obvious economic reasons. That's a purely personal reason and there isn't much you can do about it.

  2. I am not sure the project is useful. It's one thing to build a tool that can do basic tests on a machine - I can probably just build an live image for myself that will do everything I need - it's another completely different thing to build something that will scale to multiple machines and be useful for more various use cases and users.

(A variation of #1 is how everything and everyone is moving to the cloud. It's become a common argument that you shouldn't run your own metal these days, and we seem to be fighting an uphill economic battle when we run our own datacenters, rack or even physical servers these days. I still think it's essential to have some connexion to metal to be autonomous in our communications, but I'm worried that focusing on such a project is another of my precious dead entreprises... )

Part #2 is obviously where you people come in. Here's a few questions I'd like to have feedback on:

  1. (How) do you perform stress-testing of your machines before putting them in production (or when you find issues you suspect to be hardware-related)?

  2. Would a tool like breakin or stressant be useful in your environment?

  3. Which tools do you use now for such purposes?

  4. Would you contribute to such a project? How?

  5. Do you think there is room for such a project in the existing ecology of projects) or should I contribute to an existing project?

Any feedback here would be, of course, greatly appreciated.

Categories: External Blogs

My free software activities, January 2017

Anarcat - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 19:09
manpages.debian.org launched

The debmans package I had so lovingly worked on last month is now officially abandoned. It turns out that another developer, Michael Stapelberg wrote his own implementation from scratch, called debiman.

Both software share a similar design: they are both static site generators that parse an existing archive and call another tool to convert manpages into HTML. We even both settled on the same converter (mdoc). But while I wrote debmans in Python, debiman is written in Go. debiman also seems much faster, being written with concurrency in mind from the start. Finally, debiman is more feature complete: it properly deals with conflicting packages, localization and all sorts redirections. Heck, it even has a pretty logo, how can I compete?

While debmans was written first and was in the process of being deployed, I had to give it up. It was a frustrating experience because I felt I wasted a lot of time working on software that ended up being discarded, especially because I put so much work on it, creating extensive documentation, an almost complete test suite and even filing a detailed core infrastructure best practices report In the end, I think that was the right choice: debiman seemed clearly superior and the best tool should win. Plus, it meant less work for me: Michael and Javier (the previous manpages.debian.org maintainer) did all the work of putting the site online. I also learned a lot about the CII best practices program, flask, click and, ultimately, the Go programming language itself, which I'll refer to as Golang for brievity. debiman definitely brought Golang into the spotlight for me. I had looked at Go before, but it seemed to be yet another language. But seeing Michael beat me to rebuilding the service really made me look at it again more seriously. While I really appreciate Python and I will probably still use it as my language of choice for GUI work and smaller scripts, but for daemons, network programs and servers, I will seriously consider Golang in the future.

The site is now online at https://manpages.debian.org/. I even got credited in the about page which makes up for the disappointment.

Wallabako downloads Wallabag articles on my Kobo e-reader

This obviously brings me to the latest project I worked on, Wallabako, my first Golang program ever. Wallabako is basically a client for the Wallabag application, which is a free software "read it later" service, an alternative to the likes of Pocket, Pinboard or Evernote. Back in April, I had looked downloading my "unread articles" into my new ebook reader, going through convoluted ways like implementing OPDS support into Wallabag, which turned out to be too difficult.

Instead, I used this as an opportunity to learn Golang. After reading the quite readable golang specification over the weekend, I found the language to be quite elegant and simple, yet very powerful. Golang feels like C, but built with concurrency and memory (and to a certain extent, type) safety in mind, along with a novel approach to OO programming.

The fact that everything can be compiled in one neat little static binary was also a key feature in selecting golang for this project, as I do not have much control over the platform my E-Reader is running: it is a Linux machine running under the ARM architecture, but beyond that, there isn't much available. I couldn't afford to ship a Python interpreter in there and while there are solutions there like pyinstaller, I felt that it may be so easy to deploy on ARM. The borg team had trouble building a ARM binary, restoring to tricks like building on a Raspberry PI or inside an emulator. In comparison, the native go compiler supports cross-compilation out of the box through a simple environment variable.

So far Wallabako works amazingly well: when I "bag" a new article in Wallabag, either from my phone or my web browser, it will show up on my ebook reader then next time I open the wifi. I still need to "tap" the screen to fake the insertion of the USB cable, but we're working on automating that. I also need to make the installation of the software much easier and improve the documentation, because so far it's unlikely that someone unfamiliar with Kobo hardware hacking will be able to install it.

Other work

According to Github, I filed a bunch of bugs all over the place (25 issues in 16 repositories), sent patches everywhere (13 pull requests in 6 repositories), and tried to fix everythin (created 38 commits in 7 repositories). Note that excludes most of my work, which happens on Gitlab. January was still a very busy month, especially considering I had an accident which kept me mostly offline for about a week.

Here are some details on specific projects.

Stressant and a new computer

I revived the stressant project and got a new computer. This is be covered in a separate article.

Linkchecker forked

After much discussions, it was decided to fork the linkchecker project, which now lives in its own organization. I still have to write community guidelines and figure out the best way to maintain a stable branch, but I am hopeful that the community will pick up the project as multiple people volunteer to co-maintain the project. There has already been pull requests and issues reported, so that's a good sign.

Feed2tweet refresh

I re-rolled my pull requests to the feed2tweet project: last time they were closed before I had time to rebase them. The author was okay with me re-submitting them, but he hasn't commented, reviewed or merged the patches yet so I am worried they will be dropped again.

At that point, I would more likely rewrite this from scratch than try to collaborate with someone that is clearly not interested in doing so...

Debian uploads Debian Long Term Support (LTS)

This is my 10th month working on Debian LTS, started by Raphael Hertzog at Freexian. I took two months off last summer, which means it's actually been a year of work on the LTS project.

This month I worked on a few issues, but they were big issues, so they took a lot of time.

I have done a lot of work trying to backport the heading sanitization patches for CVE-2016-8743. The full report explain all the gritty details, but I ran out of time and couldn't upload the final version either. The issue mostly affects Apache servers in proxy configurations so it's not so severe as to warrant an immediate upload anyways.

A lot of my time was spent battling the tiff package. The report mentions fixes for 15 CVEs and I uploaded the result in the DLA-795-1 advisory.

I also worked on a small update to graphics magic for CVE-2016-9830 that is still pending because the issue is minor and we're waiting for more to pile up. See the full report for details.

Finally, there was a small discussion surrounding tools to use when building and testing update to LTS packages. The resulting conversation was interesting, but it showed that we have a big documentation problem in the Debian project. There are a lot of tools, and the documentation is old and distributed everywhere. Every time I want to contribute something to the documentation, I never know where to start or go. This is why I wrote a separate debian development guide instead of contributing to existing documentation...

Categories: External Blogs

Non-Linux FOSS: Control Web-Based Music!

Linux Journal - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 08:26

I like Pandora. I like it because it doesn't require me to know anything other than whether I like the current song. I'm sure other music services offer more features or a larger catalog, but Pandora is simple. So am I. more>>

Categories: Linux News

SoftMaker's FlexiPDF

Linux Journal - Mon, 01/30/2017 - 09:21

Editing PDFs is now as easy as word processing. This is SoftMaker's promise thanks to its new FlexiPDF 2017, a new PDF editor that "masters the creation of new PDF files as well as the editing of text, graphics and drawings in existing ones". more>>

Categories: Linux News

Buddy Platform Limited's Parse on Buddy Service

Linux Journal - Fri, 01/27/2017 - 12:53

With Facebook's Parse mobile back end as a service shutting down, developers are in a bind. The vise is squeezing tighter since the open-source Parse Server product released by Facebook, asserts Buddy Platform Limited, was not designed to support high volume, commercial-grade apps from organizations seeking the breadth of the original platform. more>>

Categories: Linux News

A Switch for Your RPi

Linux Journal - Thu, 01/26/2017 - 07:51

In a previous article, I talked about an add-on card for the Raspberry Pi called the ControlBlock. It allows game controllers to be connected as regular joystick devices, but it also has a really incredible power switch feature. more>>

Categories: Linux News

Gordon H. Williams' Making Things Smart (Maker Media, Inc.)

Linux Journal - Wed, 01/25/2017 - 10:48

Pretty much anything in the O'Reilly spin-off Make: series is like catnip to us Linux cats, and the new book Making Things Smart is no exception. The book is subtitled Easy Embedded ARM Programming For Transforming Everyday Objects Into Intelligent Machines and is authored by Gordon H. Williams. more>>

Categories: Linux News

SNMP

Linux Journal - Tue, 01/24/2017 - 09:28

How would you find out how much RAM is free on your Linux desktop? That's a really easy question with a lot of answers—free, any of the implementations of top and Glances all are valid responses. more>>

Categories: Linux News

Goldtouch Semi-Vertical Mouse

Linux Journal - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 13:15

"A brilliant combination of ergonomics, comfort and performance" thunders Goldtouch, a leader in desktop ergonomics, about its new Semi-Vertical Mouse. "Perfectly sloped at 66 degrees" to prevent wrist stress and provide the ultimate comfort fit for healthy computing, the Semi-Vertical Mouse is Goldtouch's newest addition to its mouse library. more>>

Categories: Linux News

Montréal-Python 62: Karyokinetic Liberation

Montreal Python - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 00:00

It is 2017, and we are getting ready for a great year of Python in Montreal. To start the year on a good note, we are launching our first request for presenters. This is an opportunity for all, we are looking for speakers. It's your chance to submit a talk. Just write us at mtlpyteam@googlegroups.com.

We are particularly looking for people willing to present lightning talks of 5minutes. Don't hesitate and send us your proposition or join us on slack by subscribing at http://slack.mtlpy.org/ to ask us any question.

Where

Shopify Offices 490 de la Gauchetière street west Montréal, Québec

When

Monday, Feburary 13th, 2016 at 6pm

We’d like to thank our sponsors for their continued support:

  • Shopify
  • UQÀM
  • Bénélux
  • Savoir-faire Linux
Categories: External Blogs

VMware's Clarity Design System

Linux Journal - Fri, 01/20/2017 - 12:56

By combining user experience (UX) guidelines and patterns with the front-end code in one solution, VMware's Clarity Design System represents a new concept in the design systems space. more>>

Categories: Linux News

Let's Go to Mars with Martian Lander

Linux Journal - Thu, 01/19/2017 - 07:47

This is the beginning of a series of articles where I develop a variation on the classic lunar-lander game themed around the planet Mars. To do this in three dimensions can be rather complicated, so in the spirit of the original arcade game (that I became rather obsessed with, I should admit), I'm going to tackle the simplified two-dimensional problem. more>>

Categories: Linux News

PrestaShop

Linux Journal - Wed, 01/18/2017 - 10:52

Helping people overcome the challenges of building and growing an online business is what the PrestaShop open-source ecommerce platform is all about. The significant PrestaShop 1.7 release provides innovations focused on three themes: sell faster, create easier and code better. more>>

Categories: Linux News

My Childhood in a Cigar Box

Linux Journal - Tue, 01/17/2017 - 05:49

I grew up in the 1980s. That meant we drank far too much Kool-Aid, and on Saturday mornings, we got up early to watch cartoons. It also was the heyday of arcades, but I lived in the ghetto of Detroit and couldn't afford quarters to play games. Plus, there were none anywhere near the neighborhood where I lived. For me, the first real video-game experience was the Atari 2600. more>>

Categories: Linux News

Rogue Wave Software's TotalView for HPC and CodeDynamics

Linux Journal - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 11:07

New versions of not just one but two dynamic analysis tools from Rogue Wave Software were unveiled recently to pleased developers everywhere. Upgraded TotalView for HPC and CodeDynamics, versions 2016.07, improve the diagnosis and correction of bugs, memory issues and crashes at execution. more>>

Categories: Linux News
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