TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library

Beta of TurnKey Core on Debian Lenny (+ Ubuntu vs Debian)

We've just uploaded to SourceForge our first ever Debian-based virtual appliance: a beta of TurnKey Core on the rock stable Lenny release.

Beta of TurnKey Core on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

Well, it took a little longer than expected, but we are pleased to announce that TurnKey Core - the common base for all appliances, has been released based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx).

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS will be supported for five years.

This is a beta release, so take it for a spin, let us know what you think. If you come across any issues, please report them. If you have ideas on how to make it better, let us know.

Reducing the load on a small VPS by 80% in 5 minutes

A few days ago I noticed the average load on a newly setup VPS was too high relative to its workload. The server was noticeably sluggish. Load was high and a page the wiki it was running would occasionally take 10 seconds to load.

I didn't have too much time to kill but I decided I would at least try picking off the lowest hanging fruit before upgrading to a beefier, more expensive plan which would cost a few hundred dollars extra a year.

Launching TurnKey Hub into private beta: cloud deployment simplified

Towards the end of last year we decided it was time to start working on an idea we've been toying with for a while. Mapping out the feature set was fun, and a lot of the current and future features are based on feedback we received from you guys and gals, as well as many related questions and comments from around the net.

Automatic batch editing of Drupal nodes and CCK file fields

In a previous post I explained why we decided to convert most of the images on this site from PNG to JPG and how we used ImageMagick to batch it.

What I didn't get into is how we updated Drupal, our CMS,  to point to all these newly converted files. Manually uploading and updating nearly two hundred new images through a web form is time consuming and boring. Finding a non labor intensive solution can also be time consuming... but so much more interesting!

Once you know how, it's not really that difficult.

Optimizing Django: tricks for faster page loads

By reducing the file size of your CSS, JavaScript and images, as well as the number of unnecessary browser requests made to your site, load time of your applications pages can be drastically reduced, not to mention the load on your server.

Yahoo have created a list of the 35 best practices to speed up your website, a recommended read for any web developer. I wanted to summarize a few I recently implemented in a Django application.

In a nutshell:

PNG vs JPG: 6 simple lessons you can learn from our mistakes

Page load times are important. Amazon insiders estimate that every 100 ms increase in latency costs Amazon roughly %1 of profit.

Simply put: visitors hate slow sites, so don't make them wait.

Unfortunately, many web sites, including this one up until recently, are slowed down by inefficiently encoded images. Note that there are many other components to page load times and if you're looking to optimize your web site you should analyze and understand all of them. But today we're just going to focus on the images.

TinyMCE vs CKEditor: battle of titans! (of WYSIWYG editing)

Or: a quick review of the reasons we chose CKEditor over TinyMCE.

By default, content management systems such as Drupal (which we're using for this web site) expect users to format their posts with HTML markup. This can be inconvenient and deter casual contribution from members of the community who aren't completely comfortable with HTML.

Javascript-based WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) editors to the rescue!

Automating EC2 instance setup with user-data scripts

I recently published ec2metadata which provides a simple CLI and Python interface to the metadata of an Amazon EC2 instance. In that post I mentioned that "one of the most useful pieces of data is user-data, which can be used to pass configuration information or even initialization scripts to the instance upon launch".

I received a couple of responses by email asking for more information, so here it is.

EBSmount: Automatically mount EBS devices on Amazon EC2

The 2 most annoying things about Amazon EBS (Elastic Block Storage) I have found, is that there is no support to auto-attach an EBS on instance launch, and the need to manually mount an EBS when it's attached.

If the above annoys you as well, you're in luck! The first annoyance has been solved in the TurnKey Hub (private beta soon to be announced - request an invite here), and the second, well, is solved by EBSmount.