TurnKey Linux Virtual Appliance Library

The DDoS spam bot from hell (a suburb of China)

Happy new year everyone,

I'm back online to put out a fire. My inbox was full of alerts that the CPU on the server that runs the site was maxing out.

Well boys and girls, it turns out www.turnkeylinux.org has been under an escalating distributed denial of service attack that started about two weeks ago. To the best of my knowledge the site continued operating normally. We use a ton of caching. Did any of you notice a slowdown?

Mapping AWS data centers for fastest connection

Yes, that's 'fastest', not closest.

Background

A while back I published a blog post entitled Finding the closest data center using GeoIP and indexing, which described how we automatically determine the AWS regional data center to be used for storing encrypted server backups.

TurnKey 11.3 maintenance release - next stop Ubuntu 12.04!

Ho ho ho, happy holidays everyone! I know most of you are already shifting into holiday mode, so I'll keep it short and sweet.

We've just pushed out TurnKey 11.3 - the final maintenance release based on Ubuntu 10.04. The next release will be based on Ubuntu 12.04. We're already shifting into high gear for that. There will be surprises. Hopefully good ones!

New Hub feature: Cloud server monitoring

Ladies and gentle geeks, I'm proud to announce we've just pushed out 100% free basic server monitoring to all TurnKey Hub accounts. This should make it easier to keep tabs on the health and performance of your cloud servers. Existing Hub users don't need to do anything to enjoy this new feature. It just works.

A better server dashboard

As you can see in the screenshot below, the server dashboard now includes thumbnail graphs of CPU utilization, disk IO and network traffic for the last hour:

Hub dashboard metric thumbnails

Why Rackspace open sourced OpenStack

Making TurnKey easy to deploy on as many public and private clouds is an important goal for us. We're going to soon be expanding the number of image formats TurnKey officially support to include more major contenders in this space. We'd also like to establish a mirror network that supports rsync so that service providers will find it easy to get up-to-date images of all TurnKey appliances. By the way, if an rsync mirror is something you would find valuable, drop me a line.

How TKLBAM hooks work

Most TKLBAM users probably don't realize this, but TKLBAM has a nifty, general purpose hooks mechanism you can use to trigger useful actions on backup and restore.

Examples of hooks:

  • Cleaning up temporary files
  • Stopping/starting services to increase data consistency
  • Encoding/decoding data from non-supported databases
  • Using LVM to create/restore a snapshot of a fast changing volume

On my Kindle I am root

Starting from the end

That's my Kindle in the screenshot running a full screen terminal. I'm about to run nmap (a network mapping program) inside a chrooted Debian ARM installation I put on the device. Having Debian on the device isn't really necessary for hacking the Kindle but it does make it easier to install ARM binaries of just about any of the 25,000 packages in Debian. Yep, apt-get works on my Kindle!

Be nice. It's a fscking gift

Open source development is usually fun and rewarding. You get to work on whatever you like. No permission required. No "business justification". Here's this thing I've created, isn't it neat? There's a deep sense of satisfaction in making things. Especially when other people find them useful. It's also pretty awesome when people decide what you've made is interesting enough that they want to join in and help make it better. Successful projects often form into communities. Strangers from all over the world turned into enthusiastic users, co-developers. Friends.

The only parts that suck are that:

  1. It is a bit more difficult to make a living purely from open source software. Giving stuff away generally doesn't pay very well.
  2. Some people just don't get it.

Is selling / monetizing open source a zero sum game?

Most of the feedback users send to us privately is good, but not all of it. We do get some negative feedback every now and then, though we try not to get too worked up about it. In a way negative feedback is good too, because at least a user cared enough to bother to shed light on an issue that was troubling them. We can (and do) resolve most issues users commonly report to us by making technical fixes to TurnKey, but sometimes users complain about things we can't change. Except perhaps to try and explain our thinking better.

The Hub now supports reserved instances - pay up to 50% less

Reserve instance dialog

In response to user demand on the forum we've added Hub support for Amazon EC2 reserved instances.

Reserved instances are an Amazon EC2 feature that allows you to reserve server capacity up to 3 years in advance by paying a low one-time fee.