How to build a TurnKey appliance ISO from source

[UPDATE:] This blog post has been converted to a Doc page and has had some updates since this post was published.

Insights on what makes me productive

A few insights I've had with regards to what makes me productive:

  1. satisfying "meaty" workplans: I tend to be much more productive if I something on my table I can really sink my teeth into. The best example is an interesting development project with the high-level design sketched up and a road-map with deliverable testable milestones for me to bite through one mouthful at a time.

Securing Firefox, Chrome and Thunderbird against client-side attacks

Imagine someone half-competent wants to hack into your computer. They want to read your e-mail, steal your bitcoins, transfer funds via your PayPal account, etc.

You're behind a firewall (or more commonly a NAT router) and you don't have any open ports / servers running. So you're safe right?

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TurnKey v14.0 RC1 is LIVE! (aka we need YOU!)

Update: v14.0 stable is available in all build types: OVA & VMDK, Proxmox, OpenNode & Docker (Proxmox build is somewhat generic LXC/OpenVZ container) and Xen & OpenStack.

How to upgrade a Debian package to a newer upstream version

Duplicity issued a new stable version with a few bugfixes. I didn't want to wait for the Debian sid package to update so I updated it myself.

This was very simple as the Debian duplicity package uses dpatch to manage all the patches to the original source code. The patches go to debian/patches.

When the package is built debian/rules applies these patches:

dpatch apply-all

Creating a new dpatch is also automated::

# 1. create a new patch: invokes a new shell. Edit files and exit # when you're done dpatch-edit-patch <patch_name>

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Invalidating the disk cache on Linux

Here's a super easy way to invalidate the disk cache, which is useful for testing IO performance in the real world, where you can't rely on all of your reads being served up from a super-fast RAM cache rather than a vastly slower physical disk drive.

This will free up everything in the disk cache:

echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

Or if you want more control over exactly what is being freed...

  1. This frees up the pagecache (e.g., cache of contents of files):

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