cron.weekly issue #10: RISC-V, OpenSSL, ClusterSSH, Jasper, Deptyr, Named Pipes and many more

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Mattias Geniar, January 10, 2016

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Welcome to cron.weekly edition 10 for Sunday, January 10th, 2016.

Quite a lot of content in this edition, looks like everyone’s back on track in the new year! If I missed interesting blogposts or projects, make sure to let me know so I can include them in next weeks’ edition.


Google, HP, Oracle Join RISC-V

We know Intel, AMD and ARM CPU’s. We may soon add a new, Open Source, CPU to that list too: RISC-V. Some of the biggest in our industry are backing this new proposal, so we may find ourselves hearing more of the RISC-V CPU (but I do hope it’s a work-in-progress name that can still change).

Experimental bytecode cache in Ruby 2.3

This is good news for the Ruby community! Work is being done to introduce bytecode cache to the Ruby project. Think of it like APC or OPcache for PHP, but for Ruby processes.

Conference update

If you’re from Europe, here are 2 interesting conferences to consider for January and Februari: Fosdem 2016 happens in Brussels and is probably the biggest Open Source conference you’ll find in Europe. The days after, there’s Config Management Camp in Ghent. I’d highly recommend attending both if you have the opportunity!

​DD-WRT Linux firmware comes to Linksys routers

The powerful DD-WRT firmware will soon work on Linksys routers.

configuration (mis)management or why I hate puppet, ansible, salt, etc.

This well-written post details the problems discovered with config management. We may not agree on the details, but it points out flaws we need to consider when building our infrastructures.

Dutch government sponsors OpenSSL with a $540k gift

Now that’s a statement. Good for the OpenSSL project.

RemixOS: Android for the Desktop

It’s Linux, sort of. This hardware+software combination is a really cheap, portable desktop based on the Android OS.

Chirimen Board

2016 is the year of open source hardware, it seems. This hardware project by the Mozilla Foundation is a fully featured miniature board with web-based API to control it.

Linux Mint 18

The Linux Mint project is an easy to use Linux distribution, focussing on giving new or novice users the simplest possible Linux experience. Mint 18 will be based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and is codenamed ‘Sarah’.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS might ship with PHP 7

This would be excellent news if it’s confirmed: the new LTS release for Ubuntu, 16.04, might ship with PHP 7 as the default version.

Tools & Projects

Jasper: Control everything with your voice

The Jasper Project is an Open Source platform for voice computing. These kind of projects allow you to build your own Siri (Apple), Cortana (Windows) or Jarvis (Iron Man).


Poppins is a rotating backup script based on rsync with support for BTRFS/ZFS snapshots. If you don’t like tools like Bacula or you’re still writing your own bash/rsync scripts for back-ups, maybe Poppins is the tool you need.


If you ever need to execute SSH commands on multiple servers, and you don’t want/need to use config management tool, ClusterSSH is what you need. The ‘cssh‘ command opens an administration console and an xterm to all specified hosts. Any text typed into the administration console is replicated to all windows.


This _politically incorrectly named _tool corrects your previous console command. A typo in your sudo config? Mistyped a parameter to your previous config? The fuck command can auto-correct it for you. But may want to alias it to a more workspace friendly name. 😉


Gmvault is a tool for backing up your gmail account and never lose email correspondence.


If you’re behind a corporate firewall, it can be difficult to get additional firewall ports opened. Chances are, DNS is allowed though. The dnscat2 project is designed to create an encrypted command-and-control (C&C) channel over the DNS protocol, which is an effective tunnel out of almost every network.


In this post the Yelp team introduces ‘dumb-init’, a simple init system written in C which they use inside their docker containers.


If you’ve ever had the pleasure of joining Linux machines to a Windows Active Directory domain, you’ll know it can be a real pain. This script should, hopefully, make things easier.


Terminal output styling with intuitive and clean API that doesn’t monkey patch String class. Pastel is minimal and focused to work in all terminal emulators.


Inspired by the Oh My Zsh project, Zim is a Zsh configuration framework with blazing speed and modular extensions. Zim is easy to customize, and comes with a rich set of modules and features without compromising on speed or functionality.

Guides & Tutorials

The art of command line

This is quite the list: an overview of both every-day commands at the CLI as well as useful tricks for processing files, processes, debugging, … You’ll need your time if you want to process it all!

Elasticsearch 2.x upgrade guide

This blogpost offers some key points to be aware of when upgrading from Elasticsearch 1.x to 2.x; which settings changed, what downtime to take into consideration, etc.

Learning tools collection

This repository contains a variety of files and tools for learning new technologies. It is aimed at existing IT professionals who need some help coming up to speed with new technologies, products, or open source projects.

Deploy your node app on Linux, 2016 edition

A modern look at how to deploy nodejs code on a server with all practical commands included.

Deptyr, or how I learned to love UNIX domain sockets

This blogpost introduces pseudo terminals and a new tool called deptyr for programs pseudo-headlessly under a process supervisor. A really nice in-depth write-up on TTY’s and domain sockets, if you’re interested!

Using Named Pipes (FIFOs) with Bash

If you liked the domain socket link above, you’ll have fun reading this one too: it introduces the concept of named pipes for inter-process communication. It allows you have to 2 independent Bash scripts to exchange data.

Security Guide: How to Protect Your Infrastructure Against the Basic Attacker

There’s a lot of basic configurations in this guide. If you’re just starting out with being a sysadmin or you’d like a reminder on all the basic checkboxes to tick of, have a look at this post.

Using 2-factor authentication with SSH

This guide shows you all the parameters and configs for enabling 2FA with your SSH configuration.

Tricks with SSH

A nice reminder on using SSH with configurations in the ~/.ssh/config file and local port forwarding.

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