cron.weekly issue #112: Intel, Ubuntu, Docusaurus, PHP-PM, SWAP, Containers & more

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Mattias Geniar, January 14, 2018

Follow me on Twitter as @mattiasgeniar

Hi everyone!

Welcome to what is probably the last cron.weekly for a long time. I’ve been writing this newsletter for a little over 2 years, and I feel I need a break.

I wrote a lengthy blogpost if you care about the details, the short version is: I’ve got a wife, 2 kids, a (more than) full time job, 2 other side projects and a Netflix subscription. For now, cron.weekly doesn’t fit in that list anymore.

I’m sorry if you’ve only just signed up last week. If you’ve been here for the whole ride, I want to thank you for your feedback, replies, comments, shares & general knowledge! I got to feature the most interesting articles on a weekly basis because you wrote them. Please keep doing that!

As for my other side projects: I want to focus more on Oh Dear!, a new website monitoring app I’m building together with my buddy Freek. I also run & support DNS Spy, to raise awareness of the criticality of DNS records and help monitor them.

During the day I work at Nucleus (a managed hosting provider) where I want to renew my focus on launching new projects (in the pipeline: Kubernetes, Docker + more automation) & continue to improve our customer support. I know, it sounds cheesy, but that’s what I love doing.

If you want to stay in touch, follow me on any of these social platforms – I’ll continue to share interesting links & projects from my own account.

I won’t be offline – I’ll just stop writing cron.weekly. For now.


The story behind our open source efforts

This is an entertaining read about a Belgian company called Spatie and how they chose a path of “open source everything” with taking on client contracts.

Meltdown and Spectre Linux Kernel Status

This is an update from Greg Kroah-Hartman regarding the Intel patches and how it could have all been handle a lot better.

Ubuntu has updated kernels for Spectre & Meltdown

They’re a week later than most other distros, but Ubuntu now has updated kernels for the Spectre & Meltdown vulnerabilities. The reason for the delays are further described on the Ubuntu blog.

Linus praises Thomas Gleixner for the Intel follow-up

A new RC for the 4.15 kernel was tagged, but the most interesting bits are the public praise for Thomas Gleixner for his continued efforts in making sure the Intel patches made it to the kernel in a reasonable time in & good shape. Thomas, I think we all owe you a beer!

Introducing the new SourceForge

I have to admit I haven’t used SourceForge in years, but I do like to see they’re making efforts to stick around. No more bundled adware, a new redesign & proper roadmap for 2018. Good luck, SourceForge!

Benchmarking Linux With The Retpoline Patches For Spectre

Quite a few performance benchmarks that help put the latest patches – that have been rumored to have a 5%-30% performance impact – in perspective.

How to turn your side project into an open source project

A couple of good tips on starting your own open source projects. From personal experience, only start with something you’re passionate about and you use daily!

DNS Spy: paranoid about your DNS

If someone changes the DNS records of your domain and puts up an identical phishing website to yours, would you know? Would you care? If you care, you might want to consider monitoring your DNS with DNS Spy for unwanted changes. (Sponsored)

Tools & Projects

Oh Dear: website monitoring without the hassle

Simple, affordable & complete website monitoring: Oh Dear! reports uptime, mixed content, certificate errors & transparency reports for your websites. Hook it up to your Slack, Hipchat or any other service via our webhooks. (Sponsored)


A new Facebook open source project to build & maintain documentation websites.


Breezy is a new fork of Bazaar, a version control system. Its goals are to make it Python 3 compatible and continue the dev efforts from Bazaar.

Specter & Meltdown checkers

Spectre & Meltdown vulnerability/mitigation checker for Linux.

Meltdown exploit

And another one, specifically for Meltdown.


And the last one, but this also contains videos showcasing how Meltdown can be abused and the dangers it holds.


Not PHP-FPM (the process manager you probably use to run PHP), but PHP-PM: PPM is a process manager, supercharger and load balancer for modern PHP applications.


Guides & Tutorials

The Linux commands you should NEVER use

A bit of a link-bait title, but it includes a couple of “shoot yourself in the foot” examples of CLI commands you’ll want to avoid.

In defence of swap: common misconceptions

A lot of in-depth arguments on why you’ll want SWAP space on your Linux boxes, even if you don’t plan to ever need it.

Container Structure Tests: Unit Tests for Docker Images

The Container Tools team at Google has announced the release of the Container Structure Test framework. This framework provides a convenient and powerful way to verify the contents and structure of your containers.

10 Lessons from 10 Years of AWS (part 1)

A lot of “lessons learned” for those managing AWS infrastructures.

Syslog-ng and ElasticSearch 6: getting started on RHEL/CentOS

A practical guide for setting up your syslog server together with the latest ElasticSearch.



The biggest open source conference in Europe, on February 3rd & 4th 2018. There’s a community room for just about every project you can imagine. I’m going to have to pass myself (family comes first) but I’ll definitely be there in 2019!

PHP Benelux 2018

It’s already completely sold out, but this is my favorite conference *ever*. If you managed to get tickets, make sure to reach out – I’ll be there the entire time and I’d love to talk!

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