cron.weekly issue #128: kernel 5.6, wireguard, gcc, gitlab, sidekick & more

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Mattias Geniar, April 05, 2020

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Hi everyone! πŸ‘‹

Welcome to cron.weekly issue #128.

We’re in week 2, no wait, 3, erm, urgh I lost count - we’re somewhere in a lockdown. I believe pants have officially become optional at this point. Make sure you point your webcams slightly up towards the ceiling, no one will notice.

I’ve got a good varied issue again, plenty of reading to hopefully take your mind of the world events - if only for a few minutes.

If you’re a tea drinker: I’m sorry. For everyone else, grab your β˜•οΈ, sit back & enjoy this issue!

(I kid - it’s OK tea drinkers, we can still be friends. 😘)

News & general πŸ—ž

Linux 5.6

Linus tagged a new 5.6 release for the Linux Kernel. Some important notes on this release:

  • This contains the first release of WireGuard
  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will ship with Kernel 5.4 (not this new 5.6) but is looking to backport the WireGuard features into its 5.4 kernel (I couldn’t find any confirmation on this, other than one news source, so no guarantees just yet)
  • Support for USB4 (for the 9 of you that run Linux on the desktop)
  • 5.6 includes a fix for 32bit systems that might have an integer overflow when the unix epoch exceeds the year 2038

By far, the biggest hype is around WireGuard for this release.

A hacker has wiped, defaced more than 15,000 Elasticsearch servers

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: don’t run unauthenticated services unfirewalled.

So, uh, I think Catalina 10.15.4 Broke SSH?

There have been some reports that the latest Mac OS update broke SSH connections that use a hostname (instead of IP) and an SSH port higher than 8192. I couldn’t replicate it myself, but if you find yourself debugging weird SSH connections this week, keep this in mind.

18 GitLab features are moving to open source

Lots of features are making their way to the free, open source, version of GitLab for anyone to run on their own infrastructure.

Static analysis coming in GCC 10

GCC 10 is likely to be released this month, and it will include an experimental -fanalyzer flag to provide static analysis at compile time, allowing you to catch certain bugs before your code ever has to run.

How is the Linux kernel tested?

I’ll admit, I haven’t actually given much thought about the testing process in releasing new kernels. This was a good read to get some more insight into that process.

Tools & Projects πŸ› 


A UDP to TCP proxy server for sending HTTP requests with zero latency: FF is a proxy server which enables you to fire and forget HTTP requests. That is, sending a HTTP request to a remote server, without waiting for a response or even the network latency required to establish a connection to that server.


Cortex provides horizontally scalable, highly available, multi-tenant, long term storage for Prometheus.


Split your file into encrypted horcruxes so that you don’t need to remember a passcode.

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sidekick is a high-performance sidecar load-balancer. By attaching a tiny load balancer as a sidecar to each of the client application processes, you can eliminate the centralized loadbalancer bottleneck and DNS failover management. sidekick automatically avoids sending traffic to the failed servers by checking their health via the readiness API and HTTP error returns.


A time tracking app that respects your privacy and gets the job done without getting too fancy.

HostDNS: Premium DNS sponsored

Make sure your DNS isn’t a bottleneck by using HostDNS’s worldwide anycast network, intuitive web DNS editor, DDoS protection and 24/7 e-mail support. Don’t blame DNS, trust HostDNS to manage it for you.

OBS Studio

Have we all become video-broadcasting experts with the quarantine already? OBS might come in handy then. OBS Studio is free and open source software for video recording and live streaming.


kpt is an OSS tool for Kubernetes packaging by Google, which uses a standard format to bundle, publish, customize, update, and apply configuration manifests.


A local ad blocker. Like Pi-hole but local and using your operating system.


It’s a game! OpenTTD is an open source simulation game based upon Transport Tycoon Deluxe.

Guides & Tutorials πŸŽ“

PostgreSQL is the worlds’ best database

OK, the title isn’t the greatest - but this post does contain a lot of cool functionality PostgreSQL has over the competition. Things like multi-protocol support, GIS (Spatial & Geographic objects), stability, performance, …

Replace GRUB2 with systemd-boot on Ubuntu 18.04

This post takes you through the steps to replace GRUB2 with a systemd-boot config. The systemd equivalent seem really clean and readability, at first glance.

How to SSH Properly

This guide covers pretty much all the necessities to get you to the next level in using SSH: certificates, keys, log management, bastion hosts, 2FA, … chances are, you’ll learn an extra trick on how to securely use SSH.

A Definitive Guide to Enabling Italics in Vim and tmux

This is far more complicated than I would have guessed, good thing someone wrote a step-by-step instruction manual!

TIL about “vipe”

vipe is a tool to run an editor in a Unix pipelines like ... | vipe | .... It’s contained in the moreutils package in Ubuntu and Fedora.

Imprisoning Naughty Dotfiles in a Fake $HOME

I’ve you’ve ever shrugged at all the dotfiles in your ~/., this post has a pretty clean solution to make sure all those dotfiles are moved to a different location, keeping your home folder neat & clean.

Introduction to Cassandra for SQL folk

I really liked this comparison post! First, the author looks at how to implement an online marketplace in vanilla SQL. Then he compares what it would look like in Cassandra. This one really made Cassandra click for me.

Better than Zoom: free software tools for staying in touch

Zoom has been getting a lot of criticism lately, but I’ll admit its ease of use is a killer feature. This list explores some alternatives for online communications. I’ll personally recommend Jitsi as I’ve been using this multiple times a week.

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