cron.weekly issue #14: ZFS, Seesaw, IRC, Mailing Lists, tcpdump, EFI & many more

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Mattias Geniar, February 07, 2016

Follow me on Twitter as @mattiasgeniar

Welcome to cron.weekly for Sunday, February 7th.

This’ll be a shorter edition than usual since this wasn’t the best week for my health, apologies if you expected more. I should be back in full force next week. 😉


The state of ZFS in Debian

A recent rundown on where ZFS is in the Debian distribution. It talks licensing and distribution methods.

Linux Mint 18 will get its own apps

The popular Linux Mint distribution will get applications specific for its platform. This should result in a cleaner desktop experience with more “native” look and feel (where menu-bars don’t suddenly appear twice because of weird Ubuntu/Gnome bugs).

Docker Official Images are Moving to Alpine Linux

Alpine Linux was first mentioned here in issue #8, it now seems that the Docker project is moving away from Ubuntu as the default Docker image to the more lightweight Alpine Linux.

Docker 1.10 released

Some highlights: a new Compose file, improved security, multiple networking tiers and an updated docker engine. You can get all detailed commits over at Github.

Awk, Unix, and functional programming

Some nice history and examples of functional programming using Awk.

Free for Dev

A very extensive overview of services that offer free tiers  for popular subscription services(albeit somewhat hard to discover for some).

We’re in a brave, new post open source world

A look at the history of Open Source, the rise of two giants (Github & Stack Overflow) building on top it and forecasting the future where open source might take us.

Tools & Projects

Seesaw: Google’s scalable load balancer

Google open sourced their ‘Seesaw’ load balancer, presenting it as a robust and scalable solution. It handles VIPs (Virtual IPs), healthchecks, ease of configuration, … Seesaw is written in Go.


Huginn is a system for building agents that perform automated tasks for you online. They can read the web, watch for events, and take actions on your behalf. Huginn’s Agents create and consume events, propagating them along a directed graph. Think of it as a hackable Yahoo! Pipes plus IFTTT on your own server.


Shout is a self-hosted web IRC client.


This is a new front-end load testing tool. It generates load by running a lot of browser instances simultaneously and waiting for the page to finish loading (no more pending resource calls). The tool uses PhantomJS.

Clean MARC

This was a side project if myself: a clean, minimal way to read mailing list entries. There’s no reason a mailing list post should always be rendered in plain text with zero markup. This frontend introduces a responsive layout and good-looking typography.

Core Infrastructure Initiative

A shared initiative by our industry’s giants on funding and securing the core infrastructure components on which we’ve come to rely (NTP, GnuPG, OpenSSH, OpenSSL, …).

Guides & Tutorials

fdupes: find duplicate files in Linux

This guide covers the ‘fdupes’ file which finds duplicate files by comparing MD5 hashes on your Linux machine and can optionally clean them up too.

tcpdump primer

A very well written (and colourful) guide on using tcpdump, covering all the flags and interpreting the output.

Booting into Linux directly from EFI, without a bootloader or initrd

Some food for thought: if you don’t trust your bootloader or initrd, what alternatives are there for booting a Linux machine as efficiently as possible?

Sudo insults

I never knew a default sudo install could be configured to insult you when you type a wrong password.

Working with submodules

Some deployment pipelines use git submodules extensively, so it may be worth knowing a bit about them. This post details how that works.

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