Welcome to yet another cron.weekly edition for December 5th, 2015. A lot of exciting things happened last week, let’s dive right in.
From now on, you can request and install TLS certificates on your server via the public beta of Let’s Encrypt. All it takes is the letsencrypt CLI tool and a look at their documentation on how it works.
If you hear Swift, you may be thinking about iOS mobile development on iPhones or iPads. The Swift programming language, open sourced and developed by Apple, can also run on your Linux servers and has been completely open sourced. In fact, the entire git commit history can be reviewed on github, from the very first commit to Swift. This is a surprisingly open move for an otherwise closed company.
Sysadvent is a yearly tradition where “famous” community members write a blogpost each day of December. So far, we’ve had interesting posts on automating OpenStack, examining new DevOps tools, design thinking, deploying with PowerShell on Azure and Elasticsearch, Kibana and Logstash administration. Sysadvent is one of those yearly traditions where seasoned sysadmins share knowledge and come together to bring you something bigger. Worth a read.
This is also a “December only” project, but it comes in a different form. Advent of Code is a series of small programming puzzles for a variety of skill levels. They are self-contained and are just as appropriate for an expert who wants to stay sharp as they are for a beginner who is just learning to code. Each puzzle calls upon different skills and has two parts that build on a theme.
After several years of development, PHP 7 has been released. This new version includes an improved Zend Engine with up to 2x speed improvements, several language extensions and new functions. If you’re looking for a quick summary of what’s new, I recently gave a presentation titled What’s new in PHP 7? you may find interesting.
Tools & Projects
Several years ago, Twitter announced a distributed systems tracing tool called zipkin. Varnish has taken those ideas and implemented them on top of the Varnish caching daemon in a new tool called zipnish. Zipnish takes the varnishlog as input and shows you a GUI with those parsed logs: which calls are slow? Which calls depend on each other? The screenshots of Zipnish show how this might look. This seems like a tool that can shed a lot of insights into microservice applications.
If you’re thinking about starting a blog or a new website, you can consider using a static site generator instead of a CMS like WordPress or Drupal. If your site is entirely static, it can even run on free services like Github Pages, so your hosting is free of charge. This website has a comprehensive overview of the most popular static site generators being used, with Jekyll as the current winner.
Vault is a tool by Hashicorp, the company behind Vagrant, for managing and sharing secrets. This online demo shows how the v_ault_ command works at the command line. This is an interactive way of exploring Vault and its many uses and gives you a practical feel of the tool.
notty is a virtual terminal like xterm, gnome-vte, sh, or rxvt. Unlike these programs, notty is not intended to emulate a DEC VT-series physical video terminal, or any other physical device. Instead, notty is an experimental project to bring new features to the command-line which would not have been possible for the physical terminals other terminals emulate.
This is a new tool for brute forcing different password hashes. The political correct term for these kind of tools is “password recovery”.
Guides & Tutorials
Yet another fine guide by the Netflix team on “what to do in the first 60 seconds of analysing a server performance issue“. A nice reminder on tools like sar, iostat, vmstat, pidstat, …
Codecademy is an amazing initiative with free resources to learn to code, in an interactive way. One of their latest guides is an interactive tutorial that lets you explore git, the version control tool, with some practical examples and challenges.
This blogpost shows you how you can change the default nice value on a Linux box. This is a very useful method to lower the impact individual users can have on your server.
This review covers the NixOS Operating System. NixOS is a Linux distribution with a unique approach to package and configuration management. NixOS has a completely declarative approach to configuration management: you write a specification of the desired configuration of your system in NixOS’s modular language, and NixOS takes care of making it happen.
This post goes into detail on using SSH Agent Forwarding and jumphosts and offers some example SSH configuration files to make the examples more clear.
This benchmark is done by Intel and the results favor intel processors, but the test is remarkable nonetheless. It shows how OpenSSL 1.0.2 outperforms OpenSSL 1.0.1 by factor 2x. This is yet another reason to consider upgrading to the latest OpenSSL release.
This is an interesting 4-part series that gives you a practical challenge for when you want to experiment with Docker: use it to run your Minecraft server. It covers persistent storage, Kubernetes and all practical challenges you’ll face when first exploring Docker.