Category: Linux

Detailed Smart Card Cryptographic Token Security Guide

August 6th, 2015, 4 Comments

After my first post about smartcards under Linux, I thought I would share some information I’ve been gathering. This post is already huge, so I am not going to dive into — much — specific commands, but I am linking to many sources with detailed instructions. I’ve reviewed several types of cards. For this review, […]

First steps with smartcards under Linux and Android — hard, but it works

July 16th, 2015, 3 Comments

Well this has been an interesting project. It all started with a need to get better password storage at work. We wound up looking heavily at a GPG-based solution. This prompted the question: how can we make it even more secure? Well, perhaps, smartcards. The theory is this: a smartcard holds your private keys in […]

Roundup of remote encrypted deduplicated backups in Linux

June 11th, 2015, 20 Comments

Since I wrote last about Linux backup tools, back in a 2008 article about BackupPC and similar toools and a 2011 article about dedpulicating filesystems, I’ve revisited my personal backup strategy a bit. I still use ZFS, with my tool “simplesnap” that I wrote about in 2014 to perform local backups to USB drives, which […]

First impressions and review of OwnCloud

May 8th, 2015, 9 Comments

In my recent post (I give up on Google), a lot of people suggested using OwnCloud as a replacement for several Google services. I’ve been playing around with it for a few days, and it is something of a mix of awesome and disappointing, in my opinion. Files OwnCloud started as a file-sync tool, somewhat […]

Reactions to “Has modern Linux lost its way?” and the value of simplicity

February 11th, 2015, 79 Comments

Apparently I touched a nerve with my recent post about the growing complexity of issues. There were quite a few good comments, which I’ll mention here. It’s provided me some clarity on the problem, in fact. I’ll try to distill a few more thoughts here. The value of simplicity and predictability The best software, whether […]

Backing up every few minutes with simplesnap

February 13th, 2014, 10 Comments

I’ve written a lot lately about ZFS, and one of its very nice features is the ability to make snapshots that are lightweight, space-efficient, and don’t hurt performance (unlike, say, LVM snapshots). ZFS also has “zfs send” and “zfs receive” commands that can send the content of the snapshot, or a delta between two snapshots, […]

Migrated from Hetzner to OVH hosting

February 7th, 2014, 5 Comments

Since August 2011, my sites such as have been running on a Xen-backed virtual private server (VPS) at Hetzner Online, based in Germany. I had what they called their VQ19 package, which included 2GB RAM, 80GB HDD, 100Mb NIC and 4TB transfer. Unlike many other VPS hosts, I never had performance problems. However, I […]

VirtFS isn’t quite ready

February 7th, 2014, 9 Comments

Despite claims to the contrary [PDF], VirtFS — the 9P-based virtio KVM/QEMU layer designed to pass through a host’s filesystem to the guest — is quite slow. I have yet to get it to perform at even 1/10 the speed of the virtual block device (VBD). That’s unfortunate, because in theory it should be significantly […]

How to fix “fstrim: Operation not supported” under KVM?

February 6th, 2014, 9 Comments

Maybe someone out there will have some ideas. I have a KVM host running wheezy, with wheezy-backports versions of libvirt and qemu. I have defined a guest, properly set discard=unmap in the domain XML file for it, verified that’s being passed to the guest, but TRIM/DISCARD is just not working. Mounting the ext4 filesystem with […]

Why and how to run ZFS on Linux

January 23rd, 2014, 15 Comments

I’m writing a bit about ZFS these days, and I thought I’d write a bit about why I am using it, why it might or might not be interesting for you, and what you might do about it. ZFS Features and Background ZFS is not just a filesystem in the traditional sense, though you can […]

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