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Thread: How to Get Started with the GNU/Linux Operating System

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    Slight update: I've taken a few new screenshots with a different wallpaper ─ this particular one is one of the daytime variants of the dynamic wallpaper in macOS 10.14 Mojave ─ to better show off the translucency effects in the KvGlow Dark Mojave theme.















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    Note: The following three posts were copied over from another thread, where they were off-topic.





    Quote Originally posted by Sammy View Post
    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    And of course, both Ilie and Paul have already left Project Avalon in the meantime, so there's a bit of a problem there, because Hervé, Tommy and Bill won't know what exactly Ilie and Paul changed without being able to compare that to a completely fresh vanilla installation of vBulletin 4.1.1, but the 4.x.x generation is already no longer available by now ─ vBulletin is now only available as a 5.x.x release anymore.
    This statement is significant. As time moves forward, to be stuck on 4.1.1 could become problematic. Especially if that prevents security fix implementations. It also means a feature freeze. Maybe they have the ability to do a full rollback. That would result in the loss of the customizations but at least then they can move forward with new releases when available.
    Well, vBulletin does provide patch-level updates, but I don't know how far they reach. So for instance, if you're running 4.2.1, then you can patch that up to 4.2.3 and it should remain fully compatible. But what I do not know is to what extent such a patch-level update will honor any customizations you've applied to the code since the initial installation. It might overwrite everything, or it might only overwrite those parts of the code that haven't been modified.

    This is specific to each and every software title that gets installed outside of a package manager. vBulletin runs on GNU/Linux (or other UNIX) systems, and GNU/Linux has a package manager for installing and/or removing software ─ the package manager keeps track of every individual software package installed on the system ─ but vBulletin is third-party software that comes with its own installation procedure, outside of the package manager's scope. By consequence, the update/upgrade procedure is also specific to vBulletin itself, and so I have no idea how it works.





    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    [...]

    I also wondered what unix/linux commands a conspiracy board sysadmin might run in the course of a month. I know a little of top, htop, ps ax, stat and ps aux... but not much else. Over the next two years I will teach myself some basic sysadmin. Some pointers might be useful, if you had time. I can easily google "basic sysadmin commands", but running a conspiracy board may a few specific difficulties that normal sysadmins might not encounter.
    Oh, well, to be honest, I have so far never had to access any command-line prompt in my now four years of being the administrator of The One Truth ─ or that is to say, I have not had to use any command-line tools on the server, because I am and have already for 20+ years exclusively been running GNU/Linux on my own workstations, and I do very often use the command line here.

    But with regard to the management of the server, if you need to do anything specific with regard to traffic analysis, managing the server's email, managing the DNS entries, and the likes, you commonly do this by way of a web-based control panel ─ usually cPanel, but there are others, and it all depends on who your domain hosting company is. So it's all managed from within a web browser, over an encrypted connection.

    Another thing with regard to UNIX servers ─ which includes GNU/Linux, the various BSD-based systems and OpenIndiana ─ is that once you've set up the system for a production role, almost everything is automated by way of a cron daemon of some sorts, which periodically runs scripts that do things like rotate the logs, check file integrity, index and update the file search database, et al. It really is very low-maintenance.

    What I do recommend you would study, if you're interested in this stuff, is how to use the command line effectively, and how to write shell scripts. In GNU/Linux, the shell is most often GNU Bash, but there are others as well, such as the Z Shell, the C Shell and the Public Domain Korn Shell. They all have their specific syntax and properties, but with the exception of the C Shell, all others are pretty much compatible with the original Bourne Shell, so if you write your scripts as Bourne Shell scripts only, then they will be portable across all of those other shells.

    This here is a very good starters tutorial on how to use the shell and write scripts.

    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    Paul ran the server from his house, right? That is impressive, if I'm correct. It must take some real skill to keep a board like that running.
    No, that's not correct. Paul was the senior administrator at Project Avalon, and of course, he was interfacing with the server from within his own home, but that's quite common nowadays ─ I do that too. The Project Avalon server itself is however hosted at a data center.

    First and foremost, if you're going to be running a server out of your own home, then that's going to become incredibly costly, because you'll need a top-of-the-line internet connection with guaranteed quality-of-service, you need top-of-the-line enterprise-grade hardware (including spare parts), you need a guaranteed 24/7 uptime on account of electricity, with backup generators, you need a decent hardware firewall, et al, and the server should be placed somewhere where nobody's smoking, where there are no cats or dogs around, and where it can remain at a constant low temperature.

    Data centers offer all of the above at a much smaller cost. So you hire either a virtual private server, or a dedicated server, or you supply a server of your own, and then that gets mounted into a rack in a large, air-conditioned room, with secure access, and with the hardware constantly monitored. There will also be periodic (and automated) backups, stored on an external machine. Everything is on large uninterruptible power supplies, which themselves are backed up by diesel-powered generators. You simply cannot provide for all of that inside your own home for the same amount of money.

    Trust me, I've run an IRC network with a couple of other people for about seven to eight years, the last three or four years of which we were attempting to host it ourselves because we thought it would have been cheaper. Well, not so, despite all of our equipment being second-hand (but enterprise-grade). It was horribly expensive, and when stuff breaks down, you yourself have to make sure that you replace the failed components with new ones, and as soon as possible.

    So the Project Avalon server actually resides in one of those specialized data centers, and so does the server of The One Truth ─ they're at different data centers, though.
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    Thanks for that write up Aragorn, it is most useful. I will reply more in depth when I have more time, as you have brought up many interesting points. The Unix info basically gives me a roadmap for the next 2 years study, cheers. I had a feeling I might be wrong about Paul running the server from his house. I heard running servers from home could be a pain.

    Zooming out (ignoring localized board politics for now) I feel there may be many esoterically inclined people who want to get into technology/software but feel it's too difficult for them. Maybe talking about server work would show them it's possible for anyone to learn these skills, with a couple of years (or more) dedication. Talking about Unix/Linux in the context of server management by yourself, and maybe Paul... might be a good, constructive way to salvage something useful from our time spent on other boards. Real life case studies are inspiring, believable, and engaging. Some tutorials (especially in the Linux world) can be a little dry for beginners, so colorful stories are interesting.

    I'm not sure what linux distro I was running. I used Cloud9 for 4-5 years, so whatever they had. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS x64 I guess. I don't know any deeper than that. I also used digital ocean a couple of times. As I have ran small open source projects in the past, I always choose the plainest, most vanilla, widely distributed stack I can find, to aid with onboarding. I try not to customize anything at all if I can help it. IIRC I had some compatibility issues with different versions of Ubuntu a couple of years back. 14.04 something vs 16.04. Small issues like that can sometimes discourage otherwise promising programmers.

    If you feel this conversation needs to be snipped out or moved please go ahead. But I think it could be healing on several levels. I guess non-interested people could skim any tech-oriented posts. I know there's a lot of brainpower in these parts, so who knows what lurker may benefit from these posts?
    Six Doctors For A Medical Revolution

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    Now I have some more time...Do you have much experience with DDOS attacks Aragorn? I guess everyone's nightmare is waking up with a huge server bill.

    https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/201...m-ddos-attack/

    This is one of the reasons I haven't set up my own website. I guess the risk of DDOS for conspiracy forums must be greater than average. There may be come time when China regularly DDOSes any western outlet that speaks out against them. I know they DDOSed Github.

    https://www.wired.com/story/github-ddos-memcached/

    What is the safest way to make sure you don't get a huge server bill? Run everything on third party equipment might be one solution, but that comes with it's own set of hassles, such as API feature deprecation or restrictive rules. A lot of providers have a throttle where you can cut the server if the bill goes above a certain amount, correct? Is this foolproof? I don’t mind a server going down. It’s the crippling bills that cause nightmares.

    *

    I also wondered if you know of a good online Linux cloud provider. I need a basic terminal from which I can run basic bash commands, and maybe Git. So it needs some local storage, and then the ability to download from my local. I just wrote a software course for my employer. But Cloud9 has been bought up, so I have been looking for an alternative. I have googled it a little, and most providers have some sort of flaw.


    I guess I’ll have to plod through this list. Codeanywhere looks alright. I really need full on Git terminal capability, but all these online IDEs give you their own drag and drop version. Meh. I can happily search this subject myself, but I wondered if you had any recommendations.

    https://alternativeto.net/software/cloud9/

    That dark theme in the screengrabs looks lush, BTW. Made me wonder if TOT has a dark theme. EDIT: Yes, found it... somewhere near the bottom of settings.
    Last edited by Daozen, 10th July 2019 at 14:58.
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  9. #20
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    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    Now I have some more time...Do you have much experience with DDOS attacks Aragorn?
    Well, back when I was still running an IRC network with a bunch of other people, we were being DDoS'd on several occasions. But that's quite normal for IRC networks. Script kiddies love doing that sort of thing for bragging rights.

    The One Truth has also been DDoS'd once that I know of, but I wasn't the administrator here yet at the time. We also know who was behind it ─ it was an ex-member who was banned, although I'm not sure whether he was banned because of the DDoS, or whether the DDoS was a reaction to his banning. He was a bit of an amateur hacker, and he was hitting the server with over 3'200 connections at the same time, through the TOR network. That's why we're blocking all connections through TOR nowadays.

    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    I guess everyone's nightmare is waking up with a huge server bill.

    https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/201...m-ddos-attack/

    This is one of the reasons I haven't set up my own website. I guess the risk of DDOS for conspiracy forums must be greater than average. There may be come time when China regularly DDOSes any western outlet that speaks out against them. I know they DDOSed Github.

    https://www.wired.com/story/github-ddos-memcached/
    Funny that you should mention China. We are currently being hit by a botnet from China, which is why the number of Guest connections in the "Who's Online?" list is so high.

    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    What is the safest way to make sure you don't get a huge server bill? Run everything on third party equipment might be one solution, but that comes with it's own set of hassles, such as API feature deprecation or restrictive rules. A lot of providers have a throttle where you can cut the server if the bill goes above a certain amount, correct? Is this foolproof? I don’t mind a server going down. It’s the crippling bills that cause nightmares.
    Some cloud providers ─ e.g. Cloudflare ─ have built-in DDoS protection, but I'm no expert on all of that cloud stuff. I don't trust corporations.

    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    I also wondered if you know of a good online Linux cloud provider. I need a basic terminal from which I can run basic bash commands, and maybe Git. So it needs some local storage, and then the ability to download from my local. I just wrote a software course for my employer. But Cloud9 has been bought up, so I have been looking for an alternative. I have googled it a little, and most providers have some sort of flaw.
    Well, if it's only so as to be able to use a UNIX shell, then you can install Cygwin or something similar on your Windows box. It's an implementation of the GNU operating system on top of the Windows NT kernel, which then runs as a separate "personality" alongside of your Windows API. And Microsoft even ships its own version of a modified Ubuntu distro these days, to be used as a virtual machine in Windows.

    If on the other hand you are looking for an actual login shell provider in the cloud, then I'm afraid I can't help you with that, but then your Google Fu will be as good as my Google Fu. (Or DuckDuckGo, or whatever other search engine.)

    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    I guess I’ll have to plod through this list. Codeanywhere looks alright. I really need full on Git terminal capability, but all these online IDEs give you their own drag and drop version. Meh. I can happily search this subject myself, but I wondered if you had any recommendations.

    https://alternativeto.net/software/cloud9/
    The only one I know of is GitHub.

    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    That dark theme in the screengrabs looks lush, BTW. Made me wonder if TOT has a dark theme. EDIT: Yes, found it... somewhere near the bottom of settings.
    Yep, we've got two of them, Space and Galaxy. I wouldn't recommend Space, though, because it makes certain things harder to see ─ e.g. links have the same color as regular text and you won't notice it's a link until you hover the mouse pointer over it ─ but we know that a couple of our members are using the Galaxy theme. Modern wizards seem to like it.
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    Appreciate that reply as usual Aragorn. I am finally starting to get over burnout. We can take the tempo of this thread down. Will reply in 4-5 days. I work weekends.
    Six Doctors For A Medical Revolution

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    Speaking of DDOS attacks, I just signed up for Protonmail. I have a really privacy conscious friend, and he gets annoyed if I contact him through gmail. Both Protonmail and Tutanota both look interesting. If anyone has any recommendations for secure messaging services I'm listening. Anyway... an unknown entity launched a massive DDOS attack against Protonmail a while back:

    DDoS attacks
    From 3 to 7 November 2015, ProtonMail was under several DDoS attacks that made the service largely unavailable to users.[27] ProtonMail believed that it was affected by two separate attacks, the first led by a group of hackers known as the Armada Collective demanding ransom payment. The second attack was by an unknown, more technically advanced group exhibiting capabilities more commonly possessed by state-sponsored agents, This second group never contacted Protonmail nor made any ransom demands. Their sole objective being to take ProtonMail offline. The first attack was tied to a ransom of 15 bitcoins (roughly US$16,000 at the time), which ProtonMail eventually paid due to pressure from ISPs and other companies affected by the attack. The DDoS attacks, however, did not stop and instead began to take on more sophistication, with rates exceeding 100 Gbit/s.
    *

    I wonder how the free internet will deal with DDOS attacks over the next 3-5 decades. I guess the criminal cartels want a corporate internet with Facebook, Amazon and others as the sole arbiters of content. One of the reasons I'm learning Unix is so I can help out with open source software over the next 30 years. Lots of people can do HTML,CSS and JS but backend skills are in short supply. Gotta skill up.

    What is that Chinese botnet doing? I am absolutely sure that Chinese DDOS attacks will be a major tool of the criminal cartels when they want to snuff some information. I guess the only real protection is a distributed system.
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    Hia Daozen and the group -

    when I had a website active I was regularly monitored by the good ole folks from Fort Huachuca..


    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1Jw55qPvaQ


    Chinese DDOS botnets attacking services seemed more like snatch-n-grab operations compared to those folks' capabilities..

    more.. https://home.army.mil/huachuca/index.php

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    That story is kind of weird Bob...who do they train ....civilians or military
    "We are one thought away from changing the world!"

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    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    Quote Originally posted by Aragorn View Post
    Funny that you should mention China. We are currently being hit by a botnet from China, which is why the number of Guest connections in the "Who's Online?" list is so high.
    What is that Chinese botnet doing?
    Data mining, insofar as I can see.
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    Quote Originally posted by NotAPretender View Post
    That story is kind of weird Bob...who do they train ....civilians or military
    It looks like both - one of the contemptuous trainings was about torture methods of those captured and interrogated..

    see: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/us-so...rself_b_190517

    and


    Top Secret America - A hidden world growing beyond control - https://www.denverpost.com/2010/07/1...eyond-control/

    and

    http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/ - the general reference site

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    Hey Bob....data-mining and torture. They sound like swell folks. Your story just confirms what many of us have realized for a while... that forums are under heavy, heavy surveillance. If the push for global government ever ramps up, web forums will be one of the major sources of resistance. They already are. Hence the unholy amount of psy-ops that are sent our way. One reason I want to learn Unix is because I could run distributed systems like Apache Helix and Cluster. I only glanced at them but they sure look interesting.

    If we don't learn command line, deployment, and general low level computer skills we'll be at the mercy of the corporate internet.

    *

    Aragorn, so you'll just let it do it's thing, instead of stopping it? If you blocked it's IP, would it just probably come in on a different one?
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    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    Aragorn, so you'll just let it do it's thing, instead of stopping it? If you blocked it's IP, would it just probably come in on a different one?
    Well, it stopped after about two days, and there were too many IP addresses to block anyway. But what's strange is that we are supposed to be blocking the whole of China at the server level. So I'm guessing that this must be a new IP range that was recently assigned to China, and that isn't in our block list yet.
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    I know godlikeproductions and prisonplanet often block whole blocks of IP addresses, including countries. I got caught up in their bans a few times. It's a shame that boards like this have to block China for security reasons, as I know there must be a lot of expats and aware Chinese that would like to read here. I guess they can use a VPN.

    We have to build a free internet, but they seem intent on pushing us into a corporate walled garden. Very difficult to see how this will play out. Do you know any good open source technologies that would help keep the net free?
    Six Doctors For A Medical Revolution

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    Quote Originally posted by Daozen View Post
    Do you know any good open source technologies that would help keep the net free?
    No, not really, because that's sort of a moot point, given that most of the technologies used on the internet are already Free & Open Source.

    The internet as we know it is still primarily controlled by the USA ─ they control the root domain servers ─ and everything else is pretty much in the hands of mega-corporations like Google and Amazon. Trump's administration has also destroyed net neutrality, so that US American ISPs like Comcast can throttle the connections of their customers depending on the type of traffic.

    There have been and still are isolated communities that have attempted and are attempting to create their own, independent internet infrastructure, but this is very expensive and it might in the long run also become untenable, given how the Trump administration has been and still is intervening in everything on behalf of the major corporations.

    Russia has also announced its own internet, but it won't require any stretch of the imagination that this network is going to encompass just as much surveillance as the current internet has. China is already censoring the internet. So is Turkey, and there might be a couple more countries doing this.
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