Search Results: "p2"

8 July 2024

Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in June 2024

FTP master This month I accepted 270 and rejected 23 packages. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 279.

Debian LTS This was my hundred-twentieth month that I did some work for the Debian LTS initiative, started by Raphael Hertzog at Freexian. During my allocated time I uploaded or worked on: This month handling of the CVE of cups was a bit messy. After lifting the embargo of the CVE, a published patch did not work with all possible combinations of the configuration. In other words, in cases of having only one local domain socket configured, the cupsd did not start and failed with a strange error. Anyway, upstream published a new set of patches, which made cups work again. Unfortunately this happended just before the latest point release for Bullseye and Bookworm, so that the new packages did not make it into the release, but stopped in the corresponding p-u-queues: stable-p-u and old-p-u. I also continued to work on tiff and last but not least did a week of FD and attended the monthly LTS/ELTS meeting. Debian ELTS This month was the seventy-first ELTS month. During my allocated time I tried to upload a new version of cups for Jessie and Stretch. Unfortunately this was stopped due to an autopkgtest error, which I could not reproduce yet. I also wanted to finally upload a fixed version of exim4. Unfortunately this was stopped due to lots of CI-jobs for Buster. Updates for Buster are now also availble from ELTS, so some stuff had to prepared before the actual switch end of June. Additionally everything was delayed due to a crash of the CI worker. All in all this month was rather ill-fated. At least the exim4 upload will happen/already happened in July. I also continued to work on an update for libvirt, did a week of FD and attended the LTS/ELTS meeting. Debian Printing This month I uploaded new upstream or bugfix versions of: This work is generously funded by Freexian! Debian Astro This month I uploaded a new upstream or bugfix version of: All of those uploads are somehow related to /usr-move. Debian IoT This month I uploaded new upstream or bugfix versions of: Debian Mobcom The following packages have been prepared by the GSoC student Nathan: misc This month I uploaded new upstream or bugfix versions of: Here as well all uploads are somehow related to /usr-move

4 July 2024

Samuel Henrique: Debian's curl now supports HTTP3

tl;dr Starting with curl 8.0.0-2, you can now use HTTP3.
curl --http3-only https://example.com
Or, if you would like to try it out in a container:
podman run debian:unstable apt install --update -y curl && curl --http3-only https://example.com
(in case you haven't noticed, apt now has the --update option for the upgrade and install commands, although not available on stable yet)

Availability
  • Debian unstable - Since 2024-07-02
  • Debian testing - Since 2024-07-18
  • Debian 12/bookworm backports - Expected by the end of August 2024.
  • Debian 12/bookworm - Due to the mechanisms we have in place to make sure Debian stable is in fact stable, we will never be able to ship this in the regular repository. Users can make use of the backports repositories instead.
  • Debian derivatives - Rolling releases will get it by the time it's on Debian testing (e.g.: Kali Linux). Stable derivatives only in their next major release.

The challenge HTTP3 is fresh new, well... not really, but at least fresh enough that I'm not aware of any other Linux distribution supporting it on curl, the reason is likely two-fold:
  1. OpenSSL is not there yet OpenSSL still doesn't have proper HTTP3 support, and given that OpenSSL is so widely used, almost every curl distributor/packager will build curl with it and thus changing the TLS backend to something else is risky. Unfortunately, proper support for the OpenSSL libcurl is unlikely to come anytime before the end of this year, the OpenSSL performance is not good enough yet as of version 3.3. Daniel Stenberg has written about the state of this multiple times, most recently at HTTP/3 in curl mid 2024, if you're interested, I suggest reading through his other posts as well. Some might have noticed that nginx does support HTTP3 through OpenSSL, although when you look closely, it's not exactly perfect:
    An SSL library that provides QUIC support is recommended to build nginx, such as BoringSSL, LibreSSL, or QuicTLS. Otherwise, the OpenSSL compatibility layer will be used that does not support early data.
    As you can see, they don't recommend using OpenSSL, and when doing so, you don't get complete support.

  2. HTTP3 support for GnuTLS/nghttp3/ngtcp2 is recent The non-experimental support arrived back in October 2023, and so that's when I started seriously planning for this. curl has been working on HTTP3 support for years, and so it did support other TLS backends before that, but out of them, the one most feasible for a distribution to ship would be GnuTLS, which gets HTTP3 support through ngctp2 and nghttp3.

How it was done The Debian curl package has historically shipped at least two variants of libcurl, an OpenSSL and a GnuTLS one. The OpenSSL libcurl can't support HTTP3 for the reasons explained above, but the GnuTLS libcurl can (with ngtcp2 and nghtp3). Debian packages can choose which version of libcurl to link against (without having to modify any upstream source code). Debian's "git" package being a famous example of a package that links against the GnuTLS libcurl. Enabling HTTP3 on curl was done in three steps:
  1. Make sure all required dependencies fulfill the minimum requirements.
  2. Enable HTTP3 for GnuTLS libcurl.
  3. Change the libcurl used by the curl CLI, from OpenSSL to GnuTLS.
curl's HTTP3 support requires a somewhat recent version of nghttp3 and updating that required a transition (due to the SONAME bump), while we've also had months of freeze for transitions due to the time_t transition. After the dependencies were in place, enabling HTTP3 for the GnuTLS libcurl was straightforward. Then, for the last part, we had to switch the TLS backend used by the curl CLI. Doing the swap is also quite easy on the packaging level, but we have to consider the chances of this change breaking our users' environments.

Ensuring there are no breakages The first thing to consider regarding breakages is that this change is not going to be pushed directly to the current Debian stable releases, it will be present in the next stable release (13/trixie) but the current one will stick to the version that's already shipped. Secondly, we have to consider the risk of losing the ability to use certain parameters from the curl CLI which could be limited to the OpenSSL backend. During curl-up 2024, the curl developers pointed out the existence of a page that lists the TLS related options and the backends they work with. Analysing that page, ignoring all of the options that are suffixed with "BLOB" (only pertinent to the library, not the CLI), the only one left which is attention worthy is CURLOPT_ECH.
This experimental feature requires a special build of OpenSSL, as ECH is not yet supported in OpenSSL releases. In contrast ECH is supported by the latest BoringSSL and wolfSSL releases.
As it turns out, Encrypted Client Hello is experimental and it's not supported by the vanilla OpenSSL. This was enough of an investigation for me to go ahead with the change. Noting that even in the worst case scenario (we find a horrible regression), we can rollback without having affected a single stable release. Now that the package is on Debian unstable, the CI tests (autopkgtest) of every package that depends on curl is currently running, the results are compared against the migration-reference (in this case, the curl CLI with OpenSSL, before the change). If everything goes right, curl with HTTP3 support will migrate to Debian testing in around 5 days. If we spot any issues, we'll have to solve them first and it's going to be hard to predict how long it takes, although it's fair to expect less than a month.

Feedback Feel free to join the Matrix room for the Debian curl maintainers:
https://matrix.to/#/#debian-curl-maintainers:matrix.org

Acknowledgements It took us a bit longer than expected to be able to enable HTTP3, nonetheless it's still early enough to be excited about. A lot of people were crucial to make this happen. I should recognize in the first place, obviously, the curl developers and the developers of the supporting libraries: GnuTLS, nghttp3, ngtcp2. Participating in the curl-up 2024 conference helped me get motivated to push this through, besides becoming aware of the right documentation to research for impact. On the Debian side, Sakirnth Nagarasa <sakirnth> was responsible for updating and taking care of the transition for nghttp3 and ngtcp2. Also on the Debian side, I've got loads of help and support from the co-maintainers of the curl package: Sergio Durigan Junior <sergiodj> and Carlos Henrique Lima Melara <charles>.

Changes since publication

2024-07-18
  • Update date of availability for Debian testing and expected date for bookworm backports.
  • We have historically spoken Portuguese in the room but we'll switch to English in case anyone joins.

2 July 2024

Ben Hutchings: FOSS activity in June 2024

8 June 2024

Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in May 2024

FTP master This month I accepted 347 and rejected 49 packages. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 348.

Debian LTS This was my hundred-nineteenth month that I did some work for the Debian LTS initiative, started by Raphael Hertzog at Freexian. During my allocated time I uploaded or worked on: I also continued to work on tiff and last but not least did a week of FD and attended the monthly LTS/ELTS meeting. Unfortunately I used lots of time to debug an issue with nghttp2. Please see my odyssey below. Debian ELTS This month was the seventieth ELTS month. During my allocated time I uploaded: For some tests I installed the new nghttp2 package on my Stretch VM and started the daemon. Unfortunately I got an unexpected error from getaddrinfo() about ai_socktype not supported. The daemon was configured to listen on lo, the device was available, but the error remained. I was pretty sure that my patch was not the reason for this and indeed the unpatched version showed this error as well. I didn t want to release an untested package, so nghttp2 had to start at least! Therefore I built a minimal example to reproduce the issue. getaddrinfo() failed for hints.ai_socktype=SOCK_STREAM and a numerical IP address. Having no hints at all or localhost instead of 127.0.0.1 made the error disappear (as a remark: localhost resolves to 127.0.0.1, the ipv6 variant is ip6-localhost ). I could see that in nghttp2 as well. Configuring it with localhost let the error vanish but the daemon still exited due to other reasons. After some time of debugging, I added another network interface to my VM and configured it with a dummy IPv4 address. Voila, everything worked as expected. According to Wikipedia, IPv6 was ratified as standard in 2017 and Stretch was also released in 2017. No wonder that a IPv6-only-VM had problems back then and these problems survived to the present. I also continued to work on an update for tiff in Jessie and Stretch, did a week of FD and attended the LTS/ELTS meeting. Debian Printing This month I uploaded new upstream or bugfix versions of: This work is generously funded by Freexian! Debian Astro This month I uploaded a new upstream or bugfix version of: Debian IoT This month I uploaded new upstream or bugfix versions of: Debian Mobcom Due to more and more problems with time_t, I removed osmo-iuh and all dependencies from armel, armhf and i386, sorry. If there is really anybody using this software on 32-bit architectures don t hesitate to get in touch. It is official now, the GSoC student working on the Mobcom packages is Nathan Doris. He already finished the hardest part of the job and I could upload the latest version of libosmocore. I really enjoy working with him and look forward to a pleasant SoC :-). misc This month I uploaded new upstream or bugfix versions of: Did I already mention that I love lists with topics I can work on. I print out such lists and enjoy checking off one after the other. End of May Helmut told me that I am a bit lazy and gave me such a list with all my packages that have one or the other issue with /usr-move. Most of the uploads above are packages on that list and I could check off a lot :-).

27 May 2024

Thomas Koch: Rebuild search with trust

Posted on January 20, 2024
Finally there is a thing people can agree on: Apparently, Google Search is not good anymore. And I m not the only one thinking about decentralization to fix it: Honey I federated the search engine - finding stuff online post-big tech - a lightning talk at the recent chaos communication congress The speaker however did not mention, that there have already been many attempts at building distributed search engines. So why do I think that such an attempt could finally succeed? My definition of success is:
A mildly technical computer user (able to install software) has access to a search engine that provides them with superior search results compared to Google for at least a few predefined areas of interest.
The exact algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites is a secret even to most Googlers. Still it is clear, that it relies heavily on big data: billions of queries, a comprehensive web index and user behaviour data. - All this is not available to us. A distributed search engine however can instead rely on user input. Every admin of one node seeds the node ranking with their personal selection of trusted sites. They connect their node with nodes of people they trust. This results in a web of (transitive) trust much like pgp. For comparison, imagine you are searching for something in a world without computers: You ask the people around you. They probably forward your question to their peers. I already had a look at YaCy. It is active, somewhat usable and has a friendly maintainer. Unfortunately I consider the codebase to show its age. It takes a lot of time for a newcomer to find their way around and it contains a lot of cruft. Nevertheless, YaCy is a good example that a decentralized search software can be done even by a small team or just one person. I myself started working on a software in Haskell and keep my notes here: Populus:DezInV. Since I m learning Haskell along the way, there is nothing there to see yet. Additionally I took a yak shaving break to learn nix. By the way: DuckDuckGo is not the alternative. And while I would encourage you to also try Yandex for a second opinion, I don t consider this a solution.

21 May 2024

Michael Ablassmeier: lvm thin send/recv

A few days ago i found this mail on the LKML that introduces support for userspace access to LVM thin provisioned metadata snapshots. I didn t know this is possible. Using the thin provisioning tools you can then export the metadata information for your LVM snapshots to track changed regions between them. The workflow is pretty straight forward, yet not really documented:
# lvcreate -ay -Ky --snapshot -n full_backup thingroup/vol1
  # dmsetup message /dev/mapper/thingroup-thinpool-tpool 0 reserve_metadata_snap
  # lvcreate -ay -Ky --snapshot -n inc_backup thingroup/vol1
  # thin_delta  -m --snap1 $(lvs --noheadings -o thin_id thingroup/full_backup) --snap2 $(lvs --noheadings -o thin_id thingroup/inc_backup) > delta_dump
  # dmsetup message /dev/mapper/thingroup-thinpool-tpool 0 release_metadata_snap
This all has already been implemented by a nice utility called thin-send-recv, which based on this functionality allows to (incrementally) send LVM snapshots to remote systems just like zfs send or zfs recv.

16 May 2024

John Goerzen: Review of Reputable, Functional, and Secure Email Service

I last reviewed email services in 2019. That review focused a lot of attention on privacy. At the time, I selected mailbox.org as my provider, and have been using them for these 5 years since. However, both their service and their support have gone significantly downhill since, so it is time for me to look at other options. Here I am focusing strongly on email. Some of the providers mentioned here provide other services (IM, video calls, groupware, etc.), and to the extent they do, I am ignoring them.

What Matters in 2024
I want to start off by acknowledging that what you need in email probably depends on your circumstances and the country in which you live. For me, I begin by naming that the largest threat most of us face isn t from state actors but from criminals: hackers, ransomware gangs, etc. It is important to take as many steps as possible to secure one s account against that. Privacy and security are both part of the mix. I still value privacy but I am acknowledging, as Migadu does, that Email as we know it and encryption are incompatible. Although some of these services strongly protect parts of the conversation, the reality is that most people will be emailing people using plain old email services which don t. For stronger security, something like Signal would be needed. (I wrote about Signal in 2021 also.) Interestingly, OpenPGP support seems to be something of a standard feature in the providers I reviewed by this point. All or almost all of them provide integration with browser-based encryption as well as server-side encryption if you prefer that. Although mailbox.org can automatically PGP-encrypt every message that arrives in plaintext, for general use, this is unwieldy; there isn t good tooling for searching mailboxes where every message is encrypted, etc. So I never enabled that feature at Mailbox. I still value security and privacy, but a pragmatic approach addresses the most pressing threats first.

My criteria
The basic requirements for an email service include:
  1. Ability to use my own domains
  2. Strong privacy policy
  3. Ability for me to use my own IMAP and SMTP clients on both desktop and mobile
  4. It must be extremely reliable
  5. It must not be free
  6. It must have excellent support for those rare occasions when it is needed
  7. Support for basic aliases
Why do I say it must not be free? Because if someone is providing a service with the quality I m talking about here, and not charging for it, it implies something is fishy: either they are unscrupulous, are financially unstable, or the product is something else like ads. I am not aware of any provider that matches the other criteria with a free account anyhow. These providers range from about $30 to $90 per year, so cheaper than a Netflix subscription. Immediately, this rules out several options:
  • Proton doesn t let me use my own clients on mobile (their bridge is desktop-only)
  • Tuta also doesn t let me use my own clients
  • Posteo doesn t let me use my own domain
  • mxroute.com lacks a strong privacy policy, and its policy has numerous causes for concern (for instance, If you repeatedly send email to invalid/unroutable recipients, they may be published on our GitHub )
I will have a bit more to say about a couple of these providers below. There are some additional criteria that are strongly desired but not absolutely required:
  1. Ability to set individual access passwords for every device/app
  2. Support for two-factor authentication (2FA/TFA/TOTP) for web-based access
  3. Support for basics in filtering: ability to filter on envelope recipient (so if I get BCC d, I can still filter), and ability to execute more than one action on filter match (eg, deliver to two folders, or deliver to a folder and forward to someone else)
IMAP and SMTP don t really support 2FA, so by setting individual passwords for every device, you can at least limit the blast radius and cut off a specific device if something is (or might be) compromised.

The candidates
I considered these providers: Startmail, Mailfence, Runbox, Fastmail, Kolab, Mailbox.org, and Migadu. I ll review each, and highlight the pricing of the plan I would most likely use. Each provider offers multiple plans; some may be more expensive and some may be cheaper than the one I reviewed. I included a link to each provider s full pricing information so you can compare for your needs. I set up trials with each of these (except Mailbox.org, with which I already had a paid account). It so happend that I had actual questions for support for each one, which gave me an opportunity to see how support responded. I did not fabricate questions, and would not have contacted support if I didn t have real ones. (This means that I asked different questions of each provider, because they were the REAL questions I had.) I ll jump to the spoiler right now: I eventually chose Migadu, with Fastmail and Mailfence as close seconds. I looked for providers myself, and also solicited recommendations in a Mastodon thread.

Mailbox.org
I begin with Mailbox, as it was my top choice in 2019 and the incumbent. Until this year, I had been quite happy with it. I had cause to reach their support less than once a year on average, and each time they replied the same day or next day. Now, however, they are failing on reliability and on support. Their spam filter has become overly aggressive. It has blocked quite a bit of legitimate mail. When contacting their support about a prior issue earlier this year, they initially took 4 days to reply, and then 6 days to reply after that. Ouch. They had me disable some spam settings. It didn t really help. I continue to lose mail. I don t know how much, because they block a lot of it before it even hits the spam folder. One of my friends texted to say mail was dropping. I raised a new ticket with mailbox, which took them 5 days to reply to. Their reply was unhelpful. As the Internet is not a static system, unforeseen events can always occur. Well yes, that s true, and I get it, false positives exist with email. But this was from an ISP s mail system with an address that had been established for years, and it was part of a larger pattern of rejecting quite a bit of legit mail. And every interaction with them recently hasn t resulted in them actually doing anything to resolve anything. It s just a paragraph or two of reply that does nothing and helps nothing. When I complained that it took 5 days to reply, they said We have not been able to reply sooner as we are currently experiencing a high volume of customer enquiries. Even though their SLA for my account is a not-great 48 business hour turnaround, they still missed it and their reason is we re busy. I finally asked what RBL had caught the blocked email, since when I checked, the sender wasn t on any RBL. Mailbox s reply: they only keep their logs for 7 days, so next time I should contact them within 7 days. Which, of course, I DID; it was them that kept delaying. Ugh! It s like they ve become a cable company. Even worse is how they have been blocking mail from GrapheneOS s discussion form. See their thread about it. In short, Graphene s mail server has a clean reputation and Mailbox has no problem with it. But because one of Graphene s IPv6 webservers has an IPv6 allocation of a size Mailbox doesn t like, they drop mail. It s ridiculous, and Mailbox was dismissive of this well-known and well-regarded Open Source project. So if the likes of GrapheneOS can t get good faith effort to deliver their mail, what chance does an individual like me have? I m sorry, but I m literally paying you to deliver email for me and provide good support. If you can t do either of those, you don t get to push that problem down onto me. Hire appropriate staff. On the technical side, they support aliases, my own clients, and have a reasonable privacy policy. Their 2FA support exists for the web interface (though weirdly not the support site), though it is somewhat weird. They do not support app passwords. A somewhat unique feature is the @secure.mailbox.org domain. If you try to receive mail at that address, mailbox.org will block it unless it uses TLS. Same for sending. This isn t E2EE, but it does at least require things not be in plaintext for the last hop to Mailbox. Verdict: not recommended due to poor reliability and support. Mailbox.Org summary:
  • Website: https://mailbox.org/en/
  • Reliability: iffy due to over-aggressive spam filtering
  • Support: Poor; takes 4-6 days for a reply and replies are unhelpful
  • Individual access passwords: No
  • 2FA: Yes, but with a PIN instead of a password as the other factor
  • Filtering: Full SIEVE feature set and GUI editor
  • Spam settings: greylisting on/off, reject some/all spam, etc. But they re insufficient to address Mailbox s overzealousness, which support says I cannot workaround within the interface.
  • Server storage location: Germany
  • Plan as reviewed: standard [pricing link]
    • Cost per year: EUR 30 (about $33)
    • Mail storage included: 10GB
    • Limits on send/receive volume: none
    • Aliases: 50 on your domain name, 25 on mailbox.org
    • Additional mailboxes: Available; each one at the same fee as the primary mailbox

Startmail
I really wanted to like Startmail. Its vault is an interesting idea and should contribute to the security and privacy of an account. They clearly care about privacy. It falls down in filtering. They have no way to filter on envelope recipient (BCC or similar). Their support confirmed this to me and that s a showstopper. Startmail support was also as slow as Mailbox, taking 5 days to respond to me. Two showstoppers right there. Verdict: Not recommended due to slow support responsiveness and weak filtering. Startmail summary:
  • Website: https://www.startmail.com/
  • Reliability: Seems to be fine
  • Support: Mediocre; Took 5 days for a reply, but the reply was helpful
  • Individual app access passwords: Yes
  • 2FA: Yes
  • Filtering: Poor; cannot filter on envelope recipient, and can t build filters with multiple actions
  • Spam settings: None
  • Server storage location: The Netherlands
  • Plan as reviewed: Custom domain (trial was Personal), [pricing link]
    • Cost per year: $70
    • Mail storage included: 20GB
    • Limits on send/receive volume: none
    • Aliases: unlimited, with lots of features: can set expiration, etc.
    • Additional mailboxes: not available

Kolab
Kolab Now is mainly positioned as a full groupware service, but they do have a email-only option which I investigated. There isn t much documentation about it compared to other providers, and also not much in the way of settings. You can turn greylisting on or off. And . that s it. It has a full suite of filtering options. They set an X-Envelope-To header which you can use with the arbitrary header match to do the right thing even for BCC situations. Filters can have multiple conditions and multiple actions. It is SIEVE-based and you can download your SIEVE definitions. If you enable 2FA, you disable IMAP and SMTP; not great. Verdict: Not an impressive enough email featureset to justify going with it. Kolab Now summary:
  • Website: https://kolabnow.com/
  • Reliability: Seems to be fine
  • Support: Fine responsiveness (next day)
  • Invidiaul app passwords: no
  • 2FA: Yes, but if you enable it, they disable IMAP and SMTP
  • Filtering: Excellent
  • Spam settings: Only greylisting on/off
  • Server storage location: Switzerland; they have lots of details on their setup
  • Plan as reviewed: Just email [pricing link]
    • Cost per year: CHF 60, about $66
    • Mail storage included: 5GB
    • Limitations on send/receive volume: None
    • Aliases: Yes. Not sure if there are limits.
    • Additional mailboxes: Yes if you set up a group account. Flexible pricing based on user count is not documented anywhere I could find.

Mailfence
Mailfence is another option, somewhat similar to Startmail but without the unique vault. I had some questions about filters, and support was quite responsive, responding in a couple of hours. Some of their copy on their website is a bit misleading, but support clarified when I asked them. They do not offer encryption at rest (like most of the entries here). Mailfence s filtering system is the kind I d like to see. It allows multiple conditions and multiple actions for each rule, and has some unique actions as well (notify by SMS or XMPP). Support says that Recipients matches envelope recipients. However, one ommission is that I can t match on arbitrary headers; only the canned list of headers they provide. They have only two spam settings:
  • spam filter on/off
  • whitelist
Given some recent complaints about their spam filter being overly aggressive, I find this lack of control somewhat concerning. (However, I discount complaints about people begging for more features in free accounts; free won t provide the kind of service I m looking for with any provider.) There are generally just very few settings for email as well. Verdict: Response and helpful support, filtering has the right structure but lacks arbitrary header match. Could be a good option. Mailfence summary:
  • Website: https://mailfence.com/
  • Reliability: Seems to be fine
  • Support: Excellent responsiveness and helpful replies (after some initial confusion about my question of greylisting)
  • Individual app access passwords: No. You can set a per-service password (eg, an IMAP password), but those will be shared with all devices speaking that protocol.
  • 2FA: Yes
  • Filtering: Good; only misses the ability to filter on arbitrary headers
  • Spam settings: Very few
  • Server storage location: Belgium
  • Plan as reviewed: Entry [pricing link]
    • Cost per year: $42
    • Mail storage included: 10GB, with a maximum of 50,000 messages
    • Limits on send/receive volume: none
    • Aliases: 50. Aliases can t be deleted once created (there may be an exeption to this for aliases on your own domain rather than mailfence.com)
    • Additional mailboxes: Their page on this is a bit confusing, and the pricing page lacks the information promised. It looks like you can pay the same $42/year for additional mailboxes, with a limit of up to 2 additional paid mailboxes and 2 additional free mailboxes tied to the account.

Runbox
This one came recommended in a Mastodon thread. I had some questions about it, and support response was fantastic I heard from two people that were co-founders of the company! Even within hours, on a weekend. Incredible! This kind of response was only surpassed by Migadu. I initially wrote to Runbox with questions about the incoming and outgoing message limits, which I hadn t seen elsewhere, as well as the bandwidth limit. They said the bandwidth limit is no longer enforced on paid accounts. The incoming and outgoing limits are enforced, and all email (even spam) counts towards the limit. Notably the outgoing limit is per recipient, so if you send 10 messages to your 50-recipient family group, that s the limit. However, they also indicated a willingness to reset the limit if something happens. Unfortunately, hitting the limit results in a hard bounce (SMTP 5xx) rather than a temporary failure (SMTP 4xx) so it can result in lost mail. This means I d be worried about some attack or other weirdness causing me to lose mail. Their filter is a pain point. Here are the challenges:
  • You can t directly match on a BCC recipient. Support advised to use a headers match, which will search for something anywhere in the headers. This works and is probably good enough since this data is in the Received: headers, but it is a little more imprecise.
  • They only have a contains , not an equals operator. So, for instance, a pattern searching for test@example.com would also match newtest@example.com . Support advised to put the email address in angle brackets to avoid this. That will work mostly. Angle brackets aren t always required in headers.
  • There is no way to have multiple actions on the filter (there is just no way to file an incoming message into two folders). This was the ultimate showstopper for me.
Support advised they are planning to upgrade the filter system in the future, but these are the limitations today. Verdict: A good option if you don t need much from the filtering system. Lots of privacy emphasis. Runbox summary:
  • Website: https://runbox.com/
  • Reliability: Seems to be fine, except returning 5xx codes if per-day limits are exceeded
  • Support: Excellent responsiveness and replies from founders
  • Individual app passwords: Yes
  • 2FA: Yes
  • Filtering: Poor
  • Spam settings: Very few
  • Server storage location: Norway
  • Plan as reviewed: Mini [pricing link]
    • Cost per year: $35
    • Mail storage included: 10GB
    • Limited on send/receive volume: Receive 5000 messages/day, Send 500 recipients/day
    • Aliases: 100 on runbox.com; unlimited on your own domain
    • Additional mailboxes: $15/yr each, also with 10GB non-shared storage per mailbox

Fastmail
Fastmail came recommended to me by a friend I ve known for decades. Here s the thing about Fastmail, compared to all the services listed above: It all just works. Everything. Filtering, spam prevention, it is all there, all feature-complete, and all just does the right thing as you d hope. Their filtering system has a canned dropdown for To/Cc/Bcc , it supports multiple conditions and multiple actions, and just does the right thing. (Delivering to multiple folders is a little cumbersome but possible.) It has a particularly strong feature set around administering multiple accounts, including things like whether users can prevent admins from reading their mail. The not-so-great part of the picture is around privacy. Fastmail is based in Australia, where the government has extensive power around spying on data, even to the point of forcing companies to add wiretap capabilities. Fastmail s privacy policy states user data may be held in Australia, USA, India, and Netherlands. By default, they share data with unidentified spam companies , though you can disable this in settings. On the other hand, they do make a good effort towards privacy. I contacted support with some questions and got back a helpful response in three hours. However, one of the questions was about in which countries my particular data would be stored, and the support response said they would have to get back to me on that. It s been several days and no word back. Verdict: A featureful option that just works , with a lot of features for managing family accounts and the like, but lacking in the privacy area. Fastmail summary:
  • Website: https://www.fastmail.com/
  • Reliability: Seems to be fine
  • Support: Good response time on most questions; dropped the ball on one tha trequired research
  • Individual app access passwords: Yes
  • 2FA: Yes
  • Filtering: Excellent
  • Spam settings: Can set filter aggressiveness, decide whether to share spam data with spam-fighting companies , configure how to handle backscatter spam, and evaluate the personal learning filter.
  • Server storage locations: Australia, USA, India, and The Netherlands. Legal jurisdiction is Australia.
  • Plan as reviewed: Individual [pricing link]
    • Cost per year: $60
    • Mail storage included: 50GB
    • Limits on send/receive volume: 300/hour
    • Aliases: Unlimited from what I can see
    • Additional mailboxes: No; requires a different plan for that

Migadu
Migadu was a service I d never heard of, but came recommended to me on Mastodon. I listed Migadu last because it is a class of its own compared to all the other options. Every other service is basically a webmail interface with a few extra settings tacked on. Migadu has a full-featured email admin console in addition. By that I mean you can:
  • View usage graphs (incoming, outgoing, storage) over time
  • Manage DNS (if you want Migadu to run your nameservers)
  • Manage multiple domains, and cross-domain relationships with mailboxes
  • View a limited set of logs
  • Configure accounts, reset their passwords if needed/authorized, etc.
  • Configure email address rewrite rules with wildcards and so forth
Basically, if you were the sort of person that ran your own mail servers back in the day, here is Migadu giving you most of that functionality. Effectively you have a web interface to do all the useful stuff, and they handle the boring and annoying bits. This is a really attractive model. Migadu support has been fantastic. They are quick to respond, and went above and beyond. I pointed out that their X-Envelope-To header, which is needed for filtering by BCC, wasn t being added on emails I sent myself. They replied 5 hours later indicating they had added the feature to add X-Envelope-To even for internal mails! Wow! I am impressed. With Migadu, you buy a pool of resources: storage space and incoming/outgoing traffic. What you do within that pool is up to you. You can set up users ( mailboxes ), aliases, domains, whatever you like. It all just shares the pool. You can restrict users further so that an individual user has access to only a subset of the pool resources. I was initially concerned about Migadu s daily send/receive message count limits, but in visiting with support and reading the documentation, what really comes out is that Migadu is a service with a personal touch. Hitting the incoming traffic limit will cause a SMTP temporary fail (4xx) response so you won t lose legit mail and support will work with you if it s a problem for legit uses. In other words, restrictions are soft and they are interpreted reasonably. One interesting thing about Migadu is that they do not offer accounts under their domain. That is, you MUST bring your own domain. That s pretty easy and cheap, of course. It also puts you in a position of power, because it is easy to migrate email from one provider to another if you own the domain. Filtering is done via SIEVE. There is a GUI editor which lets you accomplish most things, though it has an odd blind spot where you can t file a message into multiple folders. However, you can edit a SIEVE ruleset directly and you get the full SIEVE featureset, which is extensive (and does support filing a message into multiple folders). I note that the SIEVE :envelope match doesn t work, but Migadu adds an X-Envelope-To header which is just as good. I particularly love a company that tells you all the reasons you might not want to use them. Migadu s pro/con list is an honest drawbacks list (of course, their homepage highlights all the features!). Verdict: Fantastically powerful, excellent support, and good privacy. I chose this one. Migadu summary:
  • Website: https://migadu.com/
  • Reliability: Excellent
  • Support: Fantastic. Good response times and they added a feature (or fixed a bug?) a few hours after I requested it.
  • Individual access passwords: Yes. Create identities to support them.
  • 2FA: Yes, on both the admin interface and the webmail interface
  • Filtering: Excellent, based on SIEVE. GUI editor doesn t support multiple actions when filing into a folder, but full SIEVE functionality is exposed.
  • Spam settings:
    • On the domain level, filter aggressiveness, Greylisting on/off, black and white lists
    • On the mailbox level, filter aggressiveness, black and whitelists, action to take with spam; compatible with filters.
  • Server storage location: France; legal jurisdiction Switzerland
  • Plan as reviewed: mini [pricing link]
    • Cost per year: $90
    • Mail storage included: 30GB ( soft quota)
    • Limits on send/receive volume: 1000 messgaes in/day, 100 messages out/day ( soft quotas)
    • Aliases: Unlimited on an unlimited number of domains
    • Additional mailboxes: Unlimited and free; uses pooled quotas, but individual quotas can be set

Others
Here are a few others that I didn t think worthy of getting a trial:
  • mxroute was recommended by several. Lots of concerning things in their policy, such as:
    • if you repeatedly send mail to unroutable recipients, they may publish the addresses on Github
    • they will terminate your account if they think you are rude or want to contest a charge
    • they reserve the right to cancel your service at any time for any (or no) reason.
  • Proton keeps coming up, and I will not consider it so long as I am locked into their client on mobile.
  • Skiff comes up sometimes, but they were acquired by Notion.
  • Disroot comes up; this discussion highlights a number of reasons why I avoid them. Their Terms of Service (ToS) is inconsistent with a general-purpose email account (I guess for targeting nonprofits and activists, that could make sense). Particularly laughable is that they claim to be friends of Open Source, but then would take down your account if you upload copyrighted material. News flash: in order for an Open Source license to be meaningful, the underlying work is copyrighted. It is perfectly legal to upload copyrighted material when you wrote it or have the license to do so!

Conclusions
There are a lot of good options for email hosting today, and in particular I appreciate the excellent personal support from companies like Migadu and Runbox. Support small businesses!

6 May 2024

Thomas Lange: Removing tens of thousands of web pages

In January I've removed tens of thousands of web pages on www.debian.org. Have you noticed it? In the past From 1997 onwards, we had web pages for security announcements. We had to manually prepare a .data and a .wml file which then generated a web page for each security announcement (DSA or DLA). We have listed the 6 most recent messages in a short list that was created from these files. Most of the work that went into the Debian web pages was creating these files. Our search engine often listed the pages with security announcements instead of a more relevant web page for a particular topic. Preparation At DebConf Kosovo (2022) I started with a proof of concept and wrote a script, that generates this list without using the .data/.wml files in the Git repository, but instead reading the primary sources of security information[1]. This new list now includes links to the security tracker and the email of the announcement. Following web pages and scripts were also using these .data and .wml files: Before I could remove all the security web pages, I had to adjust the scripts, that create the above information. When I looked at the OVAL files and the apache logs of our web server, I saw that more than 99% of the web traffic was generated by these XML files (134TB of 135TB total in two weeks). They were not compressed and were around 50MB in size. With the help of Carsten Sch nert we managed to modify the python scripts that generate this OVAL file without using the .data/.wml files and now we only provide bzip2 compressed XML files[2]. The RSS feeds are created by the new Perl script which reads the DSA/DLA list the security tracker and determines the URL of the email of all entries. This script also generates the list of the most recent DSA/DLA entries. Currently we show the last 350 entries which covers more than the last year and includes links to the announcement email and the security tracker. The huge list of crossreferences is not needed any more, since the mapping of CVE to DSA is already included in the DSA list[3] of the security tracker. The amount of translations of the DSA/DLA was very different. French translations were almost all done, but all other languages did translations for a couple of months or years only. E.g. in 2022, Italian had 2 translations, Russian 15, Danish 212, French and English each 279. But from 2023 on only French translations were made. By generating the list of DSA/DLA we lost the ability to translate these web pages, but since these announcements are made of simple, identical sentences it is easy to use an automatic translation service if needed. Now the translation statistics of all web pages are more accurate. Instead of 12200 pages that need to be translated (including all these old DSA/DLA) there are now only 2500 pages to translate[4]. Languages that had a lot of old translations of DSA/DLA lost some percentage but languages that are doing translations of newer web pages won in the statistics of how many pages are translated. Examples: Before
German (de)   3501  28.5%
Italian (it)  1005   8.2%
Danish (da)   6336  51.7%
After
German (de)   1486  59.0%
Italian (it)   909  36.1%
Danish (da)    982  39.0%
Cleanup of all the security web pages Finally in January, I could remove all web pages of the security announcements in one git commit[5]. Using several git rm -rf commands this commit removed 54335 files, including around 9650 DSA/DLA data files, 44189 wml files, nearly 500 Makefiles. Outcome No more manual work is needed for the security team and we now have direct links from a DSA-NNN/DLA-NNN to the email in our mailing list archive. This was not possible before. The search results became more accurate. But we still host a lot of other old content on the Debian web pages which may be removed in the future. [1] https://www.debian.org/security/#infos [2] https://www.debian.org/security/oval/ [3] https://salsa.debian.org/security-tracker-team/security-tracker/-/raw/master/data/DSA/list [4] https://www.debian.org/devel/website/stats [5] https://salsa.debian.org/webmaster-team/webwml/-/commit/2aa73ff15bfc4eb2afd85c

1 May 2024

Guido G nther: Free Software Activities April 2024

A short status update of what happened on my side last month. Maintenance and code review keep to be the top time sinks (in a positive way). If you want to support my work see donations.

13 April 2024

Paul Tagliamonte: Domo Arigato, Mr. debugfs

Years ago, at what I think I remember was DebConf 15, I hacked for a while on debhelper to write build-ids to debian binary control files, so that the build-id (more specifically, the ELF note .note.gnu.build-id) wound up in the Debian apt archive metadata. I ve always thought this was super cool, and seeing as how Michael Stapelberg blogged some great pointers around the ecosystem, including the fancy new debuginfod service, and the find-dbgsym-packages helper, which uses these same headers, I don t think I m the only one. At work I ve been using a lot of rust, specifically, async rust using tokio. To try and work on my style, and to dig deeper into the how and why of the decisions made in these frameworks, I ve decided to hack up a project that I ve wanted to do ever since 2015 write a debug filesystem. Let s get to it.

Back to the Future Time to admit something. I really love Plan 9. It s just so good. So many ideas from Plan 9 are just so prescient, and everything just feels right. Not just right like, feels good like, correct. The bit that I ve always liked the most is 9p, the network protocol for serving a filesystem over a network. This leads to all sorts of fun programs, like the Plan 9 ftp client being a 9p server you mount the ftp server and access files like any other files. It s kinda like if fuse were more fully a part of how the operating system worked, but fuse is all running client-side. With 9p there s a single client, and different servers that you can connect to, which may be backed by a hard drive, remote resources over something like SFTP, FTP, HTTP or even purely synthetic. The interesting (maybe sad?) part here is that 9p wound up outliving Plan 9 in terms of adoption 9p is in all sorts of places folks don t usually expect. For instance, the Windows Subsystem for Linux uses the 9p protocol to share files between Windows and Linux. ChromeOS uses it to share files with Crostini, and qemu uses 9p (virtio-p9) to share files between guest and host. If you re noticing a pattern here, you d be right; for some reason 9p is the go-to protocol to exchange files between hypervisor and guest. Why? I have no idea, except maybe due to being designed well, simple to implement, and it s a lot easier to validate the data being shared and validate security boundaries. Simplicity has its value. As a result, there s a lot of lingering 9p support kicking around. Turns out Linux can even handle mounting 9p filesystems out of the box. This means that I can deploy a filesystem to my LAN or my localhost by running a process on top of a computer that needs nothing special, and mount it over the network on an unmodified machine unlike fuse, where you d need client-specific software to run in order to mount the directory. For instance, let s mount a 9p filesystem running on my localhost machine, serving requests on 127.0.0.1:564 (tcp) that goes by the name mountpointname to /mnt.
$ mount -t 9p \
-o trans=tcp,port=564,version=9p2000.u,aname=mountpointname \
127.0.0.1 \
/mnt
Linux will mount away, and attach to the filesystem as the root user, and by default, attach to that mountpoint again for each local user that attempts to use it. Nifty, right? I think so. The server is able to keep track of per-user access and authorization along with the host OS.

WHEREIN I STYX WITH IT Since I wanted to push myself a bit more with rust and tokio specifically, I opted to implement the whole stack myself, without third party libraries on the critical path where I could avoid it. The 9p protocol (sometimes called Styx, the original name for it) is incredibly simple. It s a series of client to server requests, which receive a server to client response. These are, respectively, T messages, which transmit a request to the server, which trigger an R message in response (Reply messages). These messages are TLV payload with a very straight forward structure so straight forward, in fact, that I was able to implement a working server off nothing more than a handful of man pages. Later on after the basics worked, I found a more complete spec page that contains more information about the unix specific variant that I opted to use (9P2000.u rather than 9P2000) due to the level of Linux specific support for the 9P2000.u variant over the 9P2000 protocol.

MR ROBOTO The backend stack over at zoo is rust and tokio running i/o for an HTTP and WebRTC server. I figured I d pick something fairly similar to write my filesystem with, since 9P can be implemented on basically anything with I/O. That means tokio tcp server bits, which construct and use a 9p server, which has an idiomatic Rusty API that partially abstracts the raw R and T messages, but not so much as to cause issues with hiding implementation possibilities. At each abstraction level, there s an escape hatch allowing someone to implement any of the layers if required. I called this framework arigato which can be found over on docs.rs and crates.io.
/// Simplified version of the arigato File trait; this isn't actually
/// the same trait; there's some small cosmetic differences. The
/// actual trait can be found at:
///
/// https://docs.rs/arigato/latest/arigato/server/trait.File.html
trait File  
/// OpenFile is the type returned by this File via an Open call.
 type OpenFile: OpenFile;
/// Return the 9p Qid for this file. A file is the same if the Qid is
 /// the same. A Qid contains information about the mode of the file,
 /// version of the file, and a unique 64 bit identifier.
 fn qid(&self) -> Qid;
/// Construct the 9p Stat struct with metadata about a file.
 async fn stat(&self) -> FileResult<Stat>;
/// Attempt to update the file metadata.
 async fn wstat(&mut self, s: &Stat) -> FileResult<()>;
/// Traverse the filesystem tree.
 async fn walk(&self, path: &[&str]) -> FileResult<(Option<Self>, Vec<Self>)>;
/// Request that a file's reference be removed from the file tree.
 async fn unlink(&mut self) -> FileResult<()>;
/// Create a file at a specific location in the file tree.
 async fn create(
&mut self,
name: &str,
perm: u16,
ty: FileType,
mode: OpenMode,
extension: &str,
) -> FileResult<Self>;
/// Open the File, returning a handle to the open file, which handles
 /// file i/o. This is split into a second type since it is genuinely
 /// unrelated -- and the fact that a file is Open or Closed can be
 /// handled by the  arigato  server for us.
 async fn open(&mut self, mode: OpenMode) -> FileResult<Self::OpenFile>;
 
/// Simplified version of the arigato OpenFile trait; this isn't actually
/// the same trait; there's some small cosmetic differences. The
/// actual trait can be found at:
///
/// https://docs.rs/arigato/latest/arigato/server/trait.OpenFile.html
trait OpenFile  
/// iounit to report for this file. The iounit reported is used for Read
 /// or Write operations to signal, if non-zero, the maximum size that is
 /// guaranteed to be transferred atomically.
 fn iounit(&self) -> u32;
/// Read some number of bytes up to  buf.len()  from the provided
 ///  offset  of the underlying file. The number of bytes read is
 /// returned.
 async fn read_at(
&mut self,
buf: &mut [u8],
offset: u64,
) -> FileResult<u32>;
/// Write some number of bytes up to  buf.len()  from the provided
 ///  offset  of the underlying file. The number of bytes written
 /// is returned.
 fn write_at(
&mut self,
buf: &mut [u8],
offset: u64,
) -> FileResult<u32>;
 

Thanks, decade ago paultag! Let s do it! Let s use arigato to implement a 9p filesystem we ll call debugfs that will serve all the debug files shipped according to the Packages metadata from the apt archive. We ll fetch the Packages file and construct a filesystem based on the reported Build-Id entries. For those who don t know much about how an apt repo works, here s the 2-second crash course on what we re doing. The first is to fetch the Packages file, which is specific to a binary architecture (such as amd64, arm64 or riscv64). That architecture is specific to a component (such as main, contrib or non-free). That component is specific to a suite, such as stable, unstable or any of its aliases (bullseye, bookworm, etc). Let s take a look at the Packages.xz file for the unstable-debug suite, main component, for all amd64 binaries.
$ curl \
https://deb.debian.org/debian-debug/dists/unstable-debug/main/binary-amd64/Packages.xz \
  unxz
This will return the Debian-style rfc2822-like headers, which is an export of the metadata contained inside each .deb file which apt (or other tools that can use the apt repo format) use to fetch information about debs. Let s take a look at the debug headers for the netlabel-tools package in unstable which is a package named netlabel-tools-dbgsym in unstable-debug.
Package: netlabel-tools-dbgsym
Source: netlabel-tools (0.30.0-1)
Version: 0.30.0-1+b1
Installed-Size: 79
Maintainer: Paul Tagliamonte <paultag@debian.org>
Architecture: amd64
Depends: netlabel-tools (= 0.30.0-1+b1)
Description: debug symbols for netlabel-tools
Auto-Built-Package: debug-symbols
Build-Ids: e59f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a
Description-md5: a0e587a0cf730c88a4010f78562e6db7
Section: debug
Priority: optional
Filename: pool/main/n/netlabel-tools/netlabel-tools-dbgsym_0.30.0-1+b1_amd64.deb
Size: 62776
SHA256: 0e9bdb087617f0350995a84fb9aa84541bc4df45c6cd717f2157aa83711d0c60
So here, we can parse the package headers in the Packages.xz file, and store, for each Build-Id, the Filename where we can fetch the .deb at. Each .deb contains a number of files but we re only really interested in the files inside the .deb located at or under /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/, which you can find in debugfs under rfc822.rs. It s crude, and very single-purpose, but I m feeling a bit lazy.

Who needs dpkg?! For folks who haven t seen it yet, a .deb file is a special type of .ar file, that contains (usually) three files inside debian-binary, control.tar.xz and data.tar.xz. The core of an .ar file is a fixed size (60 byte) entry header, followed by the specified size number of bytes.
[8 byte .ar file magic]
[60 byte entry header]
[N bytes of data]
[60 byte entry header]
[N bytes of data]
[60 byte entry header]
[N bytes of data]
...
First up was to implement a basic ar parser in ar.rs. Before we get into using it to parse a deb, as a quick diversion, let s break apart a .deb file by hand something that is a bit of a rite of passage (or at least it used to be? I m getting old) during the Debian nm (new member) process, to take a look at where exactly the .debug file lives inside the .deb file.
$ ar x netlabel-tools-dbgsym_0.30.0-1+b1_amd64.deb
$ ls
control.tar.xz debian-binary
data.tar.xz netlabel-tools-dbgsym_0.30.0-1+b1_amd64.deb
$ tar --list -f data.tar.xz   grep '.debug$'
./usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug
Since we know quite a bit about the structure of a .deb file, and I had to implement support from scratch anyway, I opted to implement a (very!) basic debfile parser using HTTP Range requests. HTTP Range requests, if supported by the server (denoted by a accept-ranges: bytes HTTP header in response to an HTTP HEAD request to that file) means that we can add a header such as range: bytes=8-68 to specifically request that the returned GET body be the byte range provided (in the above case, the bytes starting from byte offset 8 until byte offset 68). This means we can fetch just the ar file entry from the .deb file until we get to the file inside the .deb we are interested in (in our case, the data.tar.xz file) at which point we can request the body of that file with a final range request. I wound up writing a struct to handle a read_at-style API surface in hrange.rs, which we can pair with ar.rs above and start to find our data in the .deb remotely without downloading and unpacking the .deb at all. After we have the body of the data.tar.xz coming back through the HTTP response, we get to pipe it through an xz decompressor (this kinda sucked in Rust, since a tokio AsyncRead is not the same as an http Body response is not the same as std::io::Read, is not the same as an async (or sync) Iterator is not the same as what the xz2 crate expects; leading me to read blocks of data to a buffer and stuff them through the decoder by looping over the buffer for each lzma2 packet in a loop), and tarfile parser (similarly troublesome). From there we get to iterate over all entries in the tarfile, stopping when we reach our file of interest. Since we can t seek, but gdb needs to, we ll pull it out of the stream into a Cursor<Vec<u8>> in-memory and pass a handle to it back to the user. From here on out its a matter of gluing together a File traited struct in debugfs, and serving the filesystem over TCP using arigato. Done deal!

A quick diversion about compression I was originally hoping to avoid transferring the whole tar file over the network (and therefore also reading the whole debug file into ram, which objectively sucks), but quickly hit issues with figuring out a way around seeking around an xz file. What s interesting is xz has a great primitive to solve this specific problem (specifically, use a block size that allows you to seek to the block as close to your desired seek position just before it, only discarding at most block size - 1 bytes), but data.tar.xz files generated by dpkg appear to have a single mega-huge block for the whole file. I don t know why I would have expected any different, in retrospect. That means that this now devolves into the base case of How do I seek around an lzma2 compressed data stream ; which is a lot more complex of a question. Thankfully, notoriously brilliant tianon was nice enough to introduce me to Jon Johnson who did something super similar adapted a technique to seek inside a compressed gzip file, which lets his service oci.dag.dev seek through Docker container images super fast based on some prior work such as soci-snapshotter, gztool, and zran.c. He also pulled this party trick off for apk based distros over at apk.dag.dev, which seems apropos. Jon was nice enough to publish a lot of his work on this specifically in a central place under the name targz on his GitHub, which has been a ton of fun to read through. The gist is that, by dumping the decompressor s state (window of previous bytes, in-memory data derived from the last N-1 bytes) at specific checkpoints along with the compressed data stream offset in bytes and decompressed offset in bytes, one can seek to that checkpoint in the compressed stream and pick up where you left off creating a similar block mechanism against the wishes of gzip. It means you d need to do an O(n) run over the file, but every request after that will be sped up according to the number of checkpoints you ve taken. Given the complexity of xz and lzma2, I don t think this is possible for me at the moment especially given most of the files I ll be requesting will not be loaded from again especially when I can just cache the debug header by Build-Id. I want to implement this (because I m generally curious and Jon has a way of getting someone excited about compression schemes, which is not a sentence I thought I d ever say out loud), but for now I m going to move on without this optimization. Such a shame, since it kills a lot of the work that went into seeking around the .deb file in the first place, given the debian-binary and control.tar.gz members are so small.

The Good First, the good news right? It works! That s pretty cool. I m positive my younger self would be amused and happy to see this working; as is current day paultag. Let s take debugfs out for a spin! First, we need to mount the filesystem. It even works on an entirely unmodified, stock Debian box on my LAN, which is huge. Let s take it for a spin:
$ mount \
-t 9p \
-o trans=tcp,version=9p2000.u,aname=unstable-debug \
192.168.0.2 \
/usr/lib/debug/.build-id/
And, let s prove to ourselves that this actually mounted before we go trying to use it:
$ mount   grep build-id
192.168.0.2 on /usr/lib/debug/.build-id type 9p (rw,relatime,aname=unstable-debug,access=user,trans=tcp,version=9p2000.u,port=564)
Slick. We ve got an open connection to the server, where our host will keep a connection alive as root, attached to the filesystem provided in aname. Let s take a look at it.
$ ls /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/
00 0d 1a 27 34 41 4e 5b 68 75 82 8E 9b a8 b5 c2 CE db e7 f3
01 0e 1b 28 35 42 4f 5c 69 76 83 8f 9c a9 b6 c3 cf dc E7 f4
02 0f 1c 29 36 43 50 5d 6a 77 84 90 9d aa b7 c4 d0 dd e8 f5
03 10 1d 2a 37 44 51 5e 6b 78 85 91 9e ab b8 c5 d1 de e9 f6
04 11 1e 2b 38 45 52 5f 6c 79 86 92 9f ac b9 c6 d2 df ea f7
05 12 1f 2c 39 46 53 60 6d 7a 87 93 a0 ad ba c7 d3 e0 eb f8
06 13 20 2d 3a 47 54 61 6e 7b 88 94 a1 ae bb c8 d4 e1 ec f9
07 14 21 2e 3b 48 55 62 6f 7c 89 95 a2 af bc c9 d5 e2 ed fa
08 15 22 2f 3c 49 56 63 70 7d 8a 96 a3 b0 bd ca d6 e3 ee fb
09 16 23 30 3d 4a 57 64 71 7e 8b 97 a4 b1 be cb d7 e4 ef fc
0a 17 24 31 3e 4b 58 65 72 7f 8c 98 a5 b2 bf cc d8 E4 f0 fd
0b 18 25 32 3f 4c 59 66 73 80 8d 99 a6 b3 c0 cd d9 e5 f1 fe
0c 19 26 33 40 4d 5a 67 74 81 8e 9a a7 b4 c1 ce da e6 f2 ff
Outstanding. Let s try using gdb to debug a binary that was provided by the Debian archive, and see if it ll load the ELF by build-id from the right .deb in the unstable-debug suite:
$ gdb -q /usr/sbin/netlabelctl
Reading symbols from /usr/sbin/netlabelctl...
Reading symbols from /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug...
(gdb)
Yes! Yes it will!
$ file /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug
/usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug: ELF 64-bit LSB shared object, x86-64, version 1 (SYSV), dynamically linked, interpreter *empty*, BuildID[sha1]=e59f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a, for GNU/Linux 3.2.0, with debug_info, not stripped

The Bad Linux s support for 9p is mainline, which is great, but it s not robust. Network issues or server restarts will wedge the mountpoint (Linux can t reconnect when the tcp connection breaks), and things that work fine on local filesystems get translated in a way that causes a lot of network chatter for instance, just due to the way the syscalls are translated, doing an ls, will result in a stat call for each file in the directory, even though linux had just got a stat entry for every file while it was resolving directory names. On top of that, Linux will serialize all I/O with the server, so there s no concurrent requests for file information, writes, or reads pending at the same time to the server; and read and write throughput will degrade as latency increases due to increasing round-trip time, even though there are offsets included in the read and write calls. It works well enough, but is frustrating to run up against, since there s not a lot you can do server-side to help with this beyond implementing the 9P2000.L variant (which, maybe is worth it).

The Ugly Unfortunately, we don t know the file size(s) until we ve actually opened the underlying tar file and found the correct member, so for most files, we don t know the real size to report when getting a stat. We can t parse the tarfiles for every stat call, since that d make ls even slower (bummer). Only hiccup is that when I report a filesize of zero, gdb throws a bit of a fit; let s try with a size of 0 to start:
$ ls -lah /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 0 Dec 31 1969 /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug
$ gdb -q /usr/sbin/netlabelctl
Reading symbols from /usr/sbin/netlabelctl...
Reading symbols from /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug...
warning: Discarding section .note.gnu.build-id which has a section size (24) larger than the file size [in module /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug]
[...]
This obviously won t work since gdb will throw away all our hard work because of stat s output, and neither will loading the real size of the underlying file. That only leaves us with hardcoding a file size and hope nothing else breaks significantly as a result. Let s try it again:
$ ls -lah /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug
-r--r--r-- 1 root root 954M Dec 31 1969 /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug
$ gdb -q /usr/sbin/netlabelctl
Reading symbols from /usr/sbin/netlabelctl...
Reading symbols from /usr/lib/debug/.build-id/e5/9f81f6573dadd5d95a6e4474d9388ab2777e2a.debug...
(gdb)
Much better. I mean, terrible but better. Better for now, anyway.

Kilroy was here Do I think this is a particularly good idea? I mean; kinda. I m probably going to make some fun 9p arigato-based filesystems for use around my LAN, but I don t think I ll be moving to use debugfs until I can figure out how to ensure the connection is more resilient to changing networks, server restarts and fixes on i/o performance. I think it was a useful exercise and is a pretty great hack, but I don t think this ll be shipping anywhere anytime soon. Along with me publishing this post, I ve pushed up all my repos; so you should be able to play along at home! There s a lot more work to be done on arigato; but it does handshake and successfully export a working 9P2000.u filesystem. Check it out on on my github at arigato, debugfs and also on crates.io and docs.rs. At least I can say I was here and I got it working after all these years.

26 March 2024

Emmanuel Kasper: Adding a private / custom Certificate Authority to the firefox trust store

Today at $WORK I needed to add the private company Certificate Authority (CA) to Firefox, and I found the steps were unnecessarily complex. Time to blog about that, and I also made a Debian wiki article of that post, so that future generations can update the information, when Firefox 742 is released on Debian 17. The cacert certificate authority is not included in Debian and Firefox, and is thus a good example of adding a private CA. Note that this does not mean I specifically endorse that CA.
  • Test that SSL connections to a site signed by the private CA is failing
$ gnutls-cli wiki.cacert.org:443
...
- Status: The certificate is NOT trusted. The certificate issuer is unknown. 
*** PKI verification of server certificate failed...
*** Fatal error: Error in the certificate.
  • Download the private CA
$ wget http://www.cacert.org/certs/root_X0F.crt
  • test that a connection works with the private CA
$ gnutls-cli --x509cafile root_X0F.crt wiki.cacert.org:443
...
- Status: The certificate is trusted. 
- Description: (TLS1.2-X.509)-(ECDHE-SECP256R1)-(RSA-SHA256)-(AES-256-GCM)
- Session ID: 37:56:7A:89:EA:5F:13:E8:67:E4:07:94:4B:52:23:63:1E:54:31:69:5D:70:17:3C:D0:A4:80:B0:3A:E5:22:B3
- Options: safe renegotiation,
- Handshake was completed
...
  • add the private CA to the Debian trust store located in /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
$ sudo cp root_X0F.crt /usr/local/share/ca-certificates/cacert-org-root-ca.crt
$ sudo update-ca-certificates --verbose
...
Adding debian:cacert-org-root-ca.pem
...
  • verify that we can connect without passing the private CA on the command line
$ gnutls-cli wiki.cacert.org:443
... 
 - Status: The certificate is trusted.
  • At that point most applications are able to connect to systems with a certificate signed by the private CA (curl, Gnome builtin Browser ). However Firefox is using its own trust store and will still display a security error if connecting to https://wiki.cacert.org. To make Firefox trust the Debian trust store, we need to add a so called security device, in fact an extra library wrapping the Debian trust store. The library will wrap the Debian trust store in the PKCS#11 industry format that Firefox supports.
  • install the pkcs#11 wrapping library and command line tools
$ sudo apt install p11-kit p11-kit-modules
  • verify that the private CA is accessible via PKCS#11
$ trust list   grep --context 2 'CA Cert'
pkcs11:id=%16%B5%32%1B%D4%C7%F3%E0%E6%8E%F3%BD%D2%B0%3A%EE%B2%39%18%D1;type=cert
    type: certificate
    label: CA Cert Signing Authority
    trust: anchor
    category: authority
  • now we need to add a new security device in Firefox pointing to the pkcs11 trust store. The pkcs11 trust store is located in /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/pkcs11/p11-kit-trust.so
$ dpkg --listfiles p11-kit-modules   grep trust
/usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/pkcs11/p11-kit-trust.so
  • in Firefox (tested in version 115 esr), go to Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Security -> Security Devices.
    Then click Load , in the popup window use My local trust as a module name, and /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/pkcs11/p11-kit-trust.so as a module filename. After adding the module, you should see it in the list of Security Devices, having /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt as a description.
  • now restart Firefox and you should be able to browse https://wiki.cacert.org without security errors

10 March 2024

Vasudev Kamath: Cloning a laptop over NVME TCP

Recently, I got a new laptop and had to set it up so I could start using it. But I wasn't really in the mood to go through the same old steps which I had explained in this post earlier. I was complaining about this to my colleague, and there came the suggestion of why not copy the entire disk to the new laptop. Though it sounded like an interesting idea to me, I had my doubts, so here is what I told him in return.
  1. I don't have the tools to open my old laptop and connect the new disk over USB to my new laptop.
  2. I use full disk encryption, and my old laptop has a 512GB disk, whereas the new laptop has a 1TB NVME, and I'm not so familiar with resizing LUKS.
He promptly suggested both could be done. For step 1, just expose the disk using NVME over TCP and connect it over the network and do a full disk copy, and the rest is pretty simple to achieve. In short, he suggested the following:
  1. Export the disk using nvmet-tcp from the old laptop.
  2. Do a disk copy to the new laptop.
  3. Resize the partition to use the full 1TB.
  4. Resize LUKS.
  5. Finally, resize the BTRFS root disk.
Exporting Disk over NVME TCP The easiest way suggested by my colleague to do this is using systemd-storagetm.service. This service can be invoked by simply booting into storage-target-mode.target by specifying rd.systemd.unit=storage-target-mode.target. But he suggested not to use this as I need to tweak the dracut initrd image to involve network services as well as configuring WiFi from this mode is a painful thing to do. So alternatively, I simply booted both my laptops with GRML rescue CD. And the following step was done to export the NVME disk on my current laptop using the nvmet-tcp module of Linux:
modprobe nvmet-tcp
cd /sys/kernel/config/nvmet
mkdir ports/0
cd ports/0
echo "ipv4" > addr_adrfam
echo 0.0.0.0 > addr_traaddr
echo 4420 > addr_trsvcid
echo tcp > addr_trtype
cd /sys/kernel/config/nvmet/subsystems
mkdir testnqn
echo 1 >testnqn/allow_any_host
mkdir testnqn/namespaces/1
cd testnqn
# replace the device name with the disk you want to export
echo "/dev/nvme0n1" > namespaces/1/device_path
echo 1 > namespaces/1/enable
ln -s "../../subsystems/testnqn" /sys/kernel/config/nvmet/ports/0/subsystems/testnqn
These steps ensure that the device is now exported using NVME over TCP. The next step is to detect this on the new laptop and connect the device:
nvme discover -t tcp -a <ip> -s 4420
nvme connectl-all -t tcp -a <> -s 4420
Finally, nvme list shows the device which is connected to the new laptop, and we can proceed with the next step, which is to do the disk copy.
Copying the Disk I simply used the dd command to copy the root disk to my new laptop. Since the new laptop didn't have an Ethernet port, I had to rely only on WiFi, and it took about 7 and a half hours to copy the entire 512GB to the new laptop. The speed at which I was copying was about 18-20MB/s. The other option would have been to create an initial partition and file system and do an rsync of the root disk or use BTRFS itself for file system transfer.
dd if=/dev/nvme2n1 of=/dev/nvme0n1 status=progress bs=40M
Resizing Partition and LUKS Container The final part was very easy. When I launched parted, it detected that the partition table does not match the disk size and asked if it can fix it, and I said yes. Next, I had to install cloud-guest-utils to get growpart to fix the second partition, and the following command extended the partition to the full 1TB:
growpart /dev/nvem0n1 p2
Next, I used cryptsetup-resize to increase the LUKS container size.
cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/nvme0n1p2 ENC
cryptsetup resize ENC
Finally, I rebooted into the disk, and everything worked fine. After logging into the system, I resized the BTRFS file system. BTRFS requires the system to be mounted for resize, so I could not attempt it in live boot.
btfs fielsystem resize max /
Conclussion The only benefit of this entire process is that I have a new laptop, but I still feel like I'm using my existing laptop. Typically, setting up a new laptop takes about a week or two to completely get adjusted, but in this case, that entire time is saved. An added benefit is that I learned how to export disks using NVME over TCP, thanks to my colleague. This new knowledge adds to the value of the experience.

29 January 2024

Michael Ablassmeier: qmpbackup 0.28

Over the last weekend i had some spare time to improve qmpbackup a little more, the new version: and some minor code reworks. Hope its useful for someone.

18 January 2024

Russell Coker: LicheePi 4A (RISC-V) First Look

I Just bought a LicheePi 4A RISC-V embedded computer (like a RaspberryPi but with a RISC-V CPU) for $322.68 from Aliexpress (the official site for buying LicheePi devices). Here is the Sipheed web page about it and their other recent offerings [1]. I got the version with 16G of RAM and 128G of storage, I probably don t need that much storage (I can use NFS or USB) but 16G of RAM is good for VMs. Here is the Wiki about this board [2]. Configuration When you get one of these devices you should make setting up ssh server your first priority. I found the HDMI output to be very unreliable. The first monitor I tried was a Samsung 4K monitor dating from when 4K was a new thing, the LicheePi initially refused to operate at a resolution higher than 1024*768 but later on switched to 4K resolution when resuming from screen-blank for no apparent reason (and the window manager didn t support this properly). On the Dell 4K monitor I use on my main workstation it sometimes refused to talk to it and occasionally worked. I got it running at 1920*1080 without problems and then switched it to 4K and it lost video sync and never talked to that monitor again. On my Desklab portabable 4K monitor I got it to display in 4K resolution but only the top left 1/4 of the screen displayed. The issues with HDMI monitor support greatly limit the immediate potential for using this as a workstation. It doesn t make it impossible but would be fiddly at best. It s quite likely that a future OS update will fix this. But at the moment it s best used as a server. The LicheePi has a custom Linux distribution based on Ubuntu so you want too put something like the following in /etc/network/interfaces to make it automatically connect to the ethernet when plugged in:
auto end0
iface end0 inet dhcp
Then to get sshd to start you have to run the following commands to generate ssh host keys that aren t zero bytes long:
rm /etc/ssh/ssh_host_*
systemctl restart ssh.service
It appears to have wifi hardware but the OS doesn t recognise it. This isn t a priority for me as I mostly want to use it as a server. Performance For the first test of performance I created a 100MB file from /dev/urandom and then tried compressing it on various systems. With zstd -9 it took 16.893 user seconds on the LicheePi4A, 0.428s on my Thinkpad X1 Carbon Gen5 with a i5-6300U CPU (Debian/Unstable), 1.288s on my E5-2696 v3 workstation (Debian/Bookworm), 0.467s on the E5-2696 v3 running Debian/Unstable, 2.067s on a E3-1271 v3 server, and 7.179s on the E3-1271 v3 system emulating a RISC-V system via QEMU running Debian/Unstable. It s very impressive that the QEMU emulation is fast enough that emulating a different CPU architecture is only 3.5* slower for this test (or maybe 10* slower if it was running Debian/Unstable on the AMD64 code)! The emulated RISC-V is also more than twice as fast as real RISC-V hardware and probably of comparable speed to real RISC-V hardware when running the same versions (and might be slightly slower if running the same version of zstd) which is a tribute to the quality of emulation. One performance issue that most people don t notice is the time taken to negotiate ssh sessions. It s usually not noticed because the common CPUs have got faster at about the same rate as the algorithms for encryption and authentication have become more complex. On my i5-6300U laptop it takes 0m0.384s to run ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_ed25519 localhost id with the below server settings (taken from advice on ssh-audit.com [3] for a secure ssh configuration). On the E3-1271 v3 server it is 0.336s, on the QMU system it is 28.022s, and on the LicheePi it is 0.592s. By this metric the LicheePi is about 80% slower than decent x86 systems and the QEMU emulation of RISC-V is 73* slower than the x86 system it runs on. Does crypto depend on instructions that are difficult to emulate?
HostKey /etc/ssh/ssh_host_ed25519_key
KexAlgorithms -ecdh-sha2-nistp256,ecdh-sha2-nistp384,ecdh-sha2-nistp521,diffie-hellman-group14-sha256
MACs -umac-64-etm@openssh.com,hmac-sha1-etm@openssh.com,umac-64@openssh.com,umac-128@openssh.com,hmac-sha2-256,hmac-sha2-512,hmac-sha1
I haven t yet tested the performance of Ethernet (what routing speed can you get through the 2 gigabit ports?), emmc storage, and USB. At the moment I ve been focused on using RISC-V as a test and development platform. My conclusion is that I m glad I don t plan to compile many kernels or anything large like LibreOffice. But that for typical development that I do it will be quite adequate. The speed of Chromium seems adequate in basic tests, but the video output hasn t worked reliably enough to do advanced tests. Hardware Features Having two Gigabit Ethernet ports, 4 USB-3 ports, and Wifi on board gives some great options for using this as a router. It s disappointing that they didn t go with 2.5Gbit as everyone seems to be doing that nowadays but Gigabit is enough for most things. Having only a single HDMI port and not supporting USB-C docks (the USB-C port appears to be power only) limits what can be done for workstation use and for controlling displays. I know of people using small ARM computers attached to the back of large TVs for advertising purposes and that isn t going to be a great option for this. The CPU and RAM apparently uses a lot of power (which is relative the entire system draws up to 2A at 5V so the CPU would be something below 5W). To get this working a cooling fan has to be stuck to the CPU and RAM chips via a layer of thermal stuff that resembles a fine sheet of blu-tack in both color and stickyness. I am disappointed that there isn t any more solid form of construction, to mount this on a wall or ceiling some extra hardware would be needed to secure this. Also if they just had a really big copper heatsink I think that would be better. 80386 CPUs with similar TDP were able to run without a fan. I wonder how things would work with all USB ports in use. It s expected that a USB port can supply a minimum of 2.5W which means that all the ports could require 10W if they were active. Presumably something significantly less than 5W is available for the USB ports. Other Devices Sipheed has a range of other devices in the works. They currently sell the LicheeCluster4A which support 7 compute modules for a cluster in a box. This has some interesting potential for testing and demonstrating cluster software but you could probably buy an AMD64 system with more compute power for less money. The Lichee Console 4A is a tiny laptop which could be useful for people who like the 7 laptop form factor, unfortunately it only has a 1280*800 display if it had the same resolution display as a typical 7 phone I would have bought one. The next device that appeals to me is the soon to be released Lichee Pad 4A which is a 10.1 tablet with 1920*1200 display, Wifi6, Bluetooth 5.4, and 16G of RAM. It also has 1 USB-C connection, 2*USB-3 sockets, and support for an external card with 2*Gigabit ethernet. It s a tablet as a laptop without keyboard instead of the more common larger phone design model. They are also about to release the LicheePadMax4A which is similar to the other tablet but with a 14 2240*1400 display and which ships with a keyboard to make it essentially a laptop with detachable keyboard. Conclusion At this time I wouldn t recommend that this device be used as a workstation or laptop, although the people who want to do such things will probably do it anyway regardless of my recommendations. I think it will be very useful as a test system for RISC-V development. I have some friends who are interested in this sort of thing and I can give them VMs. It is a bit expensive. The Sipheed web site boasts about the LicheePi4 being faster than the RaspberryPi4, but it s not a lot faster and the RaspberryPi4 is much cheaper ($127 or $129 for one with 8G of RAM). The RaspberryPi4 has two HDMI ports but a limit of 8G of RAM while the LicheePi has up to 16G of RAM and two Gigabit Ethernet ports but only a single HDMI port. It seems that the RaspberryPi4 might win if you want a cheap low power desktop system. At this time I think the reason for this device is testing out RISC-V as an alternative to the AMD64 and ARM64 architectures. An open CPU architecture goes well with free software, but it isn t just people who are into FOSS who are testing such things. I know some corporations are trying out RISC-V as a way of getting other options for embedded systems that don t involve paying monopolists. The Lichee Console 4A is probably a usable tiny laptop if the resolution is sufficient for your needs. As an aside I predict that the tiny laptop or pocket computer segment will take off in the near future. There are some AMD64 systems the size of a phone but thicker that run Windows and go for reasonable prices on AliExpress. Hopefully in the near future this device will have better video drivers and be usable as a small and quiet workstation. I won t rule out the possibility of making this my main workstation in the not too distant future, all it needs is reliable 4K display and the ability to decode 4K video. It s performance for web browsing and as an ssh client seems adequate, and that s what matters for my workstation use. But for the moment it s just for server use.

8 January 2024

Antoine Beaupr : Last year on this blog

So this blog is now celebrating its 21st birthday (or 20 if you count from zero, or 18 if you want to be pedantic), and I figured I would do this yearly thing of reviewing how that went.

Number of posts 2022 was the official 20th anniversary in any case, and that was one of my best years on record, with 46 posts, surpassed only by the noisy 2005 (62) and matching 2006 (46). 2023, in comparison, was underwhelming: a feeble 11 posts! What happened! Well, I was busy with other things, mostly away from keyboard, that I will not bore you with here... The other thing that happened is that the one-liner I used to collect stats was broken (it counted folders and other unrelated files) and wildly overestimated 2022! Turns out I didn't write that much then:
anarc.at$ ls blog   grep '^[0-9][0-9][0-9][0-9].*.md'   se
d s/-.*//   sort   uniq -c    sort -n -k2
     57 2005
     43 2006
     20 2007
     20 2008
      7 2009
     13 2010
     16 2011
     11 2012
     13 2013
      5 2014
     13 2015
     18 2016
     29 2017
     27 2018
     17 2019
     18 2020
     14 2021
     28 2022
     10 2023
      1 2024
But even that is inaccurate because, in ikiwiki, I can tag any page as being featured on the blog. So we actually need to process the HTML itself because we don't have much better on hand without going through ikiwiki's internals:
anarcat@angela:anarc.at$ curl -sSL https://anarc.at/blog/   grep 'href="\./'   grep -o 20[0-9][0-9]   sort   uniq -c 
     56 2005
     42 2006
     19 2007
     18 2008
      6 2009
     12 2010
     15 2011
     10 2012
     11 2013
      3 2014
     15 2015
     32 2016
     50 2017
     37 2018
     19 2019
     19 2020
     15 2021
     28 2022
     13 2023
Which puts the top 10 years at:
$ curl -sSL https://anarc.at/blog/   grep 'href="\./'   grep -o 20[0-9][0-9]   sort   uniq -c    sort -nr   head -10
     56 2005
     50 2017
     42 2006
     37 2018
     32 2016
     28 2022
     19 2020
     19 2019
     19 2007
     18 2008
Anyway. 2023 is certainly not a glorious year in that regard, in any case.

Visitors In terms of visits, however, we had quite a few hits. According to Goatcounter, I had 122 300 visits in 2023! 2022, in comparison, had 89 363, so that's quite a rise.

What you read I seem to have hit the Hacker News front page at least twice. I say "seem" because it's actually pretty hard to tell what the HN frontpage actually is on any given day. I had 22k visits on 2023-03-13, in any case, and you can't see me on the front that day. We do see a post of mine on 2023-09-02, all the way down there, which seem to have generated another 10k visits. In any case, here were the most popular stories for you fine visitors:
  • Framework 12th gen laptop review: 24k visits, which is surprising for a 13k words article "without images", as some critics have complained. 15k referred by Hacker News. Good reference and time-consuming benchmarks, slowly bit-rotting. That is, by far, my most popular article ever. A popular article in 2021 or 2022 was around 6k to 9k, so that's a big one. I suspect it will keep getting traffic for a long while.
  • Calibre replacement considerations: 15k visits, most of which without a referrer. Was actually an old article, but I suspect HN brought it back to light. I keep updating that wiki page regularly when I find new things, but I'm still using Calibre to import ebooks.
  • Hacking my Kobo Clara HD: is not new but always gathering more and more hits, it had 1800 hits in the first year, 4600 hits last year and now brought 6400 visitors to the blog! Not directly related, but this iFixit battery replacement guide I wrote also seem to be quite popular
Everything else was published before 2023. Replacing Smokeping with Prometheus is still around and Looking at Wayland terminal emulators makes an entry in the top five.

Where you've been People send less and less private information when they browse the web. The number of visitors without referrers was 41% in 2021, it rose to 44% in 2023. Most of the remaining traffic comes from Google, but Hacker News is now a significant chunk, almost as big as Google. In 2021, Google represented 23% of my traffic, in 2022, it was down to 15% so 18% is actually a rise from last year, even if it seems much smaller than what I usually think of.
Ratio Referrer Visits
18% Google 22 098
13% Hacker News 16 003
2% duckduckgo.com 2 640
1% community.frame.work 1 090
1% missing.csail.mit.edu 918
Note that Facebook and Twitter do not appear at all in my referrers.

Where you are Unsurprisingly, most visits still come from the US:
Ratio Country Visits
26% United States 32 010
14% France 17 046
10% Germany 11 650
6% Canada 7 425
5% United Kingdom 6 473
3% Netherlands 3 436
Those ratios are nearly identical to last year, but quite different from 2021, where Germany and France were more or less reversed. Back in 2021, I mentioned there was a long tail of countries with at least one visit, with 160 countries listed. I expanded that and there's now 182 countries in that list, almost all of the 193 member states in the UN.

What you were Chrome's dominance continues to expand, even on readers of this blog, gaining two percentage points from Firefox compared to 2021.
Ratio Browser Visits
49% Firefox 60 126
36% Chrome 44 052
14% Safari 17 463
1% Others N/A
It seems like, unfortunately, my Lynx and Haiku users have not visited in the past year. It seems like trying to read those metrics is like figuring out tea leaves... In terms of operating systems:
Ratio OS Visits
28% Linux 34 010
23% macOS 28 728
21% Windows 26 303
17% Android 20 614
10% iOS 11 741
Again, Linux and Mac are over-represented, and Android and iOS are under-represented.

What is next I hope to write more next year. I've been thinking about a few posts I could write for work, about how things work behind the scenes at Tor, that could be informative for many people. We run a rather old setup, but things hold up pretty well for what we throw at it, and it's worth sharing that with the world... So anyway, thanks for coming, faithful reader, and see you in the coming 2024 year...

7 January 2024

Jonathan McDowell: Free Software Activities for 2023

This year was hard from a personal and work point of view, which impacted the amount of Free Software bits I ended up doing - even when I had the time I often wasn t in the right head space to make progress on things. However writing this annual recap up has been a useful exercise, as I achieved more than I realised. For previous years see 2019, 2020, 2021 + 2022.

Conferences The only Free Software related conference I made it to this year was DebConf23 in Kochi, India. Changes with projects at work meant I couldn t justify anything work related. This year I m planning to make it to FOSDEM, and haven t made a decision on DebConf24 yet.

Debian Most of my contributions to Free software continue to happen within Debian. I started the year working on retrogaming with Kodi on Debian. I got this to a much better state for bookworm, with it being possible to run the bsnes-mercury emulator under Kodi using RetroArch. There are a few other libretro backends available for RetroArch, but Kodi needs some extra controller mappings packaged up first. Plenty of uploads were involved, though some of this was aligning all the dependencies and generally cleaning things up in iterations. I continued to work on a few packages within the Debian Electronics Packaging Team. OpenOCD produced a new release in time for the bookworm release, so I uploaded 0.12.0-1. There were a few minor sigrok cleanups - sigrok 0.3, libsigrokdecode 0.5.3-4 + libsigrok 0.5.2-4 / 0.5.2-5. While I didn t manage to get the work completed I did some renaming of the ESP8266 related packages - gcc-xtensa-lx106 (which saw a 13 upload pre-bookworm) has become gcc-xtensa (with 14) and binutils-xtensa-lx106 has become binutils-xtensa (with 6). Binary packages remain the same, but this is intended to allow for the generation of ESP32 compiler toolchains from the same source. onak saw 0.6.3-1 uploaded to match the upstream release. I also uploaded libgpg-error 1.47-1 (though I can claim no credit for any of the work in preparing the package) to help move things forward on updating gnupg2 in Debian. I NMUed tpm2-pkcs11 1.9.0-0.1 to fix some minor issues pre-bookworm release; I use this package myself to store my SSH key within my laptop TPM, so I care about it being in a decent state. sg3-utils also saw a bit of love with 1.46-2 + 1.46-3 - I don t work in the storage space these days, but I m still listed as an uploaded and there was an RC bug around the library package naming that I was qualified to fix and test pre-bookworm. Related to my retroarch work I sponsored uploads of mgba for Ryan Tandy: 0.10.0+dfsg-1, 0.10.0+dfsg-2, 0.10.1+dfsg-1, 0.10.2+dfsg-1, mgba 0.10.1+dfsg-1+deb12u1. As part of the Data Protection Team I responded to various inbound queries to that team, both from project members and those external to the project. I continue to keep an eye on Debian New Members, even though I m mostly inactive as an application manager - we generally seem to have enough available recently. Mostly my involvement is via Front Desk activities, helping out with queries to the team alias, and contributing to internal discussions as well as our panel at DebConf23. Finally the 3 month rotation for Debian Keyring continues to operate smoothly. I dealt with 2023.03.24, 2023.06.26, 2023.06.29, 2023.09.10, 2023.09.24 + 2023.12.24.

Linux I had a few minor patches accepted to the kernel this year. A pair of safexcel cleanups (improved error logging for firmware load fail and cleanup on load failure) came out of upgrading the kernel running on my RB5009. The rest were related to my work on repurposing my C.H.I.P.. The AXP209 driver needed extended to support GPIO3 (with associated DT schema update). That allowed Bluetooth to be enabled. Adding the AXP209 internal temperature ADC as an iio-hwmon node means it can be tracked using the normal sensor monitoring framework. And finally I added the pinmux settings for mmc2, which I use to support an external microSD slot on my C.H.I.P.

Personal projects 2023 saw another minor release of onak, 0.6.3, which resulted in a corresponding Debian upload (0.6.3-1). It has a couple of bug fixes (including a particularly annoying, if minor, one around systemd socket activation that felt very satisfying to get to the bottom of), but I still lack the time to do any of the major changes I would like to. I wrote listadmin3 to allow easy manipulation of moderation queues for Mailman3. It s basic, but it s drastically improved my timeliness on dealing with held messages.

31 December 2023

Chris Lamb: Favourites of 2023

This post should have marked the beginning of my yearly roundups of the favourite books and movies I read and watched in 2023. However, due to coming down with a nasty bout of flu recently and other sundry commitments, I wasn't able to undertake writing the necessary four or five blog posts In lieu of this, however, I will simply present my (unordered and unadorned) highlights for now. Do get in touch if this (or any of my previous posts) have spurred you into picking something up yourself

Books

Peter Watts: Blindsight (2006) Reymer Banham: Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (2006) Joanne McNeil: Lurking: How a Person Became a User (2020) J. L. Carr: A Month in the Country (1980) Hilary Mantel: A Memoir of My Former Self: A Life in Writing (2023) Adam Higginbotham: Midnight in Chernobyl (2019) Tony Judt: Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2005) Tony Judt: Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century (2008) Peter Apps: Show Me the Bodies: How We Let Grenfell Happen (2021) Joan Didion: Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)Erik Larson: The Devil in the White City (2003)

Films Recent releases

Unenjoyable experiences included Alejandro G mez Monteverde's Sound of Freedom (2023), Alex Garland's Men (2022) and Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans (2022).
Older releases (Films released before 2022, and not including rewatches from previous years.) Distinctly unenjoyable watches included Ocean's Eleven (1960), El Topo (1970), L olo (1992), Hotel Mumbai (2018), Bulworth (1998) and and The Big Red One (1980).

13 December 2023

Melissa Wen: 15 Tips for Debugging Issues in the AMD Display Kernel Driver

A self-help guide for examining and debugging the AMD display driver within the Linux kernel/DRM subsystem. It s based on my experience as an external developer working on the driver, and are shared with the goal of helping others navigate the driver code. Acknowledgments: These tips were gathered thanks to the countless help received from AMD developers during the driver development process. The list below was obtained by examining open source code, reviewing public documentation, playing with tools, asking in public forums and also with the help of my former GSoC mentor, Rodrigo Siqueira.

Pre-Debugging Steps: Before diving into an issue, it s crucial to perform two essential steps: 1) Check the latest changes: Ensure you re working with the latest AMD driver modifications located in the amd-staging-drm-next branch maintained by Alex Deucher. You may also find bug fixes for newer kernel versions on branches that have the name pattern drm-fixes-<date>. 2) Examine the issue tracker: Confirm that your issue isn t already documented and addressed in the AMD display driver issue tracker. If you find a similar issue, you can team up with others and speed up the debugging process.

Understanding the issue: Do you really need to change this? Where should you start looking for changes? 3) Is the issue in the AMD kernel driver or in the userspace?: Identifying the source of the issue is essential regardless of the GPU vendor. Sometimes this can be challenging so here are some helpful tips:
  • Record the screen: Capture the screen using a recording app while experiencing the issue. If the bug appears in the capture, it s likely a userspace issue, not the kernel display driver.
  • Analyze the dmesg log: Look for error messages related to the display driver in the dmesg log. If the error message appears before the message [drm] Display Core v... , it s not likely a display driver issue. If this message doesn t appear in your log, the display driver wasn t fully loaded and you will see a notification that something went wrong here.
4) AMD Display Manager vs. AMD Display Core: The AMD display driver consists of two components:
  • Display Manager (DM): This component interacts directly with the Linux DRM infrastructure. Occasionally, issues can arise from misinterpretations of DRM properties or features. If the issue doesn t occur on other platforms with the same AMD hardware - for example, only happens on Linux but not on Windows - it s more likely related to the AMD DM code.
  • Display Core (DC): This is the platform-agnostic part responsible for setting and programming hardware features. Modifications to the DC usually require validation on other platforms, like Windows, to avoid regressions.
5) Identify the DC HW family: Each AMD GPU has variations in its hardware architecture. Features and helpers differ between families, so determining the relevant code for your specific hardware is crucial.
  • Find GPU product information in Linux/AMD GPU documentation
  • Check the dmesg log for the Display Core version (since this commit in Linux kernel 6.3v). For example:
    • [drm] Display Core v3.2.241 initialized on DCN 2.1
    • [drm] Display Core v3.2.237 initialized on DCN 3.0.1

Investigating the relevant driver code: Keep from letting unrelated driver code to affect your investigation. 6) Narrow the code inspection down to one DC HW family: the relevant code resides in a directory named after the DC number. For example, the DCN 3.0.1 driver code is located at drivers/gpu/drm/amd/display/dc/dcn301. We all know that the AMD s shared code is huge and you can use these boundaries to rule out codes unrelated to your issue. 7) Newer families may inherit code from older ones: you can find dcn301 using code from dcn30, dcn20, dcn10 files. It s crucial to verify which hooks and helpers your driver utilizes to investigate the right portion. You can leverage ftrace for supplemental validation. To give an example, it was useful when I was updating DCN3 color mapping to correctly use their new post-blending color capabilities, such as: Additionally, you can use two different HW families to compare behaviours. If you see the issue in one but not in the other, you can compare the code and understand what has changed and if the implementation from a previous family doesn t fit well the new HW resources or design. You can also count on the help of the community on the Linux AMD issue tracker to validate your code on other hardware and/or systems. This approach helped me debug a 2-year-old issue where the cursor gamma adjustment was incorrect in DCN3 hardware, but working correctly for DCN2 family. I solved the issue in two steps, thanks for community feedback and validation: 8) Check the hardware capability screening in the driver: You can currently find a list of display hardware capabilities in the drivers/gpu/drm/amd/display/dc/dcn*/dcn*_resource.c file. More precisely in the dcn*_resource_construct() function. Using DCN301 for illustration, here is the list of its hardware caps:
	/*************************************************
	 *  Resource + asic cap harcoding                *
	 *************************************************/
	pool->base.underlay_pipe_index = NO_UNDERLAY_PIPE;
	pool->base.pipe_count = pool->base.res_cap->num_timing_generator;
	pool->base.mpcc_count = pool->base.res_cap->num_timing_generator;
	dc->caps.max_downscale_ratio = 600;
	dc->caps.i2c_speed_in_khz = 100;
	dc->caps.i2c_speed_in_khz_hdcp = 5; /*1.4 w/a enabled by default*/
	dc->caps.max_cursor_size = 256;
	dc->caps.min_horizontal_blanking_period = 80;
	dc->caps.dmdata_alloc_size = 2048;
	dc->caps.max_slave_planes = 2;
	dc->caps.max_slave_yuv_planes = 2;
	dc->caps.max_slave_rgb_planes = 2;
	dc->caps.is_apu = true;
	dc->caps.post_blend_color_processing = true;
	dc->caps.force_dp_tps4_for_cp2520 = true;
	dc->caps.extended_aux_timeout_support = true;
	dc->caps.dmcub_support = true;
	/* Color pipeline capabilities */
	dc->caps.color.dpp.dcn_arch = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.input_lut_shared = 0;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.icsc = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.dgam_ram = 0; // must use gamma_corr
	dc->caps.color.dpp.dgam_rom_caps.srgb = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.dgam_rom_caps.bt2020 = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.dgam_rom_caps.gamma2_2 = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.dgam_rom_caps.pq = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.dgam_rom_caps.hlg = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.post_csc = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.gamma_corr = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.dgam_rom_for_yuv = 0;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.hw_3d_lut = 1;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.ogam_ram = 1;
	// no OGAM ROM on DCN301
	dc->caps.color.dpp.ogam_rom_caps.srgb = 0;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.ogam_rom_caps.bt2020 = 0;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.ogam_rom_caps.gamma2_2 = 0;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.ogam_rom_caps.pq = 0;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.ogam_rom_caps.hlg = 0;
	dc->caps.color.dpp.ocsc = 0;
	dc->caps.color.mpc.gamut_remap = 1;
	dc->caps.color.mpc.num_3dluts = pool->base.res_cap->num_mpc_3dlut; //2
	dc->caps.color.mpc.ogam_ram = 1;
	dc->caps.color.mpc.ogam_rom_caps.srgb = 0;
	dc->caps.color.mpc.ogam_rom_caps.bt2020 = 0;
	dc->caps.color.mpc.ogam_rom_caps.gamma2_2 = 0;
	dc->caps.color.mpc.ogam_rom_caps.pq = 0;
	dc->caps.color.mpc.ogam_rom_caps.hlg = 0;
	dc->caps.color.mpc.ocsc = 1;
	dc->caps.dp_hdmi21_pcon_support = true;
	/* read VBIOS LTTPR caps */
	if (ctx->dc_bios->funcs->get_lttpr_caps)  
		enum bp_result bp_query_result;
		uint8_t is_vbios_lttpr_enable = 0;
		bp_query_result = ctx->dc_bios->funcs->get_lttpr_caps(ctx->dc_bios, &is_vbios_lttpr_enable);
		dc->caps.vbios_lttpr_enable = (bp_query_result == BP_RESULT_OK) && !!is_vbios_lttpr_enable;
	 
	if (ctx->dc_bios->funcs->get_lttpr_interop)  
		enum bp_result bp_query_result;
		uint8_t is_vbios_interop_enabled = 0;
		bp_query_result = ctx->dc_bios->funcs->get_lttpr_interop(ctx->dc_bios, &is_vbios_interop_enabled);
		dc->caps.vbios_lttpr_aware = (bp_query_result == BP_RESULT_OK) && !!is_vbios_interop_enabled;
	 
Keep in mind that the documentation of color capabilities are available at the Linux kernel Documentation.

Understanding the development history: What has brought us to the current state? 9) Pinpoint relevant commits: Use git log and git blame to identify commits targeting the code section you re interested in. 10) Track regressions: If you re examining the amd-staging-drm-next branch, check for regressions between DC release versions. These are defined by DC_VER in the drivers/gpu/drm/amd/display/dc/dc.h file. Alternatively, find a commit with this format drm/amd/display: 3.2.221 that determines a display release. It s useful for bisecting. This information helps you understand how outdated your branch is and identify potential regressions. You can consider each DC_VER takes around one week to be bumped. Finally, check testing log of each release in the report provided on the amd-gfx mailing list, such as this one Tested-by: Daniel Wheeler:

Reducing the inspection area: Focus on what really matters. 11) Identify involved HW blocks: This helps isolate the issue. You can find more information about DCN HW blocks in the DCN Overview documentation. In summary:
  • Plane issues are closer to HUBP and DPP.
  • Blending/Stream issues are closer to MPC, OPP and OPTC. They are related to DRM CRTC subjects.
This information was useful when debugging a hardware rotation issue where the cursor plane got clipped off in the middle of the screen. Finally, the issue was addressed by two patches: 12) Issues around bandwidth (glitches) and clocks: May be affected by calculations done in these HW blocks and HW specific values. The recalculation equations are found in the DML folder. DML stands for Display Mode Library. It s in charge of all required configuration parameters supported by the hardware for multiple scenarios. See more in the AMD DC Overview kernel docs. It s a math library that optimally configures hardware to find the best balance between power efficiency and performance in a given scenario. Finding some clk variables that affect device behavior may be a sign of it. It s hard for a external developer to debug this part, since it involves information from HW specs and firmware programming that we don t have access. The best option is to provide all relevant debugging information you have and ask AMD developers to check the values from your suspicions.
  • Do a trick: If you suspect the power setup is degrading performance, try setting the amount of power supplied to the GPU to the maximum and see if it affects the system behavior with this command: sudo bash -c "echo high > /sys/class/drm/card0/device/power_dpm_force_performance_level"
I learned it when debugging glitches with hardware cursor rotation on Steam Deck. My first attempt was changing the clock calculation. In the end, Rodrigo Siqueira proposed the right solution targeting bandwidth in two steps:

Checking implicit programming and hardware limitations: Bring implicit programming to the level of consciousness and recognize hardware limitations. 13) Implicit update types: Check if the selected type for atomic update may affect your issue. The update type depends on the mode settings, since programming some modes demands more time for hardware processing. More details in the source code:
/* Surface update type is used by dc_update_surfaces_and_stream
 * The update type is determined at the very beginning of the function based
 * on parameters passed in and decides how much programming (or updating) is
 * going to be done during the call.
 *
 * UPDATE_TYPE_FAST is used for really fast updates that do not require much
 * logical calculations or hardware register programming. This update MUST be
 * ISR safe on windows. Currently fast update will only be used to flip surface
 * address.
 *
 * UPDATE_TYPE_MED is used for slower updates which require significant hw
 * re-programming however do not affect bandwidth consumption or clock
 * requirements. At present, this is the level at which front end updates
 * that do not require us to run bw_calcs happen. These are in/out transfer func
 * updates, viewport offset changes, recout size changes and pixel
depth changes.
 * This update can be done at ISR, but we want to minimize how often
this happens.
 *
 * UPDATE_TYPE_FULL is slow. Really slow. This requires us to recalculate our
 * bandwidth and clocks, possibly rearrange some pipes and reprogram
anything front
 * end related. Any time viewport dimensions, recout dimensions,
scaling ratios or
 * gamma need to be adjusted or pipe needs to be turned on (or
disconnected) we do
 * a full update. This cannot be done at ISR level and should be a rare event.
 * Unless someone is stress testing mpo enter/exit, playing with
colour or adjusting
 * underscan we don't expect to see this call at all.
 */
enum surface_update_type  
UPDATE_TYPE_FAST, /* super fast, safe to execute in isr */
UPDATE_TYPE_MED,  /* ISR safe, most of programming needed, no bw/clk change*/
UPDATE_TYPE_FULL, /* may need to shuffle resources */
 ;

Using tools: Observe the current state, validate your findings, continue improvements. 14) Use AMD tools to check hardware state and driver programming: help on understanding your driver settings and checking the behavior when changing those settings.
  • DC Visual confirmation: Check multiple planes and pipe split policy.
  • DTN logs: Check display hardware state, including rotation, size, format, underflow, blocks in use, color block values, etc.
  • UMR: Check ASIC info, register values, KMS state - links and elements (framebuffers, planes, CRTCs, connectors). Source: UMR project documentation
15) Use generic DRM/KMS tools:
  • IGT test tools: Use generic KMS tests or develop your own to isolate the issue in the kernel space. Compare results across different GPU vendors to understand their implementations and find potential solutions. Here AMD also has specific IGT tests for its GPUs that is expect to work without failures on any AMD GPU. You can check results of HW-specific tests using different display hardware families or you can compare expected differences between the generic workflow and AMD workflow.
  • drm_info: This tool summarizes the current state of a display driver (capabilities, properties and formats) per element of the DRM/KMS workflow. Output can be helpful when reporting bugs.

Don t give up! Debugging issues in the AMD display driver can be challenging, but by following these tips and leveraging available resources, you can significantly improve your chances of success. Worth mentioning: This blog post builds upon my talk, I m not an AMD expert, but presented at the 2022 XDC. It shares guidelines that helped me debug AMD display issues as an external developer of the driver. Open Source Display Driver: The Linux kernel/AMD display driver is open source, allowing you to actively contribute by addressing issues listed in the official tracker. Tackling existing issues or resolving your own can be a rewarding learning experience and a valuable contribution to the community. Additionally, the tracker serves as a valuable resource for finding similar bugs, troubleshooting tips, and suggestions from AMD developers. Finally, it s a platform for seeking help when needed. Remember, contributing to the open source community through issue resolution and collaboration is mutually beneficial for everyone involved.

12 December 2023

Raju Devidas: Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxy

Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxyNextcloud is a popular self-hosted solution for file sync and share as well as cloud apps such as document editing, chat and talk, calendar, photo gallery etc. This guide will walk you through setting up Nextcloud AIO using Docker Compose. This blog post would not be possible without immense help from Sahil Dhiman a.k.a. sahilisterThere are various ways in which the installation could be done, in our setup here are the pre-requisites.

Step 1 : The docker-compose file for nextcloud AIOThe original compose.yml file is present in nextcloud AIO&aposs git repo here . By taking a reference of that file, we have own compose.yml here.
services:
  nextcloud-aio-mastercontainer:
    image: nextcloud/all-in-one:latest
    init: true
    restart: always
    container_name: nextcloud-aio-mastercontainer # This line is not allowed to be changed as otherwise AIO will not work correctly
    volumes:
      - nextcloud_aio_mastercontainer:/mnt/docker-aio-config # This line is not allowed to be changed as otherwise the built-in backup solution will not work
      - /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock:ro # May be changed on macOS, Windows or docker rootless. See the applicable documentation. If adjusting, don&apost forget to also set &aposWATCHTOWER_DOCKER_SOCKET_PATH&apos!
    ports:
      - 8080:8080
    environment: # Is needed when using any of the options below
      # - AIO_DISABLE_BACKUP_SECTION=false # Setting this to true allows to hide the backup section in the AIO interface. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-disable-the-backup-section
      - APACHE_PORT=32323 # Is needed when running behind a web server or reverse proxy (like Apache, Nginx, Cloudflare Tunnel and else). See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one/blob/main/reverse-proxy.md
      - APACHE_IP_BINDING=127.0.0.1 # Should be set when running behind a web server or reverse proxy (like Apache, Nginx, Cloudflare Tunnel and else) that is running on the same host. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one/blob/main/reverse-proxy.md
      # - BORG_RETENTION_POLICY=--keep-within=7d --keep-weekly=4 --keep-monthly=6 # Allows to adjust borgs retention policy. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-adjust-borgs-retention-policy
      # - COLLABORA_SECCOMP_DISABLED=false # Setting this to true allows to disable Collabora&aposs Seccomp feature. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-disable-collaboras-seccomp-feature
      - NEXTCLOUD_DATADIR=/opt/docker/cloud.raju.dev/nextcloud # Allows to set the host directory for Nextcloud&aposs datadir.   Warning: do not set or adjust this value after the initial Nextcloud installation is done! See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-change-the-default-location-of-nextclouds-datadir
      # - NEXTCLOUD_MOUNT=/mnt/ # Allows the Nextcloud container to access the chosen directory on the host. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-allow-the-nextcloud-container-to-access-directories-on-the-host
      # - NEXTCLOUD_UPLOAD_LIMIT=10G # Can be adjusted if you need more. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-adjust-the-upload-limit-for-nextcloud
      # - NEXTCLOUD_MAX_TIME=3600 # Can be adjusted if you need more. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-adjust-the-max-execution-time-for-nextcloud
      # - NEXTCLOUD_MEMORY_LIMIT=512M # Can be adjusted if you need more. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-adjust-the-php-memory-limit-for-nextcloud
      # - NEXTCLOUD_TRUSTED_CACERTS_DIR=/path/to/my/cacerts # CA certificates in this directory will be trusted by the OS of the nexcloud container (Useful e.g. for LDAPS) See See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-trust-user-defined-certification-authorities-ca
      # - NEXTCLOUD_STARTUP_APPS=deck twofactor_totp tasks calendar contacts notes # Allows to modify the Nextcloud apps that are installed on starting AIO the first time. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-change-the-nextcloud-apps-that-are-installed-on-the-first-startup
      # - NEXTCLOUD_ADDITIONAL_APKS=imagemagick # This allows to add additional packages to the Nextcloud container permanently. Default is imagemagick but can be overwritten by modifying this value. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-add-os-packages-permanently-to-the-nextcloud-container
      # - NEXTCLOUD_ADDITIONAL_PHP_EXTENSIONS=imagick # This allows to add additional php extensions to the Nextcloud container permanently. Default is imagick but can be overwritten by modifying this value. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-add-php-extensions-permanently-to-the-nextcloud-container
      # - NEXTCLOUD_ENABLE_DRI_DEVICE=true # This allows to enable the /dev/dri device in the Nextcloud container.   Warning: this only works if the &apos/dev/dri&apos device is present on the host! If it should not exist on your host, don&apost set this to true as otherwise the Nextcloud container will fail to start! See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-enable-hardware-transcoding-for-nextcloud
      # - NEXTCLOUD_KEEP_DISABLED_APPS=false # Setting this to true will keep Nextcloud apps that are disabled in the AIO interface and not uninstall them if they should be installed. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-keep-disabled-apps
      # - TALK_PORT=3478 # This allows to adjust the port that the talk container is using. See https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-adjust-the-talk-port
      # - WATCHTOWER_DOCKER_SOCKET_PATH=/var/run/docker.sock # Needs to be specified if the docker socket on the host is not located in the default &apos/var/run/docker.sock&apos. Otherwise mastercontainer updates will fail. For macos it needs to be &apos/var/run/docker.sock&apos
    # networks: # Is needed when you want to create the nextcloud-aio network with ipv6-support using this file, see the network config at the bottom of the file
      # - nextcloud-aio # Is needed when you want to create the nextcloud-aio network with ipv6-support using this file, see the network config at the bottom of the file
      # - SKIP_DOMAIN_VALIDATION=true
    # # Uncomment the following line when using SELinux
    # security_opt: ["label:disable"]
volumes: # If you want to store the data on a different drive, see https://github.com/nextcloud/all-in-one#how-to-store-the-filesinstallation-on-a-separate-drive
  nextcloud_aio_mastercontainer:
    name: nextcloud_aio_mastercontainer # This line is not allowed to be changed as otherwise the built-in backup solution will not work
I have not removed many of the commented options in the compose file, for a possibility of me using them in the future.If you want a smaller cleaner compose with the extra options, you can refer to
services:
  nextcloud-aio-mastercontainer:
    image: nextcloud/all-in-one:latest
    init: true
    restart: always
    container_name: nextcloud-aio-mastercontainer
    volumes:
      - nextcloud_aio_mastercontainer:/mnt/docker-aio-config
      - /var/run/docker.sock:/var/run/docker.sock:ro
    ports:
      - 8080:8080
    environment:
      - APACHE_PORT=32323
      - APACHE_IP_BINDING=127.0.0.1
      - NEXTCLOUD_DATADIR=/opt/docker/nextcloud
volumes:
  nextcloud_aio_mastercontainer:
    name: nextcloud_aio_mastercontainer
I am using a separate directory to store nextcloud data. As per nextcloud documentation you should be using a separate partition if you want to use this feature, however I did not have that option on my server, so I used a separate directory instead. Also we use a custom port on which nextcloud listens for operations, we have set it up as 32323 above, but you can use any in the permissible port range. The 8080 port is used the setup the AIO management interface. Both 8080 and the APACHE_PORT do not need to be open on the host machine, as we will be using reverse proxy setup with nginx to direct requests. once you have your preferred compose.yml file, you can start the containers using
$ docker-compose -f compose.yml up -d 
Creating network "clouddev_default" with the default driver
Creating volume "nextcloud_aio_mastercontainer" with default driver
Creating nextcloud-aio-mastercontainer ... done
once your container&aposs are running, we can do the nginx setup.

Step 2: Configuring nginx reverse proxy for our domain on host. A reference nginx configuration for nextcloud AIO is given in the nextcloud git repository here . You can modify the configuration file according to your needs and setup. Here is configuration that we are using

map $http_upgrade $connection_upgrade  
    default upgrade;
    &apos&apos close;
 
server  
    listen 80;
    #listen [::]:80;            # comment to disable IPv6
    if ($scheme = "http")  
        return 301 https://$host$request_uri;
     
    listen 443 ssl http2;      # for nginx versions below v1.25.1
    #listen [::]:443 ssl http2; # for nginx versions below v1.25.1 - comment to disable IPv6
    # listen 443 ssl;      # for nginx v1.25.1+
    # listen [::]:443 ssl; # for nginx v1.25.1+ - keep comment to disable IPv6
    # http2 on;                                 # uncomment to enable HTTP/2        - supported on nginx v1.25.1+
    # http3 on;                                 # uncomment to enable HTTP/3 / QUIC - supported on nginx v1.25.0+
    # quic_retry on;                            # uncomment to enable HTTP/3 / QUIC - supported on nginx v1.25.0+
    # add_header Alt-Svc &aposh3=":443"; ma=86400&apos; # uncomment to enable HTTP/3 / QUIC - supported on nginx v1.25.0+
    # listen 443 quic reuseport;       # uncomment to enable HTTP/3 / QUIC - supported on nginx v1.25.0+ - please remove "reuseport" if there is already another quic listener on port 443 with enabled reuseport
    # listen [::]:443 quic reuseport;  # uncomment to enable HTTP/3 / QUIC - supported on nginx v1.25.0+ - please remove "reuseport" if there is already another quic listener on port 443 with enabled reuseport - keep comment to disable IPv6
    server_name cloud.example.com;
    location /  
        proxy_pass http://127.0.0.1:32323$request_uri;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Port $server_port;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Scheme $scheme;
        proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto $scheme;
        proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
        proxy_set_header Accept-Encoding "";
        proxy_set_header Host $host;
    
        client_body_buffer_size 512k;
        proxy_read_timeout 86400s;
        client_max_body_size 0;
        # Websocket
        proxy_http_version 1.1;
        proxy_set_header Upgrade $http_upgrade;
        proxy_set_header Connection $connection_upgrade;
     
    ssl_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/cloud.example.com/fullchain.pem; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_certificate_key /etc/letsencrypt/live/cloud.example.com/privkey.pem; # managed by Certbot
    ssl_session_timeout 1d;
    ssl_session_cache shared:MozSSL:10m; # about 40000 sessions
    ssl_session_tickets off;
    ssl_protocols TLSv1.2 TLSv1.3;
    ssl_ciphers ECDHE-ECDSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:ECDHE-ECDSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:ECDHE-ECDSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:ECDHE-RSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305:DHE-RSA-AES128-GCM-SHA256:DHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384:DHE-RSA-CHACHA20-POLY1305;
    ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
    # Optional settings:
    # OCSP stapling
    # ssl_stapling on;
    # ssl_stapling_verify on;
    # ssl_trusted_certificate /etc/letsencrypt/live/<your-nc-domain>/chain.pem;
    # replace with the IP address of your resolver
    # resolver 127.0.0.1; # needed for oscp stapling: e.g. use 94.140.15.15 for adguard / 1.1.1.1 for cloudflared or 8.8.8.8 for google - you can use the same nameserver as listed in your /etc/resolv.conf file
 
Please note that you need to have valid SSL certificates for your domain for this configuration to work. Steps on getting valid SSL certificates for your domain are beyond the scope of this article. You can give a web search on getting SSL certificates with letsencrypt and you will get several resources on that, or may write a blog post on it separately in the future.once your configuration for nginx is done, you can test the nginx configuration using
$ sudo nginx -t 
nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok
nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful
and then reload nginx with
$ sudo nginx -s reload

Step 3: Setup of Nextcloud AIO from the browser.To setup nextcloud AIO, we need to access it using the web browser on URL of our domain.tld:8080, however we do not want to open the 8080 port publicly to do this, so to complete the setup, here is a neat hack from sahilister
ssh -L 8080:127.0.0.1:8080 username:<server-ip>
you can bind the 8080 port of your server to the 8080 of your localhost using Unix socket forwarding over SSH.The port forwarding only last for the duration of your SSH session, if the SSH session breaks, your port forwarding will to. So, once you have the port forwarded, you can open the nextcloud AIO instance in your web browser at 127.0.0.1:8080
Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxy
you will get this error because you are trying to access a page on localhost over HTTPS. You can click on advanced and then continue to proceed to the next page. Your data is encrypted over SSH for this session as we are binding the port over SSH. Depending on your choice of browser, the above page might look different.once you have proceeded, the nextcloud AIO interface will open and will look something like this.
Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxynextcloud AIO initial screen with capsicums as password
It will show an auto generated passphrase, you need to save this passphrase and make sure to not loose it. For the purposes of security, I have masked the passwords with capsicums. once you have noted down your password, you can proceed to the Nextcloud AIO login, enter your password and then login. After login you will be greeted with a screen like this.
Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxy
now you can put the domain that you want to use in the Submit domain field. Once the domain check is done, you will proceed to the next step and see another screen like this
Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxy
here you can select any optional containers for the features that you might want. IMPORTANT: Please make sure to also change the time zone at the bottom of the page according to the time zone you wish to operate in.
Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxy
The timezone setup is also important because the data base will get initialized according to the set time zone. This could result in wrong initialization of database and you ending up in a startup loop for nextcloud. I faced this issue and could only resolve it after getting help from sahilister . Once you are done changing the timezone, and selecting any additional features you want, you can click on Download and start the containersIt will take some time for this process to finish, take a break and look at the farthest object in your room and take a sip of water. Once you are done, and the process has finished you will see a page similar to the following one.
Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxy
wait patiently for everything to turn green.
Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxy
once all the containers have started properly, you can open the nextcloud login interface on your configured domain, the initial login details are auto generated as you can see from the above screenshot. Again you will see a password that you need to note down or save to enter the nextcloud interface. Capsicums will not work as passwords. I have masked the auto generated passwords using capsicums.Now you can click on Open your Nextcloud button or go to your configured domain to access the login screen.
Nextcloud AIO install with docker-compose and nginx reverse proxy
You can use the login details from the previous step to login to the administrator account of your Nextcloud instance. There you have it, your very own cloud!

Additional Notes:

How to properly reset Nextcloud setup?While following the above steps, or while following steps from some other tutorial, you may have made a mistake, and want to start everything again from scratch. The instructions for it are present in the Nextcloud documentation here . Here is the TLDR for a docker-compose setup. These steps will delete all data, do not use these steps on an existing nextcloud setup unless you know what you are doing.
  • Stop your master container.
docker-compose -f compose.yml down -v
The above command will also remove the volume associated with the master container
  • Stop all the child containers that has been started by the master container.
docker stop nextcloud-aio-apache nextcloud-aio-notify-push nextcloud-aio-nextcloud nextcloud-aio-imaginary nextcloud-aio-fulltextsearch nextcloud-aio-redis nextcloud-aio-database nextcloud-aio-talk nextcloud-aio-collabora
  • Remove all the child containers that has been started by the master container
docker rm nextcloud-aio-apache nextcloud-aio-notify-push nextcloud-aio-nextcloud nextcloud-aio-imaginary nextcloud-aio-fulltextsearch nextcloud-aio-redis nextcloud-aio-database nextcloud-aio-talk nextcloud-aio-collabora
  • If you also wish to remove all images associated with nextcloud you can do it with
docker rmi $(docker images --filter "reference=nextcloud/*" -q)
  • remove all volumes associated with child containers
docker volume rm <volume-name>
  • remove the network associated with nextcloud
docker network rm nextcloud-aio

Additional references.
  1. Nextcloud Github
  2. Nextcloud reverse proxy documentation
  3. Nextcloud Administration Guide
  4. Nextcloud User Manual
  5. Nextcloud Developer&aposs manual

Freexian Collaborators: Monthly report about Debian Long Term Support, November 2023 (by Roberto C. S nchez)

Like each month, have a look at the work funded by Freexian s Debian LTS offering. Some notable fixes which were made in LTS during the month of November include the gnutls28 cryptographic library and the freerdp2 Remote Desktop Protocol client/server implementation. The gnutls28 update was prepared by LTS contributor Markus Koschany and dealt with a timing attack which could be used to compromise a cryptographic system, while the freerdp2 update was prepared by LTS contributor Tobias Frost and is the result of work spanning 3 months to deal with dozens of vulnerabilities. In addition to the many ordinary LTS tasks which were completed (CVE triage, patch backports, package updates, etc), there were several contributions by LTS contributors for the benefit of Debian stable and old-stable releases, as well as for the benefit of upstream projects. LTS contributor Abhijith PA uploaded an update of the puma package to unstable in order to fix a vulnerability in that package while LTS contributor Thosten Alteholz sponsored an upload to unstable of libde265 and himself made corresponding uploads of libde265 to Debian stable and old-stable. LTS contributor Bastien Roucari s developed patches for vulnerabilities in zbar and audiofile which were then provided to the respective upstream projects. Updates to packages in Debian stable were made by Markus Koschany to deal with security vulnerabilities and by Chris Lamb to deal with some non-security bugs. As always, the LTS strives to provide high quality updates to packages under the direct purview of the LTS team while also rendering assistance to maintainers, the stable security team, and upstream developers whenever practical.

Debian LTS contributors In November, 18 contributors have been paid to work on Debian LTS, their reports are available:
  • Abhijith PA did 7.0h (out of 0h assigned and 14.0h from previous period), thus carrying over 7.0h to the next month.
  • Adrian Bunk did 15.0h (out of 14.0h assigned and 9.75h from previous period), thus carrying over 8.75h to the next month.
  • Anton Gladky did 10.0h (out of 9.5h assigned and 5.5h from previous period), thus carrying over 5.0h to the next month.
  • Bastien Roucari s did 16.0h (out of 18.25h assigned and 1.75h from previous period), thus carrying over 4.0h to the next month.
  • Ben Hutchings did 12.0h (out of 16.5h assigned and 12.25h from previous period), thus carrying over 16.75h to the next month.
  • Chris Lamb did 18.0h (out of 17.25h assigned and 0.75h from previous period).
  • Emilio Pozuelo Monfort did 15.5h (out of 23.5h assigned and 0.25h from previous period), thus carrying over 8.25h to the next month.
  • Guilhem Moulin did 13.0h (out of 12.0h assigned and 8.0h from previous period), thus carrying over 7.0h to the next month.
  • Lee Garrett did 14.5h (out of 16.75h assigned and 7.0h from previous period), thus carrying over 9.25h to the next month.
  • Markus Koschany did 30.0h (out of 30.0h assigned).
  • Ola Lundqvist did 6.5h (out of 8.25h assigned and 15.5h from previous period), thus carrying over 17.25h to the next month.
  • Roberto C. S nchez did 5.5h (out of 12.0h assigned), thus carrying over 6.5h to the next month.
  • Santiago Ruano Rinc n did 3.25h (out of 13.62h assigned and 2.375h from previous period), thus carrying over 12.745h to the next month.
  • Sean Whitton did 3.25h (out of 10.0h assigned), thus carrying over 6.75h to the next month.
  • Sylvain Beucler did 10.0h (out of 13.5h assigned and 10.25h from previous period), thus carrying over 13.75h to the next month.
  • Thorsten Alteholz did 14.0h (out of 14.0h assigned).
  • Tobias Frost did 12.0h (out of 12.0h assigned).
  • Utkarsh Gupta did 0.0h (out of 6.0h assigned and 17.75h from previous period), thus carrying over 23.75h to the next month.

Evolution of the situation In November, we have released 35 DLAs.

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