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Thanks for the misinformation, Disney

In one of its throwaway kid’s sitcoms, Disney insinuates that open source software contains spyware and using it is a ‘rookie mistake’.

Open source software rarely contains viruses or spyware. Since it’s open for examination, changes to the code that have any funny business in them tend to be rejected. For that matter, code with unintended bad consequences tends to either be rejected, or quickly changed.
Read More »Thanks for the misinformation, Disney

How to start over with MySQL in Debian

I got my new 64-bit web server up and running today. Now the main task that remains is to get my data moved over to it. I talked myself into going with an Apache setup, since one program I want to run (Webtrees) is designed for Apache and its search engine optimization seems to work better under Apache than Nginx. It’s fast anyway; displaying the 17-person family of Andrew Davis McQueen of Leesville, Mo., briefly consumes 2% of the available CPU time in Webtrees with the APC PHP cache installed and enabled. And that should get better, seeing as newer, faster, better versions of both Apache and PHP were released in the last month.

As I built my new 64-bit web server, I messed up MySQL a couple of times. When you break MySQL beyond repair, here’s how to start over with a fresh MySQL install and a fresh /var/lib/mysql without doing a Windows-like reformat and reinstall of the entire operating system:
Read More »How to start over with MySQL in Debian

Upgrade update

My new fire-breathing dragon of a server is sitting idle at the moment. I would have liked to have had it up and running today, but now I’m starting to realize why it took me so long to migrate off my Pentium II-450. Setting up Linux web servers is a lot more complicated than it was in 2001.

They can do a lot more than they could in 2001 too, but when I first built that server, the process literally went in about three steps: Install Debian, apt-get install apache mysql php, then download blogging software, create a MySQL database and account for it, edit a config file, then start blogging. You could get it done in an hour, and a lot of that time was waiting for stuff to load off a CD-ROM or download over a 256K DSL connection.

Read More »Upgrade update

Watch out for this Apache bug

There is a nasty Apache exploit going around right now that exploits a vulnerability in versions 1.3.x, 2.0.x and 2.2.x. Basically, it allows the process to exhaust all available memory and crash by sending GET requests with overlapping byte ranges. The methodology seems to borrow a page from the teardrop attack. Yes, I’ve been studying for a security certification….

If the site\’s been slow lately, I apologize

I noticed yesterday that my site was painfully slow, and my server was thrashing like nobody’s business. My access logs suggest that my site has been crawled incessantly by online casinos and other various forms of lowlife, and that it’s been happening for some time.

Hopefully that’s over now.I found that just bouncing Apache helped. The disk thrashing stopped, and when I waited a few seconds before restarting, the thrashing didn’t start back up again. So whatever was hammering me gave up in the interim when the data stopped flowing.

But in the meantime I did some changes to my .htaccess file. The always helpful Dive into Mark gave me a good starting point.

I’m sure that I broke lots of legitimate use of my site in the process, but if that’s the price I have to pay to keep evil people from abusing my computer and DSL line, then so be it. Since I pay the bills, I get to make the rules.