TAILS 3.13 Improves Security

3 months ago

Tails, the amnesic incognito live system based on the Debian GNU/Linux operating system, has been updated to version 3.13, a release that adds extra security and latest updates.

SparkyLinux Incinerates the Hassle Factor

3 months ago
SparkyLinux is a Linux distro that can ignite your daily computing experience. Its spark is pushing me to rethink my computing priorities. Regularly reviewing so many Linux operating systems for Linux Picks and Pans has a serious consequence for my computing sanity. Normally, I have a flirtatious episode with a new release each week. I'm always on the lookout for something new and shiny.
Jack M. Germain

LibreOffice 6.2.2 Released, New PocketBeagle SBC, Google Enforcing Permissions Rules on Apps, OpenShot 2.4.4 Now Available and Has Joined The Linux Foundation

3 months ago

News briefs for March 21, 2019.

The Document Foundation announces the release of LibreOffice 6.2.2. This version "provides over 50 bug and regression fixes over the previous version". You can view the changelog for details, and go here to download. Note that "LibreOffice 6.2.2 represents the bleeding edge in term of features for open source office suites, and as such is not optimized for enterprise class deployments, where features are less important than robustness. Users wanting a more mature version can download LibreOffice 6.1.5, which includes some months of back-ported fixes."

The new PocketBeagle Linux computer is now available for $29.95 from Adafruit. According to Geeky Gadgets, the PocketBeagle "offers a powerful 1GHz AM3358 powered Linux single board computer with a tiny form factor and open source architecture". The article quotes Adafruit on the new SBC: "what differentiates the BeagleBone is that it has multiple I2C, SPI and UART peripherals (many boards only have one of each), built in hardware PWMs, analog inputs, and two separate 200MHz microcontroller system called the PRU that can handle real-time tasks like displaying to RGB matrix displays or NeoPixels. It's not too much larger than our Feathers, but comes with 72 expansion pin headers, high-speed USB, 8 analog pins, 44 digital I/Os, and plenty of digital interface peripherals. You can also add a USB host connection by wiring a USB A socket to the broken out USB host connections labeled VI, D+, D-, ID and GND. Then plug in any USB Ethernet, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi device with available Linux drivers."

Google has started enforcing new permissions rules on applications' ability to access a phone's call and text logs. The Register reports that "Developers have been forced to remove features or in some cases change the fundamental nature of the application. One example is BlackBerry's Hub, an email client which also aggregated notifications from a variety of apps and presented them chronologically in a timeline. This application has lost its ability to includes calls and texts in that timeline." In addition, "Exceptions created by Google don't seem to be honoured, developers complained. One said that an enterprise archiving app—a category specifically exempt from the clampdown—has been broken."

OpenShot 2.4.4 was released yesterday. From the OpenShot Blog: "This release brings huge performance and stability improvements, along with some major bug fixes, lots of polish, and many new features." Improvements to the video editor include keyframe scaling, timeline and preview performance, SVG rendering, docking and tracks and much more. You can download OpenShot 2.4.4 from here. has joined The Linux Foundation and is publishing a "free open courseware platform for data teamwork. From the press release: "The goal of the Data Practices movement was to start movement similar to 'Agile for Data' that could help offer direction and improved data literacy across the ecosystem. The Data Practices Manifesto has had more signatories in its first year than the Agile manifesto."

News LibreOffice PocketBeagle Adafruit SBCs Google Android Mobile Audio/Video multimedia OpenShot The Linux Foundation Big Data
Jill Franklin

Bare-Bones Monitoring with Monit and RRDtool

3 months ago
by Andy Carlson

How to provide robust monitoring to low-end systems.

When running a critical system, it's necessary to know what resources the system is consuming, to be alerted when resource utilization reaches a specific level and to trend long-term performance. Zabbix and Nagios are two large-scale solutions that monitor, alert and trend system performance, and they each provide a rich user interface. Due to the requirements of those solutions, however, dedicated hardware/VM resources typically are required to host the monitoring solution. For smaller server implementations, options exist for providing basic monitoring, alerting and trending functionality. This article shows how to accomplish basic and custom monitoring and alerting using Monit. It also covers how to monitor long-term trending of system performance with RRDtool.

Initial Monit Configuration

On many popular Linux distros, you can install Monit from the associated software repository. Once installed, you can handle all the configuration with the monitrc configuration file. That file generally is located within the /etc directory structure, but the exact location varies based on your distribution.

The config file has two sections: Global and Services. The Global section allows for custom configuration of the Monit application. The Monit service contains a web-based front end that is fully configurable through the config file. Although the section is commented out by default, you can uncomment items selectively for granular customization. The web configuration block looks like this:

set httpd port 2812 and use address localhost allow localhost allow admin:monit

The first line sets the port number where you can access Monit via web browser. The second line sets the hostname (the HTTP Host header) that's used to access Monit. The third line sets the host from which the Monit application can be accessed. Note that you also can do this using a local firewall access restriction if a firewall is currently in place. The fourth line allows the configuration of a user name/password pair for use when accessing Monit. There's also a section that allows SSL options for encrypted connections to Monit. Although enabling SSL is recommended when passing authentication data, you also could reverse-proxy Monit through an existing web server, such as nginx or Apache, provided SSL is already configured on the web server. For more information on reverse-proxying Monit through Apache, see the Resources section at the end of this article.

The next items you need to enable deal with configuring email alerts. To set up the email server through which email will be relayed to the recipient, add or enable the following line:

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Andy Carlson