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February 13 2017: American Fuzzy Lop, SlackBuilds, LowEndSpirit, GPL violations and Jitsi Meet

Posted on February 19, 2017
( 4 minute read )

As only David had come with anything to share, we rambled round a wide range of topics.

Nick, who was with us for the first time since 2015, showed us the ThinkPad he had bought for £80 on eBay and told us that he had moved on from SkyBet to Leeds University Department of Engineering where there is a lot of Linux, mostly CentOS and using Puppet, and a wide range of computing resources up to an HPC cluster which is used by, among others, the European Space Agency.

He asked whether anyone had any thoughts on using btrfs at which David went apoplectic while John said that SUSE Enterprise had been using it for some time apparently without problems but, when they had introduced it to openSUSE just over a year ago, a lot of people had found it filled up their root partition suggesting that it is best used by those who know how to use it.

David shared the paper by Vegard Nossum and Quentin Casasnovas on applying American Fuzzy Lop to filesystems given at Vault 2016. This showed that it had taken only five seconds to encounter a bug in btrfs but two hours in Ext4.

David then introduced the Repology website which tracks the versions of packages in the various repositories along with the maintainers.

He next updated us on how he had decided to automate kernel updates in Slackbuilds. He had settled on using curl, grep, sed and grep to search for the relevant words in the kernel.org RSS feed, save the results in releases.new and then compare that with releases.csv. If there are any changes, releases.new is renamed releases.csv and the building commences for the four kernels, 32bit and 64bit for the stable and the current (beta) versions. At the moment, this is all in a box running 24/7 because he has not yet set up the wake up LAN.

Darren introduced us to the LowEndSpirit VPS. This runs on Solus VM which uses, among others, OpenVZ which is commercially supported by Virtuozzo.

David then asked us about Patrick McHardy. The background is that the Software Freedom Conservancy and the Free Software Foundation published guidelines on GPL enforcement principles. There is GPL Violations, a German organisation founded in 2004, which sometimes pursues violators through the courts but Patrick McHardy has been pursuing violators in complete disregard for the principles and has had all his kernel commit rights taken away.

We then looked at the sketch on Youtube about Sean Spicer that had appeared on Saturday Night Live in the US.

John rounded off the evening by linking up with David using the browser version of Jitsi Meet, one of the options Mozilla recommends following the withdrawal of Firefox Hello.