Ubuntu 16.04 on MacBook Pro 11,1 success story

Once every blue moon I try some sort of Linux as the native operating system on my laptop. As I tend to have a recent laptop, this usually ends as a short experiment where I find out one or two devices just will not work.

As my wife moved to my previous laptop when I bought my current laptop, we had her old laptop more or less as a spare / for the kids. After about half a year I noticed the laptop had rarely been touched by said kids and I figured it was too good a machine to waste. So it was either selling it off or re-purposing it.

Re-purposing as a small / lightweight spare for myself sounded great. At first I set it up using MacOS, but soon I found myself installing Windows 10 and Ubuntu 16.04 as multiboot to toy around with.

This is by far the Best Ubuntu experience I ever had on a macbook, or any other laptop. It worked so well in the first couple of days, that I wiped everything from the machine to install Ubuntu exclusively on it.

Sound, wifi, graphics, hot plugging monitors, VPN, all with zero or really minimal fuss. Nice, fast, reliably. Really, I am impressed.

And the machine is from late 2013 / early 2014. But the performance of this thing is still pretty amazing.

Apparently the camera does not work, but I did not check as I have a Bits of Freedom sticker covering it up. Also the media controls on my apple earbuds do not work in Ubuntu apparently blocked by some Apple patent.

Batterylife is supposed to be a lot worse compared to MacOS. But I haven’t been bothered by it yet.

Thank you Ubuntu devs 🙂 #donationtime

Tor statistics in syslog

Tor started emitting some daily statistics via syslog some time ago. This is a nice thing because other than looking at the network traffic statistics I really had no clue to how much work it was doing.

Jul 16 00:14:36 tor-exit-node02 Tor[16355]: Heartbeat: Tor's uptime is 1 day 17:59 hours, with 94 circuits open. I've sent 163.60 GB and received 161.32 GB.
Jul 16 00:14:36 tor-exit-node02 Tor[16355]: Circuit handshake stats since last time: 377/377 TAP, 3076/3076 NTor.
Jul 16 00:14:36 tor-exit-node02 Tor[16355]: Since startup, we have initiated 0 v1 connections, 0 v2 connections, 0 v3 connections, and 153 v4 connections; and received 50 v1 connections, 306 v2 connections, 2978 v3 connections, and 100066 v4 connections.

Oh and number of abuse reports on this node this far : one.

Running encrypted backups with duplicity

This is just a short note on my experiences running backups with Duplicity.

Duplicity is an open source package that allows you to do incremental backups, complete with proper indexing, to remote storage. This can be a modern ‘cloud’ storage like S3, but I prefer to run it over a simple SSH link.

Next to properly working incremental backups, it also provides data security by using GPG to encrypt the data. And it has a lot of stuff you would expect : configurable full dump cycles, purging of old  backups. There is a windows / C# implementation too (haven’t tried it though)

The only thing lacking may be deduplication, which is kinda hard given that all data is encrypted.

It took me some time to get all the parameters right, but after some initial fiddling, I wrapped it all in some puppet code that gets deployed to all new machines / nodes.

So every new machine is backup up automagicly using duplicity by only applying my basic puppet profile to the host.

I also did an extensive restore test during the implementation phase with went fine.

Highly recommended little know tool in some dark corner of the Internet : http://duplicity.nongnu.org/ . Don’t let the HTML 1.0 web design turn you off, this tool is maintained and stable.