Tag Archives: Linuxcom

Assess USB Performance While Exploring Storage Caching | Linux.com

The team here at the Dragon Propulsion Laboratory has kept busy building multiple Linux clusters as of late [1]. Some of the designs rely on spinning disks or SSD drives, whereas others use low-cost USB storage or even SD cards as boot media. In the process, I was hastily reminded of the limits of external storage media: not all flash is created equal, and in some crucial ways external drives, SD cards, and USB keys can be fundamentally different.

Turtles All the Way Down

Mass storage performance lags that of working memory in the Von Neumann architecture [2], with the need to persist data leading to the rise of caches at multiple levels in the memory hierarchy. An access speed gap three orders of magnitude between levels makes this design decision essentially inevitable where performance is at all a concern. (See Brendan Gregg’s table of computer speed in human time [3].) The operating system itself provides the most visible manifestation of this design in Linux: Any RAM not allocated to a running program is used by the kernel to cache the reads from and buffer the writes to the storage subsystem [4], leading to the often repeated quip that there is really no such thing as “free memory” in a Linux system.

An easy way to observe the operating system (OS) buffering a write operation is to write the right amount of data to a disk in a system with lots of RAM, as shown in Figure 1, in which a rather improbable half a gigabyte worth of zeros is being written to a generic, low-cost USB key in half a second, but then experiences a 30-second delay when forcing the system to sync [5] to disk. 

Read more at ADMIN magazine

Networking Tool Comics! | Linux.com

I LOVE computer networking (it’s what I spent a big chunk of the last few years at work doing), but getting started with all the tools was originally a little tricky! For example – what if you have the IP address of a server and you want to make a https connection to it and check that it has a valid certificate? But you haven’t changed DNS to resolve to that server yet (because you don’t know if it works!) so you need to use the IP address? If you do curl, curl will tell you that the certificate isn’t valid (because it’s not valid for So you need to know to do curl https://jvns.ca --resolve jvns.ca:443:

I know how to use curl --resolve because my coworker told me how. And I learned that to find out when a cert expires you can do openssl x509 -in YOURCERT.pem -text -noout the same way. So the goal with this zine is basically to be “your very helpful coworker who gives you tips about how to use networking tools” in case you don’t have that person.

Read more at Julia Evans

Recursive Programming | Linux.com | The source for Linux information

Despite often being introduced early-on in most ventures into programming, the concept of recursion can seem strange and potentially off-putting upon first encountering it. It seems almost paradoxical: how can we find a solution to a problem using the solution to the same problem?

Believe it or not, once we get to grips with it, some problems are easier to solve using recursion than they are to solve using iteration. Sometimes recursion is more efficient, and sometimes it is more readable; sometimes recursion is neither faster nor more readable, but quicker to implement. There are data-structures, such as trees, that are well-suited to recursive algorithms. There are even some programming languages with no concept of a loop — purely functional languages such as Haskell depend entirely on recursion for iterative problem solving. The point is simple: You don’t have to understand recursion to be a programmer, but you do have to understand recursion to start to become a good programmer. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that understanding recursion is part of being a good problem solver, all programming aside!

The Essence of Recursion

In general, with recursion we try to break down a more complex problem into a simple step towards the solution and a remainder that is an easier version of the same problem. We can then repeat this process, taking the same step towards the solution each time, until we reach a version of our problem with a very simple solution (referred to as a base case). The simple solution to our base case aggregated with the steps we took to get there then form a solution to our original problem.

Read more at Towards Data Science

How Much Memory Is Installed and Being Used on Your Linux Systems? | Linux.com

There are numerous ways to get information on the memory installed on Linux systems and view how much of that memory is being used. Some commands provide an overwhelming amount of detail, while others provide succinct, though not necessarily easy-to-digest, answers. In this post, we’ll look at some of the more useful tools for checking on memory and its usage.

Before we get into the details, however, let’s review a few details. Physical memory and virtual memory are not the same. The latter includes disk space that configured to be used as swap. Swap may include partitions set aside for this usage or files that are created to add to the available swap space when creating a new partition may not be practical. Some Linux commands provide information on both.

Swap expands memory by providing disk space that can be used to house inactive pages in memory that are moved to disk when physical memory fills up.

Read more at Network World

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How to Use SSH to Proxy Through a Linux Jump Host | Linux.com

Secure Shell (SSH) includes a number of tricks up its sleeve. One particular trick you may not know about is the ability to use a jump host. A jump host is used as an intermediate hop between your source machine and your target destination. In other words, you can access X from Y using a gateway.

There are many reasons to use a jump server. For example, Jump servers are often placed between a secure zone and a DMZ. These jump servers provide for the transparent management of devices within the DMZ, as well as a single point of entry. Regardless of why you might want to use a jump server, do know that it must be a hardened machine (so don’t just depend upon an unhardened Linux machine to serve this purpose). By using a machine that hasn’t been hardened, you’re just as insecure as if you weren’t using the jump.

But how can you set this up? I’m going to show you how to create a simple jump with the following details (Your set up will be defined by your network.):

Read more at Tech Republic

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