Turnkey Linux 2009.1 Released

October 26th, 2009

The guys at Turnkey Linux have just released a new set of appliances, along with updates to their existing ones. They've added a whopping 25 new appliances, all of which we will have available shortly at GigaTux for install on our VPS systems.

They've clearly been very hard at work creating these, so hats off to them!

GigaTux will provide a donation for any users choosing Turnkey Linux on their VPS. We haven't decided yet the structure of the donations, but their good work will definitely be rewarded!

I'm proud to announce the 2009.10 release batch featuring:

  • 25 new additions to the TurnKey Linux virtual appliance library
  • added native virtual appliance packaging (OVF support included)
  • Amazon EC2 support, with EBS persistence
  • Core improvements: Ajax web shell, upgraded to Ubuntu 8.04.3

The project recently celebrated its one year birthday. Since our last major release in March the project picked up steam with weekly downloads increasing over 500% (we just flew past 60,000 downloads). Not bad for a new server oriented project. With all the goodies in this new release, and all the stuff we're working on for the next release, TurnKey Linux's second year should be even more interesting.

This release is a big one. Previously we tried "releasing early releasing often", but discovered we could get more done by batching certain phases of virtual appliance development and decided to give bigger release increments a try.

Xen vs Virtuozo - the choice really matters

October 12th, 2009

Your choice of underlying virtualisation technology really matters.

Headlines from other VPS providers offering hundreds of megabytes of burst memory, along with simply fitting more VMs onto a physical server, do make it difficult to compete on raw figures for the price. However, those looking to buy a VPS really need to look at the technology they will be running on.

I'm happy to have found an excellent article describing the details between Xen (which we use) and Virtuozzo (which many competitors use). Read and be enlightened!


We currently use Xen as our virtualization technology. To put it simply, Virtuozzo (or the open source version OpenVZ) is one level above chrooting or BSD jail. Yes, Virtuozzo has much less overhead per VPS instance and has some performance advantages, but at a cost of isolation and reliability. Virtuozzo uses OS level virtualization, while Xen uses paravirtualization.

When evaluating the different virtualization technologies we had very specific requirements. We wanted virtualization technology that allowed for:

  • dedicated server like isolation.
  • customizations to the installed operating system (i.e. kernel, iptables, etc.) just like a dedicated server.
  • proven deployment.
  • cannot oversell services (ensuring a specific level of quality of service).
  • complete separation of each operating system installation.

The differences with Virtuozzo and Xen are:

  • fixed memory and disk definitions.
  • custom kernels.
  • firewall configuration.
  • isolation.

For our purposes Xen acts, breaths, and looks like a dedicated server.



Bogus SSL Certificate Free-for-all

October 6th, 2009

Oh dear - why do large companies, such as Microsoft, have to wait for the exploit to be demonstrated before doing something about poor code. Things like this are serious and undermine everything about about HTTPS/SSL. Poor effort from the certificate supplier too for allowing the null character.

[A] hacker on Monday published a counterfeit secure sockets layer certificate that exploits a gaping hole in a Microsoft library used by all three [MSIE, Safari, Chrome] of those browsers. Although the certificate is fraudulent, it appears to all three to be a completely legitimate credential vouching for the online payment service. The bug was disclosed more than nine weeks ago, but Microsoft has yet to fix it.

XMPP: A upcoming revolution in Internet communications?

September 21st, 2009
A very interesting article on what XMPP is really capable of. Sounds like something every technology company should at least know about, if not think about how communications could well change in the near future.

Google Wave: You need to pay attention to this.

So here's the deal with Wave: If you deal in technology, and you get this one wrong, you'll miss the boat. And it's a big boat. If, on the other hand, you get this one right, you have the potential to do some incredible innovation.

In a nutshell, this is the next revolutionary leap in Internet application architecture. Maybe the first truly revolutionary leap since HTTP itself.

Features OpenSolaris offers differently from Linux

September 16th, 2009

A very neat, consise posting detailing some of the fancy features in OpenSolaris. News to those that know Linux well, but have been out of the Solaris loop for some time.

So you've been playing around with alternative OSes for a while and you reckon you've got this Linux thing mastered. Maybe you're tried Mac OS X and found it a bit too restrictive (or expensive); perhaps you've kicked the Hurd's tyres and thought you'll come back to it when it's something more than just a clever name.

If you're looking for something else to play with, we humbly suggest OpenSolaris. Like Mac OS X, which we looked at recently, OpenSolaris is based on Unix; also like OS X, it's best known for running on a specific processor (in this case Sun's SPARC architecture) but now works on a range of architectures including x86. Unlike OS X though, OpenSolaris is open source, so you can download it for free and start fiddling with it.