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Dec 28 11

Switched to nginx

by Julien

I have recently switched my http server from Apache to nginx. The switch was mostly painless thanks to the good documentation available on the nginx wiki.

I have been able to move all my public virtual hosts, and have already noticed the improvement on how fast the pages load. Here is a sample graph of the disk I/O rates of my linode showing before/after the switch to nginx:

I only had an issue with StatusNet due to the default behavior of spawn-cgi to not spawn any PHP child except if told otherwise. I also had to fix the OpenID plugin for WordPress, as per this commit.

For now, I keep apache running for the DSPAM Web UI, which requires suexec. I know I can easily run the CGI through a different user, but still have to polish my setup for FastCGI.

Dec 21 11

My own StatusNet instance

by Julien

After using microblogging patform for 2 years or so, I have recently decided to set up my own StatusNet instance to benefit from the power of federation.

The setup is quite easy, but I still have some tuning left. Most of the plugins I have tried (XMPP, realtime and twitter bridge) were very resource intensive, especially for my tiny virtual server, I hence had to disable them. I can live without them.

You can now follow my dents on If you were following me on, please update your subscription, the account will remain there but I do not expect to use it anymore.

The current problems with show how important federation and decentralization are. My timeline is very quiet for now though, I encourage more people to setup their own instances.

Dec 21 11

Native IPv6 link for my Linode

by Julien

Linode have just annoucned the data center where my virtual server is hosted has gained native IPv6 connection.
I have been using a tunnel freely provided by Hurricane Eletric for a few years.

The IPv6 of my various websites has hence be changed to 2a01:7e00::f03c:91ff:fe96:1f85, the DNS should now be up-to-date.

Oct 19 11

Openbox 3.5 & xdg autostart

by Julien

Since the 3.5.0 release, Openbox automatically starts applications with .desktop files in /etc/xdg/autostart. This was already the case with previous releases when setting the . $GLOBALAUTOSTART instruction in the autostart script. This instruction is now deprecated.

This has puzzled me as some applications were started twice in my Openbox session: those launched via my ~/.config/openbox/autostart script which are also launched through xdg autostart.

I also like to use notify-osd when in openbox, but it seems the new gnome-fallback session requires notification-daemon. In my Openbox session, I have noticed that notification-daemon was launched whereas my autostart script specifies to use notify-osd. I then discovered that /etc/xdg/autostart/notification-daemon.desktop was the cause of this.

I had to drop a notification-daemon.desktop file in my ~/.config/autostart/ directory with the following contents:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Notification Daemon
Comment=Display notifications
AutostartCondition=GNOME3 unless-session gnome

This allows me to not start notification-daemon only when using Openbox – ie. it still starts automatically when launching a GNOME session.

You can check what applications are automatically started through xdg with:

/usr/lib/openbox/openbox-xdg-autostart --list OPENBOX

The results are quite amazing, most applications being only configured to start in GNOME or KDE, but nothing seems to be very coordinated amongst maintainers.

I find this quite misleading, and would prefer openbox to stick with the previous default behaviour. Who said “diehard”?!

Sep 11 11

Quick and dirty Debian packages for various kernel modules

by Julien

As I own several more or less recent laptops, some of their features require updated/new kernel modules to work as expected. I have hence decided to create Debian packages for them, primarily for my own use.

Note that these packages are meant to be used with caution, I have only tested them on my own hardware, and they would deserve more careful review.

All -source and -dkms packages are available in my personal repository for Debian sid.

The sources are maintained in git, as usual.

  • rts5139
    This new module is already in linux-next and adds support for recent 5129/39 Realtek card readers.
  • psmouse-elantech
    This is the psmouse module with basic v3 hardware support for newer devices not currently supported by the in-tree module.
    See the discussion at #633595 for more information.
  • acerhdf
    The in-tree acerhdf module doesn’t support the BIOS version 1.3314 of my Aspire 1810TZ, while the module available at does. I have hence packaged this version, and even submitted a one-line patch upstream which has been accepted for linux 3.1. My first (tiny) contribution!
  • omnibook
    I have also taken the time to update the omnibook package. The project is still unmaintained upstream, but I have git commit access, hence if anybody is interested in taking over…
Aug 6 11

DSPAM 3.10.0 released

by Julien

The DSPAM project has recently released the 3.10.0 version of free content-based spam filter. Besides various bug fixes, the most important change is the switch to the AGPL-3 license (from GPL-2).

The Debian packages are almost ready, but still require further testing as they have been largely amended, especially to add multiarch support. I expect to upload them to unstable within the next week or so, and, if no major problem happens in the meantime, will upload them to squeeze-backports as soon as they reach testing.