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Linux

Volume Shadow Copy For Linux? 300 300

An anonymous reader writes "I was asked to manage a number of Linux servers at work. I would like to use volume snapshots to improve my backup scripts and keep recent copies of data around for quick restore. I normally manage Windows servers and on those I would just use Microsoft's Volume Shadow Copy for this. I tried Linux LVM snapshots, but most of the servers I manage run regular partitions with ext3 file systems, so LVM snapshots will not work. I found some versioning file systems out there like ext3cow and Tux3. Those look interesting, but I need something I can use on my existing ext3 file systems. I also found the R1Soft Hot Copy command-line utility, but it does not yet support my older 2.4 Linux servers. What are you using to make snapshots on Linux?"

Comment Voting needs to be transparent (Score 5, Interesting) 207 207

Here is the solution to all voting problems.

Goals:
1. Confirm your vote is collected correctly.
2. Try to assure the people that no votes were added.
3. Don't hide results.
4. Keep votes anonymous.

Solution:
1. Keep a large public vote database.
2. Be able to Look up votes by voter id, county, polling location and time.
3. Keep large visible clock and voter count at each polling station. Every time a person goes into the voting room, the count goes up. Voter counts can be confirmed online. Maybe even in a graph over time.

The voter should be able to go online and see his own vote. Since every voter can see every vote counted up in every polling location in the country and know that everyone else can, they'll be assured of the results. If they're paranoid, they can watch their local polling station's voter count and confirm the published results don't have added votes.

Note: Maybe instead of voter id's, it should be a random confirmation code thats generated on the spot. That should be even more anonymous.

Problems: Some people actually vote for the wrong person on accident. That's unfortunate, but the solution isn't to hide it from them.
If vote online doesn't match your vote, have a dispute process. Keep track of dispute counts over time, for the public to see.

Comment Re:Well the only fool proof way... (Score 1) 491 491

Are we assuming that the packets will be obvious IRC packets or something? It would be suggestive of a botnet if lots of traffic was moving while the computer was idle, but that could always be background programs downloading updates or whatever. If a botnet used any sort of encryption, or even a binary protocol instead of ascii, it could be extremely difficult to tell it's a botnet by just looking at packets.

Comment Re:Really?? (Score 1) 572 572

"Our economy is a disaster. We have two wars going on with no real plan to get out of either." ...
"And for some reason marijuana is an important issue?"

I hate to point out the obvious here, but current problems are the entire reason it's even being debated right now. Legalizing marijuana would save the government huge amounts of money. Not only would they make money on taxes, but it would take a huge load off of our criminal justice system. We could also finally stop sending money to the powerful drug cartels that fund crime and are causing major violence in our southern border. There are of course plenty of other reasons to legalize marijuana that aren't related to current issues.

P.S. I don't smoke weed. I hate it.

Comment Re:Google Lawyer Alexander Macgillivray's Blog (Score 1) 328 328

I really want a million dollars. I've decided to publicly harass Google to give me a million dollars. Simply ignoring Google won't solve my problem. I will continue until one of two things happens:

1) Google dies and no one gets anything from Google ever again.
or
2) Google continues to live and gives me a million dollars.

Media

Boxee Launches New API 69 69

A recent post on the boxee blog announces the release of a new, fully documented API that will allow developers to create and share new apps and plugins. "The new boxee API enables developers to build sophisticated applications (such as the Pandora and RadioTime apps) using a set of API calls in Python and writing the GUI using XML. ... Users can install new applications via the boxee App Box, the beginnings of our app store. Unlike other app stores, boxee does not want to be a gate keeper (or bottleneck) in deciding which applications are published so anyone can become a publisher." A complete description is available at their developers page. I'm sure this will help in their ongoing battle with Hulu.

Comment More information (Score 4, Insightful) 488 488

What this slashdot post needs is:
1. A description of the law that was passed. 'three strikes and you're out' isn't very descriptive. I'm assuming it has to do with file sharing and cutting off people's internet connections?

2. How many deputies were supposed to be there? 18? 100? 300?

Comment Re:AFAICT, Neither (Score 1) 310 310

Yeah, there isn't really an alternative to C for low level things, which is what bothers me. It seems like an alternative language is the obvious solution to huge classes of security problems.

ATS looks interesting, they even have a paper on writing linux device drivers in ATS. Maybe the alternative will turn out to be ATS, or maybe BitC, but it needs to hurry up and people need to start abandoning C/C++.

Comment Re:why couldn't the instructions come from whiteha (Score 4, Informative) 285 285

F-secure was one of the first people I'm aware of to register some of the domain names that infected machines try to contact. When people were asking this question, this was their response.

On a regular day, our sinkhole sees around 1.5M-2M unique IP addresses that are infected with a various catering of malware: viruses, trojans, bots, worms and so on. Downadup.B is responsible for about 1M-1.3M of those IP addresses. So let me explain what we do with the data first:
We try to contact the ISP's where the infected IP addresses are coming from and try to get them to notify the customers to take down the infected systems. We also notify various CERT organisations in the countries where the infections are and work with them to get the infected machines offline. We also share some the data with Law Enforcement organizations in those cases where the author of the malware is known. This allows the police to get their hands on real, raw, data on the amount of infections. That data can later be used in court as evidence to get reasonable convictions.

Now, why won't we automatically disinfect the machines? The reason is simple: we would be knowingly, and with intent, be accessing the infected computer and giving it commands without having a prior permission from the owner. In most countries that equals to unlawful access which gets you an appointment in court. Some laws do weigh things by judging "a greater good", but in this case it does not help. Imagine the world being a huge porcelain store, inside a black box with only two holes for your hands allowing access. You can put your hands in the box but can't see what you're doing. Now, try to remove all the dust without breaking anything...

There are several things that might go wrong and the consequences could be severe. Imagine if we, while disinfecting, would knock out life support systems in hospitals. Or radar systems in major airfields. Or traffic lights in a major city. Or any other of imaginable and unimaginable scenarios that would be bound to happen taking into consideration the scale of this thing.

And it doesn't matter where we offered the disinfection from. We are a corporation with presence in various countries. The disinfected victims would be in those countries, suing us there. The place where we caused the damage from does not matter, its the place where the damage happened.

To make automatic, remote, unwilling disinfection ever possible there is a need for an international treaty. And an internation body of authority that will decide what to disinfect, who to disinfect and when to disinfect. And unfortunately I don't see that one coming in near future. I wouldn't bet foreign militaries or intelligence organizations being too happy about anyone tampering with their systems, regardless of the intent.

We've had long talks about remotely disinfecting machines and everyone in here is in unanimous vote on not doing it for the above reasons. And don't think it's a happy moment seeing hundreds of thousands, or millions, of machines being infected. Still, we do our best to get them fixed.

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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