Why Go is not my favourite language

Categories: coding

  1. Go has exceptions and return values for error

    Yes it does. Yes, it really really does. Read the rest of this entry »


Compiling C++ statically

Categories: coding

To properly compile a static C++ binary on Linux you have to supply -static, -static-libgcc and -static-libstdc++ when linking.

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Interesting Arping bug report

Categories: coding, network, unix

A few months ago I was strolling in the Debian bug tracking system and found a curious bug filed against Arping, a program I maintain.

It said that unlike Arping 2.09, in Arping 2.11 the ARP cache was not updated after successful reply. I thought that was odd, since there's no code to touch the ARP cache, neither read nor write. Surely this behaviour hasn't changed?

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Shared libraries diamond problem

Categories: coding, unix

If you split up code into different libraries you can get a diamond dependency problem. That is you have two parts of your code that depend on different incompatible versions of the same library.

Normally you shouldn't get in this situation. Only someone who hates their users makes a non backwards compatible change to a library ABI. You don't hate your users, do you?

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Be careful with hashmaps

Categories: coding, security

As you remember from long ago hashes are O(1) best case, but can be O(n) if you get hash collisions. And if you're adding n new entries that means O(n^2).

I thought I'd take a look at the hash_set/hash_map GNU C++ extension.

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TPM-backed SSL

Categories: coding, hsm, network, security, tpm

This is a short howto on setting up TPM-backed SSL. This means that the secret key belonging to an SSL cert is protected by the TPM and cannot be copied off of the machine or otherwise inspected.

Meaning even if you get hacked the attackers cannot impersonate you, if you manage to kick them off or just shut down the server. The secret key is safe. It has never been outside the TPM and never will be.

This can be used for both client and server certs.

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Yubico is awesome

Categories: coding, hsm, security, unix

Yubico and their products are awesome.

That pretty much sums up this blog post but I'm going to go on anyway. If you're thinking of introducing two-factor authentication to your company, or you're using something that's fundamentally broken (like RSA SecureID) you simply must at least take Yubikeys into consideration.

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gettimeofday() should never be used to measure time

Categories: bugs, coding

gettimeofday() and time() should only be used to get the current time if the current wall-clock time is actually what you want. They should never be used to measure time or schedule an event X time into the future.

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tlssh - a replacement for SSH

Categories: coding, network, security, unix

I've started writing a replacement for SSH.

Why? Because SSH has some drawbacks that sometimes annoy me. I also wanted an authentication scheme that's more similar to SSL/TLS than what SSH does.

With tlssh you don't specify username or password, you simply connect to the server using a client-side certificate to log in as the user specified in the certificate. No interaction until you reach the shell prompt on the server.

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Redirecting to the closest site using Javascript

Categories: coding, web

I'm sure this problem has been solved this way many times before, but I haven't seen it while idly browsing around sites about scalability and load balancing. So here it is, a Javascript solution to the closest-site problem.

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