(Possible) Upcoming Content for Linux Fans
Let’s talk philosophy for just a moment. As others have stated more succinctly than I, if your expectation is that you would drop-in replace the desktop experience of Windows or MacOS with a Linux-based experience, you are going to be disappointed.
However, one thing Linux does well that many people don’t even realize they need is be log-lived and do ‘server’ and ‘cloud’ stuff for you. What do I mean by that? I mean that you don’t need to give up all of your data to Google or Microsoft to have a browser-based experience.
“So, what are the downsides?” you may be wondering. Well, there are quite a few. Some of the downsides are also why the “internet of things” is going to be an unmitigated disaster – maintenance. If you are going to run your own Linux Box that hosts everything, it would be irresponsible of me to give you that power without also imparting some understanding that what you are creating will require constant care, feeding and monitoring. You will have to help defend it from the internet as the internet is still the wild-wild west.
Learning the care and feeding of your systems is also an important first step if you want to learn to be a hacker – in the best meaning of that word. However, I believe that everyone that uses a computer extensively for work and/or play can benefit from getting their data under their control.
So what kind of content do I imagine would be good to do for Linux fans? Well, as it turns out, it is hard to distill down a lot of useful information into a short and/or interesting video. I would like to ask the community for help.
I am thinking of a few different video series, but I will need help and input from the community to make it happen. Thanks completely to our patreon supporters, we may be able to get some production help on these ideas.
Linux – Your Own Personal Cloud/Server Series
Introduction – Why do this?
Where to Host - Amazon EC2 “Free” tier, Linode VM, Host on Raspberry Pi2, Local Virtual Machine, etc.
What to Host On - Introducing Debian 8
Security – Fear Everything, especially the Reaper. Also more Cowbell.
What can we do immediately?
- Domain & DNS
- Email & Roundcube Webmail
- SSL with Let’s Encrypt (finally ready!!!)
-Introducing YUNoHost.org – managing that stuff made easy
- Owncloud – Dropbox Altenative for Music/Pictures/etc.
- Dokuwiki – Your own Personal Wikipedia
- Wallabag – Your own bookmarks sync/save-for-later app
- Zerobin – your own pastebin
- Searx – your own meta search engine
- OpenVPN – host your own VPN endpoint
Handling Backups – This is More Complicated than it should be
-Leveling Up – Doing stuff with Debian Under The Hood
-Leveling Up – Configure Debian for Automatic Updates, Better Firewall protection, Automatic Bans
-Leveling Up – Doing stuff YUNoHost doesn’t do – Packages like Kolab, Phabricator or Gogs for your own personal Github, etc.
I also really want to do the “How to be a Hacker” series with Eric Raymond. I think he’d have a lot of cool insight. The top priorities for me in the above list have been trying to present it in such a way that a neophyte can setup a reasonably secure system. That meant SSL – and before Let’s Encrypt free SSL that was problematic for a variety of reasons.
I think in the intro I need to talk about Dynamic DNS services, and how most ISPs do not like someone running a web server or mail server on a residential connection, in case someone wants to do it that way.
I also want to cover how someone can use a low-cost EC2 or Linode endpoint to “tunnel” all their traffic through a residential internet connection to actually host their own stuff on their own residential connection, even if they have very dynamic IP address and even if their ISP scans for open ports constantly.
I wanted to go with Debian because it has the best track record of not breaking anything when I have enabled fully automatic updates.
There is a philosophical component here, too, that I think is not often stated directly. For me Windows and MacOS is just sort of a transient experience. I use them, they do stuff for me, its okay. I really don’t spend a lot of time customizing or organizing those environments. Linux, on the other hand, I do spend a lot of time customizing. But in Linux I have 10 year old scripts I setup to save myself time or headache that are still valid/useful today. Is something I did for Windows 95 still relevant today? LOL no. So for me, for computing, Linux is like a faithful reliable lifetime companion that I can count on for the long haul.
I think I will tell people the price of admission—the best experience—is to just go ahead and purchase your own domain names. For these videos I am using my Wendell.tech domain name.
Questions for the audience:
Is there anything more newb friendly than YUNoHost that does what it does? I’ve been impressed with them, but I wish they had a better system for deploying packages and adding custom packages. The goal would be to guide anyone that is literate and that wants to move away from cloud services to be able to move away from the cloud for whatever they want.
My opinion is that the firewall gui on yunohost is not super robust. I will walk users through a more awesomer CLI firewall configuration?
Has anyone seen any kind of web-based "port knocking" script? If not I might write one. e.g. I know it is security through obscurity, but
Anyone want to volunteer to draft/help write the written parts of these guides? I will then adjust the guides to suit my own tastes and we will publish them here as wiki posts. The videos can serve as an overview/rough guide but I feel like we need step-by-step written instructions.
Or if anyone has any general comments/input?