1.  

    I always thought Ken Thompson was the originator of this thought, but he notes that:

    I first read of the possibility of such a Trojan horse in an Air Force critique [4] of the security of an early implementation of Multics. I cannot find a more specific reference to this document. I would appreciate it if anyone who can supply this reference would let me know.

    Has anyone ever found the original source for this Air Force critique?

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      Paul Karger, one of INFOSEC’s founders, invented it during MULTICS Security Evaluation. They then solved it with combo of high-assurance design, verification to object code, and repo security. Several products were built by Karger and others to do that.

      1.  

        Thanks!

        1.  

          Ok, this comment was my longer description of that, how high-assurance security worked (summary), and specific tech addressing compiler side of problem. The specs, traceability, and analyses were main way subversion was to be detected. Every tool in Trusted Computing Base, from kernels to compilers, should be done that way if possible to mitigate risk. The biggest threat isn’t a compiler subverting compilers: it’s a malicious developer backdooring the source in non-obvious way (see obfuscated code contest) or, most often, compiler transforms or optimizations defeating security. That’s on top of MITM that is prevented by secure repos w/ transport security. For hardware, they used “trusted trucks” aka couriers with security clearance.

          Note: The main story in that thread is also ultra-cool. Probably favorite project I found researching bootstrapping.

          1.  

            You’re welcome. Got more detailed comment for you later tonight that’s in bookmarks at home. Lobsters search isnt working right now. You’ll probably find that paper interesting by itself.

            1.  

              It might have been the B2 report, but that’s ‘86 - https://multicians.org/multics-fer.pdf - I have pretty much every Multics document I could find at https://ban.ai/multics/doc/ but not as nicely indexed as the Multicians’ Bibliography at https://multicians.org/biblio.html

              1.  

                The original evaluation is this by Schell and Karger. In response to that and Computer Security Initiative, MULTICS would need upgrades that were evaluated if Honeywell was to sell it. They targeted TCSEC’s B2 class. Each certification ended with Final, Evaluator’s Report ranging from scathing to supportive in design choices.

                For a while, MULTICS was the most secure, evaluated system you could buy that wasn’t just a limited demonstrator.

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        What will happen next? Are we going to get a z80 inside our phones? Why not a 6502? Hell, I would love to run C64 basic interpreter natively inside my phone…. No really, I’m not criticizing Apple or Intel for using an x86 core, I don’t really care, but…my PERSONAL opinion is that something is going really wrong in this world.

        lol? Nothing wrong with either x86 or ARM… I’m curious why the author feels this way.

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          x86 is typically considered a difficult ISA to make small silicon for due to its complexity. Previous attempts at small x86 processor products (notably the Intel Gallileo) have ended up very expensive.

          Albeit I believe that x86 processors don’t run the instructions directly, instead they break down each instruct into simpler (RISCier) micro-ops that are run [citation needed]. There’s jokes about the idea of making an x86 processor run ARM or other ISAs natively, if only you could write your own firmware.

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            IIRC pretty much all (big) processors use micro-ops, even if the ISA is already RISCy

            1. 2

              Here’s a nice blog entry by ryg. The last paragraph is quite interesting:

              And by the way, I used x86 as an example here, but don’t believe for a second the same thing doesn’t apply to, say, the ARM chip in your phone. Modern ARM chips support multiple encodings and also rank over 1000 instructions […]

              MIPS is similar as well, it has SIMD, historic baggage (invented in ’85), etc., and even this.

              SPARC has ‘tagged add’ etc. instructions, made specifially with certain language runtimes in mind.

              The recent PPC 600 blog series made it clear that PPC, considered a RISC, isn’t very ‘reduced’ either.

              I don’t know much about RISC-V, but v2.2 of the spec tells me extensions for SIMD (P), “dynamically translated languages” (J), etc. exist, or will soon.

              The only ‘simple’ ISAs left are probably 6502, AVR and maybe SuperH (I don’t know much about this one either).

              EDIT: funnily, Z80 is considered CISC, while those chips are considerably simpler than many of these ‘R’ISCs.

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                RISC is more about fixed instruction word length and no direct-memory operations than reduction of features.

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                  SuperH was used in Dreamcast. Still sold by Renesas in multiple versions for embedded sector.

                  1.  

                    There is J Core - a free and open SuperH CPU. See http://0pf.org/j-core.html and http://j-core.org/

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              Kind of weird why he is complaining about x86 processors and their complexity in manufacturing if he is an end user? Like he ain’t fabbin’ them.

              1. 1

                Yeah, it would cost him more to get an 8-bitter out of an old node than buy a single Xeon. Probably.

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              I have a version of this called “almanac” which I ported (well, reimplemented) from MWC Coherent (7/12/88) on Multics, and used it’s data files to start, but updated for some newer events and added a Technology/Multics specific database too. I’ll have to check this one out as well, mostly to look over the db files.

              From the Multics ‘almanac’ output for today (sorry, no cool Multics facts inn September 13):

              September 13 1814: Fort McHenry shelled; inspires the "Star Spangled Banner".

              September 13 2000: Steve Jobs introduces the public beta release of Mac OS X

              September 13 1819: Born: Clara Wieck Schumann, pianist & composer, Leipzig.

              September 13 1851: Born: Walter Reed, physician & epidemiologist.

              September 13 1874: Born: Arnold Schoenberg, composer, Vienna.

              September 13 1876: Born: Sherwood Anderson, playwright, Camden, Ohio.

              September 13 1894: Born: J. B. Priestly, novelist & playwright, Yorkshire.

              September 13 1592: Died: Michel de Montaigne, essayist

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                Fastmail. They are trustworthy, quick to respond to service requests, and rock solid. I can count the number of outages in the past ~10 years on one hand.

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                  +1 for Fastmail. I’ve been using them for several years now and they’re very reliable, have a really solid web UI, and from what I can tell a solid position on security. They also contribute to moving the state of internet mail forward by improving Cyrus and contributing to RFCs. All in all I’d highly recommend them.

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                    They also contribute to moving the state of internet mail forward by improving Cyrus and contributing to RFCs.

                    That’s another good point: they are by all accounts a solid technical citizen, contributing back and moving the state of the art forward. I like to reward good behaviour when I spend my money, and it’s nice to be able to do that and get top of the line service, to boot.

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                    I also switched from Gmail to Fastmail.

                    The funny thing is that for the amount of press that Gmail received/receives for being “fast”, once you switch to Fastmail, you realize that Gmail is actually very slow. The amount of bloat and feature-creep they’ve introduced is fascinating.

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                      You’re talking about the web interface or the speed at which the mail is sent?

                      1. 1

                        The web interface.

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                          I just use thunderbird (and k9 on mobile). I don’t see why you’d ever use a web interface for email when a standalone client is so much nicer to use.

                          1. 1

                            I’m on a desktop client too (Evolution). Just pointing out the advantage of Fastmail over Gmail. :)

                    2. 9

                      Love Fastmail. I only wish more tools had first class CalDAV/CardDAV support. When I switched over, I was genuinely surprised how pervasive it’s become to slap on Google account sync and call it a day, even in FOSS. Aside from the built-in macOS/iOS apps, most solutions involve fussing with URLs and 3rd party plugins, if it’s supported at all.

                      1. 1

                        Fastmail has a link generator for CalDAV so it’s super easy to get the right URLs. I do agree for 3rd party plugins, it’s annoying to have to install add-ons for standard and open source protocols…

                      2. 7

                        It was the best one I found, too, overall. I dont know about trustworthy, though, given they’re in a Five Eyes country expanding police and spy authority every year.

                        Maybe trustworthy from threats other than them, though. I liked them for that.

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                          Yeah, I’m not concerned about state level actors, or more properly, I don’t lose sleep over them because for me and my threat model, there’s simply nothing to be done.

                          1. 4

                            I’m not worried about the state spying on me, I’m worried about the apparatus the state builds to spy on me being misused by service provider employees and random hackers.

                            1. 1

                              If those are your concerns, using PGP is probably recommended.

                            2. 3

                              That will be most folks, too. Which makes it a really niche concern.

                              1. 2

                                Maybe it oughtn’t be niche, but it’s pretty down my list of practical concerns.

                          2. 5

                            I use Fastmail as well, and became a customer by way of pobox.com acquisition.

                            I’ll have to add, this was about the only time I can ever recall that a service I use was acquired by another company and I was actually fine with it, if not a bit pleased.

                            My thinking was along the lines of “well, the upstream has purchased one of the biggest users of their tools, can’t be bad.”

                            I’ve not had any noticeable difference in the level of service provided, technically or socially, except the time difference to Australia is something to keep in mind.

                            I do hope that no one here in the US lost their jobs because of the acquisition, however.

                            1. 3

                              I do hope that no one here in the US lost their jobs because of the acquisition, however.

                              Nope! We’ve hired a bunch more people in both offices, and the previous Pobox management are now C-level execs. We’re pretty sure the acquisition has been a win for just about everyone involved :)

                            2. 5

                              I can also recommend it, especially due to their adherence to web standards. After 10+ years of GMail, the only functioning client had been Thunderbird, which too often too large. Since switching to Fastmail, I’ve been having a far better experience with 3rd party clients, and a better mail experience in general (probably also because I left a lot of spam behind me).

                              1. 4

                                I second that. I was searching for a serious e-mail provider for a catch-all email, calendar and contacts.

                                I had trouble setting up my carddav autodiscovery DNS configuration and they helped me without considering me as a “dumb” client. Serious, clear and direct. The most efficient support I could’ve encountered by far.

                                It’s paid, and I’m paying the second plan (of 5$/month), and I think it’s perfectly fair, considering that, firstly, e-mail infrastructure is costly, and secondly, that their service is just plain awesome.

                                1. 5

                                  They’ve recently added the ability to automatically set up iOS devices with all of their services when you create a new OTP. I didn’t know that I needed this, but it’s a wonderful little bonus. It’s stuff like that that keeps me happily sending them money, and will as long as they keep doing such a good job.

                                  1. 1

                                    I did not know about such a thing, since I’m not an iOS user, but sure sounds nice !

                                2. 4

                                  Do you know if they store the emails in plaintext server-side?

                                  1. 2

                                    It’s a good question. I don’t know, and would like to. I’ll shoot them a mail.

                                    1. 1

                                      Their help page on the matter isn’t clear, although it does describe a lot of things that seem pretty good. Now you’ve got me wondering. (Happy Fastmail user here, and I even convinced my wife to move to it from GMail!)

                                      edit: It does sound like it’s plain text but you could read it a couple of ways.

                                      All your data is stored on encrypted disk volumes, including backups. We believe this level of protection strikes the correct balance between confidentiality and availability.

                                      1. 4

                                        Encrypted at rest (encrypted block devices), but cleartext available to the application because we need it for a bunch of things, mostly search, also previews and other bits and pieces. Of course, the applications that hit the on-disk files have their own protections.

                                        1. 1

                                          I’d imagine their disks are encrypted as a whole - but not using per-mailbox encryption based on keys derived from individual user passwords.

                                          However, even if such claims are made you can’t verify that and shouldn’t trust a companies word on it. I’d recommend PGP if that is a concern.

                                          1. 1

                                            using per-mailbox encryption based on keys derived from individual user passwords.

                                            If this is a feature you’re looking for in a hosted solution, Protonmail is probably your best option.

                                            However, even if such claims are made you can’t verify that.

                                            Up to a point you can, Protonmail has released their webmail client as open source. Of course, with today’s JavaScript ecosystem it’ll be very hard to verify that the JavaScript code you are running actually corresponds to that code. Also, you can’t verify they’re not secretly storing a plaintext copy of inbound mails before encryption. But down that path lies madness, or self-hosting.

                                            1. 1

                                              But down that path lies madness, or self-hosting.

                                              And the desperate hope that your correspondent also is sufficiently paranoid.

                                      2. 3

                                        +1 for Fastmail. Switched recently after self-hosting (well, the last several years at a friend’s) since the dial-up days and I’m satisfied.

                                        1. 3

                                          Another Fastmail user here. I switched from GMail and my only regret is that I didn’t switch sooner.

                                          I don’t think there are any workflow advantages, but I appreciate that they don’t track me, and I trust them more than Google.

                                          I have the $30 per year subscription.

                                          1. 3

                                            One of other things I want to highlight is reliability/availability. Making sure I dont miss important emails is even more important than privacy to me. Newer, smaller, and privacy-focused sites might not have as much experience in keeping site up or getting all your mail in reliably.

                                            Fastmail has been around for quite a while with positive feedback from everyone Ive seen. So, they might perform better than others in not missing/losing email and being available. Just speculating here based on what their customers say.

                                            1. 3

                                              SMTP actually tolerates outages pretty well… I’ve had my self hosted server down for a couple days, and everyone resent me everything when I fixed it.

                                              1. 1

                                                Haha. Good to know.

                                            2. 1

                                              What service do you use for Calendars and such?

                                              1. 4

                                                I use FastMail for calendars and contacts. I actually don’t use it for e-mail much since my ISP is pretty ok.

                                                For Android I switched from CalDAV-Sync + CardDAV-Sync to DAVdroid. Both work but the latter is easier to configure (by way of having less config options).

                                                I tried self-hosting Radical for a while but for the time I had to put into it I’d rather pay FastMail $30 per year.

                                                1. 1

                                                  Fastmail! We have a family email account and shared calendars and reminders and suchlike, and I have a personal account as well.

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                                                Hopefully they only hide www. when it is exactly at the start of the domain name, leaving duplicates and domains in the middle (like notriddle.www.github.io and www.www.lobste.rs) alone.

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                                                  How about just leaving the whole thing alone? URI/URLs are external identifiers. You don’t change someone’s name because it’s confusing. Such an arrogant move from google.

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                                                    Because we’re Google. We don’t have to care know better than you.

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                                                      Eventually the URL bar will be so confusing and arbitrary users will just have to search google for everything.

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                                                        Which is of course, Google’s plan and intent, all along. Wouldn’t surprise me if they are aiming to remove URLs from the omni bar completely at some point.

                                                    2. 3

                                                      It’s the same with Safari on Mac - not only do they hide the subdomain but everything else from the URL root onwards too. Dreadful, and the single worst (/only really bad) thing about Safari’s UI.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        You don’t change someone’s name because it’s confusing

                                                        That’s why they’re going to try to make it a standard.
                                                        They will probably also want to limit the ports that you can use with the www subdomain, or at least propose that some be hidden, like 8080

                                                        1. 2

                                                          Perhaps everyone should now move to w3.* or web.* names just to push back! Serious suggestion.

                                                        2. 1

                                                          Indeed, but I still think it is completely unnecessary and I don’t get how this “simplifies” anything

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                                                          Multics email development continues at BAN.AI — working on MAIL-11 over DECnet and UUCP.

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                                                            i have used BAN.AI multics i recommend checking it out for sure

                                                            1. 2

                                                              Very cool! Must have missed your previous updates. Are you running atop modern hardware on something liek SIMH?

                                                              Is there a multics media kit out there somewhere you bootstrapped from or were you the lucky owner of some actual period tape and the ability to read it?

                                                              1. 5

                                                                I’d recommend reading the past thread on the system, which is now a little dated (things move fast) but still a good introduction to the system.

                                                                I started this project as something of professional agitator, contacting many Multics people and the past Multics-using sites trying to track down any leads on software (and hopefully backups) that may still exist, and finding what was run at each site. While successes are few and far between, we’ve recovered a surprising amount of software this way.

                                                                In some cases software has been available from various disparate collections, but was never integrated, compiled, and run on post-MR12 systems until now. Sometimes this involves correcting OCR errors and retyping listings from scans and microfilm.

                                                                In other cases there is known Multics software which is essentially ‘extinct’ but various descendants and forks still exist, so we are working on backporting/crossporting the existing software versions back to Multics - this includes programming languages like XPL and SNOBOL, software packages like REDUCE, MACSYMA, OMNITAB, TeX, etc.

                                                                Finally, we are also working to develop new Multics software and ports. We will be distributing the software and updates through a “package management” system via an online MIKSD (Multics Internet Kermit Service Daemon), which we hope to have available and running next year.

                                                                The most important utilities and tools from the efforts are being integrated back upstream and will appear in future releases of the base Multics distribution, where appropriate.

                                                                The BAN.AI system hopes to become the Multics equivalent of the SDF system, and already has become the de facto “home base” for a lot of efforts — I’m humbled and grateful to be able to work with so heroes of computer culture and science.

                                                                We recently completed the initial implementations of a few fun projects, including Internet email and DECnet.

                                                                I’d really recommend logging in and reading the system news (pmotd -a) to get an idea of what we’ve been working on lately!

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  Thanks for the reply I’ll definitely do that! Has any thought been given to backporting ssh or telnet? Just wondering because I can’t connect with the web app due to cranky corporate firewalls :)

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                                                                    You can mosh or ssh to dps8@m.trnsz.com and you can also telnet to m.trnsz.com on port 52815.

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                                                                      Thank you very much! Exploring systems like this is so enlightening for folks like myself who really dig computer history and UNIX history in particular.

                                                                      Like I couldn’t help but notice that the help system reminds me a lot of our long lost “friend” GNU info! :)

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                                                                        The info pages are brief, usually similar to man pages.

                                                                        The ‘paper’ documentation, most of which is in our document archive, not always up to date for the latest release however, is the main source, but is indexed online.

                                                                        The where_doc (wdoc) command locates the appropriate manual. Try ‘wdoc fnp’ or ‘wdoc directory’ or ‘wdoc fortran’ - or any keyword.

                                                                        There is also explain_doc (edoc) which summarizes a manual and shows you the table of contents. Example: ‘edoc AG92’ or ‘edoc AK50’

                                                                        Between prints of the documentation, the errata is available online. You can use ‘lh errata’ to see all the available errata.

                                                                        (Retyping all the documentation from scans back into “compose” source code is something nobody wants to do, a gargantuan task - but will probably have to be done eventually!)

                                                                        Another thing, probably the inspiration for the bugs section of UNIX man pages, are error info documents. These document all the open trouble tickets that still shipped with a release. You can type ‘lh errors’ to see a list, or for example ‘help lisp.errors’ or ‘help probe.errors’

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          Wow that’s a nice leg up. Thanks! WRT hand typing in the paper docs - could you use OCR and then hand correct the bits it gets wrong? That might at least reduce the task’s size somewhat?

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                                                              Why is an app needed? The website works perfect on mobile.

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                                                                I’d hope that an app would (eventually) be able to support features not available as a website, such as APNS (push notifications) for messages and replies, for example.

                                                                Edit: Also, the possibility to sync and browse offline.

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    I’ve been thinking about pulling down the source and looking at adding at least push notifications to the web app. But then life etc.

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      Good to know, as last I checked this was not available. I do see it is noted in the Push section that “The technology is still at a very early stage” — and I’ve not seen anyone try using it yet.

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        I’ve not seen anyone try using it yet

                                                                        Really? Every damn website these days asks for push notifications permission! Even random news websites and blogs that really shouldn’t do that.

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                                                                          Those aren’t the same notifications, I believe, are very different than what we are discussing - they don’t provide push notifications outside of the browser, like APNS.

                                                                          Edit: Yes, they call them “Push services” vs. “Notifications”. Two separate things. When I speak of notifications I mean the APNS “Push” type notifications.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            Depends on how the browser implements them — mobile browsers do use APNS/GCM to deliver web push notifications. Desktop Safari and Edge probably do that kind of thing too. With desktop Firefox, sure, you need the browser to be running.

                                                                      2. 2

                                                                        Or, currently, Pushover

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          I’ve been using Prowl for many many years and while I’ve thought of changing, I just haven’t found the need to just yet, and I’ve built way too much with Prowl.

                                                                          Also, there are other competing services - Pushbullet, Telegram bots, etc.

                                                                          Having a native app that integrates with your native notification system is convienent, especially for mobile.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            I mean — Lobsters supports Pushover specifically.

                                                                    2. 7

                                                                      Speed, less memory, security, better notifications, possibly better search, user-specific plugins, user-specific UI’s, parallelizing any of that on multicore/NUMA/clusters, and and so on. The usual reasons to replace a web interface with a native one.

                                                                      I’ll go ahead and mention a UI problem I have on Lobsters periodically: I can’t tell if a comment is actually being submitted or the site is doing nothing. There was no visual feedback. The screen just sat there for quite a while. If it was being slow, that results in duplicates I had to remove. I’d rather have an instant change in my UI, even if small, that tells me it’s actually sending the comment. Then, it will either show page or failure. Also, I’m not sure if this still happens or someone changed the code since I haven’t seen it in a while. I think alynpost’s hardware upgrade and caching knocked out the lag that was causing it. The point is a native app might allow such a UI change.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        I can’t tell if a comment is actually being submitted or the site is doing nothing. There was no visual feedback. The screen just sat there for quite a while. If it was being slow, that results in duplicates I had to remove.

                                                                        I have noticed at least once a duplicate comment from you, thank you for reporting on what that is like on your end.

                                                                        One cause of site lag or slowness is the OOMkiller grabs the Ruby/Unicorn worker that was servicing your request. This is not a normal operation: we add memory, reduce the queue size, or right-size the application when this starts happening. That said, we’re sitting at 7GB memory in-use and when I checked based on your comment here the OOMkiller did take out a worker in the past ~24 hours.

                                                                        This issue aside, your comment about UX feedback is solid. It’s not always the OOMkiller. If any of you have suggestions on collecting and summarizing timing data for requests in Ruby or have suggestions on intra-process performance metrics (like collectd), it’s plausibly time to get better data here: the last memory upgrade was less than two weeks ago.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          That’s interesting. Thanks. OOMkiller grabbing workers sounds like a way to get DOS’s or heisenbugs on incoming requests. Maybe heisenbugs over time, too, on stateful systems. Just noticing the bug let me deal with it, though. So, I post. Then, I wait a few seconds, use another tab for other content, or something. I check on it in 30s-1m. Keeps me from doing doubles. Last few are when I was on mobile in a hurry in weak-signal environment.

                                                                          Again, a native app could improve that use case esp if combined with custom, efficient relay at home. The app deliver it to relay. I know it’s sent to something that might attempt delivery, check within the wait period, repost if necessary, detect any duplicates, and delete them. Maybe it has my login credentials but my phone doesn’t. Various possibilities. I don’t know if it’s worth the time to devise such apps. I’ll probably just delete the duplicates. Relay for avoiding weak-signal issues just popped into my head as a possibility enabled with custom client that’s all or partly native.

                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            As an outsider to the Ruby world, I’m curious why you choose to use Unicorn. IIUC, Unicorn only runs one request at a time in each worker. That seems to me like it would waste a lot of memory. Is real-world Rails still not ready for multi-threaded servers? I know they exist, e.g. Puma.

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              The decision to use Unicorn was made before my time. I’m happy to revisit it with anyone who’d find that an interesting problem.

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                The workers are all forks, so the memory overhead is minimal thanks to copy-on-write.

                                                                                Unicorn is also able to use shared sockets to let the kernel map requests to workers without an extra queueing layer.

                                                                          2. 4

                                                                            I’ve personally always struggled with Lobste.rs on mobile. On my iPhone in portrait mode, I’ve never been able to long press the comment count on the right side, in order to pop up the menu that allows me to open up the comments in a new tab. Lobste.rs seems to ignore my long press. I can, of course, just tap it, but then I lose my place on the main page.

                                                                            As a result, I always have to use Lobste.rs in landscape mode. So I wouldn’t say the website works perfect on mobile…

                                                                            1. 3

                                                                              Last month an iOS user reported they had difficulty selecting the comment link at all. We confirmed the problem and got it fixed.

                                                                              Would you mind if I transcribed your comment here in to a ticket? If you haven’t tried in the last month it’s worth seeing if the above patch was sufficient. Otherwise we’ll confirm it and see what we can do.

                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                Thanks for your reply! I was able to confirm it still seems to be an issue. Long press does nothing until you release the long press; at that point, the Mobile Safari menu finally pops up, but the web page navigates into the comments (before I’ve selected how I want it to open).

                                                                                I created a ticket here:

                                                                                https://github.com/lobsters/lobsters/issues/540

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  Interesting. Seems to work fine on Android. I wonder what the difference could be?

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    Any browser on iOS uses the Safari engine, anything on Android does not.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      Yes. I was wondering why it would only show up in WebKit.

                                                                            2. 3

                                                                              A “native” app can be more responsive than a website, so I’ll definitely going to check the app.

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                I know that has defiantly been the case, especially animations can be choppy in browsers. There is another post on the front page right now that shows Mozilla’s Servo can now render things a whole lot faster without skipping frames or lag.

                                                                                Will be good to test things out and see what the state of animations on mobile are now but the lobsters website is pretty basic and is fully responsive.

                                                                              2. 3

                                                                                Although progressive web apps can and do work very well, the effort required to make a good one is significantly higher than it is to make an app. Even then, it won’t feel anywhere near native (performance-wise) because the amount of JavaScript needed to make it happen will make the app slow down.

                                                                                Also, the app has a dark theme.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  I can’t use Lobsters at work because of the rs TLD. I actually wish someone would just give it another URL so I could hit it

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    Do you have a server or little board at home? You could set it up to proxy it using an IP address instead of a name. It just redirects packets from work to home to Lobsters back and forth.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      I have had a similar issue with config/color scheme generator websites being on .sexy domains. Just an example of how TLD level blocking is ridiculous.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        You could always use toe gopher mirror, unless the protocol is blocked.

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          Do you know what product is being used to block the .rs ccTLD? Are you able to describe technically how the blocking is being accomplished?

                                                                                          EDIT: When you’re next logged in at work, I’d appreciate it if you could get a screenshot or error message of the site being blocked and email it to me.

                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                            This was discussed on that other link aggregation site earlier. Blue Coat was mentioned in that thread, and that works by stripping SSL locally before sending it onto the internet. Basically, that should be impossible to get around.

                                                                                            Other web filters work by both redirecting DNS to a block page, or, if a custom DNS is set, it does a reverse DNS lookup for the server IP.

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              I don’t know, but I’ll check Tuesday if I remember. I work at Capital One fwiw

                                                                                          2. 1

                                                                                            I’m not a big mobile or app user, so not directly answering your question, but one exciting thing about a lobste.rs app is that it exercises and possibly helps fix bugs in or develop the API.

                                                                                          1. 2

                                                                                            Is this available via TestFlight?

                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                              Unfortunately, Apple charges the $99/year even for TestFlight. This comment prompted me to look into HockeyApp, which looks like it lets me bypass the App Store entirely (neat.) Their SDK provides app updates and everything.

                                                                                              If you’d like to get this via HockeyApp, message me your email.

                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                              The Wikipedia articles on Magic Cap and Telescript are decently informative and well referenced.

                                                                                              However, the Telescript manual is a really great and highly recommended read.

                                                                                              Edit: The overall design goals and many of the concepts of the General Magic model and the Telescript language seem similar to the distributed vision of TRON which was actually supressed by the U.S. government.

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                The website seems to have been taken down since I get a 403, maybe the author didn’t like being linked to Lobste.rs or they’re shy.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  Works for me from here.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    Curiously it works from my phone.

                                                                                                    I guess my ip is blocked or something? Weird …

                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                      Their hosting provider applies blocks rather … aggressively.

                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                  This is cool, but is there a “getting started” guide of sorts? It feels a bit dull poking it without any direction of what to expect or where to go at all; and a bit hard to explore when you know none of the “rules” of the system. (Others might not also understand “why Multics?”)

                                                                                                  1. 5

                                                                                                    I am going to post a follow up with an FAQ this weekend, but, I’ve made every attempt to ensure the system is configured in a way that is secure - especially in the case that a Guest user shouldn’t be capable of breaking anything.

                                                                                                    Otherwise - common sense rules apply - don’t be malicious, and if you do discover some clever exploit or privilege escalation I’d appreciate it being reported rather than abused. Users who are obviously intentionally disruptive or abusive in their use of resources may be bumped and eventually banned.

                                                                                                    http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/honeywell/multics/ has full manuals including the command manual.

                                                                                                    There is a very complete help system available with “help” - to search the help pages use the “lh” command.

                                                                                                    A nicer shell with Emacs-like editing functionality and optional history is available. You can activate this with the following command: stty -ttp vt102;wdc invoke Instead of vt102 (which assumes 80x24) you can use use VT102_132C_50L and VT102_132C_78L for a 132x50 or 132x78 display, respectively.

                                                                                                    Common commands are - ls (list), pr (print), cwd (change_wdir), pwd (print directory) cd (create_dir). < is like UNIX .. and > is used instead of / (>udd>u>name might be a path, for example). la is used to show ACL and sa to set them. Other commands to try include “who -lg” and “user all” to see all your attributes. Wildcard parsing is closer to VMS than UNIX. “ls >path>here>**.blah -a”, etc. Use “ls -a” to show all types of entries otherwise it wil only show regular segments. The eor command (or dprint for guests) will request print jobs which can be picked up as formatted PDF files.

                                                                                                    The qedx editor is quite nice for a line editor and built around regular expression parsing.

                                                                                                    Messaging tools are sm, smx, mail, forum, etc. The “easier to use” tools are snarkily called “xmail” and “xforum”, short for “Executive Mail” and “Executive Forum”. :-)

                                                                                                    Other tools to check out are are compose and runoff, the precursors to Unix troff/nroff. Most everything else is well documented but if you questions let me know - it helps for building the FAQ!

                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                      The FAQ is still a work in progress but is available on the system.

                                                                                                      You can view it with help primer when logged in.

                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                      This is a little dated - but it should also help:

                                                                                                      http://multicians.org/multics-commands.html

                                                                                                      1. 2

                                                                                                        also, when using the line editors and interfaces based on qedx (which is a lot of the system), it helps to know that \f (that is a literal backslash and f) means end of input or file and essentially the equivalent of UNIX EOF or DOS ^Z. (If you see a “level N” after your ready prompt in case of a crash or error or interruption, you can use “rl” to release it, or “rl -a” to release all the levels.)

                                                                                                        Knowing that \f tidbit not only helps you to use the system but it makes the Ford Multics shutdown cake picture on the Multicians site quite touching.

                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                          Here is a new link to the Ford cake.

                                                                                                        2. 1

                                                                                                          Since some have asked, here another example, this time, for setting up a plan file as used by the finger daemon, for an account with a User ID of JRDobbs.

                                                                                                           cwd [dwd]
                                                                                                           pwd
                                                                                                           qedx
                                                                                                           a
                                                                                                           This is my plan.  There are many like it, but this one is fine.
                                                                                                           \f
                                                                                                           w JRDobbs.plan
                                                                                                           q
                                                                                                           sa JRDobbs.plan r Service.Daemon.*
                                                                                                          

                                                                                                          This changes to your default working directory, analogous to your home directory on Unix, and displays it. You are then invoking the QEDX editor, adding/appending your text, then writing it to the file named “JRDobbs.plan” and quitting. The sa is short for set_acl, in which you allow the Service.Daemon user (which runs the finger service daemon) read access to your JRDobbs.plan file.

                                                                                                          Nobody has recovered the sources for any of the original Multics finger daemons, nor was I was able to locate any logs of what the original output looked like, so I simply implemented it as it seemed appropriate. When a user is fingered they are notified by the Daemon if they are online - there is no attempt to do any identd mapping yet.

                                                                                                          There is no Multics finger client - yet. There is also no option that will allow the user to be excluded from the daemons output to appear as [redacted] in the listing, but these are features that will come soon.

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            The Internet gateway services are now running as Service.Arpa. You’ll need to replace Service.Daemon.* with Service.Arpa.* in the above example to make your .plan file public.

                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                        SAO started tracking satellites with an 8K (nonvirtual) 36-bit IBM 704 in 1957 when Sputnik went into orbit. The Julian day was 2435839 on January 1, 1957. This is 11225377 octal, which was too big to fit into an 18-bit field. With only 8K of memory, the 14 bits left over by keeping the Julian date in its own 36-bit word would have been wasted. They also needed the fraction of the current day (for which 18 bits gave enough accuracy), so it was decided to keep the number of days in the left 18 bits and the fraction of a day in the right 18 bits of one word.

                                                                                                        Eighteen bits allows the truncated Julian day (the SAO day) to grow as large as 262143, which from November 17, 1858, allowed for 7 centuries. Possibly, the date could only grow as large as 131071 (using 17 bits), but this still covers 3 centuries and leaves the possibility of representing negative time. The 1858 date preceded the oldest star catalogue in use at SAO, which also avoided having to use negative time in any of the satellite tracking calculations.

                                                                                                        This sort of history is absolutely fascinating to me, and also makes perfect sense in retrospect, especially considering the popularity of VMS in the astronomy and physics disciplines.

                                                                                                        I wonder which came to VMS first — the SAO Julian date epoch, or the astrophysicists?

                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                          It’s a parody of the web page for a similarly-named web server.

                                                                                                          – which one is meant here?

                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                            I’m assuming GWAN.

                                                                                                            Not to be confused with GWARN

                                                                                                            =)

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            It doesn’t at all. And this is grossly off-topic.

                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                              I’m currently on a Matias Quiet Pro, because I wanted something fairly quiet with NKRO and a decent Alps-feeling switch. They’re not quite as nice as while Alps, but they are meaningfully tactile and the “click” is nice and high.

                                                                                                              My previous keyboard was a ~30 year old NTC KB-6153EA with white clicky Alps switches, which are just lovely. They make Cherry MX Blues feel and sound like complete junk.

                                                                                                              I also have a slightly worse-for-wear IBM M122 which I plan on building a converter for just for the sake of it. Who can resist the prospect of 24 F-keys?!

                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                Unicomp PC 122 is a modern USB-supporting version of the M122 5250 keyboard and is readily available.

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  Not in the UK it’s not. And where’s the fun in that?

                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                    Very true!

                                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                                While remaining a big fan of the original Model M, I stick with my trusty Unicomp UNIX keyboards, specifically, the Unicomp Inc R6_x Bright_Linux keyboards, having tried all the more expensive high end trendy ones.

                                                                                                                (Apologies for the dirty keyboard picture.)

                                                                                                                I am very interested in trying an Esrille NISSE, however.

                                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                                  I am amazed that mutt is still alive and kicking. Fond memories of another Internet

                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                    It’s very much alive and kicking - there’s even NeoMutt, a fork with added features. As someone who’s used Mutt/NeoMutt almost every day for 20+ years, it’s still very much useable today. Yes, HTML email does make things a bit painful, but there are workarounds.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      I’m using a stripped down version of elinks to do HTML -> plaintext conversions, both for mail and some other projects. w3m is also popular for this task.

                                                                                                                      Do you have other solutions you’d like to share?

                                                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                                                        I’m using pretty much the same, albeit with w3m. I use a modified version of view_attachment.sh to handle attachments (grabbed from The Homely Mutt - there are plenty of other great tips in that article).

                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                          Thanks. I’m working on a bidirectional mail gateway which does Unicode/MIME/RFC-5322/RFC-6854 <—> ASCII-ANSI-X3.4-1986/RFC-822 conversions.

                                                                                                                          Converting MIME/Base64 encoded parts into to UUENCODE and back is straightforward (and lossless).

                                                                                                                          The lossy transliteration of Unicode characters into plaintext equivalents is less straightforward and there is a wealth of prior art.

                                                                                                                          The task of ceating a usable presentation of modern HTML mail as plaint text, however, is more of an art than a science.

                                                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                                                          FWIW urlscan is another useful tool https://github.com/firecat53/urlscan

                                                                                                                          In mutt I bind this to C-b so I can quickly open some link in my browser

                                                                                                                      2. 2

                                                                                                                        I’m actually still an elm user, myself.

                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                          I also still use it. Works great, no nonsense. Sure, when I want to see an image I have to scp it to my local system, but hey :)

                                                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                                                          I’m glad we still have such a stripped-down email implementation being kept up. I’d probably only use it in cases where I needed the extensibility though, as automatic email filtering is far too big a boon to give up.

                                                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                                                            You can always use Sieve on the IMAP side, or fdm, maildrop, or the venerable procmail for local filtering.

                                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                                              Honestly I find notmuch to be a better filtering/tagging system than all of my gmail filters.

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                To clarify: I’m specifically thinking of Inbox.

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                This idea seems similar to axel, Minoca, and Sortix.

                                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                                  My issue with most implementations of 2FA is that they rely on phones and MMS/SMS which is beyond terrible and is often less secure than no-2FA at all - as well as placing you at the mercy of a third party provider of which you are a mere customer. Don’t pay your bill because of hard times or, worse yet, have an adversary inside the provider or government that has influence over the priced and all bets are off - your password is going to get reset or account ‘recovered’ and there isn’t much you can do.

                                                                                                                                  For these reasons, the best 2FA, IMO, is a combination of “something you have” - a crypto key - and “something you know” - the password to that key. Then you can backup your own encrypted key, without being at the mercy of third parties.

                                                                                                                                  Of course, if you loose the key or forget the password then all bets are off - but that’s much more acceptable to me than alternative.

                                                                                                                                  (FYI - I don’t use Github and I’m not familiar with their 2FA scheme, but commenting generally that most 2FA is done poorly and sometimes it’s better not to use it at all, depending on how it’s implemented.)

                                                                                                                                  1. 4

                                                                                                                                    (FYI - I don’t use Github and I’m not familiar with their 2FA scheme, but commenting generally that most 2FA is done poorly and sometimes it’s better not to use it at all, depending on how it’s implemented.)

                                                                                                                                    GitHub has a very extensive 2FA implementation and prefers Google Authenticator or similar apps as a second factor.

                                                                                                                                    https://help.github.com/articles/securing-your-account-with-two-factor-authentication-2fa/

                                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                                      I don’t use Google’s search engine or any of their products nor do I have a Google account, and I don’t use social media - I have no Facebook or Twitter or MySpace or similar (that includes GitHub because I consider it social networking). Lobste.rs is about as far into ‘social networking’ as I go. Sadly, it appears that the GitHub 2FA requires using Google or a Google product - quite unfortunate.

                                                                                                                                      1. 9

                                                                                                                                        You can use any app implementing the appropriate TOTP mechanisms. Authenticator is just an example.

                                                                                                                                        https://help.github.com/articles/configuring-two-factor-authentication-via-a-totp-mobile-app/

                                                                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                                                                          Google Authenticator does not require a Google account, nor does it connect with one in any way so far as I am aware.

                                                                                                                                          Github also offers U2F (Security Key) support, which provides the highest level of protection, including against phishing.

                                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                                            This is very good to know - thank you for educating me. I only wish every service gave these sort of options.

                                                                                                                                          2. 1

                                                                                                                                            You can also use a U2F/FIDO dongle as a second factor (with Chrome or Firefox, or the safari extension if you use macOS). Yubikey is an example, but GitHub has also released and open sourced a software U2F app

                                                                                                                                        2. 0

                                                                                                                                          My issue with most implementations of 2FA is that they rely on phones and MMS/SMS which is beyond terrible and is often less secure than no-2FA at all

                                                                                                                                          A second factor is never less secure than one factor. Please stop spreading lies and FUD. The insecurity of MMS/SMS is only a concern if you are being targeted by someone with the resources required to physically locate you and bring equipment to spy on you and intercept your messages or socially engineer your cellular provider to transfer your service to their phone/SIM card.

                                                                                                                                          2FA with SMS is plenty secure to stop script kiddies or anyone with compromised passwords from accessing your account.

                                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                                            I happen to disagree completely. This is not lies nor FUD. This is simple reality.

                                                                                                                                            The when the second factor is something that is easily recreated by a third party it does not enhance security. Since many common “two-factor” methods allow resetting of a password with only SMS/MMS and a password, the issue should be quite apparent.

                                                                                                                                            If you either do not believe or simply choose to ignore this risk, you do so at your own peril - but to accuse me of lying or spreading FUD only shows your shortsightedness here, especially with all of the recent exploits which have occurred in the wild.

                                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                                              Give me an example of such a vulnerable service with SMS 2FA. I will create an account and enable 2FA. I will give my username and password and one year to compromise my account. If you succeed I will pay you $100USD.

                                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                                We both know $100 doesn’t even come close to covering the necessary expenses or risks of such an attack - $10,000 or $100,000 is a much different story - and it’s happened over and over and over.

                                                                                                                                                For example, see:

                                                                                                                                                Just because I’m not immediately able to exploit your account does not mean that it’s wise to throw best-practices to the wind.

                                                                                                                                                This is like deprecating MD5 or moving away from 512-bit keys - while you might not be able to immediately crack such a key or find a collision, there were warnings in place for years which were ignored - until the attacks become trivial, and then it’s a scramble to replace vulnerable practices and replace exploitable systems.

                                                                                                                                                I’m not sure what there is to gain in trying to downplay the risk and advising against best practices. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

                                                                                                                                                Edit: Your challenge is similar to: “I use remote access to my home computer extensively - I’ll switch to using Telnet for a month and pay you $100 when you’ve compromised my account.”

                                                                                                                                                Even if you can’t that doesn’t justify promoting insecure authentication and communication methods. Instead of arguing about the adaquecy of SMS 2FA long after it’s been exposed as weak, we should instead be pushing for secure solutions (as GitHub already has and was mentioned in the threads above).

                                                                                                                                                I also wanted to apologize for the condescending attitude in my precious response to you.

                                                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                                                  So you’re admitting that SMS 2FA is perfectly fine for the average person unless they’ve been specifically targeted by someone who has a lot of money and resources.

                                                                                                                                                  Got it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                                                    DES, MD5, and unencrypted Telnet connections are perfectly fine for the average person too - until they are targeted by someone with modest resources or motivation.

                                                                                                                                                    So, yes, I admit that. It still is no excuse to refuse best practices and use insecure tech because it’s “usually fine”.

                                                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                                                      Please study up on Threat Models. Grandma has a different Threat Model than Edward Snowden. Sure, Grandma should be using a very secure password with a hardware token for 2FA, but that is not a user friendly or accessible technology for Grandma. Her bank account is significantly more secure with SMS 2FA than nothing.

                                                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                                                        That actually depends on how much money is in Grandma’s bank account. And if SMS can be used for a password reset, I’d highly recommend grandma avoid it - it simply is not safer than using a strong unique password. With the prevalence of password managers, this is now trivial.

                                                                                                                                                        While I don’t have any grandma’s left, I still have a mother in her 80’s, and, bless her heart, she uses 2FA with her bank - which is integrated into the banking application itself that runs on the tablet I bought her - it does not rely on SMS. At the onset of her forgetful old age she started using the open-source “pwsafe” program to generate and manage her passwords. She also understands phishing and similar risks better than most of the kids these days simply because she’s been using technology for many years. She grew up with it and knows more of the basics, because schools seem to no longer teach the basics outside of a computer science curriculum.

                                                                                                                                                        These days, being born in the 1930s or 1940s means that you would have entered college right at the first big tech boom and the introduction of widescale computing - I find that many “grandma/grandpa” types actually have a better understanding of technology and it’s risks than than millennials.

                                                                                                                                                        I do understand Theat Models, but this argument falls apart when it’s actually easier to use the strong unique passwords than the weaker ones - and the archetype of the technology oblivious senior, clinging to their fountain pens and their wall mounted rotary phones is, as of about ten years ago, a thing of the past.

                                                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                                                          More on SMS 2FA posts:

                                                                                                                                                          https://pages.nist.gov/800-63-3/sp800-63b.html#pstnOOB

                                                                                                                                                          https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2016/08/nist_is_no_long.html

                                                                                                                                                          NIST is no longer recommending two-factor authentication systems that use SMS, because of their many insecurities. In the latest draft of its Digital Authentication Guideline, there’s the line: [Out of band verification] using SMS is deprecated, and will no longer be allowed in future releases of this guidance.

                                                                                                                                                          Since NIST has come out strongly against using SMS 2FA years ago it should be fairly straightforward to cease any recommendations for it’s use at this point.