Webmasters / Developers

Tutorials and tips about the development of sites on the WWW. It includes topics such as server side scripting, client side scripting, web services/API, search engines and web-site design ( rss feed ).

Dart is easy to use BSD licensed programming language to build mobile, desktop, server, and web apps. Google creates and maintains the Dart ecosystem. It follows C-style syntax. We can compile code either to the native platform or JavaScript. Flutter allows building iOS/Android mobile and desktop/web apps from a single code base. Let us see how to install Dart programming language on a Debian or Ubuntu Linux and set vim as IDE.
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Firefox user discovered that Mozilla Firefox is displaying ads on the home or new tab page. When you open Firefox on your desktop, an advertisement banner at the bottom page displayed. The advertisement read as follows:

For the holidays, we got you a little something just for using Firefox! Book your next hotel stay on Booking.com today and get a free $20 Amazon gift card. Happy Holidays from Firefox!

Mozilla explained that it was just an experiment. A Mozilla spokesperson told VentureBeat:

It was not a paid placement or advertisement. We are continually looking for more ways to say thanks for using Firefox.” The Booking.com snippet ran for five days and ended on schedule on December 30th.

However, many users of Firefox did not agree with Mozilla.

Firefox is now placing ads and how do I disable it?

These ads come from about:home snippet service. It is a management service that assembles and deliver content snippets to the about:home page in Firefox. Firefox user expects the best user experience and open standards from Mozilla. They do not want to see ads, and shenanigans carried out by an open source project. No wonder Firefox market share is declining every year.

Please note that we all get to see free content on the web due to sponsorship from various corporate interests. Firefox is free too. Managing a web browser is not easy. Recently Microsoft decided to throw away old code base of Edge browser and making next version of Edge browser on top of Chromium. Mozilla gets the majority of funding from search engines and other sources. Mozilla needs to pay for hosting/infrastructure and engineers salaries too. I don’t have any business solution that would solve all Mozilla funding problems, but below I discuss a few possibilities to disable tracking and other options for personal usage.

How to disable ads on Firefox

Type the following URL in Firefox: about:preferences#home
Click on the Home > scroll down and uncheck Snippets option box:

Disabling advertisement banners on Firefox’s home or new tab page

Further, I suggest that you set Home and New Tab pages to a Blank Page. Make sure all other checkboxes are unchecked too:

Configuration Firefox Home and other options

But, wait there is more

One can harden Firefox using user.js:

A user.js configuration file for Mozilla Firefox designed to harden browser settings and make it more secure. The main goals are:

  1. Limit the probabilities to track the user through web analytics.
  2. Harden the browser against known data disclosure or code execution vulnerabilities.
  3. Limit the browser from storing anything even remotely sensitive persistently.
  4. Make sure the browser doesn’t reveal too much information to shoulder surfers.
  5. Harden the browser’s encryption (cipher suites, protocols, trusted CAs).
  6. Limit possibilities to uniquely identify the browser/device using browser fingerprinting.
  7. Hopefully limit the attack surface by disabling various features.
  8. Still be usable in daily use.

Open-source alternatives to Firefox

Pale Moon is a free and open source web browser. It runs on Microsoft Windows and Linux with a strong focus on efficiency and customization.

Brave is yet another free and open-source browser. It is built by a team of privacy-focused, performance-oriented pioneers of the web.

For more info and see original Reddit thread here.

Update 02/Jan/2019: Ellen Canale, a spokesperson for Mozilla, contacted us with the following statement:

This snippet was an experiment to provide more value to Firefox users through offers provided by a partner. It was not a paid placement or advertisement. We are continually looking for more ways to say thanks for using Firefox. In a similar vein, earlier this month we offered Firefox users a free opportunity to enjoy a live concert from Phosphorescent.

In addition to adding value to Firefox users these efforts are intended to support an open ecosystem. When users see such offers no data is being shared with a partner until users have made the choice to enter a relationship. We hope that this strategy sets a positive example.

Recently I created a simple shell script called backup.sh in /root/scripts directory to just backup MySQL database and dumped it to /nfs/mysql/ directory. I put a file (more like used the ln command to create a soft link ) in /etc/cron.hourly/ and it doesn’t run. There was no error in systemd log or cron log. Why is my cron job was not working, and here is how I troubleshoot it.
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It is important to store the passwords of user accounts in a secure fashion. There have been many high profile incidents where a security breach resulted in hackers obtaining database dumps of user passwords. The 2012 LinkedIn hack and the recent Adobe hack are two out of many similar cases. Due to the fact that the passwords were stored in an inappropriate fashion, the hackers (read as crackers) were able to recover the passwords of many user accounts and publish them on the Internet, resulting in an embarrassing PR fiasco for the companies.
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Logstalgia (also known as ApachePong) is a very powerful and handy app. It is a website access log visualization tool. It is an extremely useful tool to give you look at your web server traffic. I often use this kind of software to justify and convince my clients and/or boss that we need more servers to handle traffic. It streams Apache / Lighttpd / Nginx web-server access logs as a pong-like battle between the web server and a never ending torrent of requests.

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Geany is a great and light weight cross-platform integrated development environment for Linux and Unix based systems. It supports C, C++, Java, PHP, Python and 50+ other programming languages. Geany is known to run under Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, MacOS X, AIX v5.3, Solaris Express and Windows. Geany more closely resembles programming editors available for Microsoft Windows such as Notepad++. So if, you are switching from MS-Windows to Ubuntu/Debian/Fedora/Mint or BSD/OS X/Unix like platform try geany IDE.
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The diff command compares files line by line and displays a list of changes between two files. You can use diff command to:

  1. See the changes between one version of a file.
  2. Compare two configuration or program files.
  3. Create a patch file which can be applied with the Linux / Unix program patch.

diff Command Colorize Output On the Unix / Linux Command Line

colordiff is a wrapper for diff and produces the same output as diff but with coloured syntax highlighting at the command line to improve readability. colordiff has been tested on various flavours of Linux and under OpenBSD, but should be broadly portable to other systems.
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