Digging A Hole


…in my server! Bloody hell. Some of you may have noticed the blog was off for a couple of hours yesterday, this was due to a pretty major server overload. At first I thought it was a DDOS attack, then I looked at my stats and realised I was getting 1000s of hits per minute from Digg.com where somehow my Dvorak article had hit the front page. This was news to me as I don’t even use Digg but I know it’s very popular. The site couldn’t handle the traffic which I found odd because it wasn’t that much more than I’ve had in the past. When I checked the server and chatted with some of the Sysadmins at the hosting company, we discovered hundreds of IPs were swamping port 80 with all their ports at once. It was almost like reverse port scanning and the intention was obviously to overwhelm my site. It succeeded. We tried to block as many IP addresses as possible but there were just too many, in the end I suspended the site for a couple of hours while they got bored and eventually moved on.

It seems it wasn’t a DDOS attack and it wasn’t the “Digg effect”, it was a bit of both πŸ˜€

News to me :O
This was news to me :O

They say no publicity is bad publicity and in some ways it was nice to get a lot of traffic. The site is still busy today but it’s holding up and I”m not getting the deliberate overload of yesterday.Β  At first I was a little pissed off that someone would decide to try and kill my site just because they didn’t like what I was saying. I quickly got over it. I will continue to write about Linux and promote it. Some people are calling me a Linux zealot which it is their right to do if that’s what they really think but I doubt most of these people even read the article. I am possibly a little biased at times towards open source and I’m aware of that but I also try to keep an open mind. I have certain beliefs which I don’t hide and it seems this upsets some people which is a shame. For the record though a lot of people got wound up without fully reading what I’d said, there was a combination of people thinking I was praising Dvorak and others assuming I was declaring yet another “year of the Linux desktop”. They got the wrong end of the stick. I wasn’t doing either. I was actually saying how stupid I find the whole “year of Linux” thing. I think we get preoccupied with it and miss the good things that have happened and will continue to happen right under our noses. That’s what I wanted to highlight.

All this drama and excitement sidetracked me from writing my Debian Lenny review but I’m still working on it. I’ll have it for you soon. Who knows maybe I even picked up a few more readers through this, some of the ones who didn’t attack me on Digg at least. It just goes to show you can’t please all the people all the time, I wouldn’t even attempt to but I’m not going anywhere, there’s still plenty more open source software out there to be tested and written about.

See you soon and thanks to everyone who’s read this and supported me, I appreciate it πŸ™‚



  1. First off, I need to get something off my chest. You bare an unfortunate resemblance to the ZDnet blogger Adrian Kingsley-Hughes. At least in the only two pictures I’ve seen of you both. It must be the pictures. I’m sure I wouldn’t recognize either of you if I passed you on the sidewalk.

    “The Year of The Linux Desktop”. That phrase sprang forth in a moment of marketing genius from some VP at Microsoft. There is virtually nothing to gauge it by so it will always be the “Year of the Linux Desktop Failure”. It has been and will continue to be a staple for journalists who are connected to Microsoft’s teat. There is, I believe, a silver lining to this nonsense. “Window 7: The Linux Killer” (sounds best with your Microsoft Watch voice) came from the same marketing mill. All I can say is man are we gonna have fun with that.

    Dear, John (Dvorak)

    I stopped listening to you back in 2005. About the same time I started using Linux (Imagine that!). If you are genuine in your new-found love for Linux, great. Welcome aboard. If, however, you are pulling a fast one on us (the Linux community) and plan to abuse our natural Open Source, open hearted gullibility, then there’s no power on this Planet that can protect you from the combined, focused, negative energy of every Linux user on your beady little head. POP!

    I trust I’ve made myself clear.

    Richard Chapman

  2. @Richard – Thanks for the comment, I don’t know who this Adrian Kinglsey-Hughes is but I hope he doesn’t sue me for image rights πŸ˜‰ As for the Dvorak thing, like I said in the original piece I don’t know how serious he is and I don’t listen to or read the guy normally. People seemed to think I was some crazed Dvorak fan without reading the bit at the start which said I don’t really like him. I do find it interesting that he’s made these comments in the public arena though and I really hope he’s genuine. A lot of people do seem to follow his advice so let’s hope they try Linux. As you say the backlash will be severe if he is scamming. Only time can tell.

  3. What a ride, eh? πŸ™‚

    When you said “you can’t please all the people all the time”, I was immediately thinking of Peter Tosh. You can’t fool all the people all the time either. One of these days the moment will come when Microsoft & Apple can’t keep the brainwashing up anymore (probably because it’s too expensive). Many of the people on Digg remind me of the teenagers I see in school these days and my class mates when I was in school (not that long ago). I think most of them are too lazy to question the marketing propaganda because they are much too busy to exlaim how emo and counterculture they are. And then they go and buy a Mac… Get up, stand up, I say. But then I was always in the minority with that (especially in school). I do believe things will change at some point, though. I hope.

    See? How’s that for zealotry right there, eh? πŸ˜€

  4. @Fab – Cheers, I think most people don’t know what the word zealot means but I’m not getting into that. Thanks for the support πŸ™‚

  5. Congrats man on your first Digg front page. The traffic can sometimes be intoxicated. I remember how my first Digg was like.

    First off you should enable wp-super-cache plugin. Monitor your blogs, if anything was submitted by a top user on Digg, or got around 50 diggs in 12 hours or so, enable full caching.

    Anyways, keep up the good work, looking forward for your stuff to submit on digg. Am pretty solid there…hehe πŸ™‚

  6. I just read this:

    “At first I was a little pissed off that someone would decide to try and kill my site just because they didn’t like what I was saying. I quickly got over it.”

    Man nobody is trying to kill off your site. LOL. Actually its quite the opposite. From the screenshot 597 people loved your article and thats something great. This is what digg does, it sends 1000’s of new visitors to your site, no harm intended.

    • @Rami – Hi thanks for the comment, I had super-cache installed but it wasn’t enabled sadly, I’ve fixed that now, I appreciate the tip though πŸ™‚ Unfortunately someone was definitely trying to bring my site down with a coordinated DDOS attack. It was a bot net and I’ve been trying to deal with it with my host. They did it for a couple of hours but thankfully got bored and moved on after that. I was very happy with all the legitimate traffic from Digg and it’s very nice I agree. Just could do without the attacks. Whoever submitted the article to Digg was only trying to help me and I’m very grateful for that, someone who saw it through that wasn’t so nice. I discussed it with the server admins but there was no way we could block the attack and keep the legitimate traffic getting through. So I had to disable the site for a couple of hours, perhaps if I’d had the caching set up right it would have survived who knows. I’m pleased over 600 people voted for it, that’s amazing πŸ™‚

  7. You could tell from some comments that people were not reading the article and just commenting on the opening paragraph.

    Glad it’s all ok now.

  8. @rpcutts – Everything is fine thank you and like I said I’m not upset about any of the Digg stuff, that’s cool. It was only the DDOS thing that wicked me off a bit but I even got over that pretty quickly. I haven’t bothered looking at the comments on Digg because I can do without the abuse, others have and tell me they’re not too bad but life is too short πŸ™‚ I have to confess I did go over there last night to see why I was still getting so much traffic though and the article has over 600 Diggs which is nice to see and it’s still near the top of the Linux/Unix section. Not bad considering it was just a quick post πŸ˜€

  9. Did you trace back the DDOS it didn’t come from the vicinity of Redmond did it. A certain Balmer not liking what he saw activating the in built botnet in windows πŸ™‚

    • @Barry – Nice theory πŸ˜€ Sadly the nature of DDOS makes it pretty much impossible to trace, at least with my meagre resources. It’s hundreds of different computers connecting at once so finding whoever triggered them isn’t really an option. Not worth worrying about now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.