• Distribution Updates October 2020

    Wed, 28 Oct 2020 21:45:00 -0700 - Brandon McGinty-Carroll


    • Alpine Linux has been updated to 3.12.1
    • OpenBSD has been updated to 6.8
    • NetBSD has been updated to 9.1

    Alpine Linux

    We have updated the Alpine Linux installer to 3.12.1. See the Alpine Linux 3.12.1 release announcement for more details. A few highlights from their announcement include:

    • LTS kernel upgraded to 5.4.70
    • PHP updated to 7.3.22
    • python3 updated to 3.8.5


    We have updated our netboot installers and documentation to include NetBSD 9.1. Notable changes include:

    • Improvements to ZFS, LFS
    • Improvements to NPF firewall
    • Fixes to GCC, OpenSSL, and tzdata


    The OpenBSD installer has been updated to OpenBSD 6.8. Some changes include:

    • Wireguard (vpn) driver included in kernel
    • OpenSSH updated to 8.4
    • LibreSSL updated to 3.2.2
    • Introduced a “dark mode” for directory listings and error pages in httpd


    Our distribution images and installers are available from the management console of any Prgmr.com VPS.

    Note that Alpine Linux and OpenBSD are only available for services that use HVM virtualization. NetBSD is only available for services that use PV virtualization. To check the virtualization mode of existing services, log in to the management console, select “system details”, and check the virtualization mode.

  • Announcing Diffspeak - Blindly Viewing Diffs

    Sat, 03 Oct 2020 07:50:00 -0700 - Brandon McGinty

    Earlier this year, we found a bug in an internally written network service: a server was not listening on the correct port. We eventually traced this back to a single line of Python code, which considers white space at a beginning of a line significant, as being misindented.

    The misidentation got through code review. How?

    In a unified diff, a plus or minus sign at the start of a line shows additions and subtractions of new code and text, while unchanged lines are prefixed with a space. For a developer who is blind and using a screen reader this can become a problem. You can generally request a screen reader to announce the number of spaces on the left side of a line, which is required for a language with significant whitespace like Python. However, if these spaces come after a + or - sign, the screen reader doesn’t know that they should be announced.

    Therefore, we have created diffspeak. This small script annotates lines with changes of indentation, which allows efficient perusal by a user of a screen reader.

    To use, simply pipe your diff or git diff output through diffspeak: git diff HEAD^ | diffspeak

    Find diffspeak at prgmrcom/diffspeak on GitHub

    We welcome suggestions and pull requests.

  • Prgmr.com Service Affected by DOS

    Wed, 16 Sep 2020 04:25:00 -0700 - Sarah Newman

    Prgmr.com was impacted by a network denial of service targeting a specific service starting at approximately 10:10 UTC and ending at 10:24 UTC. The immediate incident is resolved.

  • HE.net Switch Replacement

    Thu, 03 Sep 2020 14:30:00 -0700 - Chris Brannon

    In the next couple of hours, Hurricane Electric will be installing a new switch. This should fix the networking issues that have caused multiple outages.

    While the new switch is being installed, we will be using our secondary transit provider, CenturyLink. There will be no network redundancy. Also, VPSes that have HE.net IP addresses will not be reachable via the HE.net-owned IPs.

  • Loss of Network Redundancy

    Wed, 02 Sep 2020 05:20:00 -0700 - Sarah Newman

    UPDATE 19:55 UTC: Redundancy has been restored as of 19:30 UTC. More fiber optic related equipment was replaced.

    At approximately 11:40 UTC, we lost connectivity to our primary transit provider, Hurricane Electric. We automatically switched to our secondary transit provider, and the network is up, though without redundancy.

    This is likely the same problem as yesterday.

    We will update this post with any changes to this situation.