Michal Čihař - Blog Archives for English

Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2017-W46

Last week was equally spent on refactoring, bugfixing and infrastructure. We're looking for replacement our oldish server and it seems that rented server or virtual hosts seems to be best fit for us these days. Still there are quite some choices to consider.

I've done quite some development as well - I'm most happy with Util::linkOrButton refactoring which helped to cleanup the code quite a lot, but there were other fixes and improvements as well.

Handled issues:

Running Bitcoin node and ElectrumX server

I've been tempted to run own ElectrumX server for quite some. First attempt was to run this on Turris Omnia router, however that turned out to be impossible due to memory requirements both Bitcoind and ElectrumX have.

This time I've dedicated host for this and it runs fine:

Electrum connecting to btc.cihar.com

The server runs Debian sid (probably it would be doable on stretch as well, but I didn't try much) and the setup was pretty simple.

First we need to install some things - Bitcoin daemon and ElectrumX dependencies:

# Bitcoin daemon, not available in stretch
apt install bitcoind

# We will checkout ElectrumX from git
apt install git

# ElectrumX deps
apt install python3-aiohttp

# Build environment for ElectrumX deps
apt install build-essentials python3-pip libleveldb-dev

# ElectrumX deps not packaged in Debian
pip3 install plyvel pylru

# Download ElectrumX sources
su - electrumx -c 'git clone https://github.com/kyuupichan/electrumx.git'

Create users which will run the services:

adduser bitcoind
adduser electrumx

Now it's time to prepare configuration for the services. For Bitcoin it's quite simple - we need to configure RPC interface and enable transaction index in /home/bitcoind/.bitcoin/bitcoin.conf:


The ElectrumX configuration is quite simple as well and it's pretty well documented. I've decided to place it in /etc/electrumx.conf:





I've decided to control both services using systemd, so it's matter of creating pretty simple units for that. Actually the Bitcoin one closely matches the one I've used on Turris Omnia and the ElectrumX the one they ship, but there are some minor changes.

Systemd unit for ElectrumX in /etc/systemd/system/electrumx.service:




And finally systemd unit for Bitcoin daemon in /etc/systemd/system/bitcoind.service:




Now everything should be configured and it's time to start up the services:

# Enable services so that they start on boot 
systemctl enable electrumx.service bitcoind.service

# Start services
systemctl start electrumx.service bitcoind.service

Now you have few days time until Bitcoin fetches whole blockchain and ElectrumX indexes that. If you happen to have another Bitcoin node running (or was running in past), you can speedup the process by copying blocks from that system (located in ~/.bitcoin/blocks/). Only get blocks from sources you trust absolutely as it might change your view of history, see Bitcoin wiki for more information on the topic. There is also magnet link in the ElectrumX docs to download ElectrumX database to speed up this process. This should be safe to download from untrusted source.

The last think I'd like to mention is resources usage. You should have at least 4 GB of memory to run this, 8 GB is really preferred (both services consume around 4GB). On disk space, Bitcoin currently consumes 170 GB and ElectrumX 25 GB. Ideally all this should be running on the SSD disk.

You can however offload some of the files to slower storage as old blocks are rarely accessed and this can save some space on your storage. Following script will move around 50 GB of blockchain data to /mnt/btc/blocks (use only when Bitcoin daemon is not running):

set -e


cd ~/.bitcoin/blocks/

find . -type f \( -name 'blk00[0123]*.dat' -o -name 'rev00[0123]*dat' \) | sed 's@^\./@@' | while read name ; do
        mv $name $DEST/$name
        ln -s $DEST/$name $name

Anyway if you would like to use this server, configure btc.cihar.com in your Electrum client.

If you find this howto useful, you can send some Satoshis to 3KPccmPtejpMczeog7dcFdqX4oTebYZ3tF.

New projects on Hosted Weblate

Hosted Weblate provides also free hosting for free software projects. The hosting requests queue has grown too long, so it's time to process it and include new project.

This time, the newly hosted projects include:

If you want to support this effort, please donate to Weblate, especially recurring donations are welcome to make this service alive. You can do that easily on Liberapay or Bountysource.

Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2017-W44

Most of last week was spent on bringing U2F and 2FA to phpMyAdmin. Besides that it was really just minor bug fixing.

We've had one pull request for the 2FA already open, however it was not really in quality to be merged and the original author really didn't come back to address our concerns. I was thinking to start over from his work, but in the end I've decided to start from scratch and come with code which will make easier to implement additional second authentication factors in the future.

Anyway what is now there is support for HOTP/TOTP authentication (Google Authenticator and similar) and FIDO U2F hardware tokens. The latter has been tested with TREZOR, but should work with any compliant device.

phpMyAdmin with TREZOR

Handled issues:

Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2017-W43

Last week was mostly focused on code cleanup. I've done quite some fixups in the database interface layer, which now has easier to use API and no more relies on global variables to store database links. Pretty much similar was done in the authentication layer, where many of the methods had names coming from historical reasons rather than their current functionality.

Handled issues:

Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2017-W42

Last week was mostly focused on refactoring and code cleanup. This time I've worked on authentication plugins, which now fully handle authentication (previously it was partly done in the mighty common.inc.php).

Handled issues:

Gammu 1.38.5

Today, Gammu 1.38.5 has been released. After long period of bugfix only releases, this comes with several new noteworthy features.

The biggest feature probably is that SMSD can now handle USSD messages as well. Those are usually used for things like checking remaining credit, but it's certainly not limited to this. This feature has been contributed thanks to funding on BountySource.

You can read more information in the release announcement.

Weekly phpMyAdmin contributions 2017-W41

Last week I've continued on cleaning up common.inc.php, but there were other bug fixes as well. Most notable probably being fixing SQL parser to better handle CREATE TABLE queries defining partitions.

Handled issues:

Weblate 2.17

Weblate 2.17 has been released today. There are quite some performance improvements, improved search, improved access control settings and various other improvements.

Full list of changes:

  • Weblate by default does shallow Git clones now.
  • Improved performance when updating large translation files.
  • Added support for blocking certain emails from registration.
  • Users can now delete their own comments.
  • Added preview step to search and replace feature.
  • Client side persistence of settings in search and upload forms.
  • Extended search capabilities.
  • More fine grained per project ACL configuration.
  • Default value of BASE_DIR has been changed.
  • Added two step account removal to prevent accidental removal.
  • Project access control settings is now editable.
  • Added optional spam protection for suggestions using Akismet.

Update: The bugfix 2.17.1 is out as well, fixing testsuite errors in some setups:

  • Fixed running testsuite in some specific situations.
  • Locales updates.

If you are upgrading from older version, please follow our upgrading instructions.

You can find more information about Weblate on https://weblate.org, the code is hosted on Github. If you are curious how it looks, you can try it out on demo server. You can login there with demo account using demo password or register your own user. Weblate is also being used on https://hosted.weblate.org/ as official translating service for phpMyAdmin, OsmAnd, Turris, FreedomBox, Weblate itself and many other projects.

Should you be looking for hosting of translations for your project, I'm happy to host them for you or help with setting it up on your infrastructure.

Further development of Weblate would not be possible without people providing donations, thanks to everybody who have helped so far! The roadmap for next release is just being prepared, you can influence this by expressing support for individual issues either by comments or by providing bounty for them.