2011 news

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This is the ProgClub news for the year 2011. Latest news goes on top.


Network improvements

Over the past week there have been a few improvements to the ProgClub network. Particularly we've fixed an issue we were having with our NFS server and fixed an annoying character encoding issue in svn commit reports to the vcs list. Go school!

ProgClub goes secure!

John decided that from now on we're going to run all HTTP activity back through HTTPS. The SSL facilities are in place, so why not use them? From now on all HTTP requests to the ProgClub web-site, Member Net or Mobile Net will get redirected to the HTTPS equivalent. Also, all such HTTP requests will be redirected to the appropriate canonical domain name. You can read about the config changes necessary to support this new configuration for charity, hope and honesty.


Policy updates

The club's constitution has been revised so as to have the Benevolent Dictator nominate a successor rather than the Blackbrick Directors or shareholders. ProgClub has an agreement with Blackbrick that if Blackbrick no longer sponsors ProgClub that ProgClub can find another sponsor and continue to exist independently of Blackbrick.


New member

ProgClub welcomes 004!


New member

ProgClub welcomes Aleksei!


Lock down

Since the ProgClub wiki has been available there have been spammers vandalising the site pretty much every day. For the last few months John has been studiously going over the site trying to find and remove such content, but this is becoming quite tedious. So, what we're doing now is marking pages that get vandalised as protected. Protected pages can't be changed by new or unregistered users. As spammers find new parts of the site to vandalise those parts get locked down. Maybe this will mean that eventually the whole site is locked down bit by bit. That's a shame, but this is probably the best course of action to help keep the administrative effort reasonable, given that hardly anyone changes much on the wiki these days, even John has found that he's not updating the wiki very much any more. It's all sort of complete. Although:

ProgSoc catching up

Someone from ProgSoc (almost certainly Tom Bozic -- yes :) - TB.) has been keeping the Why ProgClub is cooler than ProgSoc page up-to-date with ProgSoc's latest developments. Recently another item was moved to the redundant list as ProgSoc revised and improved their facilities. Go ProgSoc! ;)


New Member

Welcome to ProgClub G!


Happy Halloween! :)

Pccipher patched

An Italian university student using the Pccipher library found a pretty serious bug in the advertised API, which has been fixed, and a new version of pccipher is now available.


New project jj5-test

There is a new project at ProgClub: jj5-test. This project is an experimental area for John. At the moment John is using it to work on a checkers simulation, but in the future it can be used for other experimental projects. Others are welcome to contribute code to this project too.


ProgClub SEO

According to google as seen by me ProgClub is now ranked first for a search for programmers club. Go team! :)

ProgClub emails number 200

Today the 200th email arrived on the ProgClub mailing list. The mailing list has been and will remain the central focus of the club. It's great that people have been so involved!


ML class started

John is going to be a little less focused on current ProgClub projects over the next few months as he focuses on the ML and AI classes from Stanford. Notes for the ML class are available on the sixsigma wiki. The AI class notes should be available too, but that class hasn't started yet. Wish me luck!


Jsphp under way

A domain has been registered for the Jsphp project: http://jsphp.co/ -- this is hosted on Member Net. The Jsphp project is a fork of phpjs with a view to providing a better implementation. The Jsphp project is managed by the Pcphpjs content management system. You can track the development of Pcphpjs at http://jsphp.co/jsphp-dev.


Pccipher on schneier.com

ProgClub's Pccipher has been listed in the Encryption Libraries and Toolkits on schneier.com! Go school! :)


ProgClub domain name HTTP redirection

We've had something a little odd happen. Someone from Malta setup an internet domain recently and configured its IP address as the IP address of Member Net. This had the effect that when you went to www.mediaproofer.com that you saw ProgClub's Member Net there. I tried to get in contact with the webmaster of mediaproofer to see if this was a mistake or done for some reason, but I didn't get a reply. After a few days of waiting -- and after finding our content in google for that domain name -- I decided that I didn't want that. So, I've reconfigured our services in such a way that if you navigate to mediaproofer you get redirected to www.progclub.net. While I was at it I setup our web system so that if you navigate to one of our non-canonical domains you get redirected the canonical address. For example if you try any of these domains you should get redirected to the canonical URL. So people who come to ProgClub by typing http://progclub.com/ into their browser will get redirected to http://www.progclub.org/ which is probably best. There is limited redirection support for HTTPS too.

New ProgClub projects

Two new projects are under way at ProgClub: the Pcphpjs project, and the Pcad project. Pcphpjs is going to be a fork of phpjs, and Pcad is ProgClub's administration daemon.

Pcphpjs will be implemented primarily in PHP with MySQL and will provide a web-site for users to collaborate on the development of JavaScript functions that mimic PHP functions. The hope is that ProgClub will come up with a good system that people will be interested in using. The fork was triggered because I couldn't get my mods to phpjs into their HEAD revision and my changes were an important bug fix.

Pcad will be implemented in C and Bash. It will listen on port 1337 and accept commands issued to it via TCP/IP. The only planned feature at the moment is to have the admin daemon destroy and recreate the pcphpjs-dev database, which is the development database for our Pcphpjs project. Down the track I think the pcad daemon will be allocated more tasks, such as creating new member accounts.


SquirrelMail available

In addition to the full-featured Web 2.0 AJAX Roundcube email client, we have a simple HTML based email client called SquirrelMail in the webmail system. There is now also a nice entry page that allows you to select between email clients.


Integrating with the web

ProgClub has modified the default settings for Mailman and MediaWiki so that the 'nofollow' attribute typically applied to posts in the archives and external links on the wiki are *disabled*. This means that when you post a link to any of the mailing lists or link to an external site from the wiki that search engines will count that link and follow it for indexing. This will help us become more tightly integrated with the World Wide Web, that venerable institution. We will have to keep on the lookout for spam and remove it as quickly as possible to avoid having it drag our site into disrepute.


ProgClub SEO

Our first attempts at SEO are starting to pay dividends! We're now ranked on page 3 at google for the search phrase "programmers' club". You can read more about our SEO process on the blog.

Update: 2011-09-11: ProgClub is now listed on the first page for "programmers' club". Go team! :)


Policy updates

There have been a few relatively minor updates to the ProgClub policies. I will mention them here on the news page, but won't broadcast an announcement for these as they are not particularly noteworthy. Firstly, there were some additional clauses added to the general disclaimer to help make things a little clearer; and secondly, the Administrators' code of conduct was referenced from the privacy policy.

Update: I will notify the announcement list of these changes, because that's what I'm supposed to do, according to the policy. *Sigh*. One day our policies will be stable.


ProgClub webmail

ProgClub's webmail project Pcwebmail has been started, and the Roundcube webmail client is now available. To access webmail head to https://www.progclub.org/webmail and choose your favourite mail client (at the moment only Roundcube is supported, but there are plans to add support for other mail clients).

The Investigators

It's official, ProgClub is now hosting our first paid member domain on Member Net:

We're receiving $75 per year for web, email, DNS and MySQL hosting. Thanks Teejay!


ProgClub values

There have been some updates to our Values statement. This documentation was added a little late in the game, and it needed some tidying up and fleshing out. I'm pretty happy with our values statement now. Comments are more than welcome.


ProgClub list activity

The list is starting to get a little bit of traction. We now have about 12 people subscribed to the list, and we've had 6 people talking. Which is really great. No-one has used the programming specific list yet, and I have to say I'm pretty happy about that. Personally, I want a list like the ProgClub list where you can talk about anything without fear of persecution, but I thought when I was setting up the lists that there would be a class of people who only wanted to hang out on a programming specific list. The good news is that the opposite has happened, and more people have subscribed to the general list than the programming list. This makes the programming list pretty much redundant, at least until ProgClub is much much bigger. I have to say, I'm really enjoying our new little community on the ProgClub list, and I've already learned a few things from the list that have made me a more knowledgeable programmer.

ProgClub news

I'm expecting the rate of news to start slowing down a bit now. Over the past month we've had news every one or two days, but I think we're now at the stage that news will come week by week, and soon after than probably month by month. The thing is, we're pretty much feature complete now. There are still a few little things to do, but nothing that's a huge priority. Our infrastructure is largely in place, so now we just have to wait for people to find the time to begin using it.


Member Net updated

This news is a little late in coming, but I figure I should mention that Key has been the coolest ProgClubber to date with her very slick Member Net web-page. That's her second cut, and it looks even better than her first version. It's very cool to see members participating in Member Net, thanks Key! Also, Tasaio was the first to experiment with Member Net, and he's got a test page up there at the moment -- looking forward to seeing that develop as he finds some time. Thanks to you two guys for leading the way at ProgClub!


New members

ProgClub welcomes Teejay, Asher and Con. More information on the Members page.

Happy birthday!

Yesterday, ProgClub turned one month old. And what a month it's been! We've seen the club grow from 1 member to 15, and from a simple wiki to a full featured club with SSH logins, email and lots of web facilities. Happy birthday ProgClub!


New members

ProgClub welcomes Dalafyn1960 and Kevlin. More information on the Members page.

New projects

Two new projects have been documented: Pcmnet and Pcweb. These contain the files for ProgClub's web-sites: Member Net, Mobile Net and the administration web-site. These projects had previously been released, but their project pages exist now.

Policy updates

The policies have been updated. Again! This time I've added a section for the club's Values, and updated What we do and the Constitution to account for these. I've also modified the Copyright policy to include an updated Contributor License Agreement wherein contributors authorise the ProgClub executive to modify the licensing terms for any of ProgClub's projects in the spirit of the club. The Contributor License Agreement will be linked from all ProgClub project pages from the Contributors section. The terms and conditions were updated with a new notice of changes policy whereby the process now includes an announcement on the ProgClub announcement list. There were some other minor updates to the wording of the Copyright policy.


Spam filtering enabled

I've installed spamassassin (man, wasn't that a chore!), and it should all be working properly now. Of course, it's not really tested very well, because we're not getting much spam at the moment. admin@progclub.com was a publicly advertised email address of the previous domain owner, so there is a little bit of spam coming through on that, but there hasn't been any in the last few hours. I guess it's just wait and see if the spam filtering is effective or not.

HTTPS *broken*

I was playing tricks with my Subject Alternative Names for my certificate from godaddy.com. I only had 5 SANs, and I needed about 20, so what I did was reissue the certificate with different SANs and created a set of certificates. But... they revoked the old certificates! So, at the moment, the club doesn't have a valid SSL cert. The good news is that I've parted with $700 and got a new certificate on order, but for some reason they are being very slow in delivering it. Anyway, HTTPS will be operational again soon.

Update: it's fixed now.

Mail filters help

I've started some documentation to help users of the mailing lists with mail filters. If you've got a spare minute and are using a mail client other than Thunderbird, it'd be cool if you explained how to create the mail filters on your client software. Note: I updated mailing lists with a pointer to the mail filters doco.

Web server reconfiguration

I've updated the DNS records for ProgClub so that the correct servers are used for the correct services. The following services are being provided by the following hosts:


Mailing lists operational

The ProgClub Mailing lists are now operational. I've changed the details of the mailing list policy to take account of the new lists and the fact that the lists are now functional. Anyone can join any of the lists, except for the admin list which is only for ProgClub administrators. Anyone can post to any of the lists, except for the ProgClub announcement list which requires approval by an administrator. All of the lists except for the admin list have public archives. Information about the lists is best seen on the Mailing lists page. How about you head over there and subscribe? I will subscribe all members to the announcement list, the other lists are at your option.

p.s. First post!


Email is working!

Email is now functional at ProgClub. I still need to go though and create everyone's accounts, but the servers have been setup. We have secure IMAP, POP3 and SMTP services for members, along with email forwarding and the potential to host other domains. Our email services are all secured with a proper signed certificate!

Announcing Mobile Net

ProgClub has launched ProgClub Mobile Net! Mobile Net is available from http://progclub.mobi/ (HTTPS is supported too), and it's an area for sharing web apps optimised for mobile devices. So, to use Mobile Net: put a 'public_mobile' directory containing your mobile friendly web content in your home directory, and Mobile Net will do the rest! Browse to http://progclub.mobi/ from your mobile phone to check it out!


Web statistics available

A web site statistics package, awstats, has been configured on charity. Now you can view ProgClub's web-site usage statistics.


Pccipher released

A new project has been released at ProgClub: Pccipher. Pccipher is a Javascript and PHP encryption library, currently implementing the Blowfish encryption algorithm.


Policy updates

The terms and conditions have been updated with a statement that usage of ProgClub facilities indicates acceptance of the terms and conditions. The mailing list policy was updated with some additional commentary. The copyright policy was updated with a link to the new pcrepo browser.

jj5-bin released

A new project, jj5-bin, has been instituted for managing and sharing John's administration and utility scripts.


New logo == hacker emblem

ProgClub has a new logo! It's the hacker emblem, which is a sign of solidarity with the following values:

  • Creating software and sharing it with each other
  • Placing a high value on freedom of inquiry; hostility to secrecy
  • Information-sharing as both an ideal and a practical strategy
  • Upholding the right to fork
  • Emphasis on rationality
  • Distaste for authority
  • Playful cleverness, taking the serious humorously and humour seriously

You can read more about the history of the club's logo on the ProgClub logo page.

User logins now working on user machines

Hope and Honesty have been configured with Kerberos/LDAP/PAM/NFS clients as needed to facilitate Single sign-on. So the Single sign-on project is pretty much finished! There's a process for adding new users. It'll take me a little while to go through and add all our current members, and I haven't done that yet. First I thought I'd post about the success of the Single sign-on project! That's six completed projects now!

Member web-pages operational

Now members can create a public_html directory in their home directory, and it will be served from the user domains. So that's http://www.progclub.net/ -- now operational! It's working for HTTPS too https://www.progclub.net/

Still need to theme it and flesh out the content a little, but that's basically the idea. At last Webpage creation has useful content.


Pcview released

A new project was started and released: Pcview. This means that pcrepo can now be browsed on the web.


progclub.com live

It's official, ProgClub has progclub.com! It's now a functional administrative domain of the club's. We've registered and re-delegated the domain, and it's ours for at least the next 5 years. There might be a slight delay in DNS record propagation, but disregarding that everything else is configured and ready to roll. Thanks very much ProgClub!

Subversion releases

There are now instructions for releasing ProgClub projects, which refer to our Subversion process. There's an article on the blog about our Subversion release script.


Administration pages protected

The various ProgClub administration pages, such as the Executive, Constitution, and Terms and conditions, etc., have been flagged as "protected" in the wiki. Only ProgClub wiki administrators (i.e. John) are allowed to change these documents. So, we won't have any silly business with our constitution or policies being re-written by spammers or trolls.

Copyrights, licenses, etc.

Each ProgClub project now has Contributors and Copyright sections that detail the copyright holders and licensing terms for the project. It all seems very professional! So far we're using the New BSD and GPL (v2) licenses, and I think that's pretty much all we're ever gonna need. Maybe one day we'll see the LGPL or MIT licenses too. The Copyright policy covers contributions to ProgClub forums and projects.

Policy updates

Mailing lists have been incorporated as a policy in the terms and conditions. The CLA in the Copyright policy was updated to cover use of ProgClub forums. The ProgClub forums copyright policy was updated to allow for copying from public domain or similar free sources. Looking forward to the day that our policies are stable!

Project template

There's a Project template that can be used for kick-starting a project along with some instructions on the Projects page. Now what we need are lots of started and never to be finished projects! (Hey, ProgClub has finished four projects, cancelled only one, have three under active development, and two on the back-burner. Not bad at all! Here at ProgClub we get things done!)


Pcwiki release

I updated the Pcwiki page with a Notes for implementers section, and posted to the wikitech-l list about my mods to MediaWiki. It'd be pretty exciting if they're interested in them!

Update: no-one is particularly interested in my contributions. :(


System upgrades

Charity has been upgraded from 256 MB of RAM to 512 MB of RAM, and system backups have been enabled. This has had a noticeable effect on performance of the web-site. It will be upgraded further if swap usage gets out of hand again. The other machines will be upgraded too if need be. At the moment provisioning of ProgClub machines is costing Blackbrick $996 per year.

IPSec troubleshooting

I've been talking to Slicehost support about the IPSec issues we've been having. They've been great -- very helpful. They're looking into trying to reproduce the error in another environment for further diagnosis. Will keep you posted if there's any resolution.

Update: Slicehost was able to reproduce the error, but they don't know how to fix it. We're giving up. We'll pursue other methods of encryption, i.e., SSHFS rather than NFS+IPSec.

Policy updates

Still trying to get our policies right. I imagine this will all settle down a little once we're established and I won't need to post a notice of policy updates every day. There is now a general terms and conditions page which introduces all ProgClub terms and conditions, and there was a minor update to the CLA in the copyright policy. All policies had some minor modifications to fix up the formatting.

Pcwiki upgrade

Pcwiki has been upgraded to support a section link on each section. These appear between the 'edit' and 'top' links. Section links will link you to a particular section on the canonical URL.

Pcldap released

A new project Pcldap has been released. It's to provide the LDAP administration facility.


Cweb planning

A new project, to develop a distributed search engine, has entered its planning phase on the ProgClub wiki. See Cweb.

Policy updates

All ProgClub policies have been updated.


LDAP progress

Progress has been made on the LDAP configuration of Charity. OpenLDAP is now installed and mostly configured. Thanks Friggles!

Policy updates

A copyright policy and a general disclaimer have been added to ProgClub's policies.


Software released

The Pcma and Pcblog projects have been released, and moved to the completed projects list. Which means...

We have a blog!

A blog is now available for ProgClub members. If a blog post falls in the woods, and there's no-one there to read it, does it make a sound?

ProgSoc fixed HTTPS

HTTPS to ProgSoc now works for its .org domain, so I've moved secure web-site to the redundant points of difference. Well done ProgSoc.

Our graphic artist is hard at work coming up with our real logo. Here's his first sketch.

Logo sketch.jpg


IPSec abandoned

IPSec is too hard. It was getting in the way of Kerberos connectivity, and I've disabled it.

Kerberos configured

The Kerberos project has been a success. Charity is now configured as the Kerberos Key Distribution Centre (KDC). We're now pending Kerberos SSH integration, and a few other things for Single sign-on.


We're still waiting for our new progclub.com domain -- it's expected to be about a week off completing transfer -- but we've already mirrored the progclub.com web-site, and put up a ProgRock page for antiquity.

New members

ProgClub welcomes Sclaughl and Jedd. More information available on the Members page.



Blackbrick has shelled out $500 for the progclub.com domain. Soon it will be an administrative domain of the club's! Thank you ProgClub!

Email underway

We're starting up our Email project. Soon our email facilities will be functional.

Hack-fest this weekend!

Friggles will be heading to John's house in the Blue Mountains this weekend to work on ProgClub Network administration. Join us if you'd like!


ProgClub policies

ProgClub has updated Privacy, Account locking, Acceptable use and Firewall policies.

Domains are now configured

Information about the configuration of ProgClub domains is now available on the Domains page.

In brief, user domains are progclub.net and progclub.co, while administrative domains are progclub.org and progclub.info. The canonical user domain is progclub.net, and the canonical administrative domain is progclub.org. You should generally use the canonical name when writing documentation or publishing links.

IPSec is configured

The IPSec project is essentially complete. Hosts on the ProgClub network now communicate over encrypted connections.

Single sign-on is underway

The Single sign-on project has been commenced. Soon users will be able to login to the user machines.

Pcwiki released

The Pcwiki project has undergone several releases. That's the software that's driving the ProgClub wiki. With the latest version of Pcwiki comes valid HTML5 along with the validation icon that you can see on the bottom of every page, the cool green/orange/black fixed-width font skin that you see (called OldSkool), and some other minor polish. If you don't like the OldSkool skin you can turn it off.

New members

ProgClub has had its founding members sign up. ProgClub welcomes Tasaio, SanguineV, Key, Friggles, Jav, Andymcm and Kulov. More information is available on the Members page.