Setting up a Debian-based Bitcoin node

I’ve previously mentioned how fullnode.co is a scam.

However, I was a bit too optimistic about the state of Bitcoin availability
on mainstream Linux distributions, and the state of Debian.

As it turns out, there is a bitcoind for squeeze, but not for the more recent wheezy. Not that it matters, as that version is way too old to be useful.

There is however a bitcoind in unstable. And that’s where Debian sucks: it’s still too damn hard for most users to deviate from the main repository.

I feared that bitcoind would not be started automatically after the installation like most daemons (which would be for good reasons, given the resource requirements). Well, it’s worse: there is no init script at all!

So my easy Debian instructions did not work and the real ones won’t fit in a few commands. That’s why I made bitcoin-node, a simple fire-and-forget script to properly upgrade and configure a Debian server into a public Bitcoin node. It also has the added bonus of running bitcoind without the wallet feature, to lower the resource requirements and reduce the attack surface. In the end, my main goal is achieved: you mostly have to trust Debian to get you a good binary.

I recommend that you check out LowEndBox for cheap VPS offers. Look for at least 30 GB of storage (you don’t need SSD), and 512 MB of memory (part of it can be swap). This should cost you around $20 a year; sometimes less if you find a good promotion. That’s clearly better than what fullnode.co offers.

Then get the script, it’s pretty straightforward; you shouldn’t have to be overly technical to run it.

La lutte contre le piratage n’embête que les consommateurs

Avec la loi HADOPI, contourner des DRM (le truc qui fait que quand on achète quelque chose on n’en est même plus propriétaire ; tout changement de matériel ou réinstallation d’OS peut rendre tout vos fichiers DRMisés illisibles par exemple) devient définitivement illégal.

Ce qui veut dire que lire un DVD sous Linux est illégal. Donc si j’achète gentiment un DVD je suis quand même passible d’aller en prison. Pourquoi je me ferai chier à acheter un DVD si c’est pour en plus me faire insulter (la vidéo qu’on peut pas passer au début qui dit le le piratage tue des bébés phoques) ?

Là encore, autant préférer le plus simple : le piratage. Même s’il était payant il serait toujours plus intéressant… ça démontre le niveau d’incompétence des responsables de l’industrie “culturelle”.

Rappelons que la loi a été votée par uniquement 16 personnes (10 députés corrompus – pléonasme – étant pour). La France n’est même plus une démocratie.

Mise à jour : La loi est rejetée, à 21 contre 15. Vu le faible nombre dans les deux cas, on se dit que le résultats de ces deux votes sont le simple fruit du hasard.

Boot time: Windows vs. Linux

I often read that Windows boots faster than Linux.

Although I don’t have the impression it’s true on my only dual-boot computer (this laptop even starts Apache+MySQL on Linux, and it’s XP, not the slower Vista), the fact is that when Windows displays the desktop, the boot isn’t finished at all. It will be completely unusable for minutes while when you see the Linux (or BSD, etc., pardon me for the shortcut) desktop, it will be completely read in seconds.
In short, Microsoft is lying to your face when they show you the Windows desktop. Well, wouldn’t be the first time; it’s like when they display 4GB (or more) of RAM but only use up to 3.5.

As I don’t boot Windows often, it’s more likely to be ten minutes than five, because the anti-virus and Windows have to run updates. I’m not kidding when I say ten minutes. I don’t understand how it can be so bad. And I don’t have any of the vendor-installed crap; it’s a custom Windows install with only the vital stuff.

Hibernating works really bad on both Windows and Linux; sleeping is OK on both. And well, Linux is more reactive after a wakeup than Windows, and again I can’t understand why.

However sleeping drains a lot of battery and you need to reboot your Windows often anyway to fix security holes. With Linux you don’t need to reboot most of the time, and there are way less critical fixes. Windows even forces you to reboot (you have like 30 seconds to click No, and screw you if you’re away).