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MaraDNS update


September 22 2012

In today's blog, I describe the work I have done on MaraDNS, link to a new DNS server, explain why I don't like some ultrabooks, and post an update for BuyVM.

Deadwood update

I have gotten an unconfirmed report of Deadwood no longer running after a couple of days from a friend. While I am unable to recreate this bug, I take reports like this very seriously. That in mind, I have created a special debug version of Deadwood which logs all packets Deadwood receives.

To use this debug version of Deadwood, enable the "SHOWPACKET" compile-time tag (such as with export FLAGS='-Os -DSHOWPACKET' before compiling Deadwood).

For Windows users, I have made a debug build of Deadwood with this flag set. It has the name "Deadwood-showpacket-20120922.exe"; use this binary to replace "Deadwood.exe" in

If this bug does not pop up again, I plan on releasing Deadwood 3.2.03 next month.

In addition, I have updated the documentation to reflect the fact that Windows 7 and any RHEL6 clone are now the supported OSes for Deadwood, added a note on Deadwood's use of malloc() (may not work with some embedded systems), as well as having Deadwood give out a more useful error message if chdir() fails (it now lets the user know which directory it tried to go to).

Downloads are here:

MaraDNS update

In today's MaraDNS update, I have updated MaraDNS to use a new GPG key (see below), use xz instead of bz2 compression for the snapshots, and have changed the ej2txt tool to use lynx instead of links (since CentOS 6 does not have a package for elinks). Note that Deadwood still uses bzip2 compression because the old version of msys I recommend people use doesn't have an xz binary, and won't compile xz.

It can be downloaded here:

MaraDNS GPG sig update

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I lost my MaraDNS signing key. Fortunately, I had a really old backup lurking around down here and was able to recover my signing key.

However, since it has been over a decade, I have created a new MaraDNS signing key which is signed with the old MaraDNS signing key (the paranoid amoung you can now breathe a sigh of relief). Barring a compromise of MaraDNS' private key, this will be the last MaraDNS GPG key I will generate until 2017, around the same time I update the OS MaraDNS is supported on.

I plan to work on MaraDNS/Deadwood again one day next month, after the 20th, unless a critical security bug with a CVE number is found.

Knot DNS

I just found out about a nice authoritative-only server called "Knot DNS". Unlike MaraDNS, it has DNSSEC and full zone transfer support. More information:

Why I don't like ultrabooks

While I really like the idea of having a full sized computer the weighs less, I really don't like the Macbook air clones called "ultrabooks". The purpose of a laptop is to be able to travel; a laptop that doesn't use standard parts is a disaster waiting to happen.

To wit: If someone goes wrong with an Ultrabook and I'm in an exotic country, I am screwed until I can get back home to get the computer repaired. With my Sandy Bridge Inspiron 14z, on the other hand, when something goes wrong in an exotic country, I can go down to the local technology bazaar, pick up a standard part (a hard disk, in my case), and be working again within 24 hours.

It's just not worth paying $1,000 more for a computer that can not be repaired in the field -- nor have its memory upgraded -- just to have something that weighs one pound (1/2 a kilogram) less. [1]

BuyVM finally has regular stock

A few months ago, I complained that BuyVM never has stock. Jonathan Obrania Tan has let me know that BuyVM has improved things and, indeed, has stock. Current information about BuyVM's stock is here:


I need to note that some computers marketed as "Ultrabooks", such as the Inspiron 14z "Ultrabook", are not really Ultrabooks and use more standard parts.

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