March 2021 Blog Statistics

As I wrote in my previous post two months ago I deployed my own custom made blog/static site statistics generation tool. March was the first month that I have full statistics on since the Nginx logs that were processed in the early part of March, when I finally deployed it, go back into late February. With this first month down I decided to review my blog’s statistics and share them with the internet as well. I don’t think I’ll necessarily be doing monthly updates of my blog statistics but at the very least I could see doing annual ones. The ultimate schedule is TBD but let’s look at this first month’s statistics. All of these statistics have the bots/spiders/automated systems excluded from them. This includes things like Fediverse servers hitting a post as it federates across the network and it hits the link to generate OpenGraph information, RSS feed reader systems, etc.

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Real World Blog Stat Tool Usage Update

A couple months ago in this blog post I debuted a home grown blog/static website statistics generator that used nothing but the Nginx log data. I’ve been letting it run since then to see if it is really getting the job done for what I need: basic information about traffic to my various posts, the referrers that they came from, and maybe some information about browsers/OS’s. I was hoping that it would be lightweight, efficient, and easy to use. I’m very happy to say that I have found it to be exactly that. There are rough edges of course, this is a 1.0 release of software that is intentionally hobbled by not being able to use tracking JavaScript code etc., but it is something I’m proud of and am glad I wrote. Below I’ll be exploring how I use it and what improvements I can see making.

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Linux Rolling Releases Head to Head Competition

My desire to always experiment with operating systems and the drumbeat of OpenSUSE updates on The Coder Radio Podcast had me give OpenSUSE for a whirl. It’d been awhile since I’d experimented with my one and only foray into rolling releases, Solus, so I decided to go with their Tumbleweed rolling release. Overall I’m pretty happy but I keep complaining about the time it takes to run updates. I’ve been told that’s pretty par for the course for a rolling release but I didn’t recall Solus having that sort of issue but memory is a funny thing. I figured the best thing to do would be to run the two head to head to see if it’s just a rolling release thing or an OpenSUSE thing. Then I figured why stop there. Thus the Linux Rolling Releases Head to Head Competition was born.

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On RMS—No More Coddling Idols and Celebs

At the Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) open source conference LibrePlanet 2021 there was a bit of a controversial coming out when Richard Stallman (RMS) announced that he was back on the board of the organization he founded after resigning from it and the FSF’s presidency in 2019. I’m trying to process this information productively and honestly I am struggling. I hear lots of paeans for paths of redemption or “not canceling over one faux pas” type responses. I hear lots of “just lets bury the hatchet” response too. I am so far very unsympathetic to those at this point though because I haven’t seen any attempts by RMS to seek actual redemption nor do I think this is “just one minor incident” that deserves being buried. For too long we’ve allowed our idols and celebrities way too large a divergence from acceptable behaviors we expect from everyone else. We hear countless stories of abusive, belligerent, and completely inappropriate behavior being at the very least tolerated if not implicitly or explicitly supported by those around them. For much of RMS’s history he got this exact treatment. The events of 2019 pushed everyone past the point of putting up with it any longer and at that point, finally, people stood up to him. In response he temporarily resigned and went into a communications black hole. What has come out the other side 1.5 years later though seems to be right where we left off though. It’s bad for FSF, bad for the free and open source (FOSS) community, and bad for our culture in general.

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My Home Grown Sans-JavaScript Tracker Blog Stat Tool

The one thing I missed about my old WordPress blog when I switched to a static Jekyll site is having statistics about my blog. I could have solved that by using Google Analytics or other tracking tools but a big part of what I was trying to do was get rid of all the trackers, JavaScript injection, and what I may overly aggressively label “spyware.” Looking at the Nginx log I thought there was enough in there to let me recreate a lot of those statics once I worked through all the bot traffic. This also gave me the opportunity to create a Kotlin Multiplatform project that I could potentially one day migrate to a pure Kotlin Native application. I’m sure that using existing log processing tools out there that may have hit my requirements but I decided to do the usual programmer thing of just write my own. It’s running live on my blog now and generating the annual and monthly statistics I was looking for. The source code is up on Gitlab for others that may want to use it as well. Now on to the details of the project.

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Picture of Me (Hank)

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