Software I Use

This is a list of the software I use, be it on this site or elsewhere.

It’s intended as a reference for anyone to use. Some of the products contain a small snippet on my personal opinion on each of the products. To be taken with a pinch of salt, and I will try to keep it continuously updated.

Operating Systems

  • Desktop / Workstation
    • Windows 10 just works and comes free with a lot, if not almost every PC nowadays. It has come a long way and now it’s a modern and useful operating system. It does, however phone home quite a lot, they say. I don’t mind, but YMMV.
    • Apple OS X is also fine. It runs a BSD-Style Mach kernel so it’s basically UNIX with some Apple-specific extensions and quite a good GUI.
  • Servers
    • Unix/Gnu-Linux is the system of choice, at it’s free (most of the times), stable, versatile and does not need a GUI for administration, a text console is all you need. I use several flavours
      • CentOS is the free clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and is a rock-solid, stable and well supported OS, however it has one drawback, many packages are quite old (of course, if you don’t need bleeding-edge features, you’ll do fine), so other Linux Flavours may be a better option, as for instance…
      • Ubuntu is based on Debian the real free (as in free beer or speech) variant of Gnu-Linux. It has the freshest and latest packages and an endless choice of software to install straight from the package manager. When going with Ubunti, I recommend the versions that have ‘LTS’ behind the version number, as these get greatly extended support, at least for security relevant packages. Also, most packages made for Debian will work on Ubuntu, and viceversa.
    • Sometimes one needs to use Windows Server whether you like it or not, either because the software you are using is not available for Linux, or other requirements. It also gets better and better with time, and if you keep it off the internet and secure it appropriately, it’s also a great OS.

Editors

  • ATOM is the editor from the NodeJS guys. It’s competely free, extensible with a ton of community-managed packages (plugins), integrates well with git and other VCSs and is really, really easy to customize to your liking.
  • Microsoft VS Code is a free editor from Microsoft I have recently started using, almost as extensible as ATOM and also very customizable. Integrates with any Git like a charm. To me, it seems faster than ATOM. Windows, OSX and Linux versions are available. Give it a try.
  • nano is my editor of choice on the command line. I prefer a more visual approach than vi, there are less commands to learn, and there is a friendly help bar at the bottom of the screen.

Code Repository

  • Gitlab CE is an excellent Git compatible repository with a cool and easy Continuous Integration / Delivery pipeline system. It also doubles as a Docker Image registry, so it´s a really nice all-in-one package. **This blog is published with the HUGO static website generator and the Gitlab CD pipeline, and goes to a Docker / Rancher / Cattle Container kubernetes cluster setup automatically when I change content and push it to GitLab.

Containers and orchestration

  • I make extensive use of Docker just because, duh, containers are so much more efficient, convenient and faster to manage than spinning up a single virtual machine for each and every service or application I want to use. I use Rancher and it´s native Cattle orchestrator to manage my dockerized services. It´s really unbelievably easy to set-up, maintain and run containerized services and applications with this absolute killer stack. You´ll ask why I am not using Kubernetes like everybody else? Well, the day thai I start running hundreds of containers on dozens of nodes, I will consider this approach. In the meantime, this completelt covers all my needs.

Firewall and gateway:

  • PFSense self identifies as “World´s most trusted Open Source Firewall”. I am very happy with it. It gives my intenal network on my XenServer powered host the ability to access the internet without having them exposed to the internet, serves as a front-end to my web apps with HAPROXY and also handles ACME SSL Certificates / Letsencrypt to make all my web sites secure.

Productivity apps

  • Wekan is an open-source Kanban Board that uses the MongoDB NoSQL database as a backend. I use it for daily task tracking, habit tracking, management of my personal projects. More than enough for what I need.

Mail Server

  • MODOBOA is a great self-hosted mail server with sniper-precision antispam and antivirus. Installation is a bit cryptic, but the modoboa-installer package does it all (when it´s not broken, which at the time I was trying my first setup, it was, but the developer fixed it quite quickly).
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About Volker Kerkhoff
Just another DevOps Engineer. Because international IT Mystery man isn´t a job description
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