Introducing the OERu Tech Blog

The Open Education Resource universitas (OERu) is an open organisation from top to bottom. Our entire technological infrastructure (with a couple exceptions) is built with and on Free and Open Source Software to which I normally refer as "FOSS". This introductory post outlines our technological motivations and some of our key choices. Future blog posts will go into more depth on some of these choices, and provide more insight in to specific implementations.

Installing MariaDB on Ubuntu 20.04

At the OER Foundation, we have the convention of using Docker to deploy most components of the web services we offer. One notable exception to that is the way we deploy our most widely used database. Rather than deploying a separate MySQL/MariaDB container for every service on a given host, we instead deploy a single instance running on the host. We do this for a couple reasons:

Creating strong random passwords

Throughout our Free and Open Source Software tutorials, we need to specify passwords for things. Creating random passwords is surprisingly hard, but we've found a method that's very serviceable and makes it easy to do as we all should: ensure every separate identity or service has a strong password that is unique to that identity and application (i.e. never use the same password in more than one place). We also strongly encourage you all to track your passwords using a password manager!

Setting up OERu-style virtual Ubuntu 20.04 server for Docker Compose

Here at the OER Foundation, where we build and maintain the computer services used by the OERu, its learners, and its educators around the globe, we've come up with a tech process that seems to work very nicely, with minimal cost and maintenance overhead. It involves setting up hosting infrastructure to adhere to some conventions that have emerged over time (and are subject to change if we identify better ones).

Setting up your own BitWarden password manager and sync server

One of the key requirements of pursuing Good Digital Hygiene is using strong passwords, and a different strong password for every application. This is relatively easy to do in theory, with the aid of clever software, but it's something desperately few people do well in practice. I'm going to explain how I've addressed this issue of digital hygiene for myself, and how you can do it for yourself, and your entire family, social circle, or community.

Configuring a Linux server to send email via the Postfix SMTP server using an external authenticating SMTP host

Just about any and every server needs to be able to send email - whether it's end-user-email, like password recovery services for a website to emails to system administrators reporting on the status of system backups and errors. The problem is that it's non trivial (understatement) to set up a mail server properly.