Netuxo Community Newsletter, November 2015
Recent site launches
Over the summer we worked on quite a few projects. One of these was the development of a new site called “Lost in Samsara” (see their portfolio entry and visit directly here).
The project brings together opportunities for grassroots fair trade, a local “shop” and the free exchange of goods and services (“The Wheel”). Founders Alessia and Marvi say that they “Needed to focus on what really matters to us and get the courage to change what we don't like. At the same time, we see this project as our way to break the samsara cycle of unsustainable production, a production that causes suffering for both people and the environment. We would like to start acting differently in order to get different results and Lost in Samsara is our contribution to a more sustainable and fair world”.
Further information and registration for The Wheel (community exchange) can be found here.
Another project we were pleased to work on earlier this year was for the US-based Friends of the MST. “The Friends of the MST (FMST) is a network of individuals and organizations that support the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST) in the struggle for social and economic justice while securing respect for human rights."
With hosting servers no longer supporting the older versions of php needed to run earlier versions of Drupal - and Drupal 6 being near the its end of life (see below) - FMST needed to migrate their content to Drupal 7 and give the site a little spruce up, with a new theme and a few new features along the way.
Using the power of the Migrate module we migrated the old site's content, taxonomy, users and files to the new site, whilst preserving URLs and custom fields. A new slideshow and a reworked home page, combined with a lightly customised free and responsive theme, have given this site a new lease of life. Check it out here.
Further website launches are expected within the coming weeks. Watch this space!
Beware your website's long term security
In the past few months, several of our hosting clients had their websites hacked, including a number built with the Content Management System Joomla! and which were still running on version 1.5. Support for this version ended in September 2012 – more than three years ago – and this means there have been no security fixes for more than three years, leaving it wide open to hacking attacks (see https://docs.joomla.org/Joomla!_CMS_versions). This experience shows how important it is to keep your website up-to-date, to apply the latest security fixes to your CMS, be it Joomla, Wordpress, or Drupal. While we are aware of the budgetary constraints of many of our clients, getting hacked might turn out more costly than investing in regular security updates. For one of our clients who got hacked we were then able to migrate the site – admittedly a simple one – to Wordpress.
If you do not have a maintenance contract with us (or someone else), and do not know if your website is still secure, please do get in touch with us. We can take a look and advise on the risks and on your options.
Computer software is always evolving and the Drupal CMS is no different. Since January 2011 the current stable version of Drupal has been Drupal 7, however with the release of Drupal 8 on 19 November 2015 the times are a-changing. This is an important issue for Drupal 6 users!
The current policy of Drupal maintainers is that only the current and one previous stable version of the software will be supported with bug fixes, security patches and so on. This “end of life” policy means that with the launch of Drupal 8, support for Drupal 6 will be withdrawn on 24 February 2016 (see https://www.drupal.org/drupal-6-eol). The idea is to save maintainers from having to support a huge range of elderly and obsolete code and an acknowledgement of the accelerated temporality of software.
This withdrawal of support is due to take place on 24 February 2016 and there are a number of consequences of continuing to run an unsupported website after this point. These include:
- no further security updates: this will expose your site to malicious users who will take advantage to exploit any security vulnerabilities and may use your site for their own ends (that could be posting their own content, using the mail facilities to spam people, taking the site down, etc);
- no software updates: this will mean that, in time, your site will require such elderly versions of the hosting software that you may find it difficult to host your site anywhere and the environment may not be compatible with any other websites you would like to run on the same server;
- more complex migration options: if the gap between the existing site and the then current version of Drupal widens too far it may become more difficult (and potentially more expensive) to migrate the Drupal 6 site;
Additionally, choosing not to migrate will result in an effective “feature freeze”, whereby Drupal 6 websites will be unable to take advantage of most of the new and emerging features and functions that are now (and will become) available in coming months and years.
If you are an individual or organisation with a Drupal 6 website and would like to continue to use the Drupal platform we would recommend starting the process of planning a migration to Drupal 8 sooner rather than later. Get in touch to discuss this – and other possible options.
Further reading: https://www.drupal.org/d6-lts-support and https://www.drupal.org/core/dev-cycle
Privacy is important, and we made a privacy improvement to our contact form at http://netuxo.co.uk/contact-us. You will now notice that there are two buttons underneath the contact form: the familiar “Send message” button and a new “Encrypt & send e-mail” button. The latter allows you to send us confidential information encrypted. This is especially useful if you need to send us passwords or other credentials which you do not want others to see. Use this new facility, and your email to us will be encrypted.
Changes to Netuxo services
Squirrelmail to be retired
After many many years we are going to retire the old webmail interface Squirrelmail. You probably noticed that for a while now we have been offering Roundcube - a much more modern and convenient alternative. We feel it is now time to finally say goodbye Squirrelmail, which has not seen any significant code updates for quite some time now.
We know that many of you have been using Squirrelmail for a long time and may have been adding contacts to the Squirrelmail addressbook. If so, you will need to transfer your address book to Roundcube before the end of 2015 – if you do not do this, you will no longer be able to access the contacts held there. We have written a blog post that explains how to do this at http://netuxo.co.uk/blog/andreas-speck/netuxo-retiring-squirrelmail.
Help us fight spam: Email changes (DKIM, SPF)
Netuxo recently added an option to improve email security. We now can sign our outgoing emails using DKIM (http://www.dkim.org) .We also suggest that you (or we - at your request) add an SPF record to your domain. What these two acronyms mean and how it works is explained in our blog post “Netuxo fighting spam” at http://netuxo.co.uk/blog/andreas-speck/netuxo-fighting-spam.
If we host your email, we do recommend you get in touch with us so that we can set this up for you.
New Netuxo service status page
You might have noticed some small changes to our website netuxo.co.ukand may be especially interested in the new status page at http://netuxo.co.uk/status, where you can check the server status and see if the server hosting your website is running fine.
If you use Twitter, we also suggest you follow @netuxostatus, where we will post service updates should there be any problems.
Events and news from Netuxo clients
In November, Housmans Bookshop was celebrating its 70th birthday (!), and just successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign to finance the expansion of the basement of the bookshop (The Vaults - see http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/housmans/). The bookshop, one of the last remaining radical bookshops in London and the UK, is also continuing its regular events and book launches. One launch we'd like to highlight is taking place on 16 December 2015:
Radical Feminism: Feminist Activism in Movement with Finn Mackay, Wednesday 16th December, 7pm. Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase.
Feminist activism is enjoying a global resurgence. A new wave of feminists is taking to the streets in protest against rape, abuse, prostitution and inequality, and asserting a powerful new vision for women's liberation. The future of feminism has become a global march for justice and action demanding an end to male violence against women.
Finn Mackay advances a radical and pioneering feminist manifesto for today's audience that exposes the real reasons why women are still oppressed and what feminist activism must do to counter it.
For more events at Housmans see http://www.housmans.com/events.php
Lost in Samsara
This most recent member of the Netuxo community has a range of fairly traded products available at their new Netuxo-developed shop (Magento-based, something of an experiment for us) and a new newsletter to boot. More here: http://www.lostinsamsara.co.uk/article/join-our-newsletter
Prisoners for Peace Day
Write to peace activists in prison - find the details you need here.
Each year on 1st December War Resisters' International and its members mark Prisoners for Peace Day, when we publicise the names and stories of those imprisoned for actions for peace. Many are conscientious objectors, in gaol for refusing to join the military. Others have taken nonviolent actions to disrupt preparation for war. This day is a chance for you to demonstrate your support for them.
WRI has a permanent Prisoners for Peace list, and we make a special effort to update for Prisoners for Peace Day on December 1st.
We invite you to put aside some time on December 1st, or a day close to it, to send cards that express your solidarity. You can find the names and address here: http://www.wri-irg.org/inprison
Please use #PfP15 to spread the word about the day on social media.
For more information visit: http://wri-irg.org/campaigns/prisoners_for_peace
Colne Valley Park
For those of you within reach of London the autumn edition of the Colne Valley Park Events Guide is packed full of ideas for things you could do at this time of year and especially over the festive season.
Perhaps you fancy doing some volunteer conservation work with the new Colne Valley Volunteers Mid-Week Team, or you're looking for ideas to entertain your children over the festive season such as the “Christmas Scavenger Hunt”, create your own “Christmas Craft Bags” or why not try your hand at some Traditional Willow Weaving?
Download the Guide here, or signup to receive it by email each quarter here.
Check out the latest and forthcoming offerings from this fantastic publisher, including Why Women Will Save the Planet, A Theory of Nonviolent Action - How Civil Resistance Works and The Refusal of Work - The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Work.
Always interesting, often challenging, the scope and depth of the Zed output is a marvel.
See http://zedbooks.co.uk/recent and http://zedbooks.co.uk/forthcoming-books for full details.