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  • 2022-08-21 - Use specific Vagrant version on Fedora

    Vagrant is a tool for building and managing virtual machines locally with just a few commands and a single file. It is a good way to get started with infrastructure-as-code on your local machine. Vagrant is also shipped with Fedora to make it easier to install and use as it uses libvirt to manage the virtual machines running on Linux with kernel virtualization to provide virtual hardware. This works well until you also want to install Terraform from the Hashicorp repository and later you upgrade Vagrant to a newer version with a regular package update.

    In the example above Vagrant fails to find libvirt to connect to KVM and manage the virtual machine. Multiple providers are available for Vagrant to use, but the one that is used is not the one that is installed on the machine or can be used. This is a known issue with Vagrant on Linux and does not use the system Ruby environment with the lirbary for libvirt. Downgrading to the version of Vagrant that is shipped with Fedora will fix this issue.

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  • 2022-08-20 - Run Terraform within GitHub Codespaces

    Using GitHub Codespaces allows you to work on your code from almost any place in the world without an Internet connection. Only the devcontainers powering Codespaces are mended to be short-lived and not contain any credentials. This may pose a challenge when you’re depending on remote services like Terraform Cloud that require an API-token to work properly.

    Most devcontainers are following the Microsoft devcontainer template and those are based on Debian which gives you access to a huge repository of packaged software. Only Terraform isn’t part of the standard Debian repository, but Hashicorp provides its own repository that can be added. Let’s start by extending the Dockerfile to add the repository and install the Terraform package as highlighted below.

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  • 2022-05-28 - Scanning with KICS for issues in Terraform

    During a recent OWASP Netherlands meetup security scanners were discussed to prevent mistakes and also Checkmarx presented their tool KICS for scanning for security vulnerabilities and configuration errors in Infrastructure-as-Code. Development of KICS goes fast since late 2020 and can catch some common mistakes with known Infrastructure-as-Code definitions like Terraform, Cloudformation, and Ansible for example.

    KICS can be used as a standalone scanner as it is written in Go and with GitHub Actions. For now, let’s test it with a Terraform configuration in a GitHub Workflow to see how it works and how useful it is. Maybe in the future, we will test it with Ansible and Docker as well.

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  • 2022-05-26 - Finding the longest or shortest item in a list

    Python is a powerful language to quickly and efficiently do work with data, but it requires a more in-depth knowledge of the language to write more elegant and readable code. For many new Python programmers, this is a catch-22 as they’re still learning all the details and it takes time. Let’s take a simple example about finding the longest string in a list and simplify some code. Secondly making the code faster as we will use built-in functions at machine speed instead of interpreting Python code.

    The example is a for-loop over a list and checks if the new item is longer than the current longest item before it stores it as the longest. Afterward, it prints the result which will be longest in this case.

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  • 2022-05-21 - How to manage your dotfiles

    On Unix systems, dotfiles are files that are stored in the home directory and contain configuration information. The XDG Base Directory Specification already splitted them in three categories and most applications how store their files in .cache, .config, and .local based on their purpose. And a small subset of application sticks to the root of the home directory like the most shells. In most cases you don’t need to manage your dotfiles across multiple machines, but for the ones you want to manage across multiple machines or want to be present in your devcontainer, you can use a utility like RCM and a dotfiles repository.

    The first step is to create a repository on GitHub and we use the GitHub command-line tool for this, but it can also be done via the web interface. After creating the repository, it is renamed to .dotfiles at the root of the user’s home directory and makes it hidden.

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