Archive for the ‘Product Updates’ Category

Patch-tag is now https safe, so you can access your projects with cryptographic security. Just use https style urls when interacting with patch-tag.

By the way — for you code shops with mission critical, high-value, national security endangering repos hosted at patch-tag — https isn’t completely safe.

You could, for instance, get your password sniffed by a man in the middle attack with arp poisoning, if you are in a public network like an internet cafe, or on a trusted network with a coworker who enjoys hanky panky.

There is a simple thing you can do to foil the terrorists though — just click outside the text fields and type some gibberish when you are entering your password.

Ha! Take that script kiddies!

Please enjoy secure repos at patch tag, and as always…

Happy tagging.


UPDATE: Please note the comments which contradict some of my claims. I think I may be wrong about some of this stuff, and am taking a backtrack to make sure my understanding is solid. Watch this space.

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We have been tweaking the retrieval parameters for repository access via SSH. Did you know you can get around firewalls that block port 22? Thats right, we have now added support for this.

To successfully circumvent a firewall which blocks port 22, you can use port 443 (most firewalls will let this through, it is the widely used SSL protocol). You will also need to change the host you are pointing to. These are the basic steps:

  1. Set the environment variable ‘SSH_PORT’ to 443
  2. Anywhere that you were using ‘patch-tag.com’ before via the SSH method, replace this with ‘ssh.patch-tag.com’

Setting the SSH_PORT environment variable on windows

Method 1: On the command-line

Before you use darcs get or darcs pull, type this command:

set SSH_PORT=443

Method 2: Set a permanent environment variable for your user

  1. Right-click My Computer
  2. Left-click Properties
  3. Left-click the Advanced tab
  4. Left-click Environment Variables
  5. Left-click New in the “User variables” section
  6. Enter the variable name ‘SSH_PORT’ and the variable value ’443′
  7. Left-click OK
  8. Left-click OK
  9. You will need to restart any command prompts for this to take effect

Setting the SSH_PORT environment variable on Linux/Unix/Mac OS X

Method 1: on the command-line

Before you use darcs get or darcs pull, type this command:

export SSH_PORT=443

Method 2: Set a permanent environment variable for your user

Assuming you are using bash, you would type this:

echo "export SSH_PORT=443" >> ~/.bashrc

This adds the exported variable to the startup script for your shell. To refresh your current shell with the new settings:

. ~/.bashrc

Putting it all together

Once you’ve set up the environment variable, you just need to change the host from ‘patch-tag’ to ‘ssh.patch-tag.com’.

So if you were using this before:

darcs get johndoe@patch-tag.com:/privaterepos/myrepo

It now becomes:

darcs get johndoe@ssh.patch-tag.com:/privaterepos/myrepo

Update: SSH_PORT is broken if you use putty on Windows

There is a bug in darcs when using putty as your ssh client on Windows. The above metioned method will not work if you use putty on Windows. These are my findings with putty 0.60 and darcs version 2.0.2. The problem is that darcs uses the -p option to specify the ssh port when putty only supports the -P option to specify the port. As a result you get an error when you try to push if you use the SSH_PORT environment variable. I am submitting a bug report for this.

The Workaround

You have to specify three separate environment variables in windows. This assumes you have ssh, sftp, and scp from the Putty project in your path:

set DARCS_SCP=scp -P 443
set DARCS_SFTP=sftp -P 443
set DARCS_SSH=ssh -P 443

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I noticed that on windows, I was receiving this error when trying to get a darcs2 repository on windows:

unable to initialise SFTP: could not connect

Apparently, the Windows version of Darcs-2 requires the use of the sftp sub-system. In response to this, I have added SFTP support to the ssh jail. Has anyone else encountered something like this? It just goes to show that there are many caveats to getting ssh & darcs working in a cross-platform manner.

We want Patch-Tag to be a very smooth and friendly experience for the end-user. So please speak up when you run into issues. There are three ways you can get in touch with us currently:

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Patch-Tag has been adopted by many Haskellers and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. While the open-source projects will continue to be a vital and irreplacable component of our community, we are also looking to private enterprises who want Darcs hosting.

To those private enterprises I would ask: What pay model seems fair? At this point, we are leaning towards a very similar model to github. What features would you pay to see added to Patch-Tag? Your feedback is critical.


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Thomas and I have been working hard on the next release which should have the following benefits:

  • More robust email system
  • Web authoring system (Wiki)
  • Diff and patch browsing

Right now you can browse the files and view the last 50 patches, but we are looking to expand beyond this. In the future we are also looking into the possibility of:

  • Event notification (email and rss to track patches)
  • Private repositories with guaranteed backups (pricing is still up in the air)
  • Paid support for your darcs-using organization
  • Git support
  • And many other new features!

What would you like to see in patch-tag? Leave a comment below.

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