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/dev/null as a Service (devnull-as-a-service.com)
284 points by dewey on Oct 29, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 92 comments

Best nginx config ever?

  location /dev/null {
      if ($request_method = POST ) {
        return 200; 

"200" makes sense. See wikipedia article on /dev/null[0]: "discards all data written to it but reports that the write operation succeeded."

[0] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki//dev/null

wouldn't 202 be better?

204 No Content would.

202 assumes a possibility of further processing, but /dev/null can offer none.

True, but that still mirrors the successful wrote responses in the UNIX file system, right?

Shouldn't it return the status code "410 Gone"?

I think it should be "204 No Content".

200 for a POST, 204 for a GET.

I second this one! makes more sense than plain 200.

I can't believe you guys are debating the correct HTTP return code for a joke service? Besides, it's obviously 200.

These provide great opportunities for better understanding return codes.

Besides, for POST it is obviously 202 ACCEPTED

Does it discard data in a manner compliant with FIPS 140-2? Or NIST SP800-88?

Wait... is it a joke?

I hope not, I've been depending on this service for a while. I have it integrated via FUSE on my prod servers.

We did have some problems of blocking on large files, which is less than ideal for a /dev/null service.

After dealing with their customer support (which has been super helpful), we are looking to move to a named pipe / FIFO.. Which will non-block and cache lolcally, with a watcher service to push it to their site.

Happy Customer, A+++, would recommend.

Well with the planned dev/random support, this is going to kick ass.

Which reminds me of this Dilbert strip (http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/1995-09-02/)

I especially love that the web proxies at my place of employment block this site as "Online Storage"

haha, yeah here too

Oh this is brilliant. The link to the whitepaper 404'ing was extremely clever. Thanks for sharing :)

I like that the donation link is


Heh. Try buying it:

"The resource you are trying to access cannot be read, due to the following reason: No read operation available. Please try the following:

Make sure you really want to access this file. I mean, is it really that important in the big scheme of things?"

Doubtless built from a massive array of Signetics 25120 WOM chips.

IP address is owned by NSA Fort Meade office. Possible honeypot scheme? I can't think of any other reason it would have that attractive free tier.

You're teasing, right?

dig devnull-as-a-service.com

; ANSWER SECTION: devnull-as-a-service.com. 1481 IN A


Whois Server: whois.psi-usa.info ASN: Germany AS12337 NORIS-NETWORK noris network AG (registered Mar 22, 1999) IP Location: Germany - Bayern - Nuremberg - Noris Network Ag Domain Status: Registered And Active Website

A reverse lookup shows that the server is also hosting https://coffeestats.org/ - clearly there's someone here trying to collect vast amounts of data about the general public. I don't think the parents fears are unwarranted, the fact that it's hosted in a German IP block could be to throw people off the trail.

Seems like a genuine joke to me. This is the guy behind it: http://noqqe.de

"About Florian Baumann (24). Arbeite bei der GfK SE und interessiere mich für allerhand Dinge unter anderem Debian, BSD, OpenSource, R, Statistik, Scripting, Hacks, Administration.

Was das alles so mit sich bringt schreibe ich manchmal hier auf. Manchmal nicht. Außerdem sammle ich hier ohne Sinn und Schema Zeug das ich nie wieder brauche."

Don't fret — I was joking too.

Oh, NSA did not fill.

I don't think most people got the joke here, judging by the replies.

Guess not. Care to explain? Or is the whole joke just a "Ha! Nice try, NSA! jkjk"?

Erm, looks like it's based in Germany to me:

    $ curl ipinfo.io/`dig +short devnull-as-a-service.com `
      "ip": "",
      "hostname": "o0.n0q.org",
      "city": null,
      "region": null,
      "country": "DE",
      "loc": "51,9",
      "org": "AS12337 noris network AG"

So the NSA is not only spying on the Germans, they're impersonating them to cover their tracks!

If you look carefully enough, we're all actually NSA sockpuppets.

Da truth, but expect to be hellbanned any minute now.

At least these guys are honest: We know that everyone cares about thier privacy these days. We promise we won't let anyone have a look at your data[1].

[1] Anyone excluding the following companies and de­part­ments. Just the good guys, you know?: NSA, Nestle, Communist Party of China (CPC), The Coca-Cola Company, the KGB, some of your coworkers and our friends (especially if there is something funny).

This is actually implying that one of the listed entities is a department within company that produced this marvelous software. I wonder which.

You guys and your fancy HTTP services. Discard should be enough for everyone. http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc863

Discard is fundamentally flawed. Because the service does not provide a response the client cannot reliably determine whether the data was successfully discarded.

Without a response there's the possibility that your data could be lost on its way to being thrown away, and you'd never know.

/dev/null is way too polite. For my services I much prefer to rely on the http://foaas.com/ API

Awesome. I thought "this is exactly the kind of thing my former colleagues would find hilarious". Then I scrolled down.

They wrote it.

I'd be wary of using this. There's no mention of their data retention policy.

  We know that everyone cares about thier privacy these days. We promise we won't let
  anyone have a look at your data[1].
  [1] Anyone excluding the following companies and de­part­ments. Just the good guys,
  you know?: NSA, Nestle, Communist Party of China (CPC),
  The Coca-Cola Company, the KGB, some of your coworkers and our friends
  (especially if there is something funny).

What's up with HN today? Lots of reddit-style garbage in the front page.

Maybe get enough karma to downvote?

You can't down vote submissions.

The website is missing a "meet the founders" page with the pre-pubescent CEO, CTO, Director of Marketing and Director of Customer Excellent, who just happens to be the CTO's little sister.

how do you know?

If they've not configured nginx carefully, it will be buffering request bodies to temporary files on disk.

So your data might not really be going to /dev/null - it might be going to a disk. Most likely not want you want at all.

I'll get a CVE allocated for this bug right away.

Don't be fooled by this clever marketing for a scam service! Keen IO is the true market leader in /dev/null as a service! We released in April 2013 and have been serving customers with a 100% satisfaction rating ever since. See "Keen IO releases API for /dev/null" to get the full story and perspectives from industry experts on this robust REST API. Keen IO: /dev/null for modern developers.


Probably the site is under load, but I loved that when I clicked on "features", I got back an Error 500 - Internal Server Error.

They only guarantee 85.66% uptime. They need to sleep too!

One reason I am not a devfs fan is because I'm a mknod(1) user. For example, FreeBSD has one of those famous "_________ is deprecated" bold warnings regarding mknod.

It is not deprecated in my usage. I use it all the time.

I do not rely on /dev/null.

I make my own null character devices as I need them.

> I do not rely on /dev/null.

> I make my own null character devices as I need them.

Why? Is there ever a reason to have more than one file on your system which acts as a /dev/null?

"Why?" Why not?

In my case, the reason is because it's shorter to type.

I would expect most longtime UNIX users have experienced what happens when, for one reason or another, /dev/null is not a null character device and you have scripts or programs writing to it as if it was. By the time you realize that this has happened, it's too late -- data has already been saved to this file.

There may be various workarounds for this. I'm not a professional sysadmin.

But in my case, for my own personal usage systems, by using my own null character device in my own tmpfs mounted folders, I can just test for the success/failure of the mknod command before I start redirecting anything to it.

I don't need a /dev/null. But I do need mknod.

And you need to be root, apparently.

  setuidgid luser mknod ...
Are you sure?

Great. You just gave luser at least read access to a whole lot of your hardware, including your whole hard disks, swap space, and some device nodes which potentially crash the system upon random reading.

My system has only one user: me. I am the only one using it.

Multiuser UNIX is a relic from a long past era of shared computing. The "root" concept creates more security issues than it solves. That's why Plan 9 did away with it.

"Is there ever a reason to have more than one..."

Yes. It's called a chroot jail.

One often needs mknod to build chroot jails because the program or programs that one intends to run in the chrooted in the jail directory require access to certain device files.

I'm guessing this is a parody?

I'm guessing it's inspired by the video "MongoDB is Web Scale"


Wow I can't believe that video has gone viral — I remember showing it around to a few friends 2 years ago or so when it only had a few thousand views. Ironically, MongoDB has since become my go-to DB of choice...

If /dev/null is fast in web scale I will use it. Is it web scale? Does /dev/null support sharding?

Yes, and it is much faster than MongoDB as there are no write locking issues.

Yes, look at their upcoming product:

/dev/random as a Service: Do you think every random-number-generator is broken? Well, we do! Simply trust us and use our numbers as your only seeding source!


"RANDOM.ORG offers true random numbers to anyone on the Internet. The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs. People use RANDOM.ORG for holding drawings, lotteries and sweepstakes, to drive games and gambling sites, for scientific applications and for art and music. The service has existed since 1998 and was built by Dr Mads Haahr of the School of Computer Science and Statistics at Trinity College, Dublin in Ireland. Today, RANDOM.ORG is operated by Randomness and Integrity Services Ltd."

Nah, that's almost useful. It could be a crowd-sourced random number stream based on noise generated by a network of mobile phones.

I could see a service that just accepts any HTTP you send to it as being kinda useful for early testing of client-side software. Personally I'd just use netcat, but maybe a service would be easier for some people.

It's almost useful if you need random numbers that aren't secret, but it's useless for crypto, which is probably the major use of good-quality random numbers.

No, this is real life. Services just like these already exist.

Pity devnull.io was already taken.

They had me at "Use our dis­tri­bu­ted service located in over 380 countries!"

I'd like to visit their backup Earth :)

Wow, is it April already?

Do you suppose after they successfully implement /dev/random as a service, they might implement /dev/zero or /dev/full next? Or /dev/console might be especially useful.

I've already launched a competitive /dev/urandom service!

If you don't let Google read my data, I'm ready for the 5k/y

I wonder if it would be possible to sell a service like this for real. I bet it would.

I get the feeling that the fact that the site never loads for me is intentional?

"85,66% guaranteed uptime (we need some sleep, too)" lol!!!

This is trash, literally and figuratively.

leet timestamp on the HTML: 27.10.2013, 13:37

I laughed at high availability /dev/null cluster.

I've always dreamt of that!

that's very silly.

This must be at least few hundred millions of lines of Java code (to be able to access /dev/null in a portable way).

CC-NC epic fail

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