In this page

About me
Friends & family
External links

Quick links

Projects I'm working on
Some of my hobbies
A few articles I wrote
Rant Of The Day
HAProxy : pet project
Linux Kernel
Exceliance : my job
Exosec : my job too
Old site



Dec 18th, 2013

I finally got access to Marvell's doc about the Armada370 and ArmadaXP CPUs! It took one year and a half (and some help) to get a positive response! Now I hope it will help me improve the support for their cool SoCs in mainline kernel. I could already check and confirm that the recent patch I wrote to fix Tx interrupts on the mvneta network driver does the right thing. Had this doc been public when I bricked my Mirabox, I wouldn't have spent so much time reverse- engineering the flash image format! Now I just hope they'll eventually publish the doc. There are a lot of stuff there I don't need to have access to and a lot of stuff that any driver maintainer should have access to. It would have been so much simpler that way!

Feb 24th, 2013

After the total design failure that the GuruPlug Server Plus was, GlobalScale proposes a really clean ARMv7 box : the Mirabox. It is the cleanest board I have ever seen and is based on Marvell's Armada370 SoC. It still suffers a lot from a terrible lack of information from Marvell, but the kernel sources were very recently published, making development slightly easier. I had bricked it for 2 months due to this lack of info, but managed to unbrick it so I'm sharing the procedure. I really hope that Marvell will understand that publishing datasheets helps their design being adopted in the IT world, because at the moment, users have to either use the shipped bogus kernel, or be developers. Anyway it's worth affording it, it's a really nice little box.

I've put online a new article about the crappy the Guruplug Server Plus I just received and which is already broken. A good advice: wait for a complete redesign of the product before buying one!

May 30th, 2010

I've put online a new article about the crappy the Guruplug Server Plus I just received and which is already broken. A good advice: wait for a complete redesign of the product before buying one!

June 1st, 2009 - R.I.P. VAX !

I have finally replaced my old VAX 4000-VLC with a Linksys NSLU2 running SlugOS. It was in charge of my incoming traffic. The new machine is about 10 times faster (266 MHz vs 25 MHz), 10 times smaller, has more RAM (32 MB vs 24 MB), more storage (1 GB flash vs 800 MB disk), consumes 30 times less (3W vs 100W, not counting the VT320 terminal), and more importantly is 100% silent !

In 7 years of service, I have replaced failed fans twice, and its disk 3 times because of the awful noise they were making (I could hear them from outside the house!). It was an unkillable 18-year old beast, working fine in hot summer with both fans stuck in dust. But after replacing them again last week, I realized that it was about time for an upgrade. The VAX was running OpenBSD, which unfortunately is not yet ready on NSLU2. I will miss it, it's a really nice OS for this typical usage. Maybe I will reinstall it once it's ready.

Oct 9th, 2008

Last week, the Netfilter Workshop 2008 took place in Paris. The event, whom EXOSEC was one of the sponsors, was organized by the french company INL. I attended the first day and was invited to the dinner on the barge the next day. It was the opportunity for me to meet several nice people I've been working with through e-mail for a few years, and to share thoughts with other really cool ones. Oh and it reminded me that my practice of English is too scarce. Thank you guys and kudos to the organizers who did an awesome job and did not have much sleep that week!

July 13th, 2008

Just bought an AMD Phenom X4 9950 (2.6 GHz) for network testing with haproxy. That's been a troublesome experience, I even thought the CPU died. More info on the Rant Of The Day page.

June 7th, 2008

Some people have been reporting to me that my web site sometimes did not respond. I think I finally found the root cause as I caught the culprit in action yesterday evening. My switch had 4 dead capacitors, causing it to randomly fail to transmit traffic, and even to maintain the server's link up. I replaced all them 4 and now it's working fine again.

Jan 8th, 2008

I've added a new section to this site : The Rant Of The Day, on which I complain about things that drive me nuts.

Dec 29th, 2007

I've put online two new articles explaining How to build a cheap UPS for PC Engines ALIX and How to connect a capacitor to power the RTC clock on a PC Engines ALIX.

About me

My name is Willy Tarreau, I'm 38. I'm french, and I live in France at Fontenay aux Roses. I'm a co-founder of EXOSEC which we started with Christophe Pouillet and Benoit Dolez in 2002 in order to provide managed security and high level network auditing services to our customers. We have also created Exceliance whose goal is to design Linux-based specific appliances dedicated to security, performance and monitoring. Today, my work mostly consists in designing and auditing robust and scalable hosting infrastructures. This has led me to develop the HAProxy load balancer, which is used in several large infrastructures with high level of demand concerning availability, performance and security.

Since August 2006, I've become the new Linux Kernel 2.4 maintainer. I discovered Linux somewhat late, in 1994, when I was a student at the Magistère d'Informatique Appliquée de l'Ile de France (MIAIF). I started with SLS, a floppy-based distribution shipped with an unreliable kernel 1.0. I quickly understood that it would be much more fun to hack on this than it had been on DOS till then.

With a few buddies, we created the MIAIF web site of which I became the admin. I started hacking on the kernel to provide IDE hotplug to our poor server which had to reboot very often when we inserted our removable IDE racks (there was no USB at this time). I quickly liked hacking the kernel, in part because it was easy by then (only about 200k lines of code in 1.2.13). Since then, I got used to maintain my own tree with a lot of patches.

In 2001, with Benoit Dolez, we created our own distribution, Formilux, that we're still heavily relying on at Exosec. Its goal was to be very small, fast and robust. To achieve this, I merged even more patches in my kernels (2.2 then 2.4). I finally proposed Marcelo Tosatti to help him by maintaining a stable branch in parallel to his work (the hotfix tree). Late in 2005, he offered me to progressively take his place. We finally agreed that I would take over his task after 2.4.33 would be released.

Friends & family

Various links


  • Main site in IPv4 : : for those who went here via IPv6 :-)
  • Main site in IPv6 : : Interesting for those who want to test their IPv6 connectivity. Being connected via Nerim, I have native IPv6 connectivity with a /48 netmask, allowing up to 65536 public networks at home ! If you see a green square here ⇒   , then it should be OK for you.
  • Main site in FTP : : The site is also accessible via FTP, which makes it easier to download numerous files (patches, etc...).
  • This site can be reached at those URLs :
  • Contact me : Willy TARREAU
  • Some people regularly ask if it is possible to send donations, so I have set up a Paypal account for this. Click here if you want to donate.