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Alon Swartz

Software engineer, open source evangelist and a bit of an IT security freak

A little about me

  • The days are long, but the decades are short.

  • Husband. Father. Hacker. Passion for solving hard problems.


  • No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

  • Served in the Israeli military information security unit responsible for the managerial and mission critical systems of the Air-Force.


  • If you think you’re going to regret not doing something, do it.

  • Co-Founded a security consulting firm and hacker school, was regularly called upon to train and consult members of the Israeli intelligence agencies, military and private sector companies. [sold holdings in 2005].


  • You can always change your plan, but only if you have one.

  • Co-founded and bootstrapped second company, patented A Practical Platform for High Risk applications (W0 2007/066333).


  • Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.

  • Company pivot to TurnKey Linux - millions of downloads, powering and protecting 100,000+ servers worldwide.


  • Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

  • Read the Satoshi whitepaper, was lucky enough to make aggressive investments in the crypto space.


  • Co-owned blockexplorer - the first web interface and public API to the Bitcoin blockchain [acquired in 2017].


  • Stay guided by your values, not your necessities.

  • Developed and open sourced a verifiably secure self-contained Live CD/USB, supporting air-gapped Bitcoin transactions, making offline cold storage (slightly more) practical.


  • Treat the disease, not the symptom.

  • Wrist and shoulder pain led to ergonomics research, and ultimately design and build a full split, fully programmable ergonomic mechanical keyboard. Pain gone.


  • Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re probably right.

  • Created a 12MB compressed Debian rootfs specifically designed to be used as a Docker base image for application container images with access to the largest GNU/Linux software repository with over 56,800 packages.


  • Time being our most valuable and precious resource. Improvement relies on behavioral changes, while the right changes are reliant on insight. Insight is gleaned from feedback.

  • Developed software providing time-based feedback loops, improving productivity, work-life balance, and reduced stress levels.


  • When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.

  • Co-founded third company, with potential for massive social impact.


  • Writing does not make intellectual endeavours easier, it makes them possible.

  • Open sourced a simplistic yet powerful system for creating, storing and accessing knowledge by means of notes, with bi-directional links at its core.


A few projects I'm involved in

  • TurnKey GNU/Linux

    100+ ready-to-use opensource solutions for VM's, bare-metal and the cloud

  • TurnKey Hub

    Deploy TurnKey in the cloud, with backup and migration ninja super powers


    The easiest, most powerful secure server backups and migration solution

  • BitKey

    A self-contained Live CD/USB key for performing highly secure air-gapped Bitcoin transactions

  • TKLX

    A container project featuring a custom Debian 12MB compressed base rootfs

  • Wireleap

    Decentralized communications protocol enabling an Internet without borders

Some of my personal projects

  • Blackhawk

    Hand wired 54key full split mechanical keyboard

  • Trackpoint

    How to integrate a trackpoint in a mechanical keyboard

  • Cube

    Animated visual algorithms for speedcubing

  • Notesium

    Markdown based notes system with bi-directional links at its core

A few tools I made

  • octohub

    Low level Python and CLI interface to GitHub

  • aws-datacenters

    AWS Regional Data Centers mapping

  • fab

    Product fabrication framework

  • tklpatch

    TurnKey Linux Customization Mechanism

  • deck

    Overlay-based virtual filesystem branching system

  • di-live

    Debian Installer for Live systems

  • buildtasks

    Convert an ISO to different build formats such as AMI, VMDK, etc.

  • ec2metadata

    Query and display EC2 metadata related to the AMI instance

  • ebsmount

    Automatically mount EC2 EBS (Elastic Block Storage) devices

  • repo

    Tools to index and create a Debian package repository

  • chanko

    Efficiently get packages from public sources

  • confconsole

    TurnKey Linux Configuration Console

  • inithooks

    Executes firstboot and everyboot scripts

  • tklamq

    TurnKey Linux Advanced Message Queue (AMQ) client

  • hubtools

    Python API bindings and CLI for the TurnKey Hub

  • hubdns

    TurnKey Hub Dynamic DNS client

  • pycurl-wrapper

    Simplified wrapper for python-pycurl

  • ccurl

    Caching Curl

Some of what I've read

Some of what I've written