back to article Wait, what? The Linux Kernel Mailing List archives lived on ONE PC? One BROKEN PC?

Spare a thought for Jasper Spaans, who hosts the Linux Kernel Mailing List archive from a single PC that lives in his home. And since things always happen this way the home machine died while he was on holiday. The lkml.org archive was therefore unavailable for much of the weekend, although Linux developers could still use …

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  1. Tomato42 Silver badge

    reminds me that time when *everybody* was buying silicon wafer cutting saws from one guy that made them in his home garage...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Or all the chip encapsulation epoxy came from a single chemical company in Kyoto - then there was an earthquake.

      It used to be that the single source of the material for the crucibles needed to melt the 99.999999999% pure silicon for chips wafers - all came from a single seam in a single mine.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge
      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        "then there was an earthquake"

        I'd just purchased about 100MB of ram for about $40/Mb

        3 days later the company I'd bought it off phoned up and offered 3 times what I'd paid them for it.

        1. Robin

          I'd just purchased about 100MB of ram for about $40/Mb

          3 days later the company I'd bought it off phoned up and offered 3 times what I'd paid them for it.

          When was this? 4 grand for 100 meg seems crazy these days!

          1. AlexGreyhead

            I remember buying a 4MB ram stick some time in the early '90s for my first PC which cost me somewhere north of £120 - iirc that was during a price jump caused by the same shortage?

            1. LewisRage

              £120 for 4MB

              Early 90's I'm pretty sure that £30 per 1MB was about right wasn't it? 72 PIN SIM?

              1. Blane Bramble

                Re: £120 for 4MB

                First SIMMs I bought cost me £120 per MB

                1. skswales

                  Re: £120 for 4MB

                  Remember £1,000/MB for SRAM for our first Dell 386/16

                  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                    Re: £120 for 4MB

                    I remember a break-in mid 90s where they took all the RAM from the teaching lab PCs but left the machines

                    1. Stuart Castle

                      Re: £120 for 4MB

                      Yep. Same here.

                    2. Portent

                      Re: £120 for 4MB

                      Similar here; The work IT building was broken into and the RAM taken but the machines left on the desk.

                      1. linkbox8

                        Re: £120 for 4MB

                        Yes, in the mid-90s there was a wave of thieves stealing RAM but leaving the PCs. Happened to our office.

                      2. Boo Radley

                        Re: £120 for 4MB

                        Some kids broke into one of the engineering labs and stole all the memory out of the MicroVaxes. Memory was $64k for 64Mb.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: £120 for 4MB

                  Back in 1980 I bought 8 16kbyte by 1 bit dram memory chips for close to £75

              2. phuzz Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: £120 for 4MB

                A whole megabyte? Kids today etc.

                I remember buying (or rather, my dad buying for me), a 512KB upgrade for my Amiga 500, which was about £60 if memory serves.

                We bought it from Evesham Micros, who were basically operating out of a double garage at that point. Little did I know that I'd end up working for them some fifteen years later.

                1. mrvvg

                  Re: £120 for 4MB

                  You were lucky, first Z80 single board system we built, wire wrapped, had 16k, [might have been less], ran at 1MHz, but not at 2, spent a LOT of time persuading the manager to let us cut a circuit board to increase the clock speed, 1982 I think..

                  My first PC had 256k with a 384k add-on board. Still have it, might not work tho :-)

    2. bazza Silver badge

      The plastic film for DDS tape drives came from a single Japanese manufacturer too. They went out of operation following an earthquake and there was a temporary shortage as a result. DDS was important at the time.

  2. Youngone Silver badge

    Oh, come on now!

    Let's be fair to Jasper.

    He probably set it up because he has an interest then it got big and:

    what the hell, it works OK I will get a cheap RAID card at some point,

    the backups are running and restore OK,

    I really must get around to virtualising that lkml.org box, hell, why bother it runs fine and besides, it's not like it's making a fortune in ad click money or anything.

    Shit, has it stopped? I'll fix it when I get home.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Oh, come on now!

      And there was a mirror. No harm done.

      Instead of a virtual private server, I really would prefer that he have it hosted with a proper provider. One that has redundancy and guarantees on uptime. But yeah, that costs money.

      1. Flywheel Silver badge

        Re: Oh, come on now!

        "One that has redundancy and guarantees on uptime. But yeah, that costs money"

        I'm sure the community would chip in and fund this - I know I would, bearing in mind the importance of it. "If everyone gave £1 a year" etc..

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Oh, come on now!

      Exactly. IMDB was hosted by a teenager in his basement before it became big and was sold on for big bucks.

      1. JMcL

        Re: Oh, come on now!

        @Tigra 07

        "IMDB was hosted by a teenager in his basement before it became big and was sold on for big bucks."

        It was actually hosted in Cardiff University and called the "Cardiff Movie Database" At one point in 1994 myself and a friend had discussed with the guys behind it setting up a mirror in Ireland (we were actively updating it at the time and were having increasing trouble with congestion). We'd gotten to the point where we had been sent the source code, but unfortunately never got round to actually doing anything about it.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Oh, come on now!

      "cheap RAID card"

      This is Linux. md-raid is generally faster and more robust than dedicated raid controllers.

      Anyway, it wasn't the disk (no mention if it was raided), it was the motherboard.

      1. Name3

        Re: Oh, come on now!

        I have experience not once but several times that expensive RAID cards died and wrote garbage to the disks. Better use Linux software RAID. And don't forget to do regular reliable offline-backups and test them, as a RAID 5 is not a backup at all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh, come on now!

          "as a RAID 5 is not a backup at all."

          Hell yea, that's what RAID 1 is for, amirite?

          1. Wolfclaw Silver badge

            Re: Oh, come on now!

            Raid-1 pussy, JBOD with different disk manufacturers, sizes and speeds !

      2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

        Re: Oh, come on now!

        mdraid? Not my experience. I've seen more weirdness with one mdraid raid 10 implementation than I have in practically all the hardware raid configurations I've come across, and hardware raid is generally easier to use too..

        When I have a moment I'm moving towards ZFS, and BSD as soon as FreeBSD adds the features I need..

      3. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Oh, come on now!

        This is Linux, raidz is head and shoulders above all other redundant storage solutions. IME md-raid can be a horror.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh, come on now!

          Yes ..... ZFS. <Thumbs-Up>

          Not some ZFS-alike that has been shoe-horned into Linux. [Btrfs <cough>]

          ['Tin-hat on' Mode Engaged] :)

          BTW: Doesn't this invoke the 'Holy Tech Wars' as per the recent Reg Article :)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On the flip side

    Would it have been as stable on a cloud provider?

    I guess you could put on more than one. Then throw in fail over routing Then make sure your cloud infrastructure is secure.

    Finally make sure its managed by more than one person on a different continent, to protect against, death, disablement, super volcanoes, sharknados, limited nuclear war, and squirrels

    http://cybersquirrel1.com/

    1. joed Silver badge

      Re: On the flip side

      "Would it have been as stable on a cloud provider?" - likely.

      Would it be as cheap, flexible and independent (not to mention hassle of dealing with all legalese 3rd party implies) - likely not.

    2. Alan J. Wylie Silver badge

      Re: On the flip side

      Would it have been as stable on a cloud provider?

      It is on Cloudflare. It was just the back end that went down, but since the mailing list has very little static content, that took the whole site down.

  4. Concrete Gannet
    Happy

    Don't stress, LKML is mirrored in many places

    Like any well-known mail list, LKML is mirrored in other places, e.g.

    http://linux-kernel.2935.n7.nabble.com/

    and anyone who cares can use tools like PonyMail (https://ponymail.incubator.apache.org) to create their own archive.

    So while the home location might be fragile, it can be re-established in days or weeks, and the history won't be lost.

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Reminds me of the old BBS days....

    Someone has an interest in something and runs a BBS (or server, or mailing list). Lots of happy users.

    Owner doesn't make any money but is doing it because they want to and it's a good service.

    Service goes down because hardware. Suddenly mad panic, even if it's mirrored. User base gets upset. Owner has to find parts/money to fix problem.

    Once fixed, everyone is happy and using his/her service (usually for free) again.

    Ah the joys of the past come to the present. I would hope, in this case as it sometimes did in the past, that someone (or a lot of someones) helped out with some cash or parts.

    1. Allonymous Coward
      Terminator

      Re: Reminds me of the old BBS days....

      Reminds me of the old running-websites-in-the-NHS days. Not in a good way.

  6. Planetary Paul
    Flame

    Wasn't there a situation once where the top-level DNS was managed from a single old university PC by a pensionado who regularly came in to work on it as a hobby project?

  7. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Old school

    This is refreshing in a world where I see people burning insane amounts of money on their cloud hosted Kubernetes + Node.js + React + Redis + CPython + PyBrain + Memcached + CloudSQL + Debezium + BigQuery + Cassandra + Kafka + Lucene + Elasticsearch + Splunk + nginx cluster, which they boast can serve one million pages a day and be maintained by just 10 full time developers.

    1. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

      Re: Old school

      > This is refreshing in a world where I see people burning insane amounts of money on their ...

      Absolutely.

      A pity only a single upvote allowed.

      Infrastructure-by-auditors-tickbox is rarely universally satisfying.

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Old school

        Ah, you mock but those technologies have replaced thousands of lines of brittle, home grown code - now it's a simple task of maintaining a few hundred configuration files in XML, YAML, JSON and M4. Much easier! Now, if you don't mind I'll continue searching NPM for a library that can tell me the length of a String.

        1. phuzz Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Old school

          That's easy, it's just twice the distance from the middle to the end.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hats off to an old-school admin who runs a physical server under his stairs in his spare time as a hobby project, and as a public service to boot.

    That's how you learn how these things *really work* and keep your own hardware skills up to date.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
      Devil

      Hats off to an old-school admin who runs a physical server under his stairs in his spare time as a hobby project, and as a public service to boot.

      That's how you learn how these things *really work* and keep your own hardware skills up to date.

      Agreed, plus it is fun shutting it down and listening to the cries of outrage

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "keep your own hardware skills up to date."

      But only at well-spaced intervals. Mostly it just works.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So...

    ...instead of being in this dude's basement, it's gonna be in some other dude's basement.

    But Google's basement has redundant power supplies, UPS, and permanent air-conditioning...

    1. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge

      Re: So...

      Yeah, but they're Google, so fuck that! :-)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally, a pro-cloud incident!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      alternativly

      could stuff Cloudflare in front and tick the "always on" option.

      1. Alan J. Wylie Silver badge

        Re: alternativly

        could stuff Cloudflare in front and tick the "always on" option.

        LKML did, and does, have a Cloudflare front end, but since the site is so dynamic, the "always on" option wouldn't be much help.

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Unbelievable.

    "(because of a sucky java-based kvm)"

    Yeah. it's Java's fault.

    THIS ALSO PROBABLY MEANS YOUR RARITAN KVM WITH NO UPDATES FROM AROUND 2006 IS INSECURE, BUSTER!

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