[Python-Dev] Re: [XML-SIG] PyXML home page on SF

Thomas Wouters thomas@xs4all.net
Tue, 17 Oct 2000 17:11:11 +0200

On Tue, Oct 17, 2000 at 10:26:31AM -0500, Guido van Rossum wrote:

> > Hum, maybe I did not explain myself correctly and I don't want a
> > misunderstanding: I never meant "let's create a SourceForge-like tool,
> > SourceForge is bad", but only "why not host a python specific service
> > using the SourceForge code and tools", as www.bioinformatics.org does for
> > projects related to bio-ingeneering.

> What would be the advantage for the community or running our own?
> What's wrong with using SourceForge?  I say, if it ain't broke don't
> fix it.  (And then again, there may be a very good reason to run our
> own, and maybe I just don't see it. :-)

There is no advantage that I know of. I know a lot about keeping machines
and websites up and running (that's what I do for a living(*), after all)
and I can tell you you need a big (or very dedicated) sysadmin staff to be
able to offer anything as reliable as SourceForge.

So the website & CVS tree itself could be run on a low-end machine. Say a
PII-300 with 128 MB RAM. You need at least two, preferably three machines,
regardless of performance, to be able to offer 'reliable' services.
Preferably load-balanced by something like a smart switch (we use Alteon
Layer-4 ethernet switches for that task, and you can do cool things with
them. They're also pretty expensive.) And you need a way to back it up. A
tape library or DAT streamer of some kind. Preferably a separate machine to
do the actual backups. Live or fast-cycled backups can also be a lifesaver,
which either requires another machine or two with speedy disks, or storing
your data on something dedicated like a NetApp Filer. (Very cool machine, a
dedicated NFS and CIFS (SMB) fileserver with excellent live backups,
'snapshots', as many as you want/need. Only costs you diskspace. Oh, and
this quality comes at a price, too, of course.)

And then there's the reliable network access, reliable system room (with
reliable and preferably redundant power), and the 24/7 warning system that
wakes up stand-by sysadmins to fix problems.

And for the specialized hardware and software, you need a few people who
know how to handle them. You need several people anyway, to cover all bases
even in the face of illness, vacations and the famous bus accidents. We have
a crew of 12 now, with a few new additions, and even then we run into
trouble with vacations. I dare say we offer more reliable services than
SourceForge does, but we also cost more :-)

In short, the only advantage to not using SourceForge is that you can do
things SourceForge can't or won't. Run software SourceForge won't, for
instance. However, I would strongly suggest making such software
'non-essential', keeping most of the stuff on SourceForge, spend lots less
money on the technical setup, and suffer a bit when the service is down.

*) Where living is defined as 'making enough money to stay breathing and
work on Python', and 'work on Python' has higher importance, of course :-)

Thomas Wouters <thomas@xs4all.net>

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