[iBook] Yes, we're back!

Eric Prentice eric at themacintoshguy.com
Tue Sep 15 11:56:58 PDT 2009

Hello List Members,
In case, you didn't notice, the lists at TheMacintoshGuy.com are  
back! ;-)

Many of you had noticed the lists slowing down over recent months and  
we'd seen some very long delays in trying to get mail processed.  
Unfortunately, the poor old XServe we were running on was having a  
really hard time keeping up. Our IT friends made some attempts to  
squeeze some life into the old server but as we dug into it, the poor  
machine just died. Perhaps years of 100% CPU activity wore the poor  
thing out.

So instead of messing with things too much, we went out and got a new  
machine, and started completely from scratch. We now have a new server  
with 10.6 and 64-bit compile of all the server software. (Read below  
if you want more details.)

With the new server, we're able to put more things in place that will  
help revitalize this community of lists. We're also looking at some  
new lists (iPhone, MacTablet, etc.) that will help get us into current  
areas of interest. We'll let you know when those are live.

I want to thank you all for the community you've created and I look  
forward to seeing it grow. It really is a special thing that we have  
all created here together.

We're planning on keeping the lists very open with very little  
moderation as they have been for the last 10+ years. We appreciate  
everything you do to keep the lists helpful, on topic, PG, and fun to  
be a part of. We will work on doing a better job of communicating what  
is going on. Unfortunately, the email addresses for the lists have  
been around for a long time and are popular with spammers apparently.  
While we do a great job of preventing any of that from getting through  
to the lists, it does keep the admin accounts and server pretty full  
of junk.

So, take a minute to see what other lists you might want to be a part  
of and start a discussion there. I was just looking and it looks like  
we're approaching the 11th anniversary of our oldest list later this  

And for those who didn't know, I'm Eric Prentice, themacintoshguy.com  
was a site I started in the mid 90s for my Mac consulting business.  
Since then, I started Dr. Bott LLC, <http://www.drbott.net/> a  
distributor of accessories for the Apple market and that takes the  
majority of my focus. Dr. Bott LLC is kind enough to host the  
listserver and lend IT expertise to keeping it running. Our hope is  
that the new server will be a better platform to keep things running  
smoothly. If you have something you think we need to know, a email to  
the list admin addresses are always a good idea, lately you can also  
find me on Twitter. <http://twitter.com/tunaball>

Thank you for reading all this and being a part of the lists!


If you are into technical details from our IT friends, read on...

The old machine really had trouble coping with many many files  
combined in a single HFS directory. We considered re-purposing some  
existing hardware but decided if we're going to put in the effort, we  
might as well start with some fast hardware and the latest versions of  
all the applicable software.

This machine was loaded with 10.6.0 Snow Leopard (client). We went on  
to compile the current stable release of Mailman and configure  
Postfix. I'm excited to say that all the software components for the  
list server (Apache, Postfix, Python, Mailman) are running in native  
x86_64 mode. Woohoo!

System load and response time on the new server is obviously orders of  
magnitude faster than the previous server, an Xserve G4. Snow Leopard  
is still a x.0 release, so we realize there are a few minor glitches,  
but we didn't run into anything that we could not work around.

Some of the problems we ran into:
* SoftRAID (we love these guys, but it doesn't seem stable yet on 10.6)
* SNMP (wonky responses on some standard monitoring attributes)
* Default configurations more secure (Apple has adjusted some of the  
default settings for some services, tending to be more secure then  
previous OS versions. That is generally good, but requires a little  
extra sleuthing if you plan to install and operate software as  
documented for installing on 10.4 or 10.5)

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