the future of polarhome?

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the future of polarhome?

Postby cjpinon_solaris-x86 » Mon Dec 07, 2015 6:56 pm

Hi Zoli,

I think that you created polarhome in 1999 (is this correct?), which is 16 years ago. I wonder what plans you have for the future of polarhome. Do you still feel enthusiasm for the project, or do you think that you'll wake up one morning and decide to close it down? I have the impression that you have less time and energy for polarhome than you did a decade ago.

My sense is that there are very few active accounts (probably fewer than 100) on polarhome compared to the number of accounts that have been created (which is in the 1000s). (I'm not distinguishing between template and shell accounts.) The online world has changed a lot over the past 10--16 years. The funny thing is that free shell accounts are still rare, and maybe even rarer than they were 10--16 years ago, but fewer people seem interested in them now than back then. After all, free email accounts and free online storage space are so easy to obtain now, not to mention the free social media (Facebook et al.). This seems to be more than enough for most people.

I've always admired your idealistic effort behind polarhome -- it can only be described as a passion, :-) and I would be sad to see it go.

Anyway, I'm just curious about your thoughts about this topic ...

C.
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Re: the future of polarhome?

Postby zoli » Tue Dec 08, 2015 12:50 pm

Hi,

right 1999 was open the first server - but in that time it was running under polarfox.com domain (the only remains from that time is the site icon and probably some not updated links in remote pages of some opensource projects)

Indeed, polarhome has changed the user base in the past 16 years.
Here you can find some statistics http://www.polarhome.com/service/statistics/

In particular the new user statistics and trends per years http://www.polarhome.com/service/shell/user_per_server.php
and server choice http://www.polarhome.com/service/shell/user_per_year.php

We can conclude that indeed, less and less new users register.
...also that users from 2003-2006 (when the registration peeks) not many of them use their polarhome accounts.

Your question - what is the purpose of keeping polarhome alive is absolutely valid - as well as your observation that I am much less motivated in keeping it online then 10 years ago.

I have those thought also when I am tired of fighting stupid harmful hackers, but at the end I find my positive reasons to keep it.

Well - here are my reasons (that I should, in fact express in much more elaborative way but I do now a short version)
- polarhome is history and a whole generation of programmers arose from here
- it still hosts the most diverse and odd, publicly avalilable server park in the World
- collection of the man pages is highly appreciated http://www.polarhome.com/service/man/
- still some significant open source projects use polarhome - like Perl, OpenSSL for example
- valuable GNU projects use for testing, bug fixes like make, gtar, parallel
- polarhome server setups on odd architectures are used as baseline for open source development environment
- and the most important - it keeps my brain in good shape and holds me updated with the open source development trends

What is the future?
- I will keep polarhome online, free and open until my last breath.
- It will be as good as much I (and funds from donations) can appreciate
- It will serve any developer, organization and project that need such an environment for creative work.

Future plans?
- keep the servers online (it sounds simple, but it is a hell of a job)
- provide education and development platform for anybody who needs it.
- develop http://www.jenkinsfarm.org that will provide CI (continous integration) across whole polarhome server architecture - that will provide more compatible and stable software for the whole open source World at least

...as you see. The main conclusion could be that I am not sad that polarhome does not have 200.000 active users today - because:
1. I cannot provide a whole customer service to answer their quesries, solve their problems
2. servers have more resources left for valuable development
3. satisfaying one polarhome user like Perl's Jarkko Hietaniemi produces many millions satisfied users worldwide indirectly - and this is the polarhome's contibution for the better World
Regards,
Z
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Re: the future of polarhome?

Postby cjpinon_solaris-x86 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 3:47 pm

Hi,

Thanks for your long answer. It's good to hear that you're still committed to the project. :-)

Given that the number of active users has decreased, I imagine that this means fewer harmful hackers on the system than 10 years ago, which can only be good.

By the way, what is your policy on inactive accounts? Do you ever delete them?

C.
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Re: the future of polarhome?

Postby zoli » Tue Dec 08, 2015 5:00 pm

By the way, what is your policy on inactive accounts? Do you ever delete them?


The idea is to purge the inactive accounts after some inactivity time - but this has been enforced just once around year 2005 when all inactive accounts on redhat and freebsd servers have been purged.
Regards,
Z
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Re: the future of polarhome?

Postby papa » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:34 pm

Appreciate the effort you put into keeping Polarhome going, Zoli.
David "papa" Meyer
Takarazuka, Japan
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Re: the future of polarhome?

Postby cjpinon_solaris » Thu Dec 10, 2015 3:21 pm

- keep the servers online (it sounds simple, but it is a hell of a job)


But it doesn't even sound simple! :-)

Have you ever had to retire a system?

I guess that some of the systems are endangered. For example, not only is the IRIX system no longer supported, but once the hardware dies (it seems to be SGI hardware), it'll be finished for IRIX, won't it? Not to mention Tru64 ... Much less endangered is Solaris 10 on the Sun hardware, but it'll be increasingly difficult to replace this hardware once it dies.

C.
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