22 Aug 2003 raph   » (Master)

8.11

Ralph did most of the actual work getting Ghostscript 8.11 out. It looks like a really good release. I'm pleased.

Email is pretty useless

Our email server has been completely inundated with the latest worm. As a result, email has been pretty much non-functional, and I've had to put in way too much time to nurse it along.

The entire email infrastructure is really decrepit. It's a classic tragedy of the commons situation - nobody is really responsible for keeping it healthy. I'm also not at all impressed by the technical performance of the sendmail + mailman + procmail + spamassassin combo I'm using. It just melts down when you start throwing real load at it. For one, the default configuration of mailman is qrunner (which runs once a minute from a cron job) to process no more than 300 messages. So, if you're getting more than 5 spams a second, prepare to watch the disk fill up. Fix that (set QRUNNER_MAX_MESSAGES higher in /var/lib/mailman/Mailman/mm_cfg.py), and watch the system reach its fork limit. This is really bad engineering.

Between this and the spam problem, email is looking like it has a really poor cost/performance ratio. It's no wonder people are flocking to alternatives wherever possible. A big part of the reason casper is hit so heavily is that it hosts the mailing lists where we do most of our work. I guess we're going to need to start looking carefully at migrating all that to web-boards, for all the disadvantages those entail.

I don't see any encouraging signs that suggest that email is going to get fixed any time soon (after all, this is version F of the worm, which means we've had the benefit of A through E as training exercises). That's sad, but it also means there's a tremendous opportunity for somebody to create something better. It will come as no surprise to my readers that I have some ideas how to do this. I feel tempted to write a more detailed essay, but don't really have the time right now.

Honor at low levels

Thanks to Jesper Louis Anderson for pointing me to Judy. It is damn interesting. There are some good lessons in the code. I've been discussing it a bit with Tor, because there are some parallels with the way I want to lay out Fitz trees in memory.

No honor at all

I'm astonished at the gall of the theiving liars that call themselves SCO. I'm even more astonished at the fact that their stock price seems to be doing fairly well, in spite of all the insider trading and stock manipulation that's going on. The fact that these parasites are making serious money rather than going to jail gives me despair about the way society is run these days.

LWN has had incredible coverage, but in general the mainstream media shows themselves to be utterly useless. By giving these clowns a forum to make their outrageous claims, they're just giving them credebility in the eyes of the sheep readership (which, no doubt, overlaps considerably with the poor shnooks who are taking long positions in the stock).

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