[conspire] Need help with http://linuxmafia.com/bale/ ?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Mon Apr 16 17:10:57 PDT 2007

[CC'ing conspire, in hopes of reducing the frequency with which I'm
obliged to hold this conversation.]

Quoting Michael Paoli (Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu):

> The BALE -- Bay Area Linux Events
> http://linuxmafia.com/bale/
> is a great resource, but it's getting rather out-of-date.
> Could you use some help maintaining it?
> I bet we could fairly easily drum up some resources/volunteers to
> help maintain it.  Perhaps even some perl (or other) code to much more
> easly cover recurring meeting events.

1.  A couple of years ago, Deirdre converted it over to MySQL backend 
with templating of events, with each month populated by a Python script.
The PHP and MySQL portions still work (but see below); the Python script
has broken, at some point during the box's upgrade history.  Deirdre
claims to have some insight into how and why that script broke; she says
she encountered the same breakage elsewhere.  Deirdre has claimed at
numerous points to be able to fix the broken script Real Soon Now.  I
kept deferring a more radical solution based on the imminence of her
promise.  However, she has not yet delivered on the promise.

2.  More recently, with Deirdre having become proficient with Ruby,
Deirdre did a rough cut of a Ruby script that, in her words, "should
work" in place of the Python one, and would be installing it Real Soon
Now.  She has not yet delivered on that promise, either.

3.  Middle of last year, I got tired of waiting, and did a great deal of
manual work to switch BALE back to all static HTML, and generate /
maintain some months going forward that way.  That is the version you
currently see.

4.  Concurrently with the above, the site's hardware has become quite
inadequate (PIII/500, 256MB RAM, 2 x 9GB HD).  The site is perennially
short on RAM, and is nearly out of disk space.   Because of the RAM
shortage, MySQL (among other things) is currently shut down.  I started
a separate initiative to cut over to a slightly less ancient box, which
is sitting, running on dynamic IP, on my kitchen table.  (It _had_ been 
running on proper static IP in my laughable "server room" in my garage,
until it turned out that the electrical service out there apparently
could not support one additional server, tripping circuit breakers when
my mother-in-law ran the washing machine.  The latter theory is
unconfirmed.)  I'd be able to complete the cutover if people would quit
interrupting me, but nobody respects my time.

One of the things that chews up my time is composing replies to queries
like yours -- but nonetheless, I do thank you for the offer.  WIth the
above in mind, what would you like to do?  Please bear in mind that
whatever you start doing may get interrupted if I start saying "Fsck off
and leave me alone" long enough to do the server cutover -- not to
mention avoiding repeatedly getting drawn into other people's problems,
such as SVLUG server issues.

If you want to do a big pile of gruntwork with obvious, immediate
payoff, just grab the current BALE HTML, yank it into a text editor, and
do a version for the next few months.  It's a lot of work and chew up a
great deal of time, but I know from experience it can certainly be done.  

You may find http://linuxmafia.com/bale/groups-to-check useful. 
CSUEB Linux User Group (Hayward) is not in there yet; you'll find it
linked from http://www.svlug.org/farm.php#other-local , however.

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