[sf-lug] wish? to sole? operator/hoster of majority of ... (was: Re: spam vs. anti-spam(2))

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Sun May 9 10:52:35 PDT 2021

> From: aaronco36 <aaronco36 at SDF.ORG>
> Subject: Re: [sf-lug] spam vs. anti-spam(2)
> Date: Sat, 8 May 2021 02:58:15 +0000 (UTC)

> Given the below longer quote from Michael P's recent posting at [1],
> Why oh Why would you (Michael) at all wish to accept it upon yourself
> to be practically-speaking the _sole_ operator/hoster (specifically
> on the BALUG VM) and _primary_ Mailman administrator for the vast,
> overriding majority of the remaining central Bay Area Linux User
> Groups !!!???

No such plan(s), intents, or interests to run/host or "take over" it
all, even Bay Area or central Bay Area Linux User Groups
(central?  Would that be like in the middle of the Bay?  Or some
LUG for Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands?).

Really it's just matter of case-by case.  So ... that and some history.

So ... SF-LUG - this is SF-LUG list after all.

Well, not sure of some of the earliest history,
but ... there was sf-lug.org
before sf-lug.com
And somehow sf-lug.org ended up on some BSD hosted I think VM,
and sf-lug.com ... well, made it to a Linux VM on a Linux host
in colo - with (yea Jim!) machine that Jim got donated
and colo resources that Jim got donated.
I recall assisting Jim with some of that relatively early
migration ... first I recall is from some "tower" box in
colo (some Monkeybrains space within another colo if I'm
not mistaken) - first I saw of the physical hosting, then
to ServePath (which later became GoGrid and then later Datapipe) where
Jim managed to get colo space/power/network donated for use by SF-LUG
'n such.

And, relatively early along the way, the SF-LUG list got hosted on
linuxmafia.com.  As I understand it, that was to be "temporary"
solution/fix/resource, as somehow Jim was dealing with list somewhere
and had it failed in some manner and without backups - at least I'm
presuming, that Jim couldn't get it going again or restore that data.
But, uhm, yeah, earlier, apparently nobody had backed up the list before
it was on linuxmafia.com
So Rick Moen offered to "temporarily" host on linuxmafia.com, with
Jim doing suitable listadmin duties - until Jim got some other
home to move the list to.

Also, along the way, sf-lug.org and sf-lug.com got consolidated onto
sf-lug.org as canonical, and sf-lug.com dropped (but various domains
subsequently added, though sf-lug.org remains the canonical,
per various decisions, notably as it not only was first,
but at least historically, .org more associated with non-profit
organizations and the like and .com for commercial entities).
Some of that comings and goings history of domains can be seen here:
But that mostly just covers the domains existing, and may not
have details about outages due to, e.g. hardware/software,
(multiple!) screw-ups with domain renewals, etc.

Anyway, the colo free ride was ending.  BALUG VM was also there on
same physical host, so greatly increased the frequency of rsync based
backups of the SF-LUG and BALUG VMs there (I was, at that time, much
more "in charge of(?)" BALUG than SF-LUG).  Well, colo network access
got pulled, so, I moved BALUG to location on my hardware where I host
the BALUG VM.  And bit later, since nobody else was doing diddly about
it, I likewise moved the SF-LUG (non-list) stuff - consolidating onto
same VM (as I didn't have lots of extra resources for more VMs, etc.).
Oh, and, also moved BALUG's list hosting - which had been on
DreamHost.com - not only was there the expense there ... but they sucked
at it, screwing up BALUG's list on multiple occasions, losing data,
being unable to restore it, not proving a means for us to back it up, in
addition to numerous outages, etc. ... so, yeah, BALUG got the heck off

And, eventually, with some poking and prodding of Jim, more than 60 days
later, was able to get him to retrieve the hardware that was at the
colo.  Was discussion, and decision where that would go ... I ended up
in possession of it.  But that physical machine - "vicki" - fairly loud
and power hungry for residential location.  So, put the VM there for a
while but ... too annoying, etc.  So after some bit, enhanced the
infrastructure ... able to do live migration of the VM.  So, most of the
time it runs on quieter more power efficient host (my laptop).  But,
e.g. when that laptop is going to go out with me or otherwise not be
available for such hosting at home ... fire up vicki and live migrate
the VM to there (and later migrate back to kill the noise and save

Also, many additional folks have access to the SF-LUG stuff on that
VM.  It's master/primary on DNS for SF-LUG domains, and has the web
content.  And as for wiki, it has its own namespace within the
shared wiki on the BALUG VM (which could always potentially be
split off and hosted elsewhere - the separate namespace making that
much easier to do).

Let's see ... who else has what SF-LUG access ... aside from
list (and not counting all the various folks that have access to edit
the wiki) ...
Looking over sudoers (and /etc/passwd) information ...
Name            SF-LUG_web_content   DNS   sflug_account
Grant Bowman    Y                    Y     Y
Kim Davalos     Y                    -     -
Todd Hawley     Y                    -     -
Rick Moen       -                    Y     -
Jim Stockford   Y                    Y     Y
Al Whaley       -                    Y     -
Where "Y" indicates they have the access:
SF-LUG_web_content - can generally change any of the web content
sflug_account - (archives, etc.) can access/alter any of those files
DNS - can change essentially any of the DNS data except registrar/TLD
level which ... generally, myself, Al, Jim, and/or Rick has access
(varies somewhat per domain).  Let's see, the canonical sf-lug.org. ...
myself, Al, and Jim have access at registrar level - that's basically
keys to the kingdom - penultimate control of the domain.

And, as for the SF-LUG list ... theoretically the linuxmafia.com
is just "temporary" ... 'till Jim (and/or SF-LUG) gets its act
together to do its own hosting/coverage of that somewhere ...
not that Rick is exactly chasing SF-LUG off of there, but does
sometimes get rather annoyed at the "demands" made/asked of him
for the services he graciously provides to SF-LUG of the list
hosting (like when the host was down due to issues on the physical
host for some fair while.  Rick even had backups and was fully
willing to make them available ... but no ... unreasonable requests
like "demanding" he take the backups to San Francisco for someone
to get them - yeah, stuff like that doesn't go over well).  Oh,
and nobody else had bothered to back up SF-LUG's list archive,
despite Rick making it available for anyone on The Internet to do
so, and having pointed that out to SF-LUG on multiple occasions,
and even later along the way (per request) also making it available via
public rsync.
And apparently, other than Rick's local backups, the list
and roster weren't getting backed up by anyone at all ...
until subsequent to the list outage that went from approximately
2014-09-09 to 2015-01-21, where subsequent to that I started backing up
the mbox archive file, and Rick started emailing the roster to Jim, and
I also subsequently made arrangements with Rick to be able to regularly
backup the roster data.  And thanks to Bobbie for managing an off-list
distribution list to keep the "list" happening more-or-less
via email until list proper was back on-line.  And thanks to Bobbie and
Daniel for well saving those emails and providing 'em to Rick,
so Rick then subsequently merged those off-list "list" emails
into SF-LUG's list archive.
Other than the aforementioned, as far as I'm aware, nobody else
has ever bothered doing any backups of SF-LUG list data.
Oh, and the backups I do of the list data ... also version control,
and thus history ... which allows for reports including history, e.g.:

So, yeah, list had multi-month outage ... and it was basically
Rick and I that got it back on-line.  Other than Bobbie doing
list work-around while it was down, and Bobbie and Daniel
later providing those email archives to Rick, I don't think
anyone else lifted a finger (though there may have been
theoretical discussions of finger lifting).

Anyway, as I do also host BALUG lists on the BALUG VM and using
Mailman 2.x software - about the same as linuxmafia.com, thought
I might offer to have that moved over.  That would improve the DKIM
situation, as linuxmafia.com has older version that doesn't play
nice with DKIM (well, DKIM really doesn't play nice period with
lists and such), however the newer version I have on the BALUG VM
does quite effectively kludge around the DKIM issue/situation -
really about as best can feasibly be done.
Moving would also make it easier to use domain under sf-lug.org -
I proposed @lists.sf-lug.org - as doing so at the subdomain level
like that, generally considered a best practice, and serves much
better for potentially separating out, notably so list MTA and
other potential MTA matters, etc. can be fully separated out (e.g.
hosted separately and different places or whatever).  Whereas
using @sf-lug.org would require common MTA(s) - e.g.
webmaster at sf-lug.org and listmaster at sf-lug.org would have to go
through same MTA or set of MTAs - and couldn't cleanly peel apart,
and similar issues for any web components of list - couldn't
easily pull those apart if they're both directly using same
Top Level Domain (TLD).

Anyway, that's essentially why I offered for the SF-LUG list.  Thought
SF-LUG might want to move to improve DKIM handling - the newer
Mailman also directly makes visible the URL where anyone can backup
the entire list archive (with the older version that link isn't
automagically displayed).  On the BALUG VM, that would also put the list
on track for eventual migration to Mailman 3.x - likely better in
many ways ... but that would probably be at least some moderate
ways off yet - and certainly wouldn't need to move to 3.x anytime
particularly soon (but eventually would be needed - as 2.x support
is waning).  Migrating would also relieve Rick of needing to deal
with hosting of the list.  Migration would also get onto significantly
more maintainable and redundant hardware than the hardware upon which
the list is currently hosted.

Anyway, no skin off my nose either way.  That's also why, e.g.
I bothered to put up a survey.  Was curious folks' opinion on
the matter.  And, if anyone's too shy to state/shout their opinion
or whatever on the list ... well, there's the survey.

And y'all are always free to take the web hosting and such elsewhere
too if you want - bunch 'o folks have access to backup any and/or
all of that.  Or it can remain where it is - I'm fine with it
either way.  Would be good if more folks backed it up, though.
Me hosting and me backing up does kind'a make me a single point of
failure - notably if nobody else bothers to back that stuff up.
And also since I've got generally daily backups of the list and
roster going on - mostly notably also roster (list mbox can also be
had direct from linuxmafia.com), other folks might want to
backup the roster ... and hopefully without additionally
bothering Rick ... well, that can be arranged from the BALUG
VM with suitable access, as that roster is also there.  And again
looking at same sudoers - besides myself, there are two others
that have the requisite access to snag copy of that data from
the BALUG VM (notably those with access to the sflug ID).

As for other [L]UGs/SIGs, etc. - maybe another post, another time,
other list(s) or whatever.  Enough typing for now.  Might also be
pretty redundant with what's already been covered (and perhaps
quite notably on the respective list(s)) ... so ... maybe not,
unless there's something particularly to be addressed that's not
already been reasonably covered.

> Also referring to Michael's recent posting 'relocate SF-LUG list from
> linuxmafia.com (on linuxmafia.com) to lists.sf-lug.org (on BALUG
> VM)?' at [2].
> (( and excluding for the time-being, Rick M's active 'Local mailing
> list for the CABAL Linux user group' of [3] ))
> Quoting Michael Paoli <Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu> from [1]:
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> So ... recently ...
> http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/2021q2/015255.html
> http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/2021q2/015257.html
> http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/2021q2/015258.html
> http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/2021q2/015259.html
> Did have some "discussions" regarding spam, and anti-spam, and
> MTAs and lists, and listadmin email address(es), etc.
> And, yeah, rather recently, did fair bit 'o cleanup, etc. on
> some relatively crusty older configurations ... though the core software
> had been quite kept up, the configurations were no longer up-to-snuff,
> nor were they particularly manageable/maintainable ... so ...
> spent a fair bit 'o time improving that and getting it (much) more
> current and up-to-snuff.  Still lots (or at least quite a bit) more
> to do ... but now in considerably better shape.
> And ... covered most of that else-list(s):
> https://lists.balug.org/pipermail/balug-admin/2021-April/001047.html
> https://lists.balug.org/pipermail/balug-admin/2021-April/001048.html
> https://lists.balug.org/pipermail/balug-admin/2021-April/001049.html
> https://lists.balug.org/pipermail/balug-admin/2021-April/001050.html
> https://lists.balug.org/pipermail/balug-admin/2021-April/001051.html
> Also quite a bit on wiki:
> https://www.wiki.balug.org/wiki/doku.php?id=system:annoyances
> And spammers abusing the BALUG VM is a problem that goes way back,
> even many years ago, they had bots using the wiki registration form ...
> because it generates an email.....
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> -A
> ==================================
> ==================================
> [1]http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/2021q2/015261.html
> [2]http://linuxmafia.com/pipermail/sf-lug/2021q2/015246.html
> [3]http://linuxmafia.com/mailman/listinfo/conspire
> ==================================

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