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PerlJedi's Journal: Slashdot Replatforming Complete 26

Journal by PerlJedi
As of 3:26 PM EST on Wednesday February 1st 2012, Slashdot is now running completely on its new platform!
There were a few rough and long days in the last week completing the final capacity testing and roll out procedure, but it is now complete, and (*knocks on wood*) running smoothly. I owe many thanks to my team of engineers and the site operations team for all their help and support. The Editors here at Slashdot also deserve thanks for their help in testing, and their patience with me as I worked through the more complex pieces of functionality in the site. Though this project took a lot of work, I honestly believe that it was needed in order to allow us to keep Slashdot running, as well as to provide us the structural support we will need to build new features that will allow us to better serve our community into the future.
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Slashdot Replatforming Complete

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  • Can you give us some advantages of the new situation? Is there Apache 2.2/MySQL 5.5 stuff you (or the sysadmin) are excited to be using?

    • by PerlJedi (2406408) Works for Slashdot
      The biggest thing I would say is a positive in this move is that we are on regularly supported and maintained versions of the software. Apache 1.3 (what we were on before) is no longer supported by the Apache foundation, and it is no longer getting regular security patches. In fact, we were using a binary which was compiled from source in house, rather than installed via a package manager. Most sysadmins I know squirm a bit (with good reason) thinking about trying to offer long term operational support
      • Nice! Yeah, at work we also had a similar situation. There are some fifty-ish Linux desktops and servers here, and they were running Debian with a custom compiled kernel. There were good reasons at the time, but nowadays, just your bog-standard software is pretty okay, and much easier to replicate as well (for testing purposes and such).

        Also amazing to see how you can go from six to two database servers :-)

        Thanks for the detailed answer! You guys rock.

    • by xwwt (2475904) Works for Slashdot
      Honestly we needed to finally get past old, outdated and some custom built software for a variety of reasons including security and stability - those were main goals. Some interesting, but not unexpected results of the move were that we gained some performance from new hardware and upgrading MySQL, but we gave some of that back in the Apache upgrade. I don't have stats on the number of changes at hand, but this was a significant move for /. and required some significant changes to configuration. We prob
      • Thanks a lot for the answer. Custom built software is usually best for something temporary. We're creating desktop software for Linux boxes and at one point, compiled our own Qt libraries instead of the standard stuff. You always come to regret it, for some or other reason. Nice that you're working ahead of the pack!

        • by xwwt (2475904) Works for Slashdot
          Thanks for the encouragement. I think we all get to the point where we know it is a bad idea to build custom software, or to make that one tweak to a base library just to get a project done - or because we think it will make a big difference in what we are doing. My experience though, has shown that isn't really the best course of action. You get behind, priorities change, business needs change and then *BAM* you are screwed supporting some cruft and continually making patches to that "feature" you could
  • The various ways I used to use journal.pl - particularly the list and edit functions - are no longer valid. Any chance we can get it back? It was really quite useful to be able to see a full list of my journal entry titles, sorted by date, in a single shot. I'm not aware of any way to do that without journal.pl.
  • You took away a lot of functions and actually made things much worse. Adding and editing journals is a bigger pain than it ever was. I can't see the list of journals without spending half the day clicking more, more, more... I used to be able to see all of everybody's journals and edit/delete all of mine with a simple http://slashdot.org/journal.pl?op=list&uid=2406408 [slashdot.org] (or any user ID), but you killed it.. Why? Why doesn't http://slashdot.org/users.pl [slashdot.org] work any more? I guarantee you that this is not 'bett

  • Will this new system make it into the Slashcode repository (or something new maybe)?
    Slashcode.com and the sourceforge git repository have not been updated since 2009. Will Slashdot no longer be open-source?
    • by xwwt (2475904) Works for Slashdot
      Good question. Right now I don't have a good answer. The last update was some time back in 2009 and as you pointed out hasn't been touched since. I am working on the question internally and trying to figure out why it hadn't been updated since I joined the team. I suspect it was due to available time or something but it hasn't been a super focus for the past few months with the porting effort.
  • Why was the decision made to take away previously working functionality? Sure, there was undoubtedly plenty wrong with the code for slashdot before you came on board. However, I can name at least a couple of things that worked that were taken away, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why they were taken away.

    The items I am thinking of are related to "journal.pl". I know I was not the only one who used to use it regularly. It was a simpler interface for writing journal entries, for one. That function was taken away as we cannot use journal.pl at all any more. Second, journal.pl also had a list function that allowed us to easily see the titles and dates of all of our journal entries listed out in chronological order. I cannot find any way to do that now that journal.pl is gone.

    I would like to know why these functions were taken away, and more importantly when we will have an equally functional way to do the same. The new way to write a journal entry is inferior to the old way, and I cannot find any way at all to display a list of all of my journal entries.
    • by PerlJedi (2406408) Works for Slashdot
      Hi,
      I'm sorry, I didn't realize that journal.pl was broken. I will attempt to get it fixed today. As I noted in a previous post, we don't have a QA team, nor do we have a complete list of site functionality. I tested every function of the site I have ever used, and I asked all of my fellow slashdotter's here to do the same. Everything that was tested worked, but clearly not every piece of functionality was tested. If there are other items, please do let us know and we will repair them as quickly as we ca
    • by PerlJedi (2406408) Works for Slashdot
      Ok, I fixed it. Please do let me know of any other problems you encounter, and I will try to address them as quickly as I am able.
      • Thank you for fixing that, it seems to be back in order. Is there something I could do to get on the testing team? I don't recall ever seeing a call for testing site functionality.

        And I apologize if I came across as being too abrasive the first time around. Some of us users are a little jaded at the general approach of "roll out first, test later" that seemed to be so prevalent on slashdot in the not-too-distant past and we may carry with us the assumption - right or wrong - that such a mantra still pr
        • by PerlJedi (2406408) Works for Slashdot
          No worries. I must admit my feathers were a bit ruffled yesterday.
          Thank you for the offer of support in testing. One of the initiatives we will be undertaking in the current year may open the door to leverage that type of community assisted testing of new features and upgrades, so I'll be sure to let you (and anyone else in the community who cares to) know about that when in comes.

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