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KPNQWest Admins Keep Bankrupt Network Running 202

sebastianw writes "Some of the network administrators from KPNQWest, although they have been (apparently) ordered to shutdown the network, took over control of the KPNQWest NOC. They are trying to keep the network running and keep customers up, regardless of KPNQWest's insolvency. The company warned on Thursday that they would be forced to shut down KPNQwest's entire European data network on Monday unless its customers paid their bills in full immediately." There's a related story on the Register, talking about the possible effect on UK internet access. If anyone needs to hire some network engineers...
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KPNQWest Admins Keep Bankrupt Network Running

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  • by ThesQuid ( 86789 ) <a987.mac@com> on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:04PM (#3660375) Journal
    It makes you wonder just how many people they really need to run such a network.

    It appears to be less than the number they thought.

    • by Sorthum ( 123064 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:07PM (#3660399) Homepage
      For a day or so, you can keep most large networks running with only one person or so. I work in a NOC that handles access for over 2000 sites, and for nights and holidays (weekends too), we have exactly one person here.

      Though when things go bad, we have other people on call-- it can get hectic.

      So if all goes well, they could hold out for quite some time (until something important breaks).
      • Which points up the problem.

        MTBF is far too short for crummy, overpriced little hardware boxes, and diagnostics still aren't automatic.

        With the trillions of dollars that have flowed through the industry, network equipment should be less trouble than a refrigerator by now, but certain (CSCO) companies (CSCO) have had a vested interest (CSCO) in keeping the system unstable (CSCO) and difficult to maintain (CSCO).

        • by PurpleFloyd ( 149812 ) <(moc.ibtta) (ta) (02onez)> on Friday June 07, 2002 @02:06PM (#3660842) Homepage
          Since when has Cisco intentionally made bad hardware? I have found that while their prices are high, it is hard to make the hardware on a Cisco box fail short of running mains voltage through an Ethernet line.
          • Obviously, you are unaware (as was I) of the recall field notice for all Cisco 7401ASR's with a model number less that '-10'. They screwed up the L3 cache logic which causes memory corruption (and thus random reboots and even complete hardware lockups.) So much for QA and customer support -- we wen't notified of the notice for over three months.

            Oh, and I've seen an ethernet module in a cat5000 suddenly start turning every packet into a broadcast packet. Oh, that was a day in hell.

            But, on the whole, the hardware is impressive and stable. The software provided is a very different story.

            [See Also: ml [] (CCO required)]
        • You are silly. Refrigerators suck. They all come with ice makers now. Why? Well, what part always breaks? The ice maker? My mom is going to special order a refrigerator without one - very few of the big box stores sell *any* without - why? Well, the big box stores all have service departments, and are in the extended warranty business right?

          Most products today suck. At least computing and network gear has an excuse - widget 2002 is 50 to 200% faster than widget 2001.

      • The standard joke about telco operations is that the network is made to be run by a man and a dog:
        • The man's job is to feed the dog.
        • The dog's job is to keep the man from touching any of the equipment.

        As you and others have said, if nothing goes bad, it doesn't take much maintenance to keep running, though it's adding new service that needs resources and causes mistakes that break things.

        • As you and others have said, if nothing goes bad, it doesn't take much maintenance to keep running, though it's adding new service that needs resources and causes mistakes that break things.

          Yeah, but you should SEE how many people it takes to fix things when it goes wrong. We had a guy in a pickup truck driving a new mainframe processor assembly from Boston to northern Maine one day just to get things up again...

          Here's to network stability in Europe for the next week.
      • For a day or so, you can keep most large networks running with only one person or so...

        I'm sorry, but this kinda comment chafes my ass. Where I worked (I was laid off recently) we had a satellite fiber-optic cable production plant in Canada. My manager once stated in a meeting the place 'was running with only 17 staff...' completely neglecting his IS department in the room that remotely managed, upgraded, troubleshot, etc etc...

        'You can keep most networks running with one person' does not jive with 'we have people on call..' the on-call person(s) cannot be discounted so easily. Otherwise, why have them in the first place?
    • Likely that's true to an extent, but it's not sustainable. Many large networks routinely run with reduced staff on evenings, weekends, holidays, Star Trek premiers, and off-hours. But there is more to running the network than just keeping it up (maintenance work). What about upgrades or project work? It's hard to move forward with technology if your entire staff is focused solely on maintaining your existing infrastructure.

      I'm not saying they likely couldn't trim some fat, but a staff reduction of more than 2/3 cuts too deep.
      • It does, but right now they're focused solely on "keeping it up" until the trustees come to a conclusion. The only "project" is to keep the network up so half of Europe doesn't drop offline. I'd imagine all expansions are on hold until they figure out whether they're selling the old equipment on Ebay once the switch gets flipped...
    • Reminds me of when Verizon's staff took industrial action (strike) a couple of years ago for the Communication Workers of America union - one industry wag wrote in Network Computing, "Did anybody notice when Verizons 800,000 employees went on strike? Neither did I". But seriously, no new lines were installed, and I'm sure all the maintenance work would have soon caught up with what little mgmt could do to run such a network.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Seriously. On the Web cam, most of them are wandering around drinking. Cannot tell what it is, but how long before we see the amazing bottomless paper bags? What are they going to do to them for drinking on the job, fire them again? :)
    • What? Our systems work great when the techs are gone. It's only while we're here that things really break.

      (yes, usually that's upgrades, but it is a standing joke that things only break when we're here)


    You can see the problem, none of them are wearing shirts and ties. If they were wearing shirts and ties none of this would have happened.

    I'm being more serious than you might think.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Great thanks.

      Now I'm gonna have to find a way explain "ebonelive" to my girlfriend when she finds it in my recent files list later tonight.
    • Interesting.... you wonder why they went out of business. An exec probably came down and said, "You guys would look a lot better with flat panel monitors."
      • ...and Aeron chairs... (you can see it on the picture).

        Honestly, I still don't see what the big deal is with that chair. I got to sit on one for a few days. It _is_ preety comfortable, but honestly, a $50 chair isn't all that bad either...

      • No kidding. The NOC I work at has dual monitors on most machines here, the way it's been working is one is a flat panel, one's a CRT.

        But we're state sponsored, so it's the taxpayers' money. Not sure how economical it would be if we were a corporate entity.
    • You fool! (Score:5, Funny)

      by stefanlasiewski ( 63134 ) <slashdot AT stefanco DOT com> on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:40PM (#3660654) Homepage Journal
      You can't wear a tie in a shop like that!

      Just think of what could happen if your tie got caught in the bitstream!

      *ZOINK* there goes access to Poland!

      Wedding rings? *ZAAM* Oh damn, I think we just transported Roger's ring finger into the shared computer in Ms. Kingston's 3rd Grade class in Manchester, UK.

      You gotta be careful when working around heavy data processing machinery, man! They aren't safe or simple, like a table saw or anything!
    • Heh, watch /. crash the whole infrastructure by hitting the webcam all day...
    • Just an observation.

      What's a nice girl like her doing in a place like that? (cleaning up/out, obviously, which is perfectly fine in this gender equal world, not to say that women are identical to men, nor superior, nor inferior, but on a level that is as high, though not higher, and certainly not lower, than that of the men who are browsing the internet in the background.)

      Anyway, I'd like some nice person there to knock that orange cap on the ground for me, about a meter further away from the camera.


      What do you mean, 'customer service' does not equal 'fan service'?!

      Anyway, kudos on the operation to everyone there.
    • The only person who seems to be doing any work is the big guy with the beard.

      Ah, hell. He's probably just reading about himself on /.

  • "unless its customers paid their bills in full immediately."

    Fat chance that will ever happen. People in the US can't even their bill payment service bills on time. =)
  • How? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sorthum ( 123064 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:14PM (#3660448) Homepage
    It's great that they're doing this, but how long can they keep it up? I mean, it's great that they're volunteering like this, but you can only go so long without a source of income. After a few weeks, bills start to pile up, or a major router breaks and needs replacing. Running a network's not ridiculously hard, but it does take money...
    • Re:How? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mnordstr ( 472213 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:26PM (#3660546) Homepage Journal
      They only need to keep it running for a short time, KPNQwest is trying to find a buyer for the network. Let's hope it finds one, as the european Internet will suffer a huge bandwidth shortage if the network goes down.

      As a KPNQwest customer myself, I'd like to say that they've provided a great service over the years. This is absolutely the best ISP ever, no real outages, great customer service (as you might have noticed). It's a real shame it turned out like this.
  • noc admins (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meis31337 ( 574142 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:15PM (#3660454)
    I think this is great. Really... Big business could care less about their customers in recent years, but we have these guys generously keeping customsers online...even after they aren't being payed.... This is how customer service SHOULD be done. It is ashame that this is the EXCEPTION and not the true state of an industry in peril.
    • Re:noc admins (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Indras ( 515472 )
      Or... this could be another case of a person doing what's best for themselves is improving things for everyone. I mean, this their job, it's what they get paid to do. Unless, of course, they aren't receiving a paycheck for this... in which case...

    • Re:noc admins (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jonny Ringo ( 444580 )
      Right, but what award will they recieve for their efforts? Their company doesn't seem to care, so their company obvously won't reward them (they're going against orders). Customers, obvously like this but appears that a lot of these customers aren't even paying their bills.

      If I was a admin for that company, I'd be like fuck it.
    • Re:noc admins (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hollow_man ( 24346 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @02:02PM (#3660818) Homepage
      Let's not forget that whilst the guys are fighting to save the main NOC and keeping it running, other temporary NOCs have sprung up and the old KQ NOC in The Hague has also been resurrected.

      We're all working very hard to make sure that disruption to our customers stays limited to the absolute minimum and all techies in this company have now shown to management that they can make their stand in the darkest hour of this company.

      Needless to say I'm proud to work with these guys.
    • I would like to think that I would be that noble. If my company were shutting down and had taken good care of me, I might continue to work until I found another job. There might also be the thought in the back of my head about being rewarded if things were to turn around... Regardless I think that it would only be beneficial to the Engineers. They keep working, so even if they are asked about that job, the fact they are still working after being laid off says a lot to another employer about their character. Meanwhile they have a high-speed internet connection for sending out those resumes.

      Screenbert - Thou wenching pottle-deep whey-face!
  • by ceejayoz ( 567949 ) <> on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:20PM (#3660490) Homepage Journal
    It looks like they just found out they're on slashdot... they all started looking at the camera and something on the computer screens, lol.
  • by bbh ( 210459 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:20PM (#3660493)
    It would be funny if customers wondered why it was finally shutdown only to find that it was the Slashdot effect that took down the network. We can only wait and see...

  • by sniggly ( 216454 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:27PM (#3660557) Journal

    Its good these guys keep on working even though they havent been paid for a long time (some in Holland since may). If KPNQwests network goes down well.. here is their map []. Too bad most of the news around this is in english.
    • I mean in dutch - rtlz [] is doing the story in dutch.

      There is an emergency plan in place that would keep them running until the end of the month if customers pay their june fees in advance.

      If you have a lot of money and want to have a state of the art network with REALLY dedicated people now is the time to buy!!
    • I've haven't been paid since May, either, and I suspect that most people haven't been paid since May.

      Oh. I bet you didn't mean bimonthly payroll...
  • by Caradoc ( 15903 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:32PM (#3660594) Homepage
    Hell, if it weren't for my need to eat, I might put in some free time in a NOC like that one, if for no other reason than to have access to the hardware.

    Call it the ultimate training lab. Make any change you want - nobody can really bitch much about it, since they're not paying for it anyway. The only motives to keep things running are to, well, keep things running...
  • by mnmn ( 145599 )

    Take some powerful countries, like France, Britain Japan, allocating funds for high speed backbones whose bandwidth is provided and distributed by volunteer organizations or other NGOs in the country, distributing mainly by the districts population. Now take laws that say a telcom company should allow DSL for free thru its network by its phoneline customers. Also take government policies that update the speed of the bones every three or so years to the several adjacent countries.

    Naturally other nations would follow suit seeing the economic improvement such communications allow. Government run backbones would be kept up to speed and private competitors would be hard pressed to provide higher speeds and lower costs. Once the threshold number of countries have this, the countries that started it would be under pressure to continue providing the service, thus a positive feedback can be attained that sustains Free Internet. Apparently all we need is a few smart politicians in a few powerful countries.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      For an example of how efficient governmental run organizations are, see the US Post Office, or the ex-Soviet Union's agriculture ministry. Brilliant idea.
      • Whats wrong with the US post office?

        for 34 cents i can send pages across the country in about 3 days. theyre usually cheaper than ups/fedex. 50 cents for a postal money order vs my banks $3 money orders.
        • The Post Office is HEAVILY subsidized by tax dollars, even though they say they are self sufficient.

          There is a law that says that NO ONE can compete with the Post Office offering 1st class mail. There used to be a law that said no one can offer next day service, and when that law was overturned, look at how many companies popped up, and are employing people off the government dole.

          Socialists bug me.
          • The Post Office is HEAVILY subsidized by tax dollars, even though they say they are self sufficient.

            Let's have a cite for that. Otherwise I say you're blowing smoke. The only thing that could even vaguely be termed a subsidy would be existing depreciated assets that were not funded from revenues at the time of purchase. That's not an ongoing subsidy and the only "cost" is the opportunity cost of not retroactively remunerating the treasury.

            There is a law that says that NO ONE can compete with the Post Office offering 1st class mail. There used to be a law that said no one can offer next day service, and when that law was overturned, look at how many companies popped up, and are employing people off the government dole.

            There's a specific reason for that. The USPS is able to provide flat-rate service nationwide because money-losing rural routes are subsidized by highly efficient metropolitan deliveries (i.e., all the mail within New York City that costs the same to send as a letter from the Aleutians to the Bayou).

            This situation is maintained as a policy choice; the government has (wisely) decided that a baseline communications infrastructure is essential to running a country.

            Open it up to the market, and companies will move in to the profitable areas, ignoring the rest. FedEx can't make money delivering 35-cent letters once a week to Zeke in his mountain cabin. Nobody can. But if we want to keep Zeke within the fabric of our society, we have to accommodate his choice to live there.

            Socialists bug me.

            Tinpot anarchists amuse me.

    • How is this free? This would be a service paid for with tax revenues that come out of your pocket. Theres no such thing as a free lunch!
    • Riiiight....

      And as an added bonus, the gov'ts will not have to fight with ISP's in order to get carnivore, echelon, and whatever else on the network.

    • This would suck.

      Naturally other nations would follow suit seeing the economic improvement such communications allow.

      Economic improvement? WTF?! DSL companies keep going bankrupt charging money for their service, if its 'free', does that mean the government is gonna go bankrupt?

      Though if the telco's would back the fark off, that would help. Anyways, A freely connected internet would NOT be good. Your killing LOADS of income for alot of companies (small and big). Competition is bad enough the way it is. We dont need that crap out there.
    • "Governments" get money from TAXES.

      My tax dollars going to "free" broadband does NOT make it free.

      What you meant to say is "Internet COULD be socialized"...
  • The coolest part of the article was the link to the live webcam feed at the bottom! There is some pretty interesting stuff going on at that place! I don't know if anyone caught this, but I'd swear one of the techs was drinking beer from a longneck bottle! Another time there was a a guy making faces into the camera. These guys are way cooler than my coworkers!
  • I thought the Internet routed around damage?

    I'm sure I read somewhere that during the Gulf War the Allies had problems trying to disrupt Iraqi communications as the Iraqis were using a TCP/IP-based network similar in configuration to the Internet.

    If the plug is eventually pulled on the KPNQWest network how drastic will the effect be?
    • by ceejayoz ( 567949 ) <> on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:50PM (#3660729) Homepage Journal
      Yes, it is designed to route around damage, but this isn't damage - it's the whole network going down at once.

      Take a look at this map [] and you'll see the problem...
    • Yes, the basis is that there will be routing around the damaged portion of the network. However because they are a major backbone provider the other links in Europe will not have the capacity to handle the extra traffic on top of their current traffic.

      Just like in a big city, sure you can get around without the major highway but without it, it takes 2 - 3 times longer to get there (Unless your in LA).

      You also have the possibility of overloading the other links and then almost no one in Europe could get online.
    • very bad, those pipes will have to take other, less efficent routes, less bandwidth handeling more traffic, and then they may have to pay x#of$ for the amount of the pipe used, there's a lot of administrative cost when not using your own autonomous network, and as for the tie scenario, i'm sitting at work now in a t-shirt and jeans, with a pair of vans on, same thing every day, well, no not like that, i have more than one tshirt and one pair of jeans, but that's the style of clothing i wear, no really, i mean it, yeah so what if it's what i wore yesterday, i did the laundry last night, i swear! ehhh, what smell? oh bloody hell...shower? yes, i showered this morning, or was that yesterday morning, i think it was yesterday, but it could have been monday....monday....the 28th, of january.....
    • To the newly disconnected customers, very VERY bad.
    • I thought the Internet routed around damage?

      Yes, but first you have to get to "the Internet" itself. Taking down KPNQWest's backbone will take down any customer who is not multi-homed; that is, those who do not have transit through other providers besides KPNQWest.

      Oh, and for those customer who are multihomed, they're going to see surges in latency & packet loss as their other providers try to keep up with the demand from all their, uh, "peers." =)
  • Assuming that they go down, how much of an impact will it have?
  • The story so far... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hollow_man ( 24346 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:47PM (#3660712) Homepage
    The actions of the guys in Brussels have been an inspiration for the rest of us in the company (those that are left).

    I can pretty much assure that the UK network will keep running, definitely one of the main AS numbers of the UK (5571) has alternate transit so do most in-country networks. If anything it's the Eurorings that are at risks but even they are supported right now from Brussels AND The Hague (both IP NOCs are operational right now).

    The actions of the last few days make me proud to be part of KQ, Ebone and Netcom and I really hope that we can all survive this crisis, and if we don't, it won't be from the lack of trying or courage.

    just another Netcom/Ebone/KQ techie

    • I really hope that we can all survive this crisis, and if we don't, it won't be from the lack of trying or courage.
      Of course will be from the shite-heads in management making all the lame-ass decisions that got you so fucked in the first place.

      As always.
      • it will be from the shite-heads in management making all the lame-ass decisions that got you so fucked in the first place.

        Do you mean to say that a competent management would have recognized the decreasing demand and sacked half the work force long before it got this bad?
        • Not necessarily. I mean to say "competent management" implies an ability to manage ... in other words, to handle problems before they get out of hand. So, naturally, competent management would have made better decisions and kept things in line, avoiding the fscking of the employees and customers.

          But, let me ask you this: Would it be better for half the employees to be out of work than all of them?
          • "competent management" implies an ability to manage ... in other words, to handle problems before they get out of hand.

            That's the theory. All I can say is never go into management, unless you REALLY like the money. During an economic downturn it's the shittiest job I can imagine.

            But, let me ask you this: Would it be better for half the employees to be out of work than all of them?

            Depends on which half you ask. If you mean, which is better for the company, the answer is self-evident.
            • During an economic downturn it's the shittiest job I can imagine.
              I am in management. Our company is unlike many other businesses at present.

              We are actually growing right now and have been for the last few spite of an economic downturn. This is for two reasons:
              1. Competent management - at least for now <grin>
              2. We are small enough (~$20M US annual revenue, 100-150 employees) so as to remain agile and mostly devoid of bloat.
              As an example, we recently had an all-hands afternoon team-building exercise with free food and drink for all. One person dropped and broke a glass bottle. Our CEO cleaned it up. Get that? Not the janitor...not the guy who broke it...the CEO got out a broom and dustpan and cleaned up the mess.

              We all work hard, and nobody is above the small stuff.
              • ...As an example, we recently had an all-hands afternoon team-building exercise with free food and drink for all. One person dropped and broke a glass bottle. Our CEO cleaned it up. Get that?

                I'm more concerned that you used the phrase all-hands afternoon team-building exercise without cracking up.

  • Payments (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:48PM (#3660719)
    I find it interesting that they seem to be having trouble with users paying them. The most serious problem I face is customers not paying for the services they receive.

    Just shut down one site 2 months ago which was overdue by 6 months... Sortly thereafter got a call berating me for their website not being up. I pointed out that they were past due and stated the site would not go back up until they paid their bill... Couple of days later I had a check.

    It supprised me since the site has always been a problem with paying late. I've finally decided to take a no nonsense approach to billing rather than trying to work with customers. I've had too many customers just walk away without paying their bills and thus I have been shedding customers during the last couple of months.

    It's definately a lot easier now, without maintaining a bunch of sites that don't pay.

    • You can't get blood from a stone, its tough to collect unsecured debts from bankrupt companies. I doubt that the collections problems are from companies that are still in business, its likely that they extended credit to any and all willing buyers during the good times, and now are trying to collect from these bankrupt companies which entails lots of court visits and negotiations with all the other creditors. They would have extended credit to show revenue growth to their owners and the public market analysts, which drove their increaseing stock price in 2000. Its sort of amazing the complete difference between then and now, the equity alone was worth several billion then, and now no one is willing to pay $200 million for their network assets.
      Someone is going to become the next Standard Oil by scooping up all of these destressed telecomunications networks nursing them back to life over the next decade. Our kids will revile them as much as we do to Microsoft.
    • I agree; get rid of clients that don't pay their bills. I had that same idea quite a few years back when I was delivering papers (don't ask). Anyway, I cut the non-paying subscribers after many diligent attempts to collect. I was trashing alot of extra papers every day (I had to pay for these extra papers you know) and wanted to cut down on wastage and increase my profit margin.

      I ended up getting fired by my boss for having too low a subscriber base. They didn't care that the people weren't paying... they just wanted the subscriber numbers to look good for advertising revenue.

      Worst job I ever had! But I'd cut those non-payers again without a second thought if I was in the same position again.

      Bottom Line: In my book, you don't pay... you don't play.
  • by Judge_Fire ( 411911 ) on Friday June 07, 2002 @01:52PM (#3660742) Homepage
    Interestingly, our local KPNQwest is leaving the mothership and this seems to be happening elsewhere, too.

    On the Finnish company's page they state they're ready to re-route traffic and do what it takes. KPNQwest Norway got bought by Catch Communications and this might be the fate of the others, too. Seems Nokia is already on board as a customer. 20 607.shtml (in Finnish)

    Anyone got more on this?
    • A lot of us local entities are preparing to leave the mothership. Netcom UK is about to go solo again after 2 years under the GTS/Ebone/KQ banner.

      KQ portugal and italy are going standalone as well I believe.
      We're now all waiting to see who will pick up the network so we can buy cheap transit from our former parent ;)

      Seriously though, even though we're going our separate ways, right now we're still one company (apart from KQ NO that got sold already) and we're still running the network, even if we have to do it without the assurance of being paid.
    • LOL, misread Norja (Norway) for Nokia. You really read best what you read most.

      Then again, might have been accidentally correct, but whatever :P


    • It seems the same applies to KPNQwest Estonia. (in Estonian).

      It states that the customers will not be plugged out and they're setting up the necessary backup routes.

      It is also stated that some HQ supported services (such as roaming) will probably discontinued or reorganized.
  • that's a lot of dedication and persistence. I hope all the guys that are volunteering get good jobs else where.
  • Sorry, but they probably will need to stand at the rear of the "I need a job" line, like the rest of us.

    However, i do admire their dedication to their jobs. It's either customer loyalty or "Hell no. Not again. HELL NO." Mentality of losing a job.

    • Sorry, but they probably will need to stand at the rear of the "I need a job" line, like the rest of us.

      Is this where the line ends? I just got laid off on Friday =)

      However, i do admire their dedication to their jobs. It's either customer loyalty or "Hell no. Not again. HELL NO." Mentality of losing a job.

      Yah, well. The market sucks for admins in general right now, and at least while they volunteer to stay on the job, their skills are kept fresh. Plus, think of all the free soda they would miss! =)

      No, seriously, system admins can build their own boxes at home (or buy cheap discarded Suns) during their downtime, and keep practicing and learning new stuff. It's a bit harder for network engineers - most of us can't buy multiple Ciscos big enough to run BGP and ISIS on, much less any Junipers, etc. Staying with the toys until they are made to go home is a decent plan.

      Besides, we don't know the full labor situation there; there was mention of the government and labor unions in one of the articles, and so they may be retaining some legal status by staying there.
      • Yeah, the line ends about three months back thataway. You can get "Skip ahead free" cards if your college educated with gobs of certs, 10+ years of experience, a great skill set and a willingness to work for $cheap. You can get a job right off the bat if you have a TS/SBI. SO MANY FSCKING PEOPLE want security clears right now. I want to smack half of them. It's more or less a military-only club out there.

        Do the dying dot-com thing and take home the switches and rouers you need. Replace them with 3COMs & Linsys's (Linksii?) from Best Buy. :)
  • So what would happen if KPNQWest customers continued to pay the people spending their time to maintain the network? Couldn't they in theory continue to run the network for the time being, even though the wages would be terrible and the work would be hard and stressful? They would at least get money...

    The ones still there seem to be a dedicated bunch of people, and I wouldn't be surprised if they managed to build something from what they have now.

    Although reality would probably rear its ugly head, and they would be forced to shut down anyway. Everything is nice in theory, I guess...

  • xine mms://
    make sure you have the necessary win32codecs installed, though.
    • I had to run xine -p 'mms://' to make it work. However, I'm on a PPC Linux system (Debian on a blue/white PowerMac G3) so no Win32 codecs, but it streams just fine - it's apparently in DivX format anyway.
  • I run a high-traffic web site based close to Oslo, Norway, and I've been getting reports of problems from my users since the day after the bankruptcy was announced. My users are from all over the world (about 50% from the US), and at any given time there seem to be several different groups of them who can't connect to the server at all. The problems are usually temporary, and the users affected seem to be spread across the world. So far the most consistently affected users seem to be those from the Netherlands and Singapore (.nl seems logical, but why .sg of all places?).

    We were leasing our lines from KPNQwest Norway, so that might explain some of it, but I suspect anyone who's trying to connect to anything through KPNQwest's backbone will be experiencing intermittent problems if things aren't resolved soon.
  • I wonder what happened to this []
  • I was watching the webcam of their NOC. There was a visible protest, with people holding up signs in front of the webcam. A few minutes ago, somebody in a suit came in and spent a few minutes talking to people. Then most of the people picked up their stuff and left. A few people remain, quietly sitting at computers.
  • by @madeus ( 24818 ) <> on Friday June 07, 2002 @06:09PM (#3662546)

    As a senior systems engineer from a similar organization (Carrier1 (FALCO!)) I can say there were no issue running a multi unix environment, and I've never had any issue with it at any of my previous companies (nor have any of the engineers I've worked with).

    At Carrier1 had FreeBSD, Red Hat & Debian Linux, Solaris 9 & 9, HP-UX, even GNU/Hurd and Mac OS X (well, on *my* system :). I had Mac OS X, GNU/HURD, Debian and Solaris all on my desk at one point.

    The only problem I've ever had is the fairly trivial (?!) one of getting the command flags right - stuff like the 'ps','route','ipchains, 'ipfw' and 'ifconfig' commands syntax being different, the different flags for package management tools, that sort of thing.

    I quickly came to realise that it's not possible to remember all the flags for all programs and remember the best way to do something on a particular system if you are busy all the time, things just seem to seep out. This happens if you are spending lots of time programming or in meetings or working on large projects - in which case you might not touch one type of system for months (until there is a problem with it), at which point you find your self quickly reading man pages and referring to Google a lot. All you need to do is remeber what's improrant, especially things you'll need for troubleshooting, and not worry about the rest - it's enough to know about tool's like Solaris 'ndd' and Linux's 'mknod' and what they do, if you need to remeber exactly how to use them in a given instance you can refer to man pages, O'Reilly Books or Google (which I often find the fastest).

    Staying current, reading Freshmeat everyday, installing and configuring new Unixes and new & un-familer packages regularly, being on mailing lists and reading Slashdot are good ways to stay up to date - the more you know the less likely you are to run into something completely unexpected. If your resourceful (which you should be as a Systems Engineer) the only real problems arise went you don't even know where to start, everything else is a piece of cake.

    Basically, if you really know unix (and are not just a Red Hat Linux or Solaris flunky who has convinced themselves they are Gurus while they still run Windows 2000 day to day) then you won't have any problems.

    Oh, and making lame excuses like 'well I need Windows for work stuff' and 'they won't let me run Unix on my desktop' DO NOT wash - they are just that - excuses for lameness.

    I have been for job interviews and been introduced to guys who called themselves (literally!) 'Unix Gods', yet they had only ever used Solaris - if you have any of those you are in deep shit right now. [ Needless to say I ran a mile! ]

    Most people fall somewhere in the middle of those two, you'll probably only have one or two decent guys, if your lucky, though if you need to ask you are very possibly in trouble already!

    YMMV. :)
  • I don't find it that surprising that these guys are so dedicated. Managing computing and network systems isn't so different to engineering or medicine or other occupations where the worker's commitment may be as much to the systems they are building, maintaining, or fixing as to a narrow conception of a job.

    The professionalism of doctors and engineers is one of the things that help to leaven the more purely cost/profit approach of their managers.


  • One thing in the article said that a handful of the engineers volunteered to stay while buyers/solutions to their problem are sought.

    So it doesn't sound like they locked the doors and kept the pipe going as much as they believe in their company and want to keep working there.

    Hang in there guys

In the realm of scientific observation, luck is granted only to those who are prepared. - Louis Pasteur