[OPE-L] Save the Marxists Internet Archive (MIA) site!

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Jan 17 2007 - 22:21:22 EST

Can anyone on the list help these comrades?

In solidarity, Jerry


17 January 2006


In early November we came under sustained denial of service attack from
Internet hosts in China attempting to exploit a misconfiguration in our
server's operating system. The nature and origin of the attack, our
previous history with the PRC, and the experience of others suggest that
this maybe politically motivated and directed by the Chinese government.
Protecting ourselves necessitated rebuilding part of the kernel and
rebooting the system remotely. The failure of the system to properly boot
into the new kernel caused a prolonged outage as we scrambled to find
someone with the necessary access to get the system back into the previous

While the attacks continued and greatly degraded MIA performance, we were
understandably cautious about rebuilding the kernel and trying again. On
January 15, the server became unresponsive and we asked for it to be
remotely rebooted, taking the opportunity to bring it up with the new

While this alleviated the previous issue, it seems to have uncovered
another, more serious, problem with our CPU that causes random errors
(machine check exceptions) and cause the system to reboot.

Each time the system reboots, it causes our RAID storage system to
reinitialize and rebuild, a lengthy process that severely degrades
performance. To make matters worse, the redundant disk in the array seems
to be failing.

As if that weren't bad enough, while attempting to make arrangements to
buy a new server, we learned that our colocation facility will be closing
on February 1, leaving MIA literally homeless.

At the moment, our redundant disk is back online and we are rebuilding the
array to protect against data loss on the server. We also have offsite
backups of all MIA content should the worst come to pass. We are furiously
searching for new hosting space, but our data transfer needs
(approximately 1.3TB a month) make this a very difficult choice compared
with our previous non-profit host.

The bottom line: there is a significant probability that we will not be
able to find and deploy an acceptable solution in time to meet the
February 1 lights-out date. This means that the MIA will be off the air.
We will make every attempt to bridge the gap with the help of our
dedicated mirror operators though we may need to stop serving some of our
more "expensive" content such as MP3s and PDFs. There is also a chance
that our ultimate solution may require us to make a long-term evaluation
of the type of content we serve and make things like PDFs available via
alternate distribution channels (e.g. BitTorrent). However, *despite our
recent litany of seemingly fatal problems, the MIA remains a strong
organization with a wealth of content, committed to providing the premiere
electronic library of Marxist writings. Despite the political, technical,
or economic pressures, rest assured that we will find a way to keep these
works available to the world*.

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