Advogato is (maybe not) going offline

Posted 10 Sep 2006 at 20:01 UTC (updated 24 Feb 2007 at 23:43 UTC) by StevenRainwater Share This

Advogato doesn't have to go offline. The choice is yours. Here's a quick update on where things stand.

Raph doesn't have time to continue maintaining Advogato and, due to a recent DoS attack, he decided it might be best to shut the site down or convert it to a read-only archive. Raph has already turned off new account creation. DoS attacks against Advogato are causing trouble for other sites hosted on the server, so it seems certain Advogato cannot continue to live on the same box. It has to go.

I've been asked if I could take over hosting and maintenance of Advogato since I am familiar with the mod_virgule code and already run a mod_virgule site of comparably size. I have exchanged some emails with Raph and he has tentatively agreed to this but nothing will happen one way or the other until he returns from his Asia trip. In the meantime, I need to decide if I want to take on the time and expense involved in hosting a site of this size.

Two things would need to happen for me to do this.

1) I need to move Advogato to a more recent version of mod_virgule that supports Apache 2.x and libxml2 so I can run it on one of my existing servers. Raph has no problem with this. I think we can still achieve 99.9% of the same look and feel, so from the user side, no one should notice a big difference.

2) I am only going to do this if a substantial number of the current users want to see Advogato continue. A few users have expressed their desire to see it continue but not many. I don't want to take on all the work involved if it's not going to benefit the free software community and the current users.

So help me out here. Post something below and let me know if you'd like to see Advogato stay online or not. If you think Advogato should stay online, what changes, if any, would you like to see? Should it be kept exactly as-is or does it need a few upgrades?

resource, when available is used - when not, it is missed..., posted 10 Sep 2006 at 21:54 UTC by lkcl » (Master)


can i invite you to consider this alternative perspective: if entrepeneurs asked permission of their potential market whether they were 'allowed' to introduce their product or their idea, then we would still be banging rocks together and looking for slood [terry pratchett reference. slood is harder to find than water, and slightly easier to make than fire]

remember also that advogato's readers are often infrequent visitors: i think they would be a bit pissed to find that they visited the site a month from now only to find that it wasn't there any more!

the material on here, like the articles, is [supposed to be] high signal-to-noise: consequently, there's not much _of_ it (we're not a slashdot) and so it's fairly quickly easy to ascertain whether you're _going_ to read it - and you don't really need to come back, for a week or so or more, except maybe to post diary entries.

it's not a slashdot, it's not a kuro5in, it's not a project-specific news site (a, an, a, a the free software community doesn't really _have_ anything else like it: advogato is unique and fills a very specific niche, and is on something like a hundred different RSS feeds world-wide [you too can empirically determine this for yourself by searching for the words of any title of any recent advogato article, which will of course appear in the content of any free software news site which displays the advogato article RSS]

so for many reasons, heck yes i think it should be kept going.

let me put it this way: if someone else can clearly and honestly articulate good reasons why you should _not_ continue, then you, and raph, should evaluate those reasons and come up with a decision _on your own_ - not wait for some sort of wobbly-quasi-democratic vote.

and "advogato has had its day" is _not_ a good reason to shut the site down. "advogato doesn't actually provide anything useful" _would_ appear to be a good reason - but there have been people who have said that they actually learned something - so that reason is again, not a good reason: just because advogato does not provide anything useful _to some_ people, that's not a good reason to terminate the entire site.

i think you will find that pretty much every 'good reason to shut the site down' will be in some way flawed, or personally perspectived.

e.g. yes, diaries are available elsewhere - but diaries being available encourage people to return - and read recentlog, and glance at articles. so what if the diaries are 50% started with "gosh it's been ages since my last advogato-diary-post".


enough :)

2 cents worth, posted 10 Sep 2006 at 23:30 UTC by nutella » (Master)

Maybe Raph's just planning to sell the domain name and retire on the proceeds :-)

For me most of "Advogato" is the community, with the interface being somewhat secondary. I do like the fairly minimalist approach with the trust metric keeping less interesting material from the front page. I've heard some people argue for the ability to comment on diary posts but the current workaround (post in your own diary) is okay.

Stephen, I'm just grateful for the forum and unless it changes radically I'll follow it where ever it goes.

Unsure, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 01:15 UTC by slamb » (Journeyer)

On the one hand, moving to Planet (former) Advogato would mean people would have more control. I like that it means people can add comment submission to their posts and post more frequently. Putting someone's name in your post and hoping they read the recentlog before you scroll off or post again is a really lousy way to communicate.

On the other hand, Planet (former) Advogato is, by definition, a closed membership. It would be really sad to have all certifications frozen and no one joining. There are new open source developers every day, and a community without them represented would be lacking.

It would be possible to combine the beneficial traits of both, but not without someone putting serious effort into it.

by my rough count of votes, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 02:08 UTC by badvogato » (Master)

By my rough count of votes, approximately 80 people have explicitly expressed personal attachment to advogato as of this moment. And if votes don't count, i am willing to show you the money. I believe i am able to afford donating $2000 for initial migration/upgrade effort and $1000/year for maintaining the site there after. Just consider my pledge as an indication of my programming skill rated as -$2000 and -$1000/year. Now i got even with you folks. So leave me alone without any mentioning of burying my body yet until it dropped dead, dead, dead or when a real star war is imminent or something.

please continue advogato, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 03:02 UTC by atai » (Journeyer)

I support your effort to keep it going.

Please do continue, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 05:24 UTC by ncm » (Master)

For me Advogato fills a unique niche. I have no idea where I would post else. I would certainly lose track of the people who post here.

Experience, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 08:45 UTC by salmoni » (Master)

My experience of Advogato has been largely pleasurable. The large majority of people here are intelligent, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic. I certainly have learned a lot from the diary entries and articles posted here. My knowlege has increased in good ways as a result of this website being extant.

For this reason alone, it seems better that the site continues rather than is kept immortalised in a read-only state. While I and many other posters have been using this site for years, not all new members are spammers (though recently, the majority seem to have been). People are continually finding out about free software and want to get involved. A weakness of Advogato is that it isn't dedicated to any purpose outside of that: but that is its strength. Because it isn't allied to any particular operating system or desktop environment or way or doing things, it allows a rich cross-fertilisation of ideas that I don't encounter anywhere else.

Removing the site (and new memberships) may prevent future learning among interested people. For that alone, I would ask that Advogato stay working.

Clicky clicky, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 09:09 UTC by neurogato » (Journeyer)

Just as I was about to post commiserations and thanks in the "advogato is going away" thread, I decided to double-check the front page, and found *this* thread. I too would love to see advogato continue in some form.

Please continue, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 12:16 UTC by Akira » (Master)

Yep continue !

<AOL/>, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 13:03 UTC by dwmw2 » (Master)

I'd be grateful if Advogato were to continue.

Please do continue, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 14:18 UTC by cdfrey » (Journeyer)

I'd be very happy if Advogato continued. I don't follow the new planets, and like ncm would probably lose track of the people here once Advogato went read only.

I vote to continue.

I would also be prepared to support, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 20:21 UTC by Chicago » (Journeyer)

Ok, so I'm having guilt pains of being paid a lot. No seriously - Advogato has helped me a lot to become a better programmer, and a more mature person. It helps remind me that although I might be leet, I am not yet leet enough.

I would be interested / willing in providing token payment for the use of advogato but I don't feel that should give me any more rights / privs / disk space apart from perhaps a little star next to my name...

I think it should continue, posted 11 Sep 2006 at 23:35 UTC by zanee » (Journeyer)

I'd be willing to donate bandwidth or whatever, time, code effort is required for it. I could run my own blog but there is indeed a wealth of information here.

+1, posted 12 Sep 2006 at 07:22 UTC by fxn » (Master)

I share the views of ncm and salmoni, Advogato has a unique personality which comes from the detachment from any particular technology and from its regulars. Recentlog is a joy to read. I certainly vote for keeping Advogato alive.

I would miss it if it were to go away, posted 12 Sep 2006 at 13:26 UTC by Omnifarious » (Journeyer)

And on another note, Advogato seems to have an amazingly high page rank in google.

blackcatnetworks server, sitting idle..., posted 12 Sep 2006 at 13:54 UTC by lkcl » (Master)

p.s. stephen, raph, and others: i have leased a server (finally) which is on a decent connection, specifically to be able to offer it for use in projects. also, i feel certain that it would be possible for me to volunteer phil hands's servers as well (he runs the uk debian mirror - has done for about 15 years).

it would be sensible to see how things go, stephen: if your server gets absolutely hammered, like the one currently shared with advogato, then the server i am using is doing hardly anything (i currently run my web site on it - 100 hits/day wow big deal).

so - resources are not a problem: the question becomes one of whom do you trust to run the site.

OoH! Please have a blackcatnetworks mirror, posted 12 Sep 2006 at 19:03 UTC by Chicago » (Journeyer)

I would offer my own server but you guys wouldnt like the fact that we erm.. play on it. BCN are awesome and I would really love to have access to a BCN mirror of advogato... mmmm highspeed advogato reading...

Question: How far is mod_virgule off being clusterable?

+1, posted 13 Sep 2006 at 02:53 UTC by Ankh » (Master)

Keep it going if you can. DoS attacks can be a pain to deal with though. That's why I gave up running IRC servers.

Maybe distributed mirrors would help, at least a little. I can maybe volunteer some bandwidth, but that would depend on the nature of the attacks.



Post of support, posted 13 Sep 2006 at 07:30 UTC by robsta » (Master)

Please keep it going if possible. Advogato is more than a random aggregator or free blogging site.

I'm convinced, posted 13 Sep 2006 at 16:31 UTC by StevenRainwater » (Master)

Thanks for the feedback so far. It looks like there are plenty of you who want to see Advogato continue. I'll try to get a test site set up, running on the newer mod_virgule code soon. If anyone would care to have a look at and comment on the source code, here are a couple of links.

The most recent version of Raph's mod_virgule code (which is running the live Advogato site) is here:

The slightly newer mod_virgule code I'm proposing to use is here:

I haven't released a new tarball of my code in a while, so I'll try to do that this week sometime. For the curious, I also maintain a ToDo list of mod_virgule features that have been requested over the years.

Keep the feedback coming, particularly any comments about desired changes or features that are needed going forward.

Appeal And Prayer, posted 13 Sep 2006 at 16:37 UTC by nymia » (Master)

It is definitely nice to know there are voices sounding out the appeal. I thought the boat sank and is now at the bottom of the to speak.

And so the prayer: Thanks for the generous people who are stepping up. May this site live long and prosper.

Support, posted 13 Sep 2006 at 20:46 UTC by fzort » (Journeyer)

For what it's worth, I would definitely miss Advogato.

Support, posted 14 Sep 2006 at 17:23 UTC by richdawe » (Journeyer)

Advogato has a great mix of blogging on programming / software engineering / other stuff that would be hard to find anywhere else. Most Planets are specific to one community (GNOME, Linux kernel, Eclipse, etc.) and have much less variety.

If Advogato could not continue, I'd hope that someone would set up a Planet Advogato to aggregate the former Advogato users' blogs.

metoo, posted 16 Sep 2006 at 19:19 UTC by hub » (Master)

Right, I left advogato when it started having problems and I when I ended up being limited in term of posting.

But I wish advogato could continue. It has its raison d'etre, and its goal. Maybe it could start as it was and be enhanced to provide new features. A super agregator where people can instead of blogging have their blog syndicated, where people can eventually comment, etc. all with the trust metrics.

Just my 2 cents.

Keep Alive ;), posted 17 Sep 2006 at 23:14 UTC by Malx » (Journeyer)

It would be great if it continues it's life.

And changes:

1) projects page to be more managable. May be split to multiple pages with overall statistics on projects number 2) text field to enter the reason you give cert to someone. 3) articles should go to first page only when they rated as "interesting"

BTW. what is the most traffic contents? Could it be RSS queries?

Ay, posted 19 Sep 2006 at 07:16 UTC by berend » (Journeyer)

Would like to see it continue.

hmm, posted 19 Sep 2006 at 12:02 UTC by phr » (Journeyer)

I haven't been around this place in years so I'm in no position to tell you to do the work of keeping it around. But I'll be sad if it goes. There are sharp people and interesting things to read here. I just couldn't deal with the UI which is only good if you stay on top of every post. You miss out on a lot if you only visit once in a while, unlike a Scoop-ish system. I don't think the trust metric experiment showed anything either, given that the posts are about tame technical subjects. As Wikipedia shows there's not much of a trust issue in those areas. If advogato were a politics site, that would really put the trust metric to a test.

Anyway best wishes whatever you decide to do.


I don't use my advogato account now but read lots in planets, posted 24 Sep 2006 at 16:28 UTC by Gnrfan » (Journeyer)

I'm not an active user of Advogato but have a account so i think i'd lend a vote for it to continue since quite a few guys are perfectly happy posting to planet sites and other feed aggregators from their advogato accounts, so if you really can carry on with these or find someone else interested in keeping the fire alive please do it.

Me too!, posted 25 Sep 2006 at 07:10 UTC by Raphael » (Master)

Like many others, I am not very active here anymore. I moved my journal to a different place and I only read the front page articles or the journals once in a while. Like phr wrote above, I thought that the UI made it hard to follow the journals if you did not read them often enough. On the other hand, it is always a pleasure for me to read many of these journals through various planets. Also, it is always interesting to see the opinions of people coming from different backgrounds/communities included in the articles (when I get a chance to look at the Advogato home page and articles).

So I would definitely miss Advogato...

I'm indifferent, posted 25 Sep 2006 at 17:44 UTC by nelsonrn » (Master)

I'm indifferent. This is the first time I've posted in Advogato in 3 years. My thesis (that the trust model is broken) is likely true. When you look at the number of purple postings, it seems that everybody here is a Master. If you let it die, I would probably not notice for years.

no place like it, posted 26 Sep 2006 at 20:22 UTC by connolly » (Master)

Yes, please do keep it going.

We would all survive without it, but advogato is a special place, and I would rather not see it go.

For one thing, I'll have to find another place to host my random open source notes to myself. ;-)

spam is vibrant in 2012, unfortunately, posted 4 Feb 2012 at 20:20 UTC by badvogato » (Master)

maybe it's time to take a nap ? Like much needed beauty sleep ?

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!

Share this page