[Act] Act server: state of the situation

L Boivin elbeho at boivin.eu
Thu Jan 26 07:52:27 CET 2017

Hi Theo,

Don't get me wrong.
I don't blame anyone.
The Act-athon in Lyon was not the 1st attempt for a new Act.
I was hyped by Voyager but don't do anything by myself.

For the system aspects, I'm clearly not the best one to answer,
but what I can see is that mailman is consumming a lot of ressources
on phantom.
I'm about to restart a plan we had years ago but that we were not
able to setup because of technical issues (that have been solved in
the meantime): having the mailing list hosted by Sympa (rather than 
mailman) somewhere else (my current target is Strasbourg University).
I just had the info it could be feasible.
I'll let you know.


Le 25/01/2017 à 22:59, Theo van Hoesel a écrit :
> Hi Laurent,
> Yes... it's me you can blame...!
> So, as i got it from the mail before this one, the way he tries to solve it, is by running it on a VM on a big machine.
> Not totally sure and I guess it has been tried already, what about only running Act is self inside on VM and a separate thing for running the databases? I mean, Act only talks to the Postgres DB, isn't it? That can be on any machine with sufficient power or even in a Master Slave.... and we could have multiple Act' servers in their ow tiny VM talk to them? right?
> Getting the DB out of the VM would be super... guess they still run in the VM of the hosting provider anyway.
> Another thing that might be extremely helpful... instead of me (and others) complaining that it is again down for toooo long... what about having me join the 'kick start reboot team'. I assume that you can write down the procedure on how to do so. Guess an extra pair off hands will be welcome here. I was already planning on setting up a 'server down alert'
> And of course, I gladly come  to the beautiful city of Paris (or something easy to travel to by train from London) to spend a weekend making it all more stable with you and Sébastien.
> For me, there is tooo much on stake for the Perl Community to leave Act behind. Act was a wonderful Idea, let's not go back into age and people reinventing servers and websites. Let's spent time and other resources wisely.
> Closing this email, two things, what has been done since december? and secondly....
> Super thank you for replying so quickly!
> Theo
> And yes, the 🍻 are on me!
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On 25 Jan 2017, at 21:29, L Boivin <elbeho at boivin.eu> wrote:
>> Hi Theo,
>> Sébastien is currently working on the new server for Act (ghost) as the
>> current one (phantom) is too light (I'm restarting it twice a day,
>> Sebastien probably restarts it in the meantime too).
>> The main problem with Act is its age.
>> It's an 10+ year old code, stuck on Apache 1.3 / mod_perl1 / perl 5.8
>> (although most of the feature seems OK on perl 5.12.4)
>> No one never had the will or the energy to try to keep it up to date with perl, nor mod_perl, nor Apache, nor postgresql.
>> So moving it to a new server is a pain.
>> And Sébastien (who was never involved in the development of the code)
>> is doing it for the 2nd time in less than one year.
>> As soon as Sébastien will take interest in beers, it'll cost me a lot!
>> :-)
>> If anyone is brave enough to port Act to Perl 5.20+, Apache 2.2 or 2.4,
>> a [dr]ecent version of postgres (with a conversion of the DB from the
>> current version), it will a first step before thinking of adding new
>> features. Maybe.
>> A brand new Act could be cool too. I just haven't seen anything since
>> the Act-athon in Lyon 2 years ago, but I was not looking very carefully.
>> In the meantime, please be patient.
>> Kind Regards
>> Laurent
>>> On 25/01/2017 14:47, Theo van Hoesel wrote:
>>> Hey Sébastien,
>>> Hop you are all doing well - and 'HAPPY NEW YEAR' to you (i know it's a bit late now)
>>> Sébastien, i am greatly worried about the current state of Act and it's future. North America has stepped away already and some voices in the Perl Conference Amsterdam team are going up and suggest looking at the way Dancer did their stuff.
>>> Please do not let this happen. We all love the features that Act offers and i am very willing to pickup the Act Voyager once things are smooth again. I even had a discussion with a developer willing to try to add another payment gateway, so people have more options to pay (like iDeal in the Netherlands)
>>> I can understand that this is all not primary concern and that priorities and limited resources or other restraints can make progress slow and difficult.
>>> But could you please update me what is holding back, and how we can make improvements in stability.
>>> And where possible, will gladly help to get it all back in a state that is acceptable
>>> Theo
>>>> On 30 Dec 2016, at 00:43, Sébastien Aperghis-Tramoni <sebastien at aperghis.net> wrote:
>>>> Hello all,
>>>> First, sorry, I know I should have made this mail earlier.
>>>> So, here is the current situation with regards to the Act server.
>>>> When spectre suddenly disappeared from the internets, we switched
>>>> over the remaining service to phantom, which has been prepared for
>>>> this since a few months. However, it appears that phantom is way
>>>> too light to handle all the services. As a result, Act is regularly
>>>> crashing, and I now keep a constant eye on the logs, and restart
>>>> it whenever it needs to (3-4 times each day). That's mostly for the
>>>> time being.
>>>> We have decided to rent a bigger server (12 CPU threads, 32 GB RAM),
>>>> with the following plan of actions:
>>>> - make it a host for VMs:
>>>> - one VM for Act (Varnish, Apache + mod_perl, PostgreSQL)
>>>> - one VM for the rest (static sites, SVN, Mailman)
>>>> - migrate Act ASAP to its dedicated VM
>>>> - migrate the rest of the services
>>>> - release phantom
>>>> Using VM (Qemu/KVM) will hopefully ease backup & moving the servers
>>>> to a new host, when needed.
>>>> Work has already begun. VMs are already installed. Thanks to a
>>>> friend, I've resolved a network issue I was having with NetFilter.
>>>> I am now preparing the Act VM to run Act (Apache 1.3, mod_perl 1.31,
>>>> Perl 5.8.9 or 5.12.4).
>>>> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
>>>> Technical specifications
>>>> ------------------------
>>>> * host server
>>>> CPU: Xeon D-1531 (6 C / 12T @ 2,2 GHz)
>>>> RAM: 32 GB DDR4 ECC
>>>> HD: 2 x 250 GB SSD
>>>> OS: Debian jessie
>>>> * VM for Act
>>>> vCPU: 8
>>>> RAM: 16 GB
>>>> OS: FreeBSD 11.0
>>>> * VM for the rest
>>>> vCPU: 2
>>>> RAM: 4 GB
>>>> OS: FreeBSD 11.0
>>>> --
>>>> Sébastien Aperghis-Tramoni
>>>> Close the world, txEn eht nepO.
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Act mailing list
>>>> Act at mongueurs.net
>>>> http://listes.mongueurs.net/mailman/listinfo/act
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> Act mailing list
>>> Act at mongueurs.net
>>> http://listes.mongueurs.net/mailman/listinfo/act
>> --
>> Laurent Boivin                    --       mailto:elbeho at boivin.eu
>> Member of Mongueurs de Perl       --     http://www.mongueurs.net/
>> Member of YAPC::Europe Foundation --    http://www.yapceurope.org/
>> Member of OSDC.fr                 --               http://osdc.fr/
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