Minutes of The Hatters' Club AGM

Sunday 24th September 2000, 2.30pm

The Mad Hatter Hotel, Waterloo

Present: Andy Genovese, Satnam Singh-Loyal, Michael Bluett, Jahingo (Tom Sutcliff, Michael Squelch, Stuart Clark), Dan & Peter Hawkins, Jonathan Baker-Bates, Steve Dicks, Dfuse (Ian Masters, Stuart, Axel & Blim), Richard Dallaway, Andy Henson, David Barton, Ian Westbrook

[quorum reached]

Absent: Andy Truelove, Troy Helm, Haywire (Amanda & Fraser)


What To Do With Alice?


Members at least aspired to equal William Hague's standard weekday intake.

What To Do With Alice?

Peter Hawkins (Treasurer) provided a summary of the financial statement (attached), pointing out that it would be prudent to keep at least six hundred pounds in our account as emergency money.

All members indicated that given the projected renewal fees, and taking into account the utility of having two servers, they would be willing to pay the increased subscription fees to keep Alice running.

It was decided that Alice should remain at Oaktree Internet (now IS4B?). It was felt that we had built up a degree of good will with them, and that while we may be able to find cheaper locations, we felt their level of service was high.

However, it was further decided to upgrade Alice to RedHat 6.2 (the same version as Edith). It was therefore agreed that members should migrate all assets from Alice to Edith by November 30th, 2000 (shortly before renewal of the Oaktree fees). We would then effect the upgrade only after receiving the invoice (or other confirmation of the renewal fee) from Oaktree for the year beginning January 1st. If Oaktree raise their prices, or otherwise change the agreement in a manner we do not want to comply with, we will then be free to move the server to another location without disrupting service.

It was agreed that once the rebuild of Alice has been completed, members would be free to move assets onto Alice for whatever purpose they wish. There would be no prescription on what Alice or Edith should be used for, with the proviso that bandwidth usage on Alice should be limited as per the agreement with Oaktree.

It was agreed to operate reciprocal secondary DNS and MX for domains between the two boxes. However, members should make their own arrangements if they wanted to configure servers as mirrors, fail-overs, or load balancers as it was felt that this would be out of the scope of club-wide operation.

It was agreed that the reason for upgrading Alice to RedHat 6.2 (the same version as Edith) is so that that any upgrade to a higher version at a later date would be performed first on Alice, then on Edith, thereby providing a fail-over.


- Jonathan and Peter to buy an SSL certificate for Edith.

- Stuart Clark to register Edith as a name server with NSI. Host name ns1.hatters.org.uk

- Jonathan to collate and write-up members' tips on migrating assets (domains, servers, etc.) to Edith.

- All members to prepare to migrate assets from Alice prior to the upgrade.


Backup on Edith

Daniel reported that while Loud and Clear have committed to provide network backup for Edith (up to a maximum of 8Gb), this has not yet been done. It may be necessary to use Alice as temporary backup if necessary.

Terminal Server

Dan pointed out that Peter Gradwell (Loud and Clear) has a terminal server that we may want to buy a port on. This would provide emergency access to Edith should remote access not be possible. There is a security risk in doing this, so members decided to find out whether Peter Gradwell would be willing to let us use the system before discussing the issue on the list.


Dan to ask Peter Gradwell about this.

Web Server Log Files

Jonathan explained as best he could the current situation on Edith that causes the web server to stop serving CGI. This is due to it periodically hitting the maximum open files limit that the current kernel will allow. It has been decided previously that the best way to deal with this (and other Apache stability issues) is to reduce the number of log files being written as well as increasing the kernel's open file handle limit.

Members discussed the technicalities of this remedy, and possible problems with it, and the fact that we'd not actually managed to get it right yet. Steve resolved to look at Jonathan's example of an (almost) working system on Edith, and to find out how to increase the kernel limit.


The merits and de-merits of having a custom kernel on Edith (and Alice) were discussed. It was agreed that since we gave Edith a custom kernel, we may as well continue with it. Jonathan pointed out the possible problems with such an arrangement should we ever wish to perform a RedHat upgrade (as opposed to a fresh install).

Jahingo Downloads The Internet

Stuart Clark requested that Jahingo be allowed to download NSI's DNS database. This file is usually several gigbytes, and would significantly increase our bandwidth usage.

It was decided that they should be allowed to do this on a trial basis. If it impacts badly on the server in any way then they should think of another way of acquiring the data.

Jonathan then thanked those members that were still awake and the meeting was then brought to a close.


This document maintained by Hatters' Hostmaster for The Mad Hatters.
Last modified: 26/09/2000