Minutes of 13th AGM Sunday 23rd October 2011

Mad Hatter Hotel, Waterloo 2:00pm


Jonathan, Steve, David, Dfuse (Joanna), Richard


Michael, Andy, Alan, Jahingo

Minutes from Previous Meeting and Matters Arising

1. The rationalisation of the "Hatters' scripts" has only been partially achieved.

Jonathan failed to rationalise these as agreed, so the matter is carried over. Steve suggested we try hard-linking the old names to the new ones so that at least everyone is using the same scripts, even if their names may be different.

ACTION: Steve to investigate, again.

All other items from previous years have now been addressed.

Agenda Items

1. SSL certificates

It was decided to renew the certificate for tradeline.org.uk for a further year. It was thought that while not many member may actually need it, at approximately £50, it would be better safe than sorry.

ACTION: David to renew with Geotrust.

2. Online VAT payments

David proposed that we open a Business Direct account with HSBC so that we can make online VAT payments to HMRC, something that will become compulsory in April. It was agreed David should do this, and that David, Richard and Jonathan have account access. This could be used initially alongside the NatWest account, but should eventually replace it.

ACTION: David to set up the Business Direct account with HSBC.

3. Should we perform a hardware upgrade?

Alice is four years old; her book value will reduce to zero in 2012. It was agreed that we do not, since the hardware appears adequate for the load we are giving it (and as an aside, mpt-status shows that both our drives are working correctly as of October 23rd, 2011).

4. Upgrading the OS

We are currently on Debian 5.0 "lenny", support for which will cease some time on or after February 2012 (date currently TBA). After Jonathan tried a dry-run of upgrading a clone of Alice "in place" without success earlier this year, it was agreed we should not attempt this on the live server. We will therefore need to do a clean install by wiping Alice and installing the new OS on it some time in early 2012.

Steve said that Ubuntu Server (which is based on Debian) has a better history of "in place" upgrades, and it was agreed we should move to that from Debian. However, a final decision should be pending some investigation into Arch Linux as an alternative to this.

ACTION: Steve to look at Arch Linux.

5. How best to perform the OS upgrade?

Last time, we performed the OS upgrades telling members to back up their data individually, then restoring it themselves by whatever means they wanted. It was agreed this should also be the method this time.

Richard asked whether we might consider virtualisation this time, so as to enable easier OS upgrades (effectively "in place") in the future. It was agreed that in principle there would be advantages in doing this. Steve verified that our hardware supports virtualisation, and we currently use less than 50% of our disk space.

ACTION: Steve to investigate virtualisation. Further discussion to take place on the list.

6. Joanna and Dfuse

Joanna said that Dfuse no longer have a need for the Hatters, but that she would like to take over their account. We agreed that would be fine, and that a new SSH key should be generated so she can hand over administration from Ian "The Master" Masters to a new person once she is ready to do that. She will also send her contact details to David for billing.

ACTION: JBB to generate new SSH key pair when appropriate. Also, if anyone would like to provide some paid tutelage in the ways of the Hatters server for Joanna to better manage her resources, please step forward some time before Easter 2012.

7. Virtual AGMs

Richard asked if we should consider virtual AGMs so as to make attendance easier. It was agreed that using conference software in a pub was not practical, and that we favour physical AGMs for now. However, members should be free to call fully virtual EGMs at any time (ie we all use Skype from home).

8. Members' Subscription for 2012

The meeting was quorate, and we agreed the subscription to be £100 plus VAT (£120 incl.). It as further agreed that as we are not going to upgrade our hardware this year, in the event of any members dropping out before paying the 2012 subscription, we should make up the shortfall from the savings account.

ACTION: David to send out invoices. Please can all members pay ASAP as the Hatters Year as already begun!

The meeting was then called to an end.