MAD HATTER PUB 6:30pm, THURSDAY MAY 6TH 1998
Present: †††† Cameron, †††† Colin, †††† David, †††† Eewei, †††† Ian, †††† Jonathan, †††† Kaoru, †††† Richard,
Apologies: †††† Frazer,
Absent: †††† Andrew, †††† Vaz
The discussion examined the feasibility of splitting the ownership and operating costs of a Internet server between a group of people, and highlighted the principal issues associated with joint ownership, the choice of hard/software used, expectations and reasons for joining such an arrangement.
The first stage of discussion focused on what each member's conception and expectations of the arrangement were. Once the basic terms of reference were established, it emerged that two people present (Cameron and Colin) were unsure that the arrangement would suit their requirements. The remaining members agreed that, while there was a spectrum of requirement between them, this did not appear to be incompatible with the general proposal overall. After then looking in more detail at the various issues listed below, we agreed to meet again on Thursday 4th June (same time, same place).
[David - Could you forward this to Ian and let me have his address? I canít find his card.]
1. Hosting Model: It was agreed that we should share a server on an ISP's network rather than connecting a server to a leased line and nominating a member as a "keeper."
2. Establishment of The Group:
Jonathan's "suck it and see" approach was rejected in favour of preparing for as many problems as possible first, before launching the group. We agreed that this should probably mean either establishing a limited company, Friendly Society, or other body for the purpose of facilitating a formal cohesion amongst the members, making it easier to do business with an ISP, and easier to preserve its legal viability. This would in turn would involve creating membership contracts, a policy document, a bank account, and probably allocating specific roles to some individuals within the group.
3. OS and Server Software: Opinions were divided between Windows NT and Linux as an operating system for the server. Members have reasonably extensive experience of both as a web serving platform, and Jonathan has a (quasi-legitimate) copy of NT Server. Most did not feel very strongly either way. A vote revealed a majority was in favour of Windows NT. We agreed that this decision could be swayed if any absent members' votes affected the NT majority.
4. Minimum Hardware Spec: We agreed on a minimum 133MHz Pentium, L2 cache, dual-processor capable mother board, 64MB, as big a HD (SCSI) as we can get. A £2000.00 budget was agreed.
5. Mailing List: David said he would set up a mailing list for the group in the next few days.
6. Serving Deals: Ian knew that Web do a managed hosting deal for £8000 for the first year and £5000 each year thereafter. We felt that we should be able to get something cheaper than this. Companies mentioned were I-Vision (£4000 to 5000 per year), MCIS and Cerbernet. Jonathan and Eewei both know Cerberent well and thought they might be able to negotiate a suitable deal with them.
7. Other Points Noted: - - - That we should bear in mind that server reliability might well be affected by our proposed "free range" use of scripts, packages, etc. - - - That we should decide on a name for the group (David suggested a mysterious "rectangle method" to help choose this). - - - The method of last resort for the resolution of disputes among members should be a fair fight in Soho Square.
Points to Action:
1. Find out more about co-operatives and other methods of formalising the sharing of assets, outgoings and responsibilities.
2. Research hardware prices.
3. Recruit more members.
4. Research ISP deals.
5. Set up and subscribe members to a mailing list for the purpose of discussing further the issues raised at this meeting. [David]
6. Decide on a name for the group.
NEXT MEETING: Thursday 4th June, 6:30pm, Mad Hatter pub, Waterloo.