Minutes of 9th AGM Sunday 30th September 2007

Mad Hatter Hotel, Waterloo 2:00pm


Joanna (Dfuse)
Stuart, Michael (Jahingo)
Faris (asleep in buggy, non-voting)



Minutes from Previous Meeting and Matters Arising

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

ACTION: Stuart to continue this noble task.

Agenda Items

1. Upgrading Alice

The version of Red Hat we have installed on Alice (RHEL 3.2) is showing its age in terms of the versions of software it can run. PHP, MySQL, and now spamassassin are in some cases in very old versions which we cannot upgrade (although bug and security patches are applied). We did not predict this situation when we made the original decision to stay with Red Hat.

The following points were discussed:

That we consider installing either the latest version of Red Hat, or move to another OS (the ones preferred being either Debian or Ubuntu Server). The effect of doing either would be the same, however, but the "version ceiling" of Red Hat may return.

Stuart observed that Red Hat is aimed mainly that those wishing to run software in a stable environment over a long period of time. However, this is not necessarily the Hatters' position.

The fact that Red Hat is commercial is not very significant as we pay approximately £200 a year for it.

It was pointed out that Red Hat do not recommend in-situ upgrades between major versions, whereas Debian can be upgraded to major versions without a complete re-installation, and that this is (anecdotally) pretty painless.

We felt that we did not know very much about Ubuntu Server, or why it might be run in preference to Debian.

It was concluded that we should upgrade the OS on Alice to Debian Etch (stable).

It was further concluded that since we have built up enough in the hardware contingency fund (approx £1,500) we should spend this now to coincide with the OS upgrade so as to make the upgrade procedure less disruptive. Further, the fund serves no purpose becoming larger after it reaches the point when we can buy good quality hardware with it.

It was noted that the hardware fund is separate from the contingency fund, which covers replacements of peripherals and unscheduled costs, which stands at approximately £500.

Jonathan noted that he still has two unused 160Gb SATA discs.

ACTION: Stuart to source a suitable server from Dell. This server to be configured with Debian Etch and and put live by January 6th 2008 (when our Red Hat subscripton ends).

ACTION: Jonathan to manage the subsequent sale of the current machine together with its spare discs, if necessary.

2. Members' Subscription for 2008

Having received word from Alan that he intends to renew his membership (although he made part payment last year), we assume all members now intend to renew their subscriptions for 2008.

Assuming a total membership of eleven, the membership fee was therefore set at £100.00 plus VAT.

ACTIONS: Peter to issue invoices.

3. Guidbooks

It was felt that some of the guidebooks were out of date and that these should be reviewed. David also asked about a guidebook for setting up Spamassassin.

ACTION: Jonathan to review these and produce a Guidebook for Spamassassin by some time in 2008.


1. Should we rename Alice?

Steve was keen to decide on a new name for the new hardware proposed in Item 1. It was decided that we should stick with "Alice" - if only because we'd have to change a bunch of config files.

2. System Graphs on Alice and Edith

The load and traffic graphs that Jonathan set up on Alice prior to the meeting were much appreciated, but questions were asked about the accuracy of the load averages.

It was agreed that the script used to calculate load averages should be audited by an expert.

It was requested that Jonathan set up similar graphs for Edith.

ACTION: Somebody should have a look at line 28 of /usr/local/bin/sysheart.sh (modified by JBB to accommodate multi-processor averages)

ACTION: Jonathan to set up similar monitoring for Edith.

3. Rule Changes

It was noted that the Rules of the Club need to be changed slightly to allow for our reduced size. In particular, clauses III. 2 relating to the AGM "A quorum of 9 members..." should be changed to "A quorum of 60% of the total Club membership, rounded down...", and II. 3 relating to ‘real world’ meetings, "a quorum of 5 people..." to be changed to "a quorum of 30% of the total Club membership ..."

It was also noted that references to 'real world meetings' in the Rules should be changed to Extraordinary General Meetings, since we don't actually have any such meetings.

With nine members present at the meeting, the Rules were agreed to be changed accordingly.

ACTION: Jonathan to amend the rules.

The meeting was then called to an end.