FYI: possible future machine for the GNU project

loic at loic at
Thu May 31 14:35:54 UTC 2001

 Summary: Placenet is likely to donate a machine to the GNU project,
 hosted in Paris. One declared purpose of this machine is to keep an
 rsync mirror of Savannah. This may happen this summer. No action
 required on our part before Placenet sends a warning that the machine
 is ready.
 The primary contact is Frederic Cella (frederic at for
 Placenet and Guillaume Morin for GNU (gmorin at I act as a
 backup for Guillaume, if needs be.


	I just talked to Frederic Cella (frederic at He
proposes that Placenet donates a machine to the GNU project and hosts
it.  I explained him what it means for a machine to be part of the GNU
project (technically, philosophically and socially). The machine will
be owned by placenet.

	On the technical side, it will be installed with a stable
Debian and Frederic will provide access to the terminal controller to
access the EMP port of the machine. From this point the GNU volunteers
are welcome to take over. He proposes that the machine uses the file
server for storage and that Placenet takes care of the backups. The
communication between the storage and the machine uses coda. Frederic
agrees that if nobody in the GNU volunteers feel comfortable with coda,
the machine can be installed stand-alone with 40Gb of disk. I know nothing
about coda, maybe someone else does.

	On the philosophical side, the donation of this machine to the
GNU project is done because Frederic is a long time defender of the
Free Software movement and a friend of rms. This makes me confident on
the fact that once the machine is in place we can count on the support
of Frederic. Another important aspect that motivates Frederic decision
is to mirror Savannah on a daily basis outside the US, just in case
the US government decides to take over. Although it is an unlikely
event, I see this as a good motive. A wish of Frederic is that among
other things this machine keeps an up-to-date mirror of the Savannah
machine (rsync of all file systems will do the job). If no volunteer
of the GNU project is willing to take the task, a technical guy from
placenet is likely to postulate for membership in the GNU project to
take care of this aspect. For various reasons too long to explain
here, Placenet and Gitoyen (the ISP Placenet builds with other
non-profit associations and companies in Paris and who is likely to
open its doors in the weeks to come) is a political project before
being a technical project.

	On the social side Frederic understands that donating a
machine to the GNU project only works if the GNU volunteers are
willing to accept it and use it. This acceptance is determined by two
factors. The GNU volunteers must believe that the machine will not
vanish in 6 month time and in that respect the long time support
of Frederic to Free Software is a good guarantee to me. Maybe other
GNU volunteers who happen to know Frederic can speak up on this
subject. Additionally full technical control must be available and a
dedicated machine, with access to the EMP port gives this. Finally
Placenet must be trusted to provide a reliable network access and
hosting conditions that do not imply power failure every week. There
is no guarantee for this, experience will give the answer.

	At that point no action is required from us. Frederic will
get back to us when he is about to install the machine. This may happen
this summer. If someone see a problem, please express yourself.


Loic   Dachary  loic at
24 av Secretan      loic at
75019    Paris         Tel: 33 1 42 45 09 16        loic at
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