This discussion was based on server load problems from the beginning of 2004. We resolved the problem temporarily by moving to VPS Colo. However, in 2006, after switching to an RDBMS structure underneath the server started to crash repeatedly when it ran out of memory. In August 2006, the file system crashed when the server ran out of hard drive space. Shortly after that crash, SunirShah opened discussion on the MeatballBoard who would become responsible for sorting out this mess.
See MeatballServerLayout for a technical description of the server.
During the last months every now and then we run low on memory and disk space. Maybe we should move to another server. Where should we look for one? Country? How much are the current monthly costs? -- MarkusLude
Agreed. VPSColo blows. It's costing me $50/mo. -- SunirShah
May 26th, 2008: I work at a university as technical staff and I'm sure that it would be possible to get our faculty to host such project as Meatball, cost-free, without bandwidth limits, with the university staff support and pretty good resources. It's also a long-term solution, as once it's agreed upon, it's unlikely to ever be reconsidered again. If the Meatball community is interested in such a solution, I will go and try to get the acceptance of authorities -- namely the dean of our faculty. Please reply if you are interested in the details. -- RadomirDopieralski
I'd be willing to consider that, if I find out more what the implications are, and what kind of freedom of expression we'd have as well as freedom to continue to adapt the server. Eventually, I'd like to move the system to something similar to BibWiki. -- SunirShah
Sorry for not responding so long, I'm in the process of obtaining the exact rules they play by, and as this involves university's administration, it's painfully slow. I'm not sure how BibWiki setup looks like from inside, but I'm sure I can recreate pretty much any sane setup. -- RadomirDopieralski
Seems like there are no set rules and everything is under control of the person who's picking up the phone at the moment. I haven't managed to get any definitive answer or guarantees. -- RadomirDopieralski
April 25th, 2004: Hi there - I'm a friend of Bayle's. He mentioned you were looking for hosting. I have a consortium of 3 people and we are renting a virtual Linux box over which we have full root access - see [linode.com]. Depending on your requirements, I would be happy to share the box with you for a small fee. For $10/month you would get 12.5Gb/month bandwidth and 2.25Gb disk space. As many domains as you want, any software can be installed. If you need more bandwidth, we can scale up in integer multiples. Eventually I'd like to have enough people to rent a dedicated server for about $100/month (was thinking managed.com for $60/month but they have bad reviews...). Presently I'm hosting  including a Tikiwiki  and the server load is very low (usually 0.00, occasionally goes up to 0.25) -- MatthewLloyd
January 18, 2004: I'm no longer considering the "Jimbo" option below. I hope to stress-test the mesopia.com server in the next few weeks. --CliffordAdams
January 1, 2004: I (CliffordAdams) am seriously considering asking (via StephenGilbert) Jimbo (WikiPedia:Jimbo_Wales) to host usemod.com within the next few months. (See the discussion below.) This move would include the Meatball wiki as part of usemod.com. If Jimbo agrees to host usemod.com, I would have no objections to Meatball staying with usemod.com indefinitely. (The Meatball community could always move later, especially if the community acquires a new MeatballDomain.)
If hosting with Jimbo doesn't work out, my backup plan is to move usemod.com to a cheaper provider. (I am paying $40/month currently.) [Mesopia.com] is my current favorite. In the next few weeks I hope to test their servers with my brand-new "wikiview.com" domain. (I plan to use this domain to play around with a few post-UseModWiki ideas and as online backup space.) --CliffordAdams
Hmm.. looks pretty sexy. If it works out well, I might switch sunir.org there as well. -- SunirShah
Cliff, do you want us to actually host ourselves, or is paying for your hosting services an option? Finding the time is as hard as finding the money for us, so if it's almost as easy for you to host two wikis as one, maybe that would be the way to go.
Another route that we should think about is doing it cheaply, i.e. not actually paying for hosting somehow. For example, we could host it off someone's old computer and a broadband connection.
My old computer is a 166mhz, and my broadband connection is not reliable (sometimes it cuts out and requires someone to call the cable modem company to tell them to reset something or other). And I will not make myself available 24/7 to deal with server problems (in fact, I probably wouldn't be able to deal with them immediately at any time of the day). And, someday, my old computer will presumably break. But, did I mention it's free? Does anyone else have an old computer and a connection to offer?
I'm not sure that an old system will even be able to keep up with the current load. Even a simple page load takes about 0.3 CPU-seconds on the current system (a 900MHZ P-3), and loading RecentChanges takes even longer. Peak hourly loads are currently about 1000 pages/hour, but that has been increasing, and a fair amount of the traffic is RSS feeds (which take more CPU than page loads). --CliffordAdams
Another possibility could be for some people who are currently paying for wiki hosting to cooperate and buy a dedicated (possibly virtual) server to host multiple projects. I recall seeing virtual-dedicated offers as low as $70/month on K5, and real dedicated servers as low as $129/month . This would require some coordination between projects, but would be very flexible.
Yet another route is to look for a different site to piggyback with. Alex, is however you are hosting the emacswiki domain available to us? If you are paying, could we move over there and pitch in? Would Helmut or anyone else running a hosting business be an option for us?
If we go for the normal commercial solution, we need to determine how to pay for it. I think we should contribute enough to account for two years out, so that whoever is actually paying the bill doesn't have to scramble around for funds every few months. On the other hand, assuming we don't want to go through the rigamarole of setting up a NonProfit, the point man may be bumped into a different tax bracket if they suddenly get thousands of dollars of contributions, so maybe we would want to spread it out as much as possible.
If we want to do this, I'll pledge $500 (1 year's worth) to start out, provided that at least 7 others match me within a reasonable amount of time. In total, that would be enough for 8 years, or about $70/person/year (most likely less if we could get other people to contribute too, even if not as much). I would probably pay in installments rather than $500 upfront. I'd reserve my right to retract my pledge for future installments because of dire need on my end, or a big disagreement with how it is being spent.
I'll also pledge some money if we pay one of ourselves less than $40/mo to host us, but the amount may be different.
Well, you wouldn't have to be the point man. If you want to pay for it all yourself, so much the better for the rest of us :) You shouldn't have to, though.
I chose futurequest.net after finding that two other cheap providers could not provide adequate service for usemod.com (even when it was much smaller). Other providers may be able to host meatball more cheaply. For example, one UseModWiki user recommended [lizardhill.com] which would cost only $120/year. (Their terms of service are not very CGI-friendly, but the user thought he could convince the owner to make an exception.) Perhaps other people know site owners who could make similar deals. --CliffordAdams
Another recommended provider was [modhost.com]. They have a plan for less than $100/year which would give 1000 MB of space and 30GB of bandwidth, and their CGI policy seems reasonable (about the same as futurequest.net). Modhost might be overpacking their systems with users, but I think it's worth a try. Since modhost.com has no setup fees, I might just risk 10.75 for a single month and experiment with it. (I will not move usemod.com/Meatball without public discussion, but I might make a private copy for testing.) --CliffordAdams
I would suggest that Meatball remain independent of Wales for a number of reasons, and would be willing to offer a degree of financial support in furtherance of that recommendation. I recommend a move to a commercial hosting company.
To be candid, Wales' server situation is, well, a disaster at the present time and has been for almost a year. While he and his volunteers have been working diligently to address that, no net headway has been made---everything is still slow and there is a good deal of downtime. I realize that there are reasons why, but the bottom line remains. Moreover, Wales himself has much else to do and to all appearances doesn't have much time for another project.
With MeatBall hosted by Wales, the idea that so much of the Wiki community could end up with a single point of failure, both hardware-wise and management-wise, does not sit well.
I have found that most of the commercial web hosting providers are realiable and reasonably priced. Unlike Wales they have hundreds of PCs or perhaps thousands. 4 PCs to a blade, 16 blades to a rack, 10 racks to a cabinet, 10 cabinets to a lineup, and 6 lineups in the server room. Hardware problems? They swap blades and reload from last night's tape, and with 36,000 PCs they have ten of them go out every day so they stay in good practice.
The main problem is customer support, which is as a rule poor and varies widely, and getting a reasonable deal that includes the CGI capabilies and traffic that MeatBall needs.
Actually, the more I think about it, the more I agree with (anon). Jimmy might agree to host on on [Bomis] servers (which are stable), but I really think ibiblio is the best option, and then a commercial host if that falls through. -- StephenGilbert
In addition, the purpose of the Wikimedia foundation is supposed to be chiefly open content, so meatball might be a difficult fit from that point of view too. -- MartinHarper
I don't think it is a good idea to introduce stakeholders into this project that aren't 100% aligned with it. Why give up control to third parties when you don't have to? That reduces our freedom to be creative. The last thing that Meatball needs to do is be absorbed by the very processes it occasionally criticizes. -- SunirShah
I am part of an arts collective doing WearableComputing. Would it be off-base to use meatballsociety.org to host its project files? I'd very much like to use meatballsociety.org as some sort of shared space for laterally connected projects. I recently installed CVS on the server and am trying to get it up and running, for instance. The long term goal that I would like to follow is to create a laboratory for FairSoftware and other ParticipatoryDesign projects, to see what kind of support they need. -- SunirShah
Alt+I is now the accesskey shortcut for "edit text of this page", and Alt+P is the shortcut for "preview".
This ties in to MeatballWikiSoftwareDiscussion as well. Check out:
Ping. Lack of response does not constitute a mandate. ;) -- SM