ADMIN: Contributions to VE7TCP

Jim Reisert AD1C (Jim Reisert AD1C)
Sun, 14 Apr 96 13:57:20 EDT

Please read the following message.  Lyndon has been very supportive of the CT-USER and NA-USER lists.  Contribute only if you wish!

73 - Jim AD1C


> To:
> Subject: ADMIN: Contributions
> Date: Mon, 08 Apr 1996 15:40:54 -0700
> From: Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TCP) <>

X-VE7TCP-Loop-Detector: dx Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TCP) <>

Okay - here are the much requested instructions on how to
contribute :-)

One thing to note is that there is no fixed target amount I'm
shooting for. As I said before, the list software might come for free
(although this looks very unlikely at this stage). If we go for the
bandwidth upgrade the costs could be as high as $2000-3000 if we have
to purchase all the routers, ISDN/WaveLAN cards, etc. (I have to supply
the equipment for both ends of the link.) Or maybe someone will kick in
some or all of the hardware. The plan is to do as much as possible with
whatever amount is received (with the list software and network upgrades
taking priority).

Again, thanks for all your support!

                    Contributing to VE7TCP.AMPR.ORG
                             April 8, 1996
           The  server has existed as an Internet
           service, in one form or another, since early 1993. Ini-
           tially  part  of  the  Prince George (British Columbia,
           Canada) Internet/AX.25 gateway system, it has grown  to
           become  one  of  the major amateur radio servers on the
           Internet today, hosting seven mailing lists, an  anony-
           mous  FTP  server,  and  a  very popular World Wide Web
           During the first two and a half years of operation  the
           server  (and  Internet connection) were funded entirely
           by the owner: Lyndon Nerenberg (VE7TCP/VE6BBM).  Start-
           ing  in 1994 the Internet witnessed an explosive growth
           in connectivity as local and regional Internet  Service
           Providers  started providing affordable Internet access
           to the home computing enthusiast. This generated a cor-
           responding  increase  in  load  on the VE7TCP server as
           more and more people subscribed to  the  mailing  lists
           run  from  the  system. By late 1995 the number of list
           subscribers had exceeded  the  system's  capability  to
           keep  up  with  the  demand.  To prevent a major system
           meltdown the people using the system to run their mail-
           ing  lists  took  up  a collection to purchase an addi-
           tional 16 MB of RAM for the machine. This  kept  things
           going  for  the next six months or so, however new bot-
           tlenecks are appearing daily, and  this  time  a  major
           overhaul of both the server and network connection will
           be necessary to ensure the sustainability of  the  sys-
           tem.  The past years experience shows that this will be
           an ongoing process.
      The Funding Model
           The rate of growth in system load has now surpassed the
           ability  of  the  system  operators to keep up with the
           funding necessary to  continue  expanding  the  system.
           Therefore  we  are  turning  to  the user community for
           help. If you like what you see, and  want  to  see  the
           service  continue  to grow, it's time to show your sup-
           I don't like the idea of asking for donations,  however
           the  reality  of the situation is that without external
           funding the system cannot continue to  operate.  Having
           accepted  that  I've  thought  long  and hard about the
           funding model. There are a couple of conditions I  have
           placed on the funding model:
           *    The  system  must not become a commercial service.
                This is not a  profit-making  venture  for  anyone
                involved,  and  services must not be restricted to
                only those who have the ability to pay  for  them.
                This  is  also  a requirement for sites registered
                under the domain.
           *    Equal access must be provided to everyone, regard-
                less of their ability to contribute.
           The  second  of these is the most important to me. Many
           of the people using the system simply  don't  have  the
           financial means to send in a donation. In NO WAY should
           these people  feel  like  second-class  citizens.  Con-
           versely,  people  contributing to the system should not
           expect any special treatment or  preference.  (If  con-
           tributing  to  the  ham community at large doesn't make
           you feel warm and fuzzy,  you're  probably  better  off
           hanging on to your money.)
      What's Needed
           There  are  two  areas that have to be addressed almost
           immediately: new  mailing  list  software,  and  faster
           Internet connectivity.
           The  biggest demand on system resources has always been
           the  mailing  lists.  The  software  we  currently  use
           (majordomo)  is  deficient  in a number of areas. It is
           very demanding on system resources, and does a poor job
           of  dealing  with  undeliverable  mail.  A new software
           package needs to be found that  addresses  these  prob-
           lems.  None  of  the "freeware" packages we're aware of
           will do the job, so we're  investigating  some  commer-
           cially available solutions.
           The second immediate need is a faster connection to the
           Internet.  There are two options  available:  ISDN  and
           WaveLAN.  My  current preference is for a WaveLAN link.
           This would give us a 2 Mb/s link to the local  Internet
           POP,  vs. 128 Kb/s for ISDN. The WaveLAN solution has a
           higher startup cost, but will be cheaper  in  the  long
           run (no monthly ISDN line charges). We need to investi-
           gate this further before making a decision.
           Looking at the long term we need to consider some  gen-
           eral  server  upgrades.  The  system  needs  more  (and
           faster) disks, a faster CPU, additional RAM, etc. (It's
           a bit ironic that although these are not pressing needs
           right now, they can be implemented sooner than the oth-
      How You Can Help
           The  main  need  is for cash donations to apply towards
           the list software and network bandwidth  upgrades.  Any
           surplus  funds  will  be applied towards other hardware
           upgrades and ongoing costs associated with running  the
           system.  If  you  would  like  to  make  a contribution
           towards the operation of the system you can send it to:
                Lyndon Nerenberg
                1804 Juniper Street
                Prince George, B.C.
                Canada  V2L 1N7
           Please note the following:
           *    My  bank  will  only  accept  cheques payable on a
                Canadian or US  bank.   If  you  live  outside  of
                Canada  or  the  US  you  MUST send a postal money
                order or bank draft. If you live in the US I would
                *prefer* a bank draft or money order -- US cheques
                can take a month (or longer) to clear.
           *    The cheque/MO/draft must be made payable to  "Lyn-
                don Nerenberg"
           *    DO NOT SEND CASH IN THE MAIL!
           *    Contributors  names  (but not the amounts) will be
                listed on the VE7TCP.AMPR.ORG World Wide Web  site
                unless  you  tell  me  otherwise.   If you want to
                remain anonymous, please include a note with  your
                contribution.  (Don't  send me e-mail. I will lose
                it. Guaranteed :-) If you have  a  WWW  home  page
                include  the  URL  with your contribution so I can
                link to it from the contributors web page.
           The amount of your contribution is entirely up to  you.
           Send  in whatever you think is appropriate. If you can-
           not afford a donation, DON'T send any money. (To  quote
           one  of  my  favorite  U2  songs: "the God I believe in
           doesn't *need* cash, mister.")
           There are other ways to contribute. Volunteers to main-
           tain  portions  of  the web pages (or even better, con-
           tribute NEW areas), FTP archives, etc., are always wel-
           come.  I  can't maintain it all on my own. We also need
           volunteers with solid  C  programming  skills  to  help
           develop new web services (the QSL database, antenna and
           filter design software, etc).
           Hardware donations could also be useful,  although  the
           requirements  would  be  very specific. (Sorry, I can't
           use your used '286 machines :-) A pair of 900MHz  Wave-
           LAN cards would be VERY useful at this point.
      Special Thanks To ...
           The  initial  plea for help went out to the Internet DX
           Mailing List.  The positive response  to  that  message
           was  astounding!  I  was about ready to pack things in,
           however the feedback from the mailing  list  membership
           convinced  me  that  "the show must go on" even if that
           means changing the operating model. Thanks  to  all  of
           A  public  thanks  is  also due the many volunteers who
           help maintain the mailing lists, bulletin archives, web
           pages,  and  FTP  areas,  and  contributed to the first
           hardware upgrade.  You know who you are.
      Lyndon Nerenberg

=========END FORWARDED MESSAGE=========

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