Speculation: it must be somehow related to that Meltdown bug.
Reality: the website goes down because it is hosted on a home server that suffered a power outage and needed the password to boot. Problem was that owner Jasper was on vacation when this incident happened.
Just to clarify, lkml.org, one of the many websites that host the Linux Kernel Mailing List archive. It is not the official archive.
lkml.org is managed by Jasper Spanns in the Netherlands. He hosts it on a personal computer at his home.
When he was on vacation last week, his washing machine malfunctioned and caused a power outage on 9-10 January. And thus the system that hosts needed to enter LUKS passphrase. Jasper revealed the backstory on Twitter:
Yep, I'm very aware – the site's backend is hosted on a machine at home which is waiting for someone to enter a luks passphrase after a power outage while on vacation. I should be back home, and https://t.co/MTS96wBH6B back up Saturday evening :(
— jasper spaans (@spaans) January 10, 2018
It was natural that people would find it amusing that a website as popular as lkml.org is self-hosted at someone’s home.
The official Linux kernel mailing list being offline for days because it's hosted on a home Linux server that suffered a power outage is the most Linux thing ever… https://t.co/Pt5HIN5bMD
— Jake Williams (@MalwareJake) January 13, 2018
But hey! when it comes to the community, Linux enthusiasts always lend a helping hand. Several people offered their help to host the servers on a better infrastructure.
I have two options to offer help to improve this in the future: NLNOG can provide you with VMs to run https://t.co/sEy6K4juFt – or I can ship you an APC Back-UPS 700VA (BX700UI). I use those APCs for my home servers and am quite happy with them :)
— Job Snijders (@JobSnijders) January 11, 2018
Server hosting company Liquid Web also jumped in for the sake of Linux community.
Hey jasper, we noticed you might be looking for a Host to provide service for LKML and wanted to extend an offer! We'd like to chat about what resources you might need in a DM. We'd love to help support such an integral part of the Linux community! https://t.co/gopnZAANMe
— Liquid Web (@LiquidWeb) January 12, 2018
Heck! Someone even tagged Elon Musk to help Jasper and lkml.org servers.
Perhaps @elonmusk can hook you up with a Tesla Powerwall. 🤔
— Chris Erice (@ChrisErice) January 13, 2018
Jasper returned on Saturday evening and is in process of moving the servers to a reliable Virtual Private Server.
At present, this is the message you’ll see on lkml.org:
What started out as a power outage while I was on vacation (leading to the computer hosting the backend of this site being unable to boot) became a larger issue as the mainboard in that computer appears to be broken.
Not wanting to let you wait for a spare part to arrive, I’m currently (while being assisted by our cat Flits) busy copying over all data to a VPS, and getting things working from there.
The website should be up and running soon.
Before someone starts outraging, no, this is not a criticism of Jasper. His contribution to the Linux community is always appreciable.
However, this amusing incident reminds us that critical infrastructure should not be hosted in a private home. Self-hosting was a thing in the 90’s but in 2018, you have the option of cloud and VPS servers and it doesn’t cost much.
What do you think? Is it still okay to host web servers at home or not? What are your views on it?
P.S. Are you okay to have these BuzzFeed style stories from time to time? Or should we stick to the ‘real stuff’?