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posted by Fnord666 on Monday April 10, @05:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the another-one-bites-the-dust dept.

The MathJax CDN hosted at cdn.mathjax.org will be shutting down on April 30, 2017.

Background

Our CDN has been an important part of MathJax's history. When MathJax made its first public release in 2010, hosting a library like MathJax was a complex challenge. The CDN launched a year later and helped resolve this difficulty, enabling MathJax to quickly become the gold standard for rendering mathematics on the web.

Over the past 6 years, the CDN has grown steadily each year. From 22 Million monthly users and 1.3TB traffic in late 2011 to 179 Million monthly users and 70TB traffic last month. We switched CDN providers several times to improve performance and reduce costs. In the last three years we could keep up with this growth thanks to support from Google (providing free storage on Google Cloud Storage) which we combined with CloudFlare.

Recently, CloudFlare informed us that we need to upgrade our CloudFlare plan at a significantly increased rate. We greatly appreciate how CloudFlare has worked with us to find a suitable solution. Unfortunately, we do not see an affordable way to keep the CDN.

The MathJax Consortium and its team have come to the decision that our resources are best spent by focusing them on development and so we will retire our self-hosted CDN service on April 30, 2017.

We are proud of what the MathJax CDN has accomplished for mathematics on the web and we are grateful for everyone who has made use of it. We hope we can help everyone migrate to a new setup quickly and efficiently over the coming weeks.

They anticipate there will be no loss to the community and outline several alternatives.


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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by BsAtHome on Monday April 10, @05:46PM (5 children)

    by BsAtHome (889) on Monday April 10, @05:46PM (#491771)

    Depending on a service not on your own host(s) is a dangerous thing to do. MathJax points to another cloudflare link, but when do you learn? No cloud is permanent, they all vanish in the light and heat of the sun (pun intended). The slaughterhouse is about to be opened - the webflux is high.

    MathJax is very easy to install locally. Keeping it up to date is the same as for all software you should be keeping up to date (have a plan when you make a site). If you really care about your site, then you should host your dependencies under your control. External dependencies are a problem when you want continuity.

    • (Score: 2) by Pino P on Monday April 10, @06:38PM (2 children)

      by Pino P (4721) on Monday April 10, @06:38PM (#491817) Journal

      Depending on a service not on your own host(s) is a dangerous thing to do.

      Does leasing shared hosting from a shared hosting provider or leasing a VPS from a VPS provider count as "Depending on a service not on your own host(s)"? Even if not, website operators still have to depend on routers, the domain registry's DNS service, the hosting provider's reverse DNS service, the TLS certificate authority's issuance and OCSP servers, the email smarthost in order to prevent blackholing of a site's password resets by the big three (Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo), and more.

      So the first problem is to classify dependencies by the practicality of avoiding them.

      • (Score: 2) by pnkwarhall on Tuesday April 11, @01:24AM

        by pnkwarhall (4558) on Tuesday April 11, @01:24AM (#492054)

        The VPS example was the very first thing I thought in response to OP's comment, too. It is **much** cheaper for me to rent server time/space than to run my own. Do you (OP), for example, maintain your own vehicle service garage so you can always service your own car? Of course not, and that's why we have **service providers**. Just because you're a "techie" and have the time, ability, and resources to run your own computer-related fill-in-the-blank doesn't mean jack in the bigger picture of technology services (of any type or level of sophistication).

        --
        Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
      • (Score: 2) by pendorbound on Tuesday April 11, @02:00PM

        by pendorbound (2688) on Tuesday April 11, @02:00PM (#492258) Homepage

        It's a risk, but much smaller. You pay for VPS, you have a contract with the vendor. You have some (limited) legal recourse if they mess up. More importantly, they presumably want to stay in business and will provide the service you're paying for so you keep paying them.

        Freebee CDN run by who knows who for the good of the community? Good luck with that.

        I'm a big fan of, "If you can't smash it with a hammer, it's not yours," generally speaking. That doesn't really apply to any kind of shared hosting or VPS, but it's a LOT better off than building critical systems on something run out of the goodness of somebody's heart + the occasional donation.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, @07:07PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, @07:07PM (#491843)

      they all vanish in the light and heat of the sun

      and the sun was beguiled by the babbling of the oracle.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, @08:03PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, @08:03PM (#491900)

      No cloud is permanent, they all vanish in the light and heat of the sun

      relevant xkcd [xkcd.com]

  • (Score: 2) by Scruffy Beard 2 on Monday April 10, @05:50PM (1 child)

    by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Monday April 10, @05:50PM (#491774)

    If they are really self-hosting, why would cloudlfare be able to demand a higher rate?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, @01:45AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11, @01:45AM (#492066)

      Basically they eat the overages caused by DDoSes so the site using their service doesn't have to.

      However since the Krebs incident the amount of bandwidth they are eating during DDoS mitigation has gotten high enough that it is cutting into their profits, so now they are asking their clients to pay more (much more!) as a result, which is causing many clients to drop their services rather than pay the increased rates.

  • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday April 10, @06:01PM (2 children)

    by Nerdfest (80) Subscriber Badge on Monday April 10, @06:01PM (#491781)

    As the cost of bandwidth and computing go down, shouldn't the cost of hosting at least remain stable?

  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Monday April 10, @07:40PM (4 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Monday April 10, @07:40PM (#491880) Homepage

    I've started using mathml. Mathjax was far too slow.

    mathml works in firefox. Don't know if it works in other browsers.

    -- hendrik

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, @08:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, @08:11PM (#491910)

      It doesn't work in Chrome, unless you add an extension that basically runs mathjax to display mathml.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by fnj on Monday April 10, @08:15PM (2 children)

      by fnj (1654) on Monday April 10, @08:15PM (#491914)

      MathML is a SPEC whose support level is up to the client system. MathJax is a SCRIPT LIBRARY. And BTW, MathJax supports MathML, as well as the more professional LaTeX-based markup.

      MathML support was abandoned by Chrome (nobody was using it), which puts it right out of the running if you care about your site's usability. Other browsers such as Konqueror also lack support. The quality of MathML rendering depends on the particular fonts which are installed on the CLIENT system.

      MathJax is supported by virtually all browsers, all the way back to incredibly old versions such as IE6, Chrome 0.3, Safari 2.0, etc - basically anything that does JavaScript. The rendering uses web-based fonts, so it does not rely on ideosyncracies of the client system. MathJax can be configured to use SVG graphics in place of fonts, for the highest-quality rendering, which will appear absolutely identical and authentic in ANY browser which supports SVG. And, if you absolutely must, you can configure MathJax to use the client browser's MathML rendering.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, @09:37PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, @09:37PM (#491947)

        And, if you care the slightest bit about performance, you can configure MathJax to use the client browser's MathML rendering.

        FTFY

        • (Score: 4, Informative) by hendrikboom on Monday April 10, @11:06PM

          by hendrikboom (1125) on Monday April 10, @11:06PM (#491999) Homepage

          Indeed, large pages with a lots of mathjax crashed the browser. My guess is that it was a problem with available main memory, because parts of the complete file worked, albeit very slowly (minutes of longer to render the page).

          I switched to using mathml, because that worked well, at least on firefox.

          If more browsers supported mathml, perhaps mathematicians wouldn't have to resort to using pdfs everywhere, which refuse to fit the reader's available screen size.

  • (Score: 2) by bzipitidoo on Tuesday April 11, @03:17AM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 11, @03:17AM (#492105) Journal

    Didn't know of the existence of MathJax until I saw this story. Sounds like it could be cool.

    There are sooo many libraries and tools and so forth I wonder that anyone can keep up with them all. Invariably, many of them disappoint in various ways. Like, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in HTML5 works fine as far as it goes, but isn't implemented in many of the browsers that run on smartphones. Look how long it took for PNG to reach universal acceptance, and for MS in particular to cave in and implement that standard in IE. MS is of course especially frustrating, the way they push out crappy libraries then deprecate them with reckless abandon. Probably encouraged, to keep pushing their customers forward on the update treadmill.

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