Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday October 06 2017, @11:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the upon-the-shoulders-of-others dept.

There is a story up on by Rob Malda (aka CmdrTaco) reflecting on Slashdot's start twenty years ago, on October 5th, 1997. For those who may be new here, the code driving this site you are reading is based on an old version of slashcode. If it weren't for Rob's efforts starting way back then, there would be no SoylentNews today.

Within a few days of DNS registration, was live. I quickly added polls to answer urgent questions like "How many shots should Kurt drink". While he suffered the results of these polls, I would tail -f on the access_log and the residents of the so-called Geek House would boggle as names like '' and '' streamed forward faster than we could read.

Rapid change followed: traffic soon created real expenses requiring hardware, colocation, and advertising. The code was in constant flux: adding user accounts, moderation, the submissions bin. And of course performance improvements to deal with the unyielding traffic growth. All the while I posted story after story, and our readers matched us with more comments than we thought possible.

My friends began contributing more and more. From code, to old hardware, to posting stories and coordinating advertising, we formed Blockstackers with a purpose. Slashdot went from from something with a stupid name that I was building into something we were building... with the help of thousands of nerds around the world that we would never meet in person.

I first visited Slashdot in its very early days. I saw the creation of UIDs and nicknames... and the database crash which lost all of the accounts so people had to sign up again. (Those with very low UIDs were very much not pleased!)

The code that drive the site you are reading is based on a version of Slashdot's code which they released as open source. Sadly, that version had not been maintained for years, so it had dependencies on out-of-date packages like Apache, and basically fell all over the floor — many long days were spent to get the code into shape. Our updated version of the code, rehash, is available on github.

I suspect I'm not the only one who came to SoylentNews who has many years' experience on Slashdot. Feel free to use this as an opportunity to share your remembrances of the early days there — and of SoylentNews, as well — which will be 44 months old on October 14th.

[Update: As mentioned in the story, these sites do not run or fund themselves. At the time of this writing, we have received approximately $537 towards our goal of $3000.00 for the half-year period ending 2017-12-31. We accept credit card payments and even Bitcoin. If you would like to contribute something to SoylentNews, please take a moment to go to our Subscribe page. The dollar amount is the minimum amount for the stated duration, but you are free to set it to whatever larger value you like. If you don't want the subscription for yourself, some folks make a gift subscription to NCommander who has UID 2. Oh, and in case you were not aware, none of the staff collect any kind of income for their work — we are all volunteers and give freely of our time and energy. --martyb]

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bradley13 on Friday October 06 2017, @01:59PM (1 child)

    by bradley13 (3053) Subscriber Badge on Friday October 06 2017, @01:59PM (#578005) Homepage Journal

    That explains it. I knew I had a low-UID Slashdot account, but I had stopped reading it for a while. When I came back, much later, I could never find my account, so wound up creating a new one. I never heard about the lost user data, so TFS resolves a long-standing mystery...

    Ah, the days of the /.-effect, where publishing a link on /. would bring a website to its knees.

    Nowadays, I think the tech community is a bit jaded. More articles (both /. and here) are political, fewer are truly tech. There are more places to go for tech news, but none of them support the kind of discussions that these sites support.

    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +1  
       Interesting=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   3  
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06 2017, @04:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06 2017, @04:56PM (#578121)

    The basic problem is that as the net went commercial, politics came along for the ride (have to protect those monied interests after all) and things turned crap afterwards. On top of that the 90s ended and with it the ISA zoo, with its Sparcs and Alphas and whatsnot. Now there is x86 on the desktop and ARM everywhere else, and little else to talk about.

    The entry of Apple and Google into the mobile world may have introduced the masses to "smartphones", but for the oldertimers it was basically a reset of a clock to the late 90s as both iphone and android lacks capabilities that PocketPC and Symbian had delivered for years.

    And now phones are entering the same doldrums as the PC has, as all that can really be shown is more bits and bytes, more pixels, and nothing that really makes one wonder if something groundbreaking is coming around the corner.

    In other words, tech has gone political because there is nothing left but politics to talk about.