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Accepted submission by martyb at 2020-05-09 20:38:35

First off, on behalf of myself and the staff here at SoylentNews, I hereby express the best possible wishes for our entire community as we try and navigate a path through the COVID-19 pandemic. Take the precautions you deem necessary to protect yourself, your loved ones, and all you meet. Please be careful out there!

Should you, or someone you know, be suffering at this time — be it from COVID-19 or any other reason — I can attest to the support I received from the community when I had a health-related situation last fall. You guys (and gals!) are the best!

Folding@Home: Our Folding@Home (F@H) team keeps chugging along! Historically, the F@H effort had been geared towards understanding Parkinson's Disease [], Huntington's disease [], cancer and the like. People donate their unused processing power (CPUs and and video cards) to perform simulations of how proteins fold. This, in turn, helps locate a way to interfere with the progression of a disease. For the past few months, the focus has shifted to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. In concert with that, there has been a huge increase in hardware donated to the cause. So, though our team rank has recently been slipping in the overall standings, I'm happy to report it's from the huge outpouring of support from around the world being brought to the cause.

Top place on our team is held by cmn3280 with just over 300 million points. Next we have LTKKane who just passed 222 million points. And not to be outdone, Runaway1956 has been running hard and is on the cusp of reaching 200 million points (and adding about 1.5 million points per day!) Pop into the #folding channel on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) [] or reply to this story if you'd like to help out!

Servers, Part 1. Behind the scenes, TheMightyBuzzard spent the weekend setting up a new server, aluminum. We are gradually moving to a Gentoo Linux [] base for our servers. Rather than pre-compiled binaries that get downloaded and run locally, Gentoo provides source code for download that one compiles and builds locally. At the moment we have three Gentoo-based servers (lithium, magnesium, and sodium), one server on CentOS [] (beryllium), and the rest are on Ubuntu. By moving to Gentoo Linux, we get a streamlined server with a smaller attack surface as only the things we need are built into the kernel. That lone CentOS server? It has been with us from the start and has been no end of a hassle. Several services "live" on it and these need to be migrated before we can retire it. The first stage of that process is underway as Deucalion has been working on bringing up IRC on aluminum. In turn, other services will be brought over. Then we can (finally!) retire beryllium for good! Next on the list are sodium and boron (aiming to have completed by June.) Along with that, there have been new (security and otherwise) releases of other services that site depends on. We intend to get those upgraded as we move to an entirely Gentoo platform. Please join me in wishing them well on the migrations and upgrades!

Servers, Part 2: We had a hiccup with Linode (our server provider) on Friday. Through it all, our servers stayed up and running! Unfortunately, the problem was with one or more network switches at Linode. (Cf: Bert & I [] on YouTube 😀) The front end (which processes requests for web pages) as well as IRC (and possibly other things of which I am unaware) were inaccessible [] for the better part of an hour. Given how frequently SoylentNews used to crash (several times each *day*), it is a testament to the hard work put in at the outset that this is such a rarity for us today. Our servers currently have uptimes in the range of 6-9 months... and it would be longer except for some behind-the-scenes worl to take advantage of free storage upgrades made available to us by Linode. Remember all work on the site is performed by volunteers who give of their limited free time to keep things humming here.

Original Submission