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You are here: Home Bulletins 2017 Spring Ongoing FSF infrastructure upgrades

Ongoing FSF infrastructure upgrades

by Andrew Engelbrecht Contributions Published on Jul 10, 2017 12:05 PM

Over the last eight months, the small FSF tech team has been upgrading our physical infrastructure and software to more effectively serve the free software community and help others do so as well.

Thanks to a generous $40,000 donation, we are migrating to Librebooted KGPE-D16 motherboards with 32 cores per board and are adding 4-channel, 10 GBit Ethernet to speed up our new Ceph (distributed storage) systems.* We are also migrating to libvirt, which offers an awesome interface to the KVM features in the kernel Linux. Senior System Administrator Ruben Rodriguez made a cool hack that lets us boot MBR-free filesystems with a custom reusable GRUB image, a method inspired by the Xen paravirtualization system.

*An RYF certified version of these motherboards is available from Vikings.

Our new infrastructure will propel development within and beyond GNU by increasing the much-needed storage space of the GNU Savannah software collaboration system, which hosts over three thousand GNU and non-GNU projects; and by massively boosting Savannah's core count, which will improve the performance of interactions with high-demand source code repositories. We will also migrate many of our virtual machines—including, the Free Software Directory, and our CiviCRM + SQL instance—to this new infrastructure for improved performance, fault-tolerant, high speed data storage, and the ability to perform live migrations of virtual machines.

We're also in the process of upgrading very old servers to Trisquel 7 and 8, which I hope will be officially released quite soon.

We updated our staff and member ejabberd (XMPP) servers, which facilitate decentralized instant messaging, hardened SSL configurations, and optional end-to-end encryption. We migrated our FSF staff StatusNet server to GNU social, a decentralized short message system, which interoperates with other GNU social servers and the popular Mastodon platform.** We updated MediaWiki, the software that powers Wikipedia, on our and sites. We also upgraded our internal instance of Request Tracker, used by FSF staff and many volunteers.

**Read this edition's article "Join the federation" for more information on decentralized social media platforms.

The FSF doesn't work alone; we receive much help from volunteers who maintain the servers that comprise Savannah and other systems, such as We also benefit greatly from the programmers, documentation writers, packagers, and artists who work on GNU and non-GNU, and whose generous efforts everyone is free to make use of.

An important part of the FSF's role in the world is to demonstrate to other nonprofits our ability to run exclusively free software on Trisquel-based, Librebooted, self-hosted systems. Although our technical team is small, we are able to deploy and maintain a large array of services that we happily use on a regular basis. We do this for greater autonomy, full control over our systems, and to make great use of the awesomeness that is free software. I hope that we inspire you to do so as well. :-)

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