Gentoo Archives: gentoo-dev

From: Tobias Klausmann <klausman@g.o>
To: gentoo-dev@l.g.o
Cc: ldv@××××××××.org, alpha@g.o, ubizjak@×××××.com
Subject: [gentoo-dev] An update on monolith (our dev machine)
Date: Fri, 02 Aug 2019 16:10:36
Message-Id: 20190802161028.GA43047@skade.schwarzvogel.de
Hi everybody,

over twelve years ago, a mail with these headers was sent to alpha@gentoo org:

Subject: New dev box!                                                                                           
To: alpha@g.o                                                                                            
Date: Tue, 8 May 2007 20:49:10 +0200                                                                            

It announced the availability of Monolith, an ES40[0], soft-donated and hosted
by my then-employer.

Since the very early days, a lot of arch testing, and starting in 2008, all
release media building, was handled by this machine. At first, it had six 18GB
SCA drives, that later were upgraded 11x72G + 1x18GB (the root disk). None of
the disks ever developed a single bad sector, according to SMART. The oldest
disk was manufactured in 2001 and has been powered on for close to 150000
hours.

The machine has been the most reliable piece of hardware I ever had the
pleasure to be the admin of, it never let us down, and has compiled more
software in its lifetime than most other machines I know of.

But after twelve years of good service, Monolith will be turned off on
2019-09-01, and it will get to play in the server park upstate. 

Naturally, there will be a backup of all the data that is still on the
machine, but once Monolith is turned off, it will likely not come back. Such
is life.

Ironically, Monolith has been an official part of Gentoo/Alpha for longer than
I have been a dev. But I am not going anywhere ;)

Q: I have an account on monolith, what about my data?

Any data you care about should be copied off the machine before 2019-09-01.

I will also make a full backup of the machine sometime in August. Some parts
(e.g. the (re)distributable binpkgs) I may put on a webserver somewhere for
future reference. 

Q: What does this mean for Gentoo/Alpha?

A: We lose our main build machine, as well as the testing ground for external
projects, like gcc. I hope we can find other hardware to keep Alpha alive, but
the future looks grim. The rest of the Alpha team and I will make a decision
regarding the future of Alpha in general. Matt Turner is working on a
replacement in the form of an ES47 (upgrade!), but the specifics are not clear
yet.

Q: Anything I can do to help?

Our donor may be willing to give away the machine basically for free, but it
probably will have to be picked up in Düsseldorf, Germany. If you plan on
doing so, with the aim to further support Gentoo/Alpha, I can put you in
contact.

Best,
Tobias, Alpha arch team lead.

[0] Here are the specs:

- 4x833MHz ev68AL CPUs.
- 8GB RAM
- Two 6x SCA drive bays on two 53c895 SCSI controllers
- an awesome LCD front panel:
  http://skade.schwarzvogel.de/~klausman/images/monolith.jpg