Where did the old BlackMUD site go? and why?


There are a variety of factors that went into the change.

The first catalyst is that the mud server likely caused a painful 24 hour outage at our hosting provider FaxPIPE - formerly known as AircomUSA.com. FaxPipe is awesome - they gave us free hosting for more than a decade - those guys are top-notch. It seems our network card was causing random issues with their network gear that took out a large chunk of their outbound operations (we were outside their firewall, attached to their egress router which was struggling).

The second catalyst was time. The old BlackMUD site is a php3 app, with another embedded php3 appinside it, all written when the internet was a simpler place. phpNuke and phpBB (both circa 2002) were used to create the site. Both have had many, many security vulnerabilities discovered over the years. After about 2006 or so, we coudn't easily keep up with the updates needed, and our general approach to security was to completely disable all admin functionality, and leave the software to moulder, with a few more security tweaks here and there.

As we have upgraded hardware over the years we've also upgraded the operating system (mostly by fresh install) and then migrated all apps. Eventually, we made the tweaks necessary to allow the site to run correctly on PHP4 and for many years, we've been running on pretty much the last release of PHP4. PHP4 hasn't had a new release in 6 years or so, and also has it's share of issues. It is quite difficult to build/install new versions of PHP4 on any modern operating system.

The third catalyst was failing hardware. As of May 2014, the hardware the mud, database, website, forums etc all run on was an AthlonXP 2500+ system with 2G ram (max the motherboard would support) and some modern sata drives on sata->ide bridges. That hardware has intermittent issues that harmed our hosting provider and which make the system only have about a 50% chance of booting normally unattended. The hardware has to go.

So: The new system is a KVM vm running at BetterServers.com (where Minektur works) running FreeBSD Stable (originally 10.0). A good deal of time was spent trying to make the website run on php5. Ugh. Then some time was spent on trying to build/install php4. Ugh. Then, at last with resignation and a desire to not install a 5 year old OS to get a 6 year old PHP version to get a clunky website nobody uses working... We decided (Ok, Ok, mostly Minektur decided) to make a simple static site with most of the old public content, and a new forum. As a side effect of this, we found a way to make a publicly-readable archive of our last couple sets of old forums, and the new site should be fast both because of the hardware upgrade, and because most of it is completely static (generated from mostly markdown files by pelican "cms").

If something important is missing from the old site, email minektur and let him know.













http://www.blackmud.com