CGI/ssh upgrade coming on 11/22

Since we have completed the underlying operating system upgrade in our hosting cluster, we are now in a position to upgrade our aging CGI/ssh environment. The current environment was based on FreeBSD 4, and the new environment will be based on the “latest and greatest” FreeBSD 6. This should have no long-term impact on most members, but if you have compiled your own binaries, they may need to be recompiled once this update is complete.

We are really looking forward to this update because it should fix a number of longstanding ssh bugs. Most notably, you’ll get read/write access to your own terminal, which is useful for things like entering ssh passphrases, and some tools like “df” should start to work properly.

There are over 1,000 software packages in our CGI/ssh environment, so it will take quite awhile to rebuild them all. Consequently, we are planning to do the cutover on Wednesday, November 22 at midnight UTC.

UPDATE: We have this ready to go and will be performing the cutover in a few minutes. We have tested the new environment as extensively as possible, including testing 10+ CGI languages on every server. If you find a glitch or problem, please post it to the member discussion forum or submit a secure support request. Please don’t post about problems here, as the blog does not provide automatic notification to us when you need help.

UPDATE: This has been done. It will not disrupt active sites, so if your site is actively using CGI or ssh, it will continue in the old environment until the site is idle (no CGI requests and you are not logged in) for a few minutes. If you want to test whether your ssh environment has been upgraded, run the command “gcc -v.” If it identifies as 2.95.2, you are in the old environment. If it identifies as 3.4.6, you are in the new environment. We are now actively looking for any problems related to this upgrade.


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  1. Is there expected downtime?

    Also, does this mean that some programs will not work for some amount of time?

    Comment by Cliff — November 16, 2006 #

  2. Ideally there will not be any downtime unless you have specially-compiled binaries that don’t work in the new environment.

    Any downtime that occurs as a result of Murphy’s Law would almost certainly affect CGI scripts (which are themselves becoming relatively rare) only.

    However, as a practical matter, our list of 1,000+ packages may not be perfect. For example, it’s possible that a perl module might be missing from the list, or its latest CPAN version might not build.

    We’re announcing the cutover time so that people who think they might be affected will know in advance when to check their site to make sure everything is kosher after the change.

    Comment by jdw — November 16, 2006 #

  3. This is very nice to see. New software is always a good thing (unless it’s broken).

    Comment by ttuttle — November 18, 2006 #

  4. Well, did the upgrade happen? How did it turn out?

    Comment by Rick — November 24, 2006 #

  5. Barring any as-yet-undiscovered problems, it seems to have gone very smoothly and with minimal disruption. I’ll give it a week or so for people to knock it around before I call it an unqualified success, but so far so good!

    Comment by jdw — November 24, 2006 #

  6. i have recently become a member and i am glad to see freebsd 6.2 in use. i have been using it since 2.1 at work.

    Comment by b7j0c — January 6, 2007 #

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