Notice of Scheduled software upgrade for HVCN -
Finally rescheduled after a long delay for Thursday morning, Feb 2.
The migration is complete and HVCN services have been restored. We are now running on the upgraded
software described below. Maintainers of web sites on HVCN may resume normal activity. Remember that sftp, ssh
and scp users will now see a new host key on the upgraded machine, and will have to accept it before connection can be established.
Thank you for your patience.
HVCN's server has not had a system upgrade since July 2002. It was therefore way overdue for one.
Performing a system software upgrade is a complex and challenging process, not without some risks, so
we usually don't do this every year, but there are some compelling reasons to do it now.
We have already spent a considerable amount of time configuring HVCN's second
server with mostly new replacement software.
The upgrade was originally scheduled for Jan 3-5, but there was some software that could not be properly configured
to support the needs of several HVCN users, and so the upgrade process was delayed until we could fix it
or determine an acceptable workaround. We could not fix it, but we now have a workaround in place, and it
should work just fine. Therefore, we had to delay the upgrade until Feb 2.
If all went well, all current services on HVCN are now functionng exactly as they did before. That
was our goal, anyway, but there are some things that could be affected.
We have been experiencing some reliability problems with the kernel this year.
This has resulted in kernel panics every two or three months
It is our sincere hope that this upgrade to the operating system will result in the elimination of this problem,
but there are no guarantees of this, nor are there guarantees that new bugs have not been
introduced in any of the new versions of software that we will be running.
Certainly, if you notice any unusual behavior following the upgrade, bring it to the attention of
- OpenBSD 3.1 upgraded to 3.8 (no security patches have been posted against this version of OpenBSD)
- OpenSSH 3.4 upgraded to 4.2 (used for sftp, scp and shell accounts)
- NTP 4.1.72 upgraded to OpenNTP (Network time synchronization. OpenNTP is part of OpenBSD)
- BIND upgraded to 9.3.1 (used to provide name service for domains. Required reconfiguration.)
- PERL 5.6.1 upgraded to 5.8.6 (scripting language used by majordomo, spamassassin, FormMail and others)
- gcc 2.95.3 upgraded to 3.3.5 (compiler used when installing from source code)
- Apache 1.3.24 upgraded to 1.3.29 (web server)
- PHP 4.1.2 upgraded to 4.4.1 (scripting language used for dynamic and managed content)
- MySQL 3.23.49 upgraded to 4.0.24 (database)
- Backtalk 1.2.10 upgraded to 1.3.27 (conferencing software)
- Spam Assassin 2.6.3 was upgraded to 3.0.4 (for optional spam filtering)
- perl5 DBI was upgraded from 1.21 to 1.45p1
- perl5 DBD drivers for mysql were upgraded from 1.22.19 to 3.0002
- perl5 GNU Readline Library Wrapper Module was upgraded from 1.11 to 1.14
- perl5 Term-ReadKey modeule was upgraded from 2.18 to 2.30
- cgiwrap 3.7.1 upgraded to 3.9
- ImageMagick 5.5.7 not upgraded (discontinued), replaced by netpbm-9.24p3
Although it has been extensively tested, this upgrade is a complex one,
and problems may appear unexpectedly. Further testing continues. If you
encounter a problem, please send all of the details to
New (planned) Features
We have already mentioned our hope that this upgrade will address the minor reliability
problems we have experienced this past year. We also know that the PHP upgrade solves
a number of security problems associated with PHP uploads. The new software
supports SSL (secure web transfer) and we plan to make that service generally available later in January,
although we will not be able to make it available on virtual host systems, due to
limitations of the https protocol and the fact that we do not have access to multiple IP addresses
at our current hosting site. SSL will allow for secure transfer between a browser and an hvcn.org URL.
This and the PHP upgrade will in turn enable other capabilities: we also hope to install a
web-based database administrator interface, a "wiki" style of editable web page capability,
and we may install a full-fledged content management system, such as Drupal,
and blogging software, if there is enough interest in these.
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This page was last modified on February 2, 2006.
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