Thread: Email Lists
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Old June 4th, 2003, 08:18 AM
David Long David Long is offline
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I don't know if anyone here remembers me, but I was one of the original team behind P2P at Wrox (before the liquidation and subsequent takeover by Wiley). I certainly recognise some names including David Cameron and Hal Levy from the old P2P site, though. Please note that I'm now just a user of these forums like the rest of you, I have nothing to do with the Wrox name in a business capacity any more.

I've been following this thread with interest, I agree with everything the original P2P members have said, but haven't felt the need to reply until I read this:

quote:Originally posted by JSample
 Wrox used a very good software called Lyris List Manager for its discussion lists, and I have been very familiar with it for a couple of years now. The problem is that their implementation of Lyris was very unstable (requiring daily reboots) and we were given a corrupt and unusable database which is why we were unable to repost the messages from April and May with the rest of the archive.

I'd be intrigued to hear more about these "daily reboots". The box that used to run the Lyris List Manager software was pretty much stable in my opinion; we frequently used to achieve uptimes in excess of 100 days and although it might have crashed occasionally, that was down to the fault of the software (confirmed by Lyris themselves) and not Wrox's implementation of it. I don't recall PostgreSQL (the database behind Lyris List Manager) ever crashing or corrupting data on us.

Having said that, the front-end web server was indeed unstable and required frequent rebooting (maybe once every couple of weeks; nowhere near daily). This was due to the site's popularity and the fact that the code behind it did not scale and was never designed to handle the number of users that were eventually hitting the site. The version of the P2P website that everyone here was familiar with had been running the same codebase for over two years, and desperately needed a rewrite in order to cope with the ten-fold increase in traffic the site had experienced during those two years. Unfortunately, due to internal pressures, work on revamping P2P was never sanctioned - the site was actually a loss-leader for Wrox, costing us time and bandwidth but producing no direct revenue.

However, the flakiness of the front end webserver should have nothing to do with corrupting the Lyris List Manager database. Before I was made redundant by Wrox, I know for a fact that daily backup tapes were made of the database and as such all the original data should be recoverable from these, if not from the hard disks of the Lyris box itself. It seems from the way the archive is constructed that the only data Wiley have access to is the hard disk of the webserver box; the archive pages look suspiciously like the original archive pages from the old site, with a search-and-replace run over them to change the header, sidebar and footer. I offered my services to Wiley (via one of the ex-Wrox system administrators) if they required assistance with P2P or any of Wrox's other sites, but I was never contacted.

Finally, I do have to say that from my point of view as one of the faces behind P2P, the email facilities provided by the site were used and appreciated far more than the web front end. As has already been said in this thread, email is far more convenient for working programmers and I can testify that while I was at Wrox we received numerous emails praising us for the fact that programmers could communicate with each other via email and not have to go out of their way to visit a web-based forum to do so, unlike so many other programming sites.