[rc5] FYI - Possible PerProxy problem (LONG!)

Seth Dillingham seth at snet.net
Mon Nov 10 22:29:54 EST 1997

This message is really long... probably the longest that's been posted to 
this list in some time. I apologize for this, but these are things which 
I believe needed to be said.

Peter A. DeNitto (denitto at llamas.net), on 11/10/97 9:14 PM, wrote the 

>On Mon, 10 Nov 1997, Seth Dillingham wrote:
>> Ryan Dumperth (woodie at indy.net), on 11/10/97 5:45 PM, wrote the following:
>> >IRC is no better. This issue has been raised repeatedly, with no
>> >acknowledgement. After a while, you just get used to the admins not talking
>> >to the folks running their software with any regularity.
>> The distributed.net admins seem to HATE talking about stats at all. If 
>> you ever go in there, just wait for someone to ask about them, and see if 
>> [names deleted] doesn't jump all over them.
>Gee, Guess that would be me.  
Why yes, Peter, you would be one of them, though if you're who I think 
you are on IRC, then you're certainly not the worst offender.

>What frustrates me most about stats is that people hit the stats page,
>read the message, then come and still ask why stats are down.  Do you not
>think that we aren't telling you the whole story?  
No, I don't think that you're not telling the whole story, as you said. I 
never claimed otherwise.

Kidding aside (I do hope you got that), there are alot of people who are 
net-newbies running the distributed.net clients simply because they're 
following someone else's lead. When they come to a page that says "stats 
are down due to blah blah blah blah..." they think they're reading an 
error message of some sort, and I'd actually EXPECT THEM to find another 
source of information, perhaps in the hopes that you'll either give them 
some more details, or calm their fears that they'll never see stats again.

>The T1 stats are run from is saturated to the point that the company that
>runs behind the T1 can't get their email.  We were working on a solution
>to the stats problem before this even arose.  Even before the stats
>started to be closed off, we had set up a rc5stats proxy, in hopes that it
>would lessen the load.  As Nugget said in a post on the 4th, it was
>causing even problems transfering the data from the master proxy server to
>generate the stats.

I don't have a problem with the stats only being available at night and 
on weekends. I understand the situation quite well, and I've spoken to 
David extensively about this and THESE OTHER problems. But guess what? 
Alot of people get their only daily motivation to keep the client running 
from the competition that IS the stats.

>> These guys are aloof, inaccessible, unfriendly, unprofessional, and 
>> occasionally rude.
>These guys also work for a living, donating their time in more of a
>capacity than you who "run their software FOR FREE."  I personally don't
>expect to make anything out of my spare time manning the rc5help desk,
>making the rc5speed pages, answering questions on IRC.  If I do, hell, I'd
>probably give it back or donate it to d.net. 
>Yes, don't go in asking about stats.  For every stats question that shows
>up on the mailing list, 35 people per hour ask about it on IRC.  I can
>only be nice to a point.

I didn't realize you ran the rc5help desk, thankfully you aren't the 
rudest in the bunch (the bunch = anyone in #rc5 who's an OP), though 
you've certainly got the fastest trigger finger ('kick') that I've ever 

That's beside the point. If you're going to be a source of information 
for people who want answers, then do it right or don't do it at all. I'm 
sick to death of the excuses form distributed.net for why their service 
is so bad, and a rude voice for the organization just makes matters worse.
>> Other than that, they're great.
>> I know people will 'yell' at me for saying those things, but it just 
>> SHOCKS me, every single day, that they've got this huge resource of 
>> people willing to run their software FOR FREE, people that spend so much 
>> time trying to figure out d.net's problems, and yet they usually treat 
>> these people like they don't even exist.
>You don't. You all are cows. Moo.
Very cute. It's time for the 'zoological nomenclature' to be buried once 
and for all. 'You guys' asked me to stop referring to you as 'bovine' on 
distributed-mac.net, because you want to have a name that indicates 
you're a serious organization, not just a frat party for the brotherhood 
of geeks. Yet 'moo' still seems to be the secret handshake.

>And from the get-go, my ONE overriding Principle regarding RC5 has been
>You get what you pay for.
Ahh, that's lovely. Explains alot, I really appreciate it. Got that 
folks? This is from an official at distributed.net, and he's telling us 
that since we didn't pay anything to run their software for them, we 
shouldn't expect any support or regular contact from them.

>Donating CPU cycles is nothing.  Doesn't cost you anything because the
>computer is a sunk cost.  Hell, most of ya are doing this at work so it
>didn't cost you bubkus to begin with.  
Time is money, pal, and lots of us have sunk MANY hours into this little 
disorganize group of hackers, as we're so frequently and aptly referred 

>So you want to see better stats? Improvements to anything?  Put your money
>where your mouth is, Distributed.net *IS* an official entity.  
I'll tell you what: I was going to lay off, and not send this letter, but 
these are things that need saying, and your last line is the clincher.

You've got an unbelievable organization of people here. Seriously! No, 
I'm not talking about Adam, David, Jeff, Peter, etc. I'm talking about 
the people on this list, who are leading the people running your 
software. Eight thousand people, perhaps (the stats pages report 8000+ 
individual email addresses), that have devoted their own resources and 
time to running software that does nothing for them, all because you've 
made a cause out of it. Eight thousand people being led by the members of 
this list (all the lists, I suppose), who are actually running your 
"official entity's" software.

Unfortunately, most of us are fairly unmotivated. I know that I haven't 
even rebuilt my team from the 56-bit effort, half because of the 
fairly-thankless job of running distributed-mac.net, and half because I 
don't think distributed.net can really last that much longer. (that last 
bit is a gut feeling, not anything factual...)

Two more things:

1. Did everyone know that distributed.net really is now an offical 
organiztion? I haven't seen anything posted here about it, so I'm going 
to break the news myself. As of a couple weeks ago, distributed.net 
became a 'Tax Exempt Corporation'. That's basicly the federal version of 
"non-profit organization", which is a state designation.

2. You (Peter) have certainly done nothing at all to erase my concerns. 
Rather, you've elevated them. You're an offical of the organization, and 
you're not even willing to make the standard empty promises about how 
"we're working on ways to improve communications". Instead, you just tell 
us we're getting all that we should expect. I guess that makes you 
honest, but I'd have preferred an honest improvement.

I'm not a hothead. Never have been. I've really thought this stuff 
through, and have had multiple private conversations with David, some of 
the developers, and a brief one with the Elusive One (his official 
title): Adam. My conclusion, only made stronger by this latest 
conversation with yet another official of your 'official entity', is that 
things are only getting worse, not better.

A resource that is worth so much time, appreciation, and even money 
should not be squandered, yet that's exactly what's happening.

If that doesn't change, if communications don't improve, then I'll be 
gone soon. You won't care, and perhaps the other usually-silent 
administrators will breathe a sigh of relief... but I won't be the last 
to leave.

Maybe you'd be happy having everyone quit... then the 'helpdesk' won't 
get so many repeat questions.


Seth Dillingham

                  seth at snet.net
            Public Key available at

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