[Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

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[Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

James Salsman-2
Marc *Pelletier / Coren* wrote:

> I don't think it's reasonable to expect that every external supplier
> is all-FLOSS. For one, the movement would be pretty much stuck
> without hardware, networking gear, and power at the very least.

Is there a list of equipment that WMF uses without viable FLOSS
alternatives, please?

I can currently buy what appears to be incredibly cost effective RAID-5
network attached storage and powerful database and web servers meeting what
I believe to be current WMF requirements for throughput with FLOSS
solutions based on NetBSD, FreeBSD, Debian, or CentOS from apparently
reputable and highly-rated consumer outlets for a tiny fraction of the cost
that was necessary from wholesale vendors in 2009, when for some reason
beyond my present recollection I did the same exercise.

Sincerely,
Jim
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

Jimmy Wales-5
On 3/22/16 12:15 AM, James Salsman wrote:
> Is there a list of equipment that WMF uses without viable FLOSS
> alternatives, please?

Since the context here is t-shirts, I think we can understand Coren's
remarks in a very broad context, and so of course he's right.  We might
choose to only do business with t-shirt manufacturers who use open
source software, but it is not clear that we'd find any.

I have always been a strong advocate of looking for FLOSS solutions for
as many things as we can.  This is particularly true for things that
directly impact the freedom of the website(s).  (I'd strongly oppose
running Wikipedia on a proprietary database platform, for example.)

And I like favoring vendors who are FLOSS-friendly, even if they are
t-shirt partners.  It sounds like Shopify are ok in the regard (I
haven't personally checked).

But there are many many vendors we need to work with where it will be
completely impractical to demand FLOSS purity.  The lawyers who are
suing the NSA?  Our auditors?  The venues for Wikimania?



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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

Marc-Andre
In reply to this post by James Salsman-2
On 2016-03-21 6:15 PM, James Salsman wrote:
> Is there a list of equipment that WMF uses without viable FLOSS
> alternatives, please?

The switches and routers for one; as far as I know, high-end networking
hardware is not available with Libre OSes, nor would the supplier
support one flashed with a non-proprietary OS (as one can do with some
mid-range gear).

And there is a fuzzy line about being "all-FLOSS".  Do you use servers
with only open source BIOS and firmware on all attached hardware?  At
best, that severely crimps your options and I'm not sure there exists
viable alternative for /all/ required hardware.

The *important* thing is that anyone can grab Mediawiki, the dumps, and
a Libre OS supporting LAMP and make the projects run.  Beyond that, best
effort to always favour FLOSS when it gets the job done is a solid
philosophical stance that is universally applied.  But, like most
principles, it cannot be a suicide pact.  We cannot, as a movement,
refuse to get the job done unless we reinvent every proprietary wheel -
this way lies both madness and a tremendous waste of donors' money[1].

-- Coren / Marc

[1] For instance, a common thing that is surfaced is to home-spin
software when the only FLOSS alternatives require either serious
customization or maintenance; we *could* hypothetically hire enough
engineers to maintain every bit of needed software - or even write the
bits that don't exist - but that's not what we *do* (nor should it be).


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

Tilman Bayer
See also:
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Wikimedia_Foundation_Guiding_Principles#Freedom_and_open_source
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FLOSS-Exchange

On Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 6:44 PM, Marc A. Pelletier <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2016-03-21 6:15 PM, James Salsman wrote:
>>
>> Is there a list of equipment that WMF uses without viable FLOSS
>> alternatives, please?
>
>
> The switches and routers for one; as far as I know, high-end networking
> hardware is not available with Libre OSes, nor would the supplier support
> one flashed with a non-proprietary OS (as one can do with some mid-range
> gear).
>
> And there is a fuzzy line about being "all-FLOSS".  Do you use servers with
> only open source BIOS and firmware on all attached hardware?  At best, that
> severely crimps your options and I'm not sure there exists viable
> alternative for /all/ required hardware.
>
> The *important* thing is that anyone can grab Mediawiki, the dumps, and a
> Libre OS supporting LAMP and make the projects run.  Beyond that, best
> effort to always favour FLOSS when it gets the job done is a solid
> philosophical stance that is universally applied.  But, like most
> principles, it cannot be a suicide pact.  We cannot, as a movement, refuse
> to get the job done unless we reinvent every proprietary wheel - this way
> lies both madness and a tremendous waste of donors' money[1].
>
> -- Coren / Marc
>
> [1] For instance, a common thing that is surfaced is to home-spin software
> when the only FLOSS alternatives require either serious customization or
> maintenance; we *could* hypothetically hire enough engineers to maintain
> every bit of needed software - or even write the bits that don't exist - but
> that's not what we *do* (nor should it be).
>
>
>
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--
Tilman Bayer
Senior Analyst
Wikimedia Foundation
IRC (Freenode): HaeB

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

James Salsman-2
In reply to this post by James Salsman-2
Marc A. Pelletier wrote:

>... as far as I know, high-end networking hardware is not
> available with Libre OSes

Are the FreeBSD-based pfSense C2758 series in the Foundation's throughput tier?

https://www.pfsense.org/products/product-family.html#c2758

https://portal.pfsense.org/docs/manuals/c2758/system-specification.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PfSense

What are the current Foundation throughput bandwidth requirements?

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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

Antoine Musso-3
Le 22/03/2016 07:04, James Salsman a écrit :

>
>> >... as far as I know, high-end networking hardware is not
>> > available with Libre OSes
> Are the FreeBSD-based pfSense C2758 series in the Foundation's throughput tier?
>
> https://www.pfsense.org/products/product-family.html#c2758
>
> https://portal.pfsense.org/docs/manuals/c2758/system-specification.html
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PfSense
>
> What are the current Foundation throughput bandwidth requirements?

I would not qualify the PfSense product as high-end. It is basically a
PC with packet management handled at the software layer.  Wikimedia does
not have FreeBSD systems AFAIK and the operations people dealing with
networking would need a training for PfSense.


From wikitech, ones can get a list of hardware routers and switches
being used:
 https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Common_Datacenter_Specifications#EQIAD

They are Juniper, a leader in networking equipments (another is Cisco).
Its operating system administration commands are well known by network
engineers around the world. That makes it easier to enroll new network
people.

According to the wikitech page, the routers are MX80 and MX480 and
switches EX4200 / EX4550.  They come with integrated circuits to deal
with packets, ie it is a hardware chip dealing with packets and network
flow. That makes them order of magnitude faster.   The Juniper operating
system is BSD based and comes with a wide range of features that are
imho unmatched in the Libre world.

I understand the idea behind pushing for 100% FOSS, but that should not
be a goal of the foundation.  As long as the projects can be cloned and
rebuild based on FOSS, I think it is good enough.

Surely, I don't see the Foundation asking for buildings plans to be
under a creative common or forbid use of Mac OS, Windows or iPhone ?
That is really a different goal than sharing knowledge.

--
Antoine "hashar" Musso


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
Given that a Google and Facebook are working on networking equipment and
are making both hardware and associated freely available, it makes more
sense to concentrate on this high end solution. A solution that fits with
the need of WMF.
Thanks,
     GerardM

PS I am not so interested that I know what license it is. I know it is free.

On 22 March 2016 at 11:56, Antoine Musso <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Le 22/03/2016 07:04, James Salsman a écrit :
> >
> >> >... as far as I know, high-end networking hardware is not
> >> > available with Libre OSes
> > Are the FreeBSD-based pfSense C2758 series in the Foundation's
> throughput tier?
> >
> > https://www.pfsense.org/products/product-family.html#c2758
> >
> > https://portal.pfsense.org/docs/manuals/c2758/system-specification.html
> >
> > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PfSense
> >
> > What are the current Foundation throughput bandwidth requirements?
>
> I would not qualify the PfSense product as high-end. It is basically a
> PC with packet management handled at the software layer.  Wikimedia does
> not have FreeBSD systems AFAIK and the operations people dealing with
> networking would need a training for PfSense.
>
>
> From wikitech, ones can get a list of hardware routers and switches
> being used:
>
> https://wikitech.wikimedia.org/wiki/Common_Datacenter_Specifications#EQIAD
>
> They are Juniper, a leader in networking equipments (another is Cisco).
> Its operating system administration commands are well known by network
> engineers around the world. That makes it easier to enroll new network
> people.
>
> According to the wikitech page, the routers are MX80 and MX480 and
> switches EX4200 / EX4550.  They come with integrated circuits to deal
> with packets, ie it is a hardware chip dealing with packets and network
> flow. That makes them order of magnitude faster.   The Juniper operating
> system is BSD based and comes with a wide range of features that are
> imho unmatched in the Libre world.
>
> I understand the idea behind pushing for 100% FOSS, but that should not
> be a goal of the foundation.  As long as the projects can be cloned and
> rebuild based on FOSS, I think it is good enough.
>
> Surely, I don't see the Foundation asking for buildings plans to be
> under a creative common or forbid use of Mac OS, Windows or iPhone ?
> That is really a different goal than sharing knowledge.
>
> --
> Antoine "hashar" Musso
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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>
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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

Marc-Andre
In reply to this post by James Salsman-2


On 2016-03-22 2:04 AM, James Salsman wrote:
> Are the FreeBSD-based pfSense C2758 series in the Foundation's throughput tier?
> [...]

That looks like decent mid-range gear, but definitely not the the
hardware-supported levels needed to support operations.

> What are the current Foundation throughput bandwidth requirements?

Big.  :-)  I'm not the best one to ask for those details as I've had
very little involvement in the networking side of ops; Faidon or Mark
would be your best bet there.

But, to be honest, I think this is besides the point:  I'm not arguing
that specific piece of gear X or Y needs or should not be replaced with
a possible FLOSS-only alternative; but that *attempting* to do so is a
difficult, expensive, and manpower-hungry endeavor whether you succeed
or not.

There are things where that investment is worthwhile - or even
necessary.  There are other things where doing so is at best a waste of
donors' money (especially for one-offs or accessory parts of what the
Foundation does that impact how the work is done rather than the projects).

A good example might be our videoconferencing software.  The Foundation
uses Google Hangouts a lot.  Nowadays, for bigger meetings, Bluejeans
has been added to the list.  At (very) regular interval, someone in
engineering does another round of testing of FLOSS videoconferencing
alternatives, because it irks many of us that we rely on proprietary
solutions - and every time to date the result is that none will work to
cover our use cases properly.

In the end, there are three only choices: (a) pick an inexpensive
proprietary solution that does the job, (b) make our own (or participate
in making it), or (c) do without.  When doing without would prevent the
staff from doing the job, that doesn't leave very many options.

-- Coren / Marc


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Re: [Wikimedia-l] FLOSS for operations equipment

Rich Farmbrough
In reply to this post by James Salsman-2
I think there are two clear policies here:

1. The forkability of the projects
2. The "niceness" of suppliers.

The first is a movement and project principle.  The second is - loosely
- connected to a broader movement.  It is philosophically and morally
dubious to coerce people to conform to our preferred ethics model.  
Perhaps this would be highlighted best if we were to consider only
serving web pages to readers using FLOSS operating systems.





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