I want to take take a few moments from my deserved Christmas break to say thanks to all the donors who have contributed to our last fundraiser. After 1.5 years, we’ve been able to hit our €5000 goal. This is a big, I mean really big, achievement for such a small (I am not sure now) but awesome distro like ours.
We’ve always wanted to bring Gentoo to everyone, make this awesome distro available on laptops, servers and of course, desktops without the need to compile, without the need of a compiler! It turns out that we’re getting there.
So, the biggest part of the “getting there” strategy was to implement a proper binary package manager and starting to automate the distro development, maintenance and release process.
Even though Entropy is in continuous development mode, we’ve got to the point that it’s reliable enough. Now, we must push Sabayon even farther.
Let me keep the development ideas I had for a separate blog post and tell you here what’s been done, what we’re going to do and what we still need in 2013.
First things first, last year we bought a new and shiny build server, which is kindly hosted by the University of Trento, Italy, featuring a Rack 2U dual Octa Opteron 6128, 48GB RAM and, earlier last year,
2x240GB Samsung 830 SSDs. In order to save (a lot of) money, I built the server myself and I spent something like 2500€ (including the SSDs). Take into consideration that prices for hardware in the EU are much higher than in the US.
Now we’re left with something like 3000€ or more and we’re planning to do another round of infra upgrades, save some money for hardware replacement in case of failures, buy t-shirts and DVDs to give out at local events, etc.
So far, the whole Sabayon infrastructure is spread across 3 Italian universities and TOP-IX (see at the bottom of http://www.sabayon.org for more details) and consists of four Rack 1U servers and one Rack 2U.
Whenever there’s a problem, I jump on a car and fix issues myself (like PSU, RAM, HDD/SSD failures) or kindly delegate the task to friends living closer than me.
As you can imagine, it’s easy to suck 200-300€ whenever there’s a problem and while we have failover plans (to EC2), these come with a cost as well.
As you may have already realized, free software does not really come for free, especially for those who are actually maintaining it. Automation and scaling out across multiple people (individuals involved in the development of this distro) are the key, and in particular the former, because it reduces the “human error” impact on the whole workflow.
As I mentioned above, I will prepare a separate blog post about what I mean with “automation”. For now, enjoy your Christmas holidays, the NYE celebrations and why not, some gaming with Steam on Sabayon.