What is puresimplicity.net?

The domain "puresimplicity.net" and the hardware are solely owned by hemi. Software and services are administered by hemi.

The Past

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Starting in 1997 and ending sometime in 2000, hemi worked for a company named Publication Services, Inc.. During his sentence at PSI, hemi met ldb. ldb and hemi got along pretty well, both being in to computers and such, so a solid friendship that has lasted through the years was formed. ldb introduced hemi to a bunch of friends that ran a domain, which hemi and ldb both helped run for a short while. Both ldb and hemi had stuff they wanted people to have access to, and the domain provided a means to do so.

ldb accepted a job with a web shop in Chicago and recruited hemi to join the same company. hemi moved up to Chicago and roomed with ldb. This is really where the "heart and soul" of puresimplicity.net got its start. There was a lot of great code written and a lot of good times had, but alas, all good things must come to an end.

ldb left the company, which made working there a real drag. Not long after, the dot-com bubble burst and hemi was unceremoniously laid off after only three months of employment. hemi hung around Chicago for another three months trying to find work, but there were several thousand other unemployed web guys with the same idea and more experience, so hemi decided to return to central Illinois.

hemi eventually found work again, this time doing systems administration instead of web work, which was perfectly fine.

Eventually there was a difference of opinion in regards to how certain things should be done as far as the domain was concerned. For the sanity of everyone involved it was agreed that parting ways was the best course of action.

Enter puresimplicity.net.

puresimplicity.net was hemi's first venture in to administration of a visible machine that everyone could get to. The hardware was cobbled together from parts in hemi's current employer's "give-away" pile after a major cleaning frenzy, FreeBSD was chosen for the operating system, the domain was purchased in October of 2001 and an agreement was made between hemi and his employer for a public IP, some bandwidth and the confidence that things wouldn't go too badly. puresimplicity.net version 1.0 went "live" on 27 Oct, 2002.

Originally, puresimplicity.net was intended to be used by hemi solely for his own e-mail/web/server needs. However, ldb was looking for a place to host some of his projects, so puresimplicity.net took on its first "guest user."

Along the way, hemi began to document some of the things he'd done with FreeBSD and NetBSD. Some of the pages draw in a good deal of traffic from search engines.

In early 2003 hemi realized that the machine was not prepared for handling other people's data. hemi obtained an APC Smart-UPS 900 to ensure that the occasional power losses at work wouldn't cause any problems, but he realized that the machine was still not quite up to the task. There's no data redundancy, there's no back-ups and there certainly isn't any fail-over of any services. He also realized that the box would probably soldier on until FreeBSD rolled out 5-STABLE, but there was no reason he couldn't start building the machine's replacement. hemi began collecting parts for the "new" puresimplicity.net hardware in the early fall of 2003.

Along the way, other users joined hemi and ldb on puresimplicity.net, mostly friends or acquaintences of hemi that were in need of web space or an e-mail account. A fair number of the users rely on puresimplicity.net's services for their primary e-mail. puresimplicity.net also plays host to a few domains that friends own.

In early November of 2004, puresimplicity.net moved to the new hardware hemi had waiting in the wings, along with a jump to FreeBSD 5.3-RELEASE. The new machine lived in an Antec IPC-3480 case and consisted of an Antec True330 power supply, Intel D815EEA2U motherboard, Celeron 1.4GHz CPU, 512M Crucial RAM, 3Ware 7000-2 IDE RAID controller, two Western Digital WD800JB IDE drives in RAID1, an Intel Pro/100+ NIC, two 120mm fans in the front of the case and a filter in front of the fans to insure that everything stays cool and clean. Barring some minor configuration problems with pf, the transition to the new hardware went swimmingly and puresimplicity.net version 2.0 hit the ground running.

Since the new machine was a considerable horsepower upgrade over the old, slow hardware, hemi got to implement some things he'd been hoping to implement for a while. ClamAV was now filtering out those annoying viruses and SpamAssassin was tagging messages for users by default. Eventually SpamAssassin was switched to opt-in through procmail instead of being ran as a sendmail milter in order to allow users that wanted spam-tagging to more effectively do so through training SpamAssassin. Other changes took place and more are in the works, but the most significant changes with the hardware and OS update are to the e-mail system.

When FreeBSD 6.0-RELEASE came out, hemi moved the machine to 6.0. The update also went swimmingly.

In December of 2005, hemi switched employers. Wolfram had been draining his will to live for way too long. A job opening for an IT specialist at a local research lab that was part of USDA/ARS was pursued and shortly thereafter hemi jumped to government employment. The new job consisted of systems administration and web work, but with a fabulous group of great co-workers. Unfortunately, the new job wouldn't allow him to host puresimplicity.net at work any more. puresimplicity.net had to find a new home.

One of hemi's friends hosted machines on his business-class DSL and hemi reached an agreement to host puresimplicity.net with his friend. The connection speed slowed down some, but services are generally rendered at an acceptable speed.

hemi began collecting hardware for puresimplicity.net version 3.0 in hopes of replaceing version 2.0 in its current hosting arrangement. The new hardware consisted of another Antec IPC-3480 4U case, 2x 120mm case fans, Intel DG31GL motherboard, Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 (@1.8GHz) CPU, 4GiB RAM, 2x Western Digital RE4 500GB SATA drives, Kingwin SATA drive sleds and a nice PC Power & Cooling power supply (donated by one of puresimplicity.net's users). A third identical-spec hard drive has been set aside for use as a cold spare if the need arises.

In early 2013, hemi was notified that the hosting service provided by his friend for puresimplicity.net would be ending after 20130430. hemi followed several leads for a home for puresimplicity.net, but time ran out before a home was found.

puresimplicity.net "went dark" at 11:56 PM on 20130430.

The next day an agreement was reached with Champaign Telephone Company for co-location of puresimplicity.net. FreeBSD 9.1-RELEASE was chosen for the operating system due to FreeBSD's reputation for stellar reliability and dependability. The system follows puresimplicity.net version 2.0 fairly closely in organization and style; the only major change in choice of software was a move to Dovecot from uw-imap due to Dovecot's generally-better performance, greater flexibility and better standards compliance than uw-imap. Most of the other software installed came from the same groups as puresimplicity.net version 2.0, just much newer releases. Another deviation from the formula used in puresimplicity.net version 2.0 was switching to FreeBSD's gmirror for software mirroring of the drives instead of a hardware RAID controller.

puresimplicity.net version 3.0 was installed in one of CTC's co-lo facilities on 20310502 and returned to service at 2:38 PM the same day. The machine's services were not entirely ready; many things had not been finalized at the time the machine was installed so lots of software installation and changes were made after puresimplicity.net returned to service.

One major change that's been made to puresimplicity.net 3.0 was a move to Ports-based sendmail from the base-system sendmail. The changes necessary to complete this task are documented. This new MTA arrangement was selected due to its ease of maintenance, seamless replacement of the base-system sendmail, and leaving base-system software alone to allow freebsd-update to update the base system. This change took place on 20130707.

The Present

puresimplicity.net is just there for whatever the users need. Originally intended to just be hemi's toy, it's grown beyond his expectations and somehow continues to run surprisingly well. puresimplicity.net provides services for its users and potentially-useful information for people that come looking for it.

The Future

The current hardware may stay in place for a while, but its time could be short. The co-location provider may require use of a 1U machine if space becomes a premium in their co-location facility. The current hardware is more than adequate for puresimplicity.net's current workload, however new services may demand more resources than the hardware can provide in a timely fashion.

There are currently forty-three users with accounts on puresimplicity.net. The number will increase. puresimplicity.net's rise to world domination is inevitable.


Comments? Suggestions? Problems? Contact webmaster@puresimplicity.net.