Saturday, May 6, 2017

Winding down FLORA.org after more than 22 years.

FLORA Community Web was started in December 1994 (See Ottawa alternative community minded networking) and the first domain name it used was flora.ocunix.on.ca. Later the name flora.ottawa.on.ca (date unknown) was adopted, and then FLORA.org (13-Oct-1996).

It offered free websites and mailing lists for community groups from before these things were as easily available as they are today.  I haven't had time to spend on the server as I would like, and believe it would be best for me to admit that my interests have moved onward.   I'm in the process of helping the remaining groups hosted on FLORA.org to migrate to some other hosting.

Thanks go out to the many volunteers who participated over the years, and the many friends I made through these connections.



If you want to take a look at what the site looked like at various points in the past, Archive.org's Wayback engine has many snapshots.  The earliest list of flora.org organizations they have is a snapshot from 1998.  This was back when I listed some of the clients as well as volunteer sites hosted on the same computer.  A larger list of domains I was hosting on that computer can be seen from a 1999 list.


Some time in 2000/2001 most of those clients had been moved to OpenConcept where I was managing the growing number of computers, but Mike Gifford of OpenConcept was doing the billing, customer relations and all the business side.  In 2003 those servers became part of CooperIX which Mike Richardson and I founded. CooperIX was a small co-location provider for more technical clients, with OpenConcep and its growing client list being the biggest single user..

Wherever my self-employed company went, the volunteer FLORA.org services came along with me.

In 2011 I moved from being a self-employed consultant to being staff at Canadiana.org.  This was the first time I was an employee since I became self-employed in early 1995, but has been a great transition.  However, with the work I'm doing for Canadiana I don't feel I have the time to dedicate to the volunteer services, which are currently a couple of virtual machines on a server running in the basement of my home.

I finally decided this year that I should start the process of decommissioning those VMs.  I will start with the www.flora.org website, which is still managed via 1990's technology (content providers use FTP to log in to update their sites).  I will likely spend the time to migrate the mailman services to another VM, and keep them running as there are less security and other concerns with the mailing lists. I'll then decide what to do with my personal sites (my old business site, and so-on).


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