Posted on 7/18/2017, 12:48:56 AM by Jim Robinson
Received a copy of the message pasted below that apparently is circulating via freepmail.
In response, all I can say is John is my son and my partner in FR along with Chris and Amy. None of us make a six figure salary. I designed and wrote the original version of FR back in ’96, but it was my very first internet project ever. It worked, but codewise it was a dog. And virtually impossible to maintain.
When John came in with me, he rewrote the software and made it work greater than ever before and included maintenance tools that were sorely needed. I never dreamed that a homegrown internet site could handle the traffic and the millions of posts that we do. And even including the few times when we were down hard for more than a day, over the last 21 years we have better than 99% uptime.
And later, when our growth saturated and used up all the resources of our original ISP, John designed and built our multi-server hardware system, negotiated a contract for sufficient bandwidth and installed it at the San Jose data center. I’m not a techie so the hardware and software are John’s baby.
And he and Chris are planning on running FR after me and Amy are gone. We are not about to let it die, assuming there’s still a need and willing members.
This is about 20th warning being circulated during the last 20 years that FR’s demise was imminent within the next year. Someday they may be right.
Lastly, if the guy who wrote the message below thinks he can do a better job than we do, he should go for it. And, for crying out loud, if he thinks he’s being ripped off he should stop donating immediately and possibly should start posting somewhere else.
“I don’t want to answer this question out in public, but I do want to answer it because I believe that many potential donors are in the same position. I have donated fairly regularly, but am becoming increasingly hesitant to continue on.
We see from the numbers that EXCLUDING expenses (collocation, bandwidth, legal, credit card processing fees, etc.) Jim (and I assume John shares) is pulling in a cool quarter million per year from this. Its his baby… he created it, he does what he can from home to babysit it… that’s fine… more power to him. It seems that his son John is the other principal who does the running to the data-center when things need fixing.
I don’t know how much John gets from this… but there’s enough profit there for BOTH Jim and John to make a six-figure salary. John apparently already has a full time job… he gets around to FR issues “when he can squeeze in the time”. If someone’s getting a six-figure salary to mind a system then that system ought to be sort of a high priority, not something that can be squeezed in on weekends now and then.
It is what it is… but here’s where it’s reaching the breaking point for me and I think many others:
Given the frequency of hardware failures, it’s becoming clear that it is now more likely than not that FR won’t exist a year from now. Many of us have suggested that hardware upgrades are becoming increasingly more of a priority… they’re now imperative.
There in NO discussion of this even being considered. I get it that Jim’s a stubborn guy… no one likes change, and a migration is a scary project.
But, without it, this site is going to evaporate… soon. Hardware is cheap… he could get a pair of great servers for $20K… the software is fine, no need to spend a ton of money writing some fancy new system. Just replace the hardware with something modern. Get some of the many experts here to volunteer a few days to work on the migration.
A brand new setup would cost less than one month’s “salary”… but would guarantee that FR survives. If giving up one month’s pay to invest in the future of his site (and the future of his income) is too much to ask, then hold a special freepathon to raise it. I can almost guarantee this money, if it was known that it was being allocated to a legit hardware upgrade plan, would be raised in a matter of a few days.
Perhaps Jim’s plan is to simply squeeze as much money out of it until it dies, then forget about it… we don’t know… he’s not saying anything (at least publicly that I can see). If that’s the case, he should at least be honest about the plan to the people he’s asking to pay his salary. If he has a plan for the site to continue, then he would be better served telling his donors what that plan is…. that would encourage more to be on board with the plan.
I would hate to see FR die abruptly and permanently. The likelihood of that happening soon is becoming very high at this point if these outages and other hardware issues continue on their current trend. If that’s NOT the plan, then I wish Jim would communicate to his donors about it and get moving to prevent that… before its too late.”
Thank you very much!