Los Angeles Free-Net Information

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08 May 2017

L.A. Free-Net has received notification from our service provider that they will discontinue DSL service to the southern California area in about two months. Therefore, it is with much regret that LAFN will need to cease providing DSL internet access effective June 30, 2017. Inasmuch as this action will make it impossible to remain in compliance with our mission, the Board of Directors has reluctantly decided to close down the L.A. Free-Net altogether. This includes email services and individual web pages. L.A. Free-Net strongly recommends that you download all email and that those of you with web pages make back up files if you don't already have them. We recognize this will be an inconvenience to many of our users. However, in recognition and appreciation of your long-standing loyalty over the years, we will provide service from June 1 thru June 30 at no charge. All accounts will be calculated as ending May 31, 2017. Since we already have verified mailing addresses for those with DSL accounts, those users will receive pro-rated refunds automatically. However, since email only accounts ($30/year) sometimes have inaccurate mailing addresses, we need to have each email-only user confirm his/her mailing address by sending an email to the email address provided in the System Bulletin requesting a partial refund and including the correct mailing name and address. Upon receipt of the mailing information, an appropriate pro-rated refund will be mailed to you. For the sake of accounting clarity, if your account is scheduled to renew on or before May 31, 2017, please send your check as usual. If your account is scheduled to renew on or after June 1, 2017, please do not send payment. Thank you again for your support over the years.

30 March 2017

Power to the incoming mail server went down this morning. We don't know why since there were two servers on that source and only one went down. Its back up now. We put the server on its own UPS, but I doubt that will prevent the problem.

29 March 2017

The authentication problems have been resolved. Everything appears to be working now at 9AM. The first server that failed, recovered by itself. We don't have any clues as to what caused that problem. I believe the move is complete.

DNS is finally working, but the incoming mail server will not boot. We are investigating that.

DNS is not updating. I have no idea why. The news server disk did not survive the move so news service will not be available for awhile. Until DNS gets resolved, access to the servers will be limited.


Server Move

The server move has started. It will be a couple hours before we return to normal.

02 December 2015

The outgoing mail server is back up and running. There still are a couple of items left to complete to remove the previous blocking. That will occur during the next hour. As best as I can tell, everything is working properly. If you encounter any issues, let me know. Tickets are the best approach at this time.

The update to the outgoing mail server is starting as soon as I finish this. Please be advised that although it may appear to be working, any mail you send is likely not to be delivered. Wait until the update is complete and announced here before sending anything you actually want delivered.

15 July 2014

The LAFN servers are not accessible at this time. We don't know the cause yet and are investigating. The latest word from AT&T is that we will be backup up in about 30 minutes.

30 May 2014

One of the disk drives on the incoming mail server has died. This is a bit unusual since that drive is only a couple months old. We will have to see what we can do to recover from this. It may take some time though. Update: The disk that failed contains the user mail files. Fortunately we have a backup of those that was done early this morning, shortly after midnight. There is adequate space on the remaining disk drive to hold the mail files so I am restoring them from that backup. Thats likely to take about an hour. When that completes we will be backup up and running. There will be some mail you have previously downloaded today in your mailbox. Mail from after the dump was done will not be in the mailbox. To get at that we are going to try and resurrect the failed drive. I have no idea if that will succeed. The logged error messages indicate that is not likely to be successful. It may take a couple of days for us to try that exercise. Update 2: The server is now back in operation. We will be attempting to recover the mail files from the failed drive. Whatever we do recover will be added back into your mailbox.

31 March 2014

The servers are back up on the new UPS. We will see what difference that makes. DSPAM and TMDA have now been updated. There will be a bulletin released in a few minutes with the details.

The servers are being shutdown at this time to replace the UPS. Should be back up fairly soon.

29 March 2014

Something happened this morning. For about an hour before noon today I was unable to access most of the internet include the LAFN servers. I couldn't even get to Google or this blog. I am hearing of others encountering the same problem. I am not seeing anything being identified as the cause yet. I am not sure it affected all users.

If you are having problems accessing your mail, your mailbox is probably too large. We have always recommended deleting mail from your mailbox when its downloaded. Now that we are on a slower system, it becomes critical to keep your mailbox size down. Otherwise, the server has to parse the entire mailbox to build an index of the messages for your mail program. If the mailbox is too large, it takes longer than your mail program will wait and it then drops the connection. At that point the server generally leaves over a temporary file because it was terminated abruptly and thus can't be restarted properly. I have to manually remove the temporary file before you can access mail. If you request the temporary file be removed but still have auto download running with your mail program, the problem just returns. The only way to access the mailbox is to use the Mailbox Utility function. Do note, it can't function if the temporary file still exists either. If the mailbox is too large, even it will time out.

26 March 2014

There are issues with both DSPAM and TMDA that have been caused by updates to both products and loss of compatibility with our mail server. As a result we are testing a new approach to handling both of them. There will be some changes in how they function. At this time the following appear to the changes. Keep in mind, we are still testing this approach. DSPAM - the addresses you use to report spam or ham (not spam) will most likely become: user_id+spam@lafn.org and user_id+notspam@lafn.org. For example: for me to report spam would be bc979+spam@lafn.org. TMDA - the confirmation process no longer works with our incoming mail server. Actually, I am not all that confident that it worked after the previous system update. We will be eliminating the confirmation request email to the originator. You will still have all the remaining whitelist, blacklist, and quarantine features. You will be the only one who can move a message from the quarantine to your mailbox. There is still a lot of testing required to be sure that mail is being handled properly before we put these into production. In addition, the FAQ will need a major update and we will send out a bulletin with all the changes when they occur.

24 March 2014

When we switched to new hardware, the network interface got changed and that didn't get updated in the spam blocking. As a result the drive-by spammers were getting through again. That has been corrected. You should see a significant reduction in spam later today.

22 March 2014

It has been reported and verified that there is a problem with DSPAM. Sending an email back as either spam or clean is not working. I can't find anything wrong - it just doesn't work.

20 March 2014

The problem with TMDA has been found. We are using a newer version because of the OS upgrade. It requires a additional configuration item that the older versions didn't in order to deliver email. TMDA is now working as best as I can tell. I am not seeing any issues with DSPAM at this time.

You can ignore this now, see the entry above. Another bug has been found. If you are using TMDA, either turn it off or remove everything from you whitelist. Mail is delivered to pending properly, but is not delivered to your mailbox. We are working to figure out why this is occurring.

One of the side effects of the system upgrade was that one of the authentication files became altered such that only a very few users could authenticate with web functions. Interestingly enough, the ones I used for testing worked. Anyway, that has been corrected. You should be able to access User Services functions now. There was an issue with some of the spam blocking files not being up to date. I believe that has been corrected. However, if you changed spam blocking settings in the last week, you should go to User services and make sure they are still correct.

I believe the mail functions are now up and running. Please note that since this is a very small server, it is going to be quite slow. User Services is not available yet. It still requires some checkout.

19 March 2014

After replacing the disks, NIC, Memory, and power supply, the server is still unable to run without crashing. As a result we are bringing up a replacement system. Unfortunately, at this time it is a bit light on memory so it may tend to run slower than we would like. I am in the process of recovering the mailboxes at the moment. That may take another hour or so. There will need to be some more checks after that completes, but we should be turning the server back on sometime in the very early morning. There will need to be another outage tomorrow or Friday to add more memory and to physically mount the server in place of the old server. That should only take about an hour at most. There may be some missing renewal notices because some of them were not generated at midnight last night. The server was down at that time. There is likely to be a bunch of email queued up waiting to be delivered to us. We won't be able to catch up real fast.

18 March 2014

At this time the disk failures are occurring too frequently. We have only been able to keep the server up for about 10 minutes between crashes. As a result, a number of files become corrupt each crash. To avoid losing any more files, we will probably keep the server down until the new drives arrive. For the couple of users who didn't know (haven't figured out), User Services is hosted on the same server as the incoming mail. As a result it is also down.

Now we have discovered a disk drive that is having issues. I am sending replacement drives this morning which should arrive on Wed sometime. Depending on availability of personnel on site, we might be able to start the swap Wed afternoon or otherwise Thurs afternoon. The mail system will need to be down for some time to copy the existing mail files to another system and then bring them back after the new drives are installed. I don't anticipate any issues withe the AT&T router as none of the MACs are being changed. There will be further announcements when we know the schedule.


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