1. 2014 Board Statement
2012 was a pretty quiet year for the coop: services were reasonably stable (if out-of-date), we successfully transitioned to a new treasurer, and stability seemed restored. We even survived AdamChlipala departing from the board. Member attrition unfortunately continued, but behind the scenes much effort was put into making our infrastructure maintainable again.
During 2013, the previous year of work was realized and our infrastructure was finally modernized. We are down to only one obsolete machine (deleuze), and all member facing services are running on reasonably modern Debian. Our AutomatedSystemInstall and our custom software are ready for an upgrade to Debian Wheezy already. With a RAM upgrade for fritz, the member shell/daemon VM and web serving VM are operating comfortably. The shared services offered by the coop (especially MoinMoin!) are finally managed in an easy to update manner, and we've actually been keeping them up to date!
The new website design from LaurenMcnees seems to have succeeded in making us look less dead to outsiders, and we've been slowly increasing membership (about one member every other month, after accounting for members departing... even with the treasurer going AWOL again and losing several potential members during the fall).
A few members are also becoming pretty active, with an HcoopVolunteerDay recently starting. We've got two folks instead of zero with access to the data center, and it looks like we've got at least one other system administrator.
- Treasury is in disrepair and we basically have no treasurer
- And I failed to take over duties early enough to avert extreme pain
- We lost ~6 potential members due to initial payments and support requests not being taken care of quickly enough
- We never acquired a new machine and work toward eliminating old servers stalled
- Insufficient cat herding: board was pretty lax on basic tasks like approving new members and I wasn't very good at cracking the whip
platform for 2014:
- Take over treasurer duties and force the presidency upon another unwitting victim
- Integrate one or two new payment processors (Coinbase, Stripe?)
- Automate payment processing!
- Secret: this is being forced upon us because all of the new kids on the block only do callback based processing... payment buttons and primitive human processing are obsolete.
- Become the first treasurer to actually create a published budget
- Lots and lots of sysadmin things
- rekey the dang cell
- figure out how to get a new server and upgrade to wheezy more than six months before jessie is released
My goals for 2014 are the same as usual: expand the coop. And fix the things that are currently broken.
- I think a feasible goal is an average 5 new members per month (increasing our numbers from 101 to 150)
- We need a new server to replace our old hardware that is finally being taken offline
- The human interaction required to accept money must be minimized
I think serving as treasurer rather than president will allow me to achieve these goals. This of course means that someone else will have to be president; my hope is to at worst have someone shadow me for a quarter before taking over with me providing advice only as needed.
2. 2012 Board Statement
This last year HCoop has been pretty inactive. We're really doing worse than we could; I'm effectively the primary sysadmin (and I suck at it!) and cat herder (I suck at that too). It appears that AdamChlipala is leaving the board so we're at a crossroads -- we've made it about a decade in one form or another; can we keep going?
This year, hopefully with fresh board members, we can actually accomplish some of the goals I've mused about over the last three years. The first step will be to get a new members server on atop fritz (modern Debian!) and get LaurenMcNees's excellent redesign of hcoop.net online. From there our first priority has to be attracting more members in the hopes that we find a few more self-starting volunteers to enhance our infrastructure.
3. 2010 Board Statement
We have procured a new machine and, after some delays, are near to having it online as our primary file and database server. This will allow us to handle our (finally) growing membership gracefully.
My primary hardware goal for 2010 is to make our central services redundant. At the very least allowing mail delivery, databases, and read-only AFS volumes for all users to continue functioning in case of the failure of one machine.
3.2. System Administration
A year ago DavorOcelic was more or less our only admin, and I knew next to nothing about our setup and could perform only menial tasks under his supervision.
After a year I have become competent enough with the software HCoop uses to provide actual assistance to Davor, thus giving us two primary admins. RichardDarst has also joined the admin team and has been quite helpful with physical hardware visits and is now in our sysadmin group.
This puts us in a tolerable situation, but this is still less than ideal. Currently we are without a maintainer for DomTool or the portal as AdamChlipala (after many years of volunteering) has decided to step down from software maintenance.
Over the next year we will need to bring at least one more person onto the admin team and find a new maintainer for our custom software.
This year I was able to convince the board that $7/month dues were reasonable, and we've managed to bring HCoop to a reasonably stable financial position. We are within 20 members of being able to phase out of the dues system (intended as a temporary measure, but relied upon for far too long to keep us afloat).
My goal of expanding membership to ~300 was unrealistic last year, but now that services have stabilized and our sysadmin situation is better we have been slowly increasing membership month to month. Expanding to 200 members in 2010 would be reasonable without much effort; if we attempted to attract new members we might well hit 300 (and we have the infrastructure in place now to handle this many).
With even 200 members we will be in a position to replace our aging hardware and thus expand the available services to all members.
4. 2009 Board Election
We should take stock of our current hardware, get hopper online soon, and see if it is worthwhile getting xanadu online for shell access.
Right now our financial situation is untenable; we have 134 members with base expenses of over $750 per month and are only able to operate because of members with multiple pledges. The active members of the coop should attempt to get a friend or two to join, and we should address any issues that would prevent someone familiar with UNIX from joining.
A goal of expanding membership to around 300 by next year seems reasonable given the hardware we own, and would put us in a position to explore things like having a part-time paid sysadmin and expanding a bit more aggressively six months to a year from now.
4.3. System Administration
The main volunteer system administrator pool should be expanded from three to four in order to replace mwolson and remove some task burden from docelic. If no one else wishes to volunteer, I should be able to assist, but it has been quite a while since I've done any system adminstration for anything other than my personal machine.
Setting up a firewall and user limits similar to what we used on fyodor is essential to expanding beyond our current membership; right now we have resources to spare and ports a plenty, but I suspect that with 300 or so members we'll be close enough to our hardware limits on at least mire that we'll need to prevent the occasional runaway process from interrupting service for other users.