Dear readers,

a few of you have actually contacted me that my blog was offline – specifically the blog post about How and why to properly write copyright statements in your code. Thank you!

I did notice myself, since the same server runs a Nextcloud instance with my calendars etc; but it is always great to hear people actually read and refer to what you write.

The kind messages also do make me want to write more about legal and licensing stuff. I did recently find a very weird bug in the Slovenian Copyright and Related Rights Act which I will likely blog about soon. Nothing very useful though, just …fun …in a way ;)

Anyway, back to the server outage.

This blog (and a few other things) runs on a relatively low powered Olimex Lime 2, which is an industry-grade 32-bit ARM dev board that I bought in 2016. It consumes very little power, but is also not as easy to debug as an X86 or AMD64 architecture. Development boards often require a specialised JTAG or UART to USB converter/cable and to access its serial console.

Plugging my Lime 2 to an external screen I could easily see that it got stuck in a reboot/shutdown loop, but it turned off so quickly even with my phone’s camera I could not figure out what is causing it, let alone how to stop it.

So I had to get a new UART module/cable to access it. Luckily Igor Pečovnik, the mastermind behind Armbian1, happens to live in the same city and was willing to lend me his.

The weird thing is that as soon as I connected to the board via the serial console, it stopped shutting down itself. The most sensible explanation so far seems to be that it might have been triggered by a low charge on the (or simply a faulty) battery that I use as a make-shift UPS, but that remains to be seen. In any case, the discussion about that is happening on the Armbian forums. The good news is that according to SMART the HDD seems to be healthy.

In the end, currently the server seems to be working again. And while I keep my fingers crossed, it is slowly time to start planning for a server that is running a CPU newer than a decade2 XD

hook out → thinking whether it’s time to buy a new server, ARM, AMD, …? hmmm…

  1. In case I forgot to mention before this server has been running on Armbian since 2016 – a distro I warmly recommend to anyone playing around with ARM dev boards. 

  2. Olimex Lime 2 uses a 32-bit Allwinner A20 that premiered in 2012. If you need power, that may not be a great choice. But if you need an OSHW solution that you can make or fix yourself even several decades later, it is a great choice. Olimex even has a deal with Allwinner that Allwinner has to provide Olimex’ customers the A20 for decades, if they ask for it. What the price for a decades old chip would be, is, of course, a different question, but if you need that, it is good to know. 

Related Posts