PHPBB or MYSQL problem? server load?

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Bruno Ogorelec
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Post by Bruno Ogorelec » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:32 pm

We are talking apples and oranges. I am not saying that MS is the best stuff around. I am not stupid. But, it is not the crap that people make it out to be. It is just made for different things.

Plenty of young people you mention -- who have bad things happen to them -- also have bad record on driving. They crash motorcycles and have skateboard or offroad bike injuries etc. etc. They do wild jockey things. You don't blame their equipment for that. You blame their silly stunts.

MS is not for wild jockey things and silly stunts. It's for people who just want their job done. In twelve years of running a company that serves diplomatic and intelligence organizations and generates thousands of sensitive documents I have not had anything like that happen. I did have one bad hacker attack -- when my firewall was down without me realizing it. And that was it. Occasionally -- say, once in three weeks or so -- I have the system crash on one computor on the network or another, whereupon it reboots without significant loss of data.

But, we never do stupid things. We never install software over software. We never install anything we are not totally sure works and is compatible. We have strict division between documents and software. No one has the authority to tamper with the system without my say so (and without our IT people's approval). We do cleanups and updates religiously and by the book. And we only do work on the system, no stunts.

For people who want to do other things, or are careless and trample all over their systems, MS is not good. They should use something else. But, they should not berate a Chevy for not being a Ferrari.

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Post by tufty » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:36 pm

Bruno Ogorelec wrote:If MS didn't work well, how on Earth would it manage not just to compete on the hotly contested market, but also earn ridiculous profits -- despite the fact that many competing products cost nothing to buy?
MS got their market domination (on the desktop) through a combination of cheap, commodity hardware, and people being able to pirate their software easily. They have since used that market domination to push out competition and effectively flatten the market. Monopoly practices at their worst. It's not a question of MS software being "good" or "bad", it's that it has been, for the last 15 years or so, pretty much the only choice.

As a writer, you surely remember the days where there was a significant choice between writing tools, where Word/6 for DOS was one of a number of competing products, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Those days died with WfW2.0.

Similarly, spreadsheets - Excel was a good product at the time, in a competing market, but there were other, different tools available as well. Very, very few of these still remain on the market, snuffed out by the MS behemoth.

Slowly, things are changing. Operating systems, once massively costly are now commodity items, the cost of a stable, efficient OS is zero. In order to justify paying for an operating system, it must deliver something significant for the money. Open source operating systems not only deliver more at the low level than the closed source alternatives, but they are moving faster, there's more innovation. It's no wonder Apple ditched the old MacOS and built OSX on an open source core.

In this market, Windows cannot compete. It's too expensive for too little benefit. Even die-hard Windows fans are lambasting Vista's many, and public, failings - even its few good points (better user permissions management) are, bizarrely, being treated as downsides due to poor front-end implementation. A system needs to be able to do things that the free systems can't, it needs to stay ahead of the pack. Windows meets neither of these criteria, and people are beginning to notice.

In the application market, again, things are changing. MS's other money-spinner, the Office suite, is being assaulted on all sides. Sadly, the majority of the competition is merely mirroring what Office does, not going further; it's the attack of the clones. In terms of benefits, the free suites have 2 things going for them - the obvious one is cost, but the most important is control of your data. This one's being played out at the ISO at the moment, as you may have noticed, and MS have been trying *very* hard to stack the deck.

MS still have a massive presence on the desktop, and massive means inertia. But that presence is being pushed, and once something with that sort of inertia starts moving, it's incredibly hard to stop it. That movement has started. In the last 6 months of laptop sales, 3 of the top 5 selling machines have Linux installed, and the other 2 are from Apple. More and more large public institutions are moving away from Windows as a platform, citing cost reductions and not being tied to a single vendor.

As they stand at the moment, MS are a dinosaur. They are too big to be able to react to those agile little mammals that are eating their eggs. Too cold blooded to handle the cooling of profits that comes from relying on software sales in a more service-dominated industry. At the moment, they are flailing and stomping, but the message hasn't made it to the brain that they need to evolve, PDQ.
All the available evidence (plus long personal experience) tells me the guys at Redmond have been doing something right over the past two decades. You just can't fool people all the time. In the long run, you got to deliver.
I honestly disagree. Every MS product I've had to endure since MS-DOS 6.x has been "just good enough", good enough to convince people you're better off buying MS than relying on that other supplier, you know, the one we're about to put out of business. Just good enough to get a monopoly position in that market, to leverage that monopoly, even at a loss, to make more sales for the Windows/Office cash cow. Stifling innovation, crippling the market.

This sounds like I'm a typical MS hater, open source zealot I guess, but I'm honestly not. I'm old enough to remember when IBM were the bad guys, when "you never got fired for buying IBM", and to remember how fast that monopoly crumbled. MS are a business. Sure, they've done a lot of stuff that could be seen as being a "bit dodgy", and a lot of stuff that's flat-out anticompetitive, but that's the nature of business.

It's not MS that I hate. It's the effect they have had on the market, stifling of good ideas, the acceptance of stuff like this :
Occasionally -- say, once in three weeks or so -- I have the system crash on one computor on the network or another, whereupon it reboots without significant loss of data.
Really. It's not acceptable for a system to crash under anything but the most dire of circumstances (the complete list of circumstances allowed to crash a machine is ["hardware failure"]). Barring hardware failure, again, no data loss is acceptable, ever. All data loss is significant. Systems shouldn't "slow down a bit over time" and require rebooting or reinstallation. User level code shouldn't be able to crash the operating system through public APIs (or, in fact, ever). And yes, you can still do this with Vista. Reboots should be restricted to operating system upgrades, and possibly *very* low level driver installation.

All without mentioning DRM, vendor lock in through deliberately obscure and obfuscated formats, bastardised standards, etc?

I do have to say though, there are some things they have done right. The Xbox360 is, hardware failures aside, a *very* fine gaming machine.

Simon

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Post by Irvine.J » Mon Feb 11, 2008 3:47 pm

For people who want to do other things, or are careless and trample all over their systems, MS is not good. They should use something else. But, they should not berate a Chevy for not being a Ferrari.
I wouldnt do that, ask my honda :-)

I was a little taken back by your emotions on this one bruno, the *f___ words are completely unexpected.
But, we never do stupid things. We never install software over software. We never install anything we are not totally sure works and is compatible


Most people who have any knowledge of computer dont either, but the problem, is most people dont have banks of servers and multiple computers to test with. They rely on whats advertised, whats on the box as i'm sure you'll agree.
Plenty of young people you mention -- who have bad things happen to them -- also have bad record on driving. They crash motorcycles and have skateboard or offroad bike injuries etc. etc.
As do older people. Being young does not mean your stupid, or will ever willingly crash your pc.

In context, they use computers for a lot more then word and excel. Solidworks, ansys and other modeling/engineering, and flow analysys software requires it. I have no doubt you have a successful business on it, many do, however the fact remains is that they are aware of 1000's of bugs (even more in vista) and simply choose to do nothing about them.

Any new gui is going to seem scary at first, but the results are worth it is my point. I am right now test running and typing this off the Ubuntu live cd (the new 7.1 version) and even off the cd its blitzing my XP in terms of general speed 10 fold. How can this be? A: Better coding.

I dont think I criticized MS USERS, but, as A LONG TERM and CURRENT user of MS programs, there is a whole other world out there, and its better, faster and more reliable.

But, I still use some MS programs as there are some things that can only be done in it... for now;)

EDIT: TUFTY: Agree.
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Post by Bruno Ogorelec » Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:44 pm

All good points, guys. I am not quarelling with you too hard.

I am just saying that MS -- including their most maligned pieces of software -- has served me well over the years of serious business use.

I am (and have been) quite pleased with what they are offering for my particular business and private uses. That has been true for the past 12 years. And, remember, I have been living off my computer network all that time. It's my daily bread.

This has led me to view the moans about MS with some skepticism. It is unfashionable to be pleased with Microsoft, I guess. It's OK; I am not fashion-conscious.

I am not wearing horse blinkers, either. From time to time, I try something else (like Firefox, which has started this exchange) and it turns out that I don't like it very much and return to the MS product. Some of those other products irritate the hell out of me (e.g. Adobe Acrobat, whose interface I hate with passion) but I have to use them, as MS does not offer the same thing. I grit my teeth and do it.

So, there you have it -- a genuinely pleased MS customer. One would think I was a very rare species if it weren't for the fact that MS has posted 2007 profits that are 78 percent up on those of the year earlier. 78 f***ing percent. Boy, oh boy. How I wish my 2007 profits were even 7.8 percent up on 2006, let alone 78... I mean, you just don't do that well by doing things wrong. Not after all those years.

If MS is really a dinosaur, it's a remarkably healthy one. OK, so maybe an asteroid is aimed its way and maybe it dies soon. If it does go belly up, well, I guess I'll turn to someone else. And will probably resent the fact that I had to do it.

Finally, the f-words. I am a vulgar person in my language, as all who know me personally can attest to. Sometimes it breaks out into my writing, too. I am sorry if it offends people. I don't think I'll change, though. I am what I am.

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Post by Al Belli » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:28 pm

Hi Bruno,

Right F***ing on !!!!

Having been around computers since the Altair / Imsai days, I can totally agree with Your thoughts and observations.
As far as Your language " problem ", I can appreciate it fully, since I am a fellow sufferer of the same affliction.

Al Belli

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Post by Viv » Mon Feb 11, 2008 11:41 pm

Al Belli wrote:Hi Bruno,

Right F***ing on !!!!

Having been around computers since the Altair / Imsai days, I can totally agree with Your thoughts and observations.
As far as Your language " problem ", I can appreciate it fully, since I am a fellow sufferer of the same affliction.

Al Belli
Personally I think things went downhill after the DEC PDP8, those new fangled PCBs will never replace wire-rap in my view!

Viv
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Bruno Ogorelec
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Post by Bruno Ogorelec » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:09 am

Viv wrote:Personally I think things went downhill after the DEC PDP8
I had to look that one up. I was only 10 at the time. :o)

(Damn, you always knew which buttons to press for me. :o)

I wouldn't go quite that far -- and I do update my stuff regularly. My software and hardware are always just one series behind the latest version. (I let other people test the latest version first, and find the bugs.)

I'm not steam age, just practical. Neither software nor hardware excite me very much by themselves. I want to be able to forget both and just do what I want to do.

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Post by Bruno Ogorelec » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:11 am

Al Belli wrote:Hi Bruno,

Right F***ing on !!!!

Having been around computers since the Altair / Imsai days, I can totally agree with Your thoughts and observations.
As far as Your language " problem ", I can appreciate it fully, since I am a fellow sufferer of the same affliction.

Al Belli
Hello Al! Long time no see. How's things? When are you and I going to build that pulsejet-powered flying backpack?

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Post by tufty » Tue Feb 12, 2008 7:52 am

Aaaaanyway.

Away from anti-<$VENDOR> flamage, and back to the original problem.

I'm a member on another forum, where we were having the exact same problem. It was hypothesised that the issue was to do with megathreads (we had one thread with more than a million posts, hahah) and phpBB doing a query every time you hit the thread which checked who had contributed. While it's true that archiving those threads away to be only visible to the mods reduced load, it didn't solve the issue completely.

Due to hosting issues, which meant that we couldn't get to the database logs or do any form of intelligent database tweakage, a decision was taken : Instead of actually solving the problem, we've moved to phpBB3 :)

It seems to me that, as we don't have any real megathreads (apart from luc's pressure jets one, which is merely large), and as the board membership is not massive (with corresponding lowish load), the issue is more likely to be one of the following:
  • phpBB issue (either database or app configuration specific) that's come in with a recent update or plugin
  • some form of mechanised attack on phpBB 2.x
  • Not enough memory for MySQL, or MySQL being hammered by other users (if it's on a shared hosting deal, for example)
If the issue is database related, I'm what's known as "quite good at reading logs and optimising queries". For the rest, I'd be more than willing to lend a hand as well - I don't have a vast amount of experience with phpBB specifically, but 20+ years of unix systems...

What's needed for debugging this sort of stuff:
  • MySQL logs (particularly the slow query log, needs a little
    database configuration to turn it on)
  • Webserver access and error logs
  • Knowing exactly (or, at least, to within 15 minutes or so) *when* the problem has occurred
So, Mike. If you think it's worth spending a bit of time on, feel free to contact me. simon <period> stapleton <that wiggly at sign> gmail <dot> com or user sstapleton on skype. I'm on central european time, which is UTC + 1 hour, pinging me at 3am my time is likely not to make you friends :)

Simon[/list]

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Post by tufty » Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:00 am

Also, this could well be related to the problem.

simon

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Nail head hit

Post by Viv » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:24 pm

tufty wrote:Also, this could well be related to the problem.

simon
Hi Simon thats sounding a lot more like it, like you I suspected server load from another shared user maxing out resources but from that link I conclude maybe some one implemented a change to the way the server handles outgoing email, maybe a spam check or some thing.

easy test for this is for Mike to turn off email notifications globaly in admin.

then we wait a week and see what happens;-)

Viv
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Post by Mike Everman » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:17 pm

Thanks, guys, this thread went unnoticed until this morning. Let me get with my host and see if there's something obvious on his end. Thanks for the help! It's very valuable to have you guys around!

I'll be contacting you in a bit, Simon, as I would like to hire out some site work. Crushing busy at the moment. Ciao!
Mike
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Post by Viv » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:48 pm

Bruno Ogorelec wrote:
Viv wrote:Personally I think things went downhill after the DEC PDP8
I had to look that one up. I was only 10 at the time. :o)

(Damn, you always knew which buttons to press for me. :o)

I wouldn't go quite that far -- and I do update my stuff regularly. My software and hardware are always just one series behind the latest version. (I let other people test the latest version first, and find the bugs.)

I'm not steam age, just practical. Neither software nor hardware excite me very much by themselves. I want to be able to forget both and just do what I want to do.
I was younger than that when they first came out Bruno but they were still being used in the late 70s and early eighties when I trained as an electronics engineer so I got to work on them and other stuff even older, how many people have worked on 512 bit ferrite core memory cards? come to think of it how many people know what they are!

As for software basic, fortran, pascal were it and later CPM when 8" floppies hit the street, thats when people got the idea to write general purpose applications and try and sell them rather than write their own.

Viv
"Sometimes the lies you tell are less frightening than the loneliness you might feel if you stopped telling them" Brock Clarke

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