All: LINGUIST List changes and maintenance

The LINGUIST List linguist at
Fri Oct 10 17:01:15 UTC 2014

Dear LINGUIST List subscribers,

the LINGUIST List services and operations have been migrated to a new physical location. You surely have experienced many issues and problems over the last months during this process. We are sorry for all the problems that have occurred this summer. Even though we were all working hard to minimize the issues with the website, mailing service, and other processes, we could not avoid them completely. We are grateful for the numerous comments and suggestions, and alerts about broken functionalities or misbehavior of the systems. Thank you all for your help and support during this critical period.

We are also grateful to the new and old hosting institutions, i.e. Indiana University and the Department of Linguistics at IU agreed to host and support us, and Eastern Michigan University and the English Department, the Linguistics Program, the administration and the IT Services offered us help and support, making this relocation possible and smooth.

In a last step the core of LINGUIST List is migrating now. We are deactivating today the LISTSERV at EMU for a day or two, to restart it in a very new way, using new servers and a new software environment. Please be aware that many lists are using the LINGUIST List LISTSERV system. The owners of these lists have been informed that the lists will be up and active again in a day or two. We are sorry for having to pause the service. Unfortunately settings of domain names and new IP-addresses take time, and redirecting internet services is still not an instant process sometimes.

The temporary deactivation of the LISTSERV server and the mailing list does not impact the website or the submission pages. You can still submit new announcements and postings, and we should be able to send those out within 48 hours.

Some of you noticed that services like MultiTree or LL-Map are dysfunctional. Let us reassure you, we are working hard on the reactivation of those applications and services. We should have all services up again in the next weeks.

The changes with LINGUIST List have been significant. They have been time consuming and technically challenging. For those of you, who are interested in some of the details, here a brief summary:

1. The database and all the data has been migrated from Oracle to PostgreSQL. We have migrated all data from a commercial software system (Oracle) to a free and OpenSource system (PostgreSQL). This migration has consumed hundreds of hours of our team at LINGUIST List. The advantage is not only to be independent from costly software solutions, but also to be more flexible, operating system and hardware independent and more efficient. The new system runs much faster, more stable, with less administration time. If we could just let you compare the old system and the new one now with respect to responsiveness, speed and efficiency...

2. The language (and environment) in which the website was written has been ported from a commercial ColdFusion server to an OpenSource and free ColdFusion implementation, i.e. from Adobe ColdFusion to Railo. This conversion required a lot of rewriting of code and pages. The result is again that we are independent, we do not rely on commercial solutions that were impacting our budget significantly. We also have a much faster and more efficient system now.

3. The entire email environment and administration file storage has been migrated to Google for Non-profits Apps. Google offered us free access to their mail service, file storage in Drive, the calendars, group management tools and other valuable applications that improved our processes. We are grateful for their support.

4. The entire code-base of all our development and applications has been moved to the Bitbucket platform, using a git-based code repository and versioning system. Bitbucket gave us enterprise-level access as an academic service, free of charge. This service is extremely valuable to us, allows us to keep an overview of all contributions to the code-base in a collaborative coding and editing environment, and it gives us a redundant backup and distributed storage of the code for all our applications.

5. The hardware servers have been replaced with dynamic virtual servers using the Amazon EC2 platform, using also alternative virtual server and storage providers to give us the flexibility to scale our cyber services on demand, to keep redundant backups and on demand transferable instances of all our applications and tools. The systems are now operating on most recent Linux operating systems, using Solid State Disk storage for maximal performance, attached to high-speed internet connections. You might have realized the change in performance of the systems over the last months. We do not worry anymore about hardware failure or updates. We reduced our operational costs significantly and achieved a boost in performance, increased the efficiency and flexibility for all our processes.

6. Many of the tools and applications (MultiTree, LL-Map etc.) have been redeveloped using new software environments. These should be available soon.

There have been a lot of changes. It took many sleepless nights, sacrificed holidays and weekends, even "sweat and tears" to get LINGUIST List up to date, to create a new sustainable environment and the basis for new and important services for the global linguistic community, and to relocate everything to Indiana University. We are all happy to have an incredible team of student editors at LINGUIST List, developers and supporters. We had the best students and staff previously at EMU, and we are happy to have them now with us at IU. We are lucky to have the best supporting community, advisors, colleagues, supporting boards and University administrators.

Please bear with us while we finalize the migration.

Thanks you all for your patience, support and help!

The LINGUIST List Team

Support the LINGUIST List with a donation:

Dr. Damir Cavar
Moderator of The LINGUIST List
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