While the rest of the world has been paying tribute to James Brown & Gerald Ford, I have a much more mundane duo to pay respects to after many years of work which ended in December.
The first is John, who was the manager of the X engineering group at Sun for the past 5 years. He started at Sun long before that - so long ago that his first job in Solaris Desktop engineering was porting applications from SunView to XView. He later was part of Sun's Motif team, staying until he was the last member in the US after CDE & Motif development moved to Sun's Dublin, Ireland office. I can still remember him participating in the conference calls in which the CDE/Motif co-owners were trying to convince The Open Group to open source Motif, and only succeeding in convincing them to go halfway, cementing Motif's fate as a legacy toolkit and leaving the path clear for GTK+ and Qt to replace it as the toolkits of choice for new applications.
After nearly 8 years in the X group, first as an engineer and then a manager, he's decided to return to the academic life, which will be a big change for him and us. It will be interesting to see how things change around here once our new manager starts next week.
The second is the machine that has served as recipesource.com for the last 8 years. When it first went online in 1999, the Ultra 30 was intended to be a temporary machine, to be replaced soon by a more suitable server, but we never quite got around to that. During the 8 years since, we think it served almost half a billion http requests (we don't have all the logs, since we lost some to full disks, but that's about what the average hits from the logs we have would work out to). We've now moved the site to a hosted services provider, so that people with more time than us to do system administration can do so - one sign of how little time we had for that can be seen from this last set of commands I ran before the final shutdown:
# uname -a SunOS amidala 5.8 Generic_108528-08 sun4u sparc SUNW,Ultra-30 # uptime 1:08pm up 1725 day(s), 9:41, 1 user, load average: 0.07, 0.03, 0.02
Almost 5 years without even installing a kernel patch, much less an OS upgrade - but even though it was open to the internet at large, the network services were limited, and while we did get caught by spammers a few times who found ways to relay through us before we got sendmail patches updated, as far as we can tell, it was never broken into.