Overview of Installation and Integration

  • For those curious about how this works:

    The present discussion forum is implemented as an installation (or instance) of NodeBB, a freely available program for implementing discussion fora.

    This instance of NodeBB is installed in a virtual machine (VM) rented from the firm of Linode.

    NodeBB runs on top of an interpreter node (nodejs) for the programming language Javascript (not to be confused with Java, a different programming language).

    Version management of the local installtion of nodejs is provided by asdf, a freely available program for managing installations of versions of commonly-used software tools.

    The operating system is Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a software distribution that includes, among other components, the Linux kernel and the Gnu software tools. Ubuntu is substantially supported by a firm called Canonical. The Linux kernel and the Gnu tools together approximate the functionality and feel of the Unix operating system, which was invented at Bell Labs by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson. The principal author of Linux is Linus Torvalds.

    The reverse proxy is nginx. It initially fields the web requests and forwards them (in the usual case) to the instance of NodeBB. It also handles the TLS.

    The TLS certs are drawn from the "Let's Encrypt" nonprofit organization, via software from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

    The data (except pictures) persist via an instance of MongoDB.

    Mail is handled by postfix.

    A single application program publishes to the Web, the home page and the archive. It is written in Javascript and runs on nodejs.

    A scheme of regular backups is in place, which copies the data to a VM that Jack Waugh runs for his personal stuff and another web site. The VM running this forum and the backup one are in different cities.

    Scripts, code snippets, and documentation to facilitate rebuilding all the above in case something happens to it, reside on the Bitbucket web site, a service of the firm of Atlassian.

    Everything mentioned above is free of monetary cost except the virtual machines at $60/year each. The suppliers of some of the other components do solicit donations (in particular, "Let's Encrypt" and EFF).

    Donating to ISRG / Let's Encrypt: https://letsencrypt.org/donate
    Donating to EFF: https://eff.org/donate-le

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