A Brief History of BL dot ORG

BL.ORG was first registered back in early 1997. The idea for the domain came to me while I was in a meeting at work with one of our clients. I wasn't there for any real purpose other than to be a warm body to represent more people on our side of the table. Intimidation factors, you know.

The name of the domain came from the people that I talk with on IRC, often, one of us would use the term blorg as a term of frustration. While in the above mentioned meeting, it just popped into my head. I had a hard time sitting through the meeting after that, I wanted to get to a terminal so I could lookup the domain and register it if it was available. I thought it was pretty cool, not only did I get to register a domain, it was a coveted two-letter domain!

At the time, I was working for an Internet based company, so one of the perks I received as the Senior Sysadmin, was an ISDN line to my apartment. I soon found my Amiga booted more and more often into NetBSD than AmigaDOS. It served as the email and web services for bl.org for the first few months of my little domain's existence.

A friend of mine had bought a DEC Multia (the 166 Mhz Alpha variety) through an auction from OnSale.com. He asked me if I'd mind him putting it on my ISDN network and on the Internet. I told him he could, as long as he didn't mind it becoming the new host for BL.ORG.

A quick re-install of RedHat 4.2 later, BL had a new home. While not a speed demon, it was still faster than the 25 Mhz 68030 that had hosted it before. The Alpha-based BL was around for about a year, until I decided to upgrade my Windows/Gaming system to a bigger box, then BL migrated to an Intel based Pentium II running at 233 Mhz. A few weeks later, it got a Celeron 400 when I realized that the motherboard could support it with a simple flashing of the BIOS.

After I'd changed jobs a few times, and the companies I'd worked for when BL first got started were bought and sold a few different ways, someone finally realized that there were some ISDN lines still in use that weren't supposed to be. After a bit of panicing, I was able to find a friend elsewhere on the net who agreed to host BL's email for a while, until I could find a new place to put the server.

I called on a few friends that had rack space, but no-one had any *spare* rack-space. One of them remembered reading about an ISP in town that did do cheap colocation services, $90/mo for a 1U system. Just a few dollars more per month than the ISDN line I'd had before, and a heck of a lot faster connection to the net.

So I dug up an old CompuAd Sun SparcStation 2 clone that I'd rescued from a surplus pile, ordered up some RAM and hard drives for it and installed NetBSD 1.4. After a few odd console problems, I was able to get BL.ORG's new system up at AustinTX.com.

The poor little Sparc didn't last long. I think it had a few hardware problems or something, but it proved to be unstable, and a system that tended to lock up and not want to boot w/o assistance proved to be too annoying when the system was colo-ed at an ISP that was a good half-hour drive away and only has people in the office during business hours.

With the help of a co-worker, we were able to build a Shopping list of stuff to build a new, 1U Intel based system to replace the Sparc, which BL is still (September 2000) running on.

The only upgrades this box has had is the addition of a 40 gig HD, graciously donated by one of the BL users, to hold users' home directories, an additional 64 megs of RAM, donated by the same user, and more recently (August 2004), an 800 Mhz Pentium III, purchased from the Goodwill Computerworks store, here in Austin, TX.

Early in 2002, I got an email from another local ISP that said he'd match what I was paying to AustinTX, plus put me in a rack in the Broadwing datacenter that I helped set up when I was working for IXC. After a bit of negotiating, I agreed to move my system to Sundream Media. The month-to-month costs were lower, and I lived just a few miles from the new colo instead of having to drive down to the UT campus for AustinTX,

In April of 2002, the box was upgraded from NetBSD 1.4.1 to verson 1.6.1. After some marathon recompiling of a lot of pkgsrc stuff, the box was pretty stable and now running (mostly) ELF binaries instead of the old a.out stuff.

After spending a couple of years there, I again started a search for a better deal, and after trading a lot of email with a sales rep, I moved to CoreNAP, who was able to provide a pretty sweet colo deal, where we've been coloed since June 2004.

In January of 2005, BL.ORG was upgraded to NetBSD 2.0. A milestone release, to be sure, native threads and a lot of other stuff most end users really don't care about. ;-)


This page is maintained by Michael Parson. Please email mparson@bl.org with comments and corrections.
page last modified on Thursday, 18-Sep-2008 16:31:04 CDT