(archive 'newLISPer)

October 31, 2007

Virtually Free Speech

Filed under: newLISP — newlisper @ 14:55

Not relevant for the archive version

It’s been a month since I created unbalanced-parentheses, so I thought it would be good to write a few things about this site and the service provided by my hosts NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

The site is powered by newLISP, one of the many CGI languages that NearlyFreeSpeech.NET support – there’s Haskell and OCamel there too – see the full list here. They’re running version 9.1.1 of newLISP, which isn’t too old, although version 9.2 has been out since August this year, so I’ve got to avoid using functions such as dostring, which was introduced in 9.2.1.

I gather that the hosting is on a cluster of FreeBSD servers. I use a Mac locally, but I haven’t had any problems uploading newLISP code that runs OK on my system onto their system. Well – Macs, BSD – it’s all from California, right? :-)

NearlyFreeSpeech.NET operate a policy of charging you according to how much storage space you use and how much bandwith your visitors use.

My site uses up nearly 3 MB of storage space, but most of that is the access.log file, because the content and all the newLISP code required (apart from the binary which isn’t mine anyway) takes up less than 750 KB.

As far as bandwidth goes, I don’t use up much. There are about 30-50 visitors a day, and the daily bandwidth is a couple of megabytes.

So far, then, a month of hosting has cost me $0.18. That’s 8 pence in traditional British money. Or 0.12 cents in newfangled Euros. That definitely qualifies as nearly Free Speech – in fact it’s Almost As Close As You Can Get To Free Yet Still Cost Money Speech! I’m just hoping that it doesn’t go horribly wrong and something I write gets really popular…

I’ve not had much occasion to ask for support, but I gather it’s efficient. I like the plain-speaking web site too.

The detail provided by the access log is intriguing – you can see what people did when they visited your site, in considerable and sometimes baffling detail, and sometimes you find yourself asking – ‘why are you searching for that?’ or, in extreme cases, ‘who are you anyway?’. You often don’t get access logs for free or restricted hosting, so as it’s a first for me it’s been fascinating. Although reading access logs soon gets tiresome, and it’s much better to use the stats package that NearlyFreeSpeech.NET provide. Here’s a snippet:

The software that runs this site is available in the Downloads area. It consists of the file index.cgi, a SQLite database, and a set-up file which define some global variables and contains some HTML template information. Everything else – with one exception – is provided with a standard newLISP download which you can get from the official site.

Thanks to the NearlyFreeSpeech.NET folks for doing a good job in hosting this site.

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