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13 Jul 2023 : A Year of Continuous Service #
Today I'm celebrating a year of continuous uptime for my home server, Constantia. This is, in my opinion, quite an achievement. I'm periodically reminded of how much of an achievement this is every time my work Macbook updates itself and insists on performing a reboot. This happens every couple of weeks and is very disruptive for my work. I regularly keep multiple screen sessions open, each with multiple shells, none of which are retained across a reboot (right now I have 19 open GNU screen shells).
Console showing uptime of 367 days
That means that on my mac I'm forced to recreate multiple running servers, open vim sessions and shell states every time there's an update.

In contrast Constantia runs a fully patched Linux install. The machine regularly updates itself with the latest security patches, with Livepatch ensuring the patches are applied without the need for a reboot. That's really quite impressive, when you think about it. What's more, Constantia doesn't live in a homeostatically cooled server room with back-up generators and a carefully-controlled environment. It just lives on a shelf underneath the Wifi router. If I'm honest I was pretty astonished to discover we'd not had a power cut in the last 12 months.
A small computer underneath a Wifi router

It's putting the work in too. The software it runs includes a NextCloud instance for cloud storage, calendar and contact sharing, a VPN endpoint, a Git server, an SVN server, a Jitsi video conferencing bridge (that got me through the pandemic), a file sharing server, an IRC bouncer, a backup server a Web server and a DNS cache.

Constantia started life in November 2007 — over 15 years ago — as a Koolu box, which I upgraded in 2013 to an Aleutia T1. Both small, low-power, fanless devices. The Aleutia has now been running continuously for over a decade. So let me give a quiet but emphatic cheer for my home server and the Linux that runs on it. I wish all computers could be as robust and unproblematic!


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