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What happened to AMSAT.ORG

As I'm sure most of you noticed, the AMSAT.ORG system was more or 
less broken starting around 1903 UTC on Friday the 19th. I'm sorry 
for the inconvenience. To the best of my knowledge, all systems have 
now been restored to normal operation as of about 2340 UTC on Tuesday 
the 23rd.

The problem began with the installation of an emergency security 
update to protect the system against a recently-discovered potential 
attack. Security updates like these are installed all the time on all 
well-administered Unixish systems, and help to keep the system under 
control and working smoothly. This time, something went wrong, and 
the resulting updated system was not able to run the email program 
(sendmail) that handles all incoming and outgoing email. All mail 
aliases, mailing lists, and email servers (like majordomo) 
immediately stopped working.

The next day at 16:45 UTC, sendmail was fixed and mail alias relaying 
was restored. However, in the process of fixing sendmail, some other 
things went wrong, which prevented the mailing lists, majordomo, the 
mail alias creation and modification web pages, and several other 
things from working. Incidentally, this also prevented me personally 
from accessing my own email or having any remote access to help fix 
the system. Between me being locked out (and out of town) and the 
sysadmin being mostly unavailable over the weekend (and busy once the 
workweek resumed), each step toward getting this mess straightened 
out took a lot longer than usual.

In theory, the updating scheme we use has now been fixed and future 
updates should go smoothly. In practice, I'm keeping my fingers 
crossed for next time.

Messages that were sent during the outages were either bounced back 
to the sender or just plain lost. If you sent messages to mailing 
lists on amsat.org and didn't see them come back, you may want to 
send them again. If in doubt, you can check the archives at 
http://www.amsat.org/amsat/archive/index.html to see if the message 
was processed. The archive contains exactly those messages that went 
out to the mailing list subscribers.

Your mailing list subscriptions on amsat.org have not been changed. 
They should be working now.

If you subscribe to mailing lists from other systems using your 
amsat.org mail alias address, you may have been automatically dropped 
from those lists during the outage. You can probably just 
resubscribe. I urge you to resubscribe using your direct email 
address, if at all possible, to avoid this problem in the future.

If you find anything still broken, please let me know by email.

Please address any comments to me, not to the mailing list, and 
resume your normal discussion of amateur radio satellite topics here 

73  -Paul
AMSAT.ORG ringmaster
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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