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Thursday October 13, 2005
02:35 PM

Migrating off PANIX

[ #27153 ]

It's the end of an era.

I've been a long time PANIX user, and a panix.com address used to have a bit of cachet since it was the first commercial ISP in New York and it was unix (PANIX is Public Access *NIX). A lot of cool people whose names you'd recognize used it, and all of the original Perl Mongers also happened to be PANIX users even though we didn't meet on PANIX (but around a table at the first Perl Conference).

PANIX has been showing its age for quite a while, though. I pay for a basic account that gets me 75Mb of space for my web stuff, mail, and anything else. For a quarter of the price I can get orders of magnitude more storage somewhere else, and that gets to be important when people send me multi-megabyte email attachments. A couple of those over a weekend can fill up my account.

I started using GMail for mail for the unlimited storage, but it's pretty difficult to look at offline. I could POP the mail, but for some reason GMail never delivers all the mail, and it also delivers the spam it's already flagged. The storage is nice, and being able to access it from anyone's computer is nice, and the searching is great, but I still forward all of it to another computer. I'm using up about 25% of my space on GMail and I'm not going to pay PANIX for more disk space.

pair Networks freely hosts The Perl Review. I get 1,500MB of storage and a personal account with that. Now I can store everything there.

Not only that, but 'perl -v' on PANIX is 5.005_02, and on pair it is v5.8.3. On PANIX I can also choose from this list, even if it bugs me that I have to and that it doesn't have any version I want to use (I don't like the ones that end in .0 ;).

/usr/local/bin/perl                     /usr/local/bin/perl5.6.0
/usr/local/bin/perl-latest              /usr/local/bin/perl5.6.1
/usr/local/bin/perl5.8.0
/usr/local/bin/perl-stable
/usr/local/bin/perl5
/usr/local/bin/perl5.00403
/usr/local/bin/perl5.00502
/u sr/local/bin/perl5.00503

On PANIX I pretty much am stuck with the core or popular modules unless I install things myself and burn some of my disk space. pair always seems to have everything, and they even have their own CPAN mirror.

I need to make sure the transition happens smoothly. I have several months before I need to pay PANIX anything since I pay by the year (for a small discount). A while ago I started using my GMail address as my public address, so that's been slowly moving over. From my other email accounts I set that in the "Reply-to" header. My usenet messages use that address, and I think I've changed most account settings in various places. Soon I'll start soft-bouncing mail that goes to the old, PANIX address.

I also had to move the web stuff over. I fooled around with RewriteEngine for a bit and gave up on that in favor of ErrorDocument and a script. I deleted all the files so everything comes up 404. The script steps in, fixes up the URL to send it over to pair with a 301 (Moved Permanently) header, and that's it. Easy peasy mac and cheesy. That was today, so I'll have to see how long it takes Google to figure it out. It's not as if billions of people link to my dinky little page anyway.

All of this is actually a lot less painless than I thought it would be. There will be some rough edges that I'll clean up when I run into them, but other than that it's mostly happened already. I only stuck around this long because I felt bad about giving up on a service I've used for a decade.

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  • I feel your pain. I'm facing a similar transition with TheWorld [theworld.com] aka Software Tool and Die [std.com], which also claims to be the original dialup internet ISP [google.com]. My Usenet identity [google.com] has been there since Wang downsized in the early 90's, before the WWW was a meme.

    Moving is not going to be pleasant. I've been dragging my heals for a year.

    (I was on Usenet and DARPAnet in '83 through the great renaming [wikipedia.org] in '87.)

    (I acknowledge that Panix appears to predate World on UUnet bang-paths [google.com], and thus likely as a shell provider, b

    --
    Bill
    # I had a sig when sigs were cool
    use Sig;