Still pondering hosting. There's a colo in town that charges less than DSL, at $45/mo and I want to have some fun with it. So here's my latest...
Colocate one SSILinux x86 machine there, and through a re-seller deal or something, encourage others to send x86 machines to me to get
installed with SSILinux and added to the cluster.
If you're not familiar with SSILinux, it's a hacked up kernel that makes a bunch of machines on a LAN look like one big machine lots of RAM, CPUs, and storage. See also OpenMOSIX.
For your $50/month (or whatever), your machine gets added to the cluster, and you get a permissive account on the cluster (probably with some restricted sudo access). So, rather than just having a lame machine colocated somewhere, you have the shared resources of a supercomputer! (Exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point.)
I was toying with doing yet another free shells service, but I can't break away from the fundamental problems of not wanting to lock it way down (dissallow CGI, etc) but not having enough CPU resources in one machine to give out permissive shells.
Groups of users fearful of "the slashdot effect" (also known as the reddit effect, and so on) could band together. Not everyone's site could be hit at the same time, but the spare capacity could see one or two people through the storm.
And it's anti-isolationist. Sure, it's nice being root, but it's also nice having users (which I currently lack, almost entirely). They put mp3s of little local bands in their folders and you can swipe copies. You can help them with their code, and they can easily help you with yours, and everyone just generally checks out what everyone else is doing. Life is a beach =)
Some "community policy" stuff would have to be put into place. If anyone is using more than their fair share and doing so consistently (trying to crack passwords, whatever), they get booted off the cluster after a warning. If they're merely using more resources than they're contributing, perhaps they can be asked to add another machine or upgrade their existing one.
Unlike existing shared hosts, daemons would be allowed and expected. Enough IPs could be bought and the public interface aliased such that everyone who wanted to run a stupid IRC server could.
I got this 1.6ghz Celeron machine here to colocate running FreeBSD (having given up on the stability of free Unices on RISC hardware and having given up for the time being on Solaris and IRIX), but maybe I'll really slide back that way I don't want to go and run Linux on x86 (yech, yeck) just because clusters are cool.
Thoughts? Would *you* give up (most) root privileges to have your dedicated host be part of a growing supercomputer?