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There's something out there waiting for us, and it ain't no man.

11 January 2009 21:50

Things have turned a little morbid here.

I imagine that if I were to cease to be alive things would mostly keep ticking over for a while. But for how long exactly?

Assuming that you've got your hosting paid for, supported, or otherwise managed that would continue to exist. But after a while domain names would start to expire, and manual intervention would be required (that is assuming that manual intervention were not required in advance.)

So when I die, I'd have to assume everything I maintained myself would disappear within two years.

Is that depressing, or realistic? I'm not sure. But definitely morbid.

ObFilm: Predator



Comments on this entry

icon Matt Simmons at 22:49 on 11 January 2009
I'm sure my disks would fill up long before two years. There are enough automated processes which produce logs that still aren't under control automatically in my infrastructure that it would grind to a halt pretty shortly.
icon JoshPanter at 00:30 on 12 January 2009
I must be morbid, too, then. I wonder from time to time what would happen to the things I maintain after I am no longer able to do so...I get away from morbidity by envisioning taking on an apprentice to all of my thoughts and interests and having that person maintain in my lieu so some day.
So morbidity to some form of megalomania or perhaps just narcissism, either way...try imagining having an eager protoge to kick that one, it's a nice out :D
icon Anonymous at 01:55 on 12 January 2009
I've thought about this a few times myself.
My logfiles all auto-rotate into non-existence eventually. My hosting and my domain name both have auto-renewal available. So, in the end, that just comes down to running out of money. In theory, that problem could get somewhat mitigated by having enough money in an account to pay for those things out of the interest, but that doesn't allow for inflation. In the end, you'd still need someone continuing to pay for hosting if you don't have it hosted for free somewhere.
On the other hand, all the software I've written lives in various public repositories of FOSS projects (and with modern DVCS systems also in everyone's copies of those repositories), so unless those projects themselves die *and* manage to lose all their code, my work will endure.
icon Dave at 02:08 on 12 January 2009
I think that is a great and interesting thought. If you had a system in place to generate a pile of static content, it'd be really easy for anyone surviving who cares to host it. I hate 404s. Or do you trust someone of some savvy with your domain to oversee your urls, updating the resources they serve as time marches on, but maintaining their semantic meaning? Any which way, people will need to care enough about your content to propagate it. In nature, reproduction ability begets survival. With cultural artifacts, the value culture finds in it. Is it less morbid to think of your digital contributions going dark only if no one cares? ;-)
icon Baz at 02:25 on 12 January 2009
A story about exactly that (you've probably seen this before, its been around a few years): http://gonintendo.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/1195228363024wj2.jpg ...but its a bit more of an uplifting take on things.
icon Kevin mark at 04:03 on 12 January 2009
Would you think something like an escrow system for your important data would help. Like, 'open this document if I'm dead' and it would contain your internet info like usenames, passwords, passphrases, keys, domain names or other info needed to preserve your internet and digital stuff. And perhaps your wishes wrt these things like 'keep this, delete that, make that public domain,...'. Most people make accounts in obscure website and then they forget them and you have no way to get access or data because of the informal nature of them and your inability of the website to assist you because of no formal trust relationship.
icon Andy Cater at 09:08 on 12 January 2009
Joel Klecker (elmo) - chase back in the Debian archives and search for "elmo says goodbye". He died about three days later IIRC - his parents kept his computer running and his IRC bot would turn up fairly regularly for months thereafter. Organising something to put all your software under GPL / public domain or whatever is a good idea, as is leaving a note of your passwords somewhere secure. Telephone answering machines are a source of unexpected grief/joy: my aunt had to give hers away to her son because she couldn't bear to hear my uncle's voice on the message.
icon Anonymous at 09:27 on 12 January 2009
@Andy: Joel Klecker went by "espy". "elmo" refers to James Troup.
Trying to find the particular message you referred to, but I can't seem to find it. Mind providing a URL?
icon Steve Kemp at 17:06 on 12 January 2009

Currently I have all logins stored in a pwsafe binary database - so I'm sure that most things could be recovered in the event of a fatality.

But I'd be hard pressed to think who would take over online things, via the estate. I guess it would slowly fade away.

I can definitely sympathise with your aunt though Andy, I know that I've been in a similar situation in the past with a relative and answering machine messages were a real surprise to hear afterward.

icon Henry at 18:43 on 12 January 2009
Morbid Schmorbid. I think it's pretty normal to consider the consequences of ones own death. I mean, what person older than maybe 5 haven't done that?