We get asked, although not that often, where our name came from and what NextTime runs on. This will be my somewhat lame attempt at explaining it all. Even if you don't understand, I'll put in some pretty pictures to help you out.


NextTime became our name in August of 1997 when danzig purchased NextTime.com from InterNic. Danzig could better tell this story, but essentially he was talking with spud in his office about what they could get for a domain name. A sentence was written on the desk blotter that said something to the effect of, "...do this nexttime." Danzig saw the potential for far too many jokes, puns, and word plays, and a domain was born.

At that time the domain consisted of one machine, maybe, connected by a 28.8k modem to Erols Internet. maybe was a 486DX4/100 (IIRC) with a whopping 16MB of memory, and happened to be danzig's only computer. This meant that the domain was prone to frequent downtimes whenever he wanted to use Windoze or make a phone call. Later that year danzig got himself a new system, until, and maybe became an almost dedicated server. It eventually was given more memory and a bigger drive,but it was still a little weak.

In the meantime, mbrodeur was busy building and maintaining the imaginary domain colour.magic. Danzig's impending doom...err, reassignment, meant that custody and control of NextTime had to fall on someone. We're not sure whether it was a logical choice, or feverish delusion, but in April of 1998 the Erols service ran out, danzig packed up his computers, and the domain was passed on to mbrodeur.

This prompted more than a few changes for colour.magic. First of all, Twoflower had been configured to dial on demand, and once an hour on the hour to allow remote access. The account with JavaNet was for unlimited time with dynamic IP, not dedicated static IP. That just wouldn't do. After some searching Cyber Access was chosen as the only ISP willing to provide dedicated static IP subnets for less than $100/month. This gave us the ability to have real IP addresses for all of the machines, and host multiple domains on our servers.

Of course, colour.magic was officially decommissioned in order to accommodate NextTime.com. Twoflower became maybe, Rincewind became until, and Luggage became not. Over the next year we also added perhaps, again, and several personal PCs to the network. In June of 1998 we acquired (just for the hell of it) NextTime.org and aliased it to the existing NextTime.com.

In December of 1999 we finally ditched the analog dialup in favor of 144k IDSL. We got to keep the subnet, and all was peachy for a while. Recently the DSL line has been unpredictable, and we've been on and off of dialup.

What now?

The real fun is what we're doing now. Here's a breakdown of the servers that keep NextTime going:

Host Name Duties Processor Memory Storage Cooling OS Avg DNet Keyrate
maybe Name, Web, Mail, and shell server AMD K6/2 333 256 MB Dual 1.6GB EIDE (RAID-1), 3.2GB EIDE 1 Case Fan, 1 Chip HS&Fan Red Hat Linux 8.0 ??
perhaps File/Shell Server AMD K6/2 500 256 MB Dual 80GB EIDE (RAID-1), 4.5 & 2.1GB SCSI 2 Case Fans, 1 Chip HS&Fan Red Hat Linux 8.0 ??
moo Firewall Intel P233MMX 32 MB 1.2GB IDE 1 Case Fan, 1 Chip HS&Fan I'm not telling ??
bagel Serial console server Ross HyperSPARC 125MHz 256MB 2x 400MB SCSI 3 Case fans OpenBSD 3.2 ??
PearlyGates DSL Router Motorola 25Mhz? 2 MB? 4MB Flash ROM Vents Some propietary router soft 0 :(
cat2926 Core switch ? 32MB 8(?)MB Flash 3 Fans Cisco CatOS 3.2 0

In the same house are a few systems owned by mbrodeur and epidote:

Host Name Duties Processor Memory Storage Cooling OS Avg DNet Keyrate
until Primary workstation (toy) Dual Intel PIII 1GHz 1 GB 9.1GB SCSI, 20GB EIDE 2 Case Fans Red Hat Linux 8.0 ??
again Heather's 'Puter Intel PIII-450 512 MB 8 GB IDE 2 Case Fans, 1 Chip HS&Fan RedHat Linux 9, Windows 98 ??
ficus MP3 Player/Gaming client AMD K6/2 500 512 MB 11 GB IDE 1 Case Fan, 1 Chip HS&Fan RedHat Linux 9, Windows 98 ??
Luggage Portable Intel PIII 900 384 MB 20 GB IDE 1 Fan Red Hat Linux 9, Windows Me 2500Kkey

With all of this hardware, what do we do? Play games, mostly. Maybe is the host of all of our web pages, including the local Linux Documentation Project (LDP) mirror, and the Indian Creek Designs (ICD) 'Cats Support/FAQ Pages. NextTime also provides internet access for those connected locally, including mail and news access from local servers.

The Future?

In the immediate future we have plans to host commercial web pages for those who are willing to accept low bandwidth for a low price. Our average reliability has been ~98% since January 1999 when a faulty piece of hardware was finally corrected. We have enough storage space for reasonable growth, and we're doing our best to keep things reliable. It's not uncommon now for maybe to go three months or more without ANY downtime, even during the summer brown/blackout season.