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After limping through a few manual Let’s Encrypt renewals — sometimes too late — I’ve scripted it with acme-tiny. Each user that wants SSL creates $HOME/.letsencrypt. For each site that wants SSL, they create letsencrypt/{cert,service} subdirectories. A shared lighttpd config fragment handles the Let’s Encrypt challenge URL. letsencrypt/service/run looks like so:


exec 2>&1
while true; do
sleep 1200000

Most sites provide only one argument to letsencrypt_create_or_renew. This service directory is then symlinked into $HOME/service. Since my system upgrade script runs svc -t /home/*/service/* (as threatened in the previous comment), these run scripts get restarted approximately once a week. If I skip a system rebuild, that’s fine for SSL purposes: letsencrypt_create_or_renew doesn’t bother talking to Let’s Encrypt servers anyway, unless the cert is more than 15 days old. Once a month, a system cronjob restarts all SSL-aware services, thereby reloading any certificates which may have been updated. Since Let’s Encrypt certs last 90 days, this is probably more than enough automation. I’ll check the logs (and cert expiration dates) in a month to make sure.

Comment by Amitai Schleier Sun Mar 11 14:06:38 2018

When I upgrade my server every week, one of the things I haven’t been doing is to restart all the various site-specific web server instances. Since they started from cron via @reboot entries, I hadn’t given myself a programmatic way to bring the processes down (or back up).

I’m a big step closer, because the crontab entries have been replaced with daemontools. My setup:

  1. The system starts an svscan /var/service as root (from /etc/rc.d)
  2. The services in /var/service are per-user instances of svscan $HOME/service
  3. The services in each user’s $HOME/service correspond to what had been in their crontab

With a small shell script, I can then enumerate all the non-root svscan instances, along with the user-managed services they supervise:

:; sudo lsvscan

/var/service/svscan-schleierdav: up (pid 97) 7528 seconds
  /home/schleierdav/service/ up (pid 476) 7527 seconds
  /home/schleierdav/service/ up (pid 505) 7527 seconds

/var/service/svscan-schmonz: up (pid 105) 7528 seconds
  /home/schmonz/service/ up (pid 202) 7527 seconds
  /home/schmonz/service/ up (pid 500) 7527 seconds
  /home/schmonz/service/ up (pid 726) 7527 seconds
  /home/schmonz/service/ up (pid 170) 7527 seconds

/var/service/svscan-shapemywork: up (pid 98) 7528 seconds
  /home/shapemywork/service/ up (pid 309) 7527 seconds

Now I can probably just add svc -t /home/*/service/* to my weekly upgrade script.

Comment by Amitai Schleier Sun Aug 6 00:49:49 2017

After all that, I needed Apache again. Just a little bit.

Comment by Amitai Schleier Thu Jun 29 18:21:06 2017
I’m happy for the three of you (and Haskel)!
Comment by Jeff Hoover Wed Jun 14 19:28:20 2017


We were reminiscing about your past visit to BSDCan at this year’s event. Now I definitely know why you weren’t there!

Best wishes to you and your family!

Comment by Greg A. Woods Wed Jun 14 18:29:03 2017
This is wonderful and so much goodness in one lovely package. Maze tov!
Comment by Abbe Wed Jun 14 14:29:15 2017

@jim :) Thanks for elaborating :) And you made me reflect - so if I am contacted by a conference without a code of conduct, I will consider it :)

Yes we sometimes have a small group who shout loud and set the tone. I have not (yet?) met any of the CoC militants.

I am not sure what tools we can use though… Something needs to be done.

Comment by Nativewired Fri May 26 05:50:26 2017

@Nativewired: I’m sorry I didn’t make my point about CoCs and militants clearer. I tried to frame it that much of the initial impetus of “Don’t attend unless there’s a CoC” was started, and blown out of proportion IMO, by a small, vocal crowd.

I realize and respect there are others with that mindset who aren’t militant. Unfortunately, folks with that mindset lose out on participating in some wonderful conferences which thoughtfully choose not to have a CoC yet emphatically set the expectation of a safe atmosphere that promotes learning, participation, and open discussion.

I disagree they’re a useful tool. I am fine with you thinking they are. :) Cheers.

Comment by Jim Holmes Thu May 25 19:00:41 2017

As a current conference organizer and speaker I agree with many of Jim’s points.

To take this further.

With Jim’s point number 3 I’ve had conversations with organizers who said that the only reason that they had a COC was because some sponsors required that they have one. With that being said it was very apparent that they were going through the motions and if there had been an incident I don’t think the COC would have helped.

Point #4 in Jim’s response is something I’ve also personally witnessed.

I’m saying all of this as someone who strongly supports what I believe to be the original spirit of a code of conduct, which is to prevent some things that had been happening at conferences that were inappropriate. IE: Sexualized images, people getting drunk and too friendly with people of the opposite sex, harassing people etc.. None of these behaviors have any place in a professional setting.

The problem as I see it is that, sadly, these codes of conduct have begun to reach into areas that reach beyond these initial goals due to the strong agendas of the vocal extremists that have been pushing for their specific codes of conduct over other ones. I also personally know of cases where a woman have been banned from women in tech groups without ever having actually violated the codes of conduct. No reason was given as to why and one of the extremist COC advocates was involved with some of the bannings. I’ve also personally been in conversations, both online and in person with some of these extremist COC people where they were openly talking about ways to exclude religious conservatives (for the record I am a centrist) and people with political beliefs different from their own. The other issue is most don’t provide any accommodations for people on the autistic spectrum. How do you help an autistic person who may be easily mis-interpreted due to their condition?

Is a code of conduct bad, no. If it’s not abused the way some of the extreme activists have done, it can be a very positive thing. But the problem is that this movement has become co-opted (maybe even from the beginning) by some people who are using it to drive a specific political agenda. For example when a code of conduct, which is meant to protect under-represented people in tech, is used to discriminate against under-represented people in tech by other under-represented people (I’ve seen this happen) it sets the entire thing back. So on one hand you’ve made some under-represented people feel more comfortable, on the other hand you have actually made things worse and less welcoming for others who are also under-represented.

Brining this back to my own experience. I know a significant number of women and men who support diversity and having a safe experience for people at conferences, but are leery of the Codes of Conduct due to their experiences and observations which are often similar to mine and Jim’s. I’ve also seen some people, including underrepresented people, quietly stop supporting diversity efforts because of bad experiences with bad actors that are part of it. We all want diversity in tech, but the sad reality is that despite the large sums of money that have been spent on the efforts I’ve had trouble finding any solid, verifiable data to indicate that things are getting better, in fact some reports seem to indicate that things are getting worse.

I think we all agree that we want to improve diversity, the question is, based on what it has become in many cases is it the right tool if used correctly? If the abuse in the name of the COC’s doesn’t stop, even if we do end up discovering through data that it is effective, that abuse could and has undermined it’s goals and efficacy.

Comment by A Current Conference Organizer Thu May 25 17:10:05 2017

I see your point Jim. However I am one of the people who insist on a code of conduct AND an organisation that upholds it. I would not call myself militant in any way; it is just one way that I as a speaker can say “I expect you to create a safe environmemt” There is much more to safety, I agree with that, and a CoC does not protect from stupid harrasments. It does state that this conference cares about it and takes it seriously, which is sadly needed with the amount of people being harrased. Not only does it say to the potential harraser that it is not acceptable, it also tells the victims “when something happens, we are here to help”. Last year an incident happened at a conference, where the organisor emphasized every morning that they took CoC very serious, and that if people felt that it was too much, they could get their money back on the way out. So no it is not enough. I have yet to find a better tool so for now I insist on this. It would be easier if people just behaved, but….

Comment by Nativewired Thu May 25 14:29:37 2017