Litech Network Services

The network consists primarily of the services provided by, which is a Dell PowerEdge 350 with a Pentium III running at 850Mhz, 1GB of memory, and two 400GB SATA drives running in a RAID-1 configuration. Puck is hosted at USA Datanet in Syracuse, New York in a colocation facility with multiple DS3 connections to Tier-1 IPv4 providers and a tunnel to Sprint for IPv6 network access.

The other major server is, which is a virtual machine hosted under Xen on a Dell PowerEdge SC430 with a Pentium D 830 running at 3.0 Ghz, 1GB of memory (900 allocated to ariel), and two 400GB SATA drives running in a RAID-1 configuration. Ariel lives at Nathan's house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania behind a 1.5/384 DSL line with failover to a cable modem, using a static IP provided by a tunnel to NetHeaven. The primary services provided by ariel are secondary MX/DNS/LDAP/Kerberos and storage for backups from puck, although users are welcome to use it for other purposes as needed.

Your friendly system administrators are Nathan Lutchansky (lutchann) and Jeff Vinocur (jeff). If you need anything feel free to email them.

Outage notices

Information about planned and unplanned outages are posted to the Litech blog on Blogspot. Announcements of planned outages are also emailed to users who request them.

Shell access

Generally users should be comfortable with the Unix/Linux shell interface, which is necessary to make full use of services. Access is available through SSH, either by password or with a Kerberos ticket from the LITECH.ORG realm.


Each user has a soft quota of 500MB on the /home partition with a 14-day grace period and a 750MB hard quota. An additional 5GB of space is available on the /data filesystem, although this is not backed up. Users who exceed the 500MB soft quota will receive a daily email reminder.

Web services

The main webserver is puck, and all users may publish personal webpages by placing them in a "www" subdirectory of their home directory, which will be accessible as Larger collections of web pages (such as photos) can be stored on /data with a symlink from the www directory to redirect the webserver to find these files. CGI and PHP scripts can be used by naming them with .cgi or .php extensions, although please email Nathan before installing any complex packages to help us control our security risks. Additionally, we can host your personal domain, including DNS, HTTP and mail forwarding. Email Nathan to set this up.

Personal email

Every user is able to send and receive mail at the domain. Many of us have used our addresses as our primary email accounts for almost a decade now, and have experienced very few problems. Mail may be accessed locally on puck using a client such as Pine or Mutt, or remotely via the POP3 or IMAP protocols over SSL/TLS.

Note that since incoming mail is stored on /home, it is subject to the 500MB quota. If the 500MB quota is exceeded for a 14-day period, or if usage reaches 750MB, incoming email will be rejected. To help avoid this situation, users will receive a daily reminder if the 500MB limit is reached.

Mail clients should be configured to send and receive mail from, which requires STARTTLS for all connections.

Puck runs Exim as its mail transfer agent, which provides simple filtering based on message headers and content, and can be configured to pass incoming messages to SpamAssassin or other advanced filtering tools.

Mailing lists

Puck hosts mailing lists for several groups using the Mailman mailing list management system. To request your own mailing list, contact Jeff.

News services

We run a Netnews server on puck (accessible as that carries the "Big 8" newsgroups as well as a selection of newsgroups from alt.* and certain local hierarchies. For remote access to the news server or to request additional newsgroups, contact Jeff.

Backup policy

The only server with regular backups is puck. Twice a week, early on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, the /home and /srv (but not /data) filesystems and LDAP and MySQL databases on puck are backed up to ariel, as well as certain critical system configuration files. (Incoming email is stored in the /home filesystem by default, and is therefore included in the backup process.) We intend to retain backups for a minimum of six months, but currently they are stored back to October, 2004. If you would like your home directory excluded from the backup process, or if you need any data restored from backup, please email Nathan.

Data mirroring

Puck hosts a mirror of the Gentoo Portage rsync tree, which is synched to the official Gentoo tree daily. Feel free to set your Gentoo systems to pull from rsync:// as often as desired.

Additional documentation

Last modified 2006-10-02 by lutchann