Friday, February 05, 2016

Upgrading user-facing servers to jessie

In the past year we've upgraded our entire infrastructure to Debian jessie, with the exception of user-facing machines.

The time to upgrade them is now. We've prepared upgraded versions of each of these servers and will swap them out early morning on Wednesday, Feb. 10th.

The servers that will be upgraded are:

  • tsunami, the public login server
  • biohazard, the app-hosting server
  • death, the web server

Most users won't notice the update, except that most software will be a newer versions. The one exception is users who have dynamically-linked binaries somewhere in their home directories.

Because many libraries will be upgrading, most of these programs will fail to run after the upgrade. The best solution is to recompile the binaries (or find newer, pre-compiled versions).

One specific case is with environment managers like Python's virtualenv, Ruby's rbenv or rvm, and Node's nodeenv or nvm. These often put fully-compiled versions of the interpreter in your home directory, and in most cases, this will fail to work. After the upgrade, you'll need to rebuild these.

For application hosting, you can find instructions on our website:

During the server swap, you should expect a small amount of downtime (about 5 minutes).

If you have any questions or need assistance feel free to reach out to

Update Feb 07: We're going to push this back until early morning Wednesday (originally it was Monday) to give us a little more time to ensure a smooth upgrade.

Update Feb 09: For biohazard (app hosting), we'll be reaching out to individual groups using the server to coordinate a smooth upgrade. biohazard will continue to be available (and unupgraded); we'll be moving groups one-by-one to the new server (named werewolves).