It’s one step above a bake sale, but a grass-roots movement is underway among Internet users to raise money toward a few gigabytes of disk space for the popular FTP site at sumex-aim.stanford.edu. The site has been overwhelmed with submissions and Bill Lipa, the administrator, has had to implement a policy of deleting less commonly used files. Unfortunately, those files always show up in a net question or answer shortly thereafter, and someone has to resubmit them. Part of the problem no doubt stems from the number of cool, but huge, QuickTime movies that have appeared in the last few months.
The solution is simple. Buy more disk space. It’s not that simple, however, when you realize that the archive is entirely run by volunteers, primarily Bill, and that sumex is unrelated to Stanford University other than the fact that Stanford owns the computer itself. The archive has no money and no status as a legal entity. From that quandary sprang the idea of a fund drive. If several hundred people (which isn’t many, considering how many people use sumex daily) send in $10, Bill could buy a larger drive to add to the relatively small one currently online.
If you use sumex (or one of the mirror sites that depends on sumex for its files) and wish to contribute $10 or so (I’m sure Bill wouldn’t turn down a few million if you have that lying around, and then we’d have a full-time moderator for life.), you can send a check made out to "William Lipa" to:
P.O. Box 7313
Menlo Park, CA 94026-7313 U.S.A.
A number of issues about logistics and using the money appropriately came up on Info-Mac Digest, which Bill also moderates, but the only real option is to send checks to Bill. As Bill said at some point, if you don’t trust him, you’re unlikely to contribute in the first place. He will maintain a file on sumex listing check numbers and amounts so people can keep track of what comes in and the total available. If you include your email or snail mail address with your check and ask, Bill will send you a note acknowledging receipt of the check.
Of course, one way around all of this would be for a company to donate a large SCSI hard drive in return for mention as the drive’s donor. I believe sumex runs on a Sun workstation of some sort, so if you know of a company interested in gaining some net exposure, drop Bill a note and ask him about the specifics. There’s no such thing as too much disk space, especially for a public archive that serves thousands of people.
And as Bill said, he’ll donate $20,000 worth of his time, so in comparison to all that work what’s a measly $10 or so if you’re a heavy user? My check is in the mail.
Bill Lipa — [email protected]