successfully processed 10e6 emails

1999-06-24 04:35:53

MHonArc just processed its one millionth email on my computer.
As you can imagine, I'm extremely pleased. What great software!

It's been a lot fun scaling up. Here's what I learned from my
experience over the last year and a half, from a technical standpoint.
The system is a single PC with an AMD K6-II processor, 256 megs of
ram, and two 16 gig IBM IDE disks.


  * MHonArc, in batch mode, provides O(n) performance no
    matter how big an archive gets (tested to 60k)

  * The risk of an orphaned lock file is too great. It was better to
    use -nolock and manage concurrency myself.
  * It was better to buy RAM than to use -savemem

  * Once in a blue moon, perl processes can crash and core dump.
    No big deal if you remember to check process return values.

  * htdig makes for an excellent search engine for MHonArc pages

Stock redhat linux 5.2:

  * The default open files limit (1000) is too low.

  * Mounting a hard disk takes minutes, e2fsck can take an hour, and 
    ls can take quite a few seconds.

  * IDE disk thoughput increased when I tweaked settings with hdparm 

  * When you do a lot of writing to system logs, syslogd starts
    hogging 25% of the processor. Rotating logfiles daily fixes
    this problem.

  * Better to put some limits on 'updated' 

  * People can break into a stock system (due to security holes
    in software bundled with the OS)


  * There are certain emails which can kill nmh.


 * My friend Brian Semmes was a math major. For some reason he
took the introductory electrical engineering class, and it wasn't
pretty.  The professor said things like, "This resister has 10^6 ohms;
heck, 10^6 is practically inifinity, so we'll just substitute infinity
into this equation..." It drove him crazy, and I think of him
whenever I hear the word "million". 

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