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Tag Archive for 'development'

Development as SPOF

I’m wondering what happened with me that I am actually writing an article on Reason for this wondering is that I wish the users, AND OWNERS the best of


Unfortunately, this seems not to be the case. In my short time as System Administrator at Couchsurfing, I’ve seem it happening more than often that the website was suddenly down. In 99% of the cases there was a change in the code, causing the downtime of one part (or even worse: the whole website). The second cause was MySQL, which just is crappy with the setup of Couchsurfing. In this case, the NDA caused good people to leave.


Lately, I’ve heared more moaning of the website being suddenly down. From my place (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), nothing seems to be wrong. Until lately. My mailbox is lately flooded of the loadbalancers that Couchsurfing use, and are no longer accepting connections. With the processing-power that couchsurfing does have (more than 7 webservers *AT LEAST!*), several database-servers, I unfortunately must conclude that the only reason why couchsurfing currently *FAILS* is the IT-management team of couchsurfing, especially the development-team.


So, can we conclude that the development-team fails? Unfortunately, this question must be answered as a no. Unfortunately, because otherwise the Couchsurfing Corpganization would be able to ditch the programmers, and get new, well payed, other guys willing to work their asses off.
The problem is deeper: CS is build in a iterative way: once build by Casey, extended by several guys. Unfortunately, the CS-MT is unable to get a firm grasp at the whole, is not willing to make it open-source, and is not able to program it the right way.


Even worse, the management has desided that *THE WAY* to program couchsurfing is to have several programmers in several timezones, programming at different (or the same?) things at the same time. In development-land (for what I have heard), a socalled OTAP-Street (Ontwikkeling, Testen, Acceptatie, Productie), meaning a line of Development, Testing, Acceptation and production, is *THE* way to develop things. I must say that I have said this several times to Casey and Weston and they claimed “it was to difficult”. With that decision they also chose a method that gave the following results:

Downtime May 5th 2009Now, would this above error be there when a decent method of development had been chosen? I sincerely doubt it.


This makes me conclude that Couchsurfing is *DEAD*. Yes, indeed, I must say this with pain in my heart, the current way CS works (ignoring willing programmers, DBA’s etc) is not the way CS will reach the 2 million people (?) they wish to reach. I sincerely hope that will not have the same problem.


Walter said it right: 1 million (?) people can’t be ignored. From my stance, we will have a favour of people applying for our couch via BeWelcome. I must conclude that my eyes are (unfortunately) opened. And that my English is worse than that I have hoped :)

I never got my application in

On August 2nd, Couchsurfing Announced that they were looking to hire a full time developer. I look back today (August 10th) and I notice that:

***We Are No Longer Accepting Applications***

I’m not sure what day they posted this notice, but it seems a very short period of time to advertise a vacancy. I always suspected that announcing this was just to escape criticism about “hiring all of Casey’s friends”. I guess soon we will get to see who the developer is, and if it is indeed a familiar face.