Originally Posted by RCKen
George, when RCU was owned by Marc Vigod and Michael Kranitz there was only one support person, and that was Marc himself. When they sold the site to Internet Brands we inherited a full time staff of programmers that could provide tech support to RCU. The problem they had when they first took over RCU was that the software had been so highly modified by Marc that it was a nightmare for them. Every time they would try to fix something other things on the site would break. In fact, this was part of the long delay it took from the time of purchase to us being upgraded, they had to actually hire on a programmer to do nothing but try to figure RCU out.
I know what you are talking about. Back in the late 1980's, I was part of a software team at an aerospace company, modifying software written 10 years prior. There was a comment may be every 30 lines of code, all in FORTRAN IV with no indenting, with embedded IBM 360J assembly in this minicomputer based load servo control and data acquisition package for aircraft structural testing. I ended up using a word processor, blocking it out by tiered indenting to discover sections, developed a data dictionary every time I discovered what a variable was. Inserted a lot of comments to simulate structured programming. (It was highly structured, but not evident in the writing style.) Then recompiled it and checked the CRC had not changed, which meant I did not modify the code. It took a couple weeks of 8 hours a day, but was finally making headway into changes required on portions I was working on. Package was 10,000 lines of code, to which we added about another 5,000 for a new testing program.
Now we fast forward to having been upgraded to vBulletin. This was a major step forward for us because the old software we had had been abandoned by the company that wrote it when they went out of business. vBulletin is actually owned by Internet Brands (our parent company), so they are the "experts" with this software. Now some would ask why we are having problems if they own the software and are the experts. There are several reasons for this. First, RCU is just about the largest site they have ever taken in. The size of our message database was HUGE. Just the attached pictures that have been uploaded to RCU is over 20,000,000 (yes, twenty million), and that is just that attachments. When you start to think about the total size of the posts they number is even larger. The second reason why they are having some problems is because the actual forums of RCU are just one part of the puzzle. RCU is actually made up of the Discussion Forums, the Marketplace, and the RCU Magazine. All of these were housed on multiple servers spanning multiple operating systems, which all worked under a login server. When they upgraded the forums they needed to make sure all the parts still worked together. The last reason is because when we upgraded we wanted to try to make everything work on the new forums as it did on the old one. And getting all those things working has been a bit of a chore. But they are working on it as hard as they possibly can.
Yes, you have a considerable data base infrastructure to maintain. As time progresses, I understand that software packages need to be retired, as the old is obsolete (probably using outmoded languages) and requirements have expanded. I've lived through the debugging process, when after racking your brain you make a small correction, it seems a milestone. Back then I found a bug with the old package. Minicomputer would run for weeks during a structural durability test, then software would mysteriously crash. I found it was missing one line of code to update the pointer when returning a portion of freed memory back to the linked list free queue. After that, the software was definitely more robust.
Yes, RCU is a "free" site. And believe me in that IB has no intention of ever changing that. RCU's core belief is that every post ever made will always be available for viewing even if the person viewing isn't a member of RCU. And IB supports that. But that doesn't mean that RCU isn't a money making machine. Internet Brands would have never bought the site if they didn't feel they could make money of of it. RCU is supported by the advertising sold here on the site. So we ask that you support those people you see in the banner ads as they are the ones that are keeping RCU's door's open and our lights turned on!!!! Hope this helps Ken
I've appreciated it as an info repository, have found solutions to my legacy McCoy, Enya, Gilbert, Fox, OS engines and plans of the 1950's and 1960's. Plus, I've found correction solutions to my kit and plan building. So, having access to history certainly helps.