back to article The state of OpenPGP key servers: Kristian, can you renew my certificate? A month later: Kristian? Ten days later: Too late, it’s expired

There was a time when there was a certain amount of pride in the fact internet engineers all knew one another, that systems critical to the internet’s functioning were run in the back of other facilities, and a single person was often in charge of whole services. Fortunately those times have changed, and global communication …

  1. oiseau Silver badge

    10 years' stelar work down the loo

    “Kristian Fiskerstrand has done a stellar job maintaining the pool for more than ten years, but ..."

    It seems that, for whatever reason, he's really not up to the task anymore.

    It's quite obviously his prerogative to stay or leave if he does not want to continue doing what he has done quite well up to now.

    He's absolutely under no obligation to keep doing it.

    But to leave the helm unmanned without someone to replace him or at the very least send notice to those that depend on his being there is as irresponsible as it can possibly get: kind of flushes ten years of stellar work down the loo.

    Clearly more than enough reason to look for a suitable replacement.




    Not His fault

    The error was not Kristian Fiskerstrand. It was depending one one person, who probably was not being paid. There are other thinks more important in life than work. Things like family, love and health.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: things more important in life than work.

      Well, sure. If he'd reappeared and said, "sorry, family crisis" or something you might cut him a bit of slack, but the whatever the true situation, the quote suggests to me a more "whatever, no big deal" attitude that is not entirely compatible with his role.

      Unsupported volunteer or not, it's not obvious he needed to go silent without even setting an out-of-office auto reply; and if it happened that he did (as perhaps in this case), it would probably have been more considerate if he appeared a bit more apologetic for the unscheduled absence on his return.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: things more important in life than work.

        You're joking, right? It's not even his work, its his hobby. "Just focusing on everything else than computers lately," where 'computers' also obviously covers whiny freeloaders wanting computer-related services such as certificate management for free.

        If someone loses interest in their decade-long hobby and you are critically dependent on them doing that hobby for free but to your imagined SLA, then it's YOUR problem, not theirs. Why the hell would you assume that someone has incurred an open-ended obligation to deliver business continuity to a pack of random strangers on the internet?

        Do you also write angry letters to people who stop updating their blogs or maintaining wikipedia pagers or whatever?

        1. stiine Silver badge

          Re: things more important in life than work.

          No, I just presume that they're dead.

    2. Dave559 Bronze badge

      Re: Not His fault

      This is why every project needs to review its bus interaction criticality factor on a regular basis, to ensure that an unexpected bus interaction, or similar events, won't cause problems.

  3. Joe W Silver badge

    Yes and no...

    But having a single person in charge of anything is a bad idea. Anywhere. Clubs closing down, because noone wants to run it (or can run it) after the last founder resigned / died / disappeared because llife.

    That reminds me: I need to 1) invest more time in documentation 2) give a select few some more administrative access and 3) train these people.... not only in my job.

    1. Jim Mitchell

      This is the classic "hit by a bus" people problem. Do you have a plan to recover if people you rely on are suddenly, possibly permanently, unavailable?

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        my favourite metric in BC/DR is the Bus Factor

        "The number of people that need to be run over before X stops working"

        its amazing how many systems/services where that number is 1


          I am the 1, will not get a raise, and will not get a junior or coworker.

          We are implementing ~10 big new cloudy systems over the next few months

          They are supposed to all talk to eachother.

          1. Glen 1 Silver badge

            Your notice period + a week before go-live might be a good/terrible time to re-open negotiations.

            good because you will have them over a barrel.

            terrible because it will destroy any trust/goodwill you might have.

            Then remember that companies don't *have* good will, but people occasionally do. Make your decision accordingly.

              IT Angle

              It's education, and we're run by a crusty mummy board of directors. There is no bargaining. Our CIO is doing what he can/thinks is best but he's a little dim, as per standard. Another problem with your idea is our go-live time is also our development time, and our devleopment time is also our planning time.

              It's not that hard of a job and I get a lot of leeway, there's just always work to be done. By the time it all comes crashing down (and it will) I'll be able to pat myself on the back—knowing I did a good job—with my resume substantially fatter.

              I think the CIO is finally realizing how incredible the situation is when one of the contractors asked how we should implement something and my response was "we can't because we are implementing it before the dependency project it relies on." Or when asked about two major features of a product we purchased he was told we will need to purchase two other very expensive products to slot in to carry out that functionality. Can't make this stuff up.

      2. Psmo Silver badge

        I'm surprised more IT Services companies don't have a bodyguard division.

        The kevlar jacket, thanks.

      3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        The world is covered with the graves of indispensable people.

        1. Psmo Silver badge

          And the world's ledgers hide the billions of lost revenue when upper management let the wrong person leave.

  4. TDog

    Abdul's letter

    Excellent grammar, using Yours faithfully rather than Yours sincerely. I wonder where he learnt that? And his knowledge of 1 para legal technical language was also remarkable. The lad was obviously in the wrong role.

  5. Baggypants

    Lance Davis

    You'd think that Lance Davis nearly killing CentOS would have made more of an impression really.

  6. Claverhouse Silver badge

    Abdul Abulbul Amir

    I wonder what would have happened if the Americans resuscitated Abdul Razeeq and he had then immediately transferred .af to the Russians.

    Who are widely known to be conniving unscrupulous villains in the Western mindset.

    1. quartzie

      Re: Abdul Abulbul Amir

      Obviously, the afghan internet would have been

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        Re: Abdul Abulbul Amir

        its been a long day, now draining tea from my keyboard....

      2. JohnG Silver badge

        Re: Abdul Abulbul Amir

        I felt compelled to check: someone has registered "".

  7. storner

    If you get tired of doing something that others depend on, then you have *one* obligation

    And that is to ensure an orderly transfer to another person or group.

    There are a lot of one-man/woman open-source projects. An impressive number of them work very well - I ran one myself for 10 years. And I always knew that one day I would have to assign that duty to someone else. You really must plan ahead for when that day comes.


      Re: If you get tired of doing something that others depend on, then you have *one* obligation

      Not if my ego has anything to say about it.

      ...What? I and my ego were hit by a bus? I'm in a super coma?? My house and server rack burnt down because I didn't do my nightly maintenance/rituals??? Everyone hates me????

  8. John H Woods Silver badge

    Not just open source...

    For instance, I love CodeSector's "Maverick" Android mapping app - but the developer appears to have gone awol. Such a shame.

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