Recently I upgraded my VPS to Debian Buster, that is not the latest version, but it’s OK as long as is long time support and it still has support time. It doesn’t take long –around 30 minutes–, but there are some tricky bits to it because between releases the software I use will change and I may need to adjust my configuration files –some of them come from my first install around 2010!–. That’s the main reason why I don’t do these upgrades ASAP.
I thought everything was good, until I noticed some weird behaviour, and turns out I had missed some kernel oops after the upgrade of one of them:
iptables wasn’t working. That hosting provider injects a kernel they control, and it looks like there was a mismatch between it and my new Debian system. So I opened a support ticket, because the kernel is from 2019 and it looks like it was pinned, so I thought I was not getting newer versions.
I know how things work on this hosting provider because I worked there for 6 years, and I wrote a big chunk of the code moving their cloud. I know it is changing a field in the admin console, and that takes less than 30 seconds.
Unfortunately my ex-employer was acquired by a larger hosting company, they let go all the dev team, and no further changes are planned for the old platform; and that explains why my server was running an old kernel. Although I understand the policy, I don’t think it is a good one. If that kernel doesn’t work with Buster, I’m sure other customers are experiencing other problems.
There is a path to migrate the services to a current platform, and it will be forced to everyone at some point; but it is unclear when I can migrate my server. Not sure why is that, but it is possible is not a fully automated process.
Anyway, as an ex-employee, my server was completely free, so I think it is fair to move to some other provider and leave them alone. I’m very happy and grateful for having that free service, I wouldn’t mind paying for it –after all, I know we built a good platform–; but I’m not sure about this new hosting company.
Yesterday I finally migrated all the services I had left on that box, and I’m ready to switch it off. And it is a bit sad. In a way it is my last ties with a company I enjoyed working for, and doesn’t exist any more. And that includes all the code I worked on during those 6 years.
That’s OK. Software becomes legacy eventually, and it gets replaced. It is a cycle.