Monthly Archives: December 2008

A plea to Optusnet sysadmins: Usenet

There must surely be some system administrators from Optusnet who read Planet Linux Australia. If there are, could one of you please drop a comment (anonymously, if you need to) into my weblog about your news server?

The Optusnet Usenet news server has mysteriously stopped receiving new posts a number of times this year. Every time it has gone down, it has been off the air for at least a week, sometimes two. It has now happened again.

There is rarely any acknowledgement of the problem to customers, and dealing with the Optusnet helpdesk is an exercise in futility; take for example the response given to a user on the Whirlpool forums:

“I got a reply from technical support about this. They recommend power cycling my modem.”

Those two sentences indicate to me that the person on the helpdesk probably doesn’t even know what Usenet is.

I’ve sent in a note to the helpdesk also, but from previous experiences, I know I won’t get a response for several days and I have my doubts that it will even get to the right place.

Now, I know it’s likely not to be your fault. I’ve worked for a big ISP myself, and I understand the pressures and the lack of interest that management have in Usenet and the hardware that goes with it. But I’d just love to know what is going wrong with it so often, and whether the helpdesk messages ever even make it to the sysadmin section…