Student Voice

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May 29, 2024

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Campus e-mail server fails again

April 12, 2007

E-mail went down at 11 p.m. Monday, leaving many people stranded without a main source of communication.

Solaris 10, the program the University recently switched to, would update the e-mail on campus, stems from Sun Microsystems. Sun Microsystems claims it is one of the best programs with some of the greatest advantages.

Students and faculty rely on this e-mail system to keep themselves updated on things that are going on inside and out of the classroom.

“I am disgusted that it’s happened so many times, but I am not really surprised,” librarian Tom Smisek said.

The first e-mail outage this semester happened Jan. 23-24 and was concurrent with the new e-mail system, Solaris 10. It occurred when IT Services was attempting to switch over to a new server and operating system.

“Before we could move everything over from the old e-mail, it went down,” IT Director Lisa Wheeler said.

Because the system has gone down before it is almost expected by many that it will go down again.

“I expect it to go down now,” junior Katie Crowell said. “I don’t think there has been a semester here that the e-mail has not gone down.”

IT Services has brought people in and they have figured out the problem, Wheeler said.

“Now we are just working on restoring the e-mail,” she said.

The problem with the software, Wheeler said, was that when the software was purchased, it was purchased with a bug in it. This essentially means there was a mistake in the coding of the software. Sun Microsystems, from which Solaris 10 was purchased, apparently sent this program to the University with the bug in place.

When the University contacted Sun Microsystems about the problem, Sun asked them to send over the reports from the system. Sun Microsystems then sent the University a patch to fix the apparent problem with the software. When the patch was put into place it brought the e-mail back up, but for a few minutes.

“E-mail came back up for only a few minutes, but then they went back down shortly after,” Wheeler said.

Apparently the server went down again because when the patch was replaced, it did not fix any of the other problems that occurred from the bug that was in the system.

The University then sent Sun Microsystems another set of reports and Sun told them what they had to do to fix the new problem. The bug in the system corrupted other files within the Solaris 10 system, which is why e-mail went down again, Wheeler said.

“I am going to start using a different e-mail,” junior Simon Wurth said. “When you pay $3,200 fucking dollars for school you should be able to use e-mail.”

ITS now has to recreate e-mail accounts for about 10,000 students.

Wheeler said there are two e-mail pools that students and faculty are in. Of the two pools in the system, one was corrupt, so IT had to delete the entire pool and restore all of those e-mails.

“We are working right now to restore the e-mails,” Wheeler said. “It is going to take awhile to put everything back into everyone’s e-mails.”

The e-mails that are being restored will not have access to old information right away. The information that some people had in their mailboxes will be put back into their accounts slowly.

“So when you open your e-mail, it will look like an entirely new e-mail account,” Wheeler said.

Many students and faculty members do not rely solely on SquirrelMail, but there are some who do.

“I am disappointed that it’s been so long. I can’t get my assignments or anything,” student Amanda McGee said. “It’s my major line of communication; I only have SquirrelMail.”

Right now the e-mail is up for people in IT Services so that they can troubleshoot it and make sure there are no other glitches in the system.

E-mail was restored Wednesday evening, though many people are still waiting for all of their messages to be restored.

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