Is Dreamhost the right hosting server for you, GNU/Linux lover?
We interviewed Dallas Kashuba, one of the founders of DreamHost. He talks about his company, and his commitment to free software. you be the judge!
Here are special coupons -- please add a comment below if you use them, so that we know to take them off!
TM: When did DreamHost start? Who started it?
DreamHost started in April 1997 and was founded by four Harvey Mudd College Computer Science undergrads: Dallas Kashuba (myself), Josh Jones, Michael Rodriguez, and Sage Weil.
TM: Was GNU/Linux and free software used right when you started?
Our very first server, a second-hand Pentium-based PC, was set up using Debian Linux. The kernel was still pre-1.0 at the time, but it worked well enough for our needs. We had no money in the beginning and we would not have been able to get off the ground without being able to take advantage of free software.
TM: Do you contribute back to the free software community by sending bug reports and/or patches upstream when you notice that there is a problem with a piece of software?
We do try to participate in the process whenever we can. It's a testament to the open-source process that we don't actually encounter very many unpatched bugs. When we do encounter a bug there's almost always already an update that's fixed it. When that is not the case, we file appropriate bug reports or patches when that makes sense.
We also have our own open source project in the early stages. It can be found at http://ceph.newdream.net/ and it's a next generation distributed file system. Progress is coming along nicely and I'm looking forward to being able to start using it on live systems.
TM: How many GNU/Linux engineers work for you?
Not counting our tech support team, many of whom have a lot of Linux know-how, we've got around 30 people working full-time on Linux systems.
That includes both programmers and system administators (many of us are actually more of a hybrid combination of the two).
TM: Do you offer GNU/Linux systems only?
Yes. We've never had any interest in offering Windows-based hosting and there's also never been any big incentive to provide hosting on other UNIX operating systems (including Mac OS X). Linux gives us everything we need!
TM: As a major player in web hosting, what do you consider to be the best side of GNU/Linux?
The best side is the user community. It's pretty rare that we encounter a problem that hasn't already been encountered and solved on a mailing list or forum somewhere. All that information out there is a tremendous resource. We also try to participate in the process as much as we can, and one or more of us hangs out on many project mailing lists.
TM: What about the worst side?
I think the worst side of Linux today is the fragmentation of the platform. I think there need to be more standard ways of organizing the file system and handling packages to improve cross-compatibility. I know things like that are being worked on, but it can't happen fast enough in my opinion! This is generally not an issue for open software, but whenever we have a need for some commercial software it's often difficult for us to get support for our Linux flavor of choice, Debian.
TM: To finish, please tell our readers why they should pick your hosting service rather than one of your competitors!
DreamHost is all about providing flexibility combined with the ease of use needed to get things done. We offer more advanced services than any of our competitors, such as Jabber IM, Mongrel and Passenger for Ruby on Rails, mod_fcgid for PHP and other FastCGI setups, and our custom one-click installs and upgrades for a selection of popular web applications like Wordpress, Joomla, PHPBB, and Mediawiki. We also provide shell access via SSH. We're committed to providing all of the best open source has to offer and we're even a great place to work, having been selected for the WorldBlu list of most democratic workplaces.
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