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FNN: Interview from FICS, Free Internet Chess Server

Nov 20, 2000, 22:38 (2 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Steve Emms for this link. ]

"We would like to present an interview with foxbat, the head admin of the Free Internet Chess Server. The chess server runs on the Linux platform with about 3,500 people logging in a day! In the Linux tradition access to the server is free."

"FNN: Give us some background about FICS. How many players do you have? How many games are played on FICS a day? How many people help coordinate the development of FICS?"

"foxbat: FICS is the Free Internet Chess Server whose code was based on the work of Michael Moore and Richard Nash's ICS. The development of FICS started in late 1994 and early 1995 after it was announced that ICS had been re-written and would be re-named and would invoke a membership fee to play. This was an outrage and several player/programmers at ICS vowed to start a free chess server...."

"FNN: Could you describe the hardware that FICS runs on? Did Linux impose any restrictions on the hardware that was chosen?"

"foxbat: The main FICS server runs a PII-350 with 256M ECC RAM with fast/wide SCSI 3 9G disk, fast SCSI 2 4.5G disk and a few IDE drives for the Linux OS. I used pretty generic hardware and tested before I shipped the machine out to OneNet. The first 3 years, FICS ran on a SPARC machine running SunOS that quickly became overloaded as FICS grew. It was also Chris Petroff's desktop machine, so the load averages were sporadic at times. In late 1997 I purchased an AMD k5-233 machine with 192M and we migrated FICS to Linux. It became clear that this machine was not able to handle the load, and that the motherboard and lack of ECC memory caused numerous problems I purchased the PII machine to replace it. Linux never had a problem running on either platform."

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