the 4th issue of the tilde.town zine is out! check it out~ <3
On October 11th, 2020 tilde.town turned six! I totally forgot to post about it. Anyway. Happy birthday, town~
tilde.town will be 6 in a short time! in internet years we are supposed to be on our deathbed, but inside the server the town is still active and bringing in new members. We're well over 2,000 accounts at this point.
A big part of the town is creating a sense of community, belonging, and high trust. Part of that is knowing who your neighbors are; or, at least, knowing which neighbors are around and happy to respond to email.
We're not really 2,000 users strong; between 500 and 1000 users have never logged in. ~vilmibm is working on a dormant account cleanup project that will free up never-used accounts and make it more clear who has broken ground in our town.
A lot of these accounts are from the first year of the town where signups were at first just done manually and then tracked in an extremely gnarly spreadsheet. ~vilmibm was manually mailing people back and forth about usernames and accounts and there just isn't a good record of how to actually get in touch with a lot of our old users. Ideally we'd reach out and try and see if folks want their account, but that's just not feasible.
If your account ends up removed and that bums you out, please feel free to sign up for a new account.
Do you ever wonder what commands make tilde.town different from a regular linux server? Now, you can
town and see an index of all the town's commands. Running
chat, for example, will give you information about the town's
If you want a command included, please send vilmibm a mail on the server :)
we are on ubuntu 20.04! plz alert an admin via email or irc if something seems bad. don't forget to rebuild any python venvs as we're on 3.8 now.
This weekend we are working on an upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04. Expect service disruptions and multiple restarts.
the original server that inspired tilde.town has active management again. check out tilde.club!
We are now on the newest version of Ubuntu. Please let the admins know if anything seems broken. IMPORTANT! if you maintain python code in a virtual environment, that venv will HAVE to be rebuilt.
The only current known issue is that the tildeverse irc bridge is down. it will be fixed at some point.
We're upgrading our server's OS on Friday. Expect some downtime.
tilde.town is big. we have over 2,000 registered users and receive numerous signups every week. despite existing for over four years, our administrative infrastructure is not that much more evolved than when ~vilmibm manually created every user account with a google form, a big spreadsheet, and a lot of coffee. we have automation, but it's primitive and not easily to delegate.
there are a number of administrative improvements coming that will allow town moderation and administration to be spread over a team of volunteers. the ultimate goal is for each individual volunteer to do far less work than in a system with a single admin while, all the while, maintaining a healthy community.
what is a healthy community? it is one that can weather change, growth, technical glitches, account problems, and conflict without ripping itself apart or transforming into something ugly. tilde.town has been coming down with a community cold: we have not had the right tools for maintaining a healthy community and we're suffering as a result. admins are overworked and burning out, which leaves no energy for actually contributing to and modeling the kind of community we wanted tilde.town to be.
in order to accomodate the improvements coming, we're pausing user sign ups. the first improvement is around our email systems, and it's easiest to not be processing new user signups while that's going on.
if you were hoping to sign up and don't want to wait for this maintenance window, i recommend checking out this list of similar servers: https://tildeverse.org/members/
You will get a scary warning when you reconnect to the town because we both changed what computer we run on and our IP address. SSH will say stuff about how the host key has changed or the IP has changed (or both).
To fix this, run:
ssh-keygen -R tilde.town. Alternatively, you
can edit the file
~/.ssh/known_hosts and delete the line for
tilde.town or delete the whole
known_hosts if you're
comfortable with that.
SSH is re-enabled. Mosh is currently unavailable and several commands are missing; we're also missing a lot of packages. ~vilmibm is very tired and will resume restoring commands, packages and services tomorrow.
Downtime is confirmed for tonight; signups are also offline. The town will be fully unreachable for a bit.
Downtime was scheduled for this past weekend for a migration from AWS to Digital Ocean; unfortunately, we weren't able to complete the migration in that timeframe. Downtime is possible tonight if ~vilmibm is able to finish the migration.
tilde.town was accidentally restarted today because of user error in the AWS console. If anything seems messed up after the restart, let the admins know in chat.
/^\ / (/^\) / ( \ \ / ( \ /^\ \ | _|_ \ | |/^\| _|_ | | _|_ \ / | | | | | | _|_ | | | | | | | | | | ****| |******| | | | *******| |**** | | | |****| | * | | | | | |***** * H A P P Y | | * * * | * B I R T H D A Y T I L D E * | | ***** ***** | |@ ********** T O W N ! ********** @| | @ @ ************* @ @ | | @@@ @ @ @ @ @@@ | | @@@@ @ @ @ @ @@@@ | * @@@@@@ @ @ @@@@@@ * * @@@@@ * ***** ***** ********** ********** *************
We've moved to a different IRC server (called Oragono). It's much easier to configure and allows both nickname and channel registration. For more information, check out the wiki.
important note for botmothers! your children may not be handling ping requests from the new server properly. If your irc bot is ill, check on its pings.
We've officially bridged a local IRC server to the nascent tilde.chat IRC network.
chatcommand by default
You can opt-in to the tilde.chat network from within Weechat, our
default chat client (what runs when you run
alt+1 and run:
/server add tildechat 127.0.0.1/7766 /connect tildechat /join #metaThis will drop you in a chat room visible to the other tilde servers. You can always get back to our private server by running
There is also a page about this on the wiki.
~vilmibm messed up the irc config and somehow irc restarted, picking up the broken config. the outage was prolonged because ~vilmibm was on a plane for a very very long time. irc service is restored, now, but let ~vil know if your client isn't reconnecting.
Another runaway user script pegged the CPU, degrading SSH to the point where a
restart was needed. ~vilmibm has finally actually made an
/etc/security/limits.conf file with priority limits.
The SSH keys that you've provided to the town live in your
~/.ssh/authorized_keys2 file. There's a scary warning at the top
that says to probably not modify it.
Until today, that message was toothless. Now, all key update requests will
be handled through our Django admin tool and
WILL be overwritten as your keys change.
As usual, you are free to manually add any keys you want to
Finally, if this post makes no sense to you, that's 100% ok. You don't have to worry about it, things will just keep working as normal :)
~vilmibm is consolidating some of our programs. you might experience some weirdness with, for e.g., feels/ttbp. this is normal for now; let them know if it persists beyond today.
sadly in the night tilde.town restarted. it's back and services have been restored. if anything is still down please let ~vilmibm know via mastodon.
as some townies might know, ~vilmibm is moving far away! this of course doesn't affect our lovely virtual home, but it does mean 48ish hours of very restricted connectivity for them. you can still ping them with issues but be aware that there isn't much they can do while driving for hours.
A non-malicious user accidentally set off a fork bomb, taking out the server. we're restored. let vil know if anything didn't come back up.
we all know and love bbj, our awesome command line forums. now, we have
shadowland, a special customized bbj instance that exists in the Shadowrun universe.
it's designed for posting in charcter, so dream one up and get shadowrunnin.
admin app is fixed and user signups are back.
while deploying some updates to our admin tool i ran into some small issues; user signups are broken for a bit. fixing now.
We had a reboot last night. Sorry! You'll need to remake any screen/tmux sessions and also restart any processes that aren't run through cron.
There's a new wiki system! But it probably has bugs. ~vilmibm is looking for volunteers to beta test the new system and post in `bbj` about any bugs or feedback.
If you are interested, check out the instructions at the new wiki!
A bunch of new stuff is going on!
writo, a multiplayer persistent ascii drawing world with infinite bounds. check it out!
tootcommand for us all to share. It acts like the
tweetcommand and it posts to the tilde.town mastodon instance.
pairing, a tool for sharing a tmux session. run it like so:
firstname.lastname@example.org $: pairing "funtimes" # now anyone else can run 'pairing "funtimes"' and join my tmux session # when everyone quits, it goes away
this post is largely relevant to american users
tilde.town harkens back to a time when the internet was for everyone -- not just corporations. Culturally, the internet has moved away from personalized sites or even personalized social media profiles and towards a completely commercial internet where we are products whose attention is bought and sold.
Today, nothing stands in the way of setting up something like tilde.town. That's thanks to net neutrality. Without it, traffic to anything but services owned by companies like Comcast would be severely slowed.
Please take a minute to go check out this page for more information and a link to tell the FCC how much net neutrality means to you.
there's a new command available:
birthday. it will list any users
whose birthday is today (UTC time). To see whose birthday is on an arbitrary
date, you can pass a month/day string like so:
In order to make your birthday discoverable, add ~/.birthday with a single line of month/day, e.g.
$ cat ~/.birthday 10/11Enjoy :)
~vilmibm gave a lightning talk about the town at pycon. there is a subsequent influx of new virtual faces. say hi!
The second issue of the Tilde Town Times is hot'n'fresh in your local inbox! It's assembled by the ever wonderful ~jumblesale and features a lot of great content, including an interview with ~troido.
If you haven't used town-local email yet, run
alpine and open your INBOX.
Also, because ~vilmibm wanted a convenient way to get tilde.town swag, there is now a zazzle shop with a few items. It's not intended as a way to make money as tilde.town upkeep is provided by patreon, it's just in case people wanna rep tilde.town.
If you want a free pile of stickers, just let ~vilmibm know via irc or local mail and they'll send em to you for free <3
an errant user script swamped RAM, causing network slowdown and ssh unreachability. the script has been disabled and services restored. important note bbj is down until further notice.
Two new things to report on!
Botany has been updated to include generations! If you raise your plant all the way to the final stage (seed-bearing) and choose to harvest it, your next plant will grow 20% faster. You'll get a 20% bonus for each plant brought to its final stage. Good luck!
The first issue of the Tilde Town Times is hot'n'fresh in your local inbox!
If you haven't used town-local email yet, run
alpine and open your INBOX.
Check it out!
bbj will now load up a new, easier to use client. thanks,
Have you heard of ostatus, gnusocial, or the deservedly hyped mastodon.social? If not, they're three aspects of an alternative to Twi**er that is decentralized and non-commercial.
Our own ~insom has made a little tilde-flavored home on this new network called tiny.tilde.website and we're all invted to join :)
Sign up and say hi!
there are some fun new things to do on the server:
botanycommand starts up our communal garden simulator. water a procedurally generated ascii plant and peruse the town's garden. thanks, ~curiouser!
bbjcommand starts up a client for our new local forums! You pick a screen name and then can post in some threads. Check the second thread for documentation on the interface. thanks, ~desvox!.
aw shit! we have a shared Starbound universe now! isn't that cool? Ask in IRC for connection details!
We also have procured some gift copies of the game to give out! To get a free copy, add a space-themed piece of art to your ~ page and then let ~vilmibm know!
~vilmibm has been working on a new tool for administrative tasks and it features a user signup tool. it would mean the world to them if you could beta-test it a bit!
check out the tool and either file an issue or tweet about anything messed up.
until further notice the tweet command is messed up.
if you are having an issue with python libraries seemingly disappearing, try rebuilding your virtual environment. if you are relying on system libraries (and not using a virtual environment), let ~vilmibm know so they can make sure things are installed properly at the system level post-upgrade. sorry for any hassle.
All rejoice! After two years in operation, tilde.town now runs Ubuntu 16.04, the current LTS. In addition to a hot'n'fresh OS, we've grown into a medium EC2! We have two CPUs now and 4gb of RAM (plus some recently added swap).
This wouldn't be possible without the help yr sysadmin gets from patreon as well as the support of this awesome community. Thank you!!
That's all for this update, but there are some more rad things in the works:
There was recently an issue with AWS that blocked off HTTP, UDP, and outbound traffic from the town. The outage lasted about 24 hours and is now resolved.
brutalist websites was mentioned on a Washington Post blog. Apparently, tilde.town is both ugly and hard to use ^_^ Let ~vilmibm know if this is the case...
Thanks to the gracious help of user ~demophoon the town is now accessible over https! just hit up https://tilde.town in ye olde browsere to check it out.
chat commands are now fixed for all users.
in the course of this fix i accidentally deleted everyone's weechat config. if
you had a bunch of stuff in your weechat config that you really want back let me
know and i can check the backups.
because of Reasons, the
chat scripts are
broken. you can still use irc, you just have to run the following:
irc /set irc.look.temporary_servers on /quit ircand you should be good to go until this is fixed.
Thanks to this glibc vulnerability the town needs to restart to install security updates.
remember your tilde.town apocalypse training:
~vilmibm released a rewrite to the server's infrastructure yesterday. Nothing should be different, but it'll be much easier to work on new features and consume fewer resources.
Currently, the guestbook is down. Usenet has also been disabled for now since no one was using it and it has a nontrivial impact on the system. If you want to talk about bringing usenet back, bring it up in irc <3.
Exactly a year ago, ~vilmibm gave himself a birthday present in the form of a small unix server meant for commnunity and sharing. Now, tilde.town is a thriving community of feels, peer education and beautiful digital art.
If you are not yet a towner, check out our code of conduct, look at some user pages, and sign up!. Everyone is welcome here regardless of skill level and if making SSH keys is a little scary, that's okay. Reach out to for help.
Here's to another year of html and feels.
today was a day of things happening!
~vilmibm made a cleaned up homepage. it's linking to two under construction feature--a new help desk for admin requests and a random page linker. there is also a new FAQ.
we've also hit a cool donation milestone of $60. thank you everyone who has donated! our monthly costs are now covered and if we hit $65 we can do some more server enhancements.
An exciting day for tilde.town. We now have way to donate via patreon. Thanks to all the folx who have already become patrons! y'all make the heart of this sysadmin warm and fuzz. A big part of the push for donations was a need for more server space which we have as of tonight's server upgrade/reboot. The main tilde.town server now has a 40gb disk. Enjoy!
Some updates coming down the pipe:
Hi. Today tilde.town had to restart to pick up a patch for CVE 2015-0235. data.tilde.town (our poetry server) has also been patched and restated. Sorry for any inconvenience!
we have ~370 users. isn't that wild?
To accommodate our growing user base, there will be a server resize/reboot tonight (Pacific time). Sadly I cannot give an exact time as I still don't have internet at my new place and will have to opportunistically find some to execute this upgrade.
The server should only be down for a few minutes, but this will terminate any running applications (like tmux/screen/irssi). Any files open in an editor should be preserved by a swap file but you still may want to save and close things in the next several hours.
Also, this upgrade means that tilde.town is no longer an essentially free project, so I may put up something for donations soon.
tilde.town now has 102 users. We crossed into three digits last night and lots of townies hung out in irc to celebrate. Some new features even launched!
tweetcommand that all users can use to tweet to the @tildetown account (protip:
haiku | tweet)
random_pokemon.shto get a random ascii art pokemon (thanks, ~sanqui)
tilde.town just added its 80th user. Welcome! Some folks have been having trouble with ssh public keys. Remember, public keys are really confusing if you aren't too familiar with them, and there is no judgement if you can't immediately get them to work. Feel free to tweet at @tildetown if you'd like some help.
tilde.town is up to 60 users. This is lovely! It is also only a tenth of our planned total user capacity, so if you are interested in a tilde* account we'd love to have you. You can even submit a user request with a fancy form now!
submit a user account request!
In the interest of making sure we don't suddenly disappear from the Internet as a result of a dynamic IP change on AWS I switched to using an Elastic IP (amusingly, "elastic" IPs are static).
The upside is that we now have a static IP (also it's free) (woo).
The downside is that when you try to SSH into tilde.town, now, you'll get an error about "something nasty" and there will be many @ characters. You'll want to edit your .ssh/known_hosts file and remove the entry for tilde.town (your error message should have a cute copy-pasta-able one-liner for doing this for you).
Go ahead and do that, and then log in With Confidence. Hopefully this won't happen again.
I'll close by mentioning the imminent arrival of many new tildeverse members. We (the tildeverse operators) are just about ready to accept the signups currently languishing in a waitlist. This means lots of new users, which is lovely, but may mean some growing pains while I adapt our server to the new user load in the most cost-effective way.