Spread this number

published Apr 30, 2007, last modified Jun 26, 2013

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0. Wanna know what's so important about it?

Things are getting worse. We're now being reamed by the proposal for a new crime: attempted copyright infringement. Read this to learn about it and other dangers to culture, then Digg that story. And here's a detailed, illustrated account of HD-DVD night, as seen from the perspective of this weblog and the major technology news sites.

The movie industry is threatening Spooky Action at a Distance for publishing that number, specifically with copyright infringement.

I had no idea a number could be copyrighted.

Anyhow, what is it? From the site:

It’s the HD-DVD Processing Key for most movies released so far. I was not aware that a string of numbers and letters was copyrightable. Perhaps its just my ignorance but it seems that someone is abusing the DMCA again.

This means the (admittedly long) number is precisely the key you need in order to decrypt and watch HD-DVD movies in Linux (oh, okay, maybe software is also required). And the fact that it's out there, spreading like wildfire, is killing the types at the movie studios right now.

Now, even if this number stopped working (and it will, thanks to the revocation procedures in HD-DVD's encryption scheme) or if it were a hoax, the decryption system has already been figured out and is implemented in a software program called BackupHDDVD.

We did it with DVDs and DeCSS, and today I can use my trusty MPlayer to play any DVD movie. We will eventually (rather soon) view HD-DVDs in Linux as well (because the codecs are already there, even if they are illegal in some countries).

Let's show them no amount of DMCA will stop us.

Current events

Oh, do you crave for source code? Let the Doom9 forums answer your prayers. If you'd like an explanation in news format, WIRED may be what you were looking for.

Apologies to Diggers worldwide for the downtime. The traffic storm forced me to turn certain functionality off, yet I'm still seeing more than 40 hits per second at the console. I don't want to sound like a tinfoil hatter, but Digg censored my initial submission and nixed my user account (RuddO). Fortunately, charitable souls posted a new link. The Digg button at the right should work now. Thanks and keep the hits coming.

Alert! Digg.com is issuing 404 Not Found on all of its pages. Please confirm this independently, and keep spreading the word through other means. Everything is back to normal at Digg, but the original story just vanished.

People at the Digg story are suggesting a Googlebomb with the words HD-DVD and BluRay pointing to this story. Do Googlebombs still work?

Digg censored the second story submission again, and all others as well. For the record, the story was censored at around 15700 Diggs, and we suspect it broke several records. Anyway, the story got propelled to Reddit's front page and to Del.icio.us popular, so it's reaching people steadily -- all that's left now is to be Slashdotted. I'll publish an article telling the graphical story later today.

Slashdot got me. Crap. Okay, we were down for 15 minutes, and I had to teach myself Squid to front the immense volume of traffic I was getting. Traffic's still high, but Squid is fronting everything so it's considerably snappier than before.

HD-DVD Key. Thanks for linking to us (us being me)!

The Pirate Bay got me too. Fifty, sixty requests per second. Go, go, go, Squid!

The specs of the server -- and why it slowed down

tobey.rudd-o.com runs on a Xen virtual host that shares a 64-bit processor on one of the North America nodes rented to me by GPLHost. Specs:

  • 512 MB RAM. Currently, 70 MB are used from the swap file.
  • 1 Mbit uplink. Apparently this has no effect because I'm serving stuff at 2 or 3 Mbit.
  • 10 GB disk. Mostly full of log files.
  • Complex setup. Three sites powered by Turbocharged WordPress, using a custom Magazine template, accelerated by WP-Cache (see optimization link in the second paragraph), on top of Apache (15 processes, each 20 MB of RSS memory), proxied by Squid (I enslaved him a few hours ago -- but he's feeling juuust fine, he just told me) to avoid the cost of serving static content with Apache.

Contention issues slowed this site down for two days:

  1. First, it was memory (too many Apache processes), it swapped, so I had to scale back processes.
  2. Then it was the database (complex queries to lay out the section pages and popular posts in this fully dynamic WordPress template). WP-Cache relieved this problem.
  3. The second Digg wave required me to turn two plugins that caused additional dynamic objects to be loaded via HTTP (that was easy, a chmod 000 did the trick). Solved (mostly).
  4. Slashdot, Reddit and del.icio.us killed the site again. Now, the problem was CPU: Apache couldn't generate dynamic content fast enough to let other Apache processes serve static content, and, as you know, no stylesheet = no Web page. I had to teach myself Squid fairly quickly and front the site with it.
  5. The amount of comments in this page. Apache + PHP were maxing out the CPU every time this page was requested (it's dynamic -- cached but dynamic). I temporarily disabled comment display, then got help from eAccelerator through Damien of GPLHost, and that took care of the CPU issues.

Took care of the problems and, apparently, this site is now network-bound, because the CPU looks kinda busy, the load is high (but not due to swapping), and the site went from serving 1.1 requests per second to 55. Hat tip to GPLHost for helping me out.

Tomorrow, I'll publish the exclusive, illustrated (pics, videos) story of the censorship controversy and the struggles to keep this site up for two days. Yes, I've documented the whole process. Subscribe or come back to the front page tomorrow evening.