February 19, 2020 Raylene Kim for Lincoln Continental, Umbra, California
I ran into an old friend earlier this week, and after we’d caught up, I asked him for his email address so we could stay in touch. When he told me it was firstname.lastname@example.org (not his actual address), I thought it was some kind of joke. I pressed him on why he wasn’t using his full name with a reputable email provider, and he replied with a question: when did it become uncool to remain anonymous?
I went on a business trip this week to Maryland, home of the Marylanders, and in the course of setting up transportation and lodging and all of those other things, I had to give out my email address way too many times. But you know what, I hate giving out my email address. As an ardent opponent of advertising, I really hate spam. Like, really hate it. Thus, I needed a way to keep my personal email private while still giving companies a way to contact me. A few years ago, I figured out a relatively easy way to do it.
Many works of science fiction as well as some forecasts by serious technologists and futurologists predict that enormous amounts of computing power will be available in the future. Let us suppose for a moment that these predictions are correct. One thing that later generations might do with their super-powerful computers is run detailed simulations of their forebears or of people like their forebears. Because their computers would be so powerful, they could run a great many such simulations. Suppose that these simulated people are conscious (as they would be if the simulations were sufficiently fine-grained and if a certain quite widely accepted position in the philosophy of mind is correct). Then it could be the case that the vast majority of minds like ours do not belong to the original race but rather to people simulated by the advanced descendants of an original race. It is then possible to argue that, if this were the case, we would be rational to think that we are likely among the simulated minds rather than among the original biological ones. Therefore, if we don’t think that we are currently living in a computer simulation, we are not entitled to believe that we will have descendants who will run lots of such simulations of their forebears. — Nick Bostrom, Are you living in a computer simulation?, 2003
So I logged into our company website’s WHM portal the other day and noticed that the most recent cPanel update had failed due to insufficient disk space. Here was the message:
The last attempt to update cPanel & WHM was blocked. Please correct these issues and rerun updates. fatal: Cannot upgrade due to insufficient disk space. Detected 1.97GB. You will need at least 3GB to install/update to a new version of cPanel.
Sounds simple enough, right? However, a quick check of the server revealed that:
/usr had only been allocated 8GB
/usr was 76% full
A quick Google search turned up some tips for freeing up disk space in /usr (where cPanel lives). Searching for and deleting large log files only freed up about 500MB, still quite far from the 3GB we needed. Unable to move further, I contacted the technical support team of our hosting provider. They provided me with the syntax to find large files in Linux. Back to square one.
Luckily, Uplogix employs a team of highly talented developers who know Linux far better than I do. Since the server had so much space in /home (100GB free), they suggested simply moving /usr/local/cpanel to /home/cpanel.
What Didn’t Work
Our first attempt went like this:
shut down cpanel process
copy /usr/local/cpanel to /home/cpanel
mv /usr/local/cpanel to /usr/local/cpanel.bak
create a symlink from /usr/local/cpanel to /home/cpanel
start cpanel process
Unfortunately, we were greeted with 500 Internal Server errors when we tried to connect to cPanel and WHM. We guessed this was a permission problem.