I’m in the middle of catching up on overnight news, and I have one news item reported in two completely different ways.  There was a fire at the network operations center at the University of Twente in the Netherlands.  From The Register:

With the fire “about the largest stock of hardcore pornography, illegally downloaded CD’s, movies and hacked / cracked software (applications and games) will also be turned into, er, ‘digital ashes’”, he notes.

Now Slashdot also covered the fire, choosing to focus on the losses suffered by the Debian development team.  UT happend to host several machines for the Debian project.  Here’s a snippet of their coverage:

Around 08.00 CET today the University of Twente Network Operations Center, which amongst other things hosts a SURFnet PoP as well as security.debian.org and non-us.debian.org, caught fire.

Here is the closing paragraph from The Register’s coverage:

This perceived misuse of Internet resources caused former Dutch education minister Loek Hermans to comment: “It would be nice if the students at Twente University would use their fast connections for information and education purposes, instead of downloading huge amounts of porn.”

I think that this was a bit of bad reporting, a chance to take a pot shot at p2p file trading and the RIAA.  A lot was lost in this fire.  Computers, infrastructure, buildings, and The Register is focused on the loss of illegal porn and music.  I’m normally amused by The Register’s tounge-in-cheek coverage, but I don’t think I was amused this morning.  Allow me to close.  I don’t know if you see it in that last quote or not.  He’s wishing that TU’s internet connection could be used for education and information, and Debian is mourning the loss of several boxen hosted at TU.

I wish I could smack the guy and say, “IT WAS!  IT WAS!”

I digress.  Here’s some coverage of the Debian servers involved (from Wichert Akkerman):

At around 8 this morning (local time) a fire started in the
computing facilities of Twente University. This affects Debian, since
on of our servers (satie) is hosted there. At this moment it seems
very likely that the machine can not be recovered from the fire.

The following services are currently down as a result of this:


We are working to restoring these services on another machine and
hope to have things in mostly working order by tomorrow. Security
advisories are still available at http://www.debian.org/security/