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Libre Arts

Over a year ago my friend (and fellow GIMPer) Alexandre Prokoudine asked me if I’d be willing to help him build a new site for a transition of Libre Graphics World to something broader in scope that he was calling Libre Arts. Of course 2020 managed to get in the way and I didn’t really get a chance to work on it as much as I would have liked.

Fast forward to my December break and I finally had time, energy, and desire to get things finished up for him. Some furious part-time hacking over a couple of weeks et voilà!

Please welcome Libre Arts to the world!

Screenshot of Libre Arts Announcement Post
The Libre Arts announcement post.

This has been an incredibly fun project to work on (I realized that I had actually worked on other stuff that I just never got around to posting here about - I’ll try to rectify).

I’m looking forward to more great content from Alex on the site and continuing to tweak things and help migrate data where I can.


On that note, I think it’s important to point out that it’s incredibly time-consuming to produce as much content as he does about the Libre Arts community. He’s writing constantly (check out all of the weekly recaps he’s been providing!) and has started branching out into producing a podcast in addition to all of the other material he works on.

This type of reporting and in-depth look at the Free Software world supporting creative work is invaluable in my opinion. If you can you should really consider supporting his work. Every little bit helps!

Support Alexandre Prokoudine and Libre Arts:

With A Little Help From My Friends

As you might know, part of the work we’re doing at PIXLS.US is to provide any infrastructure support that the community needs. In particular web-related infrastructure support. I can’t take credit for this as it’s really a community effort of support and expertise in various areas.

So it was amazing that Mica (@paperdigits) and darix were willing to step in and really help get things done here. I can’t thank them enough for spending their time helping me and Alex to get Libre Arts built, hosted, and launched. (Also, andabata for providing the Matomo back-end for analytics!)

New Servers

This website launch actually came at the same time that we were able to finally start migrating the PIXLS.US infrastructure to a new server. Up until recently we were hosting the websites using a traditional webhost (Stablehost) and the forum was on it’s own Linode server with forum assets and uploads being stored on Amazon S3 buckets. This works well but has the downside of creeping costs as the traffic increases.

Amazon costs for storage is cheap (~$4/month at ~100GB) but transfer is running us around $50/month. The Linode server is $20/month and the traditional webhost runs us about another $10/month.

One of the problems is that the forum on Linode only has 2 CPU cores, 4GB of RAM, and 80GB of storage. I’m trying to look forward for growth and to keep costs minimal.

Our new Hetzner server (AX51) is 8 CPU cores (16 threads), 64GB of RAM, and 2x8TB disks. All for about 25% cheaper than our current setup across multiple services.

More resources + less costs == good.

Thanks to the magic of having a darix we’ve started migrating services over to the new server(s). What’s even cooler is we’ve been able to do it with minimal interruptions thanks to the use of HAproxy on the machine that points traffic to the corresponding virtual server (static web hosting, dynamic web hosting, and our Discourse instance on

We’ve migrated things like this website, Libre Arts, so far and it’s pretty easy to migrate darktable and RawTherapee soon as well. Rawpedia is going to have it’s own server for PHP/MySQL so it can continue using Mediawiki (for now?).

Of course, in true nerd fashion, darix also wired up the new server to be a GitLab runner for us so our automated build pipeline is even easier (and integrated). Just push to master on one of these projects and the deploy happens pretty darn quickly (also using an image from darix to use Hugo)!

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