xroot.org - history


A brief history of my online presence, as well as how this website came to be.


In 2004 I started with my first shared-hosting provider. I opened an account in a local ISP, TuxSP, and from there I registered my first domain and hosted my first site: goukihq.com. The website was a forum built on phpBB and had quite a few registered members. It was featured in a Portuguese IT magazine and that made it even more noticeable.

During the same year, and quite a few months after the magazine published it, I started goukisp.net. The plan with this, at the time, was to provide free services to whoever wanted to run a website, forum or similar. It didn’t catch on.

Being young and stupid, I wrote a PHP Mail Bomber, which was using the TuxSP mail server, to mess around with friends. I recall also using the script to bomb companies that would refuse deleting my account (it wasn’t common to have a "Delete Me" option in those days) and I would do this for pretty much anyone who asked.

Obviously that didn’t work out so good when the provider found out. All my files were recorded to a DVD and delivered to local law enforcement. My account was closed.

I remember clearly getting the call during dinner at my parents house, a few hours away from new year. I was scared shitless and called everyone I knew to help me out. Nothing came from it, thankfully.


Still a bit nervous from my new year discovery of being reported to the police, it took me two weeks to think if I should continue playing with websites or not. This was something that I really enjoyed, and after some research I bumped into Dreamhost. On the 13th of January I opened my account and registered my first domain with them: goukihq.org.

By now you can see the similarities in domains. "gouki" was the handle I used and I wanted that present on all my online activities. This new domain wouldn’t have the same purpose as the .com from last year. I would use this site as my personal homepage.

This was around the same time I completely moved away from Windows into GNU/Linux. I used it mostly as a blog under blog.goukihq.org, and I made this kick ass bash-like CSS. I was feeling proud of myself for knowing how to compile a piece of software and I wanted to show it to the world.

Half a year after starting this site, and having too much free time in my hands, I registered the domain where you are now: xroot.org. This would be the personal website of Tiago Faria. In those days, the idea of gouki being Tiago, and the other way around, wasn’t even considered. So the real me also wanted a place to call home.

10 years later, xroot.org is only domain I have active, and the only one I want to keep. At the time, it would probably be the least interesting of my sites.

In the last two months of 2006, I registered two more domains: osshosting.org and ubuntuweblogs.org.

osshosting.org was a service dedicated to any Free and Open source software projects. I offered hosting, email accounts, etc. Only ran it for 1 or 2 years, as it never catched on. ubuntuweblogs.org, though, was something different.

Ubuntu was the first GNU/Linux distribution I used. I started with the help of the community and was amazed with how cool everyone was. I wanted to be a part of that, and ubuntuweblogs.org was my attempt, and a successful one.

Ubuntu had Planet Ubuntu, which was a place that gathered all RSS feeds from developers, MOTU’s, and general contributors. This was, however, limited to Ubuntu Members. ubuntuweblogs.org was built with the same purpose, but opened for everyone who had a blog and was writing about Ubuntu. I had, at a point, more then 20.000 daily visits with more than 100 authors. I ran ubuntuweblogs.org for 6 years. At its final days, social networks had already took over and weblogs were not receiving the same love.

Because of the work involved in maintaining it, and some other community work I was doing, I received my Ubuntu membership at the end of the year.


In the middle of this year I registered ubuntubackstage.org, which was a website that would make interviews to members of the community, and post pictures of their setups. Ran the site for a couple of years.

Shared-hosting wasn’t cutting it at this point for my next project. I registered geekpolls.com and developed something that never saw the light of day: a website that hosted a poll each day, for us geeks. Don’t remember much about what happened to this.

nslu2-linux.net was also registered in November. Don’t know what I did with it, but at one point, it hosted pictures of setups with the Linksys NSLU2. I loved this thing. Made all sorts of tests and learned a lot about Linux in this type of systems.

g0uki.org, goukivps.net and ubuntuircstats.org were all domains for my VPS’s. Nothing was done with the first two, however, ubuntuircstats.org was a cool project I ran for 2 years. I had a bot running on dozens of Ubuntu-related channels, and that was a cool opportunity to learn more about IRC and Python. The bot gathered logs that would turn into cool statistics for channels.


In February I registed a domain with my name, for no reason. tiagofaria.com never had anything in it, and I gave up the domain after 1 year. I also offered gnome-do.org to a spotlight-like project, in April.

In June I started saygnu.org, a website that talked about the importance of the GNU Project. Also ran it for 3 years. On the same day I started it, I also started to work on ubuntubash.org, which was a website that allowed users to report cool quotes and funny conversations via the ubuntuircstats.org I had made last year.

It was inspired by one of the most visited sites at the time, bash.org. The software on ubuntubash.org was so buggy I still don’t know how it lasted the years it lasted.

July of the same year, I registered and worked on a website called rfidenabled.org. This website was dedicated to discussion and wide-spread use, and inherent dangers, of RFID. I got a bit paranoid after reading Spychips by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. That lasted a year or two.

Also developed touin.info in the same month. A micro-blogging platform built on top of laconi.ca/identi.ca. I was heavily involded in this project for 2 years. Never did anything with touin.info, though.

GNU/Linux, at this time, was a major part of my life. In August I started onelinux.org which was the community/download page of a distribution I started for the Acer Aspire One, a cool little laptop that was a big hit in that year. This also involved a lot of build machines, which was cool for for me to mass-administer GNU/Linux machines. I learned quite a bit about sysadmin work because of that project. Eventually I gave up on the project and everyone that was using this moved to eeebuntu.org, originally developed for Asus EEE PC.

It was because of this project that I had my first Credit Card stolen. It was a pain to open the Acer Aspire One, and I once posted instructions on how to do it with a card. Long story short …​ My CC ended up on one of the photos. Now I think it’s funny, then, I was scared as hell (to the guy that haunted me on IRC, thank you!)!


Like all other years so far, my need to share via websites and my interest in the public presence of the Internet continued. In April of this year I registered a couple of domains: drwxr-xr-x.org, a service that offered psyBNC accounts for IRC-nerds, ismydad.com which was used as vanity domain for the psyBNC service (allowing cool hostnames as torvalds.ismydad.com) and finally mappingterceira.com. This one was a bit bigger and more complex project.

At this time I was working in a position that allowed me to have contact with a lot of GIS software and systems, being used by the US Government, under USAFE projects. I got really interested in the entire thing and started gathering information about an entire island, Terceira, in Azores, where I was born.

At one point, the entire island was mapped and made available to Open Street Map. I also used that information, along with WiFi information I had gathered, to make a study regarding the security state of wireless networks in the island. This was presented to local government which then resulted in community talks about the dangers of WiFi to anyone who wanted to attend. It was amazing seeing an the entire island WiFi map. Wardriving was AMAZING!

In October of this year I started geocitiesbrasil.com, a project to copy all brazilian websites hosted by GeoCities. They were closing their doors and I wanted to keep a big piece of history from the Internet. Eventually I moved my work to the Archive Team, started by Jason Scott of textfiles.com. Jason declared that GeoCities was saved in this blog post. Mission accomplished! This was another cool opportunity to run a few clusters gathering data 24/7.


As you can probably tell, sites, hosting, VPS, dedicated servers and other expenses and Internet presence, was starting to pile up. From 2010 until the present day, most of the projects I talk about in this page were deleted, expired, given to others, etc.

xroot.org is now on an EC2 instance in AWS, using Route53 for DNS. Moving to AWS also forced me to learn a new type of hosting. I now adore AWS and use it for many other (personal and work-related) tasks.

The bad looks of it remind me the weeks I spent understanding CSS. Don’t plan on making any changes for the foreseeable future.

Recently I also started using Let’s Encrypt, which is one of my favorite projects of all time. I share some configuration files in my Github Gist page.

Projects, domains and servers are gone. xroot.org became the only presence in the Internet. It was quite a ride, and quite an expense, to run, play and mostly LEARN AND SHARE during all these years!

From systems to coding, from DNS servers to compiling kernels, playing with GrSecurity and trying to make sense of iptables and cron. The battles with DDoS’s, the fights about Linux VS GNU/Linux, the hate from other users that were against Ubuntu to the love from some major badasses from Debian. What I am today is because of what started as a hobby of loving the idea of a server/service running 24/7. Having something that anyone in the world could see, at any time of the day or night.

Going back into invoices, e-mails and logs to write this page was an amazing experience, and I’m glad I decided to write it.


This page is now hosted on GitHub pages using HubPress.

The Internet is amazing!