What is Tardis?

Tardis is a loose group working together to maintain a network of servers and services on top of them. Our goal is to teach practical sysadmin and computing skills, and to promote small-scale computing and reduce reliance on 'big tech'.

We are a group of volunteers, and as such all services we provide are best-effort and should not be 'mission critical'. If you're making money off of Tardis, you're doing it wrong.

Tardis started in 1988, when the Department for Computer Science (now the School of Informatics) at the University of Edinburgh donated a GEC minicomputer that had outlived its life as a research machine to students so they could learn system administration. It was one of the first student-run computing systems in the UK, and indeed the world. Similar projects include SCRF at the University of Cambridge (founded in 1999), OCF at the University of California in Berkeley (1989) and UGCS at the California Institute of Technology (1989).

What does Tardis do?

Tardis provides a number of services to its users, including ssh, mail, git/web hosting, and more. You can view an up to date list of services on our wiki.

In general, we try to provide services that you would otherwise have to rely on a large cloud provider for. We're always looking to improve, so if you have suggestions for things we should host, then feel free to propose them.

Who looks after Tardis?

Tardis has a two-tier system of operation, and is looked after by two sets of people: Timelords, and assistants. The Timelords act as managers of the Project, whereas the assistants look after the day-to-day running of the system.

People who join Tardis and have (or wish to gain) experience in the areas of management and/or administration of computer networks are welcome to help out on the system. In essence Tardis is a co-operative anarchy, with jobs normally being done by those who have the best knowledge to fix the problem or just whoever's around at the time. This normally results in a large number of people managing the system between them, with perhaps only one or two people actually on-site with the machines at any one time.

The Tardis Spirit

The main area of the Tardis spirit is that of personal responsibility. Tardis is a system which is not regulated strongly by those who administrate it, rather they prefer to let the users themselves look after the system by acting responsibly and not putting the project at risk. If you do something which you know to be against certain rules in existence, or you think that it might be, then you are endangering not only your own account on Tardis but the future of the entire Project itself. Please read and make sure that you understand all of our regulations, and if you have any queries on them then feel free to contact one of the admins with your questions.

Another part of the Tardis spirit is helping out, and improving the system for all of the users. If you see something on Tardis which you think could be improved or updated, then please let us know. Of course, if you do this you should be ready for a reply along the lines of "[[WV|good point - go and do it]]." That is the way that Tardis has generally worked in the past, and it has worked quite well. Tardis could not have become the service which it currently is without the large amount of people who have worked on it in the past and there is a lot of software that needs looking after, with a continuous need for people who are interested in helping out. Along the same lines, if you have heard of or think up a new service which Tardis could be a host to, then approach one of the admins, who will pass your suggestions on for discussion.

Acceptable Use

Like any group, we have rules on what you can / cannot use our services for.

  • TARDIS must not be used for any purposes which could contravene UK law.
  • TARDIS must not be used for any purposes that could be considered harassment or bullying of individuals or groups
  • TARDIS must not be used for any purposes which could cause damage to individuals or groups.
  • TARDIS must not be used for any purposes which could cause damage to FDX Production Services' reputation or business.
  • TARDIS must not be used to send spam, denial of service, or any other form of attack.
  • You must not attempt to access other users' data without permission, or to disrupt anyone else's service.
  • You must make a reasonable effort to maintain TARDIS' security, such as by keeping software up to date and free of security flaws.
  • The TARDIS rack must be maintained to a high standard of safety and tidiness. This includes both electrical safety and cable management.
  • The facilities surrounding TARDIS must be left clean and secure. This includes locking doors before leaving, clearing workspaces, and removing waste (electrical and otherwise).
  • TARDIS admins have discretion over the interpretation of these rules, and on how they are enforced.

You should also ensure that you treat everyone involved with respect, and be aware that we are all volunteers.

We will deal with any violations of these rules on a case-by-case basis. We may suspend or ban you from using TARDIS. If you believe someone has violated any of these rules, please contact sysmans@tardisproject.uk