I'm thinking about doing a new version of EC2 for Poets. The old version is hopelessly out of date. I'm not even going to point to it, I don't want people to attempt to do what it says.
As before it will be in the form of an EC2 machine image.
Instead of Windows (the last version) it will be Linux. Probably Ubuntu. Why Linux? Well it's free, stable, and I now know how to set one up on EC2, so why not?
Main app: River4. Most important. It's a river-of-news aggregator in a box. I want to make it easier for smart ambitious journalists of the future to get started in their new geek life. Having your own river is like having an aquarium. It gives you something to watch, it makes your server immediately useful, it makes The Internet into Your Internet.
How will the user get files onto the server? I like using Dropbox. But it's a little tricky to set up. This is really something Amazon should have in its toolbox. An easy way to connect the filesystems of an EC2 instance and a user's desktop. I'm interested in knowing what other people think. Maybe I should just use plain old NFS? (Note: In my first pass, I spent an hour trying to get NFS properly set up and failed. Dropbox is a dream in comparison.)
I'm going to have a script that runs at startup that launches all the things it needs to launch (see above). Any advice for this?
I know people are going to say "Use Docker." Yes, of course, but first I want to do an AMI. I have experience doing these. And it's just one command in the AWS dashboard to turn an instance into an image. Docker will require a lot of decisions, and I am in the best position to make those decisions, because I'm most familiar with River4 and its needs. Key point -- they're the same decisions that need to be made to set up an AMI. So this is a necessary precursor to doing a container with all this stuff in it.
I could make it so that the instance has a fixed password when it starts up, but would only do it if I could require the user to create a new password at launch or shortly after. The other choice is to use a "key-pair." It's another thing to set up, another delay in the user's gratification? On the other hand it could be too loose? Not sure.
Post any ideas you have in a comment below. I'm posting links to this doc on the server-snacks and river4 lists. But just use the comments here, rather than use the lists. Let them stay relatively quiet and used for support questions, as they come up. Thanks.