Hyperreal is not a for-profit organization. Neither is it a proper 501c3 non-profit. It's a cute little machine which sits in a machine room at its owners' office, sucking down bandwidth and spitting out web pages and mailing list mail to thousands of people every day. So, why do we need money?
While the services and information Hyperreal provides exist in the "virtual" world, there are many real-world costs to being able to provide such a resource. The largest of these costs, bandwidth, is currently being covered by the owner of Hyperreal, Brian Behlendorf. The box itself wasn't free either - a Pentium 90 back in 1994 with 32 meg of memory and 2 gig of disk was $3500 (eek!). Over the last several years more purchases have been made: a new 4 gig disk ($900 at the time), 64 more megabytes of memory ($1600, this was right before the fall in memory prices), a new ethernet card and disk controller (~$300), etc. All of these have been purchases made by Brian, and each time he swore he'd get the Hyperreal Fundraiser kicking just as soon as the new pieces of hardware were installed. Well, now it's time.
Clearly adding things like this piecemeal won't enable Hyperreal to really get to the next level. The Pentium 90 (now a PII-266) was fine for the limited amount of mailing list and web site activity for the first couple of years; but traffic and activity has been steadily increasing as more and more people get on the net. If we want to add any new services such as using databases for the music archives or real-time audio streaming or a much much better chat environment, we have to start thinking about better hardware.
Yet even before we go to that route, there are still a number of growth constraints on hyperreal in the short term. Right now we often find ourselves running into disk space shortages and insufficient memory availability. Memory prices still fluctuate, but disk drives have gotten cheaper recently. At some point as well we'll need some new internal parts as well, such as another disk controller, a CPU upgrade, perhaps even another motherboard to handle more than 128 megs.
Finally, it would be wise to build a reserve of a couple thousand to sustain us against the possibility of a situation where bandwidth would no longer be free. That could sustain Hyperreal as a co-located server at a commercial ISP for a couple months while other arrangements are made.
Above all, the aim is to remain independent and non-commercial, so that we can continue to be free to publish without bias or control from a third party.
So to that end, I introduce the Hyperreal Fund. If you wish to contribute money to Hyperreal, send a check or M.O. made out to "Hyperreal" to
Hyperreal 70 Manor Dr. San Francisco, CA 94127
If you're interested in a different form of contribution, like disks themselves or memory or something, let me know and I'll see what we can work out.