Feeds

Blair's petition website suffers too much love

Pesky patent petitioners

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Updated: Ten Downing street has had to stop showing signatories on its "E-Petitions" site - not this time because of daft petitions but apparently because it was overloaded with people protesting against software patents.

The petition calling on Prime Minister Tony Blair to "make software patents clearly unenforceable" seems to have caused the problem. At around lunchtime yesterday the names of signatories to the petition were replaced by an error message.

Later in the afternoon the petition reappeared but instead of showing signatories it showed the message: "Due to heavy load, the list of signatures is currently not being displayed."

Links to the software patent petition appeared on several public fora/forums but, according to the website only 639 people signed up - hardly an enormous load.

The error message now appears below all the petitions on the site.

Although still in beta the site has had problems before from dubious astroturf campaigns to the more sensible demand that Blair devote more time to standing on his head and juggling ice-cream. There is even a petition calling on Blair to: "Stop wasting money on pointless "e-government" websites such as this one."

Tom Steinberg, director of MySociety which is responsible for the petitions website, emailed us the following: "In answer to your question, we took the names off to keep the pageserving rate up yesterday afternoon when we started getting some load problems which seem to have stemmed from a simple need to do more optimisation with the site configuration: classic beta teething stuff really.

"The system has been developed to cope with way, way higher loads than this, and so it counts as our mistake. We'll continue fixing and even bring online some new hardware today. And of course, we'll continue to release the improved code under the Affero GPL, if anyone out there wants it.

"By the way, whilst I'm personally very sympathetic with the petition on software patents as the director of an non-profit open source organisation, I'm afraid that the main load wasn't anything to do with that. It was the more-than-ten-times-as-many people signing up to this http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/traveltax ."

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.