NOTE: This is an archived copy of the Dragonfire Internet Services website. Dragonfire is no longer in operation; please do not attempt to contact any of the addresses listed on this site.

The History of Dragonfire

This history is written from the perspective of Andy Church, the founder of Dragonfire.

Christmas Eve (24 December) 1994: The Birth of Dragonfire
Dragonfire (then known simply as Dragon) makes its first appearance on the 'Net as, via a modem connection courtesy of the Montgomery Blair High School's Annex. The system is a 4-year-old Amiga 2000 running at 25MHz with 6MB of RAM and 600MB of disk space. Hours of operation are evenings and weekends, most of the time. Speed is 19.2 kbps (kilobits per second), for a maximum throughput of roughly 1.8 kBytes/second. Anonymous FTP access to a small collection of music modules is set up at the suggestion of a friend of mine.

January 1995
The Video Game Music Archive makes its debut, containing a few pieces of music from the Nintendo Final Fantasy and Castlevania games. The FTP site's address is quietly mentioned on a newsgroup or two. Transfers during the month, however, total an astonishing (at the time) 109 MB.

February 1995
Dragon gets its own phone line late in the month and goes online full-time.

April 1995
With Squaresoft's permission, all the Final Fantasy 2 and 3 music is sampled and put in the Video Game Music Archive, with music from other Square games to come.

June 1995
Final Fantasy 3 Online RPG archives released on Dragon. Music modules start disappearing as disk space starts running low.

July 1995
Early in the month, Dragon loses its connectivity due to a short circuit in the telephone line. Partial connectivity is restored almost immediately by borrowing another line during the evenings, but it is nearly two weeks before Dragon is back up full-time. Nevertheless, transfers total 770 MB and Dragon passes 3 GB in total transfers near the end of the month. Also, Dragon gets a new 1GB drive, nearly tripling its total storage capacity.

21 August 1995
Early in the morning, Dragon is disconnected from the 'Net in preparation for a move to college. Transfers during the month - over just 19 days' uptime - total 719 MB, a record-setting pace.

6 September 1995
After a two-week-plus absence, Dragon returns to the Internet as, connected now via Ethernet and a 10 Mbps Internet connection (courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University's Data Communications department). Additionally, Dragon starts serving web pages, using an HTTP daemon (web server) written by yours truly.

11 September 1995
Dragon becomes the home for the Unofficial Squaresoft Home Page (since moved and revamped), causing a dramatic leap in web traffic and prompting an overhaul of the HTTP daemon.

21 September 1995
After a few on-and-off days of work on the HTTP daemon and no small amount of cursing at my own oversights, the daemon reaches fully functional status.

24 September 1995
Dragon suffers a hard disk failure due to the (comparatively) tremendous traffic, minor enough that the data is recoverable but major enough to make the disk unusable otherwise. Service is intermittent and incomplete over the next four days, until normal operations are restored on the 28th.

30 September 1995
After a total of roughly three weeks of service during the month, Dragon serves 2.2GB of FTP files in over 3700 transfers, as well as over 208,000 Web pages (about 900MB of data). That transfer rate, about 1.77k/sec on average, would have saturated Dragon's old SLIP modem connection.

21-22 October 1995
Dragon's operations are transferred to a new, more powerful, and more crash-proof Linux system. The multiuser capabilities of Linux allow Dragon to offer web or FTP space to any who ask.

25 October 1995
The Amiga on which Dragon had previously run suffers a short circuit, rendering it inoperable.

28 October 1995
Dragon's first user account is created.

27 November 1995
Reports arrive of software provided by a user on Dragon being used to break into accounts, resulting in the first account removal and a more precise (and somewhat stricter) set of rules being laid down for accounts.

Christmas Eve 1995 -- Dragon's first birthday!
Dragon reaches the end of its first year of existence, riding a record-high 32 days of consecutive uptime. Dragon has expanded from a fledgling system with a small FTP archive to a powerful, multiuser Web and FTP server with over 700MB of files. Looking back, I recall being amazed at having transferred over a hundred megabytes of data in the first month; yet Dragon is on course to transfer over thirty gigabytes of data this month, split about 2:1 between FTP and Web files - ten times that original month per day. And I can't help but wonder where Dragon will be at the end of next year...

January 1996
Jason Pool joins Dragon's administration as handler of account requests.

8 February 1996
As U.S. President Clinton signs into law a bill which would criminalize free speech on the Internet, Dragon joins a net-wide protest of this second-class treatment.

26 February 1996
Dragon transforms into Dragonfire Internet Services, a.k.a. Dragonfire's user base numbers over 180, and the system serves over 2.5GB of data per day.

19 March 1996
After nearly twelve straight hours of playing with cables and copying files, Dragonfire's disk space is doubled with the addition of a new 2GB hard disk.

2 May 1996
Dragonfire adds its 500th user.

10 May 1996
Jason Pool leaves, and is replaced by Patrick Brand as primary handler of account requests.

14 May 1996
Dragonfire heads to a new location for the summer. But, unbeknownst to any, there were a few surprises in store...

13 June 1996
After no less than thirty days of downtime - thanks in large part to a two-month delay from Bell Atlantic - Dragonfire finally returns to the Internet with a 112 kbit ISDN connection. Domain name service is not available (yet), so all connections have to be made to Nevertheless, Dragonfire's connection hits periods of saturation during its first day reconnected.

23 July 1996
Dragonfire acquires a 4GB drive, doubling its storage capacity to 8 gigabytes. And just in time: Dragonfire's original 4GB of space was 99% full when the new drive was installed.

25 August 1996
Dragonfire returns to its earlier high-speed connection, albeit two days later than planned (no thanks to Murphy's Law).

28 August 1996
Dragonfire's user base reaches 1,000.

16 November 1996
Dragonfire passes one terabyte (1024 gigabytes) of data sent.

22 November 1996
Dragonfire upgrades its main server to a Pentium-based system to alleviate the delay problems in accessing Dragonfire's web server.

25 November 1996
The UnOfficial Squaresoft Home Page, the first page ever served by Dragonfire, leaves Dragonfire to be hosted by Square USA.

24 December 1996 -- Dragonfire's second birthday
Dragonfire sits silently on its second birthday, down for unknown reasons. One could almost say Dragonfire deserves the rest, though: it has served over half a million pages daily from 5,000 accounts during the previous month. That number of pages was the total monthly transfer during December of the previous year. Because of the incredible growth, Dragonfire has stopped offering accounts until a way can be found to support increased use.

25 December 1996
By some fluke, Dragonfire is restored to service early in the morning. However, signs of a break-in are present, and most access to Dragonfire is shut down again until a further survey of the system can be made.

11 January 1997
Dragonfire is finally returned to normal operation.

20 January 1997
Dragonfire announces its intention to charge for accounts beginning on 1 April 1997.

21 March 1997
Dragonfire leaves Carnegie Mellon University and is installed at the network center of Clark Internet Services, Inc.

1 April 1997
Dragonfire begins charging for web/FTP accounts.

17 April 1997
The old free accounts expire, completing Dragonfire's transition to a commercial service.

5 July 1997
Dragonfire's server is upgraded to 128MB RAM, drastically reducing delays in accessing files on the server.

20 August 1997
Dragonfire begins offering domain services.

27 September 1997
Dragonfire's disk space is doubled with the addition of a 9GB (well, actually 8.5GB) disk drive.

24 December 1997 -- Dragonfire's third birthday
Although the road's still somewhat rocky, Dragonfire has been operational for three years now, and operating commercially for nearly one year. Dragonfire has exceeded anything I thought it might become when I put up my first anonymous FTP archive three years ago, or even when I started allowing free accounts over two years ago, and it has yet to seriously fall on its face, which impresses me (particularly since I had no real concrete idea how to run an Internet service when I started Dragonfire).

30 January 1998
Dragonfire doubles its number of server machines from one to two with the installation of a new (and more powerful) Linux box to relieve overloading occurring throughout the past month.

1 February 1998
Dragonfire raises rates to compensate for increased network connectivity charges.

1 October 1998
Dragonfire adds basic domain service ( URLs) to its standard account package. Account fees are revised to reflect this change and also to establish a more even scale for bandwidth rates.

16 October 1998
Existing accounts are converted to basic domain service.

Andy Church
Last update: . . . rather redundant.