Introducing [COSD] Centre for Open Systems Deployment

Pool operator & designer: Robert Phair (resumé / CV)

I found Cardano in January 2020: too late to join the ITN but early enough to watch the whole period with mounting interest. I knew from the beginning that Cardano has the potential to transform the world, and that my unusually diverse background as a generalist consultant, designer, systems integrator & educator had finally found a single focus.

Pool ticker: COSD - pledge 111.52K ADA - fixed ₳340 - variable 3%
Web site:
Twitter: @COSDpool
Pool ID: (details) c94e6fe1123bf111b77b57994bcd836af8ba2b3aa72cfcefbec2d3d4
Location: New York & Singapore

Infrastructure & redundancy:

  • Ubuntu 20.04 servers with core & relays built from a common template.
  • VPC Firewall keeps incoming traffic restricted to the smallest attack surface possible.
  • Data centre housing for all nodes provides redundant power & Internet connectivity.
  • No use of, therefore no dependence upon, any operator scripts or system images (e.g. Docker).
  • Servers all have interchangeable software components, allowing almost immediate repurpose of nodes, or creation of replacement nodes, in case of system / network / region failure or hacking event.
  • As of this writing, all nodes run under 5% of their CPU capacity and less than 50% of their RAM usage: economically sized but future proof, and enabled for immediate expansion the moment those limits might be approached.
  • All pool info generated only on USB persistent, root-encrypted Linux drives on which the Cardano node is also built and installed. Encrypted key & certificate backups are made only on these drives.

Operator experience:

Server design & administration going back to the 80’s makes the UNIX command line & software systems like a second language to me, which is important for adaptive growth and vital for crisis management & security response. I’ve learned to focus on simplicity, especially those cases when a distributed resource can surpass the capabilities of “bare metal” in both performance and reliability.

Why stake with COSD?

Currently we need delegation urgently, especially by refugees from the growing number of saturated pools. It should be possible for non-ITN pools to find a place in the Cardano ecosystem, and COSD is among the new community & special interest pools whose pool fees are already being applied toward the strength & diversity of that ecosystem.

In the next month we will release our template for the USB encrypted key signing environment mentioned above. There has already been a call for such a tool on this forum, as well as specific, practical documentation about air-gapped transaction signing. Extended tutorials about both these issues will be in our upcoming web site relaunch. Since this USB environment will also be useful with other cryptocurrencies, we expect this will contribute to Cardano adoption.

Our community also needs general Linux tutorials, written with the goal of migrating office, design, and development workflow from commercial (inherently insecure & exploitative) operating systems to the improved security options and creative freedom of Linux. Most of these topics have been developed for years and will be published in the next few weeks in the educational area of our new web site.

Finally, we are committed to demonstrate that the economically disadvantaged can participate fully in the crypto economy… not just as consumers, but as producers. Our total pool operating budget is US$2 per day, and we can gradually teach others to maintain that… as long as they are willing to make up the cost difference in learning new workflow methods.

We will show our delegates, and the world, that you can build a hardware wallet from a USB stick for $5… in case you can’t raise $500 to buy the current state of the art. While we keep bridging the gap to Open Systems in daily workflow & cryptocurrency integration in the mainstream economy, we won’t set any example or develop any method that the unbanked communities of Asia and Africa can’t follow equally well.

Many of these subjects require elaboration, which we greatly look forward to via blog & feature articles as soon our web site makeover is finished (goal: end of September). Please stay connected so we can share everything we are learning and developing… in the days ahead and all through Cardano’s future.

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Wow! Great introduction and mission statement! I look forward to checking out the resources you’re adding to your website!

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The new web site has been up for a couple weeks now. We’ve added a lot of stuff about our progressing CIP for web links to stake pools (recently approved for inclusion with the plan for Ada payment links)… and have posted (and are daily cleaning up & improving) our documentation on that USB secure booting environment for working with Cardano keys & wallets, plus general Linux tutorials.

All the new stuff is reachable by menu from our new pool page :heart_eyes: