True, throwing more hardware at something isn't always the best way to fix a problem. But there comes a point when that's the problem, and k5 is at that point. Also true is that Scoop doesn't do extremly aggressive caching, and doesn't mind eating up CPU cycles. However, no matter how much optimization there is in the code, there will still be slow-downs until something is done about the database.
As for the none option for comment display, submit a feature request. Someone will code it, and probably end up in 0.9 development (0.8 release is forthcoming).
As for mod_rewrite, it's not recent at all. And it has nothing to do with new URLs. mod_rewrite has been used for awhile to implement the (somewhat standard) two apaches: a lightweight one in front that proxys back to a heavy mod_perl server. On the other thand, mod_proxy has nothing to do with the new URLs, those are supported nativly by Scoop, and really probably don't take to much CPU (not much more then parsing a query string, I'd say).
The new flags aren't really to bad, either. The only thing is that scoop isn't removing old rows for these, which it should (no one has gotten around to a cron job for it). Besides that it's just a row with a comment count, and if story commentcount > stored then x new, where x is story cc - stored cc, and any cid over stored cc is new.
As for Scoop, it's really not hard to setup (but then, I reinstall it on a whim, so I don't count). Get a recent nightly tarball (or wait a little while for 0.8 release), read the INSTALL (and/or Installation section of SAG, which will come with 0.8), and run the installer. It'll do all it can. What do you mean by site-wide hotlisting, anyway? You can hotlist any story on a site, so not that.
Get it right, for God's sake. Pigs can work out how to use a joystick, and people still can't do this!
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