Craig Small: Debian, WordPress and Multi-site

Planet Debian - Sat, 16/05/2015 - 10:07

For quite some time, the Debian version of WordPress has had a configuration tweak that made it possible to run multiple websites on the same server. This came from a while ago when multi-site wasn’t available. While a useful feature, it does make the initial setup of WordPress for simple sites more complicated.

I’m looking at changing the Debian package slightly so that for a single-site use it Just Works. I have also looked into the way WordPress handles the content, especially themes and plugins, to see if there is a way of updating them through the website itself. This probably won’t suit everyone but I think its a better default.

The idea will be to setup Debian packages something like this by default and then if you want more fancier stuff its all still there, just not setup. It’s not setup at the moment but the default is a little confusing which I hope to change.


The first step was to get my pair of websites into one. So first it was backing up time and then the removal of my config-websitename.php files in /etc/wordpress. I created a single /etc/wordpress/config-default.php file that used a new database.  This initial setup worked ok and I had the primary site going reasonably quickly.

The second site was a little trickier. The problem is that multisite does things like foo.example.com and bar.example.com while I wanted example.com and somethingelse.com There is a plugin wordpress-mu-domain-mapping that almost sorta-kinda works.  While it let me make the second site with a different name, it didn’t like aliases, especially if the alias was the first site.

Some evil SQL fixed that nicely.  “UPDATE wp_domain_mapping SET blog_id=1 WHERE id=2″

So now I had:

  • enc.com.au as my primary site
  • rnms.org as a second site
  • dropbear.xyz as an alias for my primary site
Files and Permissions

We really three separate sets of files in wordpress. These files come from three different sources and are updated using three different ways with a different release cycle.

The first is the wordpress code which is shipped in the Debian package. All of this code lives in /usr/share/wordpress and is only changed if you update the Debian package, or you fiddle around with it. It needs to be readable to the webserver but not writable. The config files in /etc/wordpress are in this lot too.

Secondly, we have the user generated data. This is things like your pictures that you add to the blog. As they are uploaded through the webserver, it needs to be writable to it. These files are located in /var/lib/wordpress/wp-content/uploads

Third, is the plugins and themes. These can either be unzipped and placed into a directory or directly loaded in from the webserver. I used to do the first way but are trying the second. These files are located in /var/lib/wordpress/wp-content

Ever tried to update your plugins and get the FTP prompt? This is because the wp-content directory is not writable. I adjusted the permissions and now when a plugin wants to update, I click yes and it magically happens!

You will have to reference the /var/lib/wordpress/wp-content subdirectory in two places:

  • In your /etc/config-default.php:  WP_CONTENT_DIR definition
  • In apache or htaccess: Either a symlink out of /usr/share/wordpress and turn on followsymlinks or an apache Alias and also permit access.
What broke

Images did, in a strange way. My media library is empty, but my images are still there. Something in the export and reimport did not work. For me its a minor inconvenience and due to moving from one system to another, but it still is there.



Categories: Elsewhere

Rogério Brito: A Small Python Project (coursera-dl) Activites

Planet Debian - Sat, 16/05/2015 - 06:54

Lately, I have been dedicating a lot of my time (well, at least compared to what I used to) to Free Software projects. In particular, I have spent a moderate amount of time with two projects written in Python.

In this post, I want to talk about the first, more popular project is called coursera-dl. To be honest, I think that I may have devoted much more time to it than to any other project in particular.

With it I started to learn (besides the practices that I already used in Debian), how to program in Python, how to use unit tests (I started with Python's built-in unittest framework, then progressed to nose, and I am now using pytest), hooking up the results of the tests with a continuous integration system (in this case, Travis CI).

I must say that I am sold on this idea of testing software (after being a skeptical for way too long) and I can say that I find hacking on other projects without proper testing a bit uncomfortable, since I don't know if I am breaking unrelated parts of the project.

My use/migration to pytest was the result of a campaign from pytest.org called Adopt Pytest Month which a kind user of the project let me know about. I got a very skilled volunteer assigned from pytest to our project. Besides learning from their pull requests, one side-effect of this whole story was that I spent a moderate amount of hours trying to understand how properly package and distribute things on PyPI.

One tip learned along the way: contrary to the official documentation, use twine, not python setup.py upload. It is more flexible for uploading your package to PyPI.

You can see the package on PyPI. Anyway, I made the first upload of the package to PyPI on the 1st of May and it already has almost 1500 download, which is far more than what I expected.

A word of warning: there are other similarly named project, but they don't seem to have as much following as we have. A speculation from my side is that this may be, perhaps, due to me spending a lot of time interacting with users in the bug tracker that github provides.

Anyway, installation of the program is now as simple as:

pip install coursera

And all the dependencies will be neatly pulled in, without having to mess with multi-step procedures. This is a big win for the users.

Also, I even had an offer to package the program to have it available in Debian!

Well, despite all the time that this project demanded, I think that I have only good things to say, especially to the original author, John Lehmann.

If you like the project, please let me know and consider yourselves invited to participate lending a hand, testing/using the program or [triaging some bugs][issues].

Categories: Elsewhere

Norbert Preining: Plex Home Theater 1.4.1 for Debian Jessie and Sid

Planet Debian - Sat, 16/05/2015 - 05:28

Recently Plex Plex Home Theater was updated to 1.4.1 with fixes for some errors, in particular concerning the new music handling introduced in 1.4.0. As with 1.4.0, I have compiled PHT for both jessie and sid, both for amd64 and i386.


Add the following lines to your sources.list:

deb http://www.preining.info/debian/ jessie pht deb-src http://www.preining.info/debian/ jessie pht

You can also grab the binary for amd64 directly here for amd64 and i386, you can get the source package with

dget http://www.preining.info/debian/pool/pht/p/plexhometheater/plexhometheater_1.4.1-1~bpo8+1.dsc Sid

Add the following lines to your sources.list:

deb http://www.preining.info/debian/ sid pht deb-src http://www.preining.info/debian/ sid pht

You can also grab the binary for amd64 directly here for amd64 and i386, you can get the source package with

dget http://www.preining.info/debian/pool/pht/p/plexhometheater/plexhometheater_1.4.1-1.dsc

The release file and changes file are signed with my official Debian key 0x860CDC13.


Categories: Elsewhere

Forum One: DrupalCon LA Round-Up: Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead

Planet Drupal - Sat, 16/05/2015 - 01:34

A number of us from Forum One are sticking around for Friday’s sprints, but that’s a wrap on the third day of DrupalCon and the conference proper!

Wednesday and Thursday were chock-full of great sessions, BoFs, and all the small spontaneous meetings and conversations that make DrupalCons so fruitful, exhausting and energizing.

Forum One gave three sessions on Wednesday. John Brandenburg presented Maximizing Site Speed with Mercy Corps, a case study of our work on www.mercycorps.org focusing on performance optimization. Kalpana Goel of Forum One and Frédéric G. Marand presented Pain points of learning and contributing in the Drupal community, a session on how to even better facilitate code contributions to Drupal from community members. And finally Forum One’s Andrew Morton presented Content After Launch: Preparing a Monkey for Space, a survey of content considerations for project success before, during, and after the website build process. The other highlight from my perspective on Wednesday was a great talk by Wim Leers and Fabian Franz on improvements to Drupal performance/speed, and how to make your Drupal sites fly.

Then Thursday, Daniel Ferro and Dan Mouyard rounded out the seven Forum One sessions with their excellent presentation, To the Pattern Lab! Collaboration Using Modular Design Principles. The session describes our usage of Pattern Lab at Forum One to improve project workflow and collaboration between visual designers, front- and back-end developers, and clients. This approach has eased a lot of friction on our project teams. I’m particularly excited about how it’s allowed our front-end developers to get hacking much earlier in the project lifecycle. We were glad to see the presentation get a shout out from Brad Frost, one of the Pattern Lab creators. Other highlights for me on Thursday were the beloved Q&A with Dries and friends and sitting down over lunch with other Pacific Northwest Drupalers to make some important decisions about the PNW Drupal Summit coming to Seattle this fall.

In addition to looking ahead to DrupalCon Barcelona, the closing session revealed the exciting news that DrupalCon will be landing in Mumbai next year!

#DrupalCon is coming to Mumbai! Plus other photos from todays closing session https://t.co/Y3vWCQCSTu? pic.twitter.com/zEt4Y6VLxS

— DrupalCon LosAngeles (@DrupalConNA) May 15, 2015

And the always anticipated announcement of the next DrupalCon North America location… New Orleans!

And the next North American #DrupalCon will be…… pic.twitter.com/AXiFxv3gfW

— DrupalCon LosAngeles (@DrupalConNA) May 14, 2015

That news was ushered in soulfully by these gentlemen, Big Easy style, pouring out from the keynote hall into the convention center lobby.

Great way to announce #DrupalCon New Orleans! #DrupalConLA pic.twitter.com/3cRmV8jI1F

— Andy Hieb (@AndyHieb) May 14, 2015

And to finish off the day properly, many of us hooted and hollered at Drupal trivia night, MC’d by none other than Jeff Eaton.

Another fantastic #DrupalCon trivia night in progress… Woo! pic.twitter.com/AzavA2AFXi

— Jeff Eaton (@eaton) May 15, 2015

A great con was had by all of us here at Forum One… On to the sprints!

Categories: Elsewhere


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