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HowTo Wiki

Notes, mostly technical on how to configure, install, troubleshoot computer systems.

I've chosen topics mostly because I went through the process of selecting, installing and configuring something, usually a software application, tool or and utilities. They are here primarily so that I can consult them when needed and refer others to them.

Ubuntu Linux

My home server, running Win2K, failed to reboot after it's last update. The problem turned out to be a bad disk. I decided to abandon Windows and go with Linux. Most of my experience has been with Red Hat, but a friend had praised Ubuntu, so I decided to give it a try. I wanted:

  1. A file server with enough capacity to handle our household -- two people who do a medium amount of photo work, a lot of office work, no music and an occasional video.
  2. Accessibility from outside
  3. A web server running Apache, php and mySQL
  4. Immunity from power failure -- orderly shutdown and restart


Directory Structure

I'm setting up a new site to replace one that already exists. At this time, I don't have access to the dns for the current domain. I want to set up a directory structure that I can use to develop the new domain, make it visible via a url that I control when we are ready, cut over. The existing domain is I plan to use as a As a convention, I name the directory to be v<n>.domain. v1 indicates version 1, v2, will indicate version 2, etc.

Point the domain at the directory

  • Using the "Manage Domains" web control panel, edit the domain as a fully hosted domain. Set the web directory to:
  • Check "remove www".
  • Click "Fully host this domain now"
  • Login to the serer via putty and check to make sure the new directory is there.
  • Wait for the Joomla robot to finish and then check the domain with a web browser. If there's more than an empty directory, the domain is pointing at the wrong place.

Install Joomla! 1.5

Install Joomla and Create the Data Base

Using the Dreamhost Web Panel, select

 Goodies >> One-click installs >> Install new website software - Advance mode
  • Select the software: Joomla! 1.5
  • Install it to the top-level. No subdirectory is needed since points to htdocs. If I did install to a subdirectory, e.g. joomla, I would need to get to it by using -- not what I want.
  • Select create a new data base. using a convention of <2 initials>joomla, call the db bgjoomla. Create a user, again, by convention ...omitted... And create a password.
  • Double check everything -- once launched, the install script will remove any files already there.
  • Use putty again and wathc the directory fill up. It usually happens in a minute or two.

Complete the initial setup

Dreamhost follows the software/db install with emailed instructions. Complete them right away so that someone else doesn't do it for you. The instructions are pretty clear. I've added a few notes:

 1: Language -- select 'en-GB - English (United Kingdom)' and click Next
 2: Pre-installation Check -- everything should pass. If not, you are in trouble. click Next
 3: License -- click Next
 4: Database -- these all need to be entered. Check them twice -- click Next
 5: FTP Configuration -- leave it unconfigured. You don't need it. click Next
 6: Configuration -- scroll down to 'Load Sample Data, Restore, or Migrate Backed Up Content'
    select 'Install Default Sample Data'
    click 'Install Sample Data'
    Fill in the site info
    Site Name: Blue and Gray Education
    Your E-mail:
    Admin Password: (pick a secure one)
    Confirm Admin Password: (re-type password again) -- and write it down right away
    click Next
 7: Using putty, or ftp, remove the "installation" directory -- or Joomla will tell you to.
 8: Click the link at the top for "Admin" and log in as "admin" with the password you just set.

Add the master db user

I manage my mysql data bases using one "master user". Using the Dreamhost Web panel:

  • Select Goodies >> Manage MySQL
  • Click "Add User" next to the new data base and add the master user.

Joomla 1.0

I've moved on to Joomla! 1.5. Hopefully I won't need to do much wiht this section. 1.5 is clearly a big improvement -- simpler and cleaner, easier to use all around. Now if the extension writers would just bring their extenions into compliance with 1.5...

Joomla 1.5

phpBB 3.0

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