[Mediawiki-l] Any leads on a basic wiki setup-and-configure instruction manual?

Monahon, Peter B. Peter.Monahon at USPTO.GOV
Wed May 23 18:55:06 UTC 2007

Reply to off-list dialog:

> Subject: Any leads on a basic wiki 
>     setup-and-configure instruction manual? 
> ... I am running multiple MediaWiki 
> implementations on a shared Linux server 
> at content hosting site, where I do not have 
> root access.  The install went surprisingly 
> smoothly, given my past experience with 
> Open Source software... 

Peter Blaise says: ... BECAUSE you only installed the MediaWiki, NOT the
OS/Apache/PHP/MySQL and other support programs and extensions, right?

> ...	I have never tried running MediaWiki 
> on a Windows machine.  I think getting 
> all the planets to line up can be a chore.  
> My suggestion is to pick up one of the 
> decent Linux distributions (I have had 
> good success with Ubuntu server) and 
> install a LAMP configuration on a spare 
> low-end PC (my test Linux server is an 
> ancient i-Series laptop with 400 Mhz 
> processor and 192 MB RAM)...   

Peter Blaise says: GREAT advice for personal development and content
development and configuration, however, my target work environment is
WinXPPro with or without admin rights!

> ... Running multiple instances of MediaWiki 
> basically involves installing MediaWiki 
> multiple times in different subdirectories.  
> You can point each one to a separate 
> mySQL database, or share mySQL 
> databases by specifying a database table 
> prefix (there is a prompt in the MediaWiki 
> installation process).  What I would REALLY 
> like to do is install multiple MediaWiki 
> instances sharing a common MediaWiki 
> code install.  I found a number of 
> instructions - the first did not work, and I 
> ran out of time before I could try the second...  

Peter Blaise says: GREAT challenge - multiple MySQL services ... MySQL
offers to name itself as a service, and perhaps I can play with that and
have 2 or more MySQLs running at the same time without bumping into each

> ... As far as MediaWiki support is concerned, 
> you get what you pay for...  I have posted 
> two questions so far and did not receive a 
> response.  I am not surprised - the questions 
> were outside of the normal scope of interest 
> of list subscribers.  I figured one out myself, 
> and will probably 'crack the code' and fix the 
> other one.  I have not tried registering on 
> the MediaWiki Wiki - on my list of 'round toits'.  
> And I agree that it would be great if the Wiki 
> was better organized.  From personal 
> experience, it won't happen until someone 
> takes the initiative or MediaWiki becomes 
> popular enough for a 'paid' support 
> organization to be justified... 

Peter Blaise says: Agreed, but look at the efforts SOLO people offer,
like http://www.irfanview.com/ and http://www.photools.com/ and
http://grc.com/ so many CLEAN solo efforts.  I appreciate MediaWiki
success depends on things outside of MediaWiki's control, such as Apache
and PHP and MySQL and so many other disorganized open source programs,
but the installation decision tree is surprisingly simple:  Linux or
Windows, then Apache or IIS, then MySQL or PostgreSQL, and so on - all
almost simply 2 choices at each junction.  No one since 1994 has built a
decision tree?  Wow!

Thanks for confirming much of my experience.  I've been building and
crashing dozens of MediaWikis daily for months now (I've been at this
since early February of this year).  Though I imagine that I now know
more than the average bear, especially those lucky ones who had no
problems, I still don't really feel a lot smarter, and I can still go a
whole day without any success, with half a dozen
MediaWiki/Apache/MySQL/PHP/PHPMyAdmin installation attempts tried,
deleted and rebooted from!  

I got MediaWiki on WOS working fine
(http://www.chsoftware.net/en/useware/wos/wos.htm?action=download ) as a
local, single-user wiki for development.  I made copies of that on a few
tester's hard drives to let them each play.  They now have private
MediaWikis and can give me useful development feedback (though they
can't see each other's changes!): 
- "Why are links red?"  
- "Who owns the pages I create?" 
- "How do I create 20 pages of separate legal paragraphs, yet refer to
them all as one "chapter", and then print them all together on demand?"
- "How do I print the entire wiki as a book?"
- "How do I upload / convert my legacy ducuments into the wiki?"  
Argh - maybe we should return to MS Word and a .NET/XML/ASP/HTTP
development/publishing shop after all!)

Here's what I've trying to explore now, multiple MediaWiki wise: 

For simplicity's sake, I let Apache keep it's ...\htdocs\... directory
and don't try to reconfigure that for these tests.  

- Wiki #1: US TMEP Wiki: I build a target wiki directory, such as:

- - I then copy the contents of MediaWiki zip/tar/gz expansion into that
directory, then IE-browse there as http://localhost/ustmepwiki/ - and
then MediaWiki offers to configure THAT wiki.  I tell it to prefix the
tables with "ustmep".  Users can find it by IE-browsing to my
computer-name/network-ID (which is "etc00322") like this:

- Wiki #2: US TDED Wiki: I build another target wiki directory, such as:

- - I then copy the contents of MediaWiki zip/tar/gz expansion into that
directory, IE-browse there via http://localhost/ustdedwiki/ and then
MediaWiki offers to configure THAT wiki, I tell it to prefix the tables
with "ustded".  Users can find it by IE-browsing to my
computer-name/network-ID like this: http://ETC00322/ustdedwiki/ 

... and so on.

I can manually build a clean redirecting http page (even using notepad!)
down one level at http://locahost/index.htm that simply offers 2 links
to the different wikis, one link up to /ustmepwiki/ and one link up to
/ustdedwiki/ for anyone who hits the root http://etc00322/ without
remembering the subdirectories.  I'll offer desktop shortcuts for end
users, but people browse down to the root, and I don't what them to get

Now, different databases, rather than shared databases?

So, I THINK I'm well on the way to a workable a script that builds
MediaWiki on Microsoft Windows XP Pro, Apache, MySQL, PHP and PHPMyAdmin
... but until I successfully test it ... 10 times at least, through
successive reboots, and see it working time and again, and also watch as
a novice tries the script, I'm not sure it's ready for prime time!  How
many times have I tried something that worked perfectly on my computer,
but on someone else's computer it failed miserably?  I'm not even at
that point at the moment since I can't get it reliable on my own
computers, yet!  Argh, argh, argh!  One of our challenges here is that
many of us do not have admin rights, so we have to be able to
successfully install NOT in the hard drive root, and NOT touching the
non-local Windows registry (also meaning NOT installing Apache/PHP as
services for "all users") and staying out of "C:\Program Files" and
"C:\Windows" directories.  Windows has an environment variable for a
user login name - %USERPROFILE%.  So I'm experimenting with a script
that allows any non-admin user to setup their own departmental MediaWiki
on their own computer here:

"%USERPROFILE%\My Documents\www\apache2\htdocs\ust*wiki\"

(ust = US Trademark Office, by the way, and * would be their department
or project) ... which becomes, for me, for instance:

"C:\Documents and Settings\pmonahon\My

However, the 12 steps (?!?) to accurately install and coordinate Apache,
MySQL, PHP, modify the PHP ini and move it, move PHP dll files, change
Apache conf file, install and configure MediaWiki and PHPMyAdmin and so
on ... well, these steps are still not unambiguously reliable, time
after time, computer after computer, for me.  That is why I am searching
so diligently for anyone who has success in this particular environment
using these particular modules.

Thanks for your sharing.  I'll copy much of this to the MediaWiki-l as a
resource at least.  When I do have something I confirm is accurate, I'll
share it and also post it somewhere to MediaWiki.org, though I agree,
wiki's in general and MediaWiki.org/WikiMedia.org specifically are a
scattered mess.  ... maybe if ONE MediaWiki person took ownership rather
than leaving it as a committee design, where I'm sure everyone presumes
someone *else* will handle the messy reorganization stuff ...

- Peter Blaise

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