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Ilya 18:08, 1 May 2006 (EDT): I've started this page to follow up on the discussion at today's Steering Committee Meeting. Below are some of my notes I have collected while installing/upgrading/moving OpenWetWare.

Ilya 18:02, 25 September 2006 (EDT): These instructions are for installing the latest MediaWiki version (1.7.1 as of today) with Apache on RedHat Enterprise Linux 4 and are specific to OpenWetWare.

Adapted from Sysadmin hub @


  • Install PHP5
    • Need to compile PHP with the following options at minimum:
      • --with-curl
    • Installer from tar file will add LoadModule php5_module modules/ into /etc/httpd/conf.httpd.conf. Move this line to /etc/httpd/conf.d/php.conf and comment out the corresponding PHP4 line.


The idea is to have the OpenWetWare customizations separate from the MediaWiki software installation by placing them in two different directories (/data/web/openwetware and /data/web/mediawiki respectively) with appropriate symlinks setup between them.

  • Download the latest version of MediaWiki (downloading via SVN may be easier that using the tar file)
  • Change DocumentRoot in /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf to /data/web/mediawiki
  • Create wiki folder in DocumentRoot:
$ sudo mkdir /data/web/mediawiki
  • Create a group that would have write access to the wiki folder:
$ sudo /usr/sbin/groupadd www
  • Change ownership of the folder:
$ sudo chown -R root:www /data/www/html/openwetware
$ sudo chmod -R g+ws /var/www/html/openwetware
  • Extract mediawiki code into wikifolder or follow SVN instructions
  • Make config folder writeable by the webserver for setup:
sudo chown apache ./config
  • Create a VirtualHost entry in Apache configuration file (/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf)
  • Visit your wiki site/config and answer configuration questions
    • Wiki name
    • License
    • DB user
    • Sysop account name (e.g., Administrator)
  • move LocalSettings.php from config folder to main wiki folder
sudo mv ./config/LocalSettings.php ./


  • Add extensions after require_once( "includes/DefaultSettings.php" );
  • Specify access rights (to be added)
  • Set PHP memory limit to 64MB (increase needed to allow import of multiple wiki pages):
ini_set( 'memory_limit', '64M' );
  • To allow easier file uploads
$wgFileExtensions = array('png','gif','jpg','jpeg','ogg','doc','xls','ppt','sxc','pdf');
$wgStrictFileExtensions = false;
  • Warn if uploaded files are larger than this (use this to prevent default warning about uploads larger than 100k)
$wgUploadSizeWarning = 10485760;  #10M
  • To enable image uploads, make sure the 'images' directory is writable, then uncomment this:
$wgDisableUploads = false;
  • Top enable image manipulation:
$wgUseImageResize = true;
$wgUseImageMagick = true;
$wgImageMagickConvertCommand = "/usr/bin/convert";   # may need changing: /usr/X11R6/bin/convert
  • If you have the appropriate support software installed you can enable inline LaTeX equations:
$wgUseTeX           = true;
$wgMathPath         = "{$wgUploadPath}/math";
$wgMathDirectory    = "{$wgUploadDirectory}/math";
$wgTmpDirectory     = "{$wgUploadDirectory}/tmp";
  • To install LaTeX support (OCaml software package required):
cd ./math


  • time zone fix to use local time (if hwtime is set to UTC)
$wgLocalTZoffset = date("Z") / 3600;
  • custom wiki logo (upload the logo image and provide a path to it here)
$wgLogo = "$wgStylePath/common/images/newlogoname.jpg";
  • Copyright info
  • Google search
  • Wikitex


  • Disable interpretation of PHP in the upload directory (./images):
    • create .htaccess file and with the following two lines:
php_value engine off
AddType text/plain .html .htm .shtml
  • Set permissions
sudo chown -R root:wiki wikifolder
sudo chmod -R g+w wikifolder
find ./ -type d -exec chmod g+s '{}' \;
  • make config file read-only by the webserver, readable and writeable by wiki group and not accessible by anyone else (contains mysql user password)
sudo chown apache:wiki ./LocalSettings.php
sudo chmod 460 ./LocalSettings.php
  • make upload directory writeable by the webserver
sudo chown apache:wiki ./images
sudo chmod -R g+w ./images
sudo chown root:wiki ./images/.htaccess
  • create/move favicon.ico file in/to the wikifolder
  • add commands to daily backup script to dump the wiki database - IMPORTANT

Server-wide config

(to be done once per site)

  • You may wish to turn register_globals off, because some programs may be insecure using that mode. See for how to disable it.

File uploading

(maximum file size)


(changing this file requires Apache restart)

upload_max_filesize = <Number>M

where <Number> is the limit in MBytes.

post_max_size =<Number>M


(/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf for Apache2 on Linux)

LimitRequestBody 524288
  • Sometimes php.ini file is ignored by Apache; workaround in httpd.conf or /etc/httpd/conf.d/php.conf
PHPIniDir /usr/local/pkg/php-5.1.2/etc


This MediaWiki file has a hardcoded MAX_FILE_SIZE on the form that you may need to increase manually.

MySQL user priviliges



Locking database: read-only mode

  • From Lock the database: since mediawiki 1.5 you can set $wgReadOnly to a string describing the reason for read-only mode, instead of creating a file. (Usual wiki markup is allowed in this string).
  • Read-only lock file: create a file in an upload directory (must be writeable by the web server user), error message with the contents of the file will show up (e.g., "/var/www/html/openwetware/images/lock_yBgMBwiR").
  • From Help on special pages:
    • Lockdb: Developer only. Puts the wiki in read only mode.
    • Unlockdb: Developer only. Puts the wiki in read/write mode.