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Question

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  • TWiki version: 20001201
  • Web server: Apache 1.3.12
  • Server OS: SunOS 5.8 (Solaris)

The apache installation is located at /usr/local/apache/, which is where the twiki hierarchy was installed in to. I added the following lines to the end of /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf and restarted the server:

ScriptAlias /twiki/bin/ "/usr/local/apache/twiki/bin/"
Alias /twiki/ "/usr/local/apache/twiki"
<Directory "/usr/local/apache/twiki/bin">
    Options +ExecCGI
    SetHandler cgi-script
    Allow from all
</Directory>

<Directory "/usr/local/apache/twiki/pub">
    Options FollowSymLinks +Includes
    AllowOverride None
    Allow from all
</Directory>

I now obtain the following when accessing the twiki pages:
httpd://your.domain.com/bin         - URL not found
httpd://your.domain.com/bin/        - Don't have access permission
httpd://your.domain.com/bin/testenv - Don't have access permission
httpd://your.domain.com/twiki/pub   - URL not found
httpd://your.domain.com/twiki/pub/  - URL not found
There may be a problem with trailing/missing slashes in the updated httpd.conf, or possibly a permissions/ownership problem? Any pointers greatly appreciated. I'm pretty new to this server config stuff, so no doubt am doing something blatantly stupid!

Cheers, Michael.

-- MichaelScott - 20 Jun 2001

Answer

I added some <verbatim> markup above for readability.

Here's an extract of working config for our TWiki site - note the trailing slashes on some of the pathnames - this may be significant. However, I am not an Apache expert...

ScriptAlias /twiki/bin/ "/home/rdonkin/twiki/bin/"
Alias /twiki/ "/home/rdonkin/twiki"
<Directory "/home/rdonkin/twiki/bin/">
        Options FollowSymlinks ExecCGI
        AllowOverride AuthConfig FileInfo Indexes Limit Options
        SetHandler cgi-script
        Allow from all
</Directory>

<Directory "/home/rdonkin/twiki/pub">
        Options FollowSymlinks
        AllowOverride AuthConfig FileInfo Indexes Limit Options
        Allow from all
</Directory>

One other point - if your Apache installation is under /usr/local/apache, your HTML tree probably shouldn't be, for security reasons. But you can fix this easily once your installation is running.

You should check that the bin and twiki directories are in fact searchable and readable by 'nobody' (i.e. do a chmod go+x on the directories, and chmod o+r on the files). This may be the reason for the permission error.

It's also worth attaching your wikicfg.pm or TWiki.cfg to check this is OK.

-- RichardDonkin - 21 Jun 2001

Wow, Richard, careful with that AllowOverride in you twiki/pub directory, that's a clear security problem, thankfully the twiki will filter trailing periods in files but if somebody manages to upload an .htacces file into your twiki, they could be granted permission to execute anything in the server!!!.

Even though I have a different instalation, here is what I have for your reference (and yes the slashes at the end of the path names are significant).

ScriptAlias /twiki/bin/ "/var/www/twiki/bin/"
Alias /twiki/ "/var/www/twiki/"
Alias /twiki/pub/ "/var/www/twiki/pub/"

<Directory "/var/www/twiki">
    AllowOverride AuthConfig Limit FileInfo
    ErrorDocument 401 /twiki/bin/view/TWiki/TWikiAccessError
</Directory>
<Directory "/var/www/twiki/pub">
    Options FollowSymLinks +Includes
    AllowOverride None
</Directory>

And as I'm using ssl and keeping things inside a firewall, I have the following in a couple of .htaccess in the corresponding https path.

Inside /var/www/twiki/.htaccess
AuthType basic
AuthName "twiki"
AuthUserFile /home/twiki/data/.htpasswd
order deny,allow
deny from all
allow from   your.domain.here.
require valid-user
satisfy any
---------
Inside /var/www/twiki/bin/.htaccess
<Files "edit">
       AuthUserFile /home/twiki/data/.htpasswd
       AuthName ByPassword
       AuthType Basic
       deny from all
       require valid-user
</Files>

Note that the last is repeated for all the modification scripts (the only difference from the htaccess.txt included in the twiki install is the removal of the satisfy all directive)

Mmmmm... now that I'm writing this I notice that I dont have the ExecCGI option on, I wonder if that has to do with the performance problems I had been seing lately????

-- EdgarBrown - 12 Jul 2001

Question

I work on a hosted account and succeed till adressing

http://carpe.com/twiki/bin/view.cgi

I think I set the user correctly (testenv.cgi says to set it to "isjmde" which is my provider).

If I click anything I get a 404.

Help?

I am rather inept in cgi or unix... but I learn wink

-- OliverGassner - 14 Jul 2002

Appeal

I am making this appeal after several weeks of frustration.

Could someome possibly do some "handholding". Try as I might to follow the installation directions, especially permissions, I am unable to get TWiki going. I continue to receive the message: "The connections was refused when attempting to contact"

Wow! I just found MattWalsh 's appeal from Jan 2002 -- BundleTwikiWithWebServerAndScript -- It's good to know that I'm not alone in struggling with such issues. It reminds me of one of my MigrationToLinuxRants; you could go through four or more manual pages elaborating in exquisite detail the various switches for an arcane albeit useful command without seeing a single example. NOT Newbie-ized, 4sure!

-- JonathanSmith - 16 Feb 2003

Hi,

TWiki can be quite hard to install if you are not used to Apache etc - see AdminSkillsAssumptions for required skills (either when you start, or through learning). This support web can't offer handholding per se, but if you have a look at SupportGuidelines and supply the detailed information requested in there, in a new question topic created via Support.WebHome, I'm sure someone can help you out.

-- RichardDonkin - 16 Feb 2003

Johnathan,

You need to tell us something -- you didn't even tell us which operating system (well, you did imply Linux).

TWiki was the first (major) thing I tried to install as a Linux newbie. It was a bear! I tried (on a private wiki) to improve the documentation to make it understandable to myself. (That was for the 20010315 beta, IIRC.) Anyway, tell us what operating system, and somebody may be able to give you some hints. Maybe you can then help write the TWikiInstallationForLinuxNewbies documentation. wink

-- RandyKramer - 17 Feb 2003

Okay, does anyone have any condiments I could add to my words to make them any tastier? smile

I obtained the 01 Feb 2003 version and basically started over. (I say basically because I kept the changes to http.conf.) This installation worked!

The testenv script is admirable! I really appreciate it. The Catch-22, or DoubleBind, is that it has to be able to run -- a previous problem that I encountered.

I am happy to say that I was left with only two warnings, one which may have been remedied (The warning did not change after running the perl command for changing the locks.) and one which remains and which I fail to understand, no doubt, due to my ignorance with Apache (HTTP_HOST fails to match what I put for ServerName, perhaps because VirtualHost remains commented out?).

Randy, at the risk of having to eat more words later, I would endorse wholeheartedly your HaHaOnlySerious comment about TWikiInstallationForLinuxNewbies. The installaion documentation while comprehensive is intimidating! It would be nice to have a QuickStart version.

And, the TwikiSupportPage edges toward "user hostile" rather than "user friendly", e.g., from the outset, I was "wrong" because I posted to an existing page, which took quite a while to find. I learned quickly enough from the CAPITALIZED WARNING OF WHAT NOT TO DO; it was much more difficult to learn what I should do, except for ShutUpAndRead. I would have been happier if it had first "caught me doing something right."

Nevertheless, putting aside my Newbie-grousing, it is nice to have such a powerful, easy-to-use wiki working for me!

-- JonathanSmith - 18 Feb 2003

At the risk of dragging this conversation even further offtopic... (^_^) may I point out that both sides of a DoubleBind are victims?

You state, correctly, that many support pages tend towards newbie hostility (see the ShutUpAndRead link above). However in equal measure support pages tend towards developer hostility. How many of these themes do you recognize:

  • How come it doesn't work for me? You're stupid for not showing more examples! Usability is important! I don't have time to read all that stuff! Heelllppp MEEeeeee! It's too hard!

My point is that communication is (at least) a two way dialogue. Sometimes the "fault" for hostil-izing a converstation lies with the beginners, and sometimes with the experts. In either case the root cause is generally the same: impatience and lack of respect for the other viewpoints.

For the record, I'm not a developer and it's taken me the better part of two years to get somewhat proficient at installing, configuring and maintaining TWiki. If you troll through the archives you'll find a few messages from me expressing the above themes -- on both sides.

-- MattWilkie - 18 Feb 2003

A relevant page here is AdminSkillsAssumptions - most of the problems people have are to do with Apache not TWiki, and the Support web is a part-time endeavour that can't really be expected to teach people how to use Apache, Linux, etc. An installation program would help, but given the huge variation in Apache and *nix setups it would be a great deal of work to debug. Just getting testenv working on various platforms (SiePerl, anyone?) was quite a challenge.

Lack of support resource is why we encourage people to read the SupportGuidelines. I reserve the right not to help people who won't read and follow this page when it is highlighted several times on TWiki:Support smile

-- RichardDonkin - 18 Feb 2003

Johnathan,

Glad you got it installed now! Your links (above) were interesting, but I was more than HaHaOnlySerious about the newbie (or quick reference) version of the documentation.

I made quite a few pencil notes on various sheets or scraps of paper as I did the installation of the 20010315 beta, and then tried to incorporate some of them on my private TWiki. (I was a little afraid of showing my ignorance by attempting to modify the "real" (online) TWiki documentation, but even more afraid of butchering that documentation and being flamed.)

Next time I do an install I may rewrite the documentation on line (although it has been improved since I made my last install). If the installation goes perfectly and alles es clar, I probably won't, but otherwise will simply copy the "real" online documentation to another page and start adding notes (or whatever else it takes) to make it clear for me.

One particular point, I sort of like the Army teaching style of "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you told them" but with the caveat that the reader should be able to clearly recognize which is which, almost something like the following (irrelevant / made up example) (which is extreme, I'll admit):

Example (and remainder) moved to Wikilearn.NotesOnWritingDocumentation#Notes.

Hmm, I know this is way off topic, I guess I'm trying to sell you on the idea of writing up your newbie version of the TWiki documentation.

-- RandyKramer - 19 Feb 2003

Matt,

It must be that I can identify with the descriptions, so I chiefly see newbie distress in your scenario, except for the "You're stupid" remark, which I would agree is hostile.

  • I see the first statement in the scenario as quite apt, i.e., every newbie's fear is that it doesn't work for her or him because he or she is particularly stupid, rather than the directions being obtuse, the software being maladaptive, etc.

  • I like examples; I think they could be helpful.
    • me too. They take time, not too mention skill, to write. Especially ones that are clear, simple and direct --mw

  • It's okay for the developers not to have the time to help, but not okay for the user not to have the time to figure out what the developers meant?
    • It's okay for developers to not have time to help. It's also okay for users not to have the time or ability to figure it out by themselves. --mw

  • "It's too hard!" reminds me of the saying, "If one person calls you a horse's ass, you can shrug it off. If two people do, you might want to consider it. If three people do, then look for the tail (or tale)." Or, the Customer Service addage: "If one person complains about your product, how many didn't take the time to let you know?"

I chose to persist with getting TWiki to work because I saw a quality to the product that set it apart from the growing list of other WikiEngines. It would seem a pity for all that hard work to go to waste, i.e., become a programming exercise rather than a common way of doing things, because there was lack of hard work along a different dimension, i.e., making the product understandable to the general user.

-- JonathanSmith - 19 Feb 2003

some comments inline, above.

There is common agreement in the twiki community, users and developers alike, that the documentation could be better, that more examples are needed, that there are significant usability issues to be resolved, and so on. We are intimately familiar with the rough parts. However in order to rectify each of these problems a combination of things needs to come together:

    1. the problem needs to be clearly identified (we're pretty good at this one),
    2. solution(s) to the problem needs to be described (we're so-so at this one),
    3. a person who understands 1 & 2 and has the time, and the skills to
    4. implement the solution needs to exist, and finally
    5. with all of the previous requistes in place, that person or persons has to want to do the work.

I'm not interesting in pursuing this thread any longer unless you have some practical advice which can actually help resolve some of the issues. E.g. clearly and concisely describe a problem, and perhaps recommend a direction of research which might help resolve it.

Everything said after Feb-17 or so should probably be moved to another page since we've drifted pretty far off topic.

-- MattWilkie - 20 feb 2003

In rev.19, LarryDillon changed this 5 year old question from Answered to Asked.

Unless there's a good reason for that, let's leave it as Answered please. If you have a new question please ask it. Some of us look for the AskedQuestions to see where we can help, and so reading through an old answered question is not a good use of time.

-- SeanCMorgan - 21 Jul 2008

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