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ALERT! NOTE: This is a DistributionDocument. Please help maintain high quality documentation: This is a wiki, please fix the documentation if you find errors or incomplete content. Put questions and suggestions concerning the documentation of this topic in the comments section below. Use the Support web for problems you are having using TWiki.

Administrator Skills Assumptions

Note: If you are not familiar with Linux system administration, Apache webserver configuration, consider using TWiki:Codev.DownloadTWikiVM - the TWiki Virtual Machine can be installed on Windows or Linux, and makes it possible to get a working TWiki system within 5 minutes (after a fairly big download), ready to use from your browser.

If you need to install TWiki you'll need to either have or learn the following skills (even with DownloadTWikiVM, you'll need these for upgrades). For each of these, the requirement is either pre-existing knowledge/skill, or the willingness to spend significant time learning them:

  • Operating system administration: Ability to use Unix/Linux command line tools (or equivalent Windows tools), including ability to move/copy/delete files, change permissions, view web server log files, set environment variables, use a text editor, etc.
  • Web server administration: Ability to do basic setup, e.g. ability to edit config files or use GUI configuration tools to enable CGI scripts on a directory.
  • Program compilation: Some TWiki extensions may require you to install and compile libraries from source code. You need to be familiar with the use of configure, make, etc.
  • Troubleshooting: Ability to perform tests, inspect error logs, talk to technical support (whether in an IT department or web hosting provider) and read documentation in order to help with diagnosing installation problems.

Installing TWiki is not recommended if you only know HTML and web design, unless you are prepared to learn the above, or team up with someone who can handle the installation.

Although the TWikiInstallationGuide is quite complete, there will on occasion be parts that don't work in your local environment (particularly with TWiki:Codev/TWikiOnWebHostingSites, which are sometimes challenging even for those with good OS and web server skills).

There are many excellent resources for learning how to administer your OS and web server, including books, web sites, web forums, IM and e-mail lists.

To get started with Linux, visit HowtoForge.org. HowtoForge offers Linux tutorials, forums to ask questions, and links to sites with information to install and use Linux.

Some resources if you need help, or want to get up and running quickly:

  • TWiki:Support/WebHome: Post a question in the TWiki.org support forum. This forum is mainly intended for TWiki related issues, there are other forums if you need help in operating system and web server administration.
  • TWiki:Codev/TWikiIRC: Get help from the TWiki community in the #twiki IRC channel.
  • TWiki:Codev/TWikiConsultants: Hire a consultant to get you up to speed, maintain or customize your TWiki installation.

Related Topics: AdminDocumentationCategory

Comments & Questions about this Distribution Document Topic

Here's a first cut at the skills required to install TWiki - comments welcome!

-- RichardDonkin - 27 Apr 2002

This looks like a pretty good guideline to me. It probably would have worked in discouraging me from taking on installing TWiki on my hosted domain. Sure am glad it wasn't up when I got started wink Despite the steep learning curve, I've totally enjoyed my experience with TWiki AND learning about all these things I didn't know I needed to know...

Seriously, I think it would be useful to include this as a kind of disclaimer/warning at the beginning of the installation guide. It would probably save some people the heart-ache of launching into an installation only to get totally confounded the first time something goes wrong.

It might also be worthwhile to include a statement along the lines of your last paragraph into the TWiki.org Support web. I'm sure I've been guilty of the sins of which you speak embarrassment .

Having said all this, I would also (somewhat timidly) suggest that TWiki is at a stage in its development where it could use feedback from non-technical users and even administrators. Perhaps there could be a space for folks to offer to mentor non-technical folks who really want to use this unique and incredibly promising tool.

-- LynnwoodBrown - 27 Apr 2002

Good start. I'll put here couple of good links later to help people who (as LynnwoodBrown) are willing to invest time and learn.

Mentoring is fine, but we need to distinguish TWiki-related mentoring, and "UNIX Admin Quick and Easy" related stuff. There are many sites full of it, why waste time here? Still fine if somebody volunteers...

-- PeterMasiar - 29 Apr 2002

I hope the above is not too harsh, but there was someone recently (not present on this page smile ) who seemed to think that TWiki should be installable by anyone who knew HTML and web design, and didn't seem to be willing to go away and learn about things, despite being given quite a few pointers...

We should probably put in some less grim words about 'TWiki as a learning adventure' - for those who want to learn, it's a great opportunity to find out a lot more about Unix/Linux and web servers such as Apache. I wouldn't recommend IIS for newbies though, as some people have had to switch to Apache to get TWiki and RCS working (spot the ease-of-use irony there smile )

The idea is, however, to put off people who think TWiki installation should be point and click, because it won't be, particularly on web hosts, and they'll end up being disappointed. However, those who go in expecting it to take hours to weeks, but to also learn a lot about the OS and web server, are more than welcome, and are less likely to end up failing to install TWiki.

I've made a few updates to the skills bullets above.

-- RichardDonkin - 30 Apr 2002

Most packages simply have a README or INSTALL with a bunch of steps. Installing lots of full-blown content management/weblog/Web portal systems is no more than loading tables and data into, typically, MySQL, untarring/de-zipping the whole package, and setting a few paths in a config file. So the only skills necessary to installing and having GUI admin/config access to some very Big Applications (as far as what they can do), especially when you have your hands on the well-publicized, often preinstalled phpMyAdmin MySQL manager that lets you suck up .sql files from the browser (no command line action, no shell access required), is knowing paths on your (often ISP) server. And the couple of other Perl Wikis I've tried have been dead simple to install, just permissions, no db. And the line between skills necessary to install TWiki, and to configure it, are blurry here. The Windows issue skews it as well: for Web scripts - Perl, PHP - the "default" has been Unix/Apache, so it depends where you're coming from, but subtract Win, and installation of scripts - thousands, as in http://hotscripts.com - is simple. All this for the most part and increasingly, on a Linux/Apache ISP-hosted virtual account, no root server access, and even with single shared database compatibility (table prefixes).

On the other hand, printing out the brief installation instructions for RCS would probably raise the barrier sufficiently without getting directly involved.

-- MikeMannix - 15 May 2002

Haven't been here in a while. No replies here since 2002?

I recently reinstalled TWiki with mySQL access and ftp only on a unix webserver, so it can be done. I am totally inexperienced when it comes to "root access." It took about three or four days the first time, second time, and third time lol. This most recent, about a month ago went reasonable well. (Edit) I just found TWiki:Codev/TWikiOnWebHostingSites so came back and added it. It may need clarification on getting admin permissions, as that was a major, major hassle for me.

-- BruceRProchnau - 17 Nov 2004

I replaced http://basiclinux.net/ with http://linuxbasics.org/ since the former one no longer offers the free distance-learning course.

-- PeterThoeny - 09 May 2005

I installed TWiki on my system, in which there is no login system, i.e. i can browse by different users via TWikiUsers, so I want to ask for the password and username before giving access to the Twiki, Also I want to know how the Twiki session key is generated? As I want to pass those parameters to the CAS server so that it will authenticate users on behalf of Twiki, I am quite inexperienced in this case so please help me on this. my email id dandgelb@rediffmailPLEASENOSPAM.com

-- LalitDandge - 03 Apr 2006

This section is about the documentation. Please ask support questions in the Support web.

-- PeterThoeny - 03 Apr 2006

RichardDonkin, could you please make the changes also in SVN's MAIN and Patch04x01 branch?

-- PeterThoeny - 08 Mar 2007

Reverted spoiled revision due to WYSIWYG editor bugs, and re-added contribution done by PeterBlaise.

-- PeterThoeny - 19 Apr 2007

There are some highly automated installation methods now, which change these skills assumptions quite significantly. Two examples are TWikiOnUbuntu and TWikiOnDebian, in which a functioning TWiki with all dependencies takes only a single command line to install, and even covers upgrades, since TWiki is upgraded when the underlying Ubuntu or Debian distribution is upgraded (which is itself highly automated.)

Other examples are TWikiInstaller and TWikiVMDebianStable, although the latter has not been upgraded for a long time, partly because it was done before TWikiOnDebian had a recent version of TWiki. However, once TWiki is installed there will still be some need for these admin skills, particularly for troubleshooting - and in some ways the more automated installers mean that fewer people will gain these skills through a painful installation process. Although the positive side is that far more people will be able to install and use TWiki, which is the main goal.

-- RichardDonkin - 21 Oct 2007

What about helping the less experienced admins and first time installers a little bit by telling them where to go to find help? E.g. explictly guiding them to some helpfull ressources. We have just a single link like this: "To get started with Linux, visit http://LinuxBasics.org" .

What I'm thinking of is something like this:

If we want to spread TWiki we should help those people who are no hard core techies but nevertheless interested in using and installing twiki (like me).

Is this topic generated from subversion or can we simply add some links here on this topic?

-- CarloSchulz - 08 Nov 2007

Yes, that makes sense Carlo. This is a DistributionDocument, ideally maintained in SVN. I will sync changes done here to SVN (for those without SVN access.)

-- PeterThoeny - 12 Nov 2007

I just installed TWiki 5.1.4 following the Basic Installation procedure from http://twiki.org/cgi-bin/view/TWiki/TWikiInstallationGuide Without being Linux admin, Perl developer and on a hosted environment. I noted the following problems: - the hosted environment did not provide the htpasswd command, so I had to create that file manually and generate the user records through http://www.askapache.com/online-tools/htpasswd-generator/ - calling bin/configure caused HTTP 500 response, but in the hosted environment it was not possible to access any detailed logs, but the access one. This was a dead end. - I copied lib/TWiki.spec as lib/LocalSite.cfg and set my values directly there - I tried again bin/configure and it worked. Probably behind the scenes it depends on lib/LocalSite.cfg and fails when that file is not found - The pub-htaccess.txt (copied as pub/.htaccess) contains the setting: php_flag engine off which was not recognized by my Apache version/installation (I cannot find its details) and broke the presentation of the pages. Removing that setting fixed the problem. - I ran the bin/configute script and it requested a new password for my administrative user. I provided a new one, but obviously the data/.htpasswd file was not updated with it, so I now have two active passwords for the administrative user - one for the HTTP authentication and another - within the bin/configure script. Note that I use the default handling of passwords in the LocatSite.cfg.

Anyway, TWiki and its documentation and realy impressive and helped me through smile Good job! Thank you! Rusi Popow

-- Rusi Popov - 2013-04-04

Thanks very much .

-- xie zhao - 2013-09-22


I am Fredy. I need to install Twiki in my PC

windows 7,64bit, I have already installed ActivePerl in my PC

Could you please help on this task

-- TWiki Guest - 2014-06-06

Fredy: Please register with your real name. If you prefer to stay anonymous you can login as "TWikiGuest" / "guest". Please ask support questions in the Support web.

-- Peter Thoeny - 2014-06-06

Test. (I guess I must admit I'm having some problems getting started, but no doubt I'll work it out eventually.)

-- peter fisher - 2014-11-15

Hi I am having problem while creating users. When i check with logs I am getting this information "TWikiUserMapping has TURNED OFF EnableNewUserRegistration, because the password file is read only." Could any one help me with this issue

-- Sandeep Rajpurohit - 2015-09-01

Please ask support questions in the Support forum.

-- Peter Thoeny - 2015-09-01

Please use the Support forum if you have questions about TWiki features. This comment section is about the documentation of this topic.
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Topic revision: r45 - 2015-09-01 - PeterThoeny
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