Delan Azabani

Adventures of comssa.org.au, part 2

In another daily episode of configuring ComSSA's new website and Internet services, here's what I've been up to. The DigitalOcean server has been set up, users are logged in smoothly, the wiki and imageboard are installed and the website is ready to run. I should get some sleep now before I become fully nocturnal.

Hosting the website on GitHub Pages is probably easier and more reliable than doing so on the new server, especially because committee members can update it by simply committing and pushing to a Git repository. To do this, I needed to create a GitHub organisation account, but someone had taken the username "comssa". Thankfully, GitHub's policy is to release usernames upon request if there are no commits, repositories or other activity. A brief email to their support team and the issue was sorted in a few hours.

I've rewritten the shell script used to configure the server. Alas, it's still a collection of shell scripts, but it's been refactored heavily. The majority of the configuration is achieved with an overlay directory, which contains a FHS-like hierarchy of files to be overwritten in the root file system. As some added bonuses, I've set a hard nproc ulimit to prevent forkbombs taking down the server, and created a pretty login banner.

The old internal wiki used MediaWiki, which is insanely overkill, so I've installed DokuWiki instead, which uses a lightweight flat-file storage backend. While there aren't quite so many pages that manual migration would be unwieldy, I tried looking for migration scripts in the hope that they'd preserve users and revision histories. Sadly, neither Mediasyntax nor MediaWiki2DokuWiki support any more than migrating page and media content.

ComSSA used to have a traditional web forum, which has also fallen into relative disuse over the years. We agreed that a more casual imageboard format resembling 2ch would be better going forward. The package of choice was Kusaba X, but to my great frustration, I spent several hours failing to install it with no error messages of any sort. I eventually discovered that the sqlite backend support appears to be broken, as when using MySQL, it works perfectly. That'll teach me for trying to prematurely optimise RAM usage!

Now I can safely say that the infrastructure is complete. The website, wiki and imageboard are all ready to accept content, which I'll start working on tomorrow, and we can start the slow march towards an uptime record moving ever forward. Who am I kidding? I'll probably break something pretty soon.