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Apr 30 2014
Apr 30

This gonna be short and sweet.

If you need/want the Drupal Update Manager to work through SSH then you need to install the “libssh2-php” php package on your Ubuntu server. You know the Update Manager; it’s the admin interface when you install a module or theme, or more importantly if you are doing system-wide updates.
Update Manager

If you do not have the “libssh2-php” package installed then the only option you will have is FTP.
FTP Only

Unless you have a very specific reason, you do not want to run an FTP server on your Ubuntu server. Especially, when you have alternatives like SFTP and SCP for transferring files and they are based on SSH.

Now to enable the SSH option on the Update Manager page, you need to install the “libssh2-php” package and reload your apache server.

apt-get install libssh2-php
service apache2 reload

Now you have the SSH option on the same page.
SSH Option

Well, that being said, using Drush would be a better choice for these operations but there might be times where you need this.

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Apr 28 2014
Apr 28

When I got my first VPS (from Linode) like 4 years ago, for heavy Drupal use, I read a lot of guides about setting up a LAMP stack on Ubuntu. At first most of those guides I read and followed were Drupal specific but later on I read a lot of non-drupal, LAMP stack related stuff as well.

In addition to the guides I read (and still reading), now I have 4 years of experience and knowledge that I learned by trial & error. Not to mention that I have a long System Admin (Windows only) and Database Admin (mostly Oracle) past. I still wouldn’t call myself a full-blown Linux System Admin but I believe I have come quite a long way since then.

Now I am thinking about the guides and wondering why none of the ones I read does not tell people to delete the default site configuration that comes enabled upon Apache installation. As if this is not enough, almost all of them relies on making changes on that default site config (Drupal or not).

99 times out of 100, you do not want/need a default site running on your server; which will service to any request that finds your server via IP or DNS; unless the request belongs to a website that you specifically configured. And I am sure you don’t want your apache to service a request, let’s say, http://imap.example.com unless you specifically configured a site for imap.example.com.

One of the first things I do is to delete that default website.
I can either delete the symlink…

cd /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/
rm 000-default.conf
service apache2 reload

or you can do it by disabling the site with “a2dissite” command. Some might say that this is the proper way to do it but actually they do the same thing; removes the symlink.

a2dissite 000-default.conf
service apache2 reload

As you have noticed that I did not actually delete the default site configuration file which resides in “/etc/apache2/sites-available/” I have only disabled that site. Who knows, I might need that file in the future (for reference purposes most likely).

Now the question pops in mind; the guides you follow tells you to make a change in that default site config file. Of course the changes will not have any effect since the default site is disabled. As for Drupal, it will ask you to change “AllowOverride None” to “AllowOverride All” in the below shown block.

        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted

This is how you do it. Open your “apache2.conf” file, where your real defaults are set. Find the same block and make the same change there.

cd /etc/apache2/
vi apache2.conf
##  Make the changes  ##
service apache2 reload

This is on Ubuntu 14.04 …

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Apr 27 2014
Apr 27

If you have upgraded (or planning an upgrade) your Drupal 7 platform to Ubuntu 14.04 then you most likely know about the “install creates 31 tables then stops” and “Installation failure when opcode cache is enabled” issues. Which is caused by a problem between the Drupal code and OPcache.

A few words about the OPcache. Ubuntu 14.04 comes with php 5.5, which has Zend OPcache built-in. If you have already tried to install APC extension for your php setup, you failed. And if you googled about this failure then you heard that the APC is included in php5.5. Well, you can say that. Actually, the type of these caching solutions are called “OpCode Cache“. “APC” is one of them. “Zend OPcache” is another one; and this Zend OPcache (or OPcache for short) is built into php 5.5, not APC.

The Drupal problem has been fixed for D8 on this issue but no patch is available for D7 yet.

The workaround is to disable the OPcache, which is enabled by default. It is a setting in php.ini file.

opcache.enable=0

The question has been raised if disabling the OPcache before installation and enabling it right after would be good enough. While I don’t have a solid answer for that, it should be good enough to keep it disabled during installation and upgrades. I permanately turned it off on my test site. Maybe I should turn it on again and do some tests..

Another question I have seen but not answered was, if we can disable the OPcache per site basis. Like disabling it for a D7 sites and enabling it for others.

Yes, we can do that. As the title of this article suggests, we can disable OPcache per site basis but we cannot enable it whenever we want it; it should be enabled by default. If you have disabled it through php.ini file, then you need to revert it back.

Placing below line in your “settings.php” file will disable it.

ini_set('opcache.enable', '0');

However, I like the “.htaccess” method much better.

php_flag opcache.enable Off

Remember that your apache config should have “AllowOverride All” in order to make the .htaccess method work; which is also a requirement for installing & running Drupal websites.

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Aug 22 2008
Aug 22

There is an interesting presentation by psychologist Barry Schwartz at TED called "The paradox of choice". He explains why people are not better off when there is too much choice.

He claims:

Some choice is better than none. But it doesn't follow from that, that more choice is better than some.

His explanation makes sense:

The more options there are, the easier it is to regret anything at all that is disappointing about the option that you chose.

I think he has a valid point. A point which is also true in software:

I'm not saying that there should be no choice at all but very often there is simply too much choice and investigating all possible options takes too much time. Luckily Barry Schwartz reveals how to be happy with the choices you make:

The secret to happiness is "low expectations".

You can watch the presentation below or over at TED:

About Drupal Sun

Drupal Sun is an Evolving Web project. It allows you to:

  • Do full-text search on all the articles in Drupal Planet (thanks to Apache Solr)
  • Facet based on tags, author, or feed
  • Flip through articles quickly (with j/k or arrow keys) to find what you're interested in
  • View the entire article text inline, or in the context of the site where it was created

See the blog post at Evolving Web

Evolving Web