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Revision as of 15:15, 11 May 2008 by Dank (talk | contribs) (→‎Postinstallation)
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I'm using the MediaWiki software from the WikiMedia Foundation to power my wikis. MediaWiki is written in PHP5, and thus precludes the use of a multi-threaded version of Apache.

Installing MediaWiki

The following information is largely Debian-specific.

  • Have handy the administrator account/password for your MySQL installation.
    • I advise you to install MySQL before MediaWiki, not as a single apt step.
    • DO NOT explicitly create the MediaWiki databases / users yourself.
  • Grab the necessary packages:
    • mediawiki and mediawiki-math; mediawiki-extensions is also advised.
    • In addition, memcached, imagemagick and tetex-base should be installed if they're not automatically dragged in.
  • Don't grab the versioned packages (ie mediawiki1.10); the mediawiki package will depend on the proper packages for your version of Debian.
    • Unless you really need a particular version.
    • If you install the versioned packages explicitly, upgrades might eat your configuration. You have been warned.
  • Symlink /var/lib/mediawiki to /var/www/mediawiki with ln -s.
    • This isn't in the install docs, and might be incorrect/suboptimal FIXME.
  • Go to http://yourhost/mediawiki. You should be greeted with a link to the config page. Follow it.
  • Configure that bitch (See Accelerators below).
    • I've seen no problems related to the experimental UTF-8 encoding for use with MySQL 5.0.
  • Following configuration, run chmod 640 /var/lib/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings.php && ln -sf /var/lib/mediawiki/config/LocalSettings.php /etc/mediawiki
  • Go to http://yourhost/mediawiki. You should be greeted with your new main page.


  • MediaWiki: kinda slow.
  • XCache is rumoured to be the best choice.
    • On Debian, you'll need edit the default /etc/php5/xcache.ini to provide non-0 size values
  • memcached works out of the box, but doesn't seem very effective
    • You want the memcache server at


  • Set a wiki logo: sudoedit /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php and add
    • $wgLogo = "/mediawiki/skins/common/images/wiki.jpg"; with the appropriate path to your logo
    • Be sure the image is world-readable, 135x135 and has a correct extension
    • The path is relative to your Apache's configured DocumentRoot
    • If applicable, set the image background transparent so it'll look better
      • Using the Gimp, add an Alpha layer, select the background with the Magic Wand, and Clear it
  • Enable uploads: sudoedit /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php and add
    • $wgEnableUploads = true;
  • Support uploading non-images: sudoedit /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php and add
    • $wgFileExtensions = array( 'png', 'gif', 'jpg', 'jpeg', 'doc', 'pdf', 'ps', 'xls', 'txt' );
    • Supposedly, all types can be allowed via:

$wgCheckFileExtensions = false; $wgStrictFileExtensions = false; $wgVerifyMimeType = false; $wgFileExtensions = array( 'png', 'gif', 'jpg', 'jpeg' ); $wgFileBlacklist = array(); $wgMimeTypeBlacklist= array();

  • Support inline equations: sudoedit /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php and change
    • $wgUseTeX = false; so that it uses true instead
    • The texex-bin package must be installed for this to work!
  • Disable editing unless logged in: sudoedit /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php and add
    • $wgGroupPermissions['*']['edit'] = false;
  • Optionally, disable new accounts unless logged in: sudoedit /etc/mediawiki/LocalSettings.php and add
    • $wgGroupPermissions['*']['createaccount'] = false;
  • Optionally, rename the main page: first, move the main page to the new title
    • Load Mediawiki:mainpage, and update it to reflect this change
  • Optionally, remove the 'discussion' tab:
    • Edit mediawiki/includes/SkinTemplate.php, and comment out the following:

$content_actions['talk'] = $this->tabAction(

                               $this->mTitle->isTalkPage() && !$prevent_active_tabs,


  • Most everything can be done via the Special Pages page; learn it
  • Check the Special:Lonelypages list to watch for orphaned pages; these pages are unreachable from any other page.
    • This almost always indicates a mistyped or misspelled attempt to link to this page; check the Special:Wantedpages list
  • Check the Special:Deadendpages list to watch for dead-end pages; these pages link to no other pages.
    • This almost always indicated a failure to add a relevant link, or a short entry (see below)
  • Check the Special:Shortpages list to watch for short pages; these pages might need more information.
    • See if the page can't be combined with another one, or if more info isn't sensible to add
  • How to check for dead external links? FIXME


A variety of extensions are available for MediaWiki. The most popular and stable are collected in the Debian package mediawiki-extensions, including (as of 1.10) GeSHi, Cite, inputbox, and ParserFunctions. By default, none are enabled -- the package only provides the extensions; it does not enable them!

Enabling Debian-Supported Extensions

  • Install the mediawiki-extensions package.
  • Enter the /etc/mediawiki-extensions/extensions-enabled directory.
  • Enable extensions by creating symbolic links to contents of the /etc/mediawiki-extensions/extensions-available directory.
    • To enable all extensions, run: for i in ../extensions-available/* ; do sudo ln -s /etc/mediawiki-extensions/extensions-available/`basename $i` . ; done

Enabling other Extensions

  • Download the extension to /var/lib/mediawiki1.10/extensions
  • See /var/lib/mediawiki/extensions/README for up-to-date information on enabling it