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Making Slash Install Friendly?

posted by Cliff on 10:50 PM March 23rd, 2004   Printer-friendly   Email story
Recently I was asked by a heavily trafficed website to investigate migrating their site to Slash. After downloading the latest codebase I'm reliving a lot of the installation frustrations experienced when I messed around with Slash over a year ago. I've installed lots of portals before like PhpBB, Nuke, MX-System etc. All of those installs were pain free. I'm writing to request that you guys simply the install process. How about some straight forward docs? I would suggest a list of required packages and then simple instructions how to get Slash working with Apache etc that comes with most distros.
Cliff adds: It's always a good thing when your software is fairly easy to install, but the problem with Slash is that it requires quite a few libraries and Perl modules to do its thing. Slash tries to simplify things as much as possible with CPAN bundles and the INSTALL file, but there's only so much the developers can do. Many times Apache+mod_perl will need to be compiled, and compiled properly, and this is where many Slash installs have problems -- the developers can't compile these things for you, so you end up having to do them, yourself.

Having said this, what ideas and suggestions do you have for the Slash developers? What things can they do now to simplify Slash installs. What things can they work on in the future to smooth over the pains installing Slash that you are experiencing, today?
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  • Debian packages!

    (Score:1)
    by Baloo Ursidae (4770) on Wednesday March 24, @03:48AM (#6203)
    ( http://ursine.ca/ | | Last Journal: Wednesday March 24, @03:53PM )
    Three words: slash-cvs debian pacakge
  • Get the distro's/vendors to

    a) include the more recent perl, and httpd
    b) get them to compile it properly, just as slash needs
    c) comments in the INSTALL doc on how to get Slash to properly work with OSX 10.3, and comments on whether or not one should strip perl/httpd1.3 off OSX and install from src or... etc etc.
    d) get the distro's to include all/more-of the perl modules that Slash needs.

    While I don't agree with some of what the article's submitter says (installing's *not* that hard on Linux, IMHO, and it's not installing slash that's hard, it's installing perl and apache that's difficult, like Cliff mentions), Cliff hit it right on the the nose when he talked about Perl and Apache.

    The thing is, there is *PLENTY* in the INSTALL file that talks about how to use CPAN. Really, there is. And there *never* used to be that much information in the INSTALL years ago. It used to be if you didn't know how to use CPAN, installing Slash was way more difficult. If you follow the tips in the install installing with CPAN makes things *so* much easier. Most of the perl modules do install on their own (again, Linux, Redhat9/8/7 referred to there).

    For those of you that have been using Slash for a few years, do you remember the days before Bundle::Slash?? Now *that* was a PITA.

    From spending my time on IRC and answering people's pleas for help, I estimate that 99% of all the people who say they are having problems installing HAVE NOT READ THE LATEST INSTALL FILE completely, and are NOT following it's directions.

    If OSDN could lay it's leverage and get a-d done above, that would probably help people start using Slash across the board. All they'd have to do is d/l the src, and 'make install', setup DBIx::Password, add GMT to their MySQL, and the run install-slashsite to create a new site.


    --
    lottadot [lottadot.com]
  • by philipdl71 (5859) on Wednesday March 24, @04:43PM (#6205)
    This webpage [slashcode.com] suggests nothing less than a Pentium-II/200 and 256mb of ram in order to run Slashdot. It also talks about Slashdot as it existed in 2001. Is this documentation just for Slash 2.2.6? I only ask because the system requirements of the CVS tag [sourceforge.net] I am running haven't changed at all.

    I am running Slash CVS tag R_2_3_0_113 on an Athlon 750mhz machine with 256MB of ram. Merely visiting a webpage where index.pl gets called shoots up the CPU to 70 or 80% and page loads seem slow. Getting new hardware isn't a major problem. I just want to make sure that I didn't do something dumb which could cause this. Are there any suggestions of how to improve performance or do I just need new hardware?


  • by lee (6376) on Wednesday March 24, @08:40PM (#6206)
    I have been using Gentoo Linux for over 6 months now and have it installed on 6 computers ranging from Athlon XP workhorse to Apple G3 laptop. It's package menagement system is called Portage and I believe it can solve all the Slash installation problems in one swoop, seriously. Like the BSDs all software is compiled from source. It has this concept it called USE flags. These are compile time options which is exactly what slash needs to be properly configured. These options can tell Portage to download a specific patch or add some flags to the compiler for that package. I found this site through my job, which right now is making a big hosting transition for www.democracynow.org which is built with a Slashcode CVS checkout that has been customized. I'm taking on the challenge of applying this patch [slashcode.com] to get Slash to run on Apache 2 on Gentoo PPC and eventually BSD. It's far from simple but what I'm doing by typing is all automated by Gentoo's portage: apply diff file to source code, calculate deps for a bundle of packages, compile packages with necessary options, install. Once I have it actually running and the first story is posted I'll write back and possibly get some momentum in making a slashcode ebuild and we can all 'USE="slash" emerge slashcode' -lee
  • by misterorange (3825) on Friday April 09, @09:25AM (#6213)
    www.installslash.org :)
  • by Cyde (5552) on Thursday April 15, @07:29PM (#6217)
    As to how to make slash easier to install, I can think of one thing that would definitely work - although it might be considered overkill. Distribute the proper versions of Apache, Slash, MySQL, and Perl altogether in a source distrobution - and a single "./configure; make; make install" it will all work. Granted, the downloads will be a lot bigger than just downloading Slash, but at least it would just work.

    As for my question ... I'm running my own slashcode site and I'm having problems with my RSS feed. It hasn't refreshed itself in almost a month (the headlines it contains aren't even on the main page any longer). I checked all of the refresh variables and they all seem to be set to their appropriate defaults - it's like portald is just never getting invoked at all. Any ideas? Thanks!
  • slash.iso ?

    (Score:1)
    by snyd3282 (6413) on Sunday April 18, @02:46AM (#6219)
    Time is money. Low end servers are cheap. How about a bootable cd that installs a minimum linux installation with everything needed for slash and does the initial configuration? I'd pay $100 if I could pop a CD into a spare box, fill out a couple screens of information, and have a slash server 60 minutes later.