Adventures in Linux Documentation

In the Linux world, there are multiple paths toward providing a solution. There are various “brands” of Linux distributions (“distros”) that seem to have a little different way of doing things. Likewise, when you download programs written for Linux there are often multiple programs providing similar capabilities (some better than others). Documentation with configuration details can lead in different directions based on who wrote them. Sometimes the Linux world gives you enough rope to hang yourself.

I’ve been setting up a test environment to get web server functionality that I’ll use to create web sites offline as I described in X-AMPP Based Web Sites. Since then I’ve downloaded Drupal 6 from the Drupal download site and prepared to install in my test server environment.

A couple of weeks earlier I set up my first Drupal environment with the online Internet service provider that will be hosting my live web sites. This ISP provides a button to launch the Drupal setup process and everything went smoothly.

The X-AMP configuration created a web hosting area under /opt/lampp/htdocs directory. Since I’m wanting to set up multiple virtual domains I added a “www” folder named htdocs/www under that directory as a placeholder for each virtual domain. For example I have set up htdocs/www/mystudysource.dom for that particular web site. My first instinct was to download and extract Dripal into this domain’s directory. I realized this was wrong and placed the extracted files onto my desktop area instead. Then I created a “drupal6” folder and proceeded to copy the extracted contents into my mystudysource.dom/drupal6 directory using an ftp program.

XAMPP Control Panel

XAMPP Control Panel

I started the XAMPP control panel, pushing the Start XAMPP button and was up and running as far as having a web server but I still needed to copy the files into my domain’s area. Since one of the components started is ProFTPD (an ftp server program) I’m able to use a program like Mozilla’s FileZilla to transfer these files. With the drupal files in the mystudygroup.dom/drupal6 directory I’m ready to start configuration.

Setting up Drupal on my development environment didn’t go as smoothly. I got a list of warnings and errors but not the configuration screen I expected. Doing the same thing over and over produced similar results with some slight variations. I suspect I have some kind of mis-configuration causing access errors so, its back to reading the documentation to see what I missed.

Over the last few days I’ve been reading a lot more documentation, both online and from books I already have. It’s interesting how a variety of sources can take you off in different directions. Reading the documentation is similar to looking at an old weathered stone that has many cracks running in different directions. I’ve seen a wide range of documentation from topics that are well formated and easy to follow to the extreme opposite with a pathetic mashup of email comments appearing as a solid block of text characters with no formatting at all. I’m sure one of these documentation fissures will lead me in the right direction.

About SomeoneKnows
(c) 2010 Vince Thompson

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