Upgrading Ubuntu Feisty > Gutsy > Hardy

Diligence and hard work pays off in the long run but procrastination pays off immediately.

One of the disadvantages of experience is that you retain memories of past failures. Like hunting with Dick Cheney and upgrading operating systems. A former Mandrake Linux fan, I once destroyed a fledging managed hosting business by insisting on installing the "latest" version on a number of servers.

Running a Drupal site locally under Windows XP

There are many reasons for running a copy of a Drupal website on a local machine among them backup, offline development or more likely a perverse desire to show that it can be done. The perversity is hightened by doing this on a Windows machine, in this case Windows XP. This case study is based on the real world user "varley" and the site "". You may get your case to work with appropriate substitions.

Drupal vs. Dreamweaver

Rather inadequately, I have explained the difference between a CMS website and a conventional website as a matter of who contributes content, a CMS encourages wider participation in the website creation process. But that understates the significance of collaboration and networking. For example one site featured at the recent DrupalCon in DC was OAN. It is just difficult to imagine Dreamweaver in the driver's seat.

Implementing php5-xcache

Of the three "free" php opcode caching schemes APC, eAccelerator and Xcache, the latter had an installable package and appeared simplest to implement. I tried it on my local workstation first (always a good idea) and it came up with little difficulty.

apt-get install php5-xcache

Now generate the password.

echo -n "my_password" | md5sum -

Modify the username and password in /etc/php5/apache2/conf.d/xcache.ini

Hang the web code someplace easy to get at.

Tuning MySQL query_cache

An appropriate amount of "query_cache" is believed to improve MySQL performance at the expense of available memory. "Appropriate" will vary widely with usage and "performance" on a live site can be elusive. On Ubuntu, the defaults are modest but "work".

# * Query Cache Configuration
query_cache_limit       = 1M
query_cache_size        = 16M

Drupal 5.x provides a summary at "admin/logs/status/sql" and 6.x at "admin/reports/status/sql".

Kompozer+Prince+Boom = Book!

People who want a well-reasoned blog should write their own or look elsewhere. Sometimes I stumble across a process or practice that seems to work fairly well yet might not be obvious to the average reader. One such process is producing a book.

CSS - once more with feeling

We all know CSS is a pit. Things which soar in one browser, crash in another. There is a reason for that. provides a neat list of things you probably don't know about CSS and browser developers don't either. I've been in pursuit of a CSS mechanism for printing and one of the things you would want for that purpose is @page. For some reason, "The size of a page box cannot be specified in CSS 2.1.". If anybody discovers the wisdom behind that, please clue me in.

Web Developer 1.1.6

A useful Firefox extension for exploring code generated by a CMS (Content Management System).

Web Developer can be downloaded from and installed by dragging the "xpi" file onto a Firefox window. Once installed, extensions must be enabled, sometimes configured and finally invoked with a restart or two in between. Web Developer is accessed through a Tool bar between the Bookmarks tool bar and "tabs" and the Menu item "Tools".


Clean URLs are almost taken for granted. Drupal 6 enables them automatically if certain requirements are met. "Dirty URLs" contain a "?" and used to prevent some "spiders" from "crawling" your site effectively.

FCKeditor - filters - fonts

Woke up this morning to find the home page - in a bad way. The cause was apparent, a user had posted an event which contained HTML code that broke the rest of the page.

Following the path of least resistance, I had set the default format to full HTML. PHP should only be enabled for people you can reach with a baseball bat. We have adopted several PHP restrictions to improve security but the power of PHP in malicious or casual hands is a loose cannon.

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