I'm looking at using WPKG as a mechanism for distributing software updates to client workstations. WPKG appears to be a pretty nice system, but it has one big downside: one has to set up a WebDAV-enabled server if the updates are to be pulled from the Internet instead of from a local shared directory. So I've spent a few hours learning the intricacies of setting up WebDAV on my Ubuntu-based Internet server and accessing it from Windows machines. Here's what I learned.
This blog is now running in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). I hope that nobody notices any difference.
For several years, I've been using pretty-cheap web hosting services for my blog, my corporate website, and other webby things. However, I'm pretty sure that it would be even cheaper to use Amazon EC2, especially as they now offer free usage for a year. I also like the ease with which one can scale EC2 servers up or down, and run temporary instances for a few cents per hour.
Of course, this means I have to figure out how to move everything from where it is to a new EC2 instance. Most of the stuff I care about is managed in Drupal, so step one is figuring out how to set up Drupal on an EC2 host.
I decided to go with Ubuntu as my OS, because I'm a long-time Debian user and my brushes with Ubuntu have been positive. A little research showed that they had an easy-to-install
drupal6 package and a few other packages that I plan to use in my plans for world conquest.
But no matter how easy/straightforward things look, they are always a little bit complicated. Here are my notes for setting things up, which may be helpful to others, and will probably be helpful to me whenever I end up redoing this.
I assume the reader has basic knowledge of how to connect to servers via SSH, knows a little bit about setting up Apache and Drupal, and is comfortable using a text editor to modify configuration files.
I'm setting up a virtual private server. If all goes well, I'll be moving all my websites from their current shared-hosting arrangements to this VPS.
I started with a minimal Ubuntu 8.10 image and installed all the LAMP stuff. Things went smoothly until I decided to try to enable FastCGI for Drupal. Googling for things like "ubuntu apache php fastcgi" results in zillions of links to suggested methods, all of which were very complicated and required digging through docs. I figured there had to be a simple way to do it.
After a few hours of research, I finally did stumble upon what I wanted. My problem was that I was googling for "ubuntu", when I should have been googling for "debian".
The info I needed was here: http://michiel.vanbaak.info/docsphp5fcgi.htm. Thank you, Michiel van Baak!
(To those of you saying "But you should really be using nginx instead of Apache," my response is "Yes, I know. Leave me alone.")