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Mahara Wiki, some issues

Melissa Newman's profile picture
Posts: 112

25 September 2011, 11:58 AM

Hi, I was trying to add some pages to the Mahara pages and I noticed a few issues that are causing problems with documentation:

* mediawiki extensions - anything that does not look like it it Wikipedia specific should be installed.  If a person tries to copy simple templates from Wikipedia over to Mahara's wiki, they don't work.

* Upload - The localsettings.php file needs to be updated so that zip files can be uploaded.  I wanted to upload the theme set, and the wiki would not let me.

François Marier's profile picture
Posts: 411

25 September 2011, 8:57 PM

Hi Melissa,

Are there any specific extensions you'd like us to enable? Part of the reason for migrating the wiki away from Mindtouch a little while back was to switch to a stable wiki platform that could be kept up to date as part of the normal system updates. So we're using the version mediawiki that's packaged in Debian.

If you think there are any extensions already in Debian that we should add, let us know and I'll do it. The list of extensions available in Debian is here:

As for the zip files, the reason why we don't allow these on the wiki anymore is that we don't have a good way of enforcing a disk space quota and also of controlling what's included in zip files. There could be malicious content inside zip files and that's why it's blacklisted by Mediawiki by default:$wgMimeTypeBlacklist

Thankfully, we have another place for such things: you can create a publicly-accessible view in your portfolio on and link there from the wiki. See for example how Gregor does it with his plugins:

I hope this helps.



Melissa Newman's profile picture
Posts: 112

26 September 2011, 6:56 AM

The Debian package is 1.15.x

The current version of MediaWiki is 1.17.x

That is not stable and up to date.  Futhermore, once you want to install even one plugin that is not part of Debian, it is a major pain to even set up the plugin, let alone keep it updated.  On my home computers, I use Ubuntu, which is a derivative of debian, so I know about the debian packages.  After my fun experience with MediaWiki and the Debian package, I don't trust Debian packages for anything that is critical to my work (aka even Mahara).

Trust me when I tell you that you are going to end up with more issue and harder maintenance using the debian packages for Mediawiki then to just install it under the /var/www directory.  /var/www is where your htdocs is located on the default debian Apache install.

For my own personal wikis, I installed the following plugins:

* CategoryTree

* ExpandTemplates

* Cite


* Easy Timeline (may not need this one)

* ImageMap (not critical)

* ParseFunctions

* InputBox

* Subpage Fun - Defines new variables for sub pages

* SubPageList  - Allows the automatic listing of all sub-pages from a parent page, and parent page from a sub-page.

* SyntaxHighlighting

* OggHandler

* PagedTiffHandler

* PDF Handler

* DidYouMean

* Gadgets

* IndexFunction

Don't hold yourself to the Debian package.  The only time that you have to worry about updating the extensions is when a major release is done, and that is only if the extension interface actually changes.  And if you want to copy the templates from MediaWiki (which there are a bunch I would recommend), it is better to be in synch with the MediaWiki projects right now, rather than be two version behind (which currently the Debian package is).  Between the Debian package and the current package, page permission properties changed.  When you try to export from 1.17.x and then import from 1.15.x, you end up with major issues (import stops -- not just skipping over the one record).  You don't want to go down that path.

Also, a have already downloaded from wikipedia a whole bunch of generic templates (math, pretty formatting, etc.)  The files are too large and not related directly to Mahara to post them on this forum.  If you would like me to email to you along with the script to install them, I could do that.  Although, the from and to directories are hardcoded into the BASH script, so you may need to edit that. 

I also still have all of the zip files for the extensions, so I could just email them to you as well.  Then you don't have to search and download the current versions.


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