WordPress 3.8 for Debian

Well if you can read this then you know it’s working.  After way too many weeks, Debian will have WordPress version 3.8.  Thanks to Raphaël for his kind assistance and answering my questions about how it was built.  The upload is still gurgling along and will make it there in its own time. He said Handing over packages is hard, I’d agree but say taking over them is too.

So, what does WordPress 3.8 look like?  From the “frontend” I didn’t really notice much.  The big changes, at least cosmetically, seem to be for the admin backend.  It just look slicker and cleaner.

Hopefully Debian users find the update useful and I’ve not broken anything.  There’s always the BTS if there is.  I’ve deliberately tried to minimise the changes for this version to limit the breakage.

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Damn you, unworking r8168

I really don’t know why ethernet device makers insist on making it hard for to use their products.  Ethernet has been around for many, many years; surely its not too much to ask for drivers that “just work”.

And so that’s the problem I currently have with my new computer. It has an onboard Ethernet interface which uses a Realtek chip and that’s where the problems have been (with the exception of a power button that wriggled free, but that is also easy to fix).

The device comes up as:

03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8111/8168B PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet controller (rev 06)

I’ve used:

  • The R8169 driver that comes with most of the Debian kernels
  • r8168-dkms driver
  • The 8168 driver from the realtek site

and all of them don’t work.  It seems that the receive side works fine (I sometimes get a valid IPv6 address) but no packets are sent, even ifconfig eth0 shows zero transmitted packets.

ethtool shows some of the setup, this is with the r8168 driver:

driver: r8168
version: 8.037.00-NAPI
bus-info: 0000:03:00.0
supports-statistics: yes
supports-test: no
supports-eeprom-access: no
supports-register-dump: yes
supports-priv-flags: no


Interestingly, if I use the r8169 driver in the kernel and try ifup etho then I do get an entry in the firmware-version spot.

dmesg also shows that it finds the device.

[    0.916487] r8168 Gigabit Ethernet driver 8.037.00-NAPI loaded
[    0.916667] r8168 0000:03:00.0: irq 72 for MSI/MSI-X
[    0.939129] r8168: This product is covered by one or more of the following patents: US6,570,884, US6,115,776, and US6,327,625.
[    0.939136] r8168  Copyright (C) 2013  Realtek NIC software team <[email protected]>
[   10.807066] r8168: eth0: link up

So it all looks good, except it won’t send any packets.  Anyone got one of these devices and if so (and more importantly) how did you get it to work?


pidof moving to procps

pidof is a program that finds the PID of a named program. In some ways it is like a cut-down pgrep found in the procps package.  pidof currently sits in sysvinit-tools.

There are plans to move all utilities that use the proc filesystem under one package which will make the maintenance of them simpler, which in effect means moving pidof from sysvinit-tools to procps. The short-term bump should make it better in the long term.

Now as I wear two hats (Debian maintainer and procps upstream) there are two very important things I/we need to know.

  • If your Debian package depends on pidof being present, then we need to discuss dependencies. procps is generally installed on most systems but there might be corner cases. Possibly just depending on a specific version of procps will do it
  • If you, your Debian package or anything else (including other distributions) need the non-LSB options of pidof (ie they use -c -n or -m) then we (upstream) need to know about it. There are provisional plans not to support these options but they’re needed, or a subset is, then that could change.

Debian developers can chime in on the debian-devel email list, or email myself. If its an upstream issue then either email me, or even better, the procps email list

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Careful with apache upgrades

You might (or not if you don’t visit) notice all my websites were down.  A rushed apt-get dist-upgrade and I found two problems:

  1. PHP5 got removed, which is bad if you run a wordpress site that uses PHP to run
  2. The apache configuration has changed.

Yes, the NEWS entries did warn me, if I read them fully. Yes, I didn’t read them enough.

Apache now ignores configuration files that don’t end in .conf To give a completely non-theoretical example, if you have your virtual hosts in files such as /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/enc.com.au then this will not be recognised and your sites will show the default “It works” page.

Stuff that doesn’t fall in the usual places where website stuff should go, which for my setup is a lot of things, will also be denied as the developers have tightened up the rules around what is permitted.  Pretty simple to fix with a few <Directory blah> clauses.

This isn’t a criticism of the Debian apache developers. They do an awesome job of keeping the package workable, flexible but secure which isn’t easy.  Now it’s all back working, I actually agree with the changes they have made. It is just that the latest changes are, well, tricky so be forewarned.


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Off to LCA2013

While I’ve been involve in Linux and Debian for many (15 or more) years, I’ve only ever been to one “major Linux thing” in all that time and that was manning some stall for Debian about 10 years ago.

Well, let’s call it two because next week I’m off to the Linux.conf.au 2013 conference. I can’t get too terribly excited about the location because its… Canberra, yep my (now) home town and about 4 blocks from my workplace; so no exotic locales for me!

I’m hoping to catch up with some Debian folk while the conference is on. There is at the very least a keysigning party where there are some others from Debian on Wednesday.

PS WordPress update broke the visual editing, I hope it looks ok.