Mast Kalandar

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Wed, 30 Apr 2008

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People pages on "people"

ccm, imsc, sysadmin [link] [comments ()] [raw]

E^2 Summary

User web pages moved to the new server "people".
Please ssh/scp to "people" if you need to change your
your personal web pages.

Executive Summary

If you do not maintain a "web page" visible at

and you do not ever want to have one ...
... then you need to read no further!

Otherwise it is best if you read through to the end even though this document is a bit long!

All existing user home pages have been moved to a new server called "people". From now on it will be these pages which will be visible from the URL given above.

You can log-in to "people" using "ssh" to make changes to your web pages which are in the subdirectory "public_html/" of your account there.

The new web server on "people" has many more features; the idea is that each user gets something very much like their own web server.

Some problems that may arise with the new setup are outlined in a separate section below.

Web Services on "people"

The web pages under ~user/public_html on "people" can be fully configured by the user.

For those who understand these terms, this directory is served by the "apache2" web server with the directive: AllowOverride All and the "suexec" feature has also been enabled.

Combined with the additional disk space available, this should give users a lot of room for creatively putting content on the web. In particular, you can have your own blogs, wikis, collaborative development sites, password protected pages and so on.

At this point, it is worth recalling that the Acceptable Usage Policy underlines the fact that the IMSc does not permit the use of its Computer facilities for illegal activity. Specifically, users are required to ensure that they have a clear copyright and license to distribute the contents of the pages that they maintain.

More generally, the files that are maintained by users on "people" should be the result of their own creative efforts rather than material downloaded from elsewhere.

(A larger backup area is being provided on a different machine for each user so "people" need not be used for backup.)

Possible Problems

Each user should ensure that links in their web pages which refer to names outside their web space should use absolute URLs and not relative ones. The latter will not work as expected.

Links that use absolute URLs like "" should be replaced by "".

In the new setup, "~someuser" will only work if "someuser" is a login name on the IMSc system. In all other cases you should contact the system administrators for alternate remedies.

The best way to test your web pages is to create a copy on your desktop and check it with a local web server on your desktop. Anything that does not work in that context is unlikely to work when transferred to "people". Once you are satisfied with your desktop version you can "rsync" or "scp" it to "people".

Additional Requirements

It may be possible that you need some software installed on "people" for your web pages. Such additional software could be installed if it satisfies the following criteria:

  1. It is likely to be used by a number of user web pages.
  2. It is required in order to display these web pages.
  3. It is available as a package for the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

Specifically, point (b) means that software needed to develop web pages will not be installed on "people". As mentioned above, web pages should be developed on your desktop machine and synchronised with the server on "people" when they are in publishable form. (Since these web pages are available to the general public, putting them up constitutes publication!)



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