Now running WordPress 1.5

As announced nearly a month ago, WordPress 1.5 is out. I’ve delayed updating to version 1.5 because I wanted to update the Linux distro I use (Trustix) from 1.5 to 2.2. I wanted to update my Linux distro because I had available an 8 GB IDE drive from an old computer that died. The computer had a single 2 GB SCSI drive in it, and installing an IDE drive was going to change the boot device and require me to reinstall an operating system.

I was reminded today that installing new software on old hardware can be quite a challenge.

Actually, the first trouble I had wasn’t software related at all. I’ve gotten used to clamshell cases that open without tools. The Trustix box isn’t so friendly. I needed drive rails to fit the 3.5″ hard drive in the 5.25″ bay. I didn’t have any. However, the tape drive in the box was broken. I was only keeping it around because I didn’t want a big hole in the front of the case. Well, appearances were sacrificed for the sake of progress.

The drive rail attachment required me to contort my hand into a very painful position in order to get the screw aligned with the hole. Interstingly, to me, I found I had better success when I used my left hand to guide the screw. I may post a few sentences about that another time. In all, it probably took me 90 minutes just to install the hard drive, which includes the time I spent searching for a spare set of drive rails and an IDE cable.

The Trustix installation took several tries before it worked. I had two big problems. First, the previous owner of the hard drive was an HP Pavilion which used a “cable select” ribbon cable. The Trustix computer had a standard IDE cable. The drive was sort of working, but it was not working very well. To change the setting, I needed to find the documentation for this drive, which was bought in 1997.

Well, I found it, but I was still having problems. I couldn’t get anything to install on the SCSI drive. It turned out that the Adaptect 2940U controller has a buggy implementation of the INT13 protocol that is used for large drives. Since the SCSI drive is only 2 GB, it didn’t need the INT13 feature, so I turned it off.

Yay! Trustix installed and seemed to be working just fine. I was able to get our Thunderbird mail data restored and configured Samba. I then went to work on Apache and MySQL. The Apache part went pretty easily and I was able to restore the static pages from our kitchen remodel. That blog was posted with MovableType, but I’m not reinstalling that. I’m just keeping the static pages for reference.

However, I then tried to restore the WordPress 1.2.2 version. It wouldn’t work. No errors — just a blank page would display. I tested PHP, which was updated to version 5.0.3 with the Trustix upgrade. It worked. I tested that the user name in the WordPress config had access to the database. Turns out, that the 1.2 version has problems with PHP5. The problems are bugs in PHP5, but workarounds were done in WordPress for 1.5.

This was no skin off my nose. I wanted to upgrade to 1.5 anyway. I downloaded and installed the new files. It’s really a very easy installation process, relatively speaking. I ran the upgrade script, and got a message that the database wasn’t available.

Weird! I’ve tested it. Everything should work. I confirmed that the PHP/MySQL package was installed. I did some Googling, and found out that the package does not install in an enabled configuration. You have to edit the php.ini file and uncomment the line that specifies the library to use for the MySQL integration.

I did that, and here I am telling the boring story of how I spent the last 14 hours. If my wife was wondering what I was doing all day, now she will know.

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