The great MediaWiki upgrade

I ticked off a major to-do task today!

I finished porting to Obsidian the major chunks of my private wiki that I wanted to be absolutely sure I had backups of. That took most of the morning.

At lunchtime I took Scully for a long walk. I had a couple of things to do that could be combined into a single walk in the same direction. Firstly, a friend had reported that the hospital near me had large bins of COVID rapid antigen tests available, for anyone to come and take, free of charge. Another friend recently caught COVID and is in the recovery stage, but still testing positive, and has run out of tests. I said I could walk up to the hospital and get some, and he asked if he could arrange a contactless pick-up from my place, so he didn’t have to go into the hospital while infected.

The second thing was that the main light in my kitchen had been on the blink. It’s a fluorescent tube light and was starting to do that annoying thing where it takes 30 seconds or more to turn off after you flip the switch. I’ve replaced the tube before, but this time I wanted to actually remove the fluorescent fitting and install an LED replacement light. I thought I’d have to get an electrician in to replace the entire light fitting – but recently I discovered that a company makes an LED “tube” that fits into the fluorescent fitting, with no rewiring required. So I wanted to go to the hardware store to buy one of those.

Fortunately, the hospital and hardware store are near each other, so I took the chance today to go on an expedition to both. And as it happens that walk takes me past a decent pie shop that I don’t go to normally, so I took the opportunity to grab a vegetable curry pie and a spinach/feta roll for lunch. My friend was right about the COVID tests – there were three large tubs full of them, boxes containing single RATs. I was a bit self-consciously grabbing a half dozen when a nurse came out and said, “Get a bag, fill it up, take as many as you want.” So I grabbed another ten or so. They expire in a couple of months, so there’s no real use taking dozens of them, but I certainly now have enough for my friend and some spare in case we feel sick in the next couple of months.

And on the way home from the hardware store I popped into the nearby electrical appliance store to book a site inspection for my kitchen, to get a quote for installation of an electric induction cooktop. We currently have a gas cooktop and I’ve been thinking for a while of replacing it with induction. The store needs to do an inspection to make sure our fuse box and power supply are adequate, and also check out the details of removing the gas line for the cooktop and wiring in the induction cooker. So they’re coming next week to take a look at that. Once we have a quote for the installation, I can go ahead and start looking at models and select a new cooktop (assuming the installation quote is reasonable).

Back home after the lunch walk, I launched headlong into the main task of the day: Upgrading MediaWiki. The installed version was 1.24.1. The latest version is 1.40.0. But the upgrade documentation said you can’t upgrade directly from versions lower than 1.35. So I had to do it in two steps: upgrade 1.24.1 to 1.35.11, and then upgrade 1.35.11 to 1.40.0. I was a bit daunted before I began, but the steps were fairly straightforward, and there was no real difficulty at any stage. It was just a matter of doing all of the steps carefully. I started with dumping the wiki pages to XML, and also backing up the entire database, before changing anything. From there it wasn’t too bad, and I was pleased when the update script ran successfully (on the second try – I had to add a configuration line to the settings file) and the 1.35.11 version seemed to be working. Then I repeated the whole thing with version 1.40.0, which went a bit quicker because I knew what I was doing this time.

It took most of the afternoon, but I did it! And the reason was so I could upgrade my web server from PHP 7 to PHP 8, hopefully without breaking MediaWiki. The 1.24.1 version had broken when I tried switching the server to PHP 8, which was the whole reason why I needed to do this upgrade. So the last step was switching it over to PHP 8… and it works! Phew!

And I was done in time before my three ethics classes tonight, on the new topic of “Media Bubbles”. They went pretty well. It’s a complex topic for 10-12 year old kids, but they all did really well with it.

New content today:

2 thoughts on “The great MediaWiki upgrade”

  1. You have inspired me to upgrade one of my virtual servers from a version of Debian GNU/Linux so old it no longer gets updates. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *