This fairly new and simple blog has actually been months in the making. Almost two months at this point. For many reasons, I've been falling down what seems like an unending rabbit hole with Ikiwiki. Somewhere towards the bottom I found that I had backported ikiwiki, and written an ikiwiki puppet module for Mayfirst servers, and was working on an auto.setup file specific to MFPL servers.

Launching this site was far harder than I had imagined when I first started setting up Ikiwiki. It turned into about four different projects.

The first month or so was all my fault. I've been a web developer for years, so I couldn't help myself and was tweaking the CSS endlessly. I also couldn't help myself from twisting a bunch of the knobs in Ikiwiki. I was trying plugins, and learning markdown syntax. Once all that was done, I was ready to launch the site.

Or so I thought.

The site is hosted on Mayfirst, which runs Debian stable (squeeze) for all of our main hosting servers. I had been building out my blog on my wheezy laptop, blissfully unaware of the incompatibilities between the version available for squeeze and the version available in wheezy.

There is one "killer feature" that newer versions of Ikiwiki offers that I make heavy use of, and that is nested preprocessor directives. I make heavy use of that, to implement the more plugin, which lets me wrap my posts in [!more text=<<MORE and MORE]], so that I can get the nice landing pages on my site. However, it breaks old versions badly.

Since I decided that I actually needed this feature to launch for real, I decided to jump into the world of Debian backports, and offered a backport. I am now keeping an eye on Ikiwiki for the life of squeeze-backports.

While I have been waiting for all of the issues related to that to clear out, I've also started taking a good hard look at how we have the Ikiwiki set up on Mayfirst. Ikiwiki has long been available on all standard MFPL servers. However that was limited to the ikiwiki package in squeeze. As most plugins need more packages than that, I opened ticket #6313 to deal with unmet dependencies. Somewhere in that process, I puppetized ikwiki into its own module (I will share the code at some point, it is in the MFPL puppet repo). This makes it easier to track ikwiki specific dependencies, as well as switch to the squeeze backport, followed on ticket #6373.

While I was playing around with all of this, I also started looking into making auto-install of Ikiwiki sites and blogs easier for other Mayfirst members. To that end I'm working MFPL specific Ikiwiki auto-setup files, which has been stalled since I have been waiting for the ikiwiki package to hit squeeze backports. There will be movement on this really soon.

By the way, this hit squeeze-backports today!

Hope other folks enjoy it.