Manual:Running MediaWiki on Gentoo Linux

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Gentoo basics[edit | edit source]

Gentoo Linux uses the Portage package management system, invoked by the emerge command, to download, compile, and install software.

To minimize the chances of having connection problems when you emerge something, add multiple mirror sites to the file /etc/make.conf, as in the following example:


The main website of the Gentoo distribution,, maintains a list of possible mirrors (the ones used above are only for illustration purposes). You can also install the mirrorselect utility to assist in finding and enabling different mirror sites, so you don't have to edit /etc/make.conf yourself:

emerge mirrorselect

Note that every emerge command can be invoked with the --pretend and --verbose options (or -pv for short), so you can see what version of the software will be installed, which version if any is already installed, and what USE flags[1] are recognized by the package. For example:

emerge -pv portage

To ensure you have the latest list of available packages, you can update your local copy of the software tree by issuing the command:

emerge --sync

In addition, when "emerging" a package, the options --update and --deep (-uD for short) can be used to install any updates for all the packages upon which the given package depends.

See the Portage documentation at for more information on all of these aspects of using emerge, especially if you encounter an error when trying any of these commands.

You might also be interested in the functionality provided by ufed (the Gentoo Linux USE flags editor) or profuse (a more GUI-oriented USE flags editor), and gentoolkit (which contains equery and the essential Gentoo utility revdep-rebuild).

emerge ufed
emerge profuse

(You only need one of the above.)

emerge gentoolkit

(Not MediaWiki specific, but essential for maintaining your Gentoo Linux distribution in good working order.)[2]

USE flags and optional packages[edit | edit source]

As of MediaWiki 1.8.5, the following USE flags are supported:[3]

Enables support for Imagemagick (image converter)
Adds math rendering support
Adds mySQL Database support
Adds support for the postgresql database
Initial setup will only allow sysop user to create new accounts, read and edit any pages
Adds support for installing web-based applications into a virtual-hosting environment

Use the imagemagick flag to enable thumbnail creation if you do not want to include support for the gd graphics library in php (see below). Enabling this USE flag will pull in the imagemagick package as a dynamic dependency when you install MediaWiki, but if you want to install it beforehand, use:

emerge -pv imagemagick
emerge imagemagick

(Remember that the -pv option lists package version numbers and USE flags. This "preview" step will not be listed in the following instructions, but is always a good idea to do before emerging a package.)

If you want "math support" — i.e., proper interpretation and display of TeX/LaTeX code enclosed in <math> tags — use the math USE flag. This will pull in the teTeX,[4] Ghostscript, and ImageMagick packages automatically when you emerge the MediaWiki package. Otherwise, you can install them separately, using:

emerge tetex
emerge ghostscript
emerge imagemagick

Required packages[edit | edit source]

Requirements Requirements in short
  • Download MediaWiki (current stable version is 1.24.1)
  • Web server such as Apache or IIS
    • Local or command line access is needed for running maintenance scripts
  • Database Server
    • MySQL 5.0.2 or later (*)
    • or PostgreSQL 8.1 or later
      • Requires PL/pgSQL (contained in contribs)
      • Full-Text searching (Native in >=8.3, requires tsearch2 extension <=8.2)
    • or SQLite

For image thumbnailing and TeX-support, additional programs are required.

(*) – MariaDB, a GPL fork of the MySQL code by Monty Widenius, the founder of MySQL, is an alternative and can also be used by MediaWiki. Debian/Ubuntu repos.

For experienced users, here is the quick version of the installation instructions. Most users will want to go through all the passages.

  1. Check that your system meets the minimum requirements
  2. Download MediaWiki (direct link to latest version) and extract the archive to a web-accessible folder on your server.
  3. Point your browser to the directory where MediaWiki was extracted and follow the link to the setup screen. It should be in the form http://[domain]/[directory]/mw-config/index.php. Replace [directory] with the path to your extracted MediaWiki folder. If installing on a local machine, replace [domain] with [localhost]. A locally installed wiki will need the LocalSettings.php modified from [localhost] to [domain] if you will ever be accessing the wiki from that domain. If installed on a remote server, replace [domain] with your server's domain name (eg:
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

These instructions are deliberately brief. There is a lot that could go wrong, so if in doubt, you are advised to read the full instructions!

References[edit | edit source]

  1. USE flags are keywords that affect how the software is compiled and which capabilities are enabled or disabled at compile time; see the documentation on USE flags for more information.
  2. See the Portage documentation.
  4. Until teTeX is deprecated in favor of another TeX distribution; see the teTeX homepage.

See also[edit | edit source]