Manual:Running MediaWiki on Windows Subsystem for Linux

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This is documentation for running MediaWiki on Windows 10 with the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). See Manual:Running MediaWiki on Windows for documentation on running MediaWiki directly on Windows.

Background[edit]

Windows 10 includes a Linux compatibility layer, the Windows Subsystem for Linux, designed to help web developers needing a Linux/Unix development environment on a Windows computer. This can be used to run MediaWiki as if on a Linux machine, with less overhead and better integration compared to setting up and running a virtual machine.

This may make it a good option for Windows 10 laptops with limited RAM and CPU resources. However, WSL requires a 64-bit edition of Windows 10 (x64 or ARM64), and cannot run on 32-bit x86 Windows 10 installations.

Security notes[edit]

MediaWiki is a web application, and following these directions will set up a web server that runs on your computer and can be exposed to other computers on the network. In particular, note that PHP and other Linux code running in the web server may have access to your Windows C:\ drive and may be able to read or modify files or run Windows programs.

It is strongly recommended to use this for development purposes only, not for server deployments, and to limit network access to the web server to avoid accidentally opening anything to the network. Only run MediaWiki and extensions that you trust.

WSL versions[edit]

There are two major versions of WSL available: the original which emulates the Linux kernel ABI as a Windows driver, and the newer WSL2 which uses a specialized Hyper-V virtual machine to run a native Linux kernel. The original WSL1 is available on Windows 10 version 1709 or later, while WSL2 is currently available only in Windows Insider Preview builds.

WSL2 is compatible with more software, but can complicate some integration scenarios a little as the VM has its own IP address separate from localhost. (Servers are port-forwarded to localhost, so this mostly works ok for setting up a web server.)

Note that WSL2 requires hardware support for virtualization and uses Hyper-V under the hood, but is available on Windows 10 Home as well as Windows 10 Pro. This will make it easier for developers to install on existing machines without spending money on a Pro upgrade, but may have compatibility problems with other VM software like VirtualBox. WSL1 doesn't require virtualization.

Setup[edit]

WSL Setup[edit]

  • Go to 'turn Windows features on and off' from the Start menu search
    • Check "Windows Subsystem for Linux" and, for WSL2, "Virtual Machine Platform"
    • let it install and reboot
  • Go to 'Microsoft Store' and search for the "Ubuntu" Linux distribution
    • install it!
    • Debian is also available, but might be slightly different in some respects.
  • Click on the "Ubuntu" icon in Start menu or run ubuntu from a cmd shell
    • follow the on-screen prompts about setting up a Linux username and password
    • let it extract

To use WSL2 mode, exit and run in a cmd shell:

  • wsl --set-version Ubuntu 2

This may take a few minutes to convert filesystems.


Dependency setup[edit]

First, ensure the system image is up to date: run sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y in the Ubuntu terminal. This may take a few minutes after first installation.

Install deps:

 sudo apt install \
   apache2 \
   composer \
   git \
   git-review \
   imagemagick \
   mysql-client \
   mysql-server \
   php \
   php-apcu \
   php-cli \
   php-gd \
   php-intl \
   php-mbstring \
   php-mysql \
   php-xml \
   zip

Running services[edit]

You may have to manually start up services:

  • sudo service mysql start
  • sudo service apache2 start
    • on WSL1 this may prompt Windows Firewall about the listening port. Allow it, but consider limiting to "private" networks for safety.

You may have to jump through some hoops to set the root password on mysql:

  • Run mysql as root:
    • sudo mysql
  • In the mysql terminal run:
    • use mysql;
    • update user set authentication_string=password('your-password-here'), plugin='mysql_native_password' where user='root';
    • flush privileges;
    • exit
  • Now you can use username 'root', password 'your-password-here' when logging in from the installer

MediaWiki setup[edit]

Clone things from git as you would on a Linux server.

Apache on Ubuntu is set by default to point at /var/www/html for the docroot, you can create a dir under there to check out or reconfigure Apache with a custom path. I recommend /var/www/html/w for consistency with convention that /w/index.php is the main script path.

If git has trouble checking out over https, use a ssh developer login. Set up your SSH key in gerrit as with a Linux system, and check out as:

  • git clone ssh://your-user-name@gerrit.wikimedia.org:29418/mediawiki/core.git .

Don't forget to run composer update --no-dev in the MW directory, and for any extension dirs that require it.

You should be able to run the web installer in a browser at http://localhost/w/

When the installer prompts you to download LocalSettings.php at the end, save it into \\wsl$\Ubuntu\var\www\html\w or equivalent and you should be able to access your wiki!

Job queue[edit]

You may want or need to manually run the job queue runner. Ideally this should be done via the web server, but in a pinch you can fire up the Ubuntu terminal and run:

  • cd /var/www/html/w
  • php maintenance/runJobs.php

Other configuration[edit]

For the most part the WSL environment will look like any other Ubuntu or Debian system, except that services won't automatically start and must be manually run on every boot. See Manual:Running MediaWiki on Debian or Ubuntu for general instructions on running on these operation systems.

Editing files[edit]

From the Windows side you can access Linux files in \\wsl$\Ubuntu, so Windows text editors that are ok with Unix line endings can be used to work with your code and config.

Visual Studio Code also has a WSL remoting extension which can integrate more directly with the WSL environment, which might be good for using PHP linting in the editor.

Or, you can use your favorite terminal-based editors.

Open issues[edit]

  • is the process timeout issue in TimedMediaHandler a common prob or unique to ARM64? (test me)