Title: How to install Amusewiki
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      General installation

        Install prerequisites

        Install TeX Live

        Run the Amusewiki installer

        Create the database

        Configure initial site

      Start the application

        Starting the application manually

        Starting the application with systemd

        Web server configuration

      Additional configuration

        Configuration file

        Mail with SMTP

        Multiple installations

      OS-specific instructions

        FreeBSD 12.0

        CentOS 7

The recommended way to install Amusewiki is via Debian repository.

Since October 2020, Amusewiki installs a stripped down TeX Live! which greatly reduces the installation size.

On a clean Debian Buster installation, which takes about 1Gb of space, following the procedure described at packages.amusewiki.org, installing Amusewiki takes 308Mb of archives resulting in 920Mb of space used, plus 160Mb of extra fonts, ending up with a total disk usage of about 2.2Gb.

However, please keep in mind that Amusewiki produces a lot of files, so for a working instance the recommended minimum free space would be something like 5Gb.

If you want to install manually, read on. If you need to do some post-installation tweaking for ports and webserver logging, jump to the configuration section. Otherwise feel free to skip this document entirely.

General installation

The procedure is fully automated, so start it, check if it bails out at the beginning, forget about it for some time (run it under screen), then come back later and finish it up to complete it for the operations which require root privileges (notably the webserver configuration).

You can speed up the process by installing TeX Live from the OS repositories, which is the suggested approach because this way the security fixes are delegated to the standard tools.

Amusewiki installation is similar for all *nix operating systems, but you may want to additionally consult OS-specific instructions section which contain instructions for less common operating systems. Windows is not supported in any way.

Install prerequisites

In addition, the following software should be installed:

  • a database (MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite are supported)

  • Perl and Carton: carton package on Debian

  • fontconfig (install it before installing TeX Live)

  • ghostscript (for preview generation)

  • a mime-info database: shared-mime-info on Debian

  • a dedicated system user (with a clean home) which is going to run the site

  • SSL binaries and development libraries (openssl and libssl-dev)

  • Xapian libraries and development files (xapian-tools libxapian-dev)

  • commonly used utilities: unzip, wget, git, rsync

  • widely used libraries: libxml2-dev libexpat1-dev zlib1g-dev libjpeg-dev libpng-dev for XML::LibXML and Imager

  • cgit if the distro provides it

  • a webserver, nginx is the suggestion (but see below)

  • TeX Live full either from system repo or installed with the provided script


adduser --disabled-password amusewiki
apt install --no-install-recommends git carton ghostscript shared-mime-info openssl libssl-dev \
    xapian-tools libxapian-dev unzip wget rsync build-essential cpanminus \
    cgit libxml2-dev libexpat1-dev zlib1g-dev libjpeg-dev libpng-dev nginx fontconfig

Log in as the user you want to run the site.

Unpack the sources (or clone the repo) and change directory into them.

Install TeX Live

If you want to install TeX Live from the installer, run:


It will install the needed binaris and packages under local/.

Run the Amusewiki installer

Run installation script to check that you have installed prerequisites and complete the installation:

Create the database

Create a database for the application. E.g., for MySQL/MariaDB:[1]

MariaDB [(none)]> CREATE DATABASE amuse CHARACTER SET = utf8mb4 COLLATE = utf8mb4_unicode_ci;
MariaDB [(none)]> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON amuse.* TO amusewiki@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'Pa55Word';

Or, for PostgreSQL:

Login as root.

su - postgres
create user amusewiki with password 'XXXX';
create database amusewiki owner amusewiki;

For SQLite no setup is required.

Copy dbic.yaml.<dbtype>.example to dbic.yaml and adjust the credentials, and chmod it to 0600. (For SQLite is good as it is).

Configure initial site

If you have multiple Amusewiki instances (please note, multiple sites are just fine on a single instance) on the same machine, see below before proceeding (you probably want to tweak the configuration).

Configure initial site with:

./script/configure.sh [ hostname ]

Please note that the installation procedure will create a mirror of amusewiki.org under the subdomain amusewiki.<your domain>, where <your domain> is the output of hostname -d. Nothing you can’t change later from the admin console, but you need to access it. You can pass the desired hostname as the first argument to the configure script.

Start the application

Starting the application manually

To set the number of FCGI workers, set the environment variable AMW_WORKERS (defaults to 3).

export AMW_WORKERS=5

To start/stop/restart the application:

./init-all.sh start
./init-all.sh stop
./init-all.sh restart

This is not needed if you use systemd.

Starting the application with systemd

If your OS uses systemd for initialization, you can generate systemd units with


It will generate unit files for three services:

  • amusewiki-web

  • amusewiki-jobber

  • amusewiki-cgit

Follow the instructions printed on the screen to enable amusewiki-web and amusewiki-jobber. Do not enable amusewiki-cgit. cgit is managed by the web server, which we’ll configure in the next section.

Web server configuration

The supported and recommended setup is nginx + FCGI. The FCGI setup should work with Apache HTTP Server and Caddy Server as well (see below).

Nginx configuration

To regenerate the nginx configuration after adding a site:

carton exec script/amusewiki-generate-nginx-conf

Follow the printed instructions to install generated configuration.


Sample configuration. You need mod_proxy and mod_proxy_fcgi loaded.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    #ServerName www.example.com
    ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
    DocumentRoot /usr/share/perl5/AmuseWikiFarm/root/
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

    # serve static from root
    ProxyPass /static !
    ProxyFCGIBackendType GENERIC
    ProxyFCGISetEnvIf true SCRIPT_NAME
    # Correct the socket path if needed, but leave the fcgi://localhost/ intact
    ProxyPass "/" "unix:/var/lib/amusewiki/amusewiki.socket|fcgi://localhost/"
Caddy configuration

Another easy to setup webserver is Caddy, but you will have to configure it manually and your configurtion may become incomplete in the future.

Here, Amusewiki is assumed to be installed in /home/amusewiki/amusewiki/ and hostname is amusewiki.local.

After installing Caddy, create a Caddyfile with the correct paths to the webserver root and to the FCGI socket.

For Caddy Version 1 (in this example we're using a sample amusewiki install from git):

tls off
log ./access.log
errors ./error.log
root /usr/home/amusewiki/amusewiki/root

fastcgi / unix:/usr/home/amusewiki/amusewiki/var/amw.sock {
        except /static/
        except /git/

For Caddy Version 2 (in this example with a system-wide installation via Debian package):

http://amusewiki.local:8080 {
    @static {
       path /static/*
    @fcgi {
       not path /static/*
    file_server @static {
        root /usr/share/perl5/AmuseWikiFarm/root/
    reverse_proxy @fcgi unix//var/lib/amusewiki/amusewiki.socket {
        transport fastcgi

Start caddy.

Additional configuration

Configuration file

Normally, you don’t need to change anything. However, may need to do some tweaking to the webserver configuration. This is done via the configuration file.

If amusewiki was installed with a debian package, the location is /etc/amusewiki.conf otherwise you should create a file called amusewikifarm_local.conf in the application directory, which will override the existing settings in amusewikifarm.conf

Example with the defaults:

      ## cgit port
      cgit_port 9015
      ## nginx log format
      log_format combined
      ## nginx root
      nginx_root /etc/nginx
      ## string to identify this installation
      instance_name amusewikidebian
      webserver_root /usr/share/perl5/AmuseWikiFarm/root
      fcgi_socket /var/lib/amusewiki/amusewiki.socket
Mail with SMTP

You need to set the desired parameter as environment variable (in the systemd unit file or in the user starting the application). See https://metacpan.org/pod/Email::Sender::Manual::QuickStart and https://metacpan.org/pod/Email::Sender::Transport::SMTP for details.

Previously we used the application config file, but that’s sloppy because it prevents the jobber to send mails properly.


$ export EMAIL_SENDER_TRANSPORT_host=smtp.example.com
$ export EMAIL_SENDER_TRANSPORT_port=2525
$ export EMAIL_SENDER_TRANSPORT_sasl_username=XXXX
$ export EMAIL_SENDER_TRANSPORT_sasl_password=XXXX

./init-all.sh restart

If you use systemd unit files to start/stop/restart the application, you need to override them and set the environment variables instead.

cp /lib/systemd/system/amusewiki-web.service \
   /lib/systemd/system/amusewiki-jobber.service \

Add in the [Service] stanza the needed variables to both unit files, like this:


and reload systemd with systemctl daemon-reload

Multiple installations

If you run a Debian machine and you have only one instance running and if you have the port 9015 free, you don’t need any of this.

Please note: “multiple instances” doesn’t mean “multiple sites”. On a single instance you can have as many sites as you want.

The interaction between nginx and the application, including cgit, is controlled by the Webserver model. You can configure it creating a file in the application root named amusewikifarm_local.conf with this content (here listed with the defaults).

    # cgit port
    cgit_port 9015
    log_format combined
    nginx_root /etc/nginx
    instance_name amusewiki
    fcgiwrap_socket /var/run/fcgiwrap.socket

The instance_name is just a string used to create the nginx configuration files to avoid conflicts with other installations. So you may have one instance named “testing” and the other “live”.

OS-specific instructions

The following sections contain installation instructions for operating systems other than Debian. Note that these sections may be outdated, so read general installation instructions first.

FreeBSD 12.0

Install prerequisites:

pkg install perl5 p5-App-cpanminus \
    p5-carton git texlive-full \
    cgit GraphicsMagick shared-mime-info \
    xapian-core xapian-bindings \
    nginx fcgiwrap unzip rsync wget bash

Create amusewiki user:

[root@freebsd ~]# adduser
Username: amusewiki
Full name: Amusewiki
Uid (Leave empty for default):
Login group [amusewiki]:
Login group is amusewiki. Invite amusewiki into other groups? []:
Login class [default]:
Shell (sh csh tcsh zsh rzsh bash rbash git-shell nologin) [sh]: bash
Home directory [/home/amusewiki]:
Home directory permissions (Leave empty for default):
Use password-based authentication? [yes]: no
Lock out the account after creation? [no]:
Username   : amusewiki
Password   : <disabled>
Full Name  : Amusewiki
Uid        : 1001
Class      :
Groups     : amusewiki
Home       : /home/amusewiki
Home Mode  :
Shell      : /usr/local/bin/bash
Locked     : no
OK? (yes/no): yes
adduser: INFO: Successfully added (amusewiki) to the user database.
Add another user? (yes/no): no

Add to /etc/rc.conf


# create an include sites-enabled directory for nginx and log dir
mkdir -p /usr/local/etc/nginx/sites-enabled
mkdir -p /var/log/nginx/
# and add an include directive in nginx.conf inside the http { } stanza, at the end.
# include /usr/local/etc/nginx/sites-enabled/*;
vi /usr/local/etc/nginx/nginx.conf

And start the services

service nginx start
service fcgiwrap start
su - amusewiki
git clone https://github.com/melmothx/amusewiki.git
cd amusewiki
CXX=c++ ./script/install.sh
# create the config
cat << EOF > amusewikifarm_local.conf
    nginx_root /usr/local/etc/nginx
    fcgiwrap_socket /var/run/fcgiwrap/socket

Then decide to which hostname you want to serve this and run

./script/configure.sh amw.localdomain

Read the output (you'll need to configure a database), do what it says and run it again, taking note of the credentials, and follow the instructions.

If you want to use MySQL, run as root:

pkg install mysql57-server
echo 'mysql_enable=YES' >> /etc/rc.conf
service mysql-server start
cat ~/.mysql_secret # see password
mysql -h localhost -p

Create the database as described above in the generic section and then finalize the configuration with the amusewiki user:

# su - amusewiki
$ cd amusewiki
$ cpanm -L local DBD::mysql
$ cp dbic.yaml.mysql.example dbic.yaml
$ vi dbic.yaml # edit db credentials
$ ./script/configure.sh amw.localdomain # reconfigure
$ ./init-all start

For PostgreSQL, run as root:

pkg install postgresql96-server
echo 'postgresql_enable=YES' >> /etc/rc.conf
service postgresql initdb
service postgresql start
su - postgres

Create the database as described above in the generic section and then finalize the configuration with the amusewiki user:

# su - amusewiki
$ cd amusewiki
$ cpanm -L local DBD::Pg
$ cp dbic.yaml.pg.example dbic.yaml
$ vi dbic.yaml # edit db credentials
$ ./script/configure.sh amw.localdomain # reconfigure
$ ./init-all start
CentOS 7

Most of these instructions will apply to other GNU/Linux systems with systemd and SELinux.

TeX Live is obsolete, so we will install it from CTAN. The same goes with Perl.

From a fresh install:

# yum install epel-release
# yum install git nginx perl-local-lib sqlite cgit \
    perl-App-cpanminus fontconfig GraphicsMagick ImageMagick shared-mime-info openssl openssl-devel \
    xapian-core xapian-core-devel unzip wget libxml2 libxml2-devel expat-devel \
    policycoreutils setroubleshoot
# yum groupinstall 'Development Tools'

Tweak nginx configuration to conform to Debian standard

# mkdir /etc/nginx/sites-enabled

Modify /etc/nginx/nginx.conf adding this line:

  include /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/*;

Right after include /etc/nginx/conf.d/*.conf;

(Probably you may also want to add client_max_body_size 8m; as the default is way too low).

Start nginx:

# systemctl enable nginx
# systemctl start nginx

Open the firewall

# firewall-cmd --get-active-zones
# firewall-cmd --zone=public --add-service=http --permanent
# firewall-cmd --zone=public --add-service=https --permanent
# firewall-cmd --reload

Prepare the installation directory for your user (say amusewiki, but any other will do).

Please note that we install it under /var/www/ to avoid problems with SELinux.

# mkdir /var/www/amusewiki
# chown amusewiki:amusewiki /var/www/amusewiki

As the user which is going to run Amusewiki, install a fresh Perl. This way we simplify and make our install independent from the base system, which is lacking way too many modules.

$ eval `perl -Mlocal::lib`
$ cpanm Perl::Build
$ perl-build -j 3 --test 5.24.1 $HOME/amw-perl
$ cd /vaw/www/amusewiki
$ git clone https://github.com/melmothx/amusewiki.git
$ cd amusewiki # you're now in /vaw/www/amusewiki/amusewiki, our app home
$ ./script/install-texlive.sh # install texlive
$ echo 'export PATH=$HOME/amw-perl/bin:$HOME/texlive/2018/bin/x86_64-linux:$PATH' >> $HOME/.bashrc
$ chmod 755 $HOME  # open the home so plackup is accessible to nginx

Logout and login again and check the program paths to point to the newly installed ones

$ which perl # should be: ~/amw-perl/bin/perl
$ which xelatex # should be ~/texlive/2018/bin/x86_64-linux/xelatex or equivalent

Install cpanm and the dependencies

$ perl -MCPAN -e 'install Carton'
$ which carton # should be ~/amw-perl/bin/carton
$ cd /var/www/amusewiki/amusewiki/
$ ./script/install.sh

Decide the initial server name to serve Amusewiki (to get access to the admin), e.g. amw.localdomain.

See above if you want a MySQL or PostgreSQL database. The following command will create a sample site with the current Amusewiki documentation.

$ ./script/configure.sh amw.localdomain

Remove the cgit wrapper, we’re going to install systemd unit files.

$ rm root/git/cgit.cgi
$ ./script/generate-systemd-unit-files
$ carton exec ./script/amusewiki-generate-nginx-conf

Read the output and install the fresh nginx configuration.

Finally, open the permission for SELinux. As root:

cd /var/www/amusewiki/amusewiki/doc/centos/
checkmodule -M -m -o amusewiki.mod amusewiki.te
semodule_package -o amusewiki.pp -m amusewiki.mod
semodule -i amusewiki.pp

Reboot to be sure everything is ok, open with a browser the location you configured (say, amw.localdomain, you may want to add the entry /etc/hosts to access it) and login.

You probably want to head to the admin panel under /admin/sites to create a new site.

[1] Since May 2023, we suggest to use utf8mb4 instead of utf8. If you want to upgrade from utf8 to utf8mb4, please take a look at script/convert-mysql-to-utf8mb4.my.sql in the root of the distribution, which contains the instructions for the upgrade.