mailto: blog -at- heyrick -dot- eu

What happened to HeyRick?

Well, you've got me. The server just stopped responding. Not just HeyRick, but the entire server, the other server, the nameservers... it was like somebody pulled the plug or the router failed.

Unfortunately my host guy is pretty much non-contactable, so after two days I decided the best decision would be to pick up HeyRick and move it to a provider who I can talk to. Not that I need to do much talking, but if you want to email a report "dude, I think the router is toast" and you don't know where to send the email... that's not a good place to be.

So - to the certain somebody who used to look after HeyRick - if you're reading this, drop me a line. We're still friends, okay?

And now, a BIG thank you to Rob for hosting the site and helping me through some of the tricky nonsense of how to configure a "zone" with the XName nameserver service. I think, soon, I'm going to ditch UK2 (who are 'hosting' my domain name) for a provider that will let me point the name at an IP address without jumping through hoops. I mean, how HARD can it be to say "" points to

At least now I have htaccess control. You might have noticed when pretty much anything you try to do on HeyRick will throw the main index page at you. It is set up with the logic of "if file does not exist, redirect to apology".
Of course, the server is running in safe mode with exec/shell disabled, which makes it a little hard to unpack the tar archives copied over from the old server. I have contacted Rob (maybe he has shell access?) but if not, I'll need to ftp the lot one by one. Epic yawn! ☺

Either way, in the coming week or so it'll all be rebuilt.



It's the convoluted Unixy concept of "permissions". You see, Apache runs PHP as a sort-of plug-in module. Now things don't seem that bad until you realise that Apache runs PHP with its own user ID.

What does this mean? If you create a file using PHP, it will be given ownership of the apache process, meaning the file owner will not be "heyrick", it will be "apache" or "httpd" or whatever the admin set the server up as. And to write to an existing file with PHP, it needs world-write privs.

There are ways around this, running PHP as a CGI process with things like suEXEC. But to be honest it is no more or less a hack than "chmod 666 myfile" (argh! the permissions from hell!). Perhaps this is an example of the Unix permission system hoisting itself by its own petard, for not realising that there are times when it would be a good idea to either permit a process to run with a user's file permissions (perhaps to inherit those of the directory the file is being written into) or understand that there are times when you shouldn't need to be root to issue chown (again, any arbitrary user should be allowed to chown a file they can rightfully access to match the user ID of the containing folder).
But... yet... millions of servers are deployed around the world on systems with this gaping, and frustrating, omission.

Still, it is better than most Windows boxes that not only have practically no concept of ownership, but also set up the default user account with full administration rights. Oh, and 99% of users won't realise what that actually means until it blows up in their faces.

The reason I am writing this is because I finally tracked down some pure PHP code to unpack files from a gzipped tar. But, wait... If I run that, my entire site will be "owned" by "apache", not by me. This could cause complications later on.


Your comments:

Please note that while I check this page every so often, I am not able to control what users write; therefore I disclaim all liability for unpleasant and/or infringing and/or defamatory material. Undesired content will be removed as soon as it is noticed. By leaving a comment, you agree not to post material that is illegal or in bad taste, and you should be aware that the time and your IP address are both recorded, should it be necessary to find out who you are. Oh, and don't bother trying to inline HTML. I'm not that stupid! ☺ ADDING COMMENTS DOES NOT WORK IF READING TRANSLATED VERSIONS.
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Mick, 20th December 2010, 19:58
Welcome to the United States of America. Come owm iyn and have yourself a piece of Apple pye!
Rick, 21st December 2010, 03:25
You know, I'd rather have a damn fine cup of coffee and a damn fine piece of cherry pie, and a damn fine chat with The Log Lady. ☺
Rob, 22nd December 2010, 19:47
I've spoken with various americans over time ... the southern ones seem to speak about 20% slower than us, and the New Yorkers seem to speak about 200% faster ... I wonder how they even communicate among themselves..

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