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Moving FAQ-O-Matic to another host

By Boyd Lynn Gerber

Recently Boyd Lynn Gerber experienced some difficulties with his Unixware FAQS, so I offered to temporarily host them as a virtual host under my domain.

FAQ-O-Matic is a perl based module to control, manage, and maintain a FAQ. It allows users to help in maintaining a FAQ. It requires a valid username/email address and a password. It uses rcs for version control.

FAQ-O-Matic is available at


You also need RCS. My 'rcs -V' says version 5.7, but I don't know what's necessary. RCS is a GNU program, available from (for example)


To begin the perl modules on the site were to old and I needed newer version. To start I created a local .cpan directory. To do this you create a local .cpan. But you need to be able to make and install perl. To do this I created a perl-local or cpan-local file and created a directory local with a bin, lib, share, info, and man. You have to have the basic three bin, lib, and man.

-----------------------------Cut Here perl-local---------------------
PREFIX=/home/user_directory/local \
INSTALLPRIVLIB=/home/user_directory/local/lib/perl5 \
INSTALLSCRIPT=/home/user_directory/local/bin \
INSTALLSITELIB=/home/user_directory/local/lib/perl5/site_perl \
INSTALLBIN=/home/user_directory/local/bin \
INSTALLMAN1DIR=/home/user_directory/local/lib/perl5/man \
-----------------------------Cut Here--------------------------------

What I did was use this as my perl make command.

perl Makefile.PL `cat ~/perl-local`

The key is you have to have write access to the directory where you have your files.

This now allows you to make and install the perl files. But you still have to deal with the system perl files. Perl 5 has an enviroment variable to solve this.

I add this to my .profile. I use the korn shell.

export PERL5LIB

Now I could run perl with the correct modules.

The next problem was getting apache to be able to run the correct perl files.

So I had these two lines added to the vhost.conf file.

SetEnv PERL5LIB /home/boyd/local/lib/perl5:/home/boyd/local/lib/perl5/site_perl:

You may need a PATH or LD_LIBRARY_PATH that you can do the same way.

Now to get FAQ-O-MATIC to run I had to edit the config file and fom. I made the changes for the correct locations of the files, sending email, and where and how to run rcs.

In the fom file. I did the following.

#!/usr/bin/perl -wT to
use lib '.';                    # for suid installations

#!/usr/bin/perl -wT -I/home/user_directory/local/lib/perl5
use lib '.';                    # for suid installations
use lib '/home/user_directory/local/lib/perl5/site_perl';

These files are in the cgi-bin/fom or what ever directory you have the fom file installed.

This got FAQ-O-MATIC running. I still had some lock problems with RCS. I used nouser on my site where this site used nobody. So I had to remove and recreate the lock files.

#to unlock the RCS/*,v files I used this...
#to avoid the enter a comment use -M

rcs -M -u RCS/*,v

On some systems you can not just su username. You need to login in as the user the lock files will be controlled by.

I my case I have to be nobody.

#to lock again the files.  remember the -M is used to avoid adding a

rcs -l -M RCS/*,v

At this point everything is working. I hope this helps some one else.

Got something to add? Send me email.

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