Thursday, February 23, 2006

Fun With SU's Unix System

I decided to finally get around to seeing what Syracuse is giving me in terms or webspace, of for nothing else than to finally host my movies in a stable place. So, I started looking around the Computing and Media Services site.

Andy is probably the only one who will appreciate this, but I was delighted to find that students set up their webspace through a normal, old-fashioned UNIX shell account! And on a Sun server, no less? Geek heaven!

But here's the fun part: some of thier instructions are flat-out wrong! In particular, once you've logged in, made a public_html folder if it wasn't already there, and created index.html with pico, (Yay pico! More geekery!) you are told to set permissions. I though this seemed like a lot of work for non-UNIX geeks, but at least they spelled out exactly what to type, right?

Well, explicit instructions don't help much if they are incorrect. Check this passage:

changing permissions on files
  1. Change to the public_html folder by typing "cd public_html" and press Enter.
  2. Type "ls -l" to view the folder's contents.
  3. To set permissions for a file within the public_html folder, type "chmod 644 name of file" and press Enter.
    NOTE Replace "name of file" with the actual file name. For example, "index.html".
    To set permissions for all files within the folder, type "chmod 644 *.*" and press Enter.

Nice and simple, right? Problem is, those aren't the permissions you want for public HTML files. "chmod 644" gives everyone read access to the files, but a webserver needs execute privileges to show the page. So if you followed the instructions, then tried visiting your site, all you would see is a nice "Error 403: Forbidden". So I just went ahead and fixed it with "chmod 755 index.html", and now my test page is up for all to see. But someone who isn't a total nerd can't be expected to know that.

I guess I'll have to call/e-mail them tomorrow. Calling might be more fun - how knowlegable of a person do you think they put in charge of the phone? >:)

1 comment:

Will said...

chmod 777 ftw