Jump to content

Sandbox Server

From Wikiversity

The original Sandbox Server is no longer operational. See the former documentation, which led to its foundation: en:Wikiversity:Sandbox Server. This is a new proposal to restart the Sandbox Server project and open it as before to the whole Wikiversity Community. The former Sandbox Server was designed for collaborative projects on developing MediaWiki and related software, there was also an installation of Moodle. Also the proposal proposes, that access will be open to people who would like to contribute.

What would you like to do?[edit]

This question helps to determine the needs of the Wikiversity communities. Answers to this question can help determine bandwidth and hardware needs and which scenarios will meet these needs. For detailed needs: /Proposals.

List the activities below, please. Try to be concrete and don't be afraid to sort your ideas into more points:

  • Use and experiment with Moodle:
  • Use and experiment with MediaWiki:
    • Test extensions and develop new extensions (need access permission to extensions directory for installed wikis):
    • Test and develop new skins (need access permission for skins directory for installed wikis)
    • Study installation and customization of MediaWiki (may need separate space for each interested user)
    • Allow files which cannot currently be uploaded on current wikimedia wikies
  • Use and experiment with other educational software
  • Allow participants of wikiversity courses to run programs as part of their learning process
  • Use version/revision control software to allow collaborative learning, studying, testing and development outside of a wiki environment
  • Use and develop java applets that encourage interactive learning for various courses
  • To build the databases of knowledge etc.
  • As a mirror of this very site, as a safety measure against disruptions. (A bot could be used to channel information and edits between these two sites).
  • ...


Hosting strategies[edit]

Below are listed several scenarios, which describe different ways how to fulfill our needs. If you see other ways, go ahead and add it at the end. Neither be afraid to discuss about these scenarios.

Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

WMF could provide everything we need. This scenario was suggested last time, but wasn't followed through. Key question is: Who to ask?

Wikimedia Foundation Chapters[edit]

If the Wikimedia Foundation hosting everything isn't an option maybe one or more chapters might be willing.

  • E.g. Wikimedia Czech Republic, doesn't have any servers and I think they cant support us like this, however I can ask in Wikimedia Polska or Wikimedia Deutchland. But I think it would be better, if there is someone from Germany or Poland and have contacts with these chapters, that his/her communication with them would be better.--Juan de Vojníkov 19:43, 22 December 2009 (UTC)


Maybe someone will offer to sponsor us and take care of our hosting needs. Can maybe provide donations to help pay for the investments.

Free hosting[edit]

There are organizations out there that provide free hosting. Some might match our needs. Can use more than one free provider. Could maybe register a domain to tie things together.


Register a domain and pay a service provider to host everything.

[prices should be researched if there is a serious project active to do this. Prices change.]

Here I would see see some advantages and disadvantages. Advantages are, that service is guaranteed and you have a technical rich technical background which works. With longer time payed before, you are having also lover price to pay. On the other side it is limited and it would be very difficult that all people interested would get a shell access and would be able to operate with the server itself.--Juan de Vojníkov 19:43, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

And well, for directly payed scenarios it is important to figure out the continual resource of money to pay for the services. Money can go from WMF, Chapter, WMF or Chapters grant, sponsor, our gathering etc.--Juan de Vojníkov 19:43, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Dedicated server[edit]

A dedicated server is server where computer resources don't have to be shared with other people unless you want to. The upside is more disk space, memory, and computer time is available for our use and root access is available. The downside is this costs more than paid web hosting, and a lower data transfer limit usually still exists due to a shared Internet connection.

Some prices:

[prices should be researched if there is a serious project active to do this. Prices change.]

And well, for directly payed scenarios it is important to figure out the continual resource of money to pay for the services. Money can go from WMF, Chapter, WMF or Chapters grant, sponsor, our gathering etc.--Juan de Vojníkov 19:43, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Virtual dedicated server[edit]

A virtual dedicated server is a method of taking a physical server and partitioning it to behave as multiple servers. Each server partition has its own operating system and root access. Computer resources like memory and hard drive space are still shared. The upside is this costs a lot less than an actual dedicated server, we get full root access, and we can still manage things ourselves.

Some prices: [prices should be researched if there is a serious project active to do this. Prices change.]

Your scenario?[edit]

How to pay for expenses?[edit]

This section suggests different ways to pay for expenses.






What domain name to use?[edit]


I would use this name because we can make subdomains (like wiki.sand... or svn.sand...) and so on. --Jan Luca 17:00, 5 January 2010 (UTC)


This might work in the case we will get the server from WMF or Chapter. Otherwise it will be difficult.--Juan de Vojníkov 22:04, 1 January 2010 (UTC)

I was thinking of the case in which the server is outside of the WMF. A light weight option would be to get the WMF to agree to point this subdomain to the IP address assigned to the server. This approach would save us expenses on having to get a domain and trouble with maintaining a consistent domain name should problems arise later, such as not being able to pay for the server for awhile and the domain we would like to have is bought by someone else in the mean time. --darklama 13:28, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, we can ask that the WMF can make a redirect to the "right" adress (e.g. sandboxserver.org). --Jan Luca 17:00, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
That would leak SUL cookies to the server. Can only be considered if the server is under direct WMF control. Platonides 17:29, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Well, if it brings such problems it might be better to rent whole domain.--Juan de Vojníkov 16:56, 16 February 2010 (UTC)


Alternative to sandboxserver.org, because it is blocked by the olkd provider. Jan Luca 21:06, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

What responsibilities are there?[edit]

This will come, but probably some responsibilities should be set up.

  • Needed:
    • root users: Full access to the system
    • operator: For user creation and so on
The users for this work are selected in their Wikiversity:
The users apply for the "job". Then the community gives comment about the user. After a week a bureaucrat decides the request.

--Jan Luca 15:57, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

  • Projects:
    • operators/admins for single projects if desired

--Jan Luca 15:57, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

No comments??? --Jan Luca 16:48, 12 January 2010 (UTC)


Well, I think we have to call up for volunteers who would like to become root users and operatiors now, fot the initial phase. Espatial someone who will get in touch with services and will arrange it a little bit. Well, I think leave the projects in peace, they will choose a way, how to elect people for this work.--Juan de Vojníkov 17:39, 12 January 2010 (UTC)

German Wikiversity informed. Jan Luca 18:40, 13 January 2010 (UTC)


de:Benutzer:Jan Luca[edit]

Hi, I would be a root.

Some infomations:

  • experience in Linux
  • experience in installing/compling Linux programs
  • experience in set up Apache/PHP/MySQL/Perl (mod_perl)
  • experience in installing MediaWiki (extensions)
  • experience in SVN

--Jan Luca 13:25, 14 January 2010 (UTC)


I am game to be an admin.

  • lots of years doing Unix stuff. FreeBSD, Linux, etc etc.
  • full time admin

User:Historybuff 19:04, 14 May 2010 (UTC)



  • FreeBSD
Stable, good OS. Ability to segment and use shell accounts in "sub roots" or pseudo VPS ways. en:wv:User:Historybuff 19:22, 11 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Linux
Stable, good OS with OpenSSH (shell accounts) --Jan Luca 15:31, 30 December 2009 (UTC)


--Jan Luca 11:27, 2 January 2010 (UTC)

Proposed software[edit]

Who wants to use it?[edit]

If you are interested in SS experimenting, write down your name. If you are a group of students/scholars who would use it as a basic users (e.g. Moodle classes) write down a number of your group, please.

  1. --Juan de Vojníkov 19:43, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  2. Brian Salter-Duke --Bduke 21:01, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  3. S.J. 22:03, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  4. ZaDiak 22:44, 22 December 2009 (UTC)
  5. <Hillgentleman| ~ | > 12:43, 23 December 2009 (UTC) I am interested by I haven't got any specific plans.
  6. Historybuff Wiki campus Radio
  7. --mikeu talk 13:52, 26 December 2009 (UTC)
  8. --Kychot 21:04, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
  9. --Jan Luca 11:09, 30 December 2009 (UTC)
  10. MBrad 00:54, 11 January 2010 (UTC) I am hoping to generate a GSOC project eventually. I don't have anything concrete yet.
  11. Jtneill 05:17, 1 February 2010 (UTC)


Discuss here, within the line or at a Talk page of this page :-) Optionally you can install IRC client (e.g. KVIrc, ChatZilla,X-chat, mIRC etc.) and find us at #sandboxserver. If there is no one in that channel try #wikiversity or #wikiversity-en and ask about the sandbox server.
  • Unfortunately, I'll be not present on IRC these days, since I am banned from freenode services.--Juan de Vojníkov 23:01, 22 December 2009 (UTC)

Create a mailinglist for the project
  • --Jan Luca 11:33, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Might was well bring it up... Wiki ML[edit]

I have seen a number of scattered posits on Wikipedia expressing dismay that there is no formal wiki standard, and that wikis are necessarily tied to the WWW as the WWW begins to decline into its predicted terminal case of "code smell."

But not XML: I started with complex structures with Perl, and had amazing success with them building a fully secure OO dataserver that we entirely editable from a recursive web page. In fact Perl is built around complex structures, though Perl got the "smell" a decade before the rest (Shell never did!)

XML is simply a complex structure system that has been deliberately crippled through arbitrary limitation from the outset, I believe, by the WWW Consortium.

In another closely related issue, as soon as I got serious about CSS, and learned that it is not what I assumed, a mirrored layer for the various document transformation and rendering models, and then learned what a mess Java Script is. From there I realized that there is a lost markup functionality within html that has never been invented because javascipt, and only javascript, was implemented by the management layer.

(I found a project called Water that does HTML programming, but the owner, at the time, was opposed to our domain of public software, or the public domain. Richard Stallman, oddly, also opposes the public domain, I can forward emails.)

To add to this thread following the Web insanity trail, Google has sponsored a python-to-JavaScript translator called pajamas. Wouldn't it make more sense to develop (or choose) a relevant programming language, create an interpreter that is less than 1M, distribute it, and shovel the dirt over the smelly code (as if it will impart nutrients to future life)?

Actions like this usually require an act of congress, such as the act of congress the forced the US phone monopoly (then called Ma Bell) to create Unix that in turn created the open system concept that led to BSD and Linux, and was also extended by IBM with the invention of the PC's open architecture.

But as we all know, insanity has replaced normalcy in US government. (There seems to be a glimmer of home with the NY State governor, Patterson, who has bonded with the last of the genuine activists in NYC -- but I doubt he sees votes in free software.)--John Bessa 17:25, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Sponsoring of the WMDE for the Sandbox Server[edit]


I have "speak" with Daniel of the German Wikimedia and he has said that the WMDE would sponsor us a server. The details and condition:

  • We (respectively one of us) rent the server and we (the person) send the bill to the WMDE and then they repays the costs
  • The WMDE gives for first time max. 50 €/month
  • The server hosts only projects, software, etc. which is for the Wikimedia community
  • We must send every three month a report which include:
    • Current projects
    • How the community accepts the projects
    • Ideas for the next three months (which extensions, software, etc. should be develop, which software should test, etc.)

Are this OK for you?

If yes, we need one who rents the server and we must create a first report of our ideas for the next three months.

--Jan Luca 15:55, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

Last time there was a page on the sandbox server for contributors to discussion ideas and improvements to the sandbox, and the main page listed current projects. I imagine those will be done again. Will that be enough to satisfy the first vending machines and third requirements for the report? I imagine like with new wikimedia language projects that attracting people will take time. Last time interest and uptake in contributing on the sandbox serve took time, I believe that 3 months may not be enough time. By what means or in what way would the sandbox server be expected to demonstrate community acceptance? --darklama 18:32, 20 January 2010 (UTC)
1. The pages with the projects list and the new ideas we should only translate to German and send it the WMDE.
2. We should write in our first mail, that we think some time is needed till the server is used. I think the WMDE understand this.
3. We can show the acceptance with statistics of the project's useing or the user's feedback (many feedback = many users use the tools of the projects)
Jan Luca 17:57, 24 January 2010 (UTC)

To answer a few questions:

  • first of all: no translation to german is needed, we can read english well enough.
  • a collections of ideas and discussions of possible projects is not a plan. A plan should be a little more specific as to who will do what and when. I don't expect a hourly schedule, but something alonge the lines of "User X is going to start working on Project Y in March, first results are expected by the end of May". It's not necessary to stick 100% to all plans, and it's not necessary to plan everythign in advance. The point is to know which people are active, and what they are doing, or what they want to achieve.
  • usage statistics is nice once the project takes off a bit. But basically, just tell us what you are doing. We don't need proof, we just need feedback.
  • This all sounds so very bureaucratic. It's not supposed to be. The point is really that in order to get sponsorship from WMDE, we need to have some idea of what activity we are actually sponsoring, and what comes of it.

So, don't be put of by the request for plans and reports. They are just a way of staying in touch. -- Daniel Kinzler (WMDE) 10:38, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure we can be as specific as who will do what and when. With the last sandbox I think people did their best to act on requests as quickly as they could and used their own judgment in deciding what requests would benefit Wikiversity and what requests to act on. I think that worked rather well, and will likely be that way again until or unless something better can be figured out. I think the only problem that we had last time was we didn't have enough people to manage the sandbox. One person becoming inactive was enough to bring down the sandbox last time, which I would hope would change this time. Do you have any specific suggestions in mind for how we might go about providing the WMDE with what is needed? I'm not trying to be bureaucratic either, I'm just trying to understand what the community can do to help, and what kind of planning needs to be done still. --darklama 15:17, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
All that is needed is a commitment of a few people to do X there, and tell us about. When the board asks me what we spend this money for, what we achieve by it, I want to have an answer for them. -- Daniel Kinzler (WMDE) 20:24, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

The Report[edit]

This should be a mail which we can send the WMDE

Hello Daniel,

we want to do this in the next three months:

  • At first we want to install the basic software. This means installing and config Apache as Webserver, PHP, MySQL.
  • Start to set a interface (website) up where you can create new accounts, config some parts of the server or list the projects of the server
  • Start the first projects
  • Install some software like MediaWiki, SVN or Moodle

Please comment on this idea or change something when I forgot something or I make a mistake (grammer, wrong word, etc.). --Jan Luca 16:17, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

I think I would say that we would install, configure and start running apache, php, postgres, mediawiki, and moodle to get the first projects started. I think a uniformed interface for creating and registering accounts with all these services will come later, but that we will start to work on it. I don't know how long it would take us to create such an interface. I'm assuming we will have to create one ourselves from scratch. I think people will register with each service separately at first until such time as an uniform registration interface is created. SVS or some other revision control system is likely to be installed and running before the uniform registration interface is. --darklama 17:24, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Changed. Jan Luca 17:31, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Only one comment? --Jan Luca 19:34, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

I think we still need either a volunteer whose willing to accept WMDE's deal or otherwise find another source of funding. Someone who I thought might volunteer isn't interested in any deal that has strings attached. I think a major concern for anyone who volunteers this is the risk that might be involved. If WMDE decides to no longer pay and the person has already paid for the next month, 3 months, or whatever, then they might not be reimbursed. Is WMDE going to reimburse one last time and provide some sort of advance warning if they should decide to no longer fund the sandbox server? --darklama 18:56, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

That should not be a problem: We (Wikimedia Germany) will committ to pay for the duration of the contract, as long as the contract duration is not longer than three months. So please dont sign anything that has a notice period longer than 3 months.--Pavel Richter (WMDE) 10:16, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Lets do it[edit]

So I think if there is such an opportunity from WMDE, so we should try it. I propose to rent sandbox-server.org domain, as sandboxserver.org is owned by someone and go VPSNoc dedicated server. We are having two people who can be a root admins so it is good.--Juan de Vojníkov 20:28, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Namely Hard disk space programme: [2].--Juan de Vojníkov 20:33, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

Who and how?[edit]

So who to exactly contact within WMDE? Is there any proposal needed before start?--Juan de Vojníkov 20:48, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm your contact, but any decision about money is up to our ED, Pavel.
What is mainly needed is a few people committing to doing X on that box in the next month or two and to what end; and then reporting the status of those project every month or so. We do need a "yes, I'm responsible for that project" statement from a few people, and someone willing to rent the box. Note that "set up a webserver" is something that needs to be done, but only makes sense if there's a plan for what to *do* with it. Same with moodle, etc. Who will do what with it? What's the point? Who will report on progress/status?
The maximum commitment WMDE is willing to make in advance is 3 months. So, if you are worried that you could get stuck with hosting cost if wmde decides to no longer pay, you should find a place where you pay at most 3 months in advance.
HTH -- Daniel Kinzler (WMDE) 14:19, 25 February 2010 (UTC)