homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk OS upgrade to SL6.2

The homepages web service – homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk – is overdue an
Operating System upgrade. It is still running the SL5.6 OS, where as
DICE desktops are running at least SL6.2.

The plan is to upgrade the homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk service to SL6.2 on
the morning of Sunday 7th October. The switch over will only cause a
break in service of about 10mins.

Between now and then you can try out your current homepages content at
the URL.


ie just append “sl6” to the name “homepages”. This service is serving
exactly the same content as the current homepages, so any changes you
make in the file space /public/homepages/<username>/web/ will be
reflected at both URLs:


Note the the service name homepagessl6.inf.ed.ac.uk is only temporary to
give you a chance to test things. Once the upgrade has happened, the
existing name (homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk) will remain the normal name for the
service, just that it will now be serving your content from an SL6 based

Software changes

The upgrade in OS also brings upgrades to various packages (as it did
when desktops were upgraded from SL5 to SL6), probably the most
noteworthy are:

old-version new-version
PHP 5.1.6 5.3.3
Python 2.4.3 2.6.6
Perl 5.8.8 5.10.1

One important change with PHP, is that the default is to no longer
recognise the “short open tag” ie just “<?” to mark the beginning of a
PHP code block. Instead you should use the recommended
“<?php”. If you have code that uses the short tag version, then you
can either update your code, or you can turn on short tags for your
pages by creating an .htaccess file in your web area that contains the

<IfModule mod_php5.c>
php_value short_open_tag 1


No major issues are expected, but if the timing of the change over is a problem, or you discover a major problem with the SL6 version of homepages, then please let me know via the support form.

About neilb

Computing staff at the University of Edinburgh. Part of the Services Unit.
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1 Response to homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk OS upgrade to SL6.2

  1. neilb says:

    This happened succesfully. Only a few people have been caught out by the short tag change above.

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