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Laconica 0.6.4 ("Catapult")
11 December 2008
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This is the README file for Laconica, the Open Source microblogging
platform. It includes installation instructions, descriptions of
options you can set, warnings, tips, and general info for
administrators. Information on using Laconica can be found in the
"doc" subdirectory or in the "help" section on-line.


Laconica (pronounced "luh-KAWN-ih-kuh") is a Free and Open Source
microblogging platform. It helps people in a community, company or
group to exchange short (140 character) messages over the Web. Users
can choose which people to "follow" and receive only their friends' or
colleagues' status messages. It provides a similar service to sites
like Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce and Plurk.

With a little work, status messages can be sent to mobile phones,
instant messenger programs (GTalk/Jabber), and specially-designed
desktop clients that support the Twitter API.

Laconica supports an open standard called OpenMicroBlogging
( that lets users on different Web sites
or in different companies subscribe to each others' notices. It
enables a distributed social network spread all across the Web.

Laconica was originally developed for the Open Software Service, ( It is shared with you in hope that you
too make an Open Software Service available to your users. To learn
more, please see the Open Software Service Definition 1.0:


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License as
published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the
License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
Affero General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Affero General Public
License along with this program, in the file "COPYING".  If not, see

    IMPORTANT NOTE: The GNU Affero General Public License (AGPL) has
    *different requirements* from the "regular" GPL. In particular, if
    you make modifications to the Laconica source code on your server,
    you *MUST MAKE AVAILABLE* the modified version of the source code
    to your users under the same license. This is a legal requirement
    of using the software, and if you do not wish to share your
    modifications, *YOU MAY NOT INSTALL LACONICA*.

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Additional library software has been made available in the 'extlib'
directory. All of it is Free Software and can be distributed under
liberal terms, but those terms may differ in detail from the AGPL's
particulars. See each package's license file in the extlib directory
for additional terms.

New this version

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This is a minor feature and security improvement version from version
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0.6.3 (release 24 Nov 2008). Notable features of version 0.6.4 include:

- "private" installs won't show any data to the outside world; redirect
  non-logged-in users to login. (See "Private" below)
- Ability to "block" a subscriber, which forces them to unsubscribe,
  doesn't allow them to subscribe again, and doesn't allow them to send
- Fine-grained control of subscriptions; users can choose not to receive
  notices from other users over SMS, or IM, or both
- support for Mozilla microsummaries
- more efficient support for blacklisting users from the public page
- instructions on the public page for people who aren't logged in
- better registration instructions
- a check for license compatibility in receiving OMB notices
- HTML output in RSS 1.0, 2.0, and Atom feeds
- tuned and more reliable 'rememberme' cookies for username/password
  and OpenID logins
- a utility for setting user passwords
- a "ban" configuration variable to ban certain users from posting
- an configurable posting throttle to keep any one user from flooding
  the site with messages.
- fine-tuned url-shortening: only shorten if it's needed, only expand
  certain URLs, and handle failure of URL-shortening services reliably
- disable Ajax input for notices, subscribe, nudge, while the
  request is processing
- early implementation of support for Last-Modified and ETag-based
- initial microformats support
- redirect on bad nicknames in URLs
- correctly send emails in recipient's, not sender's, language
- correct email content type
- Change "Most Favorited" page to "Popular"
- properly support the "since" parameter in API calls
- Fix for changes in validate_credentials API call for the Twitter
- Fix for fatal error when sending email confirmation on registration
- Better replies for commands sent through the Ajax channel
- Add a User-Agent string for OMB requests
- Upgrade upstream library XMPPHP
- Upgrade upstream library JQuery Forms
- Code cleanup: checkboxes have proper <label> elements
- Code cleanup: consolidated various notice-listing code in one place
- Better support for unsubscribing from a remote user
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- Stump of experimental Facebook application (not ready for use! code
  review only!)
- Stump of experimental user account deletion (not ready for use! code
  review only!)
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The following software packages are *required* for this software to
run correctly.

- PHP 5.2.x. It may be possible to run this software on earlier
  versions of PHP, but many of the functions used are only available
  in PHP 5.2 or above.
- MySQL 5.x. The Laconica database is stored, by default, in a MySQL
  server. It has been primarily tested on 5.x servers, although it may
  be possible to install on earlier (or later!) versions. The server
  *must* support the MyISAM storage engine -- the default for most
  MySQL servers -- *and* the InnoDB storage engine.
- A Web server. Preferably, you should have Apache 2.2.x with the
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  mod_rewrite extension installed and enabled.
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Your PHP installation must include the following PHP extensions:

- Curl. This is for fetching files by HTTP.
- XMLWriter. This is for formatting XML and HTML output.
- MySQL. For accessing the database.
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- GD. For scaling down avatar images.
- mbstring. For handling Unicode (UTF-8) encoded strings.
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- gettext. For multiple languages. Default on many PHP installs.
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For some functionality, you will also need the following extensions:

- Memcache. A client for the memcached server, which caches database
  information in volatile memory. This is important for adequate
  performance on high-traffic sites. You will also need a memcached
  server to store the data in.
- Mailparse. Efficient parsing of email requires this extension.
  Submission by email or SMS-over-email uses this extension.
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- Sphinx Search. A client for the sphinx server, an alternative
  to MySQL or Postgresql fulltext search. You will also need a
  Sphinx server to serve the search queries.

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You will almost definitely get 2-3 times better performance from your
site if you install a PHP bytecode cache/accelerator. Some well-known
examples are: eaccelerator, Turck mmcache, xcache, apc. Zend Optimizer
is a proprietary accelerator installed on some hosting sites.

External libraries

A number of external PHP libraries are used to provide basic
functionality and optional functionality for your system. For your
convenience, they are available in the "extlib" directory of this
package, and you do not have to download and install them. However,
you may want to keep them up-to-date with the latest upstream version,
and the URLs are listed here for your convenience.

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- DB_DataObject
- Validate
- OpenID from OpenIDEnabled (not the PEAR version!). We decided
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  to use the version since it's more widely
  implemented, and seems to be better supported.
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- PEAR DB. Although this is an older data access system (new
  packages should probably use PHP DBO), the OpenID libraries
  depend on PEAR DB so we use it here, too. DB_DataObject can
  also use PEAR MDB2, which may give you better performance
  but won't work with OpenID.
- OAuth.php from
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- markdown.php from
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- PEAR Mail, for sending out mail notifications
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- PEAR Net_SMTP, if you use the SMTP factory for notifications
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- PEAR Net_Socket, if you use the SMTP factory for notifications
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- XMPPHP, the follow-up to Class.Jabber.php. Probably the best XMPP
  library available for PHP. Note that
  as of this writing the version of this library that is available in
  the extlib directory is *significantly different* from the upstream
  version (patches have been submitted). Upgrading to the upstream
  version may render your Laconica site unable to send or receive XMPP

A design goal of Laconica is that the basic Web functionality should
work on even the most restrictive commercial hosting services.
However, additional functionality, such as receiving messages by
Jabber/GTalk, require that you be able to run long-running processes
on your account. In addition, posting by email or from SMS require
that you be able to install a mail filter in your mail server.


Installing the basic Laconica Web component is relatively easy,
especially if you've previously installed PHP/MySQL packages.

1. Unpack the tarball you downloaded on your Web server. Usually a
   command like this will work:
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   	   tar zxf laconica-0.6.4.tar.gz
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   ...which will make a laconica-0.6.4 subdirectory in your current
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   directory. (If you don't have shell access on your Web server, you
   may have to unpack the tarball on your local computer and FTP the
   files to the server.)
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2. Move the tarball to a directory of your choosing in your Web root
   directory. Usually something like this will work:
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   	   mv laconica-0.6.4 /var/www/mublog
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   This will make your Laconica instance available in the mublog path of
   your server, like "". "microblog" or
   "laconica" might also be good path names. If you know how to
   configure virtual hosts on your web server, you can try setting up
   "" or the like.
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3. You should also take this moment to make your avatar subdirectory
   writeable by the Web server. An insecure way to do this is:
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   	  chmod a+w /var/www/mublog/avatar
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   On some systems, this will probably work:
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      	   chgrp www-data /var/www/mublog/avatar
	   chmod g+w /var/www/mublog/avatar

   If your Web server runs as another user besides "www-data", try
   that user's default group instead. As a last resort, you can create
   a new group like "avatar" and add the Web server's user to the group.

4. Create a database to hold your microblog data. Something like this
   should work:
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   	  mysqladmin -u "username" --password="password" create laconica
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   Note that Laconica must have its own database; you can't share the
   database with another program. You can name it whatever you want,
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   (If you don't have shell access to your server, you may need to use
   a tool like PHPAdmin to create a database. Check your hosting
   service's documentation for how to create a new MySQL database.)

5. Run the laconica.sql SQL script in the db subdirectory to create
   the database tables in the database. A typical system would work
   like this:

   	  mysql -u "username" --password="password" laconica < /var/www/mublog/db/laconica.sql

   You may want to test by logging into the database and checking that
   the tables were created. Here's an example:
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          SHOW TABLES;
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6. Create a new database account that Laconica will use to access the
   database. If you have shell access, this will probably work from the
   MySQL shell:
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	  TO 'lacuser'@'localhost'
	  IDENTIFIED BY 'lacpassword';
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   You should change 'lacuser' and 'lacpassword' to your preferred new
   username and password. You may want to test logging in as this new
   user and testing that you can SELECT from some of the tables in the
   DB (use SHOW TABLES to see which ones are there).
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7. Copy the config.php.sample in the Laconica directory to config.php.

8. Edit config.php to set the basic configuration for your system.
   (See descriptions below for basic config options.) Note that there
   are lots of options and if you try to do them all at once, you will
   have a hard time making sure what's working and what's not. So,
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   stick with the basics at first. In particular, customizing the
   'site' and 'db' settings will almost definitely be needed.
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9. At this point, you should be able to navigate in a browser to your
   microblog's main directory and see the "Public Timeline", which
   will be empty. If not, magic has happened! You can now register a
   new user, post some notices, edit your profile, etc. However, you
   may want to wait to do that stuff if you think you can set up
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   "fancy URLs" (see below), since some URLs are stored in the database.

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Fancy URLs

By default, Laconica will have big long sloppy URLs that are hard for
people to remember or use. For example, a user's home profile might be
found at:

It's possible to configure the software so it looks like this instead:

These "fancy URLs" are more readable and memorable for users. To use
fancy URLs, you must either have Apache 2.2.x with .htaccess enabled
and mod_redirect enabled, -OR- know how to configure "url redirection"
in your server.

1. Copy the htaccess.sample file to .htaccess in your Laconica
   directory. Note: if you have control of your server's httpd.conf or
   similar configuration files, it can greatly improve performance to
   import the .htaccess file into your conf file instead. If you're
   not sure how to do it, you may save yourself a lot of headache by
   just leaving the .htaccess file.
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2. Change the "RewriteBase" in the new .htaccess file to be the URL path
   to your Laconica installation on your server. Typically this will
   be the path to your Laconica directory relative to your Web root.

3. Add or uncomment or change a line in your config.php file so it says:

       $config['site']['fancy'] = true;
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You should now be able to navigate to a "fancy" URL on your server,

If you changed your HTTP server configuration, you may need to restart
the server first.

If you have problems with the .htaccess file on versions of Apache
earlier than 2.2.x, try changing the regular expressions in the
htaccess.sample file that use "\w" to just use ".".

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To use a Sphinx server to search users and notices, you also need
to install, compile and enable the sphinx pecl extension for php on the
client side, which itself depends on the sphinx development files.
"pecl install sphinx" should take care of that. Add ""
to your php.ini and reload apache to enable it.

You can update your MySQL or Postgresql databases to drop their fulltext
search indexes, since they're now provided by sphinx.

On the sphinx server side, a script reads the main database and build
the keyword index. A cron job reads the database and keeps the sphinx
indexes up to date. scripts/ should be called by cron
every 5 minutes, for example. scripts/ is an init.d script
to start and stop the sphinx search daemon.

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Laconica supports a cheap-and-dirty system for sending update messages
to mobile phones and for receiving updates from the mobile. Instead of
sending through the SMS network itself, which is costly and requires
buy-in from the wireless carriers, it simply piggybacks on the email
gateways that many carriers provide to their customers. So, SMS
configuration is essentially email configuration.

Each user sends to a made-up email address, which they keep a secret.
Incoming email that is "From" the user's SMS email address, and "To"
the users' secret email address on the site's domain, will be
converted to a message and stored in the DB.

For this to work, there *must* be a domain or sub-domain for which all
(or most) incoming email can pass through the incoming mail filter.

1. Run the SQL script carrier.sql in your Laconica database. This will
   usually work:

   	   mysql -u "lacuser" --password="lacpassword" laconica < db/carrier.sql

   This will populate your database with a list of wireless carriers
   that support email SMS gateways.

2. Make sure the maildaemon.php file is executable:

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   	chmod +x scripts/maildaemon.php

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   Note that "daemon" is kind of a misnomer here; the script is more
   of a filter than a daemon.
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2. Edit /etc/aliases on your mail server and add the following line:

      *: /path/to/laconica/scripts/maildaemon.php

3. Run whatever code you need to to update your aliases database. For
   many mail servers (Postfix, Exim, Sendmail), this should work:
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   You may need to restart your mail server for the new database to
   take effect.

4. Set the following in your config.php file:

   $config['mail']['domain'] = '';
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At this point, post-by-email and post-by-SMS-gateway should work. Note
that if your mail server is on a different computer from your email
server, you'll need to have a full installation of Laconica, a working
config.php, and access to the Laconica database from the mail server.


XMPP (eXtended Message and Presence Protocol, is the
instant-messenger protocol that drives Jabber and GTalk IM. You can
distribute messages via XMPP using the system below; however, you
need to run the XMPP incoming daemon to allow incoming messages as

1. You may want to strongly consider setting up your own XMPP server.
   Ejabberd, OpenFire, and JabberD are all Open Source servers.
   Jabber, Inc. provides a high-performance commercial server.
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2. You must register a Jabber ID (JID) with your new server. It helps
   to choose a name like "" or "notice" or something
   similar.  Alternately, your "update JID" can be registered on a
   publicly-available XMPP service, like or GTalk.
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   Laconica will not register the JID with your chosen XMPP server;
   you need to do this manually, with an XMPP client like Gajim,
   Telepathy, or
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3. Configure your site's XMPP variables, as described below in the
   configuration section.
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On a default installation, your site can broadcast messages using
XMPP. Users won't be able to post messages using XMPP unless you've
got the XMPP daemon running.  See 'Queues and daemons' below for how
to set that up. Also, once you have a sizable number of users, sending
a lot of SMS, OMB, and XMPP messages whenever someone posts a message
can really slow down your site; it may cause posting to timeout.

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NOTE: stream_select(), a crucial function for network programming, is
broken on PHP 5.2.x less than 5.2.6 on amd64-based servers. We don't
work around this bug in Laconica; current recommendation is to move
off of amd64 to another server.

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Public feed

You can send *all* messages from your microblogging site to a
third-party service using XMPP. This can be useful for providing
search, indexing, bridging, or other cool services.

To configure a downstream site to receive your public stream, add
their "JID" (Jabber ID) to your config.php as follows:

      $config['xmpp']['public'][] = '';
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(Don't miss those square brackets at the end.) Note that your XMPP
broadcasting must be configured as mentioned above. Although you can
send out messages at "Web time", high-volume sites should strongly
consider setting up queues and daemons.

Queues and daemons

Some activities that Laconica needs to do, like broadcast OMB, SMS,
and XMPP messages, can be 'queued' and done by off-line bots instead.
For this to work, you must be able to run long-running offline
processes, either on your main Web server or on another server you
control. (Your other server will still need all the above
prerequisites, with the exception of Apache.) Installing on a separate
server is probably a good idea for high-volume sites.

1. You'll need the "CLI" (command-line interface) version of PHP
   installed on whatever server you use.

2. If you're using a separate server for queues, install Laconica
   somewhere on the server. You don't need to worry about the
   .htaccess file, but make sure that your config.php file is close
   to, or identical to, your Web server's version.

3. In your config.php files (both the Web server and the queues
   server!), set the following variable:

   $config['queue']['enabled'] = true;
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   You may also want to look at the 'daemon' section of this file for
   more daemon options. Note that if you set the 'user' and/or 'group'
   options, you'll need to create that user and/or group by hand.
   They're not created automatically.
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4. On the queues server, run the command scripts/ It
   needs as a parameter the install path; if you run it from the
   Laconica dir, "." should suffice.
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This will run six (for now) queue handlers:

* xmppdaemon.php - listens for new XMPP messages from users and stores
  them as notices in the database.
* jabberqueuehandler.php - sends queued notices in the database to
  registered users who should receive them.
* publicqueuehandler.php - sends queued notices in the database to
  public feed listeners.
* ombqueuehandler.php - sends queued notices to OpenMicroBlogging
  recipients on foreign servers.
* smsqueuehandler.php - sends queued notices to SMS-over-email addresses
  of registered users.
* xmppconfirmhandler.php - sends confirmation messages to registered

Note that these queue daemons are pretty raw, and need your care. In
particular, they leak memory, and you may want to restart them on a
regular (daily or so) basis with a cron job. Also, if they lose
the connection to the XMPP server for too long, they'll simply die. It
may be a good idea to use a daemon-monitoring service, like 'monit',
to check their status and keep them running.

All the daemons write their process IDs (pids) to /var/run/ by
default. This can be useful for starting, stopping, and monitoring the

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Twitter Friends Syncing

As of Laconica 0.6.3, users may set a flag in their settings ("Subscribe
to my Twitter friends here" under the Twitter tab) to have Laconica
attempt to locate and subscribe to "friends" (people they "follow") on
Twitter who also have accounts on your Laconica system, and who have
previously set up a link for automatically posting notices to Twitter.

Optionally, there is a script (./scripts/synctwitterfriends.php), meant
to be run periodically from a job scheduler (e.g.: cron under Unix), to
look for new additions to users' friends lists. Note that the friends
syncing only subscribes users to each other, it does not unsubscribe
users when they stop following each other on Twitter.

Sample cron job:

# Update Twitter friends subscriptions every half hour
0,30 * * * * /path/to/php /path/to/laconica/scripts/synctwitterfriends.php>&/dev/null

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Sitemap files ( are a very nice way of telling
search engines and other interested bots what's available on your site
and what's changed recently. You can generate sitemap files for your
Laconica instance.

1. Choose your sitemap URL layout. Laconica creates a number of
   sitemap XML files for different parts of your site. You may want to
   put these in a sub-directory of your Laconica directory to avoid
   clutter. The sitemap index file tells the search engines and other
   bots where to find all the sitemap files; it *must* be in the main
   installation directory or higher. Both types of file must be
   available through HTTP.
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2. To generate your sitemaps, run the following command on your server:

   php scripts/sitemap.php -f index-file-path -d sitemap-directory -u URL-prefix-for-sitemaps

   Here, index-file-path is the full path to the sitemap index file,
   like './sitemapindex.xml'. sitemap-directory is the directory where
   you want the sitemaps stored, like './sitemaps/' (make sure the dir
   exists). URL-prefix-for-sitemaps is the full URL for the sitemap dir,
   typically something like ''.
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You can use several methods for submitting your sitemap index to
search engines to get your site indexed. One is to add a line like the
following to your robots.txt file:

   Sitemap: /mublog/sitemapindex.xml

This is a good idea for letting *all* Web spiders know about your
sitemap. You can also submit sitemap files to major search engines
using their respective "Webmaster centres"; see for links
to these resources.


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There are two themes shipped with this version of Laconica: "stoica",
which is what the site uses, and "default", which is a good
basis for other sites.

As of right now, your ability to change the theme is site-wide; users
can't choose their own theme. Additionally, the only thing you can
change in the theme is CSS stylesheets and some image files; you can't
change the HTML output, like adding or removing menu items.

You can choose a theme using the $config['site']['theme'] element in
the config.php file. See below for details.

You can add your own theme by making a sub-directory of the 'theme'
subdirectory with the name of your theme. Each theme can have the
following files:

display.css: a CSS2 file for "default" styling for all browsers.
ie6.css: a CSS2 file for override styling for fixing up Internet
	 Explorer 6.
ie7.css: a CSS2 file for override styling for fixing up Internet
	 Explorer 7.
logo.png: a logo image for the site.
default-avatar-profile.png: a 96x96 pixel image to use as the avatar for
			    users who don't upload their own.
default-avatar-stream.png: Ditto, but 48x48. For streams of notices.
default-avatar-mini.png: Ditto ditto, but 24x24. For subscriptions
			 listing on profile pages.

You may want to start by copying the files from the default theme to
your own directory.

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Translations in Laconica use the gettext system (
Theoretically, you can add your own sub-directory to the locale/
subdirectory to add a new language to your system. You'll need to
compile the ".po" files into ".mo" files, however.

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Contributions of translation information to Laconica are very easy:
you can use the Web interface at to add one
or a few or lots of new translations -- or even new languages. You can
also download more up-to-date .po files there, if you so desire.


There is no built-in system for doing backups in Laconica. You can make
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backups of a working Laconica system by backing up the database and
the Web directory. To backup the database use mysqldump (
and to backup the Web directory, try tar.

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The administrator can set the "private" flag for a site so that it's
not visible to non-logged-in users. This might be useful for
workgroups who want to share a microblogging site for project
management, but host it on a public server.

Note that this is an experimental feature; total privacy is not
guaranteed or ensured. Also, privacy is all-or-nothing for a site; you
can't have some accounts or notices private, and others public.
Finally, the interaction of private sites with OpenMicroBlogging is
undefined. Remote users won't be able to subscribe to users on a
private site, but users of the private site may be able to subscribe
to users on a remote site. (Or not... it's not well tested.) The
"proper behaviour" hasn't been defined here, so handle with care.

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If you've been using Laconica 0.6, 0.5 or lower, or if you've been
tracking the "darcs" version of the software, you will probably want
to upgrade and keep your existing data. There is no automated upgrade
procedure in Laconica 0.6.4. Try these step-by-step instructions; read
to the end first before trying them.
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0. Download Laconica and set up all the prerequisites as if you were
   doing a new install.
1. Make backups of both your database and your Web directory. UNDER NO
   CIRCUMSTANCES should you try to do an upgrade without a known-good
   backup. You have been warned.
2. Shut down Web access to your site, either by turning off your Web
   server or by redirecting all pages to a "sorry, under maintenance"
3. Shut down XMPP access to your site, typically by shutting down the
   xmppdaemon.php process and all other daemons that you're running.
   If you've got "monit" or "cron" automatically restarting your
   daemons, make sure to turn that off, too.
4. Shut down SMS and email access to your site. The easy way to do
   this is to comment out the line piping incoming email to your
   maildaemon.php file, and running something like "newaliases".
5. Once all writing processes to your site are turned off, make a
   final backup of the Web directory and database.
6. Move your Laconica directory to a backup spot, like "mublog.bak".
7. Unpack your Laconica 0.6 tarball and move it to "mublog" or
   wherever your code used to be.
8. Copy the config.php file and avatar directory from your old
   directory to your new directory.
9. Copy htaccess.sample to .htaccess in the new directory. Change the
   RewriteBase to use the correct path.
10. Rebuild the database. Go to your Laconica directory and run the script like this:
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   ./scripts/ rootuser rootpassword database db/laconica.sql
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   Here, rootuser and rootpassword are the username and password for a
   user who can drop and create databases as well as tables; typically
   that's _not_ the user Laconica runs as.
11. Use mysql client to log into your database and make sure that the
    notice, user, profile, subscription etc. tables are non-empty.
12. Turn back on the Web server, and check that things still work.
13. Turn back on XMPP bots and email maildaemon. Note that the XMPP
    bots have changed since version 0.5; see above for details.

If you're upgrading from very old versions, you may want to look at
the fixup_* scripts in the scripts directories. These will store some
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precooked data in the DB. All upgraders should check out the inboxes
options below.
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NOTE: the database definition file, stoica.ini, has been renamed to
laconica.ini (since this is the recommended database name). If you
have a line in your config.php pointing to the old name, you'll need
to update it.

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Notice inboxes

Before version 0.6.2, the page showing all notices from people the
user is subscribed to ("so-and-so with friends") was calculated at run
time. Starting with 0.6.2, we have a new data structure for holding a
user's "notice inbox". (Note: distinct from the "message inbox", which
is the "inbox" tab in the UI. The notice inbox appears under the
"Personal" tab.)

Notices are added to the inbox when they're created. This speeds up
the query considerably, and also allows us the opportunity, in the
future, to add different kind of notices to an inbox -- like @-replies
or subscriptions to search terms or hashtags.

Notice inboxes are enabled by default for new installations. If you
are upgrading an existing site, this means that your users will see
empty "Personal" pages. The following steps will help you fix the

0. $config['inboxes']['enabled'] can be set to one of three values. If
   you set it to 'false', the site will work as before. Support for this
   will probably be dropped in future versions.
1. Setting the flag to 'transitional' means that you're in transition.
   In this mode, the code will run the "new query" or the "old query"
   based on whether the user's inbox has been updated.
2. After setting the flag to "transitional", you can run the
   fixup_inboxes.php script to create the inboxes. You may want to set
   the memory limit high. You can re-run it without ill effect.
3. When fixup_inboxes is finished, you can set the enabled flag to

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Configuration options

The sole configuration file for Laconica (excepting configurations for
dependency software) is config.php in your Laconica directory. If you
edit any other file in the directory, like lib/common.php (where most
of the defaults are defined), you will lose your configuration options
in any upgrade, and you will wish that you had been more careful.

Almost all configuration options are made through a two-dimensional
associative array, cleverly named $config. A typical configuration
line will be:

     $config['section']['option'] = value;

For brevity, the following documentation describes each section and


This section is a catch-all for site-wide variables.

name: the name of your site, like 'YourCompany Microblog'.
server: the server part of your site's URLs, like ''.
path: The path part of your site's URLs, like 'mublog' or '/'
      (installed in root).
fancy: whether or not your site uses fancy URLs (see Fancy URLs
       section above). Default is false.
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logfile: full path to a file for Laconica to save logging
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	 information to. You may want to use this if you don't have
	 access to syslog.
locale_path: full path to the directory for locale data. Unless you
	     store all your locale data in one place, you probably
	     don't need to use this.
language: default language for your site. Defaults to US English.
languages: A list of languages supported on your site. Typically you'd
	   only change this if you wanted to disable support for one
	   or another language:
	   "unset($config['site']['languages']['de'])" will disable
	   support for German.
theme: Theme for your site (see Theme section). Two themes are
       provided by default: 'default' and 'stoica' (the one used by It's appreciated if you don't use the 'stoica' theme
       except as the basis for your own.
email: contact email address for your site. By default, it's extracted
       from your Web server environment; you may want to customize it.
broughtbyurl: name of an organization or individual who provides the
	   service. Each page will include a link to this name in the
	   footer. A good way to link to the blog, forum, wiki,
	   corporate portal, or whoever is making the service available.
broughtby: text used for the "brought by" link.
timezone: default timezone for message display. Users can set their
	  own time zone. Defaults to 'UTC', which is a pretty good default.
closed: If set to 'true', will disallow registration on your site.
	This is a cheap way to restrict accounts to only one
	individual or group; just register the accounts you want on
	the service, *then* set this variable to 'true'.
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inviteonly: If set to 'true', will only allow registration if the user
	    was invited by an existing user.
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private: If set to 'true', anonymous users will be redirected to the
         'login' page. Also, API methods that normally require no
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         authentication will require it. Note that this does not turn
         off registration; use 'closed' or 'inviteonly' for the
         behaviour you want.

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This section is a reference to the configuration options for
DB_DataObject (see The ones that you may want to
set are listed below for clarity.

database: a DSN (Data Source Name) for your Laconica database. This is
	  in the format 'protocol://username:password@hostname/databasename',
	  where 'protocol' is 'mysql' or 'mysqli' (or possibly 'postgresql', if you
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	  really know what you're doing), 'username' is the username,
	  'password' is the password, and etc.
ini_yourdbname: if your database is not named 'laconica', you'll need
		to set this to point to the location of the
		laconica.ini file. Note that the real name of your database
		should go in there, not literally 'yourdbname'.
db_driver: You can try changing this to 'MDB2' to use the other driver
	   type for DB_DataObject, but note that it breaks the OpenID
	   libraries, which only support PEAR::DB.
debug: On a database error, you may get a message saying to set this
       value to 5 to see debug messages in the browser. This breaks
       just about all pages, and will also expose the username and
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quote_identifiers: Set this to true if you're using postgresql.
type: either 'mysql' or 'postgresql' (used for some bits of
      database-type-specific SQL in the code). Defaults to mysql.
mirror: you can set this to an array of DSNs, like the above
	'database' value. If it's set, certain read-only actions will
	use a random value out of this array for the database, rather
	than the one in 'database' (actually, 'database' is overwritten).
	You can offload a busy DB server by setting up MySQL replication
	and adding the slaves to this array. Note that if you want some
	requests to go to the 'database' (master) server, you'll need
	to include it in this array, too.

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By default, Laconica sites log error messages to the syslog facility.
(You can override this using the 'logfile' parameter described above).

appname: The name that Laconica uses to log messages. By default it's
	 "laconica", but if you have more than one installation on the
	 server, you may want to change the name for each instance so
	 you can track log messages more easily.


You can configure the software to queue time-consuming tasks, like
sending out SMS email or XMPP messages, for off-line processing. See
'Queues and daemons' above for how to set this up.

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enabled: Whether to uses queues. Defaults to false.


The default license to use for your users notices. The default is the
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, which is probably the right
choice for any public site. Note that some other servers will not
accept notices if you apply a stricter license than this.

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url: URL of the license, used for links.
title: Title for the license, like 'Creative Commons Attribution 3.0'.
image: A button shown on each page for the license.

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This is for configuring out-going email. We use PEAR's Mail module,

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backend: the backend to use for mail, one of 'mail', 'sendmail', and
	 'smtp'. Defaults to PEAR's default, 'mail'.
params: if the mail backend requires any parameters, you can provide
	them in an associative array.
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This is for configuring nicknames in the service.

blacklist: an array of strings for usernames that may not be
	   registered. A default array exists for strings that are
	   used by Laconica (e.g. 'doc', 'main', 'avatar', 'theme')
	   but you may want to add others if you have other software
	   installed in a subdirectory of Laconica or if you just
	   don't want certain words used as usernames.
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featured: an array of nicknames of 'featured' users of the site.
	  Can be useful to draw attention to well-known users, or
	  interesting people, or whatever.
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For configuring avatar access.

server: If set, defines another server where avatars are stored in the
	root directory. Note that the 'avatar' subdir still has to be
	writeable. You'd typically use this to split HTTP requests on
	the client to speed up page loading, either with another
	virtual server or with an NFS or SAMBA share. Clients
	typically only make 2 connections to a single server at a
	time (, so this can parallelize the job.
	Defaults to null.


For configuring the public stream.

localonly: If set to true, only messages posted by users of this
	   service (rather than other services, filtered through OMB)
	   are shown in the public stream. Default true.
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blacklist: An array of IDs of users to hide from the public stream.
	   Useful if you have someone making excessive Twitterfeed posts
	   to the site, other kinds of automated posts, testing bots, etc.
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server: Like avatars, you can speed up page loading by pointing the
	theme file lookup to another server (virtual or real). The
	theme server's root path should map to the Laconica "theme"
	subdirectory. Defaults to NULL.

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For configuring the XMPP sub-system.

enabled: Whether to accept and send messages by XMPP. Default false.
server: server part of XMPP ID for update user.
port: connection port for clients. Default 5222, which you probably
      shouldn't need to change.
user: username for the client connection. Users will receive messages
      from 'user'@'server'.
resource: a unique identifier for the connection to the server. This
	  is actually used as a prefix for each XMPP component in the system.
password: password for the user account.
host: some XMPP domains are served by machines with a different
      hostname. (For example, GTalk users connect to Set this to the correct hostname if that's the
      case with your server.
encryption: Whether to encrypt the connection between Laconica and the
	    XMPP server. Defaults to true, but you can get
	    considerably better performance turning it off if you're
	    connecting to a server on the same machine or on a
	    protected network.
debug: if turned on, this will make the XMPP library blurt out all of
       the incoming and outgoing messages as XML stanzas. Use as a
       last resort, and never turn it on if you don't have queues
       enabled, since it will spit out sensitive data to the browser.
public: an array of JIDs to send _all_ notices to. This is useful for
	participating in third-party search and archiving services.


Miscellaneous tagging stuff.

dropoff: Decay factor for tag listing, in seconds.
	 Defaults to exponential decay over ten days; you can twiddle
	 with it to try and get better results for your site.
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For daemon processes.

piddir: directory that daemon processes should write their PID file
	(process ID) to. Defaults to /var/run/, which is where this
	stuff should usually go on Unix-ish systems.
user: If set, the daemons will try to change their effective user ID
      to this user before running. Probably a good idea, especially if
      you start the daemons as root. Note: user name, like 'daemon',
      not 1001.
group: If set, the daemons will try to change their effective group ID
       to this named group. Again, a name, not a numerical ID.

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You can get a significant boost in performance by caching some
database data in memcached (

enabled: Set to true to enable. Default false.
server: a string with the hostname of the memcached server. Can also
	be an array of hostnames, if you've got more than one server.

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You can get a significant boost in performance using Sphinx Search
instead of your database server to search for users and notices.

enabled: Set to true to enable. Default false.
server: a string with the hostname of the sphinx server.
port: an integer with the port number of the sphinx server.

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A catch-all for integration with other systems.

source: The name to use for the source of posts to Twitter. Defaults
	to 'laconica', but if you request your own source name from
	Twitter (, you can use
	that here instead. Status updates on Twitter will then have
	links to your site.

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For notice inboxes.

enabled: A three-valued flag for whether to use notice inboxes (see
	 upgrading info above for notes about this change). Can be
	 'false', 'true', or '"transitional"'.

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For notice-posting throttles.

enabled: Whether to throttle posting. Defaults to false.
count: Each user can make this many posts in 'timespan' seconds. So, if count
       is 100 and timespan is 3600, then there can be only 100 posts
       from a user every hour.
timespan: see 'count'.


Profile management.

banned: an array of usernames and/or profile IDs of 'banned' profiles.
        The site will reject any notices by these users -- they will
        not be accepted at all. (Compare with blacklisted users above,
        whose posts just won't show up in the public stream.)

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The primary output for Laconica is syslog, unless you configured a
separate logfile. This is probably the first place to look if you're
getting weird behaviour from Laconica.

If you're tracking the unstable version of Laconica in the darcs
repository (see below), and you get a compilation error ("unexpected
T_STRING") in the browser, check to see that you don't have any
conflicts in your code.

If you upgraded to Laconica 0.6.4 without reading the "Notice inboxes"
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section above, and all your users' 'Personal' tabs are empty, read the
"Notice inboxes" section above.

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These are some myths you may see on the Web about Laconica.
Documentation from the core team about Laconica has been pretty
sparse, so some backtracking and guesswork resulted in some incorrect

- "Set $config['db']['debug'] = 5 to debug the database." This is an
  extremely bad idea. It's a tool built into DB_DataObject that will
  emit oodles of print lines directly to the browser of your users.
  Among these lines will be your database username and password. Do
  not enable this option on a production Web site for any reason.
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- "Edit dataobject.ini with the following settings..." dataobject.ini
  is a development file for the DB_DataObject framework and is not
  used by the running software. It was removed from the Laconica
  distribution because its presence was confusing. Do not bother
  configuring dataobject.ini, and do not put your database username
  and password into the file on a production Web server; unscrupulous
  persons may try to read it to get your passwords.

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Unstable version

If you're adventurous or impatient, you may want to install the
development version of Laconica. To get it, use the darcs version
control tool ( like so:

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	darcs get mublog
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To keep it up-to-date, use 'darcs pull'. Watch for conflicts!

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Further information

There are several ways to get more information about Laconica.

* There is a mailing list for Laconica developers and admins at
* The #laconica IRC channel on (
* The Laconica wiki,


* Microblogging messages to are very welcome.
* Laconica's Trac server has a bug tracker for any defects you may find,
  or ideas for making things better.
* e-mail to will usually be read and responded to very
  quickly, unless the question is really hard.
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The following is an incomplete list of developers who've worked on Apologies for any oversight; please let know
if anyone's been overlooked in error.

* Evan Prodromou, founder and lead developer, Control Yourself, Inc.
* Zach Copley, Control Yourself, Inc.
* Earle Martin, Control Yourself, Inc.
* Marie-Claude Doyon, designer, Control Yourself, Inc.
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* Sarven Capadisli, Control Yourself, Inc.
* Robin Millette, Control Yourself, Inc.
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* Ciaran Gultnieks
* Michael Landers
* Ori Avtalion
* Garret Buell
* Mike Cochrane
* Matthew Gregg
* Florian Biree
* Erik Stambaugh
* 'drry'
* Gina Haeussge
* Ken Sheppardson (Trac server, man-about-town)
* Tiago 'gouki' Faria (entrans)
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* Tryggvi Björgvinsson
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Thanks also to the developers of our upstream library code and to the
thousands of people who have tried out, installed,
told their friends, and built the Open Microblogging network to what
it is today.