Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Problems with the Linux version of XAMPP, questions, comments, and anything related.

Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby TomSwan » 30. November 2015 19:28

I traced a problem I had to an instruction in the XAMPP How-to guide, dashboard/docs/transfer-files-ftp.html. My XAMPP verion is linux-x64-5.6.14-4. I am running Ubuntu Linux 14.04. In the XAMPP "Configure FTP Access" guide, step 3 says to enter as root:

sudo usermod -G ftp susan

Obviously 'tom' in my case. The uppercase -G option causes susan to be added to the ftp group, but also REMOVED from all other groups, including the sudo and admin groups that allow susan to execute commands as root via sudo. In other words, after this command, susan can no longer run sudo! The only recovery is to add susan back to those groups, which is now impossible because adduser can be run only by root. Arghhhh!

I recovered by booting in recovery mode (hold down shift) and dropping into root mode, where i was able to repair the sudoers file in /etc/ and run adduser tom (in my case) back to the sudo group. I was then able to reboot and run sudo again, which is required to start lampp.

This advice in the XAMPP how-to guide cost me all morning -- hey I'm not complaining, after I all I learned some things -- but these instructions should be revised. I don't know what the proper command would be to usermod susan into the ftp group, but some way should be noted here NOT to remove users from other groups, especially sudo on Ubuntu systems.

If anybody else has this trouble, http://psychocats.net/ubuntu/fixsudo is an excellent article on how to recover from this trouble. Hope this info is useful. Comments?
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Nobbie » 30. November 2015 19:35

TomSwan wrote:This advice in the XAMPP how-to guide cost me all morning -- hey I'm not complaining, after I all I learned some things -- but these instructions should be revised. I don't know what the proper command would be to usermod susan into the ftp group


Oh, it costs you one morning, but you still dont know, how to do it correctly? Do you know the linux manual, which can be called in a terminal via "man"? For example "man usermod" tells you behaviour and all options. And a whole morning is a lot of time. I tried as well, it took me 20 seconds to find out, that you also have to apply option "-a" in order to keep the user in his groups (and i am not superman, really not):

Code: Select all
usermod -a -G ....
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby TomSwan » 30. November 2015 22:21

Nobbie wrote:
TomSwan wrote:This advice in the XAMPP how-to guide cost me all morning -- hey I'm not complaining, after I all I learned some things -- but these instructions should be revised. I don't know what the proper command would be to usermod susan into the ftp group


Oh, it costs you one morning, but you still dont know, how to do it correctly?


Most people would realize I was speaking euphemistically. The How-To should be rewritten, in my opinion. You're welcome.
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Threecats » 29. March 2016 14:02

I had exactly the same issue, and was unable to sudo anything as my main Xubuntu user. I have used XAMPP previously on a Win 7 machine, but have only recently installed Xubuntu, and am still trying to get to grips with running a linux box. I do think it would be helpful if the XAMPP documentation were updated to include the a switch in the command line quoted. I am all for users learning to become more proficient in using XAMPP on Linux, but given this original post was in 2015 and I installed XAMPP on my machine in March 2106, I wonder how many more new users have been perplexed by this same issue. For new users, complications like this may well convince them that XAMPP is not for them. Using XAMPP on my windows pc I got a lot of pleasure and satisfaction from being able to enter into the world of web scripting. XAMPP is a remarkable package, that the developers can be rightly proud of, and it would be a great pity if new users were put off by issues such as this.
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Nobbie » 29. March 2016 19:54

Threecats wrote:I wonder how many more new users have been perplexed by this same issue.


I am using Ubuntu in many flavours since many years and i am also using Xampp since many years. It is always working like a charm and always simply out of the box. If have no idea what you mean by "perplexed"?? I think (but i am not sure) that you simply have problems about understanding the linux rights concept, which heavily differs from microsoft windows.

I stlll really dont know what your problem is (as i do not have any problems with Xampp and Ubuntu)?!
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Threecats » 29. March 2016 23:15

The XAMPP home page says "The XAMPP open source package has been set up to be incredibly easy to install and to use."

My "problem" if you wish to call it that, was that having followed the instructions as given in XAMPP's own published documentation, I ended up fixing one issue, only to replace it with another which affected my complete system, preventing me from being able to do things I was previously able to do, as I was no longer able to use "sudo".

This would not have been a problem for anyone such as yourself, because as you say:

"I am using Ubuntu in many flavours since many years and i am also using Xampp since many years. It is always working
like a charm and always simply out of the box. If have no idea what you mean by "perplexed"?? I think (but i am not sure)
that you simply have problems about understanding the linux rights concept, which heavily differs from microsoft windows.

I stlll really dont know what your problem is (as i do not have any problems with Xampp and Ubuntu)?!"


But for me - as an inexperienced user - simply missing the letter a from the instructions given created a real headache.

If the XAMPP package is only intended to be used by people such as yourself- who would therefore not have ended up with the issue I had - then that is fair enough. If that is the case, then perhaps you should include a notice to that effect on the XAMPP home pages.

This would prevent anyone not experienced in Linux (and therefore completely reliant on correct information being given) from ending up with a problem. They would therefore not need to post anything on the forum, and risk being made to feel somehow inferior or deficient, for not being as "linux-savvy" as you.
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Nobbie » 30. March 2016 11:02

Threecats wrote:But for me - as an inexperienced user - simply missing the letter a from the instructions given created a real headache.


Of course, Xampp cannot(!) replace the need for knowing the operating system. This is unavoidable. Xampp is a webserver distribution and these usually are difficult to install. Xampp is very easy to install - but of course you MUST HAVE basic knowledge about the operating system (i.e. the rights management).

But - still - you said many words, but you did not specify the problems you have. I still dont know, what your problem is.

Threecats wrote:If the XAMPP package is only intended to be used by people such as yourself


The Xampp package is embedded into the file system of your operating system, therefore you must have basic skills about the file system and how the rights management is working. This is true for all operating systems out there (not only linux) and if you like to run such a complex software like a webserver (i.e. Xampp), of course you have to know, what you are doing there. It is not a toy and it requires certain skills.

Threecats wrote:If that is the case, then perhaps you should include a notice to that effect on the XAMPP home pages.


I cannot include any notice, as i am not a member of the Xampp (or Bitnami) team, i am a user like you are.
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Threecats » 30. March 2016 12:23

All I was asking for is for a simple change to the web page, to stop any other new users of XAMPP running on Xubunu 14.04.4 LTS from ending up with a system where they can no longer use sudo when needed.

Example:

Change the How To web page to replace this screenshot of the command line
usermod -G ....
with this screenshot of the command line
usermod -a -G ....

I just thought that if I flagged this up on the forum, someone might pick up on it, and be able to make the changes to the How To web page for XAMPP.
But from what you have said, I now understand that you are just another user, and not able to maintain or update any documentation for XAMPP.

I will have to see if I can find out how to contact the XAMPP team directly, to ask if this change could be made. The main XAMPP web page has a section "Support & QA" with a few names listed underneath, so I guess that would be a good place to start.

Thank you for your time.
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Altrea » 30. March 2016 13:16

Threecats wrote: Change the How To web page to replace this screenshot of the command line
usermod -G ....
with this screenshot of the command line
usermod -a -G ....

The question is: Is this true even for older and/or other Linux distributions?
For example on SUSE this -a Option is not available: http://www.unix.com/man-page/suse/8/usermod/
So simply replacing the screenshot will not do it.
We don't provide any support via personal channels like PM, email, Skype, TeamViewer!

It's like porn for programmers 8)
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Threecats » 30. March 2016 13:33

Thank you for your quick reply. I see your point about the change not being relevant to all linux distributions, so I suppose the only other possibility would be to include a small note telling users of newer versions of Ubuntu to do it the alternative way.

I have tried to find a way to contact the XAMPP support peoples direct, but the XAMPP web page only shows the following links under "Support":

Benny Stein - This link just brings up a windows showing "It Works!" and nothing else.
Christian "kleinweby" Speich - This web page is in German and unfortunately I can't speak German.
Henning "boppy" Bopp - Clicking this link brings up a warning in Firefox that the page is insecure and will not be loaded.
Stefan "Deepsurfer" Konig - This is not an active link.
nemesis - This is not an active link.

I appreciate you have a lot of other things to do more pressing than this, and I thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Nobbie » 30. March 2016 13:50

Threecats wrote:All I was asking for is for a simple change to the web page, to stop any other new users of XAMPP running on Xubunu 14.04.4 LTS from ending up with a system where they can no longer use sudo when needed.


I dont understand this question. What are you looking for?

And: i NEVER EVER needed the "usermod" command for installing or running Xampp. Why do you run "usermod"? I either simply copied my files into htdocs folder (probably using the help of "sudo"), or i changed the permissions for htdocs (and/or the ownership) and also changed the "User" and "Group" options in httpd.conf, in order to run Apache with my own UserID.

Anyway, i never used usermod,

P.S.: Only to give solace to you, i remember a very similar problem. A few months ago i installed "VirtualBox" on my Ubuntu system, but when i tried to start my first machine, i got an error message that the system could not open a special device (i dont remember exactly, what it was, maybe a network node or similar), due to the problem, that my UserId was NOT member of the group "vbox". So what did i do? I looked up the manual, i found that usermod(!) command and i run it with the appropriate arguments in order to add my UserID to the vbox group. AND OF COURSE, I ALSO DID NOT APPLY THE "-a" option (you know, what this means) and finally i screwed up my UserId. So what did i do? I said "shit" (of course), i de-installed the whole Ubuntu crap and installed a new one. And then i tried again, installed VirtualBox, runned usermod (but this time, i applied the -a option) and finally, i succeeded.

I did not go for a VirtualBox forum in order to tell them, that their software does not install correctly and that it makes me a headache, because it is not their problem, it is MY problem, because i did not know the system well enough. But know i have learned it (as always) and i wont make this error again.

This is very similar to your Xampp / Ubuntu problem, yes, you have to know certain things about your operating system, but you cannot blame the software (i.e. Xampp) therefore, it is your lack of knowlegde, and not an error of Xampp.
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Threecats » 30. March 2016 21:54

I would like to thank everyone there for their time, but its probably best to just forget this whole issue here and now, because however I try, I do not seem able to explain to you, either (a) what I was asking for, or (b) why I was asking for it.
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Re: Bug in XAMPP How-to Guide

Postby Threecats » 31. March 2016 11:59

Update :

I have downloaded and installed an alternative version on a Windows 7 machine and it runs without any problem. I will rebuild Xubuntu on my laptop from scratch, and reinstall my applications when I can find the time.

I suppose I have learned a valuable lesson here. An inexperienced Linux user, attempting to install and run XAMPP on a Linux machine, is pretty much an accident waiting to happen - and you are better off sticking with what you know.
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