Upgrading to Moodle 4.2.1+ on Fedora requiring mariadb 10.6

Overlook the sizeable lack of blog entries. Entries for social media purposes require require snappier titles and editing. Neither of those are worth my time at present. This is my log, if it helps anyone, great, and it really doesn’t matter, as logging helps me.

I went to upgrade to Moodle 4.2 back in March, I am running Fedora 36. I had to install Python 8.0.x as Moodle doesn’t support anything greater as of yet and Fedora 36 is LTS support and so I stand on that for a bit. This gave me a problem upgrading to Moodle 4.2 as it requires mariadb version 10.6 and Fedora 36 has 10.5 .

When I installed the older version of Python it required a bunch of hacks. The instructions from mariadb on installing ahead were a bit cumbersome and I looked around quickly. Fedora documentation now explains that dnf and repositories support modular packaging. Read https://docs.fedoraproject.org/en-US/quick-docs/installing-mysql-mariadb/ , specifically the section of Fedora Modular Repository and follow the steps selecting the Server option and that is all there is to it.

I now have Moodle 4.2.1+ running on mariadb 10.6.11 with minimal effort. ymmv

Womp Moodle 4.0 and Fedora 36

Well, that didn’t go well. I skipped reading the ReadMe on upgrading to Fedora 36 on Moodle.org and after upgrading I realized I was on PHP 8.1 and Moodle doesn’t run on that version. I followed these instructions https://computingforgeeks.com/how-to-install-php-on-fedora/ to install the REMI repository and then PHP 8.0. I did get into some particulars with ensuring that the zip library was installed as different versions report back different entities. In the end it all sorted out and while I don’t have a lovable generic Fedora install I at least have Moodle 4.0 back up and running in time for the school year.

Raspberry Pi WiFi 2.4/5GHz Solution

I use a Raspberry Pi as a WiFi Bridge to allow me to login to XFinity WiFi which is closer to my garage than my WiFi router (which is also XFinity – benefits of being a customer). Then all of a sudden I noticed that I had difficulty accessing a network. It appeared that I could not access a 2.4GHz band, just the 5GHz band and that stumped me.

What I found solved my problem is modifying the /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file to include all the frequencies on both channels and POOF problem solved.

freq_list=2412 2417 2422 2427 2432 2437 2442 2447 2452 2457 2462 2467 2472 5170 5180 5190 5200 5210 5220 5230 5240 5260 5280 5300 5320 5500 5520 5540 5560 5580 5600 5620 5640 5660 5680 5700

I also added a neighbors WiFi who kindly allowed me access to facilitate my Zwift training sessions especially in the winter. Fun challenge.

Forensic SysAdmin

I had to adjust the default mail on a Moodle system that I switched from one domain to another. I changed it last in August of 2015 and apparently forgot how it worked. So today I am going to mention that forensic sysadmin work, or finding configuration files is a real challenge.

Yes, I have made copies of all of the configuration files and ended them in a TLA of my initials and yet when I ran locate I forgot or chose not to run updatedb and well, it isn’t in cron anymore as I rarely search for anything and it uses less power to not catalog repeatedly.

Having not found anything appropriate with my initials, although the file was actually there, I proceeded to work for hours on every single configuration setting in Moodle as well as every Moodle post on email I could stomach.

Nagging in the back of my mind was the fact that this year I eliminated ALL of the cruft on Moodle by simply starting it from scratch and as I kept a record of every change I made, I thought I could find it. I kept focusing on the OAuth configuration as I was using GMail.

Just before shutting the server off for the year, truly, I stopped to think through the architecture and realized I had to be using native Linux mail, that I always choose Postfix and a quick search indicated I was configured to use GMail’s less secure method of authenticated SMTP. I made the changes and everything worked great.

I held up this post to decide on how to explain what to do correctly. I had hoped for inspiration about documentation, or flow charting processes. The issue is that I simply don’t perform the same amount of sysadmin work I used to, which was enormous, so recalling all the bits and pieces and troubleshooting it, was more work than expected.

I am glad I did it, it reactivated a confidence in my skills and an awareness of troubleshooting steps and an entire plethora of interconnected systems that I would have forgotten about otherwise.

Learning & Firefox

Out of all the places I write, this is the easiest blog. I keep it focused on technical information that I have derived / learned and it operates as kind of a set of notes for me to look back into the stuff that I do. As time has gone by, I have done less System Administration, choosing instead to focus on creating space in my life to breathe and exist that isn’t so related to work. I think that I kept wondering about all the time I spent becoming a “guru”, not in the public sense of the word, more like a uber nerd in an area and then passing on all the knowledge in minutes that I had spent hours learning. I am sure there is a balance in all things and there is here as well.

Then I had complaints about writing in other locations, that I merely was representing what others already had and it rankled me as what I had stated was that I was presenting my curated take on the world. And of course, I need practice in writing. Last year I wrote 23 times and this year just 20 so far. This is such a change from a few years ago when I wrote almost daily or so it seemed to me. But I find I journal every day now and I want to expand and practice developing a style of communication by writing.

I intend to edit and learn by doing it. Today is not that day. Today is a day to simply cruise through and put the words down on paper and see what happens with me.

The Block editor in WordPress has changed quite a great deal and I am not sure I am expert at all in it. And I don’t even know if this is the most effective way to write as it isn’t the tool I used so long ago.

dist://ed the Mozilla Blog posted an article on the Firefox Secret Tips that I have had open in my browser since it came out. I believe I kept hoping that I would learn them all. That isn’t me. I teach and preach that you should take a list and note what you already do and pick one thing you think you could integrate into daily practice for some reason: it intrigues you, speeds up your work, is fun, a diversion, and just do that one thing and then close the article. Don’t bookmark it with a promise to learn all the things. Do one! And then move on. The list will come back in some form from the Universe at large and you can pick another item. But lists come faster than days themselves and none are worth total mastery.

What then is this blog, in addition to the notes on a SysAdmin issue or a piece of software I have used, it is a Commonplace Journal. As such, both the advice and the article fit.

n.b. Don’t paste a link directly into wordpress :)

On the list

  1. I use it
  2. Back to this one in a minute
  3. Screenshots, well, I used it when it first came out but I haven’t added the screenshot button in and I do like to annotate mine, so I am still using Awesome
  4. I forget how to reopen a closed tab all the time and this list didn’t help
  5. Pocket. NO
  6. Yes
  7. I did find it just before this list and removed my old AddOn Color Picker as I like fewer AddOns.

I just used the List Block and clearly don’t have it working to my satisfaction. Can’t figure out how to do the Copy and Paste. No, I am not about to get distracted. I know it will come up again and today I learned it was there. Sometime soon I will read about it and master it.

The item on the list I picked was #2: Search for a needle in a tabstack. What I am finding super helpful is the idea of using an asterisk to search through my bookmarks. That has already integrated itself into my daily practice. Whether searching through the open tabs becomes useful I don’t know.

I learned one thing. It has made me slightly more productive and quicker and getting through my days. For now, that is enough. And writing, well, I am getting started at that as well.