Category Archives: Debian

Installing GNU Social with SSL on Debian 7 Wheezy

Yesterday I got my instance of GNU Social up and running on a Debian 7 server and I thought to document the steps I took in order to have a functional GNU Social instance.

First make sure you have the GLAMP (GNU/Linux Apache MySQL PHP) stack installed, with php 5.5 or higher.

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Then add the following lines:

deb wheezy-php55 all
deb-src wheezy-php55 all

save and run the following:

apt-key add dotdeb.gpg

Then install the packages:

apt-get update
apt-get install apache2 php5 php5-mysql php5-gd php5-curl php5-intl mysql-server git sendmail-bin

Now it’s time to create a database and a user for our GNU Social instance.
Log in to mysql server:

mysql -u root -p

And execute the following SQL query:

GRANT ALL ON gnusocial.* to 'gnusocial' IDENTIFIED BY 'your_password_here';

Now download GNU Social and place it in /var/www/gnusocial

git clone /var/www/gnusocial

Then give the user www-data ownership to the gnusocial folder:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/gnusocial

Now let’s create an apache2 virtual host for our instance

touch /etc/apache2/sites-available/gnusocial

and edit the configuration to match our installation

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/gnusocial
<VirtualHost *:80>
  DocumentRoot /var/www/gnusocial
  DirectoryIndex index.php

And activate the php module and the site with the following commands

a2enmod php5
a2ensite gnusocial
service apache2 reload

Now you can try to access your website domain (e.g. and you will see a page that informs you that you need to make a configuration file and start the installer.
Before continuing the GNU Social installation we are going to enable fancy URLs and SSL
In order to enable Fancy URLs we have to use the provided .htaccess file

mv /var/www/gnusocial/htaccess.sample /var/www/gnusocial/.htaccess

In order to have SSL encryption we will use a Let’s Encrypt certificate generated by their automated script.
So let’s go to work.

cd ~
git clone letsencrypt
cd letsencrypt
./letsencrypt-auto --help

Now run the following command and follow on-screen wizard to install the Let’s encrypt certificates.

./letsencrypt-auto --apache

If it complains about outdated libaugeas0 and augeas-lenses you can download and install the packages from jessie (I assune you’re runing on a X86_64 installation, otherwise just find the links on :

cd ~
dpkg -i *.deb

Then run again :

./letsencrypt-auto --apache

Now after all these steps are followed you can proceed with the GNU Social installation wizard by visiting the GNU Social installation page (e.g.

After that you may want to change the theme of GNU Social to neo-quitter by adding the following line to the config.php

$config['site']['theme'] = 'neo-quitter';

If you would like to follow me on GNU Social, please do so at the following address:


How to install ownCloud server on Debian 7


ownCloud is an online file storage solution that facilitates the synchronization of your files between your computers and mobile devices.

ownCloud is similar with Dropbox, the differences are that ownCloud allows you full control of the web application by hosting and maintaining it yourself.

By installing ownCloud you will have your own file drive in the cloud which will provide storing and synchronization of files, managing your own calendar, image library and many more functionalities.

At the end of this guide you will have an ownCloud server and at least a client connected securely to the server. This setup will be ready for storing and synchronizing your files between the server and the client.


– a Debian 7 VPS
– root access to the system

Step 1 – Installing the owncloud package

In this section we will add the ownCloud repository to your apt setup and install the `owncloud` server package from that repository.

If you are not already logged in as root user now it is time to log in as root in order to perform the installation process.

Using the following command will log you in as, root user:


Change to the home directory of the root user:


Now download the release key associated with ownCloud software:


Then add the key to apt so it can validate the downloaded files:

apt-key add - > Release.key

After we added the release key we remove it from our home directory.

rm Release.key

Now we add the ownCloud repository to our sources.list.d configuration files.

echo 'deb /' &gt;&gt; /etc/apt/sources.list.d/owncloud.list

At this point a refresh of the apt sources is needed. So we will refresh the repositories using the following command:

apt-get update

Now we are ready to install `owncloud` by typing:

apt-get install owncloud

This command will trigger the installation of `owncloud` and its requirements. If you are on a fresh VPS among the packages installed are the Apache2 web server and the MySQL database server.
So ahead and accept the installation of those packages by typing “Y” and hit Enter.

Step 2 – Setting up the database

This section will describe the process of setting up the database from installation to a ready-to-use state.

During the installation of owncloud package we will be prompted for a MySQL root user password. Type in a new password for the mysql root user and hit Enter then repeat the password and hit Enter again.

After the installation is done we need to create a database for ownCloud.

We will first create an user named “owncloud” that will be used to connect to the Owncloud database. It is recommended to avoid using the root user for connecting to the database.

So first we log in to the mysql console:

mysql -p

Now we type the MySQL root password which we’ve set up earlier.

At this point we will create the database:


Next we will create the “owncloud” database user and give the user all rights for the “owncloud” database.

GRANT ALL ON owncloud.* TO owncloud@localhost IDENTIFIED BY 'yourpassword';

Next we exit the mysql prompt


Step 3 – Setting up ownCloud

Now, if we open a browser and navigate to our IP address or domain name followed by “/owncloud” in your browser, we will see a page that looks like this:

Fill in the credentials for our ownCloud admin user then choose “Storage & database”, leave the “Data folder” at it’s default value. From the “Configure the database” section choose “MySQL/MariaDB” and fill in with MySQL credentials.

Database user: owncloud
Database password: yourpassword
Database name: owncloud
Database host: localhost

Then click “Finish setup”

Securing the connection to ownCloud

We are going to create and sign an SSL certificate for the Apache2 server so we can use ownCloud securely.

First we are going to enable SSL module in Apache2.

a2enmod ssl

Debian already comes with a self signed SSL certificate so we do not need to create a new one.
We just need to enable de default configuration with the following command:

a2ensite default-ssl

then restart the apache2 server so that the changes will take effect

service apache2 restart

Enabling tapping for Synaptics in debian

As some might already have notice, debian and debian flavors doesn’t usually come with
tapping support out of the box, and us, laptop linux users are left out with a primitive
way of using our touchpad.
Here is a quick trick that enables tapping and right click simulation by tapping in the
right corner of your Synaptics touchpad.
Open with your favorite text editor the following file: /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-
To enable tapping, add the following line just before the “EndSection” of your default
Synaptic configuration:
Option “TapButton1” “1”
To enable right click simulation add:
Option “RBCornerButton” “3”
In the comments of this file you might notice that this file might be overwritten and you
should make a copy of it in /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d ; I recommend to do so, with: cp
/usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-synaptics.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d/50-
Note: you might need to create the /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d dicrectory with mkdir
For the record, my file contains the following lines:
# Example xorg.conf.d snippet that assigns the touchpad driver
# to all touchpads. See xorg.conf.d(5) for more information on
# InputClass.
# DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE, your distribution will likely overwrite
# it when updating. Copy (and rename) this file into
# /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d first.
# Additional options may be added in the form of
# Option “OptionName” “value”
Section “InputClass”
Identifier “touchpad catchall”
Driver “synaptics”
MatchIsTouchpad “on”
Option “TapButton1” “1”
Option “RBCornerButton” “3”
# This option is recommend on all Linux systems using evdev, but cannot be
# enabled by default. See the following link for details:
MatchDevicePath “/dev/input/event*”
Section “InputClass”
Identifier “touchpad ignore duplicates”
MatchIsTouchpad “on”
MatchOS “Linux”
MatchDevicePath “/dev/input/mouse*”
Option “Ignore” “on”