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WordPress and Thumbnails

I have just had a lot of trouble with Thumbnails on one of my blogs. It turned out that I had to install the package php5-gd and restart Apache before thumbnails would even be generated. The package php5-gd (or php4-gd) is “suggested” by the Debian WordPress package and it’s not a dependency, so the result of apt-get install wordpress will be that thumbnails won’t work.

I’ve filed Debian bug report 447492 [1] requesting that php5-gd be a dependency. Another slightly controversial issue is the fact that the MySQL server is not a dependency. I believe that it’s correct to suggest MySQL as the database server is commonly run on a different host and WordPress will clearly inform you if it can’t access the database.

An alternate way of solving this bug report would be to have WordPress give a warning such as “Thumbnails disabled due to lack of php-gd support” which would allow users to make requests of their sys-admins that can be easily granted.

4 comments to WordPress and Thumbnails

  • The WordPress package is basically an example of all that’s wrong with Debian’s approach to packaging web apps. The complete lack of indication that _anything_ has changed post-install is bad, as is the hacked-on support for multiple blogs per server (which the app itself wasn’t designed for), as is the actual configuration of the package post-install being dependent on manually going into its config directory and running a script. Ideally installation from apt would leave the user knowing exactly what had to be done to get the app up and running without having to scurry to the documentation.

    That said, if you’d used aptitude for the installation you’d have gotten the gd package without having to go hunting. Isn’t recommends-by-default planned for future versions of apt-get as well?

    – Chris

  • One of the things I (and maybe others) wanted to have in the descriptions (and apt,aptitude, …) is to have each recommends and suggests to include a small sentence indicting what would be gained by install package S or R. EG.:

    Package: wordpress
    Suggests: php5-gd(enables thumbnails support),…

    So that you can see this information before you install it or during an installation as opposed to only seeing afterwards in a README or similar (yes I think most DDs would say you must read READMEs anyway but I think this would help)

  • etbe

    Chris: A sys-admin can choose not to use the multiple blogs per server support. It’s good to provide options. As for manually editing the config file, that’s a fairly standard practice.

    Kevin: Good idea, is there a bug report about this?

  • Hi etbe, I have brought it up on -devel and others have made comments on it but I, at least, have not made a bug report about it. Since other folks (dpkg and related) are aware of it, I did not think I needed to add a wishlist bug. Here[0] is the start of a thread where I made such a suggestion.
    -K
    [0] http://lists.debian.org/debian-devel/2007/05/msg00598.html