Friendica 2019.03 “Dalmatian Bellflower” Released

Friendica 2019.03 “Dalmatian Bellflower” Released

A year of Friendica with The Tazmans Flax-lily. Thanks everyone who contributed, be it directly by commiting patches or new features, doing translations or reporting issues.

The Tazmans Flax-lily in a word cloud from the titles of the commit messages

And now, we happily announce the availability of Friendica 2019.03 “Dalmatian Bellflower”. It contains many bug fixes, enhancements of existing functionality and some new features. The most noteworthy changes since the last release in January are:

  • The storage backend for photos and attachments was made plug-able and an experimental file system backend was added.
  • ActivityPub support was added to the forum functionality, and got some general improvements to smooth out quirks discovered since the initial implementation.
  • The performance of the background process was enhanced.

You can find a complete overview of the changes in the CHANGELOG file.

How to Update

Updating from old Friendica versions

If you are updating from an older version then the 2018.09 release, please first update your Friendica instance to that version as there were several important changes in that version.

Please further note, that since Friendica 3.6 we use composer for dependency management. If you are updating via git, you have to remember to update the dependencies as well.

Pre-Update Procedures

Ensure that the last backup of your Friendica installation was done recently. While testing, we did not encounter problems, but better save than sorry.

With this release we raised the requirements to PHP and MySQL to PHP 7.1+, MySQL 5.6+ (or compatible alternatives e.g. MariaDB 10.0.5+). If you are still using PHP 5.6.1 we don’t expect problems, but encourage you to upgrade your PHP installation. Please make sure, that your systems meets this new requirement.

Known Problems

The performance of the background process (workers) was improved by removing a bottleneck, As a consequence the worker will consume more system resources. On the plus side, you will most likely not need aas many workers as you needed before to perform the pending jobs.

During the RC phase several admin reported high system LOADs. As a rule of thumb, you should set the Maximum number of parallel workers (plus an additional fastlane worker) and set the Maximum Load Average to the number of threads your servers CPU cores can perform. These values are not carved into stone, you can most likely further adjust the settings to increase the performance of the system.

Using GIT

Updating from the git repositories should only involve a pull from the Friendica core repository and addons repository. Remember to also update the dependencies with composer.

cd friendica
git pull
bin/composer.phar install
cd addon
git pull

If you want to switch the branch (e.g. if you helped testing the RC code) please do so after the pull using git checkout master (or develop).

Be aware that the .htaccess file was removed from the git repository in the last version. You might have to restore yours from a backup (if you have done local changes) or from the .htaccess-dist if you had not done it before.

Using the Archive Files

If you had downloaded the source files in an archive file (zip or tar.gz) please download the current version of the archive (friendica-full-2019.03.tar.gz and friendica-addons-2019.02.tar.gz) and unpack it on your local computer.

As many files got deleted or moved around, please upload the unpacked files to a new directory on your server (say friendica_new) and copy over your existing configuration and .htaccess files. Afterwards rename your current Friendica directory (e.g. friendica) to friendica_old and friendica_new to friendica.

The files of the dependencies are included in the archive (make sure you are using the friendica-full-2019.03 archive), so you don’t have to worry about them.

Please be aware of the changes in the configuration format. You should follow the instructions linked from your admin panel as soon as possible to move your configuration to the new location.

Post Update Tasks

The database update should be applied automatically, but maybe it gets stuck. If you encounter this, please initiate the DB update manually from the command line by running the script

bin/console dbstructure update

from the base of your Friendica installation. If the output contains any error message, please let us know using the channels mentioned below.

How to Contribute

If you want to contribute to the project, you don’t need to have coding experience. There are a number of tasks listed in the issue tracker with the label “Junior Jobs” we think are good for new contributors. But you are by no means limited to these – if you find a solution to a problem (even a new one) please make a pull request at github or let us know in the development forum.

Contribution to Friendica is also not limited to coding. Any contribution to the documentation, the translation or advertisement materials is welcome or reporting a problem. You don’t need to deal with git(hub) or Transifex if you don’t like to. Just get in touch with us and we will get the materials to the appropriate places.

Thanks everyone who helped making this release possible and have fun!


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