Friendica 2020.09 Released

We are happy to announce the availability of Friendica Red Hot Poker 2020.09, wrapping up the work over the summer. It bundles some exciting new features and enhancements with numerous fixes along the way.

This release is composed of 230 pull requests to the development branch, that close 65 numbered tickets and enhanced several aspects of Friendica and the communication with other projects within the Fediverse. For a full reference, please have a look at the CHANGELOG file, some important things are worth highlighting them here:

  • The speed of the full text search was enhanced significantly. If you had disabled it before, please check it out now and let us know if it works now for you as we are considering to remove the option to disable it in a future release.
  • The themes got some updates. Among other things the way how a re-share is displayed. If you like the old display style better you’ll find an option in the user settings to switch back.
  • Some time ago we did a user voting about which additional features should be handled in a unified way on all Friendica instances. The last of these items are not reworked. One of these is, that all public calendar entries are now available as iCAL file from your profile.
  • Friendica is now supporting Activity Pub relay server. For more information please have a look at this forum thread

Additionally this release contains a fix for a problem that Roger Meyer discovered in the processing of Activity Pub messages. We encurage all Friendica admins to update their nodes to the 2020.09 release to prevent problems arising from this. Thanks to Roger to report the issue!

If you are using PHP version 7.0 there is currently a problem with one of the dependencies of Friendica. Please see this forum thread for more information.

Wordcloud of the commit titles from the 2020.09 release
A wordcloud generated from the titles fo the commit messages merged during the development cycle of Friendica 2020.09

How to Update

Updating from old Friendica versions

If you are updating from an older version than the 2020.03 release, please first update your Friendica instance to that version.

Pre-Update Procedures

Ensure that the last backup of your Friendica installation was done recently. We had no problems reported during the upgrade process from 2020.07 to the 2020.09 release candidate, so hopefully you will have a smooth transition.

Please make sure to use Barracuda as MySQL DB file format for your Friendica database. Change your database settings before you proceed with the Friendica update. This change will take some time depending on the size of your database.

Using Git

Important: We are removing the master branch and are using the stable branch instead.

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

cd friendica
git fetch
git checkout BRANCH
bin/composer.phar install --no-dev
cd addon
git fetch
git checkout BRANCH

Where BRANCH is either the new stable branch or the develop branch, depending which version of Friendica you want to use. The old master branch will not receive any updates and will be removed soon.

Pulling in the dependencies with composer will show some deprecation warning, we will be working on that in the upcoming release.

Using the Archive Files

If you had downloaded the source files in an archive file (tar.gz) please download the current version of the archive (friendica-full-2020.09.tar.gz and friendica-addons 2020.09.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 (config/local.config.php and config/addon.config.php) 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-2020.09 archive), so you don’t have to worry about them.

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.

Please note, that some of the changes to the database structure will take some time to be applied, depending on the size of your Friendica database.

Known Issues

If you are using lighttpd to serve your Friendica node the boolean AND operator for the full text search seems not to be working at the moment.

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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