by March 7, 2006 0 comments

The online forums of PCQuest at
use phpBB — an easy to setup, web based forum. PCQLinux 2006 bundles this
package and in this article we go though setting it up.

Note: PCQLinux team has modified the original phpBB
package to include the attachment mod — a patch which allows one to upload
files to the forum.

The PCQuest forum has been created using phpbb. Tghe details as to how it has been set up, are discussed in detail under Set up forum permissions section

During the PCQLinux installation, on the package selection screen, make sure
that you select the Servers>Web Server and PCQLinux Specials>


. Additionally, click on  ‘Details’ besides Web Server and select the
package named php-mysql.

Besides these RPMs, you will also need to install MySQL
database server. Refer to the article ‘Organize, Manage and Publish Web
content with Joomla’ to install and setup MySQL.

We need to create a database named forums(say) in MySQL.
Create the database by issuing the following:

mysqladmin -u root -p create

When prompted, supply the password that you had setup for
the root MySQL user. Next issue:

mysql -u root -p

After supplying the MySQL’s root password, you will be
shown a mysql prompt. At this prompt, issue the following:

grant all on forums.* to
phpbbuser@localhost identified by ‘secret’

The above statement creates a user named phpBBuser 
with access to the phpBB database. Substitute secret with your preferred
password.  Next we come to setting up phpPBB. Start Apache web server by
issuing ‘service httpd start’. Launch a web browser (Firefox or Konqueror) and
key in the URL http://localhost/forums

For database type select Mysql 4.x/5.x. For database name,
type in forums. For database username and password, type in phpBBuser and secret
respectively. Click on ‘Start Install’ button and on the subsequent page, click
on ‘Finish Installation’ button. Change to the directory /var/www/html/forums
and delete the directories named install and contrib. Again launch the URL
http://localhost/forums in the web browser and you should be greeted by the
phpBB forum.

The phpbb administration interface, from where you can define the structure of your forum

Set it the forums
In the ‘Log in’ section, type in admin and the corresponding password
(specified earlier for phpBB admin user)  and click on Log in button. On
the subsequent page, click on ‘Go to Administration Panel’ link at the bottom.
After specifying the username and password again (re-authentication for added
security) you will be shown the administration panel for phpBB. From here you
can setup and configure all aspects of the forum. Under the section ‘General
Admin’ (on the left), click on Configuration. Here you may like to change the
site name and description from the default. 

Create the forums
The way the forums are created in phpBB is, first create a category and
under each category you can create one or more forums. Referring to
forums.pcquest .com, ‘pcqlinux’ is a category and ‘All about PCQLinux 2004’ and
‘PCQLinux 2005’ are the forums setup under the this category. This facility
allows us to logically club more than one forum having similar discussions.
Click on Forum Admin> Management and go ahead with creating categories and
forums as per your requirement. You may like to delete the test category which
is there by default.

Set up forum permissions
PCQuest forums have been setup in such a way that:

  • Non registered users can view all posts and reply, but
    cannot post.

  • Only registered users can post messages, besides
    viewing, replying and editing (their own posts).

  • Only a moderator can delete posts and post polls
    (voting facility).

  • Only admin can post a sticky (always on top) message.

  • Only admin can upload files.

To setup this kind of permissions, click on Forum
Admin>Permissions. Select a forum from the drop down and click on ‘Look up
Forum’. On the subsequent page, click on Advanced Mode.  Select REG, from
the dropdown, for Post and Edit.  Select MOD for Delete and Poll Create.
Select ADMIN for Sticky and Post Files. Click on Submit.

Create moderators
A moderator is supposed to have privileged access to the forums assigned to
him. To create a moderator we first need to add a user who will be made a
moderator subsequently. For this, goto http://localhost/forums/ and click on Log
out [admin]. Then click on Register on the subsequent page. Click on the
hyperlink to agree to the agreement terms. On the following page, fill in the
username (say shekhar), password and other details. After a successful user
creation, click on the Log In. Login again as admin and goto the administration
panel (as explained before). Click on User Admin>Permissions. Fill in shekhar
in the text field and click on Look up User. On the subsequent page, select Is
Moderator from the drop down against one or more forums. Click on Submit to
designate shekhar as the moderator of the forum(s).  We are through with
setting up an usable forum. Users can register with the forums by browsing the
URL http:/// forums and clicking on
the register link. You can expose the Linux machine to the Internet and have an
audience across the Internet-like the PCQuest forums. Watch out http://www.phpbb.
com/mods/ for more on phpBB.

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