Matthew Hutchinson

Multiple SVN users on Dreamhost

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I recently recieved an email from Jonathan Arthur of OpenWebDesign, asking how I had managed to setup Subversion on Dreamhost with multiple SVN users. The Dreamhost SVN wiki page goes some way to explain the process, but heres what I did (with success);

The process is a little tricky, due to folder permissions and the way dreamhost sets up users and groups.

This mini-guide assumes you already have one repository setup and are able to access it with a single subversion user – as described in the dh SVN wiki page

To start, create new users (with shell accounts) to your server; I created ones with usernames like mattsvn etc. Do this in your dh web control panel, under Users→manage users→Add New User. Each of these users will get their own home directory on the dreamhost box.

Now (still in the web panel) create a new group; (Users→Groups→Add New Custom Group) call it something like devteamsvn – and add all your new svn users into this group (also add the user you already had svn working for)

Next – follow dreamhost’s instructions to create ssh public/private keys for each of these users in turn. (doing this in each of the users new home directories)

Take a note of all the passphrases you use – and also keep the public session keys you generate for each user – So they can be handed out for use with “Putty Pageant”: later.

Now, terminal into your dh box (as the orginal ssh user who created the repository to begin with) and change the group ownership (recursively) on the subversion repository folder; ie.

chgrp devteamsvn -R ~/path/to/your/svn/repository

And make sure that this group has full read/write/execute access to all files inside here with;

chmod 775 -R ~/path/to/your/svn/repository

Also – if you have a live web accessible folder online that you want everyone to be able to checkout into; you’ll need to change the group there as well;

chgrp devteamsvn -R ~/path/to/your/web/folder/you/plan/to/checkout/to
chmod 775 -R ~/path/to/your/web/folder/you/plan/to/checkout/to

Your now ready to try it all; Use Putty / Tortoise SVN and Putty Pageant with one of the new users details – Try connecting to the repository and committing a simple change or add.

For this user to checkout/update from the repository on the dreamhost to the dreamhost web folder – simply terminal into the dreamhost box using the new svn users details and run the command;

svn up /home/orginal_ssh_users_name/path/to/your/web/folder/you/checkout/to
April 24, 2006 05:56 by

Prepping for a MacBook Pro

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Last week I finally gave in and placed an order for a new 2Ghz MacBook Pro. Being a PC user all my life, this will be my first switch to working on a Mac environment. I chose the MacBook Pro for 3 main reasons;

  • to test websites and work in a mac environment
  • for portability (I currently don’t own a laptop)
  • performance-wise it seems like it will have enough longevity to last me at least 3 years

Gearing up for this monumentous event, Ive been collecting bookmarks of Mac tips and tools I hope will be useful;

And for people switching from Windows to a Mac, or for those trying Bootcamp (Windows on an Intel Mac)

April 18, 2006 09:16 by

Taking sides in the enterprise argument

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Debate is raging across the web against the Enterprise App, what it stands for, what Enterprise even means and how can companies justify huge complicated projects and budgets on what are essentially the simplest of tasks. Here are some excellent conuterpoints;

From which I quote …

We work in environments where IT budgets are in the tens of millions, and in a number of cases, hundreds of millions of dollars.

Response from Chris,

This is laughable. Huge budgets are usually indicative of run-away architecture and absurd turf-wars and protectionism, not actual success. Most IT budgets I’ve been around could be shaved 30-70% by the judicious use of the word “no”, and the refusal to accept stock answers from astronauts and certification-wielding automatons.

For example, I watched a large government agency—who asked me to do an analysis of mail requirements for an organization of several hundred thousand users—choose the absolute worst option because it was the “industry standard”. It cost 14x more than the lowest cost in simple capital, and had a on-going support run-rate that was approximately 5-6x anything else. The defense was that it was what the “industry” had chosen. The reality is, it was chosen because budgets equal power, and people equal promotions.

Shameless Bragging

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Jamie at Front has kindly informed me that PaperJam, a Flash website I built last year at Front, has recently been featured in the new Taschen Flash Sites book.

PaperJam (based in Belfast), do some amazing design work, which you can check out at the site – Note this book does not ‘glow white’ when opened, as the photo depicts.

April 15, 2006 07:57 by

Minty Fresh

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Ive recently added Shaun Inman’s excellent (PHP/MySQL based) stats analyser Mint, providing me with a very fresh look at my site – By adding the GeoMint Pepper (plugin) I can now see where all you visitors are actually coming from (roughly).

It was all incredibly easy to install – 25mins from actually buying the thing I had it up and running with a bunch of peppers.

If you’re interested in listening about how the development of Mint encourages good API development listen to Shaun’s presentation at the Carson Workshops Conference earlier this year.

April 15, 2006 06:21 by

Upgrading to Rails 1.1

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While it may be considered good news that Dreamhost has upgraded their Rails distribution to 1.1 – it is causing a large number of problems with existing rails apps. There are reports of this happening across the web (Dreamhost, Textdrive etc.) as hosting providers install the new framework.

On a plus note Rails 1.1 looks promising and coupled with a new release of RadRails it should be a joy to work with.

March 29, 2006 08:38 by

Slowness, and back to Scribbish ...

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Isnt this better ? Ive had my fun configuring Typo and playing around with its template engine. Its been a great introduction to Ruby; Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that Typo – (although an excellent blogging application) – doesnt run with stability (or speed) on Dreamhost

Its fine locally on my machine and even throttling it through my debian box. But the Apache FCGI performance on here is lacking with Typo, perhaps because its a shared server – or the way Typo caches. Im not sure. If anyone else has experienced this or knows of ways to speed up Typo on Dreamhost – let me know. — edit.. ive stumbled upon this, which might help.

Also – since I didnt spend that long on my theme, I dont really mind ditching it for this one until I can dedicate some real time to it.

March 10, 2006 12:54 by

Holy miss-timed photo snaps Batman !

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In probably the worst celebrity photo of all time, I managed to catch George Clooney coming out of the The Dorchester before heading to the 2006 Bafta awards last night, when some idiot Batman fan thrusts a photo in to get it signed right in front of me.


February 20, 2006 02:33 by



After weeks of dilberating and few hours of work, Ive managed to finish building a new Typo theme for this site. Ive left announcing it here until now, because im still not happy with it. Part of me wants to remove all images (header, icon etc.) and go for something plainer and quicker. So i’ll probably do that – I actually prefer the look of the footer to the header which is really just a grungy placeholder image for now.

Theres a little bit of AJAX and some moo.fx in the sidebar now – which should speed loading times up a little on the homepage which used to use the rather heavier scriptaculous – and all entries and comments are now using Textile (instead of Markdown)

February 17, 2006 04:02 by

Fun with Banks

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I’m not really one to rant, but my efforts over the last month or so, opening a new business bank account, have not gone as smoothly as they could have. Some of the highlights of my experience include;

Being told one thing on the phone about providing the appropriate identification and proof of address – only to arrive with these documents and then be told that a utility bill is all that is required. Which is easier said than done when you’ve just moved to London and only been there 2 days.

On arriving at the bank, suited and booted ready to talk about my business plan and company, a serious question arises? Since the company was registered in N. Ireland – was N. Ireland part of the UK? even if it is – can the bank open a business account for a company that isn’t on the mainland ?

It turns out that in order to resolve these issues; the bank must make a call to their support centre in India. That’s right, India… Only after the helpful call agent had questioned us on whether N. Ireland was/wasn’t on the UN. sanctioned countries list – with Syria, Iraq and N. Korea – could we proceed.

Days pass as I wait for a utility bill to prove my new house address in London, weeks go by, and nothing can be done with the account. I finally get it and send it to them and what happens? They open the account, cheque book, debit card, pin etc. and mail it all in several different packs to Companies House in Belfast, N. Ireland ! Thanks to the postal strike in Belfast they were not able to forward anything back to me, or even confirm they had all the letters. Solution – cancel everything and send to the correct address in London.

Well the rant is over, I’ll not go naming and shaming here, but the Bank under scrutiny is a well know high street firm.

February 17, 2006 03:47 by
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