Moving your Dreamwidth installation to use Github

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Note: These instructions are for dreamhacks; those running your own instances I trust that you can modify to fit.

On github, fork dreamwidth's dw-free and dw-nonfree repositories

First, create an account on Github. Then, you will need to fork these two repositories:

Go to each of their pages, and click the "Fork" button. This sets up your own copy of Dreamwidth's code which use to make and submit your changes. (NoScript has been known to cause 404 errors at this point; if you're having trouble, try temporarily turning it off.)

Here's a quick overview of how the repositories will work together:

  • dw-free is the main repository and goes into $LJHOME
  • other repositories will go into $LJHOME/ext
  • personal config files go into $LJHOME/ext/local
  • All code from dw-free ($LJHOME) and the additional repos under $LJHOME/ext are automatically live when you start your server. There's no need to run any additional syncing steps anymore.

Now it's time to set things up:

Stop the server and all workers

# note: it's okay if it says "no process found".
# That just means there was nothing to stop
killall worker-manager     

Move your old $LJHOME aside

Don't delete it! Just move it out of the way like this:

# Make sure you are in your home directory
cd ~/

This will let you access any changes you still have on the old repositories.

Set up dw-free

Replace the USERNAME sections of the URL with your Github username. This will make your repository an authenticated version that can push changes back to Github, as opposed to only being able to pull them.

# clone a copy of the repository onto your machine
cd ~/
git clone $LJHOME

# and let's make it aware of the dreamwidth repository so we can grab updates later
git remote add dreamwidth
git fetch dreamwidth
# we also want to sync up with the main branches
git branch --set-upstream develop dreamwidth/develop 

# now set up the folder for external repositories / modules
cd $LJHOME/ext

## copy over your config files, and tell them to take priority
## over config files in any of the repos
mkdir -p local/etc
echo "highest"  > local/.dir_scope
cp $LJHOME-old/etc/config* local/etc/

Set up dw-nonfree (optional)

dw-nonfree contains Dreamwidth-specific branding and code. Do this step only if you're working on changes for

cd $LJHOME/ext
git clone
cd dw-nonfree
git remote add dreamwidth
git fetch dreamwidth
git branch --set-upstream develop dreamwidth/develop 
cd ..

Run checkconfig


Additional setup for non-dreamhack users

  • install .deb packages if given by bin/
  • install any modules without .deb packages via cpan (like theSchwartz)
  • check any personal scripts you have to make sure they aren't affected by the directory config change

Update the database

Now you will want to update your database based on instructions in Dev Maintenance.

Start the server again


Moving patches or changes from hg to git

In this section, $OLDLJHOME is going to refer to wherever you moved the old dw directory. Example to use from above sections:


If you were working on one issue at a time, then for dw-free you can import your changes (to a topic branch would be best):

cd $OLDLJHOME/cvs/dw-free
hg diff > ~/dw-free-changes.patch
patch -p1 < ~/dw-free-changes.patch

And the same with dw-nonfree:

cd $OLDLJHOME/cvs/dw-nonfree
hg diff > ~/dw-nonfree-changes.patch
cd $LJHOME/ext/dw-nonfree
patch -p1 < ~/dw-nonfree-changes.patch

If you used Mercurial Queues (if you don't know what that is, you probably didn't), you can find all your patches in:

$OLDLJHOME/cvs/dw-free/.hg/patches # for dw-free patches
$OLDLJHOME/cvs/dw-nonfree/.hg/patches # for dw-nonfree patches

When you are ready to incorporate a given patch or set of related patches, make a branch in the repository you are working in (as described in Draft: Github development process).

For dw-free:

patch -p1 < $OLDLJHOME/cvs/dw-free/.hg/patches/PATCHNAME

For dw-nonfree:

cd $LJHOME/ext/dw-nonfree
patch -p1 < $OLDLJHOME/cvs/dw-nonfree/.hg/patches/PATCHNAME


You may be interested in git settings and git autocomplete to make your life easier.

If you also want to view your repositories on your computer, GitHub has versions for Windows and OSX: