Comparison of Wiki software

I am working out a Wiki page for a small sized group of users of a supercomputer at the UPV/EHU.

You might find this comparison useful.

My impressions so far:


See more comprehensive HowTo at this more recent post

To install it, create a directory for it (e.g., in your /home), then copy some files to it (after installing the python-moinmoin and moinmoin-common packages, in Debian):

mkdir my_moinmoin_dir
cp /usr/share/moin/config/ my_moinmoin_dir
cp /usr/share/moin/server/ my_moinmoin_dir
cp /etc/moin/ my_moinmoin_dir

Then, edit the files (mainly, and run my_moinmoin_dir/ to start up the server.

If you want to make a single Wiki (not a "farm"), then remove (or better, just rename) the file /etc/moin/ (so that it is not read).

This one was easy to install, but has a "small" drawback: the CamelCase internal links. How freaking silly is that? First off, it makes writing CamelCase words that are not links impossible. Second, how can one make a link that displays a text X, but points to page Y?. If only CamelCase generates links, ThisText will link to the page called ThisText. This means that there is no way to put a custom string as link, pointing to a custom page. This is frustrating at the very least. Third, how does one make a one-word link?

These three concerns are taken care of, fortunately. A custom string (not CamelCase) can be used as link like that:

["Custom string here"] (links to page called Custom string here")

The text of the link can differ from the title of the refered page like this:

[:The Refered:The Text] (displays "The Text", while pointing to page "The Refered")

I found out about this workaround after I started to write this page, so sue me for complaining.

It is also problematic (for a dumbass like me) to make the Wiki accesible to machines other than localhost. That is, over the Intra- or Internet. I'm working on in.


Pros: it is very simple. It is a breeze to install and run. Under Debian, just aptitude install didiwiki, then run didiwiki -p 8080, open a web browser, and put http://localhost:8080 at the location bar. The default port is 8000 (if you run just didiwiki), but for me it fails. The -p can be used to attach DidiWiki to any port.

Contras: it is very simple. Editing is very easy, but... there is no preview! Is there a way to hack a preview into it? I do not know, and the project having made no progress since 2004 smells like there will never be such an upgrade.

More important: there is no "history" of the edits into a page. You can see a list of "recently edited pages", but no such a list for each single page, or a diff between to arbitrary versions, or reversion capabilities.

On the brigth side, it is immediate to access the Wiki from any other computer... I just don't know if this is a feature or a security hole :^)


To install under Debian, do aptitude install dokuwiki, answer the questions it makes, then run dpkg-reconfigure dokuwiki to see if it asks for some more options (e.g. if Wiki will be accesible from localhost, a subnet, or the whole Internet, or what directory to put it under). Then, restart the web server (if you are running Apache2: /etc/inid.d/apache2 restart), and you are done! Now, simply point your broser to http://localhost/dokuwiki/, and you can start using it (replace dokuwiki/ with whatever dir you chose when configuring, if you changed the default).

At first sight is looks good. However, it keeps giving me errors when saving a page. The page gets full of the following:

Warning: preg_match() [function.preg-match]: Compilation failed: repeated subpattern is too long at offset 17093 in /usr/share/dokuwiki/inc/common.php on line 391

It actually saves the page... but the error is annoying at least, dangerous at worst. I suppose I could try to read the source code and fix it (it is PHP, and I have spotted the line with the error... hehehe, line 391, that is), but I do not have the programing skills, I fear.

I'll give it a try...

Okay, I might have corrected the first bug of a FLOSS program in my life: the 391th line giving an error reads:

if( preg_match('#('.join('|',$re).')#si',$TEXT, $match=array()) ) {

I read the PHP manual for preg_match, and found out that this function chokes for long strings. They say that you can use substr instead, if you are only using the function to find out if some substring exists inside some string (substr is faster and more efficient than preg_match). So I commented out the line above, and wrote instead:

/*if( preg_match('#('.join('|',$re).')#si',$TEXT, $match=array()) ) {*/
if( strpos('#('.join('|',$re).')#si',$TEXT, $match=array()) ) {

Now it works (or pretend it does) like a charm!! UPDATE: the above is rubbish :^( Find a better solution at the DokuWiki bugtracker.

Appart from that, DokuWiki seems to have a decent page edit history, and you can compare different versions with the current one. Pity it doesn't seem to be possible to compare different old edits between them, as it is with MediaWiki (the engine behind Wikipedia). DokuWiki also looks a bit ugly, but I guess one can correct that with CSS, skins or whatever.

It also looks more difficult to configure than MoinMoin, for example I do not see an easy way to create users. Probably I should just RTFM, as there must be an easy explanation for all that... but I'm too lazy, and MoinMoin is more intuitive on this account (and looks prettier).


It goes under the name ewiki, as a Debian package. However, when I tried to install it, it requested PHP4 (I have PHP5 installed), so I refused to downgrade my PHP and ewiki would not install.


It needs to run as a Perl cgi module. After installing, add the following to your /etc/apache2/apache2.conf:

ScriptAlias /kwiki/ /var/www/kwiki/

Options +ExecCGI

The ScriptAlias makes the browser go to /var/www/kwiki/ when pointed to /kwiki. The Directory block lets Apache execute scripts in that dir.

One then needs to install modules, from CPAN.

All in all, not too easy, a bit annoying, and a bit buggy. Didn't work well for me.


Time to give the engine behind Wikipedia itself a try. Probably it is a big overkill for my needs, but what the heck...

First: it is a breeze to install under Debian. First, aptitude install mediawiki, which will automatically install mediawiki1.7, php5-cli and php5-mysql, plus PHP5 and MySQL, if you don't have them installed. It is also suggested to install memcached.

After aptitude installation, steer your browser to http://localhost/mediawiki/config/index.php (as the README.Debian.gz file says), and fill the required data. After everything is correctly set, copy the Settings file to its final location (also said in the README):

cp /var/lib/mediawiki1.7/config/LocalSettings.php /etc/mediawiki1.7/

URL beautification HowTo

Following instructions at the WikiMedia site.

The default MediaWiki URL is:

This could be rewriten as:

To achieve that, add the following to /etc/apache2/httpd.conf:

AcceptPathInfo On

#These must come last, and in this order!
Alias /wiki /usr/share/mediawiki1.7/index.php
Alias /index.php /usr/share/mediawiki1.7/index.php

Then the following to /var/lib/mediawiki1.7/LocalSettings.php:

$wgScriptPath = "/mediawiki";
$wgArticlePath = "/wiki/$1";

Then enable the rewrite PHP module, and reload Apache:

ln -s /etc/apache2/mods-available/rewrite.load /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/rewrite.load
/etc/init.d/apache2 reload

Now just point your broser to http://localhost/wiki/, and you are done.

One thought on “Comparison of Wiki software

  1. Pingback: Comparison of Wiki software « handyfloss

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