Savannah Frontend Setup

This page describes the configuration needed for Savannah new frontend web server and PHP code.

In 2016, the FSF allocated new hardware for Savannah servers, kicking off the server migration efforts. The existing server (which hosts is called frontend ( The new server is currently called frontend0 (

Further reading about Savannah server:

Further reading about Savannah web frontend:

General information

Savannah web frontend (i.e. is written in PHP. It uses a MySQL database running on internal0.

The code repository is called 'savane', available at and <git://> (for developers with write-access: git clone <USER>

As of September 2016, 'savane' is not 'installed' in a standard way (e.g. 'make install'). Instead, files and settings are copied from old servers (e.g. the old VM of '' to the new VM 'frontend0'). The MySQL database is not created from scratch, but is copied from existing servers (e.g. DB on internal to internal0). The configuration files (e.g /etc/savane or the local copy in /home/foobar/projects/savane-etc) are copied from existing servers, and tweaked until they 'just work'.

The PHP code runs directly from the cloned and configured repository (i.e. if cloned into $HOME/projects/savane, Apache PHP configuration should point to $HOME/projects/savane/frontend/php/). config.status --config output may look like '--prefix=/home/user/projects/' '--sysconfdir=/home/user/etc'. The 'installation' above does not touch the PHP part. When updating translations is needed, run

cd savane/po; make savane.pot-update update-po all install git reset --hard

Generally, the production machines run the head of the master or i18n branch (see Releasing Savane).

The current production website is and is hosted on the 'old' VM (

The new production website is, and is hosted on the 'new' VM ( The PHP code is in frontend0:/usr/srv/savane. The configuration is in frontend0:/etc/savane.

Apache/PHP Configuration File Location

The environment variable SAVANE_CONF determines the location of the main PHP configuration file for savane. It could be set in Apache configurations file (frontend0:/etc/apache2/sites-available/ or in an .htaccess file (/usr/src/savane/frontend/php/.htaccess) with SetEnv SAVANE_CONF /etc/savane

The SAVANE_CONF variable is used in <savane>/frontend/php/include/init.php to read a hard-coded file named .savane.conf.php from the specified directory.

init.php also accepts a fall-back variable SV_LOCAL_INC_PREFIX, which is referenced here: sites-available/ SV_LOCAL_INC_PREFIX /etc/savane/nongnu-conf.

On current production Savannah, none of these are defined for the GNU side

The code in init.php falls back to:

 # go back to default location
 if (file_exists('/etc/savane/.savane.conf.php'))

"Site-specific" files

Several sections of the displayed HTML on the Savannah website are taken from files in frontend/site-specific/.

Savannah license list is also stored in one of those files.

Mail messages

Savannah PHP code runs under apache as www-data user. Mail messages sent to www-data (cron and email errors) are now aliased to root (