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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Fri, 04 Mar 2011

More blogging systems - with Debian as a guide

Blosxom, PyBlosxom, Nanoblogger — hell, even WordPress and Movable Type are available as Debian packages.

I wondered, was I missing other blogging platforms, both flat-file and database-driven?

I went to Debian’s web software archive and took a look.

For the links below, I’m giving project web sites; all of these are in Debian, so you can either look at the packages here, or install them on your Debian box with your favorite package-management tool.

Descriptions are from the project web sites:


BlazeBlogger is a simple-to-use but capable CMS for the command line that produces static content without the need of database servers or server side scripting. It is suitable for a wide variety of web presentations, from a personal weblog to a project page, or even a company website.

Blosxom (also here)

Blosxom (pronounced “blossom”) is a lightweight yet feature-packed weblog application designed from the ground up with simplicity, usability, and interoperability in mind.


Blogging–and, indeed, any online publishing– should be as simple as typing away in your favourite text editor and hitting Save. Fundamental is Blosxom’s reliance upon the file system, folders and files as its content database. Entries are plain text files like any other.


Create, edit, rename, and delete entries on the command-line, via FTP, WebDAV, or anything else you might use to manipulate your files. There’s no import or export; entries are nothing more complex than title on the first line, body being everything thereafter.


Despite its tiny footprint, Blosxom doesn’t skimp on features, sporting the lion’s share of features one would find in any other Weblog application or full-blown content management and publishing system.

Blosxom’s colophon

Blosxom is simple, straightforward, minimalist Perl affording even the dabbler an opportunity for experimentation and customization.

And last, but not least, Blosxom is Open Source and free for the taking and altering.


Chronicle is a simple blog compiler, written in Perl with minimal dependencies.

A blog compiler is something which will convert a collection of input files into a static tree of HTML and RSS files.

These can then be published online giving your viewers the ability to browse a themed blog containing:

  • Archives of your prior posts.
  • Tag-based archives of your prior posts.
  • RSS Feeds.

Because the generated site is entirely static it can be served with minimal overhead, and won’t cause your server load to rise if you receive thousands of visitors.

Despite being static you can still allow users to leave comments upon your posts; they will just remain “pending” until you next rebuild your blog.


Hobix is written in Ruby and all the scripting you’ll do will be in Ruby. But, Ruby is pretty simple, so that’s why I said you had to be adventurous but I didn’t say too sly. Ruby’s a pretty language and you’ll go for it.

Basically there are three parts to using Ruby to build a blahhg:

..in the HTML used to build your blahhg, you’ll use Ruby to get all the dates and titles and stuff for your news entries (some thing). ..to make your own plugins.

..to build scripts for doing other fancy stuff with your blahhg. (There’s Ruby hooks for generating the site, adding entries, etc.)


Mahara is an open source e-portfolio system with a flexible display framework. Mahara, meaning ‘think’ or ‘thought’ in Te Reo Māori, is user centred environment with a permissions framework that enables different views of an e-portfolio to be easily managed. Mahara also features a weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online learner communities.

Movable Type

Your All-in-One Social Publishing Platform

Create beautiful websites and blogs

A simple and powerful content management system

Build a vibrant social network


NanoBlogger is a small weblog engine written in Bash for the command line. It uses common UNIX tools such as cat, grep, and sed to create static HTML content. It’s free to use and modify under the GNU General Public License.


PyBlosxom is a lightweight file-based weblog system. The project started as a Python clone of Blosxom but has since evolved into a beast of its own. PyBlosxom focuses on three things: simplicity, extensibility, and community.


Serendipity is a PHP-powered weblog application which gives the user an easy way to maintain an online diary, weblog or even a complete homepage. While the default package is designed for the casual blogger, Serendipity offers a flexible, expandable and easy-to-use framework with the power for professional applications.

Programmers and other technical users commend Serendipity for its fast, stable, clean PHP code. While beginners can learn from Serendipity, advanced programmers can easily make complex modifications. Serendipity is programmed in PHP, long recognized for its ideal blend of power, simplicity, and speed. Serendipity’s BSD licensing ensures that programmers around the world can learn from it and improve it.

Users of other blogging/CMS applications are already switching to Serendipity, thanks to its easy customization and outstanding support. Corporate users are taking advantage of Serendipity’s unparalleled flexibility to set up fast, simple CMS sites.


tDiary is a comment-oriented diary system written in ruby. It is not just a blog. Its comment feature (”tsukkomi” in Japanese) makes it a powerful communication tool. You can write your diary in any UTF-8 languages.


WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPLv2 (or later). It is the official successor of b2/cafelog. WordPress is fresh software, but its roots and development go back to 2001. It is a mature and stable product. We hope by focusing on user experience and web standards we can create a tool different from anything else out there.

Curiously (or not) there are no Debian packages in the archive for Ode and FlatPress. Not that it’s too hard to install them, but it’s nice to be able to roll a server and have Apache, PHP and other dependencies taken care of.

Comments from the FlatPress version of this post

Curt Howland Friday, March 4, 2011 - 23:53:04

Doesn’t this remind you of those commercials where the tag line is “It’s In There.”

Debian. Yeah, we’ve got that.

steven Saturday, March 5, 2011 - 00:37:33

It’s amazing that Debian has so much in the repositories. There was a time when I wanted to run CentOS, but there’s not nearly as many desktop packages as you’d want to have, and the outside repos are there but mostly outdated.

Red Hat/Fedora’s EPEL repo really doesn’t do much. I was surprised how little is in there for desktop users.

Slackware is great if you like what’s in the default. But getting extra packages, again, is hit and miss. There are Slackbuilds, to be sure, which do help a great deal. And Salix has added a whole lot of packages.

But I like the seriousness of Debian in creating and maintaining these packages. The quality really says something to me.

I’ll be honest with you, I used Fedora for awhile in part because I see the extremely high commitment to quality in the packaging, and there’s an awful lot there for users. It’s a tremendous resource, as is Debian.

I had trouble with video and sound for awhile in Fedora, so I came back to Debian, where everything is working so well.

But I don’t hesitate to recommend Fedora or Debian. They’re both towering achievements, to borrow a cliché.

Certainly if you’re setting up a server and you want to do it quickly, having these packages in Debian makes it easy to get going.

BK Sunday, March 6, 2011 - 12:17:19

PPLOG is a flat-file blog, a single small PERL script.

This URL shows PPLOG in action:


It is included by default in most releases of Puppy Linux, as it makes a great personal blog.

Here is the PET package (.pet is Puppy Linux packages):


… but it is effectively a tarball and you can expand it into directory ‘pplog-1.1.2-2′ by:

tar -zxf pplog-1.1.2-2.pet

steven Monday, March 7, 2011 - 19:46:58

Thanks for the info. I totally forgot about PPLOG. I’m actually going to start using Puppy again (either Quirky or Wary) on an old, old laptop.

I wrote about PPLOG here: http://debian.stevenrosenberg.net/index.php/2011/03/07/pplog-a-flat-file-puppy-friendly-blogging-system-written-in-perl/