Software: Updating ownCloud

Program Note: Always read the release notes when upgrading ownCloud or any other major software package!

I use a very old, AMD, single processor, only 1 gig of RAM, machine for my ownCloud installation. I use it, because that’s what was laying around the farm unused, when I decided that ownCloud was a system I really wanted to have!

I was delighted to find my ownCloud software showing me that the update was available:

Updating ownCloud

Updating ownCloud

The system has worked very well, and when ownCloud 8 came out, of course I wanted to upgrade!  Upgrading was not without a hiccup or two, but they were all pretty easy to fix.

First thing to do of course,  is make a backup of your server! I use an external hard drive for this purpose.

My ownCloud server is running Linux Mint 13, which is based on Ubuntu 12.04. Not a problem in itself, but it meant that the repository for 12.04 didn’t have the latest PHP engine available. I was running php5.3, but ownCloud 8 requires php5.4 or later. Of course I found this out AFTER I started the upgrade. *(I did skim the upgrade notes, but not well enough!)  when I was treated to the following web page after I did the ownCloud update via the built-in update manager:

First screen after updating ownCloud

First screen after updating ownCloud

Updating to php5.5 was pretty simple however, it was just a matter of adding the correct repository to my Software Sources, and then doing the update. In my case, I added the following repository:

http://ppa.launchpad.net/ondrej/php5/ubuntu

Then did a sudo apt-get update  – followed by sudo apt-get upgrade

at which point I now had php5.5 installed on my machine.

Next it’s important to restart your web server. Do this on most Mint systems by this command:  sudo service apache2 restart

After restarting my server, ownCloud finished doing the automatic update, and then went right to a blank window. Yes folks, I had forgotten to disable my 3rd party applications!  I knew I should have done it before I started the update, but I just plum forgot.

Not a huge problem though, just open a Terminal window inside your ./var/www/owncloud/ directory, and use the ownCloud occ tool to turn off your applications manually. In my case, it was the Calendar and Contacts applications that were causing the problem.

You need to run the commands as the www-data user, hence in the examples below, I am using the -u www-data switch when running the occ php application as in these examples:

sudo -u www-data php occ app:disable calendar

sudo -u www-data php occ app:disable contacts

…and any other 3rd party application that is preventing ownCloud from running.

A quick visit to the ownCloud application page, found the ownCloud 8 versions of Calendar and Contacts for download. Then all you need to do is expand the archives and dump them right on top of the old files in the www/apps/ directory on your ownCloud server.

Restarting my server once again, found ownCloud working smoothly and happy, just as it was before I started the upgrade process.

The only other small thing I had to take care of, was that ownCloud was reporting that my php software wasn’t using the character set that is preferred. Heading over to the php.ini file, that is found in your etc/php5/apache2/ directory, it was a simple matter to uncomment the setting, as shown:

Changing the default character set for php

Changing the default character set for php

Lessons learned:

1. Always carefully read the release notes!

2. Make sure your current server meets the minimum requirements. Usually related to php and mysql versions.

3. Download any updated 3rd party applications ahead of time so you have them ready.

Even with a few hiccups, it still only took about 30 minutes to get everything happy and running again.