Month: September 2019

phpBB 3.2.x Update Tip

So, did you update a phpBB board to the latest version and find yourself facing blank white pages after it showed a successful update process? Did performing a full restore (files and DB) confirm that the board still works fine when using the old version?

You might think to manually clear the board cache directory, but one of the best things you can do is disable all extensions before you perform the update. I confirmed that a board running phpBB 3.2.3 was able to successfully update one version point at a time up to 3.2.6 – where it met the blank page ordeal. This was done after seeing the issue after using the 3.2.3 to 3.2.7 single update package initially.

After disabling all extensions, running the single update from 3.2.3 to 3.2.7 worked fine. Best of all, I was able to re-enable all of the most important extensions without issue. The other 10-20 or so (I didn’t count) I just did away with. I’m unsure if activating extensions one at a time would have eventually revealed the blank page issue again, so I can’t say if reactivating all of the extensions would have been possible.

It is also possible that updating all extensions before updating phpBB itself might avoid the problem, as well, but I get the impression that removing the extensions from the picture altogether provides the best likelihood of the update going smoothly. I just wish the phpBB extension management page had a way to check-box multiple plugins and (de)activate them all simultaneously.

Linux Mint 19.x: Cinnamon and AMD Graphics

If you’re just now updating to a new Linux distro running the latest Cinnamon DE and you have AMD graphics rendering, you may be running into some problems. This seems to be particularly common among those with older AMD graphics.

I have an R9 290X in my machine, and after initial testing and booting into Linux Mint 19.2, everything appeared fine. However, after running updates and rebooting, I was introduced to a Cinnamon has crashed and is running in fallback mode. Do you wish to restart Cinnamon? That is paraphrasing, as I did not screenshot the error and don’t remember it word-for-word any longer, but you’ll know exactly what error pop-up I’m referring to if you’re seeing it, as well.

At first, I thought it might be an issue with Cinnamon itself, and started searching for indications that I should restore the system backup I did before updating. But then I started seeing signs of the graphics rendering being the issue. Some forum threads had members suggesting that hardware others were using may no longer be capable of running Cinnamon any longer, but I could not see my R9 card being unable to run Cinnamon, so I decided to log out and start Cinnamon using software rendering instead. This allowed Cinnamon to run fine, so it told me the issue was definitely with my hardware.

Since hardware support is typically located at the kernel in Linux, I started looking at trying different kernels. I reverted back to the previous kernel used prior to the system update with no success, then moved to test out the newest kernel versions in 5.x branch with no success. The last thing I could do at this point was hope for some way to get drivers that would support my system. The solution was AMD’s proprietary drivers located here. Following the instructions of extracting the tar.gz and running the amdgpu-pro-install script, everything went smoothly and a reboot had my system working as expected with hardware rendering.

The instructions for installing the drivers was straight-forward as laid out by AMD in the documentation.

I hope this helps someone.