Trac FastCGI Problems

I solved the locked out Trac admin problem by creating a second admin using the command line trac-admin tool, and then logged in as that admin to delete the broken admin account (it is weird that admin can not edit accounts in Trac, only delete them). I then recreated the original admin, and as I had set up outgoing email even that worked. After I confirmed everything was working I nuked the temporary admin.

I was able to get a pretty good improvement in performance by symlinking the trac/htdocs/common into my site’s chrome/common. Initial wait was still long, but all pages I tried seemed to be served under a second, compared to some taking over 20 seconds before this operation. Usable for me only although the initial wait was long, but would probably not be usable with a group of people hammering the server.

Next I looked at FastCGI. The documentation claims it should be as simple as changing index.cgi references in .htaccess to index.fcgi, which in turn differs from index.cgi only by calling trac.fcgi instead of trac.cgi. trac.fcgi seems to be invoking a variant of Allan Saddi’s fcgi module. But try as I might, I was only getting 500 internal errors with the log not being very helpful:

[Wed Jul 16 21:55:31 2008] [error] [client ...] FastCGI: comm with (dynamic) server ".../index.fcgi" aborted: (first read) idle timeout (60 sec)
[Wed Jul 16 21:55:31 2008] [error] [client ...] FastCGI: incomplete headers (0 bytes) received from server ".../index.fcgi"

I also didn’t see any *.fcgi processes, like I see with my site.

I thought maybe this was an instance where I would need to file a support ticket to see if raising Apache2 Softlimit would help, but suddenly FastCGI started working. As far as I know, I didn’t touch anything that should have made a change in this, so I am still quite clueless to what happened.

The final point about the Trac installation which I was happy to note was that my paths are pretty out of the box (no index.fcgi in the path), so I don’t need to resort to any of the path hacks mentioned in various guides on how to install Trac on Dreamhost.

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