MIT SIPB Script Services for Athena Fedora 30 transition

WARNING: Fedora 30 is in ALPHA. If you are testing Fedora 30 and you upgrade your site’s software to a version incompatible with Fedora 20 you will not be able to revert to the old production servers. Fedora 30 is currently only usable for web, SSH, and cron hosting. Inbound mail script services are currently still hosted only on Fedora 20. In the future, these services will be migrated to follow the pool selected for your hostname. If you move your hostname to Fedora 30, some autoinstallers currently will not work.

Keeping the servers secure is one of the most important things that the team works on. This includes not only careful design and review of the custom software that we run, but keeping up to date with security patches for Fedora, which is the distribution of Linux that we run. Fedora’s security support for Fedora 20 has ended, so we will be upgrading to Fedora 30 to receive official security support for approximately another year.

The actual transition is scheduled for XXX TBD XXX.

Unlike previous scripts upgrades, we have added the capability for each virtual host to migrate on their own schedule. To migrate your virtual host to Fedora 30 (or back to Fedora 20) visit Pony.

Will I need to do anything to my website?

We expect that for the vast majority of our users, the upgrade will be very smooth, your applications will work with no changes, and you won’t have to do anything. However, we strongly encourage you to test your website as soon as possible. Also, check the list of known issues to see if you are likely to experience any problems we’re already aware of. In particular, the system installations of Django, Trac, Rails and TurboGears have had upstream upgrades that are somewhat backwards incompatible. Also, if your application still uses Python 2, it will reach end-of-life status in 2020. We expect this is the last version of that will support it, and we strongly encourage you to start migrating your sites to Python 3.

Will there be a service outage?

We do not expect there to be any service outage. Our plan is to allow users to upgrade preemptively to Fedora 30 servers, then at a scheduled time change the default servers, and finally discontinue support for the legacy Fedora 20 servers. If your website and scripts work with our Fedora 30 testing server, they should work and be available to your visitors continuously throughout this process. You can control when this migration happens for your site by visiting Pony in advance of the cutover.

How do I test my website?

There are several options available to you.

Note: If you are running an application that asks you to upgrade it when you use our testing server, do not perform the upgrade until you are ready to permanently migrate your virtual host. If you do, your site will most likely work on the testing server, but no longer work on the production Fedora 20 servers. If you do perform an upgrade, you will most likely have to restore a backup of your database and/or application. If you wish to test your application sooner, you may wish to make a new copy of it that uses a different database.

Toggle your virtual host using Pony

Visit Pony to switch your virtual host to Fedora 30. You can easily switch back to Fedora 20 if your site doesn’t work.

Athena workstation

On any Athena workstation, you can log in and run these commands (make sure you do not have a web browser open first):

athena% add scripts
athena% firefox-test

This will start Firefox for you with special configuration that ensures that any website you visit that’s hosted on scripts will be retrieved from our test server. You can then try using all the features of your website just as you ordinarily would. Note that this will be using your real website; it is not a separate copy of your site.

This configuration will only be used while you have that copy of Firefox open. If you close it and run Firefox normally, you will no longer be using our test server.

SIPB Office

If you visit the SIPB office (W20-557), there are a few specially labelled workstations there which always use the scripts testing server. You do not need to do any special configuration to test your site on these machines. Feel free to come by SIPB any time we’re open (the office doesn’t have fixed hours, but is open most afternoons and evenings; feel free to call 617-253-7788 to check if we’re open before coming over) and test your site on these machines.


If you use Linux, or a similar operating system, and are comfortable with system administration tasks, you can temporarily configure your system to use our testing server by adding a line to your /etc/hosts file that maps the hostname your website uses to the IP address Note that your website might use any of these hostnames:,,

or something like Be sure that the line you add to your /etc/hosts uses the correct name, and be sure that you remove that line when you are done testing. If you are on a Windows system, the analogous file is


May I ssh into the test server?

Yes, anyone with a scripts account may ssh to, just as you ordinarily would ssh to, if you would like to use a shell.

What are the known issues at this time?

Autoinstalled WordPress and MediaWiki apps may not work due to the new version of PHP. They will be upgraded before the transition.

Currently, Ruby (including Ruby on Rails) web applications do not work on the test server due to a missing Ruby FastCGI library. This will be fixed before the transition.

How can I stay up to date on news about Scripts?

News about is posted to our blog periodically. Important announcements are e-mailed to the scripts-announce mailing list. If you’re not already signed up for the list, please take a moment to do so by clicking the link above.


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