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Tiki Remote Instance Manager

 TRIM is an acronym for the Tiki Remote Instance Manager

TRIM is installed on a master server. TRIM then connects to various servers and permits you to manage various instances of Tiki. You can install, upgrade, backup, check the file integrity and do various other things. Some actions can be run unattended on a cron job.

For more details on its development status see http://dev.tiki.org/TRIM. See also: http://doc.tiki.org/TIM


  • A combination of shell and PHP scripts to install, update, backup, restore and monitor (check security of) a large number of Tiki installations (instances).
  • TRIM facilitates/automates the operations you would normally do by logging into each server.
  • A great tool if you want to setup a WikiFarm
  • It is not a script to update your Linux or MySQL installation (but it may one day do some server checks to see if your Apache, PHP, MySQL, GD, etc. versions are OK).
  • Originally developed for Tiki, it was designed so it could be ported/used for just about any PHP / MySQL application which has CVS or SVN as a source. If you want to port to a different app, let's work together!

How it works

TRIM is installed on a master server. TRIM then connects by SSH (and more recently via FTP) to various servers. Via a wizard (you answer the questions interactively) TRIM permits you to manage various instances of Tiki. You can install, upgrade, backup, check the file integrity and do various other things. Some actions can be run unattended on a cron job.


  • Although CVS can work, it is not supported and bugs will not be fixed. The Tiki community has been using SVN for a long time now.
  • FTP support has been added, however, you can run into memory limitations (outside of TRIM's control)


If you have a large number of Tiki installations, you could use MultiTiki where all files (php/tpl/etc) are shared amongst several domains (but you can have .css and .tpl which override for your domain) but each domain has a distinct DB. TRIM is different where each domain is totally independent. Distinct database and distinct files and can be on different hosts.

Advantages of TRIM over MultiTiki

  1. With TRIM, each instance can be on totally different servers or on various directories on the same server, so you can easily scale to as few or as many servers as you want.
  2. Once an instance is in a MultiTiki, it's a little tricky to extract it. For example, it's easier to provide a backup of just one instance, using TRIM.
  3. If you have multiple domains and need to provide distinct access for each (emails, FTP accounts, access to logs, etc.), it can be easier to have distinct server space.
  4. With MultiTiki, if you have a security issue, all your Tikis are potentially compromised because they share the same files. (even for the Tikis that have not enabled the unsafe feature)
  5. With TRIM, you can pick & choose which Tikis to upgrade. With MultiTiki, all the instances get the upgrade. Even if they don't need the bug fixes or enhancements, they are still at risk of being affected by a regression. So all instances need to be checked after each upgrade.
    • This takes a lot of time. And then, you can introduce issues for projects that were quite happy with the previous version. They didn't need new stuff, but inherited some problems.
  6. With TRIM, you can modify the templates/*.tpl files and still use the merging features of cvs/svn to take advantage of the enhancements to the main code base (There could be conflicts to manually resolve during upgrades though). Using multiTiki, you must put all changes in a separate directory and can't easily benefit from improvements to the main code base.
  7. TRIM handles offsite backups

Advantages of MultiTiki over TRIM

  1. Uses less disk space
  2. Can upgrade hundreds of Tikis in one operation (whereas TRIM connects one by one to upgrade)
  3. MultiTiki is part of the main Tiki code base whereas TRIM is maintained separately.
  4. TRIM requires SSH access TRIM can now work via FTP, whereas maybe MultiTiki can be run just with FTP. Depending on your server, you may have a lot of permissions to change by FTP though.
  5. TRIM requires more things on the server (sqlite, SVN, etc) not anymore, you can use FTP mode and heavy work is done on TRIM master, and result is pushed to the TRIM instance.
  6. MultiTiki has a web-based interface TRIM Web Administration was added

What if I want to share data between instances?

Sharing data between Tiki instance is not specific to TRIM. If you want to share logins, groups and preferences throughout many Tiki sites, you can use InterTiki.


LGPL, like the rest of Tiki


Here is a brief explanation of the basic commands that can be used. All commands follow a wizard pattern.

make instance

Adds an instance to be managed by TRIM. Trim attempts to perform various operations from this point:
  1. Share an RSA key to connect to the remote host in the future
  2. Make a few verifications on remote host
  3. Detect the application installed remotely and the version
  4. If nothing is installed, propose to install something

You will be prompted to enter a pass phrase. If you enter one, you will be prompted every time you use TRIM. Unattended backups and security checks will not be possible.

The installation process will ask to create a database and user for Tiki. To do this, root access on the MySQL database (or user with similar privileges) is required. Otherwise, database settings can be entered manually (The database needs to have been created before in cPanel, webmin or similar).

make check

This is somewhat equivalent to a secdb check, except that it's safer because it's made from a trusted host and will take your custom modifications on host into consideration. Upon first run, the check will ask where it should fetch the hashes from.

  • source : obtain the hashes from the official repository. After setting up the expected hashes, a check will be performed.
  • current : use the files currently online as the source of hashes. If this is a recent install, this may be safe. However, if the host was already compromised, hacks will be undetected.
  • skip : Move on for now

When files are altered, added or removed, TRIM will prompt with various solutions.
  • For modified files, it will allow to view the changes that were made and propose to accept or reject them. Rejecting changes will fetch a copy of the file from the repository.
  • For added files, it will be possible view the file and then accept or reject it. Rejecting the file will remove it from the remote host.
  • Removed files will allow to accept or reject the removal. Rejection will fetch a copy from the repository.

make update

Allows to update a CVS/SVN instance (cvs up/svn up) and update the file hashes accordingly. It also performs the database update. The hash verification/update may prompt with some files containing conflicts if modifications were made on the instance.

During the update process, the instance is disabled using a .htaccess file (previous one is preserved), making the site unavailable until the update is completed.

To setup automated updates

php scripts/setupupdate.php

Do not pick the same time as automatic backup!

make upgrade

Similar to update. Requests for the branch to switch to over the update. You will have several choices of branches. Please note that you should NOT downgrade as Tiki doesn't support a downgrade database script. An upgrade is a one-way street! You should make a backup before you upgrade so you can return to this version if issues arise.

make convert

Converts an instance from CVS BRANCH-1-9 to SVN branches/2.0.

  • All script customizations will be lost
  • Database, img/wiki and img/wiki_up are preserved

make fix

Run setup.sh on the remote host using automated parameters. It should work in most cases. If the command proposed my setup.sh without parameters or super user rights are required, you should connect to the remote host manually using `make access`.

make access

Opens a shell to the remote host. Because TRIM manages all your connections, using this command simply avoids needing to remember passwords.

make watch

Set-up a cron job on the TRIM master to perform the Hash check (make check) automatically every day. The script will prompt for a contact email address to notify with the log in the case of a suspicious file change (which could be an intrusion or someone who legitimately changed a file on the server) and the time at which the script should run.

make backup

What can go wrong and how should this script protect me?
  • My host disappears
  • A vandal messes up my files
  • User error (oups, I erased some files)

TRIM performs a complete backup of the Tiki instance. The backup includes all files (using rsync for efficient bandwidth management) on remote host (including user files and files stored out of the web root) and a dump of the database. Each backup is archived in the TRIM_ROOT/backup/archive folder as a .tar.bz2 file. The backup file contains:
  • manifest.txt : Indicates where folders were located on the remote host
  • database_dump.sql : Self-explanatory
  • a-f0-9{32} : Folders named using a hash. Content of the folders on remote host. The manifest.txt file lists these hashes.

Archives are cleaned up after each run. The rules are the following:
  • Backups made on the first of any month are kept forever.
  • Backups made on Sunday are kept for 31 days.
  • Daily backups are kept for a week.

On your first backup, you may get a harmless error message
rm: cannot remove `/home/trim/xyz/backup/1/manifest.txt': No such file or directory

To setup automated backups

php scripts/setupbackup.php

Do not pick the same time as automatic update!

make restore

You can restore on a blank install. To make a blank install, just do make instance but cancel when TRIM offers you to install Tiki.

make delete

Delete the instance via the command line (you could also do via the web interface). This does NOT delete your Tiki. It just deletes the instance connection to it.

make enablewww

Activate the TRIM Web Administration. The script asks a few questions and changes some permissions.

Rewrite rules are necessary for TRIM Web Administration


make viewdb

View the SQLite database. For debug purposes.

make profile

make report

  • Generate reports

make copysshkey

  • Copy the SSH key

make detect

Detect Tiki branch or tag. For debug purposes.


  • PHP 5.x with SQLite extension (on master server) (uses SQLite 2.1 format)
    • As of 2016-04-15, PHP 5.3 seems to be sufficient for all operations (but of course, you need PHP 5.5 to install Tiki 13.x on remote server)
  • PHP Command Line Interface (PHP-CLI) on both master and remote servers
  • Shell (SSH) access on master and remote (remote servers with only FTP will work but with fewer features and slower management)
  • Both master and instances can be shared hosting as long as you have SSH access. It is recommended that the master be installed on a very safe machine because it has SSH access keys to all your instances.
  • Rewrite rules (on master server) are necessary for TRIM Web Administration

Shell commands/scripts

  • make
  • subversion (svn) (1.10, 2.x and 3.x sites use svn)
  • cvs (assuming you'll be maintaining some 1.9x sites via CVS)
  • php5-cli (This is the command line version of PHP, which is not always installed)
  • sqlite (This is the database where TRIM will store data about the various instances)
  • php5-sqlite (extension)
  • php5-pspell (extension)
  • php5 (for webtrim)
  • cron (optional, to automate unattended tasks)
  • rsync (for backups)
  • sendmail (to send you email notifications of changes to your files)
  • bzip2 (for backups)

To restore backups on TRIM (for testing)

  • ssh
  • phpmysql


ext/ssh2 is not mandatory, but highly recommended to speed up TRIM. It will also avoid many weird error messages and it is much stabler. Without it, it should work but some things may not.

To install it under Debian or Ubuntu:
# sudo apt-get install libssh2-php

If that didn't work:

# sudo apt-get install php5-dev libssh2-1-dev php-pear

see http://pecl.php.net/ssh2 for latest version number
# sudo pear install pecl/ssh2-0.11.0

If you get questions, just press "Enter" to accept the defaults.

add to the end or uncomment ''extension=ssh2.so'' in php.ini
# sudo nano /etc/php5/cli/php.ini

to test if it works, look for ssh2
# php -m



To install all of these under Debian or Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install make subversion php5-cli sqlite php5-sqlite php5-pspell php5 cron rsync bzip2

If you don't have postfix or sendmail installed already, then you can install at least sendmail. But beware that if you have postfix installed and configured for a custom setup in your server, and you run the command to install sendmail, you will have your postfix automatically removed from your server before sendmail is installed :
sudo apt-get install sendmail

If you have some very old cvs sites
sudo apt-get install cvs


There are no current plans for TRIM (the master) to work natively on Windows or via Cygwin (but you are welcome to join the community and make this happen!). So you should use something one of options below. The remote host can be a Windows instance however as TRIM supports FTP. Related: Platform independence

Ubuntu on Windows

  1. Download and install Ubuntu on Windows solution
  2. Follow instructions for Ubuntu (apt-get install...)



On a Mac, you'll need something like MacPorts. The package names may vary a bit.
sudo port install make
sudo port install cvs
sudo port install php5-sqlite3

How to download and use

1- Get TRIM via SVN (to the current directory)
svn co https://svn.code.sf.net/p/tikiwiki/code/trim/ .

If you got TRIM before 2012-12-12, you need to:
relocate TRIM
svn switch --relocate https://tikiwiki.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/tikiwiki/trim https://svn.code.sf.net/p/tikiwiki/code/trim/ .

update to latest version of TRIM
svn up

2- Make an instance
make instance

(or just type make and you will get choices like make check, make update, etc)

If TRIM is not detecting php5-cli (It's important to have this)

To test:
$ php -v

This should give you the php version of your default command line version. Ex.:

PHP 4.4.9 (cli) (built: Sep 17 2008 12:02:18)
Copyright (c) 1997-2008 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v1.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2004 Zend Technologies
    with Zend Extension Manager v1.2.2, Copyright (c) 2003-2007, by Zend Technologies
    with Zend Optimizer v3.3.3, Copyright (c) 1998-2007, by Zend Technologies

In this case, you should manually edit the file Makefile

PHP = php5 -d memory_limit=256M

with something like
PHP = /usr/local/php5/bin/php -d memory_limit=256M

The 'which php' command doesn't provide you with the info. If not, ask your host

Instance name Just a pretty name for the Tiki instance
Contact email Email of person in charge of this Tiki instance
Web root full path, no trailing slash (/)
Web URL full URL, with http
Working directory You can use /tmp or create/use a directory on your remote server. Full path, no trailing slash (/)
SSH host name domain to connect by SSH
SSH port if you are not using the usual port 22
SSH user username to connect by SSH

When make instance reports:
Branch tags/1.10.0 was found. If this is not correct, enter the one to use :
type: branches/1.10


[avantech]$ make instance
/usr/local/php5/bin/php -d memory_limit=256M scripts/addinstance.php
Default editor used (vim). You can change the EDITOR environment variable.
Default diff used (diff). You can change the DIFF environment variable.
Instance name : RTO test
Contact email : <hidden>
Web root : /home/rto/public_html
Web URL : http://rto.ourwiki.net
Working directory : /home/rto/temptrim
Instance information saved.
SSH host name : rto.ourwiki.net
SSH user : rto
The authenticity of host 'rto.ourwiki.net (<snip>)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is <snip>.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added 'rto.ourwiki.net,<snip>' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
rto@rto.ourwiki.net's password:
Testing connection...
Were you asked for a password? [yes|no] no
warning: locate: warning: database /var/lib/slocate/slocate.db' is more than 8 days old
Branch tags/1.10.0 was found. If this is not correct, enter the one to use : branches/1.10

To restore backups on TRIM machines

We want to test that the backups are indeed working so we need a fully functioning php-mysql environment. By installing phpMyAdmin, we should get this. We also want SSH because TRIM connects via SSH to restore these backups, the same as it would connect anywhere.

To install necessary software under Debian or Ubuntu:
Install what is needed to run php-mysql apps and for TRIM to connect
# sudo apt-get install phpmyadmin ssh

After the install, visit http://localhost/phpmyadmin/

An example of creating an instance (where to restore to)

trim@trim:~/avantech-trim$ make instance
php5 -d memory_limit=256M scripts/addinstance.php
Default editor used (vim). You can change the EDITOR environment variable.
Default diff used (diff). You can change the DIFF environment variable.
Connection type [ssh|ftp] : ssh
Host name : localhost
User : trim
Instance name : [localhost] 
Contact email : 
Web root : [/home/trim/public_html] /var/www/restoredfromtrim/
Web URL : [http://localhost] http://localhost/restoredfromtrim
Working directory : [/home/trim/trim_temp] /tmp
Instance information saved.
The authenticity of host 'localhost (::1)' can't be established.
RSA key fingerprint is <snip>.
Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? yes
Warning: Permanently added 'localhost' (RSA) to the list of known hosts.
trim@localhost's password: 
Testing connection...
After successfully entering your password, were you asked for a password again? [yes|no] no
Detecting remote configuration.
No applications were found on remote host.
Which one do you want to install? (none to skip)
[0] tikiwiki
No instance to install.








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