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Running a renderserver

Overview

Running a renderserver consists in running multiple programs [1]. Unless you have some special requirements, you should be able to start a working renderserver by running the following commands:

$ nserve
$ mw-qserve
$ nslave --cachedir ~/cache/
$ postman

These programs have the following purposes:

nserve
nserve is a HTTP server. The Collection extension is talking to that program directly. nserve uses at least one mw-qserve instance in order to distribute and manage jobs.
mw-qserve
mw-qserve is a job queue server used to distribute and manage jobs. You should start one mw-qserve instance for each machine that is supposed to render pdf files. Unless you're operating the Wikipedia installation, one machine should suffice.
nslave
nslave pulls new jobs from exactly one mw-qserve instance and calls the mw-zip and mw-render programs in order to download article collections and convert them to different output formats. nslave uses a cache directory to store the generated documents. nslave also starts an internal http server serving the content of the cache directory.
postman
postman uploads zip collections to pediapress in case someone likes to order printed books. You should start one instance for each mw-qserve instance.

None of the programs has the ability to run as a daemon. We recommend using runit for process supervision. daemontools is similar solution. Another alternative is to use supervisor.

[1]In mwlib prior to version 0.13 it was possible to get away with running a single mw-serve program or even running no program at all by using the mwlib.cgi script. These programs have been removed in favor of the new tools, which provide the ability to scale an installation.

nserve usage

nserve understands the following options:

--port=PORT

specify port to listen on. Default is to listen on port 8899 on any interface.
--qserve=HOST:PORT
register qserve instance running on host HOST listening on port PORT

Any additional arguments are interpreted as additional qserve instances to register.

The following command starts nserve listening on port 8000 using two qserve instances:

nserve --port 8000 example1:14311 example2

mw-qserve usage

mw-qserve understands the following options:

-p PORT
specify port to listen on. Default is to listen on port 14311
-i INTERFACE
specify interface to listen on. Default is to listen on any interface.

nslave usage

nslave understands the following options:

--cachedir=CACHEDIR

specify cachedir to use. this is where nslave will store generated documents.
--serve-files-port
port on which to start the http server (default is 8898)
--url=URL
specify url under which the cache directory is being served. The default is to compute this value dynamically.
--numprocs=NUMPROCS
allow up to NUMPROCS parallel jobs to be executed

postman usage

postman understands the following options:

--cachedir=CACHDIR
specify cachedir to use. use the same value as specified when calling nslave