Create an Aggregate Blog using Planet Venus on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid)
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The Planet (Venus) Feed Aggregator takes a collection of RSS feeds and generates what its founders call a “River of News” feed that combines posts from all sources into a single coherent stream. Thus, this software is useful for providing a simple and consolidated overview of ongoing output from selected blogs. Written and configured in Python and run regularly using cron, Planet Venus is an updated variant of the popular Planet software.
Before beginning to follow this guide, we assume that you have completed the Setting Up and Securing a Compute Instance guide. If you’re new to Linux server administration, you may be interested in our introduction to Linux concepts guide , beginner’s guide and administration basics guide . Beyond this, Planet requires a web server to provide access to the resources it creates, but this document does not depend on specific web server software software.
Before we begin the installation of the Planet software, perform the following commands to make sure your system’s package repository is up to date and all of the latest packages have been installed:
apt-get update apt-get upgrade
Install the Planet and other required software by issuing the following command:
apt-get install apache2 planet-venus xsltproc fcron
This will also install the Apache HTTP server if you have not already installed this software. You may now begin the configuration of Planet Venus.
Basic Planet Configuration
For the purposes of example, this document assumes that your web server is configured to use
/srv/www/example.com/public_html as the public document root for the domain
Copy the default configuration file to the
cp /usr/share/planet-venus/example/default.ini /srv/www/example.com/planet.conf
Now edit the file, making sure to modify the following values to conform to the needs of your deployment. Consider the following example:
- File: planet.conf
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# Example Planet Venus configuration file # Documentation: <file:///usr/share/doc/planet-venus> # Examples: <file:///usr/share/planet-venus/example> # Filters: <file:///usr/share/planet-venus/filter> # Themes: <file:///usr/share/planet-venus/theme> # Global configuration [Planet] name = Planet example link = <http://example.com/> owner_name = example Square owner_email = <firstname.lastname@example.org> output_theme = /srv/www/example.com/planet-theme cache_directory = /srv/www/example.com/planet-cache output_dir = /srv/www/example.com/public_html feed_timeout = 20 items_per_page = 60 log_level = DEBUG
These settings establish the name and some background information regarding the site. All directories are declared relative to the location of the
planet.conf file. The
output_dir determines where Planet will build the site, and should point to a publicly accessible directory equivalent to or beneath the “document root” of your web server. The
items_per_page option trims the number of posts included in the feed to not surpass the threshold set.
Issue the following command to copy the default theme directory to the
cp -R /usr/share/planet-venus/theme/default /srv/www/example.com/planet-theme
You can modify any of the files or copy different theme files from the
At the end of your
planet.conf file, add entries that resemble the following for each feed that you would like to collect in the Planet you’re building
- File: planet.conf
[<https://www.linode.com/docs/rss>] name = Linode
Once you have completed all modifications to
planet.conf, run Planet for the first time by issuing the following command:
The Planet software will only poll the source feeds when the above command is used. Otherwise, all files generated by Planet are static. By maintaining multiple
planet.conf files and specifying distinct output directories, it’s possible to generate multiple Planet-based websites on a single server.
While you can run Planet without incident using the above method, we recommend running planet regularly using a “cronjob.” Edit your fcrontab file with the following command:
Insert the following job into the crontab:
- File: fcrontab
*/10* * * * planet /srv/www/example.com/planet.conf
Save the crontab, and issue the following command to start
fcron for the first time:
Your Planet generated site will refresh every 10 minutes. Congratulations!
You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.
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