How to begin a Photographic Experience

With Koken (a powerful CMS built for photography), Virtualmin and Ubuntu 16.04 server

Koken is a image-centric website publishing platform. It allows to

  • publish pictures (with exif support) in a few drag and drops
  • easily create web pages, write texts, essays, updates and easily import Flickr, Instagram, Vimeo, SoundCloud and Twitter content to it
  • change look & feel with custom CSS and/or free (or paid) themes and plugins
  • and sync with Adobe Lightroom

For a photographer, it definitely is awesome in addition of being free. And if you wanna host it, you can follow this guide. Unfortunately, what the System requirements page does not tell you is that PHP 7 and MySQL 5.7 (to be exact, strict mode, which is activated by default in the latest versions of MySQL, is not fully compatible with some operations in Koken) are not supported yet. It looks like it is on the roadmap:

But the “funny” thing is the roadmap is not public:

So instead of waiting and since I have a web server running multiple websites using Virtualmin under Ubuntu 16.04 which ships, by default, with PHP 7.0 and MySQL 5.7, I tried to solve the two above issues.

Disable MySQL strict mode

In my case, having strict mode enabled prevented me to change theme. The preview was working fine but making it live did not.

So let’s turn that off: edit your MySQL configuration file (note that depending on your installation, the configuration file path can be slightly different):

sudo nano /etc/mysql/mysql.conf.d/mysqld.cnf

add the following line (or edit the line starting with sql_mode):


finally restart your MySQL server:

service mysql start

Install multiple PHP versions

On your Ubuntu server, run the following commands in a terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ondrej/php
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install php5.6

Then, inside Virtualmin, select the virtual server for which you want to “downgrade” the PHP version, click on Server Configuration, PHP Versions and select the right version in the dropdown:

Different versions of PHP are now be available, if not, try restarting your Apache server

The result

The Photographic Experience is back online! 😬

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