Browse Tag by BlueSpice

Security release 2.23.1.1, and how to report vulnerabilities

Yesterday, we published the security release BlueSpice 2.23.1.1. Community user Frederic Mohr had reported a severe cross-site-scripting vulnerability with the Shoutbox, where arbitrary JavaScript code could be inserted in the box and would be executed on each page load. The fix he provided contains a minor change in the input handling. The new release fixes this vulnerability. There’s also a patch available for BlueSpice 2.23.1. The monthly release also contains the patch. Downloads and patches can be found at Sourceforge.

We highly recommend to update or patch your existing BlueSpice installations.

I want to thank Frederic for his support! And I’d like to take this chance to sketch out how we handle vulnerability reports. Usually, bugs are reported in our public forum. However, reporting a security related issue also means publishing the vulnerability right away, without giving us the chance to patch the software. Because of this, I ask you to report security issues directly to me by email: glaser@hallowelt.com. If possible, please encrypt the actual description of the vulnerability with GPG. My public key can be found on the MIT keyserver. We will then contact you, verify the vulnerability and provide a patch. After the patch is released, we will request a CVE number to have this properly documented. Of course, credits for finding the vulnerability go to the person that reported it.

Relaunch of the BlueSpice Website

BlueSpice Website
BlueSpice Website

Have you already seen our new website? No?! We hope you will like it as much as we do 😉
We have not only updated the content, but also redesigned the page and – last but not least – changed the domain to bluespice.com.
We tried to focus on frequent asked questions about BlueSpice to represent them in the website structure, e.g.:

  • What is BlueSpice pro and why should I subscribe? What costs and features do I have to expect?
  • What is the difference between BlueSpice free and BlueSpice pro?
  • What are common use cases and what features are important?
  • I want to start a company wiki and it seems like I need some help with installation, migration, structuring – does BlueSpice offer those services?
  • BlueSpice pro is awesome, but I need a special functionality and a few changes for the skin. Is it possible to customize BlueSpice?
  • I really like this MediaWiki distribution how can I join the BlueSpice community?
  • Which companies are already using BlueSpice – do you have some references?
  • I want to cooperate with BlueSpice as a partner – is it possible?

Have fun discovering the BlueSpice website: https://bluespice.com/

A Wiki for the Amazon Web Services – Launch BlueSpice in the Amazon Cloud now

AWS-Cloud-mit-BlueSpice200pxAmazon Web Services also offers the wiki engine BlueSpice now. Our American partner Orbitera provides BlueSpice in the free version in the Amazon Cloud. This means that you start your wiki with just a few clicks in the AWS Marketplace.

BlueSpice in the Marketplace of the Amazon Web Services

1. Call up the BlueSpice page in the Marketplace and – if you don´t have one already – create an account

2. Enter your contact information (please also read the customer agreement, which is linked there)

3. Choose between “OneClick-Launch” and “Manual Launch” and the appropriate entries (instance, server area etc.). Then accept the terms and conditions and start the system with the Launch button

3AWS-OneClickLaunch

4. You will receive a confirmation in the system and and a confirmation mail with further information. To login to the wiki, use „WikiSysop“ as user and your „Instance ID“ as password

5. There you go (user and admin manuel for BlueSpice can be found in our BlueSpice Helpdesk)

BlueSpice is – as usual – not restricted in the number of users and you get the full range of functionality of  the free version.

The advantage of the Amazon Cloud

The costs are low, because it will be charged per hour, e.g. the full usage with the smallest instance and the server location in Frankfurt/Germany costs only 18,25 Dollar per month. All about the instances and which one fits best for your demands can be read here. With AWS you are free to choose the server location – nine are currently available worldwide, two of them in the EU and one of those in Frankfurt / Germany. The pricing for the AWS usage depends inter alia on the server location.

If you don´t know BlueSpice, you can also test it in a 30 days free trial. You don´t have to pay for BlueSpice in this period of time, but the costs for the AWS usage will be charged anyway (from 9,36 $ for 30 days). Furthermore, AWS offers a free tier. Please pay attention to the offer terms.

By the way, we recommend BlueSpice in the Amazon Cloud especially for start-ups and small businesses. Those will not be bothered with administrational tasks and the system is scalable for the possibly growing requirements. Moreover, the Amazon Web Services offer a special start-up program you can take a look at.

If you need support for booking please contact the Amazon Web Services or Orbitera.

Background information about the Amazon Web Services

Popular packages for BlueSpice 2.23.x in the shop for self-installation

Next to some packages for the older version BlueSpice 2.22.x, you can now purchase our most popular packages for BlueSpice 2.23.x in the BlueSpice shop e.g.

  • Teamwork: modul for reviews, approvals and workflows in a BlueSpice Wiki. Very important for quality assurance and in combination with the Reminder package you will keep articles up-to-date.
  • Bookmaker: combine single articles to an online handbook with an automatically generated chapter navigation. Convert complete books, single chapters or pages into the PDF format and export it including all attached files from the articles, a cover and a clickable table of contents!
  • WikiExplorer: browse, sort and filter content according to specific criteria. This is how you identify necessary tasks to administer content in the wiki.
  • VisualDiff: compare article versions with colored highlighting in three different views. This is how you detect even smallest changes at first glance.
  • Reminder: keep articles up-to-date, because the package reminds you after a certain time period to check the content and to revise it.
  • PasteImage: insert and upload images by using Drag & Drop and Copy & Paste

Choose those functionalities you need and combine them to your business wiki.
Just purchase, dowload, install and get started – all by yourself!

A new model for BlueSpice

BlueSpice Website

We set ourselves a couple of goals for 2015 and 2016 at our strategy meeting at the start of January. The most important ones relate to the MediaWiki distribution BlueSpice. We are making this successful product truly open source, offering new prospects for customers and partners.

100% subscription, one product, no more modules.

We have been developing the BlueSpice service model further and further over the last five years. In the future, BlueSpice will be made available in an integrated distribution. This means that the additional modules that require payment will be collected together in a single edition. Customers will thus be able to use all the modules from the outset. And, above all, you will gain tremendously from new developments as all our latest innovations will be contained in this distribution. This means that those new developments will always be available for subscribing customers whenever they want. This will save you the trouble of having to purchase them separately. Furthermore, as there will no longer be costs for each module, getting started with a professional solution will be significantly better value.

In parallel, there will still be the popular distribution BlueSpice free, which is downloaded 20,000 times a year, and used in over 130 countries and more than 20 languages. The free distribution contains the same scope of services as before, and remains the ideal first step in collaborative knowledge management.

Supporting growth and propagation

Why are we doing this? Firstly, because now we can. The major Linux distributions Red Hat and Suse have always been the examples we have followed: The best open source models for customers and developers are made in the Linux environment. However, moving away from project business and without outside capital, we are only now able to take this step.
Another reason is that we want to build the best open source wiki with new partners. This is only possible with extensive openness, technically and economically. The module system has been good for us and our customers. However, it is now blocking us from developing MediaWiki further into the most popular Wiki software for businesses. A module system will become too complex and opaque for customers and developers as we grow further. Also, we do not want to lose our way in administration, but rather to concentrate on development, integration and quality assurance.

Radically open source

For this reason too, we are radically opening the development to external developers. They can, from this year, contribute to all BlueSpice extensions, including those which had been previously unavailable. In this way, we open up the project for other developers, accelerate the programming and improve quality assurance.
Last but not least, BlueSpice should become more compatible with SemanticMediaWiki (SMW) so that customers and partners need no longer decide whether to choose SMW or BlueSpice. Using both is already a possibility. But, by the end of the year both worlds should interlock better.

It will be a busy and interesting year. The new version will already be ready for examination and ordering at Cebit. We have already set out the stages which will follow this. We will be moving towards an ecosystem, which is a familiar concept from other open source projects.

We look forward to all your support and cooperation.

MediaWiki Images – What you need to know about uploading and inserting images

Images and screenshots are an essential part of the content. The visualization of content supports the understanding and the motivation to spend time on the text. But how can I upload pictures in MediaWiki and how do I insert it in an article? I will show you three ways how to display the pictures in your article – one in an original MediaWiki and two in BlueSpice. Also I will give you some background information on images in MediaWiki. Continue Reading

Advent calendar 24: Create a category cloud

24-Advent-Calendar-Category-Cloud

The CategoryTree is a nice feature to list all categories and to give your users an overview of the topics in your wiki.  But if you are using BlueSpice, it also provides a tag cloud for categories, which looks more fancy and can be configured and designed like the minimum font size, the increase factor, background or you can exclude categories from the tag cloud. To include the standard tag cloud in an article, just insert

<tagcloud></tagcloud>

at the position where it should be displayed.

The style definition is placed in the opening tag, e.g. <tagcloud style=”background:black;”> and the definition of the output can be written between the two tags, for example:
<tagcloud>
exclude=products, templates
min_size=55

</tagcloud>

Read about the capabilities how to configure the tag cloud in our helpdesk article.

Advent calendar 23: Provide a dynamic view of the wiki’s category structure as a category tree

23-Advent-Calendar-Category-Tree

 

In BlueSpice and MediaWiki you can display the category system as a category tree. With the category tree, the user gets an insight into the structure and the yet available categories and articles. To insert a category tree into any wiki page please use the categorytree-tag and one of the existing categories from which the category tree shall start. In this example it is top level

<categorytree>Top_Level</categorytree>

There is also a special page for displaying the category tree – just call up “Special:CategoryTree”.  This page provides a form where you can type in the category you want to be shown. You also have the choice whether all pages of the category, only the category (with subcategories if available) or all pages except the files should be shown.

For more detailed information and attributs for the categorytree-tag please have a look at mediawiki.org.

Advent calendar 18: Statistical information on the wiki

18-Advent-Calendar-ExtendedStatistics

For BlueSpice administrators, there is a special page that provides several statistics and diagrams. Call up the page “Special:ExtendedStatistics”. Here you can start different statistical queries like number of users, pages, content pages, edits as well as edits per user and search queries.
Once you have choosen a query you will get the possibility to define e.g. the range of date, resolution, namespaces, categories, users and other settings that are related to the query. Click on “Create a diagram” to see a visualization of the statistical information. Afterwards you can export the diagram as a svg or png file.
By the way – in the admin dashboard you will also find some of those statistics.
Furthermore, you can configure the “Extended Statistics” in the admin preferences. Exclude single users from the statistics (e.g WikiSysop) or raise the number of steps.

Advent calendar 15: Create and provide page templates

15-Advent-Calendar-PageTemplate

Page templates easen the process of creating new articles in the wiki, because they provide a pattern for the content. Users get a clue of what information is needed here and what is missing. The templates also cause a more homogeneous structure for articles of the same content area.

Here´s a description how to create and provide page templates:

Create a new page in the namespace “template”, for example “Template:Organization”. You can edit and format this page like usual – add headings, tables and boxes here to create the framework for the content, which should be added. After you saved the structure for the page, you need to make it available for your users.
You need administrator rights, because this must be done in the admin tab in the left navigation. There you will find the menu item “Page templates”. Click on the green button to add a new template and a dialogue opens.

BlueSpice223-PageTemplates-Add-template-en
Make a template available for all users

First, choose the name of the template (e.g. Organization) and add a description to explain the use of this template. The template name and the description will be shown in the selection, when someone creates a new page. Now, choose the namespace, in which the template should be provided. In the next drop-down menus, you can choose your template. In case of our example, this will be “Template” in the menu for the template namespace, and “Organization” in the menu for the template. Confirm your changes and the template will be added. If an user creates a new page in the namespace you assigned, he will get the possibility to choose the template and start writing with the given structure of content.

Choosing a template
Choosing a template