Problems with AWBS on Debian Stable

Recently I moved the UKFSN services to a new platform which involved migrating everything to new servers. UKFSN runs on Debian Linux and had been running on an older version of the Debian stable distribution. The new servers are all running the latest version of Debian stable.

A significant consequence of this upgrade is that the version of PHP on our servers went up to 5.4 and that caused many problems. A particular problem arose with the software we use to give customers direct control of domain name registration and management which is called AWBS. This software package is written in PHP and it simply does not work with version 5.4 of PHP.

Version 5.4 of PHP was released on 1st March 2012. This release contained many changes but the really important ones were the removed of deprecated features. That means features the authors of PHP had stated a long time ago would be removed and should not be used. AWBS was dependant on one of those features to the extent that important bits of it simply stopped working.

After investigation I was able to identify the source of the problem and ascertain that it is not possible to fix it – I really should not be using software for UKFSN that is not released under a free software / open source license but there isn’t anything readily available under such a license that does what I need for UKFSN. In the short term the solution has been to downgrade the version of PHP to 5.3.

Long term the solution is to finish the work started some time ago to write a completely new ISP management for UKFSN and just get rid of AWBS.

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