Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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01/13/2004: "Greymatter opensource software for blogging"

I have received several emails from fellow bloggers wanting to know about the blog software that I use so this entry was written in response to my most recent query:

I just started using opensource software called "greymatter" for my blog about 2 months ago. I downloaded it from:

It was created by a really nice guy named Noah Grey and is opensource so that you can download it for free onto your own server. (he does appreciate donations though and there is a place where you can send him something from his wishlist.)

You need to know how to do a few things like basic HTML, how to set permissions, know the path to your cgi bin, and I think you have to edit a couple of cgi scripts. Greymatter also requires a server that fully supports CGI programs and has Perl 5 installed. Be sure to read the manual and follow the instructions exactly also, carefully follow the instructions in the installation.htm file.

If you don't know the path of your cgi bins or if your server runs Perl 5, etc. you can always call the tech support of your web hosting provider (unless you run your own server at which point you probably know enough already). I have my site hosted with a company called WestHost at They fully support CGI programs and run Perl 5 (plus a gazillion other including a streaming server plus they are super inexpensive and have excellent customer support).

Once you get the software working you can modify a series of rather userfriendly templates in order to get your blog pages to look like the rest of your site. I won't lie to you, it took me around 5 or 6 hours of playing around to get it to work and look right, but it was well worth it. I think it's much nicer than using a third party blogging site.

Anyway, feel free to email me if you have any other questions. If you get stuck, there is an online support forum for Greymatte that is monitored by a bunch of users who are a lot more knowlegable than I.

One last tip though, when you get to the part where you start modifying templates, it's a good idea to copy and paste all of the code into a seperate document in case something you do breaks it. You can at least restore it to its defaults. They do have backup copies of some of the templates available through the support forum but you have to really hunt to find them, and they don't have all of them in the same place.

Replies: 1 Comment

on Thursday, January 15th, Mary said

Thanks for the info, I was wondering about what software you use for your blog. I don't probably know enough to get it working on my site but I can try at least.