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OS Reviews CMS

OS Reviews CMS is the content management system that powers OS Reviews. It is licensed as free software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Also available is a snapshot of the articles that were written for OS Reviews, which are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License (FDL).


  • Generation of static content for maximum performance
  • Comment system with NNTP back-end
  • No external database server required
  • Input format is LaTeX (perfect for hard copies)
  • Customizable templates
  • Easy integration of VG Wort counters
  • 100% standards-compliant output


os_reviews_cms-20100504.tar.gz (82K)

os_reviews_snapshot-20070604.tar.gz (5.2M)


OS Reviews CMS requires Perl, with the additional modules CGI (only comment system), DBD::SQLite, DBI, Image::Size, Imager, Net::NNTP and XML::RSS. If you want to run the comment system, you need a NNTP-based news server (e.g. INN) as well.

Basic Setup

The Perl script make.pl is the content generation engine. Configuration is done via the file osrcms.conf, which can be located in /etc, or the current directory. When make.pl is run it creates to whole content in the directory specified by the outdir variable. From there, you can simply copy the directory tree to the final destination on your web server. Most configuration variables should be self-explanatory.

If you do not want to use the comment system, set the commenthost variable to an empty value (""). Otherwise, newsgroups are automatically generated for new articles. You only need to create a newsgroup named hierarchy.admin, where hierarchy is the name of the top-level hierarchy you are going to use. You may want to configure your news server so that it automatically executes the generated control messages.

The comments file is a CGI script that provides the comment system. Configuration is done via the comments.conf file, which must be placed into the same directory as the CGI script.

To generate the images for the ratings, run the makeratings.pl script in the images directory. If the netpbm package is installed, images will appear smoother.

Classes And Categories

OS Reviews CMS uses two different concepts to group articles. The first is the class, which defines the layout and the location where the HTML output will be stored. The class of an article is set at the beginning of the LaTeX input file via the \documentclass command.

Within each class, categories are useful for grouping articles with a common topic. For each category, a separate index document is created. The category is defined by using the \category command. New categories can be added using the category configuration variable.

Template Customization

The directory templates contains several files that control the basic structure of the generated content. Most files a standard HTML files, but some are just small snippets. The layout is almost exclusively done via the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files in the css directory.

New Articles

If you insert a new article into the system you will have to run make.pl twice to produce the correct "Latest Articles" box.