WACS Project: FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


  1. General
  2. Getting Started
  3. Getting Help
  4. Technical Questions
  5. Future Roadmap
  6. Commercial Use
Revision: 4(initial) - 14th April 2012 - Current: 0.9.0, Devel: 0.9.1

1. General

  1. What is WACS?
  2. Can I try WACS out without installing?
  3. What platforms does WACS work on?
  4. Is WACS free?
  5. Can WACS be used for other purposes?
  6. Can WACS handle Gay porn?
  7. What about the moral issues of porn?

2. Getting Started

  1. Where should I run WACS?
  2. Where do I get WACS from?
  3. How do I get started with WACS?
  4. I'm more interested in developing my own web site using WACS, do I still need to install everything?

3. Getting Help

  1. Where can I get help for WACS?
  2. I've found a bug in WACS, what do I do?
  3. How can I help the WACS project?

4. Technical Questions

  1. What applications does WACS require?
  2. Why didn't you write WACS in ...?
  3. Is WACS Web 2.0 Compatible?

5. Future Roadmap

  1. What platforms do you plan to support in the Future?
  2. Will you support any other database backends for WACS?
  3. What other new projects are you considering related to WACS?

6. Commercial Use

  1. Can I use WACS for a commercial website?
  2. Can I run WACS on an Enterprise level environment?
  3. Can WACS be used on multiple virtual servers on the same machines?
  4. Does WACS scale well?


  1. Q: What is WACS?
    A: WACS stands for Web-Based Adult Content Server. It is fundamentally about managing porn in the form of photostories and video clips and it is web-based. It is many things - a complete ready-to-go cataloguing tool, a neat tool for building custom web sites for either personal or commercial use, a download system and a set of database structures and programming libraries. Above all it is a cataloguing and search system that combines the very best features we've found out there on the internet into one cohesive powerful web-based content management system (CMS).
  2. Q: Can I try WACS out without installing?
    A: Yes! We now have a free demonstration site containing our own content called www.pinkmetallic.com which demonstrates the WACS system in action and features the photography of two of the main developers of WACS, Beaky and MrVideo. All the material on PinkMetallic is released under the Creative Commons By-Attribution license - you are welcome to share it with your friends.
  3. Q: What platforms does WACS work on?
    A: You should be able to access WACS from just about any web browser. We've tested it from Linux, Unix, Windows, Macintosh, iPhone, etc. The server side is currently actively supported on Linux, with the very best support and pre-made packages available for current Fedora and Ubuntu Linux releases, but has been run on other Unixes including MacOS X. There is no reason why the server side could not be made to run on Windows, it's just that the main developers do not have the experience to want to tackle that. If you want to volunteer to help, please get in touch.
  4. Q: Is WACS free?
    A: Absolutely. WACS is released under the Gnu Public License (GPL) version 3 and it's source code is fully available for all to use, modify and share. We obviously hope that if you like the WACS package, you'll support us in our continued work on it through donations, signing-up to commercial pay sites through links that pay us a commission, or through sponsoring one of our photoshoots for pinkmetallic.com. See also the section on commercial use below.
  5. Q: Can WACS be used for other purposes?
    A: Maybe. There is a lot of technology incorporated into WACS that could most certainly be used for other purposes BUT there is also a lot of carefully tailored functionality that really is specific to the intended purpose. We'd say it isn't suitable for other things "out of the box" but we're happy for you to use it's technology elsewhere.
  6. Q: Does WACS handle Gay Porn?
    A: Not really, but if someone wants to help us, that's fine. Not actually being into that ourselves, we're not really sure what aspects and features are important to people who like it. We'd rather take advice than come up with a half-baked implementation that isn't really quite fit for purpose. Similarly if any ladies interested in porn want to let us know what interests them, we can incorporate that feedback too.
  7. Q: What about the moral issues of porn?
    A: Nudity has long been a fundamental part of art in western cultures. At some levels what some people call porn is exquisite art to others. As keen pro-am photographers, we find the naked and semi-naked female form one of the most compelling subjects for our pictures and wish to share the results of our efforts. The WACS developers tend to prefer the more artistic works where attractive young ladies show off their assets in solo or in intimate moments they've chosen to share. We accept that some people may end up using our software for content that we ourselves may not wish to see, but we would rather share our software freely than impose our views on others.

2. Getting Started

  1. Q: Where should I run WACS?
    A: We would strongly recommend running Wacs on a system running a current release of either Fedora Linux (available from fedoraproject.org) or Ubuntu Linux (available from www.ubuntu.com). We typically attempt to support the current release and at least one, sometimes two, releases prior to that. For both these distributions of Linux we offer pre-built packages in the native package manager format for the distribution. This makes it SO much easier to install and get working. It does work on other versions of Linux but the dependencies are many and complex and we know from support requests on our mailing list that these issues have caused even experienced system administrators grief on distributions such as CentOS. Looking to hardware, performance is not especially critical, particularly for a private WACS installation, so an old PC with a large USB disc placed out of sight under the stairs or similar is ideal.
  2. Q: Where do I get WACS from?
    A: At the moment, the best places to get WACS are from our SourceForge site or from our Launchpad site. We are in the process of setting up a launchpad Personal Package Archive and once this is available that will be the easiest place for Ubuntu users to get WACS from. A longer term goal is to get the WACS package included in the optional software archive of the main distributions.
  3. Q: How do I get started with WACS?
    A: That depends. WACS is not small and simple - we know that and we've produced over 500 pages of high quality accompanying documentation to try to explain as many of the concepts, techniques, processes and tricks as we can. The WACS Installation manual will take you through the process step by step in significant detail with lots of screenshots. We highly recommend visiting our demonstration site at www.pinkmetallic.com to familiarise yourself with the basics of how Wacs works.

    However we have worked very hard indeed to make a system that should just work if you install it from the packages. At the simplest level, you will need to:

    1. Download the correct packages for your system - that is all of the noarch/all packages for the version of the Linux distribution you're using and the appropriate (i586 or x86_64) version of the hostauth package
    2. Install them all along with all their dependencies - this can take quite a long time if you don't have Apache (the web server), MySQL (the database) and the language interpreters already installed on the system.
    3. Point your web browser to http://localhost/wacs and click on the link to First Time Setup (wacssetup). Follow the instructions on-screen.
    Part of our software release testing process is to install a bare machine with just the standard desktop environment and do the three steps detailed above and make sure we have a working environment at the end of it.
  4. Q: I'm more interested in developing my own web site using WACS, do I still need to install everything?
    A: Yes. Even if you are planning to write your own web site pages and just want to use WACS for storing the data, you do pretty much need the entire system as it contains all the collection management tools you need to maintain the database. It is possible to reduce the number of packages installed on an internet web server to just a set of runtime libraries if you do your database and collection maintenance on another connected system, but somewhere you will need the full WACS suite to be present.

3. Getting Help

  1. Q: Where can I get help for WACS?
    A: Lots of places. A good first place to start are the manuals; there are six of them:- If you installed WACS from a package release, they should be in wacs/docs/ on your own web server - just go to http://localhost/wacs/docs/. They are also available on the WACS sourceforge site at wacsip.sourceforge.net/docs.

    If that doesn't help and your problem isn't covered by the Documentation or the manuals are unclear on some topic, please get in touch with the WACS developers:

    Please understand that the developers can only offer advice and feedback on information that you send to them - you will have to do some of the investigation yourself. If you want the services of a WACS expert to login to your server for you, you will need to contact our commercial support provider, Bevtec Communications Ltd and arrange a support or by-the-hour consultancy contract with them. Other third party companies should also be able to offer support as all of the necessary code and documentation is freely available.

  2. Q: I've found a bug in WACS, what do I do?
    A: Most important thing - let us know about it! You can use any one of the methods detailed in the list above. If you can, please include the relevant section of the error log from your web server (this can usually be found in /var/log/httpd/server.domain-errorlog) and if the problem is easily reproducable, please try to replicate the problem with the debugging turned up. You can do this by adding an entry something like this: <app_wacsindex>5</app_wacsindex> in the debug section of the /etc/wacs.d/wacs.cfg file for the application that is causing trouble. More details on how to enable additional debugging like this can be found in Chapter 15 of the Configuration manual.
  3. Q: How can I help the WACS project?
    A: There are a great many ways in which you can help and it really doesn't involve any special skills and it's definitely NOT all programming tasks. Here are just a few suggestions: There are of course also a great many programming tasks needed and those are currently all listed in the TODO file at the top level of the WACS source code tree. Please just let us know if you're thinking of tackling one of those so we don't duplicate effort.

    There are also some really cool ideas we have for WACS-based applications in the Web 2.0 space. One is presenting a model's sets as a virtual house where you have a house graphic and as you glide the mouse over each room, the sets of her in that room appear as a browsable swatch of photos. Hover over the kitchen and you see sets of her there, into the lounge and see sets there, the bedroom, the bathroom and so on. A similar idea could also be extended to a virtual wardrobe where you flick through her clothes and see each of the sets of her in that type of attire.

4. Technical Questions

  1. Q: What applications does WACS require?
    A: WACS depends on a number of applications in order to work. The main system is written in Perl 5 and additionally requires the appropriate DBI/DBD drivers for the database in use. The PHP5 programming language is also highly desirable as the Wacs-PHP system, modelsel and the simple skin all depend upon it (but the system can be used without these if required). The usual Web Server is Apache version 2; no other web server has been tried or tested. For the backend database, the current choices are MySQL version 5 and higher or Oracle version 10i and higher. Tools such as the GIMP, eog and mplayer are also highly recommended. The PHP5 and MySQL 5 requirements are very real, the version 4 releases of these applications found on some Enterprise and stable Linux distributions are not suitable for use with WACS.
  2. Q: Why didn't you write WACS in ...?
    A: ... Ruby, Python, C, C++, shell script, COBOL, etc... - Simply because we didn't! We like and know Perl and it works well for us HOWEVER we have already implemented a large portion of the WACS API in PHP5 to aid web developers more used to working in that language and we're very happy to accept bindings for any other language you wish to use into the WACS distribution. Please get in touch via either the WACS developers list on sourceforge (wacsip-devel@lists.sourceforge.net) or email us directly on the address given above.
  3. Q: Is WACS Web 2.0 compatible?
    A: Absolutely. Take a look at the modelsel application included with the Wacs-PHP distribution. This application uses the XAJAX php AJAX/JSON library to create a model browser that dynamically updates as you click on various attributes to show you the headshots of those models who match the currently selected specification. We also have some exciting ideas about some places to go with Web 2.0 apps in the future - there are a few ideas outlined in the section on how you can help WACS above.

5. Future Roadmap

  1. Q: What platforms do you plan to support in the Future?
    A: We plan to continue supporting both Fedora and Ubuntu; we hope to encourage both distributions to take WACS into their software archives. Additionally we hope to clarify the compatibility with debian and get the system included in their archives too. We will endeavour to keep the next Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) release supported long term. We are looking at adding support for RedHat Enterprise Linux and CentOS, probably as from one of the 0.9.x release series where we plan to include a significant number of commercial customisation features. Exactly when that happens will probably depend on whether we see any significant signs of commercial take up of the system.

    Other operating systems like *BSD and OpenSolaris can be supported if there is demand for them, particularly if it's either an offer to package as part of a distribution or asked for as part of a support contract. We have had earlier releases of WACS running on MacOS X, but are not currently keeping this up to date as we have no access to a suitable mac. If someone wishes to volunteer to be a maintainer for MacOS X, we'd be more than happy to see WACS return to the Macintosh platform. We'd quite like to see a Windows version, but do not really have the skills or time to make this a reality. If someone with experience of Perl, Apache and MySQL on Windows is prepared to take that project on, we'd be very happy to help and include the results in the WACS distribution archives.

  2. Q: Will you support any other database backends for WACS?
    A: We're thinking about it. At present the two choices of MySQL 5 and Oracle i11 are at rather extreme opposite ends of the spectrum, and we do feel there is room for another choice. At present we expect this third option to be PostGres and relatively soon, but whether we'll do this for PostGres 8 or wait until PostGres 9 becomes stable is yet to be decided. And before you ask, we're not going to support SQL Server unless somebody offers us wheelbarrows of cash to do so!
  3. Q: What other new projects are you considering related to WACS?
    A: We've long wanted to produce a viewer client for WACS that runs on multiple platforms that works in a similiar way to rungq and runmp but allows skipping to the next set and marking off as seen those sets that have been viewed from a selection. We started work on one using WxWidgets but became stuck with the lack of image manipulation features within the library. We may well attempt to use Java instead. We've also long considered releasing collections of meta-data from our internal test server and do hope to proceed with that once the transition to Wacs 0.9.x is complete.

6. Commercial Use

  1. Q: Can I use WACS for a commercial website?
    A: Absolutely. It was one of our original design intentions for the system and you are totally free to do so. If you are thinking of using it commercially you can support us through buying WacsPro, coming on one of our training courses, buying a support contract or commissioning a photoshoot for your site. The commercial add-on package (WacsPro) handles financial (billing, etc), account management, communication and customer support tasks but it is purely an add-on that provides extra convenience; Wacs works for commercial web sites just fine without WacsPro.
  2. Q: Can I run WACS on an Enterprise level environment?
    A: Yes (sorta). We do not currently offer pre-built packages for any of the Enterprise Linux Distributions, and we have had reports of problems on CentOS and other Enterprise-style distributions. The installer script we provide should achieve reasonable results if you're prepared to put in some work and have some experience of resolving the many dependencies in the system. We would STRONGLY recommend trying WACS out and prototyping your site on one of the distributions with supported packages first and then porting it to an Enterprise environment. There is some fairly extensive documentation about the procedure you will need to follow in the Wacs Configuration Manual, and we're happy to try to offer advice via the mailing list. Additionally there are support services available from Bevtec Communications Ltd who will be happy to do the work for you for a fee.
  3. Q: Can WACS be used on multiple virtual servers on the same machines?
    A: Absolutely. Simple instructions for doing it can be found in the AppNotes directory of the WACS distribution docs and will be in the next version of the Configuration Guide.
  4. Q: Does WACS scale well?
    A: Yes, we believe so. Our in-house test database has over 3,000 models; nearly 35,000 sets and over one million images. WACS is also entirely network transparent, so you can have multiple web servers serving the same content. You can separate the database, navigation and content storage roles to different machines. If even all this isn't enough, we have strategies for replication of entire servers to multiple systems.
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