Recovering an old (ancient) Drupal 5 site

Since the dawn of time I worked on my personal homepage, Sadly, what I didn’t do, was upgrade the Drupal installation. Not a good thing to do. It’s insecure, and almost impossible to upgrade now that the installation is like 15 years old.
Now I got to the point where the page didn’t work anymore. The host upgraded their PHP installation one more time, and this time it wasn’t compatible with my old Drupal installation. So, time to upgrade. But how?
I first tried to upgrade the Drupal version on the server. But that failed, the new version wouldn’t connect to the database no matter what I tried.
Take two. I exported the database with Phpmyadmin on the host. Then installed Drupal 9 on my local machine. Then imported the Drupal 5 database into the local database server and changed the config of Drupal 8 to use that db. But that of course didn’t work, the layout of the database has changed a lot over the years.

Take three. How about to install an old version of Drupal locally? Well, no. My local machine has fresh software, and the old Drupal version uses deprecated functions. So no luck.

Take 4. Installing an old Drupal version on an old Ubuntu version, running in VirtualBox. This should work? Or?

Well Ubuntu 7.10 was no success. Bad compability with VirtualBox makes moving the mousepointer hard, you can’t reach certain areas of the screen. The included Firefox won’t load most pages, and a recent version of Chrome can’t be installed. Sigh.

After this I made several tries with different Ubuntu versions and different Drupal versions. In the files from the old webpage I found out that I hade been using version 6.34, and some trial and error gave that Ubuntu 10.10 matched that version, considering PHP compability and such.
But no success anyway, just got to a blank white page. The Apache log showed some errors which I fixed, and then ended up with no errors. And no content, still just a white page.

By now I have given up this way to recover the posts from thehomepage. Instead I now trying to extract data with PhpMyAdmin and in some way make them browsable. Might be as a custom build page, maybe imported in some other system.

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