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Using clean URLs

Just so I was familiar with the process of installing drupal, I set it up on my home machine. I was wondering why I couldn't enable clean URLs in Home > Administer > Site configuration > clean URLs, and found out that URL rewriting had to be enabled in apache, and this is one way of enabling URL rewrites. However, this required me to do some fiddling with apache2.conf, so I needed root access to do this. There are other ways of enabling it though and maybe we could use one of these on the simulistics host.