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<h1>Installing LON-CAPA on a minimal SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 9</h1>
This document guides you through the process of setting up a new LON-CAPA
server running SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 (SLES 9) with a minimum of packages installed.
The computer will be configured solely as a LON-CAPA server and will be
expected to have no other services running. Your server is expected to have
a reasonably fast connection to the internet.
More information is available at
<h2>Before you begin</h2>
Installing Linux is getting easier and easier. However, it is still a
non-trivial undertaking and experience with SuSE Linux will make this
process easier. You will be required to log in to the machine and execute
some routine Unix commands. Familiarity with the Apache web server, mod_perl,
perl, and MySQL are not required to install and run LON-CAPA.
The installation process takes the following steps:
<li> Obtain SLES 9 installation media</li>
<li> Determine Network Settings</li>
<li> Install SLES 9</li>
<li> Update your system </li>
<li> Install LON-CAPA </li>
<li> Create a Domain Coordinator </li>
<li> Start/Restart services </li>
<li> Log in to LON-CAPA </li>
<h2>Obtain SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9</h2>
SuSE ISO files can be obtained from the Novell site: <a href="http://www.suse.com/products/server/">http://www.suse.com/products/server/</a>.
<h2>Determine Network Settings</h2>
You will need to know the following network settings for your installation.
<b>Note:</b>You must have a static IP address to use LON-CAPA.
DHCP is <em>not</em> supported.
<li>ip address </li>
<li>domain name server(s) </li>
<h2>Minimal SLES 9 Install</h2>
Installing SuSE Linux Enterprise Server is quite easy if you've installed Linux products
before. Some documentation is available from
Most of the installation screens are self explanatory.
There are a few steps that require comment and are dealt with below.
<dl style="list-style:square outside none">
<dt>Partitioning your Drive</dt>
<dd>For a LON-CAPA library server (i.e., the main server used
for permanent storage of course and user data),
a separate partition is recommended for /home, as this
simplifies future upgrades of the operating system.
If you are adding an additional access server to an
existing LON-CAPA domain, this does not apply as no
permenent data are stored on an access server.
As LON-CAPA resource files are stored in the /home directory,
the majority of the disk space should be allocated here.
If you have 20 GB of space for SLES9, /home should
receive at least 10 to 12 gigs. Since MySQL uses the /var
filesystem to store its databases you should have as least
4 gigs of space available on /var. Be sure to
include adequate swap space. A minimum is 512 Megs, but you should
typically have 1 or 2x as much swap space as you do physical RAM.
<dt>Package Group Selection</dt>
<dd>Click on the "Software" link or use the "Change" select box in
the installation Setting screen, and choose Minimal Install.</dd>
<p>Once you system has rebooted, you will use yast to complete the configuration. Change the following settings:
<dl style="list-style:square outside none">
<dd>LON-CAPA will <b>not</b> work with a machine set up to use a dynamic
IP address. When configuring your network card, you should include you static IP address, netmask, host name information (e.g., host name = tmp1, domain = lite.msu.edu), as well as name servers and gateway.
<dd>Indicate "Yes" when prompted to "run online update now?"</dd>
Finish installing your server, read the "readme", reboot and log in as root.
<h2>Configure Firewall Settings</h2>
<p>After reboot you should start yast, and select Security and Users -> Firewall. At step 2 include the following services: HTTP, HTTP with SSL, and Secure Shell.
<h2>Change software sources for your system</h2>
You will use yast to import packages required for LON-CAPA.<br>
Select "Change Source of Installation". The media you used to install SLES9 will be listed as an installation source. You may also wish to create a local repository by copying the contents of the RPM directories on CDs 2 - 6 to a local directory to avoid the need to flip CDs during LON-CAPA installation. Information about building a local repository is available at:<a href="http://portal.suse.com/sdb/en/2004/02/yast_instsrc.html">http://portal.suse.com/sdb/en/2004/02/yast_instsrc.html</a>.
<h3>Add an additional installation source</h3>
<p>Add the LON-CAPA SLES 9 repository as an additional installation source, so software installation in yast will have access to two repositories - a SuSE/Novell source (for packages included for the standard distribution) and the LON-CAPA repository (for extra packages needed to run LON-CAPA). For the LON-CAPA source you will use:
<dl style="list-style:square outside none">
<dd>Directory on server</dd>
After saving this configuration information for the LON-CAPA repository, choose "Edit", then "Refresh" the quit yast.
<h2>Update pwdutils package</h2>
Start yast, and choose the "Install and Remove software" option, and use "Search" to find pwdutils. Indicate that you wish to update to version 3.0.2.</p>
<p> Execute: </p>
yast -i LONCAPA-prerequisites
This may take a moment due to LON-CAPA's large number of dependencies.
<h3>Retrieve and execute LON-CAPA setup program</h3>
Retrieve the LON-CAPA setup with one of the following commands:
<i>32 bit architecture</i>
<i>64 bit architecture</i>
Extract the archive with the following command:
tar xf suse_install.tar
This creates a directory named <tt>installation</tt>. Change to it and
execute the setup script with the following commands:
This script will prompt you for the MySQL root password and will download the latest LON-CAPA release.
<h3>Determine LON-CAPA Settings</h3>
LON-CAPA requires a number of identifying parameters to be set in order
for it to function at all. Below is a list with descriptions.
<dt>Host Type (library or access)</dt>
<dd>The server must be designated a 'library' or an 'access' server. In
general you should have a library server for your instructors to create
their course content on and run their courses. Students should connect
to access servers. If you are doing the first install of LON-CAPA at
your site, or if you are playing with it for your own edification you
should make your machine a 'library' server.</dd>
<dd>Each site or school which installs LON-CAPA needs its own domain.
Here at MSU we use 'msu'. You should choose something short but
meaningful. <i>Restriction: One word, no hyphens, underscores, or
<dt>LON-CAPA host id</dt>
<dd>Each LON-CAPA server requires a unique internal name. We use names
such as "msul1" for the first library server. <i>Restriction: One word,
no hyphens, underscores, or special characters.</i>
<dt>Host administrator email</dt>
<dd>The amount of email sent to this address is relatively minimal. Messages
are sent every time the system starts up, or if the system is in
serious trouble. On a laptop, make this <tt>root@localhost</tt>.
To configure and install LON-CAPA, execute the following commands:
cd /root/loncapa-X.Y.Z (X.Y.Z should correspond to a version number like '2.10.0')
You will need to enter the LON-CAPA configuration information you determined
in the previous section.
<p>After installing LON-CAPA, and taking any actions included in the WARNINGS file created during installation, it is recommended that you set loncontrol to start automatically on boot, by executing the following command:</p>
/sbin/chkconfig --level 345 loncontrol on
<p>Start yast and use "Online Update" to check for updates to installed packages. When prompted for the username and password for your account with Novell, you should check the box to retain your log-in information, otherwise the nightly update check, installed as part of the LON-CAPA install, will fail and send you a message "ERROR(Media:login failed)" each time it runs.</p>
<h2>Creating a Domain Coordinator</h2>
You will need at least one user at your site who has the role of
'domain coordinator'. This user creates accounts for other users and
grants them additional privileges. The make_domain_coordinator.pl script
invoked below requires that you enter the user's password.
Feel free to use the "passwd username" command to change it later.
Replace USERNAME and DOMAIN with an appropriate user name and your domain.
perl make_domain_coordinator.pl USERNAME DOMAIN
The LON-CAPA network services take a moment to start. Most misconfigurations
will be apparent at this step.
If you receive warnings when starting the httpd about missing perl modules,
please make sure you followed the instructions in
<b>Installing LON-CAPA Dependencies</b>. If you still have errors, please
contact the MSU LON-CAPA group.
<h2>Log in to your LON-CAPA Machine</h2>
Point a web browser at your new machine and log in as the domain
<h2>If things aren't working right</h2>
If you've followed the steps above and the server doesn't start or you think
there's something wrong, please get in touch with the MSU LON-CAPA group.
You can submit a help request using our web form:<br>
If there were errors in installation of the dependency RPMs or during the
automatic setup, please send us as much information as possible.
If some part of this document is unclear please let us know.