[LON-CAPA-admin] LON-CAPA version

Stuart Raeburn raeburn at msu.edu
Tue Jan 6 04:19:12 EST 2009

New Version Released

This is a testing release for upcoming version 2.8. It is anticipated that
version will be installed on production servers at MSU later  
today (1/6/2009).

To use this release you should have version 1-12 of
LONCAPA-prerequisites installed (this is the same as for LON-CAPA 2.7).
You will need to update the version of perl-DateTime installed on your server
to perl-DateTime-0.4304-1. The repositories for the various supported
Linux distributions on http://install.loncapa.org/ have been updated with
the new package, and any associated new dependencies unavailable from core
repositories for each particular distro.

Notable Changes from 2.7.1:

Authoring Resources

- Publication is possible for problems that do not include any  
response items, but include imported libraries.

- After the "Display Answer Date", Organic Material Response items  
display a "Show Your Last Answer" button if a JME string for display  
as the computer's answer was omitted. (In 2.7.0, but eliminated in  
2.7.1 when the pencil icon replaced the "Draw Molecule" button).

Student Interface

- Users with a single role/course no longer have this role selected  
   Instead the courses/roles page will be displayed for all users after log-in.

- A "Re-initialize/Re-select" course button is shown on the  
roles/courses screen for all course users when in course context.

- The WYSIWYG editor used for composing HTML in text areas has been updated

- The mimeTeX utility used to create bitmap images for display of  
mathematical typesetting has been updated.  Inline images now display  
in vertical alignment with any surrounding text.

- For inline navigation (set to icons or icons/text) the annotations  
to a resource icon will change if a user has already annotated the  

- The starting day of the week used in the calendar is determined by Locale.

- Files uploaded by students for submission to assignments (e.g., via  
a Drop Box) are subject to a size restriction.

- The assigned quota and the amount of disk space currently in use for  
the user's Portfolio are displayed.


- System-generated text in a notification e-mail is localized  
according to the recipient's language preference (or course language  
preference, if message sent in course context).

- Each recipient receives a single notification e-mail if notification  
e-mail and permanent e-mail addresses are the same, and e-mail should  
go to both.

- The sender's e-mail address is omitted from notification e-mail  
headers if the original LON-CAPA message did not permit replies.  The  
text of the e-mail also warns that replies will not be received by the  

- The recipient type - either To: or Cc: - is preserved when  
displaying a message.
Selections from both To: or Cc: recipients can be made when replying.

-  A pop-up window can be launched to show a list of recipients when  
displaying a message broadcast to multiple course participants.

- Group members sending a broadcast message to active group members  
can elect to designate recipients as either Cc: or Bcc:.

- Ccs set in the "Contact Helpdesk" web form only apply if the form is  
accessed by a logged-in user.

Course Management

- The default maximum for the cumulative size of files a user can  
submit to a particular question is 10 MB.   Max. file size is a  
parameter which can be set at a course, folder or resource level for  
all users or specific users.

- Storage of information about file uploads in a course's activity log  
has been streamlined.

- A file uploaded to a Drop Box is not overwritten by later submission  
of a similarly named file by the same user to a different assignment.

- The naming scheme for page/sequence files which record  
folder/composite page contents is more succinct where the folder/page  
is a copy of an existing course item.

- If a course timezone has been defined, this will be applied to all  
dates/times shown when using the "Student Activity" utility to display  
recent activity in a course.


- Formularesponse items will not accept a comma in an individual  
submission  - either as a scalar answer or within a single component  
in a vector answer (vector answers still use a comma as separator  
between components).

- If timeouts or internal errors prevent grading of a submission, a  
student will not be charged a try, and will be able to submit the same  
answer again.

- When grading bubble sheet exams, an optional verification can check  
for inconsistencies between bubbled letters/numbers and stored  
submissions.  A scan line with anomalies receives a second grading  
pass, and a warning is displayed if they persist.

- The zip file which can be generated of all files submitted by  
selected students to a particular assignment now includes files  
uploaded directly as well as files selected from students' portfolios.

Domain Coordination/Domain Settings

- Default Locale can be set for a domain or for a course.

- User Tools (Personal Home Page, Blogs and User Portfolio) can be  
enabled/disabled for users in a domain based on affiliation (e.g.,  
Faculty, Staff, Student etc.).  Any domain-wide access controls can be  
overridden for individual users by a Domain Coordinator.  The default  
is for all three tools to be enabled for all users.

- The lightweight webserver run on port 8080 (lonhttpd) formerly used  
to serve icons has been eliminated because of issues with  
institutional firewalls.  The standard web server on port 80 (or 443  
for SSL) is now used.

- Display of a banner and/or main logo on the log-in page (either  
custom or default) can be disabled.

_ A Domain Coordinator's Main Menu includes a "Domain Status" item  
which links to a number of utilities which provide server status  

_ Access to server status pages can be configured for specific users,  
or from specific IP addresses.  Domain Coordinators automatically have  
access for servers in their domain.  This replaces the previously used  
Apache Basic Auth access control.


- Generation of printouts is faster (and postscript files are smaller)  
as a result of minimizing the incidence of missing fonts (which must  
be generated).

- The HTML paragraph tag is disabled when printing tables to prevent  
hung print jobs.


- New translations and improvements were made for the German interface.


- More interface standardization using the following display elements:
   - Data tables with rows of alternating light/dark background  
colors, and a colored header.
   - Two column data tables with a colored left column, and light gray  
right column.
   - Boxes with a thin border used to group similar items together.

Installation Notes:

To use this release you need to have version 1-12 of LONCAPA-prerequisites
installed (this is the same version as used with LON-CAPA 2.7). You  
will need to update the version of perl-DateTime installed on your  
server to perl-DateTime-0.4304-1.

To install this update:

1) You will need to be running Fedora Core 6, 7, 8, or 9, RHEL (AS|ES)  
4 or 5, SUSE 10.1 10.2 or 10.3, SLES 9 or 10, CentOS 5, Scientific  
Linux 5 .(Fedora Core 5 should continue to work but is deprecated.)

2) Update perl-DateTime to 0.4304.

(a) Fedora
yum update

(b) RedHat Enterprise 4

up2date -u perl-DateTime

(c) Red Hat 5/Centos 5/Scientific Linux 5

yum update


Use yast-> Installation Source to refresh the LON-CAPA repository
Use yast->Software Management->Search to update perl-DateTime

On all distributions, it is recommended that you check that you have
the correct versions of LONCAPA-prerequisites and perl-DateTime
installed before proceeding.

rpm -q LONCAPA-prerequisites

should report:

rpm -q perl-DateTime

should report:

(where X is a distro identifier e.g., fc7.lc)

3) Download the new LON-CAPA tarball from
wget http://install.lon-capa.org/versions/loncapa-

and untar it

tar xzvf loncapa-

4) stop the LON-CAPA system services

/etc/rc.d/init.d/loncontrol stop

5) stop the webserver:

Fedora/RHEL/Centos/Scientific Linux
/etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd stop

/etc/init.d/apache stop

SUSE 10.1,2,3/SLES 10:
/etc/init.d/apache2 stop

6) Run the UPDATE script as root
cd loncapa-

7) restart the LON-CAPA system services
/etc/rc.d/init.d/loncontrol start

8) restart the webserver:

Fedora/RHEL/Centos/Scientific Linux
/etc/rc.d/init.d/httpd start

/etc/init.d/apache start

SUSE 10.1,2,3/SLES 10:
/etc/init.d/apache2 start

1) Many questions are answered at http://help.lon-capa.org
2) Defects reports, and enhancements requests can be entered at
3) Mailing lists can be joined and left at http://mail.lon-capa.org

Stuart Raeburn

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