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<h1>Installing LON-CAPA on a Fedora Linux System</h1>
This document guides you through the process of setting up a new LON-CAPA
server running Fedora Linux. The computer will be configured solely as
a LON-CAPA server and will be expected to have no other services running
More information is available at <a href="http://install.lon-capa.org/">
<h2>Before you begin</h2>
Installing Linux is getting easier and easier. However, it is still a
non-trivial undertaking and experience with Red Hat Linux will make this
process easier. You will be required to log in to the machine and execute
some routine Unix commands. Some familiarity with Linux is assumed.
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 Fedora Linux </li>
<li> Determine Network Settings</li>
<li> Install Fedora </li>
<li> Install LON-CAPA Dependencies </li>
<li> Determine your LON-CAPA Settings </li>
<li> Install LON-CAPA </li>
<li> Configure LON-CAPA </li>
<li> Pick a hosts.tab file </li>
<li> Create a Domain Coordinator </li>
<li> Start/Restart services </li>
<li> Log in to LON-CAPA </li>
<h2>Obtain Fedora Linux</h2>
Fedora linux ISO files can be obtained from the projects main site,
<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>Gather needed information</h2>
Installing Fedora is quite easy if you've installed any of the Red Hat products
before. Some documentation is available from
There are a few sections that require comment.
<dl style="list-style:square outside none">
<dd>You should do a "Server" install. We do not recommend
trying to install LON-CAPA with a different installation type.</dd>
<dt>Partitioning your Drive</dt>
<dd>You may want to use the automatic partitioning feature of the installer,
however you should review the results and be prepared to modify them.
LON-CAPA resource files are stored in the /home directory, so the
lion's share of the drive should be allocated here. If you have 20 GB
of space for Fedora, /home should receive 16 gigs. 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.</dd>
<dd>LON-CAPA will <b>not</b> work with a machine set up to use a dynamic
IP address. When configuring your network card, be sure to unselect
the DHCP option and enter in your network information.</dd>
<dd>The firewall should be customized to allow incoming ssh and www.
Additional ports used by LON-CAPA are 5663 and 8080.
Enter these in the entry box as <nobr>"5663:tcp, 8080:tcp"</nobr>.</dd>
<dt>Package Group Selection</dt>
<b>Do not</b> install a web server. It is intentially omitted from
this list. Installing packages not listed below is not recommended.
If you install packages not listed below you should expect difficulties
when installing the LON-CAPA dependencies.
<li>Text Based Internet</li>
<li>Authoring and Publishing</li>
Finish installing your server, reboot it, and log in as root.
<h2>Retrieving the LON-CAPA Installation Archive</h2>
Execute the following command:
This will retrieve from the LON-CAPA website all the packages needed to get
LON-CAPA running on your system, except for the LON-CAPA source itself.
Extract the archive with the following command:
tar xf fedora_install.tar
This creates a directory named <tt>installation</tt>.
<h2>Installing LON-CAPA Dependencies</h2>
This section walks you through installing the packages which LON-CAPA requires.
There are a lot of dependencies to deal with. They have been grouped in a
somewhat logical fashion to make them easier to deal with. When installing
the rpms you should watch for errors.
The quick instructions are:
rpm -Uvh *rpm
rpm -Uvh *rpm
rpm -Uvh *rpm
rpm -Uvh *rpm
rpm -Uvh *rpm
rpm --install --oldpackage readline-2.2.1-6.i386.rpm
rpm --install --oldpackage --excludedocs libpng-1.0.12-2.i386.rpm
rpm -Uvh gnuplot-3.7.1-5.i386.rpm libgd-1.3-4.i386.rpm ncurses4-5.0-5.i386.rpm
rpm -Uvh *rpm
<li>MySQL is used to store caches of data, not original copies.
Administering LON-CAPA machines does not yet mean becoming a
<li>Apache 1.3 and mod_perl 1.x are required by LON-CAPA. These are
provided in the installation package.
<li>A specific version of Gnuplot is required by LON-CAPA. Do not
install a version different from the one included in the LON-CAPA
<h2>Configuring LON-CAPA Dependencies</h2>
We have prepared a script which takes care of most of the configuration that
must be done to get the newly installed packages working with LON-CAPA.
This script will retrieve the latest LON-CAPA release from
You will be prompted for a root password for your MySQL server. You
will need to remember this password in case you should ever need to make
changes the the server.
Execute the script as follows:
<h2>Determine LON-CAPA Settings</h2>
LON-CAPA requires a number of identifying parameters 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-N.N (N.N should correspond to a version number like '1.1')
You will need to enter the LON-CAPA configuration information you determined
in the previous section.
<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 users password. The password will
show in plaintext as you type it. 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
(WILL PROMPT FOR PASSWORD HERE)
The LON-CAPA network services take a moment to start. Most misconfigurations
will be appearant at this step.
<h2>Log in to your LON-CAPA Machine</h2>
Point a web browser at your new machine and log in as the domain