[LON-CAPA-dev] New Testing Release

Stuart Raeburn lon-capa-dev@mail.lon-capa.org
Tue, 08 Jul 2008 17:10:03 -0400

New Testing Version

This is a testing release for upcoming version 2.7

Installation of this release is recommended for development servers, not
production servers. If you have a development machine you are invited to
test it out.

To use this release you need to have version 1-12 of
LONCAPA-prerequisites installed. This new package, as well as some new
dependencies, are available from the testing repositories found at:

In a few days, to coincide with release of, these new
packages will be added to the main LON-CAPA repositories for the
various distros, so that updates/refreshes of yum/up2date/yast on
production servers will pick up the new packages.

If you do not currently have your development server(s) configured to
use the testing repositories please refer to:


The list of distros for which testing repos exist, as described in
that November 2007 posting, has now been extended with the addition of
SuSE 10.3 and Fedora 8. SuSE 9.3 will cease to be supported for
LON-CAPA 2.7.  Although support for LON-CAPA 2.7 on Fedora 9 is
planned, for now is not supported because of a LaTeX issue
with that particular distro.

Notable Changes from 2.6.3:

Authoring resources
- Choice of problem templates shown for new problems in Construction
Space are organized by type/function.
- Math renderer and language can be set when displaying problems in
Construction space.
- Maxima libraries are available for mathresponse and forumlaresponse
problems which use the Maxima CAS.
- Import of questions from a testbank file now supports import from
files in RTF and HTML format (including embedded images) as well as
plain text.
- Users uploading HTML files containing embedded objects (images etc.)
to Construction Space will be prompted to upload referenced files.
- New units are available (c, cc, e, hbar, mph, rpm, pc).
- An improved example of a mathresponse problem is provided.
- New accessor functions provide access to submission, current part,
and open date, due date and answer date in a format suitable for
- The JME Molecular Editor is an updated version.
- Publication of problems lacking response items is prohibited.

Course Management
- Recent role changes in a course are displayed on the What's New page.
- The complete history of role changes in a course is available to a
Course Coordinator.
- A role switcher in a course's inline menu allows users with multiple
roles in the course to choose a different role; Course Coordinators
can choose any role currently assigned in the course.
- Courses can be configured to allow students to self-enroll.
- Modify Resource Parameters - Overview Mode can be used to shift all
start and end date parameters in a course.
- Individual courses can be excluded from display in the course catalog.
- A timezone selector is available when choosing a timezone to be used
for a course.
- The timezone is displayed when setting access dates, enrollment dates etc.

- Scantron format choices available for scantron grading are from the
course's domain, instead of the domain of the server performing the
- Comparisons can be generated of raw scantron data and submission
records for previously graded scantron exams.
- Locking prevents role changes and logout while scantron grading
and/or printing are in progress, unless overridden by the user.
- The grading interface now provides a free form data entry field for correct
answers to clicker questions.

Student interface
- Users in domains with institutional authentication (Single Sign On,
Kerberos or local authentication e.g., LDAP) can be authenticated if
they do not have a LON-CAPA account and given the opportunity to
create an account.
- A pop-up Dragmath WYSIWYG editor is available for composing math
expressions and exporting in Maxima/LaTeX format.

Domain Coordination/Domain Settings
- Domain Coordinators can select an ad hoc co-author role for any
author in the domain, unless the author chooses to opt out.
- A hierarchy of categories and sub-categories for use in categorizing
courses can be defined for a domain.
- The course catalog can display courses cataloged by institutional
code, and also by categories defined for the domain.
- When cloning a course, date parameters can be omitted, preserved of
shifted by a specified number of days.
- Default authentication type, argument and language in a domain are
configurable by a Domain Coordinator via the  "Domain Configuration"
- Domains can permit self-creation of LON-CAPA accounts using a valid
e-mail address as the username.
- The scantronformat.tab file which describe the format(s) of scantron
data used in a domain can be uploaded by a Domain Coordinator using
the "Domain Configuration" interface.

- Help files have been added for Maxima CAS, Formula Editor, and Vector Input.
- Description of new accessor functions added to the functions table.
- More help files translated into German.
- A new help icon is used.

- utf-8 entity conversion to LaTeX has been optimized

- New translations and improvements for German interface
- All languages now use UTF-8 encoding.

To install this update:

1) You will need to be running Fedora Core 6, 7, or 8, 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.)
     Support for Fedora 9 is expected to be available soon.

2) update to the latest LONCAPA-prerequisites 1-12 by following
     these directions:


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/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/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