Forum OpenACS Development: openacs.org running on PostgreSQL 9.2, OpenACS 5.8, XOTcl 2.0, NaviServer
since a few days, openacs.org and dotlrn.org run on an updated version of the basic infrastructure, consisting of
- OpenACS 5.8 (the cvs HEAD version)
- PostgreSQL 9.2.4
- NaviServer 4.99.6
- Tcl 8.5.14
- XOTcl 2.0b5
- xo* package of head (xotcl-core 0.126, xowiki 0.146)
- libthread 2.7.0
- tcllib 1.15
The upgrade from OpenACS 5.5 and pg 8.3.5 went smooth following the steps described in the wiki (http://openacs.org/xowiki/upgrade-oacs-5-8 ; Victor will add some more details soon). The biggest problems were local modifications on openacs.org (e.g. a function defined there as immutable which was not; seems, is if the immutable was ignored in old pg).
The install of the naviserver+modules was done with the install-ns.sh script in http://openacs.org/xowiki/naviserver-openacs
The openacs.org is running the new components since aug 1. Over the last days, we fixed several small bugs, we moved dotlrn.org to a virtual web server, activated gzip compression of dynamic and static content, etc. As a result, the new site is on the same hardware at least twice as fast as before (over the 12 months the avg response time of openacs.org was 320 ms, over the last week we have 153ms) with significant lower memory consumption (but maybe to early to say, since the server is running without automated reboots, we need longer observation periods).
In case of problems with the site, please add an entry to
no. this posting is not about the announcement of a new release of OpenACS, but about the upgrade of the openacs.org site. We work towards a release (the openacs site + migration is kind of a milestone), but the release is not done yet.
> Does aolserver-4.5.x still work as far as is known?
yes (i guess this is again an OpenACS 5.8 question rather than an openacs.org question). There is no plan/intention to drop aolserver support. One has to be careful when using new functionalities  of NaviServer, what goes into CVS, but most changes address the startup file of the server. The only larger infrastructure change in 5.8 is that it will require Tcl 8.5 (as decided by the OCT while ago).
About the OCT... does it still exist? Where do they meet?
Is there an estimate, or at least an idea, of what would be the effeort required to move an application developed for previous versions of OpenACS to this new version?
the OCT does not meet regularly since a while. We discuss from time to time things via email.
> Is there an estimate, or at least an idea, of what would be the effeort required to move an application developed for previous versions of OpenACS to this new version?
We have not released a new version of OpenACS, but used the head version from CVS for openacs.org. Estimating in the effort to upgrade to the head version of OpenACS can't be answered in general, since there are many OpenACS installations out there, where some of these are based on very early OpenACS forks, or some have substantial local modifications.
For recent versions of OpenACS core (e.g. OpenACS 5.5 or newer), the upgrade is a no-brainer: as always, get the new openacs packages and run the upgrade scripts. We have a wiki page (http://openacs.org/xowiki/Postgres_9) for upgrading which contains more details, especially, if one wants to upgrade to pg9.
Using pg9 is highly recommended for large OpenACS installations, since it solves a long standing issue with performance of permission queries. Due to changes in the PostgreSQL optimizers, the performance of the permission queries for large installations degraded after pg 8.3, such that several installations could not upgrade to newer pg versions. For our production environment, we had to rewrite the permission queries using recursive queries (Victor did most of this) some time ago, which is now merged back into OpenACS. Another argument against pg 8.3 is that this is no longer supported by the pg community.
OpenACS.org runs now with the code base from the oacs-5-8 branch. Some of you might have seen restarts or other abnormalities lately on openacs.org. These happened when i was hunting down the site bugs of openacs.org, many of these were due to local modifications. The site bugs in the bug-tracker  are now down to 8, while much more unreported bugs were fixed, "detected" by spiders. 100 days ago, we had 17.000 errors per day in the error.log, yesterday we had 3.000, still much to many. In the same overhaul, the metrics and package info in the wiki is as well updated substantially, see e.g. 
The good news is that openacs.org runs now mostly without any deprecated calls. The last oacs-5-2 packages in use are "bug-tracker" and "workflow", victor is working on these. In the same process, we are feeding back the changes to the oacs-5-8 branch (for the more exotic packages like "downloads" to HEAD).
all the best