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Precautions when Installing a *nix system for OpenACS

Install a *nix-based operating system (OS)

Follow the installation directions that come with the distribution.

There are generally 2 strategies at this point:

  1. Install an OS with minimum programs, or
  2. Install a suite of programs, for example choose between a developer set or desktop set.

We recommend installing only the OS to minimize the chances of conflicts resulting from installing 2 or more copies of one of the OpenACS system components openacs-system.

The impatient reader might want to check out the two scripts at naviserver-openacs which can be used to install OpenACS from scratch on a variety if systems (including Debian/RHEL Linux or Mac OS X), and which lists the detailed dependencies during the build process. Below, we describe in detail the steps.

Many additional programs, such as a build environment (gcc), Mail Transport Agent (MTA), and source control system, are also needed for a fully operational installation. Most of these are included with a basic OS installation.

Install some helper software

You might want to install some of these after a minimum OS install, since OpenACS administration usually assumes you have these (or alternates) installed:

  • wget
  • emacs or vi/vim
  • bash shell (usually automatically installed with Linux distributions)
  • gcc or equivalent (along with standard distribution source libraries) - if you plan to install software from source.
  • ImageMagick - used by some packages for server side image processing
  • aspell - used to offer spell checking in forms

*nix install guides

some helpful documentation for installing *nix flavors

*nix-based systems without installing *nix

These DEMOs install a temporary *nix OS on your system:

Or, lease a hosted system with a *nix OS and OpenACS installed on it.

See companies that host OpenACS websites.

Securing your system

Once you get your OS installed, it's imperative that you secure your installation. As Jon Griffin repeatedly warns us, "No distribution is secure out of the box." The Reference Platform implements some basic precautions, but security is a process, not a condition. If you are responsible for a computer hooked to the internet, you are responsible for learning some rudiments of security, such as monitoring the state of a computer, maintaining patch levels, and keeping backups. We recommend these resources:

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