Forum OpenACS Q&A: Time to update the recommended OS version(s)?


I've noticed several post about RH 7.1 in contrast to RH 6.2.  I've
also noticed several post about OpenACS (and AOLserver) under *BSD.

Is it time to update what the community recommends and generally
"supports" as to the operating system versions for OpenACS?

Especially the into/doc stuff for newbies, suggesting what to use to
maximize their chances of a successful experience and of getting
support from the forum.

Also, any experiences or a forum on running OpenACS on a *BSD
operating system might be nice.

Where does this stand?



Posted by Gilbert Wong on
One of my clients is using AOLServer/OpenACS on FreeBSD.  I have a preliminary install guide sitting on my hard drive but I haven't had the time to clean it up.  As soon as I finish it, I'm going to ship it to Roberto.  AOLServer on FreeBSD will not work out of the box.  You need to patch one file before installing.  Aside from that one quirk, FreeBSD is a really nice platform to administer.  Almost every open source package you might need has been ported to FreeBSD in the ports collection.  Installation and configuration of the software as simple as typing "make install".
I also have an install guide for an alternative platform that is
nearing completion.  Its for OpenACS 4 on Mac OS X and
Darwin.  I just sent it out to reviewers for feedback.

I'll be loading it onto new-file-storage when I get a thumbs up.

People interested in looking at the current draft can email me

That's GREAT guys!

I'll bet several people now and in the future will love your guides and HOWTOs.  Supporting *BSD (Free *and* Open) might help with OpenACS acceptance by more organizations!  Especially those with sysadmins who love *BSD and don't care for Linux (like the sysadmin who sent me to

BTW, any "verdict" on whether it's time for the recommended RH Linux platform to be 7.1 instead of 6.2...or something else?  Just wondering how current the current "guidelines" for recommending RH 6.2 are.

Thanks again,


Posted by Jonathan Marsden on
There are still a lot more Red Hat 6.2 (Open)ACS servers in production
than Red Hat 7.1.  So in terms of "what is tried and trusted", the answer is probably still 6.2.

Having said that, my test box is now RH 7.1 and I have not seen any
7.1-specific issues that worry me regarding RH 7.1 and OpenACS 3.2.5 or 4.x.

Some folks feel that the Linux kernel 2.4.x series (as used by Red Hat 7.x) still has some VM issues to resolve before it should be recommended for production servers with desired uptimes of a few (tens of?) months...  I've not stressed the VM subsystem of a 2.4.x kernel enough to offer a valid opinion on that one!

Personally, I'm starting to develop and test my RPMs on 7.1, and then backport to RH 6.2, rather than the other way around... and as long as I have good access to machines running both 6.2 and 7.1 myself, I'll be about equally able to "unofficially support" OpenACS folks using either of them.

My one concern with recommending Red Hat 6.2 for new server use right now, would be that Red Hat is likely to stop producing updated RPMs for it once RH 8.0 comes out in around April 2002, if history is any guide.  So using Red Hat 7.1 might be good from that perspective.

Posted by Jun Yamog on
I have been running RH7.1 + XFS patch for my development servers.  As
far as I can see the only issue is Oracle 8i needs glibc 2.1.  So you
need to install the compatibility for glibc 2.1 and export some env vars.

But for our production and test servers it is still RH6.2 since they
not only run OpenACS but still good old software.

My real frustration with RH7.1 is that I could not test tclpro with
it.  I would like to try the tclpro debugger.  tclpro requires glibc
2.0, RH7.1 has only glibc 2.1 compat.  RH6.2 has glibc 2.0 compat.

Anybody here successful in having glibc 2.0 compat in RH7.1 or any
distrib that is glibc 2.2 based?


Posted by S. Y. on
You can probably use rpm2cpio (or whatever that utility is) to extract the 6.2 glibc2.0 compatability libraries. Or you can search for it on the Internet in a tarball format. Or you can find a moldy old extra disk drive, then install and upgrade Linux from all your CDs.

The latter is what I did recently, so now I have a bunch of moldy old libc libraries. While I don't care about Tclpro, I have discovered that I can run a Neolithic web browser like Netscape Navigator 3.04 with the old libc5 libraries by using a wrapper script that exports LD_LIBRARY_PATH.

It's up to you to figure out how you want to get the old libc libraries on your machine, though. Good luck.

The install guide for Mac OS X has been posted at http://


2.4.10 may have resolved the VM issues which have been haunting the kernel for a while.

I think that almost any distro is equally good if you know what you are doing. Currently I use mandrake 8.1 for a testing server/workstation and redhat 7.1 for a server.

I have used XFS, JFS, EXT3 and ReiserFS. Rieser and XFS are the most mature. XFS is the biggest patch (300K or something). XFS is supposedily the best with large files and Reiser with small. JFS is excellent, and fast, but has had a couple of bugs, EXT3 I wouldn't rely on as of yet - But I have a feeling that is the fs that will ship with Redhat 7.2 (it is included in the beta).


1) upgrade to 2.4.10 kernel - fixes some VM stuff. It is now available from Not to many problems on the mailing list - but is still "Beta Stable"

2) Better scheduling (for the lots processes that ACS may create)
look at the schedule patch from
or HPs nice scheduling patch (The industry's best)

3) bounce-buffer elimination for IO devices
For a lot of disk IO, you want to look at the progress of the bounce-buffer elimination for IO devices, like my Fibre Channel adapter.

Good luck,