Forum OpenACS Q&A: Re: Will Dr. OpenACS survive? Or why I stopped worrying and learned to love the .LRN consortium?

Mark, same offer if you go after the binary installer.
Hey! I have a windows box. But I don't have an ibook G4. Would your offer also include that? If yes, count on me, I will create the windows installer!
Posted by Andrew Piskorski on
Why the heck would you want a Linux binary installer that works like a Windows binary installer? Yuck! Linux has something much better - packages! For Linux, what OpenACS needs isn't some silly pointy-clicky GUI binary installer, but rather:

  1. Source rpm and deb packages for all OpenACS dependencies, all OpenACS core packages, and each non-core OpenACS package.
  2. Compiled binary packages of the above for some of the more popular Linux distrubitions.
  3. An OpenACS package repository for use with both apt-get (on both Debian and rpm distros) and yum (for rpm distros), preferably all hosted at one place. (On a server, or something like that).
  4. Clear instructions on how to point apt-get or yum at the above repositories and install everything you need for OpenACS. (With the above work done right, this should be very easy, just adding a line or two to one config file, and running one or two commands along the lines of, "apt-get install openacs".)
  5. Optionally, where various Linux package repositories include stock components suitable for use with OpenACS, clear and concise pointers to those as well.

Just yesterday Bart contributed a whole bunch of source rpms which make a good dent in the above list of tasks. Many others have also made similar efforts in the past, but to-date they have been one-off one man efforts which have never pushed through to the full solution above, and which haven't been taken up and fully integrated by the rest of the OpenACS community.

There is no doubt additional related work that would be needed to faciliate the stuff above and/or really leverage it once it's built, but I am convinced that the above is at least roughly the right approach.

Basically 80+% of the difficulty and hassle in installing OpenACS has nothing to do with OpenACS per-se, but is due solely to installing the required software stack. And the repository of Linux packages described above will make all of that software stack difficulty just go away! Then all that is left for the brand new OpenACS user/admin to do is:

  • Creat and initialize a database (for your already installed RDBMS software).
  • Configure an AOLserver instance (using the already installed AOLserver software).
  • Initialize your OpenACS system via the web browser (using the already installed OpenACS files).

Those tasks are pretty easy, are already covered adequately in the current OpenACS docs, will get even easier once they can assume use of all the Linux packages above, and most likely, could also be further automated via the Linux package systems if people end up wanting that.

ok so this weekend I'll have built all the binary rpms for the dependant software for multiple distros:

SLP 9.2
SLES 8,9
FC 2,3
RHEL 3,4
CentOS 3,4

Who do I contact/bribe to get the officall openacs repositories(apt4rpm/yum) set up?

Should this be on one of the actuall machines?
If not, who is in charge of the DNS for pointing the appropiate host at the appropiate IP?

That brings me to the next question...
What should the repository host be called?


did you make the binary RPMs from the source RPMs I made available? If so, did you have to make any changes to them in order to compile them to binary RPMs on the multiple distros you created them for?

Feed back is greatly appreciated.