Forum OpenACS Development: "Quick and Clean" installation guide

I've just finished my first draft of a "quick and clean" installation guide. This is a complete to-the-keystroke guide - start with a new computer, a blank hard drive, three CD-ROMS, and this guide, and end up with a working OpenACS installation, including ssl, full text search, a reasonably secure system, automatic backup, and a tested restoration process. In about an hour.

Although the existing documentation is in pretty good shape and clearly reflects a lot of work, I ran into four problems:

First, the installation is exceedingly lengthy.

Second, there are a lot of prerequisites and jumps to third-party pieces. Each one has a different documentation style, from READMEs in tarballs to "go to my web page" (thanks djb!).

Third, there are a lot of choices and decisions that I don't want to keep making - I just want a working, fully featured OpenACS server up and running as quickly as possible.

Fourth, I wanted to freeze something fairly stable so that I could burn a CD and know that, three years from now, I can take a fresh backup and an old CD and rebuild a server in an hour.

My installation guide sets the following as a baseline platform

  • Redhat Linux 8.0
  • OpenACS 4.5
  • PostGreSQL 7.2.3
  • AolServer 3.3ad13-oacs1-beta
  • Daemontools 0.76
  • OpenFTS 0.2
  • nsopenssl 2.1
  • Qmail 1.03
  • ucspc-tcp 0.88

So my question is, is this useful to other people? If so, should it be posted on With the new supporting scripts? With the tarball/iso? Are there distribution issues to the tarball/iso?

The current draft, which is still sans cvs, database backup, and recovery, is at .

Posted by Venugopal Maddukuri on
Hey, Cool

This is certainly useful.
I will try it out and comment.

Is there any documentation on the actual use of the system ?

Like for example: How do I setup a system to post articles like phil greenspun, and allow people to comment/post additional links etc ?

So, basically, how to create a new folder, mount applications, integrate them etc.

But your document is certainly a step in the right direction. Regarding the Licensing.. well thats another issue. I think Qmail / djb's work is the only license to be worried about. But if we maintain compatibility with the qmail binary distributions, I think that should be OK..

I would certainly enjoy a installable product. Infact I think thats what is required for easier adoption of OpenACS. If we could just make a CDROM distribution that installs on a platform.. wow..

great work, keep it up !


Posted by Jorge Garcia on
Hi, Joel.
Good work.
Very useful.
I would like to see the 'cvs' part soon :)
Posted by Alfred Essa on
Joel, Excellent Work! Much Needed! --Al
Posted by Luigi Martini on
Blue-gray and yellow backgrounds (points 3 and 4 of the Installation Instruction section) do not show when printed on paper and/or my black and white screen.
Maybe you could choose another way to differentiate the two input lines. Perhaps one of them could be bold...