Forum OpenACS Q&A: Software Downloads: Please Advertise!

Posted by Tom Jackson on

In my never ending quest to install OpenACS by following the docs, and getting all the software from public sources I have again stumped my toe.

Stupidly I downloaded the nspostgres module from SourceForge. I compiled it, but during installation the installer complained that the module was out of date.

Okay, so nowhere in the doc does it say to look in SourceForge for the pg driver, and I should have known something was weird when it compiled as and not just

So I started hunting around I looked in file-storage, which btw isn't easy to find. Hmm, I know I have seen it, but where?

Finally I found it by reading about installing AOLserver+ad13, which I wasn't installing.

So the weird thing is that whey you follow the "Unleash OpenACS Now" banner on the front page, you only find one out of about ten files you need to download to make OpenACS work.

Personally I vote for a complete and total code freeze for the 4.7 release until a complete idiot can download and install OpenACS in less than a day, without asking questions and getting advice. (I can serve as the complete idiot, if needed.) This includes fixing the website so it conforms to something resembling 'useful'. I volunteer to help assuming there is a public list of what needs to be done, and anyone with time can work on the list. And please don't interpret any of this as a slant against the current volunteers maintaining this site and all the documentation. My point is that enhancing the software should now be the last thing on anyone's mind when it come to contributing back to the community. We should all be helping with the docs and with the website so new users will find this stuff useful.

If someone can verify what the current pg driver is supposed to be, I can see if that is what is available from SourceForge for future idiots to stumble on.

Posted by Ben Koot on
Amen !!!
Posted by Vinod Kurup on
The docs say to use the aolserver distro that Mat Kovach provides which has all the needed drivers.

I've asked for help on keeping the docs up to date (because, frankly I don't have the time), but I haven't heard many offers - mostly just complaints. If someone is willing to takeover the maintenance and improvement of the install docs, that would be fine by me.

Posted by Lachlan Myers on
This has been a longstanding problem with AOLserver. Various people on the AOLserver lists have tried to get the "official" drivers brought up to date. Its not really something this community can control.
Posted by Tom Jackson on

As of today, Lamar Owen is replacing the nspostgres driver on SourceForge with what is current in the openacs cvs.

Once this move is made, the makefile is going to be modified to bring it in line with the other AOLserver modules.

Even the postgres download at is out of data when compared to the openacs cvs.

Vinod, my comments and frustration is not against the maintainers of the docs or the website. This is a huge job, and I am just starting to appreciate the difficulty in keeping this stuff up-to-date. This is the reason I think we need to make a decision to spiff up the exterior of our project and make sure that it is easier to try out this software at-it-is-now.

I basically had a few problems when installing OpenACS:

  • Docs out of date and missing important details.
  • Docs conflicting with one another.
  • Necessary files strewn about the internet linked only to the install docs, not to main areas of any website.
  • Multiple copies of software with no version numbers attached (postgres driver).

On the other hand, there is no lack of helpful advice on what to do. I just want new users to not have the same problems I had. Chances are, most will never ask for help. They will just silently move on 'like little blobs of negative energy' pushing away other potential users before they ever get close.

Posted by Jamie Rasmussen on
OpenACS will hopefully be able to use stock AOLserver distributions very soon, but it can't right now. So the OpenACS documents are correct for the moment.

We had another good AOLserver chat a few hours ago. I've put the log and the logs from the previous few weeks on SourceForge. Here's the news:

  • The core team has cleaned up SF permissions. It should only affect things like file releases and not CVS commit rights. If you need to do something but discover you can't, email Scott.
  • As asked in a recent OpenACS forum posting: AOL is indeed making backups of the SF repository. Scott is going to set up the syncmail script to notify the aolserver-sf list on CVS commits.
  • Lamar is going to join Don as a maintainer of nspostgres. The SourceForge copy should become the most up-to-date version very shortly. Tom and Scott G. are going to add nsrewrite to SF.
  • AOLserver 3.5.2 has been tagged. It has new man pages, dns caching, and a couple of bug fixes.
  • is getting a makeover. It will be hosted on an AOLserver instance. Look for an upcoming email and CVS check-in.
  • Scott plans to release nsopenssl 2.2 around Christmas.
  • Mark Page from AOL is working on merging in the AD13 changes. It is hoped that he and Jon Griffin can join forces.
So we are slowly getting closer to the easy OpenACS install we would all like. If you can help somehow, please do!
Posted by Jonathan Ellis on
dns caching?  does this mean I can ditch my caching ad_hostbyaddr?  or is rdns not included?
Posted by David Kuczek on
Hear, hear,

I think that we should add a "Download" link to the omnipresent top navigation bar of! This would lead to a download page that may be seperated into installation topics like "quick and dirty, professional, newbie etc."

Posted by Jamie Rasmussen on
I haven't looked at the source to confirm this, but in previous chats they mentioned that they are enabling round-robin support in the dns cache API for hostnames that resolve to more than one IP address.  I'm not sure if there are other changes.
Posted by Lamar Owen on
As of just a few minutes ago, I tested Scott's refactoring of the current openacs cvs PostgreSQL driver.  Many thanks to Scott for moving things around.

The current CVS copy of nspostgres at AOLserver SourceForge CVS is completely up-to-date (it's based on the cvs copy) and should be considered the latest copy of this code.  Don continues to have commit privileges there; I do as well.  I'm not trying to replace Don; he is somewhat irreplaceable.  I am, however, going to try to help Don keep the nspostgres AOLserver Official Module (TM) up-to-date with what the OpenACS community needs.

The current CVS copy of the nspostgres driver works perfectly well on my CVS-current OpenACS testbed installation, using the AOLserver-3.4.2-oacs1 core.

To make this driver for OpenACS use, you will need to use the following commands:

make POSTGRES=/path/to/postgres/files ACS=1
make install POSTGRES=/path/to/postgres/files INST=/path/to/aolserver/home

If you set POSTGRES=LSB it will use the settings for the Red Hat RPMs. LSB=Linux Standards Base.

See the new Makefile, which Scott has really whipped into shape, for more details.

Of course, the driver is now named 'nspostgres' not 'postgres' -- edit your tcl configs accordingly.  With the proper edits OpenACS will install and run just fine using nspostgres as the driver name.

Don, I look forward to your comments on this matter.

Expect an official release and an updating of the content on the aolserver download page shortly.

Until then, a CVS checkout of the latest version of nspostgres from AOLserver CVS is the latest version available.

Now, when the file release happens on the AOLserver SourceForge download page, can we sync the download page to that version?  Don?

Posted by Lamar Owen on
Spoke too soon.  There's a Makefile bug -- wait a little while before updating to the AOLserver CVS version. My apologies.
Posted by Don Baccus on
Go for it, Lamar!  Scott, too ...

The perfect solution, IMO, would be for the AOLserver project itself to continue this effort to get better organized.  At some point it would make sense to me if we didn't even have postgres or oracle drivers in our CVS tree.  People should be able to download a vanilla AOLserver and database driver and have it work with OpenACS.

That's my dream.  No more weirdly named tarballs like "aolserver 3.3 + ad13" or the like.  Just "download the latest aolserver and run".

Posted by Lamar Owen on
I for one am quite pleased with the turnaround of AOLserver development in the last couple of months.  It now seems much more an open source project, and much less an AOL 'handout' than before.

There were a few minor makefile bugs fixed in the last little bit.

This version will be labeled '3.5beta1' -- this gives it the highest version number of any nspostgres/postgres out there, and should become the new canonical source.

Don, when a stable version is released (I'm thinking a couple of weeks after the beta is released) if the OpenACS CVS version (both at and, as well as the current download pgdriver, just simply Went On Extended Leave, it would be wonderful.  If the software download page needs a mirror of what the AOLserver CVS has, that's OK -- but I agree with you -- the OpenACS team has enough things to think about without having to play 'let's release a parallel yet slightly different AOLserver!' all the time.

The driver is one place I think I can make a meaningful contribution to OpenACS and AOLserver.