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Installing OpenACS on FreeBSD with ports

NEW:  For the impatient users there is a quick-and-dirty install guide for FreeBSD

OpenACS and .LRN are included in the current FreeBSD ports tree.
The ports are tested with FreeBSD production version 6.2-RELEASE, old stable 5.5-RELEASE and the development branch 7-CURRENT.

Installation requirements:

  1. FreeBSD operating system with root access rights.
  2. Installed and updated FreeBSD Ports Collection (for updating see Appendix A below)
    (alternative: installing from packages, see Appendix B)

To install OpenACS or .LRN from the FreeBSD ports tree, follow the instructions below.

1. Installing and configuring PostgreSQL

NOTICE: If you have a PostgreSQL server installed and running, skip to Section 2.

If you desire to use a local PostgreSQL server (most users do), install the server first.
We recommend using PostgreSQL version 8.2 from the databases/postgresql82-server port


# cd /usr/ports/databases/postgresql82-server # make install clean


NOTICE: As an alternative, you may install PostgreSQL server from a binary package. See Appendix B below

The plperl language is required for OpenACS/.LRN. This can be installed from the ports with the following commands:


# cd /usr/ports/databases/p5-postgresql-plperl # make install clean

To install the OpenACS/.LRN database, your PostgreSQL server must be running.
You need to enable it in your /etc/rc.conf (or /etc/rc.conf.local) by adding the following line:


After installing the PostgreSQL server, you have to initialize your data store:

# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/postgresql initdb

To start the PostgreSQL server, issue the following command:

# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/postgresql start

You can check if the server is up and running with:

# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/postgresql status


2. Installing OpenACS / .LRN

2.1 Installing the OpenACS or .LRN port 

OpenACS can be installed directly from the FreeBSD ports tree, www/openacs:

# cd /usr/ports/www/openacs
# make install clean

.LRN installation, www/openacs-dotlrn:

# cd /usr/ports/www/openacs-dotlrn
# make install clean

NOTICE: If you want to make changes to the default configuration, the AOLserver configuration files for OpenACS/.LRN files are located at:

NOTICE: If you installed both OpenACS and .LRN ports, you have to change the default port of one of the installations. See the configuration files in the previous notice.


2.2 Creating the OpenACS/.LRN database 

For this step, you require an installed and running PostgreSQL server (see Section 1) and installed OpenACS/.LRN (see Section 2.1)

First we need to adjust the PostgreSQL configuration (this applies for server versions 8.1.x and higher):

# /usr/local/share/doc/openacs/

or if .LRN was installed: 

# /usr/local/share/doc/dotlrn/

NOTICE: You can adjust the configuration manually (standard location: /usr/local/pgsql/data/postgresql.conf)
Please see en:How_to_install_in_Postgres_8.x.

The PostgreSQL server needs to be restarted after changing the configuration:

# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/postgresql restart

Next, we can create a default OpenACS database by running the following script:

# /usr/local/share/doc/openacs/

To create a default .LRN database, run the following script:

# /usr/local/share/doc/dotlrn/



2.3 Starting OpenACS/.LRN and finalizing installation 

To make use of the automatic startup script OpenACS/.LRN has to be enabled in /etc/rc.conf (or /etc/rc.conf.local):



or for .LRN:


To start OpenACS, use the following command:

# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/openacs start

To start .LRN, use the following command:

# /usr/local/etc/rc.d/dotlrn start

Now you can login to your OpenACS/.LRN system and finalize the installation.
The default port is 8000. URL:


After filling your e-mail address, password and other important information OpenACS/.LRN gets installed, but the server stops.
You have to start it again (see above).

 A. Updating the FreeBSD ports tree

To get the latest versions of the OpenACS, .LRN and other FreeBSD ports, it is recommended to update the FreeBSD ports tree on a regular basis. The easiest way to to perform this task is using the portsnap(8) command.

For documentation, refer to the following FreeBSD Handbook chapters:
Using the Ports Collection
Using Portsnap


B. Installing from binary packages

PostgreSQL, OpenACS, .LRN and all dependent ports may be installed from binary packages, too.
This installation can be performed from a submenu of FreeBSD's sysinstall(8) command: Configure/Packages

OpenACS and .LRN are located in subcategory www, PostgreSQL is in subcategory databases.


C. Contact information and bug reporting

Please send bug reports and feature suggestions to the port maintainer of OpenACS/.LRN FreeBSD ports:
Martin Matuska <mm_at_FreeBSD_dot_org>

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