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Installing OpenACS on Windows

Created by Maurizio Martignano, last modified by Maurizio Martignano 23 May 2023, at 01:46 PM

Windows-OpenACS (vers. 5.15.0 - May 2023) is a  Windows 64 port of OpenACS 5.10.0 and the latest snapshot of NaviServer and is available at Spazio IT.

This port installs and runs on the following systems:

  • Windows 10,
  • Windows 11,
  • Windows Server 2012 R2,
  • Windows Server 2016,
  • Windows Server 2019 and 
  • Windows Server 2022.


Get the OpenACS Source Code

Created by roc@, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 27 Oct 2022, at 10:32 AM

These instructions describe, how to obtain OpenACS, either as a released distribution (a .tar.gz file) or from CVS.

Obtain a released version of OpenACS via .tar file:

Download from //projects/openacs/download/?versions=all

Unpack the OpenACS tarball. Usually something like this works:

tar zxvf openacs-5.10.0.tgz

Obtain OpenACS from CVS (a certain release with potential patches, or the HEAD version):

If you want to track fresh code developments between releases, or you are an OpenACS core developer, you may want to install from CVS. This is identical to downloading a distribution, except that you get the files from CVS instead of the tarball. The following commands are used to obtain the newest version of the OpenACS 5.10 branch from CVS:

cvs login
# press enter for password
cvs checkout -r oacs-5-10 acs-core

The command above checks out the core packages of OpenACS in a directory named openacs-4. For  the entire OpenACS version 5.10 branch, you can use the following commands (adjust as required going forward):

cvs checkout -r oacs-5-10 openacs-4

If the branch name (like oacs-5-10) is omitted, the leading edge developer version (the HEAD release) is obtained

cvs checkout openacs-4

In order to check out a single package (e.g. the package cronjob) from e.g. the leading edge developer version (HEAD), use

cvs checkout openacs-4/packages/cronjob

For most OpenACS packages, CVS aliases are defined. In order to check out e.g. the forums package from OpenACS 5.10, just use:

cvs checkout -r oacs-5-10 forums

Depending, from which directory you are performing the checkout, you might have to move the checked-out package directory to the main "packages" directory of your installation.

More info here:

Looking for README instructions or installers? View the OpenACS Installation instructions: en:openacs-system-install, otherwise continue by setting up the OpenACS distribution:

Set up the file system for one or more OpenACS sites

According to the Linux Filesystem Hierarchy Standard is currently not strict, where the files of web servers should be stored. Common places are /var/www/ or /srv/www/. Sticking to common names eases the maintenance of systems. This name is called SERVERROOT belwo. In case, multiple OpenACS installations are on a single system, it is recommended to use e.g. domain name of the system as a path, like e.g. /var/www/ We use here the conventions to name the installation based on the version number /var/www/oacs-5-10/. This folder is called OPENACS_SERVICE_NAME. All the files in each OpenACS site are stored in a subdirectory (see also: en:openacs-reference-platform). The first time you install an OpenACS site on a server, you must create the parent directory and set its permissions:

While logged in as root:

mkdir -p /var/www/oacs-5-10
chgrp web /var/www/oacs-5-10
chmod 770 /var/www/oacs-5-10

Move the uncompressed code to SERVERROOT and rename the directory to $OPENACS_SERVICE_NAME:

mv openacs-4 /var/www/oacs-5-10/$OPENACS_SERVICE_NAME

Install OpenACS with NaviServer from Scratch

Created by Gustaf Neumann, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 30 Aug 2022, at 02:43 PM

This page describes how to install OpenACS with NaviServer on Unix-like systems (e.g. Linux, macOS, Solaris, OmniOS) by compiling all but PostgreSQL from scratch, guided by script that collects the components from various sources, compiles it, etc.

The installation is done in two steps:

  • Install NaviServer and its components for a PostgreSQL installation from scratch by obtaining the relevant sources and compiling it. The script assumes PostgreSQL to be already installed (or obtainable via package managers), and installs all other components by obtaining it from the source repositories and compiling it from scratch (e.g. Tcl, tcllib, tDOM, libthread, nsf/XOTcl 2).
  • Install OpenACS from CVS/git. This script configures a (pre-installed) PostgreSQL installation for
    OpenACS, adds hstore, installs OpenACS core, basic OpenACS packages, xowiki, xowf and optionally dotlrn from CVS/git and generates a config file and startup files (for Ubuntu and Fedora Core). The script assumes a pre-existing NaviServer installation, installed e.g. via

 These install scripts are frequently updated when new components are released or problems are detected (commit log).

If you open the links above, use save-as in the browser to save the files. Alternatively, download the files as .zip file or clone the repository via GitHub.

   cd /usr/local/src
   git clone
   cd install-ns

The scripts work under a typical Linux installation (e.g. Ubuntu, Fedora Core) as well as on Mac OS X or on OmniOS,  OpenBSD 6.1, 6.3, 6.6, 6.8, 6.9, FreeBSD 12.2, 13.0, Ubuntu 12.04, 13.04, 14.04, 16.04, 18.04, 20.04, Raspbian GNU/Linux 9.4 (stretch), Fedora Core 18, 20, 32, 35, CentOS 7, Roxy Linux 8.4, ArchLinux.. The scripts are tested (over the years) with PostgreSQL 9.1 to 14.5.

On a fresh Ubuntu installation, you should be able to download the two scripts from this page and install OpenACS with NaviServer in the following steps:

   sudo bash

   bash build

   bash build

When running "", you will see an output like the following (shortened here).

SETTINGS   build_dir              (Build directory)                 /usr/local/src
           ns_install_dir         (Installation directory)          /usr/local/ns
           version_ns             (Version of NaviServer)           4.99.24
           git_branch_ns          (Branch for git checkout of ns)   main
           version_modules        (Version of NaviServer Modules)   4.99.24
           version_tcllib         (Version of Tcllib)               1.20
           version_thread         (Version Tcl thread library)      
           version_xotcl          (Version of NSF/NX/XOTcl)         2.4.0
           version_tcl            (Version of Tcl)                  8.6.12
           version_tdom           (Version of tDOM)                 0.9.1
           ns_user                (NaviServer user)                 nsadmin
           ns_group               (NaviServer group)                nsadmin
                                  (Make command)                    make
                                  (Type command)                    type -a
           ns_modules             (NaviServer Modules)              nsdbpg
           with_mongo             (Add MongoDB client and server)   0
           with_postgres          (Install PostgreSQL DB server)    1
           with_postgres_driver   (Add PostgreSQL driver support)   1
           with_system_malloc     (Tcl compiled with system malloc) 0
           with_ns_doc            (NaviServer documentation)        1

The values in the first column can be used to tailor the system for your needs by setting same-named shell variables. One can use e.g.

   version_tdom=0.9.3 bash 

to configure the compilation to use tDOM in version 0.9.3 instead of 0.9.1. The default settings should be OK for standard setups.

After running both scripts in the default configuration, you will see e.g.

   Congratulations, you have installed OpenACS with NaviServer on your machine.
   You might start the server manually with
       sudo /usr/local/ns/bin/nsd -t /usr/local/ns/config-oacs-5-10-0.tcl -u nsadmin -g nsadmin

One can start the server manually with the mentioned command.

Using systemd

On Fedora/CentOS or on Ubuntu installations starting with 15.04, systemd is used. The generated startup file for RedHat/Fedora is in /lib/systemd/system/oacs-5-10-0.service. The startup commands for systemd are

    sudo systemctl status oacs-5-10-0
    sudo systemctl start oacs-5-10-0
    sudo systemctl stop oacs-5-10-0

Remember, when a new systemd service is installed, systemd requires the following command to re-scan its service files:

    sudo systemctl daemon-reload

To start OpenACS automatically on every new start of the machine, issue the following command:

    sudo systemctl enable oacs-5-10-0

Using upstart

Alternatively, some older Ubuntu versions (up to 15.04) use upstart. For upstart, the the generated startup file is in /etc/init/oacs-5-9-1.conf. The service can be started/managed with the following commands

    sudo initctl status oacs-5-10-0
    sudo initctl start oacs-5-10-0
    sudo initctl stop oacs-5-10-0


When the service is running, one can use OpenACS by browsing to http://localhost:8000/ (when the browser and server is running on the same host). The relevant files are stored under the following locations:

Configuration file /usr/local/ns/config-oacs-5-10-0.tcl
access.log /var/www/oacs-5-10-0/log/
error.log /var/www/oacs-5-10-0/log/
Source tree /var/www/openacs-5-10-0/packages/


Install Oracle

Created by OpenACS community, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 26 Jun 2022, at 04:43 PM

Installing Oracle is optional, if you are installing PostgreSQL.

If you are using new versions of the oacs-5-10 branch of OpenACS 5.10.1, read oacs-5-10-on-oracle-19c for the installation of Oracle 19c and the improved support in the oacs-core packages. The description below is for earlier versions.

An excellent guide for installing Oracle 10g on Linux can be found at

OpenACS 5.2.x will install with Oracle 9i but has not been extensively tested so may still have bugs or tuning issues.

This installation guide attempts to present all of the information necessary to complete an OpenACS installation. We try hard to make all of the steps possible in one pass, rather than having a step which amounts to "go away and develop a profound understanding of software X and then come back and, in 99% of all cases, type these two lines." The exception to our rule is Oracle production systems. This page describes a set of steps to get a working Oracle development server, but it is unsuitable for production systems. If you will be using OpenACS on Oracle in a production environment, you will experience many problems unless you develop a basic understanding of Oracle which is outside the scope of this document.

This document assumes that you are installing Oracle on the same box as AOLserver. For more details on a remote Oracle installation, see Daryl Biberdorf's document.


We use the following defaults while installing Oracle.

Variable Value Reason
ORACLE_HOME /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7 This is the default Oracle installation directory.
ORACLE_SERVICE ora8 The service name is a domain-qualified identifier for your Oracle server.
ORACLE_SID ora8 This is an identifier for your Oracle server.
ORACLE_OWNER oracle The user who owns all of the oracle files.
ORACLE_GROUP dba The special oracle group. Users in the dba group are authorized to do a connect internal within svrmgrl to gain full system access to the Oracle system.

Get Oracle

You can register and download Oracle (for free) from Oracle Downloads. You need this if you want to use an Oracle database.

Production Oracle systems should run on certified platforms. Follow the metalink note 223718.1to find certified platforms. If you don't have metalink access, take a look at the Oracle on Linux FAQ: In summary, free and inexpensive Linux distributions are not certified.

If you don't have an account at OTN get one: you can download the Oracle software from the Oracle Downloads page.

Each Oracle release comes with extensive and usually quite well-written documentation. Your first step should be to thoroughly read the release notes for your operating system and your Oracle version. Find the docs here:

It is generally useful to run a particular Oracle version with its latest patch-set. At the time of writing these were and, both of which are considered to be very stable.

To be able to download a patch-set, you need an account on Metalink (not free). You may find the appropriate patch-set by following Andrew's suggestion.

Things to Keep in Mind

Oracle is very well-documented software, the online documentation comes with printable PDFs and full-text search. Altogether there is more than 20.000 pages of documentation, so do not expect to understand Oracle within in a few hours. The best starting pointing into Oracle is the Concepts book. Here's the 8i version and the 9.2 version.

To give you an idea of how configurable Oracle is and how much thought you may need to put into buying the proper hardware and creating a sane setup, you should thoroughly read Cary Millsap's Configuring Oracle Server for VLDB and the Optimal Flexible Architecture standard.

Throughout these instructions, we will refer to a number of configurable settings and advise certain defaults. With the exception of passwords, we advise you to follow these defaults unless you know what you are doing. Subsequent documents will expect that you used the defaults, so a change made here will necessitate further changes later. For a guide to the defaults, please see the section called “Defaults”.

In order for OpenACS to work properly you need to set the environment appropriately.

export ORACLE_BASE=/ora8/m01/app/oracle
export ORACLE_HOME=$ORACLE_BASE/product/8.1.7
export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$ORACLE_HOME/lib:/lib:/usr/lib
export ORACLE_SID=ora8
export ORACLE_TERM=vt100
export ORA_NLS33=$ORACLE_HOME/ocommon/nls/admin/data

umask 022
open_cursors = 500
nls_date_format = "YYYY-MM-DD"

For additional resources/documentation, please see this thread and Andrew Piskorski's mini-guide.

Pre-Installation Tasks

Though Oracle 8.1.7 has an automated installer, we still need to perform several manual, administrative tasks before we can launch it. You must perform all of these steps as the root user. We recommend entering the X window system as a normal user and then doing a su -. This command gives you full root access.

  • Login as a non-root user and start X by typing startx

    [joeuser ~]$ startx
  • Open a terminal window type and login as root

    [joeuser ~]$ su -
    Password: ***********
    [root ~]#
  • Create and setup the oracle group and oracle account

    We need to create a user oracle, which is used to install the product, as well as starting and stopping the database.

    [root ~]# groupadd dba
    [root ~]# groupadd oinstall
    [root ~]# groupadd oracle
    [root ~]# useradd -g dba -G oinstall,oracle -m oracle
    [root ~]# passwd oracle

    You will be prompted for the New Password and Confirmation of that password.

  • Setup the installation location for Oracle. While Oracle can reside in a variety of places in the file system, OpenACS has adopted /ora8 as the base directory.

    Note: the Oracle install needs about 1 GB free on /ora8 to install successfully.

    [root ~]# mkdir /ora8
    root:/ora8# cd /ora8
    root:/ora8# mkdir -p m01 m02 m03/oradata/ora8
    root:/ora8# chown -R oracle.dba /ora8
    root:/ora8# exit
  • Set up the oracle user's environment

    • Log in as the user oracle by typing the following:

      [joeuser ~]$ su - oracle
      Password: ********
    • Use a text editor to edit the .bash_profile file in the oracle account home directory.

      [oracle ~]$ emacs .bash_profile

      You may get this error trying to start emacs:

      Xlib: connection to ":0.0" refused by server
      Xlib: Client is not authorized to connect to Server
      emacs: Cannot connect to X server :0.
      Check the DISPLAY environment variable or use `-d'.
      Also use the `xhost' program to verify that it is set to permit
      connections from your machine.

      If so, open a new terminal window and do the following:

      [joeuser ~]$ xhost +localhost

      Now, back in the oracle terminal:

      [oracle ~]$ export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0
      [oracle ~]$ emacs .bash_profile

      Try this procedure anytime you get an Xlib connection refused error.

    • Add the following lines (substituting your Oracle version number as needed) to .bash_profile:

      export ORACLE_BASE=/ora8/m01/app/oracle
      export ORACLE_HOME=$ORACLE_BASE/product/8.1.7
      export PATH=$PATH:$ORACLE_HOME/bin
      export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$ORACLE_HOME/lib:/lib:/usr/lib
      export ORACLE_SID=ora8
      export ORACLE_TERM=vt100
      export ORA_NLS33=$ORACLE_HOME/ocommon/nls/admin/data
      umask 022

      Save the file by typing CTRL-X CTRL-S and then exit by typing CTRL-X CTRL-C. Alternatively, use the menus.

    Make sure that you do not add any lines like the following

    # NLS_LANG=american
    # export NLS_LANG

    These lines will change the Oracle date settings and will break OpenACS since OpenACS depends on the ANSI date format, YYYY-MM-DD dates.

  • Log out as oracle

    [oracle ~]$ exit
  • Log back in as oracle and double check that your environment variables are as intended. The env command lists all of the variables that are set in your environment, and grep shows you just the lines you want (those with ORA in it).

    [joeuser ~]$ su - oracle
    [oracle ~]$ env | grep ORA

    If it worked, you should see:


    If not, try adding the files to ~/.bashrc instead of .bash_profile. Then logout and log back in again. Also, be certain you are doing su - oracle and not just su oracle. The - means that .bashrc and .bash_profile will be evaluated.

    Make sure that /bin, /usr/bin, and /usr/local/bin are in your path by typing:

    [oracle ~]$ echo $PATH

    If they are not, then add them to the .bash_profile by changing the PATH statement above to PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin:$ORACLE_HOME/bin

Installing Oracle 8.1.7 Server

  • Log in as oracle and start X if not already running. Start a new terminal:

    [joeuser ~]$ xhost +localhost
    [joeuser ~]$ su - oracle
    Password: **********
    [oracle ~]$ export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0
  • Find the runInstaller script

    • If you are installing Oracle from a CD-ROM, it is located in the install/linux path from the cd-rom mount point

      [oracle ~]$ su - root
      [root ~]# mount -t iso9660 /dev/cdrom /mnt/cdrom
      [root ~]# exit
      [oracle ~]$ cd /mnt/cdrom
    • If you are installing from the tarball, the install script is located in the Oracle8iR2 directory that was created when you expanded the archive.

      [oracle ~]$ cd /where/oracle/Disk1

    Check to make sure the file is there.

    oracle:/where/oracle/Disk1$ ls
    doc  index.htm  install  runInstaller  stage  starterdb

    If you don't see runInstaller, you are in the wrong directory.

  • Run the installer

    oracle:/where/oracle/Disk1$ ./runInstaller

    A window will open that welcomes you to the 'Oracle Universal Installer' (OUI). Click on "Next"


    Some people have had trouble with this step on RedHat 7.3 and 8.0. If so, try the following steps before calling ./runInstaller:

    1. Execute the following command: /usr/i386-glibc21-linux/bin/

    2. Type export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5

  • The "File Locations" screen in the OUI:

    • "Source" path should have been prefilled with "(wherever you mounted the CDROM)/stage/products.jar"

    • "destination" path says "/ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7"

      If the destination is not correct it is because your environment variables are not set properly. Make sure you logged on as oracle using su - oracle. If so, edit the ~/.bash_profile as you did in the section called “Pre-Installation Tasks”

    • Click "Next" (a pop up window will display Loading Product information).

  • The "Unix Group Name" screen in the OUI:

    • The Unix Group name needs to be set to 'oinstall' ( we made this Unix group earlier ).

    • Click "Next"

    • A popup window appears instantly, requesting you to run a script as root:

      • Debian users need to link /bin/awk to /usr/bin/awk before running the script below

        [joueser ~]$ su -
        [root ~]# ln -s /usr/bin/awk /bin/awk
    • Open a new terminal window, then type:

      [joeuser ~]$ su -
      [root ~]# cd /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7
      [root ~]# ./  
      ; You should see:
      Creating Oracle Inventory pointer file (/etc/oraInst.loc)
      Changing groupname of /ora8/m01/app/oracle/oraInventory to oinstall.
      [root ~]# mkdir -p /usr/local/java
      [root ~]# exit
      [joeuser ~]$ exit
    • Click "Retry"

  • The "Available Products" screen in the OUI:

    • Select "Oracle 8i Enterprise Edition"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Installation Types" screen

    • Select the "Custom" installation type.

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Available Product Components" screen

    • In addition to the defaults, make sure that "Oracle SQLJ," "Oracle Protocol Support," and "Linux Documentation" are also checked.

    • Click "Next"

    • A progress bar will appear for about 1 minute.

  • The "Component Locations" screen in the OUI

    • Click on the "Java Runtime Environment 1.1.8" It should have the path "/ora8/m01/app/oracle/jre/1.1.8"

    • Click "Next"

    • A progress bar will appear for about 1 minute.

  • The "Privileged Operation System Groups" screen in the OUI

    • Enter "dba" for "Database Administrator (OSDBA) Group"

    • Enter "dba" for the "Database Operator (OSOPER) Group"

    • Click "Next"

    • A progress bar will appear for about 1 minute.

  • The "Authentication Methods" screen

    • Click "Next"

  • The next screen is "Choose JDK home directory"

    • Keep the default path: /usr/local/java

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Create a Database" screen in the OUI

    • Select "No" as we will do this later, after some important configuration changes.

    • Click "Next"

  • The next screen is "Oracle Product Support"

    • TCP should be checked with "Status" listed as Required

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Summary" screen in the OUI

    • Check the "Space Requirements" section to verify you have enough disk space for the install.

    • Check that "(144 products)" is in the "New Installations" section title.

    • Click "Install"

    • A progress bar will appear for about 20 - 30 minutes. Now is a good time to take a break.

    • A "Setup Privileges" window will popup towards the end of the installation asking you to run a script as root

    • Run the script. Switch to the oracle user first to set the environment appropriately and then do su to get root privileges, while keeping the oracle user's environment.

      [joeuser ~]$ su - oracle
      Password: *********
      [oracle ~]$ su
      Password: *********
      [root ~]# /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/
      ; You should see the following.   
      Creating Oracle Inventory pointer file (/etc/oraInst.loc)
      Changing groupname of /ora8/m01/app/oracle/oraInventory to oinstall.
      # /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/
      Running Oracle8 script...
      The following environment variables are set as:
          ORACLE_OWNER= oracle
          ORACLE_HOME=  /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7
          ORACLE_SID=   ora8
      Enter the full pathname of the local bin directory: [/usr/local/bin]: 
      Press ENTER here to accept default of /usr/local/bin
      Creating /etc/oratab file...
      Entry will be added to the /etc/oratab file by
      Database Configuration Assistants when a database is created
      Finished running generic part of script.
      Now product-specific root actions will be performed.
      IMPORTANT NOTE: Please delete any log and trace files previously
                      created by the Oracle Enterprise Manager Intelligent
                      Agent. These files may be found in the directories
                      you use for storing other Net8 log and trace files.
                      If such files exist, the OEM IA may not restart.
    • Do not follow the instructions on deleting trace and log files, it is not necessary.

    [root ~]# exit
    [joeuser ~]$ exit
  • Go back to the pop-up window and click "OK"

  • The "Configuration Tools" screen in the OUI

    • This window displays the config tools that will automatically be launched.

  • The "Welcome" screen in the "net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • Make sure the "Perform Typical installation" is not selected.

    • Click "Next"

    • The "Directory Service Access" screen in the "Net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • Select "No"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Listener Configuration, Listener Name" screen in the "Net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • Accept the default listener name of "LISTENER"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Listener Configuration, Select Protocols" screen in the "Net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • The only choice in "Select protocols:" should be "TCP/IP"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Listener Configuration TCP/IP Protocol" screen in the "Net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • Default Port should be 1521 and selected.

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Listener Configuration, More Listeners" screen in the "Net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • Select "No"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Listener Configuration Done" screen in the "Net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Naming Methods Configuration" screen in the "Net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • Select "No"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Done" screen in the "Net 8 Configuration Assistant"

    • Click "Finish"

  • The "End of Installation" screen in the OUI

    • Click "Exit"

    • Click "Yes" on the confirmation pop up window.

    • The Oracle Universal Installer window should have disappeared!

Congratulations, you have just installed Oracle 8.1.7 Server! However, you still need to create a database which can take about an hour of non-interactive time, so don't quit yet.

Creating the First Database

This step will take you through the steps of creating a customized database. Be warned that this process takes about an hour on a Pentium II with 128 MB of RAM.


RedHat 7.3 and 8.0 users: Before running dbassist, do the following.

  1. Download the glibc patch from Oracle Technet into /var/tmp.

  2. cd $ORACLE_HOME

  3. tar xzf /var/tmp/glibc2.1.3-stubs.tgz

  4. ./setup_stubs

  • Make sure you are running X. Open up a terminal and su to oracle and then run the dbassist program.

    [joeuser ~]$ xhost +localhost
    [joeuser ~]$ su - oracle
    Password: *********
    [oracle ~]$ export DISPLAY=localhost:0.0
    [oracle ~]$ dbassist
  • The "Welcome" screen in the Oracle Database Configuration Agent (ODCA)

    • Select "Create a database"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Select database type" screen in the ODCA

    • Select "Custom"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "Primary Database Type" window in ODCA

    • Select "Multipurpose"

    • Click "Next"

  • The "concurrent users" screen of the ODCA

    • Select "60" concurrent users.

    • Click "Next"

  • Select "Dedicated Server Mode", click "Next"

  • Accept all of the options, and click Next Oracle Visual Information Retrieval may be grayed out. If so, you can ignore it; just make sure that everything else is checked.

  • For "Global Database Name", enter "ora8"; for "SID", also enter "ora8" (it should do this automatically). Click "Change Character Set and select UTF8. Click "Next".

  • Accept the defaults for the next screen (control file location). Click "Next"

  • Go to the "temporary" and "rollback" tabs, and change the Size (upper-right text box) to 150MB. Click "Next"

  • Increase the redo log sizes to 10000K each. Click "Next"

  • Use the default checkpoint interval & timeout. Click "Next"

  • Increase "Processes" to 100; "Block Size" to 4096 (better for small Linux boxes; use 8192 for a big Solaris machine).

  • Accept the defaults for the Trace File Directory. Click "Next"

  • Finally, select "Save information to a shell script" and click "Finish" (We're going to examine the contents of this file before creating our database.)

  • Click the "Save" button. Oracle will automatically save it to the correct directory and with the correct file name. This will likely be /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/assistants/dbca/jlib/

  • It will alert you that the script has been saved successfully.

  • Now we need to customize the database configuration a bit. While still logged on as oracle, edit the database initialization script (run when the db loads). The scripts are kept in $ORACLE_HOME/dbs and the name of the script is usually initSID.ora where SID is the SID of your database. Assuming your $ORACLE_HOME matches our default of /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7, the following will open the file for editing.

    [oracle ~]$ emacs /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/dbs/initora8.ora
  • Add the following line to the end:

    nls_date_format = "YYYY-MM-DD"
  • Now find the open_cursors line in the file. If you're using emacs scroll up to the top of the buffer and do CTRL-S and type open_cursors to find the line. The default is 100. Change it to 500.

    open_cursors = 500
  • Save the file. In emacs, do CTRL-X CTRL-S to save followed by CTRL-X CTRL-C to exit or use the menu.

  • At this point, you are ready to initiate database creation. We recommend shutting down X to free up some RAM unless you have 256 MB of RAM or more. You can do this quickly by doing a CRTL-ALT-BACKSPACE, but make sure you have saved any files you were editing. You should now be returned to a text shell prompt. If you get sent to a graphical login screen instead, switch to a virtual console by doing CRTL-ALT-F1. Then login as oracle.

  • Change to the directory where the database creation script is and run it:

    [oracle ~]$ cd /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/assistants/dbca/jlib
    oracle:/ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/assistants/dbca/jlib$ ./

    In some instances, Oracle will save the file to /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/assistants/dbca Try running the script there if your first attempt does not succeed.

  • Your database will now be built. It will take > 1 hour - no fooling. You will see lots of errors scroll by (like: "ORA-01432: public synonym to be dropped does not exist") Fear not, this is normal.

    Eventually, you'll be returned to your shell prompt. In the meantime, relax, you've earned it.

Acceptance Test

For this step, open up a terminal and su to oracle as usual. You should be running X and Netscape (or other web browser) for this phase.

  • You need to download the "Oracle Acceptance Test" file. It's available here and at Save the file to /var/tmp

  • In the oracle shell, copy the file.

    [oracle ~]$ cp /var/tmp/acceptance-sql.txt /var/tmp/acceptance.sql
  • Once you've got the acceptance test file all set, stay in your term and type the following:

    [oracle ~]$ sqlplus system/manager

    SQL*Plus should startup. If you get an ORA-01034: Oracle not Available error, it is because your Oracle instance is not running. You can manually start it as the oracle user.

    [oracle ~]$ svrmgrl
    SVRMGR> connect internal
    SVRMGR> startup
  • Now that you're into SQL*Plus, change the default passwords for system, sys, and ctxsys to "alexisahunk" (or to something you'll remember):

    SQL> alter user system identified by alexisahunk;
    SQL> alter user sys identified by alexisahunk;
    SQL> alter user ctxsys identified by alexisahunk;
  • Verify that your date settings are correct.

    SQL> select sysdate from dual;

    If you don't see a date that fits the format YYYY-MM-DD, please read the section called “Troubleshooting Oracle Dates”.

  • At this point we are going to hammer your database with an intense acceptance test. This usually takes around 30 minutes.

    SQL> @ /var/tmp/acceptance.sql
    ; A bunch of lines will scroll by.  You'll know if the test worked if
    ; you see this at the end:

    Many people encounter an error regarding maximum key length:

    ERROR at line 1:
    ORA-01450: maximum key length (758) exceeded

    This error occurs if your database block size is wrong and is usually suffered by people trying to load OpenACS into a pre-existing database. Unfortunately, the only solution is to create a new database with a block size of at least 4096. For instructions on how to do this, see the section called “Creating the First Database” above. You can set the parameter using the dbassist program or by setting the DB_BLOCK_SIZE parameter in your database's creation script.

    If there were no errors, then consider yourself fortunate. Your Oracle installation is working.

Automating Startup & Shutdown

You will want to automate the database startup and shutdown process. It's probably best to have Oracle spring to life when you boot up your machine.

  • Oracle includes a script called dbstart that can be used to automatically start the database. Unfortunately, the script shipped in the Linux distribution does not work out of the box. The fix is simple. Follow these directions to apply it. First, save dbstart to /var/tmp. Then, as oracle, do the following:

    [oracle ~]$ cp /var/tmp/dbstart.txt /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/bin/dbstart 
    [oracle ~]$ chmod 755 /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/bin/dbstart
  • While you're logged in as oracle, you should configure the oratab file to load your database at start. Edit the file /etc/oratab:

    • You will see this line.


      By the way, if you changed the service name or have multiple databases, the format of this file is:

      service_name:$ORACLE_HOME:Y || N (for autoload)

    • Change the last letter from "N" to "Y". This tells Oracle that you want the database to start when the machine boots. It should look like this.

    • Save the file & quit the terminal.

  • You need a script to automate startup and shutdown. Save oracle8i.txt in /var/tmp. Then login as root and install the script. (Debian users: substitute /etc/init.d for /etc/rc.d/init.d throughout this section)

    [oracle ~]$ su -
    [root ~]# cp /var/tmp/oracle8i.txt /etc/rc.d/init.d/oracle8i
    [root ~]# chown root.root /etc/rc.d/init.d/oracle8i
    [root ~]# chmod 755 /etc/rc.d/init.d/oracle8i
  • Test the script by typing the following commands and checking the output. (Debian Users: as root, do mkdir /var/lock/subsys first)

    [root ~]# /etc/rc.d/init.d/oracle8i stop
    Oracle 8i auto start/stop
    Shutting Oracle8i:
    Oracle Server Manager Release - Production
    Copyright (c) 1997, 1999, Oracle Corporation.  All
    Rights Reserved.
    Oracle8i Enterprise Edition Release -
    With the Partitioning option
    JServer Release - Production
    SVRMGR> Connected.
    SVRMGR> Database closed.
    Database dismounted.
    ORACLE instance shut down.
    Server Manager complete.
    Database "ora8" shut down.
    [root ~]# /etc/rc.d/init.d/oracle8i start
    Oracle 8i auto start/stop
    Starting Oracle8i: 
    SQL*Plus: Release - Production on Wed Mar 6 17:56:02 2002
    (c) Copyright 2000 Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.
    SQL> Connected to an idle instance.
    SQL> ORACLE instance started.
    Total System Global Area   84713632 bytes
    Fixed Size                    73888 bytes
    Variable Size              76079104 bytes
    Database Buffers            8388608 bytes
    Redo Buffers                 172032 bytes
    Database mounted.
    Database opened.
    SQL> Disconnected
    Database "ora8" warm started.
    Database "ora8" warm started.
  • If it worked, then run these commands to make the startup and shutdown automatic.

    • Red Hat users:

      [root ~]# cd /etc/rc.d/init.d/                      
      [root ~]# chkconfig --add oracle8i
      [root ~]# chkconfig --list oracle8i
      ; You should see:
      oracle8i        0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
    • Debian users:

      [root ~]# update-rc.d oracle8i defaults
       Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/oracle8i ...
         /etc/rc0.d/K20oracle8i -> ../init.d/oracle8i
         /etc/rc1.d/K20oracle8i -> ../init.d/oracle8i
         /etc/rc6.d/K20oracle8i -> ../init.d/oracle8i
         /etc/rc2.d/S20oracle8i -> ../init.d/oracle8i
         /etc/rc3.d/S20oracle8i -> ../init.d/oracle8i
         /etc/rc4.d/S20oracle8i -> ../init.d/oracle8i
         /etc/rc5.d/S20oracle8i -> ../init.d/oracle8i
    • SuSE users:

      [root ~]# cd /etc/rc.d/init.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/oracle8i K20oracle8i
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/oracle8i S20oracle8i
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp K20oracle8i rc0.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp S20oracle8i rc0.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp K20oracle8i rc1.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp S20oracle8i rc1.d 
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp K20oracle8i rc6.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp S20oracle8i rc6.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp K20oracle8i rc2.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp S20oracle8i rc2.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp K20oracle8i rc3.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp S20oracle8i rc3.d 
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp K20oracle8i rc4.d  
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp S20oracle8i rc4.d  
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp K20oracle8i rc5.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cp S20oracle8i rc5.d
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# rm K20oracle8i
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# rm S20oracle8i
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# cd
      [root ~]# SuSEconfig
      Started the SuSE-Configuration Tool.
      Running in full featured mode.
      Reading /etc/rc.config and updating the system...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.gdm...   
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.gnprint...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.groff...   
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/    
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.kdm...   
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.pcmcia...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.perl...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.postfix...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.sendmail...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.susehilf...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.susehilf.add...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.susewm...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.tetex...
      Executing /sbin/conf.d/SuSEconfig.ypclient...
      Processing index files of all manpages...
  • You also need some scripts to automate startup and shutdown of the Oracle8i listener. The listener is a name server that allows your Oracle programs to talk to local and remote databases using a standard naming convention. It is required for Intermedia Text and full site search.

    Download these three scripts into /var/tmp

    Now issue the following commands (still as root).

    [root ~]# su - oracle
    [oracle ~]$ cp /var/tmp/startlsnr.txt /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/bin/startlsnr
    [oracle ~]$ cp /var/tmp/stoplsnr.txt /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/bin/stoplsnr    
    [oracle ~]$ chmod 755 /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/bin/startlsnr
    [oracle ~]$ chmod 755 /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/bin/stoplsnr
    [oracle ~]$ exit
    [root ~]# cp /var/tmp/listener8i.txt /etc/rc.d/init.d/listener8i
    [root ~]# cd /etc/rc.d/init.d
    root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# chmod 755 listener8i

    Test the listener automation by running the following commands and checking the output.

    root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# ./listener8i stop
    Oracle 8i listener start/stop
    Shutting down Listener for 8i: 
    LSNRCTL for Linux: Version - Production on 06-MAR-2002 18:28:49
    (c) Copyright 1998, Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.
    Connecting to (DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=localhost.localdomain)(PORT=1521)))
    The command completed successfully
    root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# ./listener8i start
    Oracle 8i listener start/stop
    Starting the Listener for 8i: 
    LSNRCTL for Linux: Version - Production on 06-MAR-2002 18:28:52
    (c) Copyright 1998, Oracle Corporation.  All rights reserved.
    Starting /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/bin/tnslsnr: please wait...
    TNSLSNR for Linux: Version - Production
    System parameter file is /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/network/admin/listener.ora
    Log messages written to /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/network/log/listener.log
    Listening on: (DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=tcp)(HOST=localhost.localdomain)(PORT=1521)))
    Connecting to (DESCRIPTION=(ADDRESS=(PROTOCOL=TCP)(HOST=localhost.localdomain)(PORT=1521)))
    Alias                     LISTENER
    Version                   TNSLSNR for Linux: Version - Production
    Start Date                06-MAR-2002 18:28:53
    Uptime                    0 days 0 hr. 0 min. 0 sec
    Trace Level               off
    Security                  OFF
    SNMP                      OFF
    Listener Parameter File   /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/network/admin/listener.ora
    Listener Log File         /ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.7/network/log/listener.log
    Services Summary...
      PLSExtProc        has 1 service handler(s)
      ora8      has 1 service handler(s)
    The command completed successfully

    This test will verify that the listener is operating normally. Login into the database using the listener naming convention.

    sqlplus username/password/@SID

    [root ~]# su - oracle
    [oracle ~]$ sqlplus system/alexisahunk@ora8
    SQL> select sysdate from dual;
    SQL> exit
    [oracle ~]$ exit
    [root ~]#
    • RedHat users:

      Now run chkconfig on the listener8i script.

      [root ~]# cd /etc/rc.d/init.d/
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# chkconfig --add listener8i
      root:/etc/rc.d/init.d# chkconfig --list listener8i
      listener8i      0:off   1:off   2:off   3:on    4:on    5:on    6:off
    • Debian users:

      Now run update-rc.d on the listener8i script.

      [root ~]# update-rc.d listener8i defaults 21 19
       Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/listener8i ...
         /etc/rc0.d/K19listener8i -> ../init.d/listener8i
         /etc/rc1.d/K19listener8i -> ../init.d/listener8i
         /etc/rc6.d/K19listener8i -> ../init.d/listener8i
         /etc/rc2.d/S21listener8i -> ../init.d/listener8i
         /etc/rc3.d/S21listener8i -> ../init.d/listener8i
         /etc/rc4.d/S21listener8i -> ../init.d/listener8i
         /etc/rc5.d/S21listener8i -> ../init.d/listener8i
  • Test the automation

    As a final test, reboot your computer and make sure Oracle comes up. You can do this by typing

    [root ~]# /sbin/shutdown -r -t 0 now

    Log back in and ensure that Oracle started automatically.

    [joeuser ~]$ su - oracle
    [oracle ~]$ sqlplus system/alexisahunk@ora8
    SQL> exit

Congratulations, your installation of Oracle 8.1.7 is complete.


Installing OpenACS

Created by OpenACS community, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 23 Nov 2021, at 06:17 PM

There are many ways to get OpenACS working for you quickly and/or easily. See Try OpenACS for demonstrations and hosting solutions. In general, OpenACS can be installed with NaviServer or with AOLserver, which are two closely related servers. While NaviServer sees regular development, the AOLserver community is very conservative. Some of the guides below refer to AOLserver, some to NaviServer.

Packaged installations

For platforms like Linux/Ubuntu, Linux/Debian, FreeBSD or Windows, one can use the packaged solutions:

The following installations are here for reference, but to install recent versions, the generic installation script (see next section) is better.

One other option is to use the Docker installation.

Generic installation scripts

For many Linux platforms (e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora), one can use the generic installer that compiles all base components (using NaviServer) and creates users/groups as needed; which works with PostgreSQL 9.2 or newer. These install scripts can be as well used on Mac OS X, when MacPorts are installed. These installer scripts are regularly updated.

The following alternative script installs aolserver and the contained modules from sources. It assumes, that PostgreSQL is already installed:

  1. Install AOLserver:
  2. Install OpenACS: en:openacs-subsystem-install

Manually installing OpenACS:

These are the steps involved in setting up OpenACS. Before beginning, read about ways of getting help (en:docs-admin-help) during installation. Also, read the documentation completely before beginning, to minimize the chance of any surprises during installation.

  1. Prerequisites to installing OpenACS
  2. OpenACS reference platform
  3. Install a *nix based operating system
  4. Get the code
  5. Install Oracle
  6. Install PostgreSQL
  7. Install Tcl
  8. Install AOLserver
  9. Install OpenACS distribution

These pages contain notes where installing OpenACS on a specific OS different from the *nix standard installation instructions (above).  These notes also refer to helper scripts and automated installers that can really simplify installation:

Upgrade from PostgreSQL 9.6 to 13.1

Created by Gustaf Neumann, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 08 Oct 2021, at 09:57 PM

Here is a summary of steps to upgrade a legacy OpenACS installation (recent OpenACS, but old PostgreSQL version). In general it is possible to restore a "pg_dump" of some older version in newer versions of PostgreSQL. It is not necessary, to upgrade in small steps, version by version, but one can also skip major versions, when keeping certain things in mind. The upgrade on was from PostgreSQL 9.6.4 to 13.1.


Newer versions of PostgreSQL do not support OIDs anymore. OpenACS does not need OIDs in its queries, but one has to create a pg_dump without OIDs first. This can be achieved by the following commands.

 # Settings of old PostgreSQL installation

 # Database from where OIDs should be removed

 for tbl in `$PGBIN/psql -p $PGPORT -U postgres -qAt -c "select schemaname || '.' || tablename from pg_tables WHERE schemaname <> 'pg_catalog' AND schemaname <> 'information_schema';" $DB`
    $PGBIN/psql -U postgres -c "alter table $tbl SET WITHOUT OIDS" $DB



tsearch2 was an extension in PostgreSQL versions before version 10, but was dropped as an extension at this time, being now integral part of newer PostgreSQL versions. Users who have been continuously upgrading since a long time (from before 8.3) have to manually modify their databases by stripping leftovers from the extension. Otherwise, loading the dump will raise errors doe to missing tsearch2 functions in new versions (e.g. "ERROR: function "dex_init(internal)" does not exist").

By excluding the "pg_ts_*" table, the dump can be imported (although it will complain about the missing tsearch2 module). Nevertheless, the imported dump will be fully functional. 

Dump from PostgreSQL 9.6

Here is, what i've used on for dumping. For your local installation, you have to replace the database names in the for loop by the names that you use.

  # Use variable DATE to disambiguate multiple dumps in the same directory 
  DATE=`date +"%Y-%m-%d"`

  for DB in 5-9-1 dotlrn-test fisheye oacs-5-8 translate
    echo "dumping to ~/$DB.dump.$DATE.gz"
    $PGBIN/pg_dump -p $PGPORT -U postgres --exclude-table=public.pg_ts_\* $DB | gzip > ~/$DB.dump.$DATE.gz

Restore in PostgreSQL 13

After this, restoring went smooth:

  # Adjust settings to your pg13 installation
  export PG13=pg13
  export PGBIN13=/usr/local/${PG13}/bin
  export PGPORT13=5413

  for DB in 5-9-1 dotlrn-test oacs-5-8 translate
    echo "reloading from ~/$DB.dump.$DATE.gz"
    $PGBIN13/dropdb -p $PGPORT13 -U nsadmin $DB
    $PGBIN13/createdb -p $PGPORT13 -U openacs -T template0 $DB
    $PGBIN13/psql -p $PGPORT13 -U openacs $DB -tAc "create extension ltree"
    gunzip < ~/$DB.dump.$DATE.gz | $PGBIN13/psql -p $PGPORT13 -U nsadmin $DB > ~/$DB.log

You might not need the line with the ltree extension in your installation.

Upgrade from PostgreSQL 13 to PostgreSQL 14

Just dump and restore.

Upgrade to OpenACS 5.10

Created by Gustaf Neumann, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 07 Oct 2021, at 01:57 PM

Upgrades from earlier version than OpenACS 5.8 should read upgrade-oacs-5-8 and upgrade-oacs-5-9.

OpenACS 5.10 requires PostgreSQL 9.6 or newer, Tcl 8.6.2 or newer and XOTcl 2.1 or newer (part of the nsf package). XOTcl 2.0 can be installed e.g. via install-ns, or from Debian sid, or from sources In order to check the versions of these packages already installed in your OpenACS installation, check the output of /xotcl/version-numbers in your installation.

Before upgrading to OpenACS 5.10, upgrade all packages in your current installation to recent versions in your OpenACS 5.9 installation, which OpenACA 5.9.1(i.e. in the oacs-5-9 channel).

In general it is always recommended to backup your current installation before overwriting it. Make e.g. a tar archive of all files of the OpenACS tree and a database dump.

After upgrading the packages in the oacs-5-9 channel,  the following steps are recommended:

  • Restart the server with the newest OpenACS 5.9
  • Install newest version of the source files (e.g. from the OpenACS 5.10 tar distributions, or install/upgrade from the oacs-5-10 branch from cvs),
  • Upgrade the acs-core packages via package manager, restart server
  • Upgrade/install application packages via package manager as needed (from file-system or from repository)

Note: when one installs now from the openacs-5.9.1 tar ball, there will be a problem with a PostgreSQL 11, since the tar ball is older than this PostgreSQL release. However, the version of OpenACS 5.9.1 in the repositories (CVS or github) can be installed as well with newer PostgreSQL versions.


Step by step upgrade to OpenACS 5.10.0

The following steps assume, you have a plain, not modified version of OpenACS running.

  1. Upgrade to the latest version of OpenACS 5.9.1, e.g. via
       cvs -r oacs-5-9 openacs-4
    upgrade the packages, restart the server and make sure, you have really upgraded all packages;
    under /acs-admin/apm/ you should see a Kernel like 5.9.1* running.
  2. Either fet release tar file of openacs-5.10.0, unpack it (e.g. under /usr/local), make sure, your configuration file points to the right source tree, and restart server, or upgrade via cvs
       cvs -r oacs-5-10 -Pd openacs-4
  3. Upgrade packages:
    Browse to /acs-admin/install click on "upgrade from local", select all packages, restart server - done.

In case, you have a locally modified version of OpenACS, but you have not modified the kernel packages, then make sure to get the tar file of the core packages in step (2), proceed as described, upgrade the acs-core packages first and then the application packages of your installation.

In case you have in your installation as well changes in the acs-core packages (which is not recommended, but it happens), then get the diffs (you local changes) between the acs-core packages of oacs-5-10 and your installation, proceed as with the unmodified acs-core packages (paragraph above) and apply/merge your local changes after upgrading.

These steps are working also with recent versions of PostgreSQL such as 13.3.

Available OpenACS Packages

Created by Gustaf Neumann, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 03 Sep 2021, at 12:00 PM

Wiki pages for the packages available in the OpenACS code repository:

List of the actively maintained packages

In the oacs-5-10 channel, currently 93 packages are actively maintained. Additionally, the packages is use on are maintained as well, but not necessarily recommended for new installations. The packages in the main branch are in different states, some of these work perfecty, some of these migh use outdated calls an can be seen as starting points for new projects.

Packages in the oacs-5-9 channel.
Packages in the oacs-5-10 channel.

OpenACS/dotLRN windows installer how to

Created by Byron Linares, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 26 May 2021, at 12:32 PM

This page is obsolete and kept as a reference.

The how-to for a well maintained Windows installation is here.

OpenACS/dotLRN windows installer how to
Required software:

  • Inno Setup 5 or higher


Installer Sources:
The installer source consists in a main Inno Setup script “installer.iss” and could be found in cvs or obtained with the installer.

Other files:
There are some necessary file numbers in order to build the installer.

  •  tcl\bintallerw.tcl: the AOLserver configuration script
  •  Install.xml: this XML file control the packages installed by the OpenAcs installer
  •  tcl\Windows-procs.tcl: This file includes various hacks to make OpenACS work     on Windows.Replaces the TCL exec command on Windows, allowing exec to be called with unix-y arguments.Index.tcl : file used for automatic installation.
  • Index-org.tcl: file used for manual installation.
  • Installer.tcl: file used in automatic installation.
  • Installer-org.tcl: file used in manual installation.
  • Stara.bat, stop.bat: batch files for starting and stopping all services.
  • Tools/setx.exe, tools/reg.exe ,/tools/uzip.exe, /tools/reg.exe Windows command line tools necessary for the installation process.
  • AOLServer
  •  CygWin Unix environment for Windows. also contains the PostgreSQL database
  •  cygwin.bat: file to launch cygwin unix environment console.
  •  license_en.txt: license text file.
  •  important.txt: extra info text file.
  •  Note.txt : especial notes text file.

Download Resources


Building the installer:


  1. In order to build this installer we need to place all the resources in a folder.
  2. Create tools and tcl folders with the files before mentioned.
  3. Download OpenACS, dotLRN and all desired package and place in a folder and named “oacs-dotlrn”
  4. Open the file installer.iss and generate the installer.

The installer.iss has to important parts:
    [Files] section:
        In this section are listed all the sources for the installer, in this part you
        Can change or add any source that you want.
    [Run] section:
        In this section is where all commands are executed, like the cygwin installation, postgreSQL installation and AOLserver.
    [Code] section:
        Section for define procedures or functions to work around the installation.

These are the main sections in the “installer.iss” script. And the sections that have to be changed form personalize the installer.

developed at the Galileo University ( by Byron Haroldo Linares Roman as part of the E-LANE project (

Instructions on using the installer are at:

Install OpenACS on debian unstable / Ubuntu 7.10

Created by David Arroyo Menéndez, last modified by Gustaf Neumann 26 May 2021, at 12:20 PM


This page is mostly obsolete. There are now Debian packages for all OpenACS requirements, and OpenACS (.LRN) itself, and a fairly general installer from scratch naviserver-openacs.

See The debian wiki page

The rest of this page is superseded by the debian wiki page.

You can also use the en:OpenACSDebianInstallGuide quicksheet.

Install tcl 8.4

apt-get install tcl8.4 tcl8.4-dev tcl8.4-doc

Install PostgreSQL 8.2

(from ubuntu repository or debian etch) for PG 8.2 I had to add this line to the /etc/apt/sources.list (under debian etch) 

deb etch-backports main contrib non-free 

Install with apt

apt-get install postgresql-8.2 postgresql-client postgresql-dev postgresql-doc 

under debian-etch I did this to avoid downloading some 7.4-packages

apt-get install postgresql-8.2 postgresql-client-8.2 postgresql-dev postgresql-doc-8.2 

Config the postgresql 8.x

from How_to_install_in_Postgres_8.x

add_missing_from = on
regex_flavor = extended
default_with_oids = on

On debian you could need to change the postgresql port number to 5432, see /etc/postgresql/8.2/main/postgresql.conf

Create the database


su postgres -c "/usr/lib/postgresql/8.2/bin/createlang plpgsql template1"
su postgres -c "createuser service"

Shall the new user be allowed to create
    databases? (y/n) y
  Shall the new user be allowed to create
    more new users? (y/n) y
su postgres -c "createdb -E UNICODE service"

Install AOLserver

(AOLserver 4.5 for now only from debian unstable)
# Note: on ubuntu maybe more better install AOLserver 4.0 and you can download it from debian stable

  1. Add the next lines to /etc/apt/sources.list
    deb stable main contrib non-free
    deb stable/non-US main contrib non-free
    deb stable/updates main contrib non-free
  2. Update
    apt-get update
    # If you have any trouble with gpg keys, then you must read:
  3. Install wit apt

    apt-get install -t unstable aolserver4 aolserver4-nscache aolserver4-nsopenssl aolserver4-nspostgres aolserver4-nssha1 aolserver4-dev aolserver4-doc daemontools-installer cvs

    *note: unpack the https.gz from aolserver4-nsopenssl and copy it over to the tcl directory of aolserver4, if not the api with https such as ns_httpspost will not be available.

    https.gz is normally found at /usr/share/doc/aolserver4-nsopenssl/examples/

    The tcl directory for aolserver4 is normally found at /usr/lib/aolserver4/modules/tcl/

  4. Install tdom from cvs
    # Sometimes is down, if you have problems you can download with
    cd /usr/lib/aolserver4
    sudo ln -s /usr/include/aolserver4 include
    mkdir /usr/local/src/aolserver4
    cd /usr/local/src/aolserver4
    sudo cvs -z3 co tdom
    cd tdom/unix  
    ../configure --enable-threads --disable-tdomalloc --with-aolserver=/usr/lib/aolserver4 --prefix=/usr/lib/aolserver4 --with-tcl=/usr/lib/tcl8.4
    sudo make install
  5. Install XOTcl
    cd /usr/local/src
    sudo wget
    sudo tar xvfz xotcl-1.6.7.tar.gz
    cd xotcl-1.6.7/
    export CC=gcc
    sudo ./configure --enable-threads --enable-symbols --prefix=/usr/lib/aolserver4 --exec-prefix=/usr/lib/aolserver4 --with-tcl=/usr/lib/tcl8.4
    sudo make
    sudo make install-aol
  6. Install TclLib
    cd /usr/local/src
    sudo wget
    sudo tar xvzf tcllib-1.10.tar.gz
    cd tcllib-1.10
    sudo ./configure --prefix=/usr/lib/aolserver4
    sudo make install

Download and config OpenACS 5.4

  1. Create the directory where we can install OpenACS
    adduser service
    su - service
    mkdir aolserver
    cd aolserver
  2. Copy the two config files aolserver.nsadmin and nsadmin.tcl there:
  3. Change nsadmin to service
    mv aolserver.nsadmin aolserver.service
    mv nsadmin.tcl service.tcl
    sed -i "s/nsadmin/service/g" aolserver.service service.tcl
  4. Download OpenACS from cvs
    cvs -z3 -d co -r oacs-5-4 openacs-4
    mv openacs-4 service 
    chmod 774 aolserver.service

     # create log directory (if needed)


    mkdir service/log 
  5. Start AOLserver
    ./aolserver.service start
    Some minutes after that, it must be running on http://localhost:8000

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