Installation Manual for 2.13 on Ubuntu 16.04

From WeBWorK
Revision as of 16:33, 18 July 2017 by Apizer (Talk | contribs)
Jump to: navigation, search


Construction.png This article is under construction. Use the information herein with caution until this message is removed.

These instructions should be usable and complete for most users. There are a few sections with comments such as "Note to Pizer --- Update this". If you want to do the things in these sections you are on your own for now but most people don't need these things.


These instructions cover the installation of the Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS operating system and WeBWorK 2.13 from scratch.

Other installation methods (which are faster and easier) include using the WeBWorK install script ww_install (see https://github.com/openwebwork/ww_install), the WeBWorK Live DVD (see Installing_from_WW2.12_Ubuntu16.04_Vanilla_LiveDVD) or the WeBWorK Virtual Machine Image (see Installing_from_WW2.12_Ubuntu16.04_Vanilla_Virtual_Machine_Image).

If you are just upgrading WeBWorK, especially if you already have existing WeBWorK courses, see Upgrading_WeBWorK_with_Github.

Contents

Notation

First some short comments on notation we will be using. We will use <key> to indicate that you should press a specific key (e.g. <Enter>, <Tab>, <F12>, etc.). Sometimes we will also use e.g. <wwadmin password> to indicate you have to enter the wwadmin password.

^ will indicate the <Ctrl> key so e.g. ^X is really shorthand for <Ctrl> <X>, i.e. press the Ctrl key and hit the X key.

Installing the Ubuntu 16.04 Linux Operating System

Installation DVD

Obtain the Desktop Edition installation DVD/CD set. Connect to http://www.ubuntu.com/ for information. For example you can download an ISO image of the installation DVD and then burn your own installation DVD. You want the file ubuntu-16.04-desktop-amd64.iso or, if you have a very old server, ubuntu-16.04-desktop-i386.iso. Choose the former to take full advantage of computers based on the AMD64 or EM64T architecture (e.g., Athlon64, Opteron, EM64T Xeon, Core 2). Note 1: We recommend you use the "Long Term Support" (LTS) version of Ubuntu which is currently version 16.04; the next LTS release will be version 18.04 to be released in April, 2018. Note 2: We recommend you actually use the latest 16.04 iso file which is currently ubuntu-16.04.2-desktop-amd64.iso. Choose which ever download site works best for you; I have had good luck with http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu-releases/ If you download the ISO image, make sure that you verify the integrity of the downloaded file by comparing the MD5 checksum of the downloaded file with the MD5 checksum listed at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/UbuntuHashes or at the download site (e.g. http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu-releases/16.04). These instructions will assume you have the ubuntu-16.04-desktop-amd64.iso installation DVD but installing from the i386, alternate DVD, a commercial DVD/CD set or from the net should be essentially identical.

You will want to have you computer connected by ethernet to the internet for the installation. Place the installation CD in your DVD/CD drive and reboot your computer from the DVD drive. You may have to press a key (e.g. <F12>) during the boot process to bring up a boot menu which will allow you to select booting from the DVD. Or you many have to edit the BIOS to select the DVD as the first boot device. See https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BootFromCD for help.

After the system boots you will be presented with a series of 7 steps.

Step 1
On the first install panel keep English as the selected language and click Install Ubuntu, the second (to the right) option.
Step 2
Just hit Continue on the next page

Optional Configurations

If you will have a large number of users (say over a 1,000) and/or a slow server, you may want to consider the first two optimizations. They are independent but related and deal with how WeBWorK handles various temporary and static files. We call these two options Optional A and Optional B. The third option, Optional C, gives greater security.

Optional A creates a separate partition (or directory) on which are stored all of WeBWorK's "temporary" files. These are mostly small files such as png images of equations, pdf files, etc that may be reused but if they are not present (e.g. if they get deleted) they will be seamlessly regenerated on the fly. There is no reason to back up such files and having them in a separate partition or directory means that it is easier and faster to back up other partitions and skip backing up unnecessary files. Even if you do not want to set up a separate partition for this, it is very convenient to at least set up a separate directory for these temporary files and we recommend that you do so. But this is something you do after WeBWorK is installed.

Optional B installs and configures a lightweight webserver. Apache is a very standard and powerful webserver which we use to serve WeBWorK pages. However its child processes use a lot of resources (e.g. memory). When serving static files and images, a much lighter weight webserver can be used. This can substantially reduce the load on a heavily used server.

Optional C configures Apache (and lighttpd if installed) so that access to WeBWorK will be through an encrypted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) with an https: URL.

Except for creating a separate partition, we will wait until WeBWorK is installed and tested before implementing these options. We mention them here because the next step is partitioning the disks.

Partition disks

Step 3
Next comes the Installation type page. You should be able to accept the defaults unless you want to follow Optional A and/or create separate partitions for various directories. There is a lot of information on the web if you don't want to accept the default partition set up. If you want to implement Optional A follow the directions below. Note that if you only want to implement Optional A with a separate directory, not a separate partition, you don't have to do anything special with partitions at this point.

Optional A: The default partitioning scheme creates just two partitions, a root (/) partition and a swap partition. Here we will create those and an additional partition for WeBWorK's temporary files.

  1. On the Installation type page select Something else and then hit Continue. This will bring you to the partition page where you can choose a new partition table, resize partitions, etc.

Now you have to decide how to allocate your disk space. The rule of thumb is to use twice the amount of RAM you have for swap (e.g. 4 GB if you have 2 GB of RAM but you can allocate less if you have a lot of RAM). For WeBWorK's temporary files 25 GB for every 1,000 students should be ample. You can allocate the remainder of your disk space to the root (/) partition. Actually if you are going through the trouble of doing this, you probably will want to research other partitioning recommendations.

  1. For the main, root partition, under the Use as: drop down list select Ext4 journaling file system and under the Mount point: drop down list select /
  2. For the swap partition, under the Use as: drop down list select swap area
  3. For WeBWorK's temporary files partition, under the Use as: drop down list select Ext4 journaling file system and under the Mount point: drop down list select /var/www/html/wwtmp

Finally

  1. Review your changes and
  2. Select Continue

At the bottom of this page you have options on installing the boot loader but you almost certainly want to use the defaults.

Continue Initial Installaion

Step 3
Select the partition you want to install Ubuntu in and hit Continue
Step 4
Select a city in your time zone and hit Continue
Step 5
Hit Continue to accept the default keyboard layout
Step 6
The next panel asks "Who are you?". What you fill in here is a privileged user so you might want to enter a special administrative account rather than your normal account. We suggest <wwadmin> but you can use whatever you want.
  • Enter the information for "Your name"
  • Enter the information for "Your Computer's name"
  • Enter the information for "Pick a username" In these instructions, we will call this name <wwadmin>.
  • Enter the information twice for the password. In these instructions, we will call this password the <wwadmin password>. Do not forget what you enter here.
  • Then hit Continue to continue
Step 7
If the page about importing accounts appears just hit Continue to continue without importing anything

Now sit back and relax while the installation takes place. Some of the steps can take a long time. Please be patient. When you finally see "Installation is complete" hit Restart now.

Continue Installation

After this finishes the system will ask you remove the DVD and then press <ENTER>.

  1. Log into your account
  2. At some point the Software Updater icon may appear. If it does, open it and accept all updates. Alternately you can open Dash Home (the top icon on the left side), type Update and open the Software Updater. Click Install Now. You may have to enter the <wwadmin password> which functions as the <root password> and click Authenticate. Follow any instructions, e.g. you may be told to reboot as soon as the installation is completed (to reboot, click on the power button icon in the upper right hand corner, then select Restart)

Test Browser, Network and Keyboard

After reboot and login, click the Firefox icon at the left of the screen and you should be connected to the world. Go to http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Installation_Manual_for_2.12_on_Ubuntu_16.04 where you can view this document and, if you want, copy commands that you need (see below).

If something is wrong and you are not connected to the web, the first thing to do is check the network information.

  1. select Dash Home and type Network Connections
  2. Select the wired connection under Ethernet and hit Edit and look and see if everything is set up correctly and correct any errors
  3. If no connection is set up click Add and then enter your servers IP address, Netmask (usually 255.255.255.0 but possibly 255.255.0.0) and Gateway address (often the same as the IP address with the last number replaced by 1). Important: after entering a number hit the <Enter> key so that the change is recorded.
  4. Next enter the IP address(es) of your DNS server(s)separated by spaces. You need to enter at least one DNS server
  5. Finally enter the search domain Hosts
  6. Click Save
  7. Enter <wwadmin password> and click Authenticate
  8. Click Close

Your network connection should start up almost immediately. If you are still having problems first try rebooting (click on the power button button icon in the upper right hand corner, then select Restart) and if that doesn't work it's time to investigate further or seek help.

Here's an aside on keystroke delay and repetition rate. If you find the keystroke delay too short (so that you often type "geeet" when you want to type "get"), do the following. select Dash Home and type System. Now select System Settings, Keyboard and then increase the delay time interval and close the window.

Terminal Window Notation and Use

Before installing and configuring additional software, we need to talk about terminal windows.

To open a terminal window select Dash Home (the top icon on the left side) and type Terminal. The next time you select Dash Home, the terminal icon might be displayed. Or you can just type <Ctrl> <Alt> <T>.

In a terminal window some commands will have to be run as root whereas others should be run as a regular user. We will use # to indicate that the command is to be run as root e.g.

# perl -MCPAN -e shell

and $ to indicate that the command is to be run as a normal user e.g.

$ cp .bashrc .bashrc.bak1

To execute the above commands you have to hit <Enter>. We'll just assume this. After executing a command, often the system will respond with text (sometimes a lot of text!) which we will usually not repeat below. We only give the commands that you should execute.

The bash shell which you will be using has a number of very convenient features.

One is command and file name completion. If you are typing (e.g. ch) and hit <tab> bash will complete the command or filename if it is unambiguous (or more precisely it will complete as much as possible). If there are multiple possibilities (as in the case of ch) nothing will happen (except you may hear a beep) and you can type more letter(s) and hit <tab> again. Or you can hit <tab> a second time and you will see a list of all possible completions. E.g. entering ch<tab><tab> gives a list of possible completions and ch<tab>gr<tab> (or chgr<tab>) gives chgrp, the change group command. This is very fast and convenient and it also leads to fewer typing errors.

Another useful shortcut is the command history. Using the up and down arrow keys will bring up previous commands which can be edited and then executed. If you are repeating a command or entering a command which is similar to a previous one, this is very useful.

You can copy commands from these instructions (with copy from the Edit dropdown list or ^C) and paste them into a terminal window (with paste from the Edit dropdown list or <Shift> <Ctrl> <V>. Note that <Shift> <Insert> also works). This is an excellent way to use these instructions since it is fast and insures commands are entered correctly (just be careful to read before you run the command and replace things like database_password with the correct code in the few places such things occur).

For our first terminal window task create a downloads directory where we will keep copies of downloaded software.

$ cd
$ mkdir downloads

Running commands as root

By default Ubuntu has no password set for the root user. To gain root access you have to use the sudo command with the <wwadmin password>. This is the password you set for the first user which we called the WeBWorK administrator <wwadmin> while installing Ubuntu.

To run commands as root use the sudo command

$ sudo <command>
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

After you enter the password the command is executed. For a certain period (maybe 5 minutes) you can execute additional sudo commands without reentering <wwadmin password>. A log of all sudo commands is kept in /var/log/auth.log .

You can also use sudo to become root and get the root prompt #. To do this run

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
#

When you want to exit the root prompt and return to being a regular user, do the following

# exit
exit
$

Ubuntu Software Packages

Our next task is to install a number of Ubuntu software packages. For a very fast way to do this, copy the command at the end of this section, paste it into a terminal window and run it as root. Or you can go through the step by step process using the Synaptic Package Manager as follows.

First of all most Debian based Linux distributions rely on a program called Synaptic Package Manager to install software. However, as of Ubuntu 11.10, Synaptic has been removed from Ubuntu in favor of the Ubuntu Software Center. You can use the Ubuntu Software Center if you wish but I'll give instructions for using Synaptic Package Manager. Note that what I really do is use the very fast way noted above.

First we have to install the Synaptic Package Manager

$ sudo apt-get install synaptic
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Just hit <Enter> to accept the defaults. After the installation is complete

  1. Select Dash Home and type Synaptic and click on the Synaptic Package Manager</span>

icon. You will have to enter the <wwadmin password>. The Synaptic Package Manager window will open

  1. Click on Reload to bring the package information up to date

Now we will actually select and install a large number of packages. The process is the same for all packages. I'll give an example of installing libnet-ldap-perl and then just give the list of required packages.

  1. Select Search
  2. Under Look in: select Name. The default Description and Name sometimes returns too many possibilities
  3. We are searching for libnet-ldap-perl so enter ldap-perl (or something similar; you can copy and paste from this document if you want) and click on Search
  4. This should result in 6 possibilities. Select and Mark for Installation (by double clicking or checking and then selecting Mark for Installation) libnet-ldap-perl. You will see a pop up window Mark additional required changes? and you should always click Mark to accept the requirements.
  5. Follow this basic procedure for all the packages listed below

Here is the list of Ubuntu packages that need to be installed.

  1. apache2
  2. curl
  3. dvipng
  4. gcc
  5. git
  6. libapache2-request-perl
  7. libarray-utils-perl
  8. libcrypt-ssleay-perl
  9. libdatetime-perl
  10. libdancer-perl
  11. libdancer-plugin-database-perl
  12. libdbd-mysql-perl
  13. libemail-address-perl
  14. libemail-sender-perl
  15. libexception-class-perl
  16. libextutils-xsbuilder-perl
  17. libfile-find-rule-perl-perl
  18. libgd-perl
  19. libhtml-scrubber-perl
  20. libiterator-perl
  21. libiterator-util-perl
  22. libjson-perl
  23. liblocale-maketext-lexicon-perl
  24. libmime-tools-perl
  25. libnet-ip-perl
  26. libnet-ldap-perl
  27. libnet-oauth-perl
  28. libossp-uuid-perl
  29. libpadwalker-perl
  30. libpath-class-perl
  31. libphp-serialization-perl
  32. libpod-wsdl-perl
  33. libsoap-lite-perl
  34. libsql-abstract-perl
  35. libstring-shellquote-perl
  36. libtemplate-perl
  37. libtext-csv-perl
  38. libtimedate-perl
  39. libuuid-tiny-perl
  40. libxml-parser-easytree-perl
  41. libxml-parser-perl
  42. libxml-writer-perl
  43. make
  44. mysql-server
  45. netpbm
  46. openssh-server
  47. preview-latex-style
  48. texlive
  49. texlive-latex-extra
  50. unzip

When I do this I see on the bottom of Synaptic Package Manager window 82 to install/upgrade, 1 to remove. Your numbers may differ slightly. Now click Apply and Apply again to confirm the changes. You will be asked to enter a New password for the MySQL "root" user. Enter your choosen MySQL root password. As was said above, Do not forget what you enter here. Also remember that this is the password for the MySQL root user, not the Ubuntu linux system root user (which actually does not have a password set). Below we refer to this as <mysql root password>

That completes the set up of your base Ubuntu system. You can quit the Synaptic Package Manager.


If you would prefer to install all of these packages in one fell swoop, first become root:

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

and then run the command

# apt-get install apache2 curl dvipng gcc git libapache2-request-perl \
libarray-utils-perl libcrypt-ssleay-perl libdancer-perl libdancer-plugin-database-perl \
libdatetime-perl libdbd-mysql-perl libemail-address-perl libemail-sender-perl \
libexception-class-perl libextutils-xsbuilder-perl libfile-find-rule-perl-perl \
libgd-perl libhtml-scrubber-perl libiterator-perl libiterator-util-perl libjson-perl \
liblocale-maketext-lexicon-perl libmime-tools-perl libnet-ip-perl libnet-ldap-perl \
libnet-oauth-perl libossp-uuid-perl libpadwalker-perl libpath-class-perl \
libphp-serialization-perl libpod-wsdl-perl \
libsoap-lite-perl libsql-abstract-perl libstring-shellquote-perl libtemplate-perl \
libtext-csv-perl libtimedate-perl libuuid-tiny-perl libxml-parser-easytree-perl \
libxml-parser-perl libxml-writer-perl make mysql-server netpbm \
openssh-server preview-latex-style texlive texlive-latex-extra unzip

When prompted, you can always accept the default (hit <Enter>) except when asked for the password for the MySQL "root" user. In case you skipped by it, look above for information on the New password for the MySQL "root" user. When the process finishes, enter

# exit

to return to a regular user.

Accessing Your Server Remotely

At this point you can login your server from a remote location using SSH (non secure telnet and FTP are not allowed but secure SSH and SFTP are) but you may have to reboot your server for SSH access to take effect.

You can do almost all (all if you are a unix expert) of the remaining installation from a remote location if you wish.

Editing Files

You can use your favorite editor but we will give instructions assuming you are using the graphical editor gedit. If you are editing files remotely, the terminal mode editor nano is available.

Installing Perl Modules

We now have to install several additional Perl modules which unfortunately are not available from the Debian package system.

Testing Perl Modules

To test if a Perl module is installed and working on your system, issue the following command, replacing Module with the name of the module:

$ perl -MModule -e 'print "installed!\n"'

If the module is installed you will see installed!. If not you will see at lot of gibberish. E.g. at this stage in our installation process CPAN is installed and MXML::Parser::EasyTree is not so

$ perl -MCPAN -e 'print "installed!\n"'

yields

installed!

and

$ perl -MXML::Parser::EasyTree -e 'print "installed!\n"'

yields

Can't locate XML/Parser/EasyTree.pm in @INC ...

You can check the version of an installed module by the following command, replacing Module with the name of the module:

 perl -MModule -e 'print "$Module::VERSION\n"'

For example for the GD.pm module

 perl -MGD -e 'print "$GD::VERSION\n"'

Installing Additional Perl Modules from CPAN

Be aware that in rare cases you might have to as root run

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
# unset LANG
# exit
$

since otherwise the installation of some modules (Module::Build is an example) may fail.

First we will set up CPAN. For this you have to be root.

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
# perl -MCPAN -e shell

Since this is the first time you are using CPAN it will ask you Would you like me to configure as much as possible automatically? Answer Yes (the default) and that should be it. If you are asked for a method to use, choose sudo. If you are asked choose some CPAN mirror sites, you can just answer Yes (the default).

Now we update CPAN itself

cpan> install Bundle::CPAN

and always hit <Enter> to accept the defaults when prompted (e.g. when you see "Enter arithmetic or Perl expression: exit"). This can be a long process, please be patient. When you again see the

cpan>

prompt enter

cpan> reload cpan
cpan> o conf commit

Now install the following modules

cpan> install XML::Parser::EasyTree Iterator Iterator::Util Pod::WSDL Array::Utils

and in case you are prompted accept all defaults by just hitting <Enter>. Note that with more than one module to install, we just list them after install separated by spaces.

When you again see the

cpan>

prompt enter

cpan> exit
#

Apache 2 and mod_perl

We enable the info module. Acting as root in a terminal window enter

# a2enmod info

Next we make a copy of the configuration files we will be editing for safekeeping.

# cd /etc/apache2/mods-available
# cp info.conf info.conf.bak1
# cp status.conf status.conf.bak1
# exit
$

Now we will edit configuration files info.conf and status.conf to allow us to view information about the setup and performance of the web server. Note that this is not absolutely necessary but it can be very useful. You can use your favorite editor but we will give instructions assuming you are using gedit. Note that you have to be root to edit these files. First we edit info.conf

$ cd /etc/apache2/mods-available
$ sudo gedit info.conf
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

I suggest you allow access to server information from e.g. your department domain. To do this uncomment (i.e. remove the # from)

	Require ip 192.0.2.0/24

and then replace 192.0.2.0/24 by .math.yourschool.edu where of course you should edit .math.yourschool.edu appropriately.

Then save the file and quit (Save and File, Quit).

Now we edit status.conf

$ cd /etc/apache2/mods-available
$ sudo gedit status.conf
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Edit the

 #Require ip 192.0.2.0/24

line just as you did for info.conf. Then save the file and quit. And restart Apache so that the above changes take effect

$ sudo apache2ctl restart
password:<wwadmin password>


Now we have to set your server's fully qualified domain name. Note that if your network was set up automatically via DHCP, your server's fully qualified domain name should already be set up. You can check by running the hostname commands below.

Run the command

sudo hostnamectl set-hostname webwork
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

where of course you should replace webwork by whatever your server's name is.


You can check these settings by running the commands

$ hostname --fqdn

and

$ hostname

The first gives the server's fully qualified domain name (e.g. webwork.mydepartment.myschool.edu) and the second the server's name (e.g. webwork).

Note that if your server can not find its fully qualified domain name, certain tools (such as the Synaptic Package Manager) may not start.

Now restart Apache

$ sudo apache2ctl graceful
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

or

$ sudo service apache2 restart
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

and test your server by connecting to "http://localhost/" and/or connecting to your server from a browser on a remote machine. You should see the Apache2 Ubuntu Default Page indicating that Apache is running.

You can check Apache's status by connecting to "http://localhost/server-status" using a browser on your machine or from a browser on a remote machine in the math.yourschool.edu domain.

Further test Apache by connecting to "http://localhost/server-info" using a browser on your machine (or or from a browser on a remote machine in the math.yourschool.edu domain) and you will see a page listing various information about Apache. In particular under Server Settings you should see

Server Version: Apache/2.4.18 (Ubuntu) mod_apreq2-20090110/2.8.0 mod_perl/2.8.0 Perl/v5.22.1

(or something very similar) indicating that both mod_apreq2 and mod_perl are installed.

If you have problems now or in the future, a good first thing to do is to look at the Apache error log which is located at /var/log/apache2/error.log. In the directory /var/log/apache2/ you can "less" through the error log (less error.log), look at the last few entires (tail error.log) or run the command tail -f error.log which will display new error messages as they are appended to the file. Use ^C to break out of tail -f .

Checking MySQL

First check that MySQL is running by

$ mysql -u root -p 
Enter Password: <mysql root password>

You should see something very similar to

Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 4
Server version: 5.7.12-0ubuntu1 (Ubuntu)
...

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.


Enter exit to exit

mysql> exit
Bye
$

Checking Apache

Now connect to "http://localhost/" using a browser on your machine and/or to your server from a browser on a remote machine. You should see the Apache2 Ubuntu Default Page indicating that Apache is running.

This is also a good time to check that you can login your server from a remote location using SSH if you have not yet done so (non secure telnet and FTP are not allowed but secure SSH and SFTP are).

MySQL Security and Performance Issues

As initially set up, MySQL is an open system. There are anonymous accounts with full privileges for some databases and other issues. We will fix that now. Run the command

sudo mysql_secure_installation
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

You will be asked to enter the (MySQL) root password <mysql root password>. You almost certainly want to answer 'Y' to all questions except possibly for the first two which ask (1) if you want to set up a VALIDATE PASSWORD PLUGIN and (2) if you want to change the root password.

Now test that all is well:

$ mysql -u root -p 
Enter Password: <mysql root password>

You should see

Welcome to the MySQL monitor ...
mysql>

Now lets check the MySQL users. There are three accounts. To see the accounts, do the following

mysql> SELECT Host, User, authentication_string FROM mysql.user;

You will see a table with three users (root, mysql.sys and debian-sys-maint). You should see that all three users have passwords (which will be displayed in encrypted form).

Now exit MySQL

mysql> exit
Bye
$

Now we change MySQL's default engine. The default engine is InnoDB as of MySQL 5.5.5 (MyISAM before 5.5.5) but (at least on some hardware) InnoDB seems to be 50-100 times slower than MyISAM. So we will change the default MySQL engine from InnoDB to MyISAM. Note that this change only applies to new tables, tables already constructed will continue to use InnoDB. But we haven't created any WeBWorK tables so we don't have to change the engine for any existing tables. Note: There is a report of a problem using MyISAM by a French speaking professor who changed MySQL's default character set to utf8 (see http://webwork.maa.org/moodle/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=3174). If you change MySQL's default character set, you should research what is the best engine to use.

To change the default MySQL engine from InnoDB to MyISAM do the following:

$ cd /etc/mysql/mysql.conf.d
$ sudo cp mysqld.cnf mysqld.cnf.bak1
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
$ sudo gedit mysqld.cnf

Search for [mysqld] and under "Basic Settings" above the "user = mysql" line add the line

default-storage-engine = myisam  

Then save the file and quit. Restart Mysql

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql restart
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

or

$ sudo service mysql restart
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

and log into mysql

$ mysql -u root -p 
Enter Password: <mysql root password>

You will see

Welcome to the MySQL monitor ...
mysql>

If you show MySQL engines, you should see that MyISAM is listed as the default engine.

mysql> SHOW ENGINES\G

Now exit

mysql> exit
Bye
$

Remove Guest Account Login

Ubuntu allows a guest login which we will remove. In a terminal window run the commands

$ cd /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d
$ sudo cp 50-ubuntu.conf 50-ubuntu.conf.bak1
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
$ sudo gedit 50-ubuntu.conf

At the end (below the last line) add the new line

allow-guest=false

Then save the file and quit. You have to reboot your server for this to take effect.

Congratulate yourself. You are now ready for the next and hopefully easy part, installing WeBWorK.

Downloading the WeBWorK System Software and Problem Libraries

We are finally at the point where we can start downloading and installing WeBWorK. We will use Git to download WeBWorK from Github. This is easy and it will also make it easy to update the system in the future. Note that the following are rather long commands; it is much easier to copy (^C) them from this document and paste (<Shift> <Ctrl> <V>) them in a terminal window

$ cd
$ cd downloads
$ git clone git://github.com/openwebwork/webwork2.git
$ git clone git://github.com/openwebwork/pg.git
$ git clone git://github.com/openwebwork/webwork-open-problem-library.git
$ git clone git://github.com/mathjax/MathJax.git 

Important Note. The above commands retrieve the master branch which gives the latest stable release of the software package (webwork2, pg, etc) with bug fixes. If a stable release newer than 2.12 exists, that will be downloaded and these instructions may be a little out of date. So it is a good idea to check before downloading. The best way to do that is to look at https://github.com/openwebwork/webwork2/blob/master/VERSION and https://github.com/openwebwork/pg/blob/master/VERSION.

The first and second download gives you the latest released versions. The third download contains the WeBWorK Open Problem Library (OPL) which is the new name for the original National Problem Library (NPL). The NPL has been renamed to reflect its growing international content. Your system will be loaded with many thousands of WeBWorK problems (over 30,000 currently). The fourth download is MathJax which is one of several options WeBWorK has to display mathematics online.

The main information page about WebWork downloads is available at http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Category:Release_Notes

The main information page about the OPL is available at http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Open_Problem_Library

The main information page about MathJax is available at http://www.mathjax.org/

Installing WeBWorK

Note the the instructions below assume you are installing WeBWorK from scratch. If you are just upgrading WeBWorK, especially if you already have existing WeBWorK courses, see Upgrading WeBWorK.

Move the System into the Required Directories

As root create a webwork directory under /opt, change the ownership of the webwork directory to wwwadmin and move directories there.

$ cd
$ cd downloads
$ sudo mkdir /opt/webwork
<wwadmin password>
$ sudo chown wwadmin:wwadmin /opt/webwork
$ mv webwork2 /opt/webwork/
$ mv pg /opt/webwork/

Move the mathjax directory to its proper location

$ mv MathJax /opt/webwork/

Now create the courses and libraries directories under webwork and copy and move content there

$ mkdir /opt/webwork/courses
$ mkdir /opt/webwork/libraries
$ mv webwork-open-problem-library /opt/webwork/libraries/
$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/courses.dist
$ cp *.lst /opt/webwork/courses/
$ rsync -a modelCourse /opt/webwork/courses/

Setting Permissions

The PG installation directory and files should be owned by wwadmin and not writable by other users:

$ cd /opt/webwork/pg
$ chmod -R u+rwX,go+rX .

Most WeBWorK directories and files should also be owned by wwadmin and not writable by other users:

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2
$ chmod -R u+rwX,go+rX .

Certain data directories need to be writable by the web server. These are DATA, courses, htdocs/tmp, logs, and tmp. It is convenient to give WeBWorK administrators access to these directories as well, so they can perform administrative tasks such as removing temporary files, creating and editing courses from the command line, managing logs, and so on. We will create a new group called wwdata, containing both the WeBWorK administrators and the web server. Run the commands

$ sudo addgroup wwdata
<wwadmin password>
$ sudo adduser wwadmin wwdata

If there are other users who will also be administering WeBWorK files, now is a good time to add them. To do this

  1. Open Dash Home, type User and open User Accounts
  2. Click the "Unlock" icon and enter the <wwadmin password>
  3. Click the "+" icon and create the new account
  4. And remember to add the new account to the wwdata group as above.

Now add the Apache2 webserver (which runs as www-data) to the wwdata group:

$ sudo adduser www-data wwdata

You can check that this succeeded in a terminal window by entering

$ id wwadmin

and then you should see wwdata listed under groups. Also

$ id www-data

should show wwdata listed under groups. Now we make the WeBWorK directories that need to be writable by the web server have wwdata as their group. The following are rather long commands; you might want to copy them and paste them into your terminal window rather than typing them.

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
# cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/
# chgrp -R wwdata DATA ../courses htdocs/tmp htdocs/applets logs tmp /opt/webwork/pg/lib/chromatic
# chmod -R g+w DATA ../courses htdocs/tmp htdocs/applets logs tmp /opt/webwork/pg/lib/chromatic
# find DATA/ ../courses/ htdocs/tmp logs/ tmp/ -type d -a -exec chmod g+s {} \;
# exit
$

Compile color.c

$ cd /opt/webwork/pg/lib/chromatic
$ gcc color.c -o color

You may see some warning messages which you can safely ignore.

Configuring the Shell

To make working with WeBWorK easier, there are a couple of changes you can make to your shell environment.

Add the WeBWorK bin directory to your path. This will allow you to run WeBWorK command-line utilities without typing the full path to the utility. Goto your home directory and backup your .bashrc file

$ cd
$ cp .bashrc .bashrc.bak1

Now edit .bashrc

$ gedit .bashrc

After the last line add the three lines:

export PATH=$PATH:/opt/webwork/webwork2/bin
export WEBWORK_ROOT=/opt/webwork/webwork2
export PG_ROOT=/opt/webwork/pg

Then save the file and Quit.

Close your Terminal Window and open a new one so the above changes take effect. You can check that they have by

$ echo $PATH
$ echo $WEBWORK_ROOT
$ echo $PG_ROOT

Checking Module Dependencies

WeBWorK includes a script called check_modules.pl (in the directory /opt/webwork/webwork2/bin) that verifies that the needed programs and Perl modules are installed on your system. Run this script to make sure you have installed the required programs and Perl modules.

$ check_modules.pl apache2

Scroll up and look through the listing. It should find everything. If something is missing (flagged by **), look back through these instructions to find where it should have been installed and install it.

You may see some warning messages like

Prototype mismatch: sub main::from_json: none vs ($@) at (eval 188) line 2.
Prototype mismatch: sub main::to_json: none vs ($@) at (eval 188) line 2.

This seems to be a known bug in libjson-perl and can be safely ignored.

Now we check that all necessary LaTeX packages have been installed. Run the commands

$ cd
$ pdflatex /opt/webwork/webwork2/bin/check_latex.tex

and look for missing packages.

Configuring WeBWorK

Making Copies of the Distribution Configuration Files

Before configuring the system, you must make local copies of the site.conf and localOverrides.conf configuration files, located in /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/ .

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ cp site.conf.dist site.conf
$ cp localOverrides.conf.dist localOverrides.conf

System Configuration

Most WeBWorK configuration is done in the files /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/site.conf and /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/localOverrides.conf. These files provide system-wide configuration settings, and defaults for course settings. Any setting in these files can be overridden in the course.conf file for a particular course. To override a setting for a course, just put the new setting (using the same syntax as is in localOverrides.conf) in the course.conf file. An instructor can only edit the course.conf file herself (for her own course) if she has "admin" privilege which by default instructors do not have. But most things instructors may want to customize and many others (language, timezone, permissions, display modes, email, ...) can be set using the Course Configuration page from within the course and such setting override those in the configuration files.

Actually there are three main configuration files, site.conf, defaults.config and localOverrides.conf. The reason there are three configuration files is to make upgrading WeBWorK easier.

  • site.conf: This file contains global variables which are required for basic configuration. It will not be overridden when you update WeBWorK but it's distribution version, site.conf.dist will be.
  • defaults.config: This file contains initial settings for many customizable options in WeBWorK. Do not edit defaults.config. It will be overridden next time you upgrade.
  • localOverrides.conf This is where you should add all local customizations. It will not be overridden when you update WeBWorK but it's distribution version, localOverrides.conf.dist will be.

There are several options that must be set for WeBWorK to work with your system. The rest of the file consists of customization options.

Edit the site.conf file

Now edit site.conf

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit site.conf

First we have to add information about the Apache2 server setup. Search for server_root_url and edit the line so that it reads:

$server_root_url   = "http://yourserver.yourschool.edu";

where of course you should edit yourserver.yourschool.edu appropriately. If you are running a secure server (i.e., using ssl), the url should start with https but you should wait to make that change until after WeBWorK is up and running and you set up ssl.

We need to set a password that WeBWorK uses when it communicates with the MySQL database. Note that this is not the same as the <mysql root password> which is the password the MySQL root user uses. Search for database_password and replace the line

$database_password = "passwordRW";

by

$database_password = "database_password";

where of course you should replace 'database_password' with your own password. Remember this password as we will need it below.

WeBWorK sends mail in three instances. The PG system sends mail to report answers to questionnaires and free-response problems. The mail merge module is used to send mail to course participants, i.e. to report scores. The feedback module allows participants to send mail to course instructors.

To send mail, WeBWorK needs the address of an SMTP server. Normally you will use the address of your school's SMTP server. If the local machine is running an SMTP server, use localhost. IMPORTANT: Our instructions above did not install an SMTP server so you will have to install and configure one if you do not use your school's SMTP server. When connecting to the SMTP server, WeBWorK must also send an email address representing the sender of the email (this has nothing to do with the From address on the mail message). Edit the lines

$mail{smtpServer} = ;  # e.g. 'mail.yourschool.edu' or 'localhost'
$mail{smtpSender} = ;  # e.g.  'webwork@yourserver.yourschool.edu'

entering the appropriate information.

WeBWorK uses the DateTime module. DateTime is supposed to be able to determine the local timezone itself without you having to enter it but this often fails so it is best to just set it here. For is a list of timezones recognized by DateTime go to http://search.cpan.org/dist/DateTime-TimeZone/ . These timezones are more refined than standard timezone usage in that they include switches to daylight savings time (e.g. some parts of a time zone may make the switch and others may not). For example if your server is in the eastern US, on the list you will see DateTime::TimeZone::America::New_York and you should enter $siteDefaults{timezone} = "America/New_York"; which is the default. Read the documentation in this section of the the site.conf file for more information on selecting timezones and formatting dates.

Search for $siteDefaults{timezone} and enter your local timezone if it is not correct.

Then save the file and Quit.

The defaults.config file

If you want WeBWorK questionnaires or similar things from different courses to be mailed to a central person or persons (e.g. the WeBWorK administrator), in defaults.config, you will see the lines

$mail{allowedRecipients}     = [
   #'prof1@yourserver.yourdomain.edu',
   #'prof2@yourserver.yourdomain.edu',
];

But we are not supposed to edit the defaults.config file, so if we want to do this, we will copy this to localOverrides.conf and edit it appropriately. Note that we should move this setting to the site.conf file.

Edit the localOverrides.conf file

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit localOverrides.conf

As we said above, if you want WeBWorK questionnaires or similar things from different courses to be mailed to a central person or persons (e.g. the WeBWorK administrator), in localoverrides.config, add and then edit the lines

$mail{allowedRecipients}     = [
   #'prof1@yourserver.yourdomain.edu',
   #'prof2@yourserver.yourdomain.edu',
];

removing the # and using the professor(s) actual email address(es). In order to have professors from individual courses receive such email, this should be set in course.conf (which you find in the course directory) to the addresses of professors of each course. Note that the settings in course.conf override the settings in site.conf, default.conf and localOverrides.conf so if in addition you want e.g. the WeBWorK administrators to receive copies, you have to add them as well.


Then save the file and Quit.

After you have used WeBWorK for awhile, you may want to change the default header files in defaults.config. Search for $webworkFiles{screenSnippets}{setHeader} and $webworkFiles{hardcopySnippets}{setHeader} in localOverrides.config. Settings in the conf and config files affect all WeBWorK courses. You can override any setting in these conf and config files for an individual course by putting the local setting in course.conf.

Also now there are several versions of the classlist editor, homeworkset editor, library browser and pgproblem editor. Which ones are available in a course is determined by the settings for %showeditors in localOverrides.conf. As above, if you want to customize what is available for an individual course (e.g. one professor may want to try out the new editors and others may not), copy the %showeditors structure to course.conf and then edit it to make available the desired editors.

Set up the webwork database

WeBWorK uses a single database, called webwork, for all courses. We will create the webwork database now.

To do this do the following (before you just copy, paste and hit <Enter> notice that you have to replace database_password with the password you set when editing site.conf above):

$ mysql -u root -p 
Enter password: <mysql root password>
mysql> CREATE DATABASE webwork;
mysql> CREATE USER 'webworkWrite'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'database_password';
mysql> GRANT SELECT, INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE, CREATE, ALTER, DROP, LOCK TABLES ON webwork.* TO 'webworkWrite'@'localhost';
mysql> exit
Bye
$ 

where as we said replace database_password with the password you set when editing site.conf above.

MathJax

General information on MathJax including installation instructions can be found at http://www.mathjax.org/. MathJax is already installed in the location /opt/webwork/MathJax and a link (called mathjax) to this directory is placed in /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/ .

Configuring Apache

WeBWorK ships with an Apache config file that needs to linked into your Apache configuration process. The file is named webwork.apache2.4-config.dist and located in the conf directory. First, copy the file to webwork.apache2-config:

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ cp webwork.apache2.4-config.dist webwork.apache2.4-config

and now link it into your Apache configuration process

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
# cd /etc/apache2/conf-enabled
# ln -s /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/webwork.apache2.4-config webwork.conf

The default multi-processing module (MPM) for Apache is the event module but WeBWorK uses the prefork module. So we disable the event module and enable the prefork module.

# a2dismod mpm_event
# a2enmod mpm_prefork

Next we will make a few changes to Apache's default configuration. We need to edit two files and we will save copies of the original files.

# cd /etc/apache2/
# cp apache2.conf apache2.conf.bak1
# exit
$ cd /etc/apache2/
$ sudo gedit apache2.conf

Search for the line

Timeout 300

and replace it by

Timeout 1200 

Then save the file and quit.

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
# cd /etc/apache2/mods-available/
# cp mpm_prefork.conf mpm_prefork.conf.bak1
# exit
$ cd /etc/apache2/mods-available/
$ sudo gedit mpm_prefork.conf

Search for the lines

    MaxRequestWorkers        150
    MaxConnectionsPerChild   0

Which occur under <IfModule mpm_prefork_module> and replace them by

# For WeBWorK a rough rule of thumb is 5 MaxRequestWorkers per 1 GB of memory
      MaxRequestWorkers        5
      MaxConnectionsPerChild   50

where you should set MaxRequestWorkers depending on the amount of memory your server has using the above rule of thumb. Note that for very busy servers, you should observe you memory usage and adjust the above settings as necessary. Also make sure MaxSpareServers is not set too high.

Then save the file and quit.

Finally we copy WeBWorK's icon file favicon.ico to Apache's www directory.

$ sudo cp /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/favicon.ico /var/www/html
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Now stop and start Apache. We do it this way to make sure the MPM gets changed.

$ sudo apache2ctl stop
$ sudo apache2ctl start

Test your configuration

  1. Test the /webwork2 location by visiting http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2. You should see the WeBWorK home page with no courses listed. Actually the directory /opt/webwork/courses/ does contain the modelCourse but the modelCourse is not a real course so you will get an error message if you try to log into it. It will be used a as model for setting up other courses. For this reason /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/ contains a file named hide_directory and so the modelCourse is not visible.
  2. Test the /webwork2_files location by visiting http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2_files. You should see the "WeBWorK Placeholder Page".
  3. You cannot test the /webwork2_course_files location until you have created a course.

If Something is Wrong

If something is wrong one of the first things to check is that the config files have been edited correctly (e.g. one time a wrapped line in localOverrides.conf caused me problems, another time it was a missing single quote). A quick way to check this is to do a diff between the edited and distributed versions and check that diff reports the changes you made and only those. Another thing is to look at the Apache error log which is located at /var/log/apache2/error.log.

$ cd /etc/apache2/
$ diff apache2.conf apache2.conf.bak1
$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/
$ diff site.conf site.conf.dist
$ diff localOverrides.conf localOverrides.conf.dist
$ diff webwork.apache2.4-config webwork.apache2.4-config.dist
$ less /var/log/apache2/error.log 

If something is wrong and you fix it, you will have to restart Apache for the changes to take effect

$ sudo service apache2 restart
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Create the admin Course

Course Administration gives information about creating courses. Here we will give explicit instructions for doing this. (You may need to become root or use sudo to execute some of these commands.)


$ newgrp wwdata
$ umask 2
$ cd /opt/webwork/courses
$ /opt/webwork/webwork2/bin/addcourse admin --db-layout=sql_single --users=adminClasslist.lst --professors=admin


Make the course admin and its subdirectories owned by the server.

$ chown -R www-data  admin 
$ exit

Now goto http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2 and should see the WeBWorK home page with Course Administration listed at the top. Click on it and login with Username admin and Password admin . This first thing you should do is register your new WeBWorK installation. It's quick and easy, just click on Register. The next thing you should do is click on User Settings and change admin 's password to something more secure than admin .

Unless you choose otherwise, users with professor privileges in the admin course (i.e. WeBWorK administrators) will automatically be added to new courses with professor privileges and the same password as in the admin course. Initially the only such user is admin (hopefully you are not confused by the fact that the course admin has a user named admin). It's usually convenient make yourself a WeBWorK administrator. To do this (assuming you are logged in as admin to the admin course at http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/admin )

  1. Click on Classlist Editor in the left panel
  2. Click the Add tag and click Take Action!
  3. Enter the appropriate information (you can use your Login Name as the Student ID if you want and also you can leave the last three items blank) and click Add Students
  4. Click on Classlist Editor in the left panel again
  5. When you enter a new student, by default their Student ID is used as their password. We'll change this now.
  6. Select yourself with a check mark and click the Password tag and click Take Action!. (Note as a safely mechanism you can not change the password for the user you are logged in as, currently admin, this way)
  7. Enter the password and then click Take Action!
  8. Finally give yourself professor privileges by selecting yourself with a check mark, clicking the Edit tag and then clicking Take Action! (or by just clicking on the "pencil" next to your login name which is a much faster way to edit classlist data for a single user)
  9. Now at the far right change Permission Level from student to professor
  10. Then click Take Action!

At some point you will probably want to hide the admin course so that it is not listed on the WeBWorK home page. As we noted above the modelCourse, which is already hidden, is not a real course so you will get an error message if you try to log into it. This is a good reason to hide it. The modelCourse is very useful as a model (hence its name) for setting up other courses. The admin course is used for administering WeBWorK and even though regular users can not log into it (you did change the admin password, didn't you!!), it a little bit cleaner and safer to hide it from prying eyes. To hide (or unhide) a course select Hide Inactive courses in the admin course and follow the directions. When hidden a course will not show up in the courses list on the WeBWorK home page. It will still appear in the Course Administration listing. If you do this you will still be able to access the admin course using the URL http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/admin but you will not see a link for it on the WeBWorK home page http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2 .


Now goto http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2 and no course will be listed.

Checking for and Installing Hotfixes

The following commands show you how to check for and install bug fixes. Important Note: These commands check and retrieve the master branch which gives the latest stable release of the software package (webwork2, pg, etc) with bug fixes. If a stable release newer than 2.10 exists for webwork2 and/or pg, that will be checked and retrieved which is probably not what you want. Please check before updating. The best way to do that is to look at https://github.com/openwebwork/webwork2/blob/master/VERSION and https://github.com/openwebwork/pg/blob/master/VERSION.

To check if there are bug fixes, do the following.

Updating the webwork2 code

First we check for updates to the webwork2 code:

cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/
git remote show origin

This will print several lines of data, but the last line will tell you if your copy is up to date or out of date. If it is out of date, run

git pull origin

and restart apache2.

Updating the pg code

Now check for updates to the pg code:

cd /opt/webwork/pg/
git remote show origin

This will print several lines of data, but the last line will tell you if your copy is up to date or out of date. If it is out of date, run

git pull origin

and restart apache2.

Restart apache2

Important: After updating either webwork2 or pg, you have to restart apache2

$ sudo apache2ctl restart
password:<wwadmin password>

Updating the OPL

The following assumes you have already installed the OPL. For that see #Install the Open Problem Library below. Now check for updates to the Open Problem Library:

cd /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library
git remote show origin

This will print several lines of data, but the last line will tell you if your copy is up to date or out of date. If it is out of date, run

git pull origin

Then rerun the OPL-update script. Updating the OPL is pretty much risk free since changes usually involve only a relatively small number of individual problems and the vast majority of problems remain unchanged. Updating the OPL does not require restarting apache2.

$ OPL-update

Updating MathJax

cd /opt/webwork/MathJax/
git remote show origin

This will print several lines of data, but the last line will tell you if your copy is up to date or out of date. If it is out of date, run

git pull origin

Updating MathJax is usually very safe and does not require restarting apache2.

Starting and Stopping Apache, MySQL and the GNOME desktop GUI

If you make changes to the system, you will have to restart apache2 before the changes take effect. On rare occasions you may need to restart MySQL.

Starting and Stopping Apache

You have to run these commands as root.

To start or restart (i.e. stop and then start) the apache2 webserver run the command

$ sudo apache2ctl graceful
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

You can also start apache2 by

$ sudo apache2ctl start
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

and restart it with

$ sudo apache2ctl restart
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

restart is less graceful but more powerful than graceful. Sometimes graceful fails to kill all apache2 child processes.


To stop the Apache webserver run the command

$ sudo apache2ctl stop
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Stopping and then starting Apache should definitely kill all apache2 child processes.

You can also start or stop apache2 by using the init.d script apache2. Run

$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

or equivalently

$ sudo service apache2
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

and you will get a list of allowed commands (start, stop, restart, etc).

Starting and Stopping MySQL

You have to run these commands as root.

To start the MySQL server run the command

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql start
password:<wwadmin password>

To stop the MySQL server run the command

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql stop
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

To restart the MySQL server run the command

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysql restart
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Equivalently you can use the command

$ sudo sudo service mysql

followed by start, stop, restart,etc. Just running the above alone will display a list of allowed commands.

Starting and stopping the GNOME desktop GUI

The GNOME desktop is automatically started when the system boots.

To stop GNOME so that you only have a standard terminal window run the following in a standard terminal window

$ sudo /etc/init.d/lightdm stop 
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

After doing this, if you need to use the server for terminal input, type <Ctrl><Alt><F1> to get a command line terminal.

If you stopped GNOME and want to restart it run the following in a standard terminal window

$ sudo /etc/init.d/lightdm start 
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Install the WeBWorK Problem Libraries

Before we create a real course we will install the WeBWorK Problem Libraries.

Install the Open Problem Library

The Open Problem Library consists of both WeBWorK problems and methods for searching and selecting problems. Also it contains as sub libraries many of the other standard libraries. We have to load a database for searching it.

Run the OPL-update script.

$ OPL-update

This has to convert a lot of data for over 35,000 problems so please be patient; it can take a long time.

If at some time in the future you want to upgrade the Problem Library, the process is easy, see Updating the OPL. Note that this is something you should do fairly often so that your library is up to date with new problems and bug fixes for old ones.

Finally we put a link to the Open Problem Library in the modelCourse so that when we create courses copying templates from the modelCourse, the OPL will be available.

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/templates/
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/OpenProblemLibrary Library

Set up the access to the Contrib directory

The Contrib directory contains contributions to the OPL that have not been formally accepted into the main collection of OPL problems. This may be because the contribution is recent and has not yet been reviewed or because the problems are not properly tagged as is the case with the CAPA problem collection. This step creates a button in the Library Browser which gives a direct link to the Contrib directory.

We need to edit localOverrides.conf.

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit localOverrides.conf

Search for courseFiles{problibs} and under the line

      Library => "OPL Directory",

add the line

      ContribDir => "Contrib",

Then save the file and quit.

We next put a link to the Contrib directory in the modelCourse so that when we create courses copying templates from the modelCourse, the Contrib directory will be available.

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/templates/
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/Contrib ContribDir

If you just want to do this for individual courses, do the following. Note we don't have any individual courses yet. But for example after creating myTestCourse below, to set up access to the Contrib directory from myTestCourse, do the following

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/myTestCourse/templates/
$ sudo $ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/Contrib ContribDir
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Set up the Rochester and Union Libraries

This step is optional. It creates buttons in the Library Browser which give direct links to the Rochester and Union libraries. If you don't do this, you can find these libraries and others under the OPL Directory button.

First we need to edit localOverrides.conf one last time

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit localOverrides.conf

Search for courseFiles{problibs} and scroll down several lines to the lines

#       rochesterLibrary => "Rochester",
# 	unionLibrary     => "Union",

Uncomment these lines (i.e. remove the #) so they become

      rochesterLibrary => "Rochester",
      unionLibrary     => "Union",

Then save the file and quit.

We next put links to the Rochester and Union Libraries in the modelCourse so that when we create courses copying templates from the modelCourse, these libraries will be available. Skip this step if you usually only want to use Open Problem Library. Note that the Rochester, Union and other libraries are contained in the OPen Problem Library and are accessible from there under the OPL Directory button in the Library Browser. This step simply creates buttons in the Library Browser so that you can access the Rochester and Union libraries directly.

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/templates/
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/OpenProblemLibrary/Union unionLibrary
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/OpenProblemLibrary/Rochester rochesterLibrary

If you want to put another library into the modelCourse, just do the analogous thing. If you just want the additional library in a particular course, add the link in the templates directory of that course. If you look in the directory /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/OpenProblemLibrary/ you might find other libraries that are not yet listed in global.conf and these can be added in the same way as the Rochester and Union libraries. Finally if you add a library with non standard symbols in the name (e.g. uva-statLibrary) you have to use single quotes when adding it to global.conf, e.g.
         'uva-statLibrary' => "UVA-Stat",
It's easier to just avoid such names.

Install and Set Up the CAPA Library

This step is optional. It installs and sets up the CAPA Library, which is a library of physics problems.

Note: We are in the process of integrating the CAPA problems into the main distribution so some of the details below may change.

Move the CAPA graphics files to the required locations and set the group.

$ cd /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/Contrib/CAPA                                                                        
$ mv CAPA_Graphics /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/
$ sudo chgrp -R wwdata /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/CAPA_Graphics
  [sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
$ sudo chmod -R g+w /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/CAPA_Graphics        

We need to edit localOverrides.conf again

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit localOverrides.conf

Search for courseFiles{problibs} and scroll down several lines to the line

#      capaLibrary      => "CAPA",

Uncomment this line (i.e. remove the #) so it becomes

      capaLibrary      => "CAPA",

Now search for the lines

#$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_Tools}             = "$courseDirs{templates}/Contrib/CAPA/macros/CAPA_Tools/",
#$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_MCTools}           = "$courseDirs{templates}/Contrib/CAPA/macros/CAPA_MCTools/",
# The link Contrib in the course templates directory should point to ../webwork-open-problem-library/Contrib

and replace these three lines by

################################################################################
#Locations of CAPA resources. (Only necessary if you need to use converted CAPA problems.)
################################################################################
$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_Tools}             = "$courseDirs{templates}/ContribDir/CAPA/macros/CAPA_Tools/",
$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_MCTools}           = "$courseDirs{templates}/ContribDir/CAPA/macros/CAPA_MCTools/",
$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_GraphicsDirectory} = "$webworkDirs{htdocs}/CAPA_Graphics/";
$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_Graphics_URL}      = "$webworkURLs{htdocs}/CAPA_Graphics/";


Then save the file and Quit.

There is one final step that is needed. We have to put a link in the templates directory of every course that needs access to the CAPA Library. If you want to have every course you create have access to the CAPA Library (unlikely unless you are in a physics department) put the link in the modelCourse

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/templates/
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/Contrib/CAPA/   capaLibrary

More likely you just want to do this for individual courses. We don't have any yet. But for example after creating myTestCourse below, to set up access to the CAPA Library from myTestCourse, do the following

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/myTestCourse/templates/
$ sudo ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/webwork-open-problem-library/Contrib/CAPA/   capaLibrary
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>


and do the analogous thing for every course that needs access to the CAPA Library. Then to gain access to the CAPA Library from the course, simply go to the Library Browser and click on the CAPA button.

Create Your First Actual Course

Since we have edited site.conf and localOverrides.conf and these are critical files, it would be a good idea to run

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ diff site.conf site.conf.dist
$ diff localOverrides.conf localOverrides.conf.dist

and check that you haven't made any mistakes (e.g. by introducing an inadvertent line break, etc). If there are any mistakes, correct them. Remember that any time you change either of these files you must restart the Apache webserver in order for these changes to take effect.

Since we have edited global.conf and haven't restarted Apache we do so now.

$ sudo apache2ctl graceful
password:<wwadmin password>

Now log into the admin course ( http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/admin or, if you have not hidden the admin course, click on Course Administration on WeBWorK's home page http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/ ) as yourself or admin and

  1. click on Add Course
  2. For Course ID enter myTestCourse
  3. For Course Title enter My Test Course
  4. Enter your institution
  5. Leave Add WeBWorK administrators to new course checked
  6. Add an additional instructor if you wish
  7. Copy templates from: modelCourse (the default action)
  8. Select sql_single for the database layout (the default and only choice)
  9. Click on Add Course
  10. Click Log into myTestCourse

and log in either as admin or yourself (if you added yourself as an additional instructor above).

At some point you will probably want to "hide" myTestCourse from general view but you already know how to do that.

Test that Things are Working Properly

We will test out a few important parts of WeBWorK. If you run into problems, you should look at the Apache error log which is located at /var/log/apache2/error.log.

Click on Hmwk Sets Editor on the Main Menu. Then select Import, select setDemo.def from the from drop down list and select all current users from the assigning this set to drop down list. Then hit Take Action!

Now click on Homework Sets on the Main Menu and click on Demo. Then look at the problems. Mathematical equations should be typeset. If not, edit the file Constants.pm in the directory /opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK. Change the line $WeBWorK::PG::ImageGenerator::PreserveTempFiles = 0; to ...::PreserveTempFiles = 1;. Then restart Apache and view the first couple problems or some new ones. Then look in the directory /opt/webwork/webwork2/tmp/. cd to one of the ImageGenerator.../tmp/ directories and look at the error and log files there. When you fix the problem remember to edit ...::PreserveTempFiles = 1; back to 0 and restart Apache or you will be saving a lot of unnecessary files. Another useful trick is to try downloading a hard copy of an assignment and then (assuming there are errors) looking at the various log files that are linked to on the output page.

Continue looking at problems to see if everything is working properly.

Next click on Problem List to bring back the Problem List Page and click on Download PDF .... The page is a little complicated because you are a professor (students see a very simple page) but you can just scroll to the bottom and click on Generate hardcopy for selected users and selected sets. If you get an error (you shouldn't) just click Download Hardcopy to get what was generated. Also you can see links to various informational files that are available if you run into problems (normally these files are removed if there are no errors). If you want to preserve these tmp files, set $WeBWorK::ContentGenerator::Hardcopy::PreserveTempFiles to 1 in the file Constants.pm in the directory /opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK and then restart Apache. Remember to set this back to 0 after debugging.

Another thing to do is to use Email on the Main Menu. Again this page is a little complicated because you can do a lot of things with it (including mail merge) but at this point just select yourself in the list to the right and hit Send Email at the bottom. You should receive two emails. One is the message you just sent and the other is an email with subject "WeBWorK email sent" giving information on your mailing.

As a final test click on Library Browser on the Main Menu. Click Open Problem Library (actually it should already be selected so it will greyed out) and select a Subject, Chapter and Section and then hit View Problems. The first 20 of your selected problems will be displayed. You can also test that you can access any additional Problem Libraries that you installed.

If all the above tests work, you can be pretty confident that WeBWorK is working properly.

Go back to Hmwk Sets Editor on the Main Menu. Then select Import, select setOrientation.def from the from drop down list and select all current users from the assigning this set to drop down list. Then hit Take Action!. Then go through the Orientation problems. This is a good first set to use for introducing students to WeBWorK.

If you are new to WeBWorK, you should probably add a regular student to myTestCourse and log in as that student to see what the student interface looks like. It's much simpler than the professor interface. Click on Classlist Editor on the Main Menu. Then select Add and hit Take Action!. Add one student, say Jane Smith, with Student ID 1234 and Login Name jsmith. Jane Smith's initial password will be her Student ID 1234. Now login as Jane Smith and play around a little.

Optional Configurations

Optional A stores WeBWorK's "temporary" files in a separate partition (or directory). Optional B installs and configures a lightweight webserver to serve static files. Optional C configures Apache so that access to WeBWorK will be through SSL.

Implement Optional A (wwtmp)

Now is the time to implement Optional A if you choose to do so. Actually you can do this at any time and your active courses will continue to function seemingly without change. The only change behind the scenes will be that temporary files will be stored in a different location. Note that if you want to use this option but did not create wwtmp as a separate partition, you first have to create the directory /var/www/html/wwtmp with the command

sudo mkdir /var/www/html/wwtmp 
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

All of WeBWorK's "temporary" files will be stored under /var/www/html/wwtmp. These are mostly small files such as png images of equations, pdf files, etc that may be reused but if they are not present (e.g. if they get deleted) they will be seamlessly regenerated on the fly. There is no reason to back up such files and having them in a separate partition or directory means that it is easier and faster to back up other partitions and skip backing up unnecessary files. Even if you do not want to set up a separate partition for this, it is very convenient to at least set up a separate directory for these temporary files and we recommend that yo do so.

First we set the group and permissions for the wwtmp directory

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
# cd /var/www/html
# chown wwadmin wwtmp
# chgrp wwdata wwtmp
# chmod ug+w wwtmp
# chmod g+s wwtmp
# exit
$

Next we have to edit localOverrides.conf so that WeBWorK uses the new wwtmp directory. Since we have a working WeBWorK system, first we make a backup copy of localOverrides.conf.

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ cp localOverrides.conf localOverrides.conf.bak1
$ gedit localOverrides.conf

Now edit localOverrides.conf. Search for the line

# Directory for temporary files

and under that find the line

# To implement, uncomment the following 6 lines:

Then uncomment (i.e. remove the # symbol) from the 6 lines

#$webworkDirs{htdocs_temp}  =  '/var/www/html/wwtmp';
#$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp}   = '/wwtmp';
#$webworkDirs{equationCache} = "$webworkDirs{htdocs_temp}/equations";
#$webworkURLs{equationCache} = "$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp}/equations";
#$courseDirs{html_temp}  =  "/var/www/html/wwtmp/$courseName";
#$courseURLs{html_temp}   = "/wwtmp/$courseName";

IMPORTANT NOTE. Apache 2.4 has changed the default location of the document root from /var/www to /var/www/html and we are in the process of updating the file localOverrides.conf.dist to reflect this. If your copy of this file does not have /html in the two lines above, then in addition to uncommenting the 6 lines you also have to add /html in two places.

Then save the file and quit. If you look at the wwtmp directory you will find it empty but after you restart apache and then access some WeBWorK problems, you will find temporary directories and files in wwtmp. Remember your have to restart apache for these changes to take effect.

Using Cron Jobs to remove temporary files

It is a good idea to clean out temporary files on a regular automatic schedule. Also pdf copies of downloaded problem sets are saved in a temporary directory (wwtmp/.../hardcopy) so that they can be downloaded from the web. But after the download, the pdf file remains and is visible from the web if one knows the URL. For this reason we recommend deleting all such files that are over one hour old. Similarly we recommend deleting all png, gif, and html links under wwtmp that are over 30 days old. And finally every week we recommend deleting all equation images that are over 14 days old. The following cron jobs will accomplish this. The first is run every 30 minutes, the next three twice a month and the last one weekly on Sunday morning. These cron jobs should be run as root. We use crontab to edit the crontab file:

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
# crontab -e

Now add the lines

WEBWORK_ROOT=/opt/webwork/webwork2
*/30 * * * *  find /var/www/html/wwtmp/*/hardcopy/*  -mmin +60  -name "*" -delete
5 5 1,15 * *  find /var/www/html/wwtmp/*/gif/  -mtime +30  -name "*" -delete
5 5 2,16 * *  find /var/www/html/wwtmp/*/png/  -mtime +30  -name "*" -delete
5 5 3,17 * *  find /var/www/html/wwtmp/*/html/  -mtime +30  -name "*" -delete
4 5 * * 0 /opt/webwork/webwork2/bin/remove_stale_images --delete --days 14

and save the file and quit

# exit
$

Implement Optional B (lighttpd)

As is the case for Optional A you can implement Optional B at any time and your active courses will continue to function seemingly without change. The only change behind the scenes will be that static images, pages and MathJax will be served by a light weight web server.

First we install the light weight webserver lighttpd

  1. Open the Synaptic Package Manager (select Dash Home and type Synaptic and click on the Synaptic Package Manager icon). You will have to enter the <wwadmin password>. The Synaptic Package Manager window will open).
  2. Select Search
  3. Search for lighttpd and select it
  4. In the pop up window Mark additional required changes? click Mark to accept the requirements.
  5. Now click Apply and Apply again to confirm the changes.

You can now quit the Synaptic Package Manager.

Now we configure lighttpd. First let's make a backup of the configuration file.


$ cd /etc/lighttpd
$ sudo cp lighttpd.conf lighttpd.conf.bak1
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Now edit lighttpd.conf.

$ sudo gedit lighttpd.conf

Ubuntu has changed the default document root from /var/www to /var/www/html so we set this for lighttpd as well. Find the line

server.document-root        = "/var/www" 

and replace it by

server.document-root        = "/var/www/html"

Apache2 is listening on port 80 so we need an alternate port for lighttp to listen to. Standard alternate ports for this are usually 81, 8000, or 8080. 8080 is the only port that is listed as an official alternate at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_TCP_and_UDP_port_numbers . Note that in rare cases an installation may block httpd requests to port 8080. If any of your students report that they can not see graphics, they will have to request that access to requests to port 8080 be allowed.

Find the line

server.port        = 80

and replace it by

server.port        = 8080

Now we make a few more changed that allow MathJax to run under lighttpd. In the section server.modules = (, under the line

 #       "mod_rewrite",

add the line

"mod_setenv",

Then below the closing parentheses and above the line

server.document-root        = "/var/www/html"

add the lines

setenv.add-response-header = ( "Access-Control-Allow-Origin" => "*" )
alias.url = ( "/webwork2_files" => "/opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/" )

Then save the file and quit.

Now restart lighttp

$sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart
 

Note that you can just run /etc/init.d/lighttpd to get a list of all options.

Now test your server by connecting to "http://localhost:8080/" and/or connecting to your server from a browser on a remote machine ("http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/"). You should see the Apache2 Ubuntu Default Page indicating that lighttp is running. Test the /webwork2_files location by visiting "http://localhost:8080/webwork2_files" and/or "http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/webwork2_files</code>. You should see the "WeBWorK Placeholder Page".

Next we configure WeBWorK to take advantage of lighttp.

First let's make a backup copy of localOverrides.conf so that we can easily back out of these changes if necessary.

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ cp localOverrides.conf localOverrides.conf.bak2


Now edit localOverrides.conf. Note that while Optional B is independent of Optional A, we assume most people implementing Optional B will have already implemented Optional A. Therefore we give instructions for editing localOverrides.conf assuming that Optional A has been implemented. If this is not the case, modify the instructions below accordingly. Also replace yourserver.yourschool.edu with the correct address.

$ gedit localOverrides.conf

Find the line

$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp}   = '/wwtmp'

and replace it by

#$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp}   = '/wwtmp';
$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp}   = 'http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/wwtmp';

Find the line

$courseURLs{html_temp}   = "/wwtmp/$courseName";

and replace it by

#$courseURLs{html_temp}   = "/wwtmp/$courseName";
$courseURLs{html_temp}   = "http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/wwtmp/$courseName";

Under this line add the lines

# Location of MathJax script, used for the MathJax display mode.
$webworkURLs{MathJax}       = "http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/webwork2_files/mathjax/MathJax.js?config=TeX-MML-AM_HTMLorMML-full";

Then save the file and quit.

Now restart apache and lighttp.

$ sudo apache2ctl graceful
password:<wwadmin password>
$ sudo /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart

To test things go to your test course http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/myTestCourse/. Log into your course and view a problem with a graphic image (e.g. Problem 2 of the Demo set). Right click on the typeset equation and click on Properties (or whatever is appropriate on your browser, e.g. copy image location) and check that the image is being served from port 8080 (something like http://yourserver.yourschool.edu:8080/wwwtmp/equations/...). To test that MathJax is using lighttpd, view a problem with some typeset equations. Right click on the equation and you should see the MathJax menu. Next look at the source code for the page and in the source, search for mathjax.js. You should see that this is being loaded from port 8080.

Disabling Optional B (lighttpd) for a single course

If your server is hosting courses from different institutions, you may find that you need to disable using lighttpd for a single course, e.g. because the institution blocks access to port 8080. Actually since port 8080 is an "official" alternate httpd port, you should first try to get the network administrators at the institution to grant access to port 8080. Failing this, you can disable using lighttpd and instead use apache for a single course by adding the following lines to the end of the course's course.conf file which is located in the top level directory for the course (usually /opt/webwork/courses/course_name). Note that using apache instead of lighttpd will put a slightly larger load on the server. Also note that you need "admin" level privileges to edit the course.conf file. Instructors with only "professor" level privileges can not do this from within WeBWorK.

# Do not use lightppd (port 8080) for this course
$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp}   = '/wwtmp';
$courseURLs{html_temp}   = "/wwtmp/$courseName";
$webworkURLs{equationCache} = "$webworkURLs{htdocs_temp}/equations";
$webworkURLs{MathJax}       = "$webworkURLs{htdocs}/mathjax/MathJax.js?config=TeX-MML-AM_HTMLorMML-full";

Implement Optional C (SSL)

Optional C configures apache so that access to WeBWorK will be through an encrypted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) with an https: URL. Note that if you implemented Optional B, the non encrypted lighttp server will be used for images, etc so we will also have to set up the lighttp server to run under SSL (see below).

I cribbed these directions from several sources, the main one being https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-create-a-ssl-certificate-on-apache-for-ubuntu-14-04.

First we have to obtain an official SSL certificate or generate a self-signed one which can be used for testing purposes. If students will be using your server, it is better to obtain an official SSL certificate since using a self-signed certificate with cause warning messages to be displayed when students connect to the server.

Obtain an Official SSL Certificate

Talk to the networking group on your campus about obtaining an official certificate. You can find information on the net about certificate providers, e.g. http://www.sslshopper.com/certificate-authority-reviews.html .

The certificate goes in /etc/ssl/certs/ and the key file goes in /etc/ssl/private/.

Create a self-signed Certificate

We can create a key and certificate with the following command

sudo openssl req -x509 -nodes -days 365 -newkey rsa:2048 -keyout /etc/ssl/private/apache.key -out /etc/ssl/certs/apache.crt
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Enter the requested information. Important: when you are prompted for the Common Name enter your server's fully qualified domain name, something like yourserver.yourschool.edu. You can leave most of the items blank.

Set up Apache to use SSL

First we enable the mod_ssl module

$ sudo a2enmod ssl
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Now we have to configure Apache to use SSL.

$ cd /etc/apache2/sites-available/
$ sudo cp default-ssl.conf default-ssl.conf.bak1
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
$ sudo gedit default-ssl.conf

Our self-signed certificate and key files are named apache.crt and apache.key. If you are using official files, put their names in the lines below. You will also have to edit the Certificate Chain, Certificate Authority and possibly other items. Instructions for doing so are beyond the score of this document.

Search for the lines

SSLCertificateFile      /etc/ssl/certs/ssl-cert-snakeoil.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/ssl-cert-snakeoil.key

and replace them by

SSLCertificateFile      /etc/ssl/certs/apache.crt           
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/apache.key  

Then save the file and quit. And enable default-ssl.conf

sudo a2ensite default-ssl.conf
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Finally we restart Apache

sudo service apache2 restart

and test things. Connect to https://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/myTestCourse You will be asked to accept the certificate. After you do so things should work just as before except that the connection will be via https except for images, etc if you using lighttp. In that case, viewing math expressions in image mode should work fine but using MathJax mode will fail. We will fix that below.

Redirect http requests to https

Assuming that everything is working, the last thing we do is set things up so that requests to http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/ are automatically redirected to https://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/.

$ cd /etc/apache2/sites-available
$ sudo cp 000-default.conf 000-default.conf.bak1
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
$ sudo gedit 000-default.conf

In the

<VirtualHost *:80>

section just under the line

DocumentRoot /var/www/html

add the line

Redirect permanent /webwork2 https://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2

where of course you should edit yourserver.yourschool.edu appropriately. Then save the file and quit. Restart Apache

$ sudo service apache2 restart

and try connecting to http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/. The real connection should be through https://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/.

Check site.conf

This is important. We have to check the value of $server_root_url in webwork2/conf/site.conf to make sure it uses https (so it should read e.g. https://yourserver.yourschool.edu). If you don't do this, your may run into strange problems in the Library Browser. To check, open the Library Browser, select a subject and then click on the chapter area. If you see a drop down list of chapters, things are working properly.

Now we check and edit if necessary site.conf

cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
gedit site.conf

In the line

$server_root_url = ...

replace http by https if necessary. Then save the file, quit and restart apache

sudo service apache2 restart  
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Configure lighttpd to use SSL

For lighttpd you need to concatenate the key file and the certificate file into a single pem file by running the following command:

$ sudo su
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>
# cd /etc/ssl/private
# cat apache.key ../certs/apache.crt > apache.pem
# chmod 640 apache.pem
# exit
$

If you are using official certificates, you will also have to edit the Certificate Chain, Certificate Authority and possibly other items. Instructions for doing so are beyond the score of this document. See e.g. http://redmine.lighttpd.net/projects/lighttpd/wiki/Docs_SSL

Now edit lighttpd.conf.

$ cd /etc/lighttpd 
$ sudo gedit lighttpd.conf
[sudo] password for wwadmin: <wwadmin password>

Under the line

server.port                 = 8080

add the following

$SERVER["socket"] == "yourserver.yourschool.edu:8443" {
  ssl.engine = "enable"
  ssl.pemfile = "/etc/ssl/private/apache.pem"
}

Then save the file and quit.

And restart lighttpd.

$ sudo service lighttpd restart
password:<wwadmin password>

Finally we have to edit localOverrides.conf. We will assume you have already set up WeBWorK to use lighttpd as described in section Implement Optional B (lighttpd) above. Assuming that, edit localOverrides.conf

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit localOverrides.conf

and replace all occurrences of 8080 by 8443 (one occurrence in three different lines). Then in these same three lines replace http by https .

Then save the file and restart apache

$ sudo service apache2 restart
password:<wwadmin password>

and test that all is well by viewing a page with math expressions using MathJax mode.

Where to go From Here

You should play around with myTestCourse e.g. click on Library Browser and browse the Problem Library.

Look at A day in the life of a WeBWorK instructor.

Read Course Administration for more information about creating courses.

Under Categories below click on Administrators to see a listing of other WeBWorK documentation for system administrators.

-- Main.ArnoldPizer - 18 July 2017

follow us