Installation Manual for 2.5 on CentOS 6

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This article has been retained as a historical document. It is not up-to-date and the formatting may be lacking. Use the information herein with caution.
This deprecated feature should no longer be used, but is still available for reasons of backwards compatibility.

This feature was deprecated in version 2.6. For up-to-date information view Github.



See also: History of WeBWorK version control


These instructions cover the installation of the CentOS Linux 6 operating system and WeBWorK 2.5 from scratch.

They are more detailed (but offer fewer choices and often less background information) than the general Installation Manual for 2.4 and are aimed at non unix experts. Readers may want to quickly scan Installation Manual for 2.4 to get an overview of the installation process and then carefully read and follow these instructions.

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>, <F6>, etc.). Sometimes we will also use e.g. <root password> to indicate you have to enter the root 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 Cent OS 6 Linux Operating System

Installation CD

Obtain the installation DVD/CD set. Connect to http://www.centos.org for information. These instructions assume you have obtained the installation CD. For example you can use wxDownload Fast or BitTorrent to download an ISO image of the installation CD/DVD's and then burn your own installation CD/DVD's. If you download ISO images, make sure that you verify the integrity of the downloaded files by comparing the checksums (SHA1, SHA256 or md5) of the downloaded files with the checksums listed on the download site. I have had good luck using mirrors.kernel.org (http://mirrors.kernel.org/centos/6.2/isos/x86_64/) but your experience may differ. These instructions will assume you have burnt a CD from the file CentOS-6.2-x86_64-LiveCD.iso but installing from the DVD/CD set or a commercial set should be essentially identical.

Place the installation CD in your DVD drive and boot your computer from the DVD drive. You may have to press <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.

Wait while CentOS starts using the default user login. Once it starts double click on the icon Install to Hard Drive. Then click Next. Now you will be presented with a series of options.

  1. On the keyboard page select U.S. English and click Next
  2. You probably want to accept the default to install to basic storage devices. Then click Next.
  3. For Hostname enter your hostname, e.g. yourserver.yourdepartment.yourschool.edu and click Next
  4. Now choose a timezone and click Next
  5. Enter the password for the root user and click Next. we will call this password the <root password>. It doesn't say so, but "Do not forget what you enter here"
  6. For Hostname enter your hostname, e.g. yourserver.yourdepartment.yourschool.edu and click Next
  7. On the partitioning page you should be able to accept the defaults. Select your option and click Next
  8. On the boot loader page you should be able to accept the defaults. Select your option and click Next
  9. Sit back and relax while the installation takes place --- this may take awhile

Continue Installation

After this finishes the system will ask you to reboot. Select "default user" , then Quit and after you get back to the CentOS screen, select the power button icon, then Restart and remove the installation CD.

  1. Click Forward to continue the installation process and Forward again after you have read the License Information
  2. Now create a user.
  • We suggest Username wwadmin with Full Name "WeBWorK Admin" account but you can use whatever you want and click Forward
  • Enter the information twice for the password. In these instructions, we will call this password the <wwadmin password>.
  • Now click Forward
  1. Set the Date and Time and if you want enable the Network Time Protocol. Then click Forward
  2. Enable Kdump and click Forward
  3. Next click Finish
  4. Now log into your account

Set Up Networking

If your network connection is configured automatically by DHCP, everything should be set up and you can skip the rest of this paragraph. Otherwise you will have to enter your machine's static ip address, etc. To do this either

  1. Select System, Preferences, Network Connections
  2. Select your ethernet card, probably System eth0, and then click Edit
  3. Keep Connect automatically checked
  4. Select IPv4 Settings and change "Method" to Manual
  5. Click Add and enter the following data (hit the <Enter> key after entering data to move onto the next field)
  6. Your server's IP address under Address
  7. For the Netmask) you probably want to enter 255.255.255.0 but another possibility may be 255.255.0.0
  8. Enter your Gateway address (sometimes this is the same as your IP address with the last integer replaced by 1)
  9. Enter the ip addresses of your nameserver(s) separated by commas. At a minimum you have to enter one ip address
  10. Then click Apply
  11. On the Authenticate panel, Enter <root password> and hit Authenticate
  12. Then click Close

Check That You Have Access To The Internet And Continue The Installation

  1. Click on the FireFox icon and you should be connected to the world. If not, go back and check that all your networking entries are correct. Goto http://webwork.maa.org/wiki/Installation_Manual_for_2.5_on_CentOS_6 where you can view this document and, if you want, copy and paste commands that you need (see below)
  2. Select System, Administration, Firewall. Click Close after reading the informational popup window. Teh enter the <root password> and click Authenicate. The Firewall Configuration window will open
  3. Under Service check Secure WWW (HTTPS), SSH (which should already be checked) and WWW (HTTP). Click Apply and Yes to confirm. Then Quit (File, Quit)

Update CentOS

Note that at some point you may see a pop up window informing you about important updates. Usually it is best to install all updates especially security updates. You can initiate updates yourself with by selecting System, Administration, Software Update and follow all instructions.

Terminal Window Notation and Use

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

To open a terminal window click Select Applications, System Tools, Terminal.

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>g<tab> (or chg<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>). 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).

wheel group

It is convenient to add the user wwadmin to the Administration group so we will do that next. Run the commands

$ su <Enter>
Password: <root password>
# usermod -G wheel wwadmin
$ exit

You can check this this worked with the command

$ id wwadmin

sudo

First we add all members of the wheel group (which now includes wwadmin) to the sudoers list

$ su <Enter>
Password: <root password>
visudo

Scroll down until you find the line

# %wheel        ALL=(ALL)       ALL

and uncomment this line changing it to

 %wheel        ALL=(ALL)       ALL

Then save the file and quit

:wq

Now we can use a safer way to run commands as root. Use the sudo command

$ sudo <command>
Password: <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 the file /var/log/secure. In these instructions for the most part we will not use sudo, but keep it in mind for other times that you have to become root in order to execute a few commands (e.g. restarting apache). Note that in order to use sudo, you must be listed in the /etc/sudoers file but we already did this when we added you to the Administration group (i.e. the wheel group).

Disable SELinux

Run the command

$ sudo gedit /etc/selinux/config
Password: <wwadmin password>

Replace the line

SELINUX=enforcing

by

SELINUX=disabled

Then Save the file and Quit (File, Quit). Reboot the system (select "WeBWorK Admin" , then Log Out ..., select the power button icon, then Restart) and then login again. Open a terminal window and run the command

$ /usr/sbin/getenforce

This should return Disabled confirming that SELinux is disabled.

Don't skip the step of disabling SELinux or you will have a rat's nest of permission problems. If someone manages to get WeBWorK working under SELinux (I haven't tried), it would be great if they add the directions to this wiki or, better yet, on a separate SELinux page.

Setup ssh

First we set up ssh so that it will start when the system boots

  1. Select System, Administration and then Services
  2. Scroll down until you find sshd
  3. Select the sshd line and click Enable; this will start sshd automatically at bootup
  4. Enter the <root password> when requested
  5. Now select the sshd line again and click Start; this will start sshd right now
  6. The http service should start and you will see a green dot.
  7. Then Quit

At this point you can open up an ssh connection to the server from a remote location.

CentOS Software Packages

Add Repositories to yum

Unfortunately, the default CentOS 6 RPM repositories do not yet (as of March 2012) contain several packages that WeBWorK requires. We will add some extra repositories but give them a lower priority than the standard one. A lot of this information is from http://beginlinux.com/server/centos/centos-6-rpmforgeepel-repositories

  1. Start Firefox
  2. Get http://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/6/x86_64/epel-release-6-5.noarch.rpm
  3. Choose Save File

Now run the commands

$ cd
$ cd Downloads
$ wget http://pkgs.repoforge.org/rpmforge-release/rpmforge-release-0.5.2-2.el6.rf.i686.rpm
$ su <Enter>
Password: <root password>
# rpm -ivh rpmforge-release-0.5.2-2.el6.rf.x86_64.rpm
# rpm -ivh epel-release-6-5.noarch.rpm
# ll /etc/yum.repos.d
# exit

The second to last command should show the new epel and rpmforge repositories. Now we set priorities so that yum will first look for packages in the original standard repositories. First we edit CentOS-Base.repo

$ cd /etc/yum.repos.d
$ sudo cp CentOS-Base.repo CentOS-Base.repo.bak1
Password: <root password>
$ sudo gedit CentOS-Base.repo
  1. Search for [base] and below it add the new line priority=1
  2. Search for [updates] and below it add the new line priority=1
  3. Search for [extras] and below it add the new line priority=1

Then save the file and quit (Save and File, Quit). Next edit rpmforge.repo

$ sudo cp rpmforge.repo rpmforge.repo.bak1
Password: <root password>
$ sudo gedit rpmforge.repo
  • Search for [rpmforge] and below it add the new line priority=5

Then save the file and quit. Finally edit edit epel.repo

$ sudo cp epel.repo epel.repo.bak1
Password: <root password>
$ sudo gedit epel.repo
  • Search for [epel] and below it add the new line priority=11

Then save the file and quit.

Add Repositories to Synaptic Package Manager

  1. Select System, Administration and then Add/Remove Software. The Package Manager window will open
  2. Select System on the top left and then click on Software sources and make sure the following are all checked:
    1. CentOS-6 - Base
    2. CentOS-6 - Extras
    3. CentOS-6 - Plus
    4. CentOS-6 - Updates
    5. Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux 6 - x86_64
    6. RHEL 6 - RPMforge.net - dag
    7. RHEL 6 - RPMforge.net - extras
  3. Select System and then click on Refresh Application Lists to bring the package information up to date

Add packages using Synaptic Package Manager

Our next task is to install a number of CentOS 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 Package Manager as follows.

  1. Select System, Administration and then Add/Remove Software. The Package Manager window will open

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 libapreq2 and then just give the list of required packages.

  1. We are searching for libapreq2 so enter libapreq2 (you can copy and paste from this document if you want) in the search window and click Find. Note that for whatever reason a few times I would get the message "No Package Found" but hitting Find again found the package. Strange.
  2. This should result in 3 possibilities. Select (double click or click checkbox) libapreq2 which will be listed as libapreq2-2.13-5.fc16(x86_64) or something very similar. We will just give the initial part of the package name. Then click Apply. You will see Additional confirmation required, click Continue and enter the <root password>. After the installation finished, you will see an open box or package symbol.
  3. Follow this basic procedure for all the packages listed below

Here is the list of CentOS packages that need to be installed. See Installation Manual for 2.4 for a short explanation of what most of these packages do.

  1. dvipng
  2. gcc
  3. libapreq2
  4. make
  5. mod_perl
  6. mysql-server
  7. perl-CPAN
  8. perl-DateTime
  9. perl-Email-Address
  10. perl-GD
  11. perl-GDGraph
  12. perl-LDAP
  13. perl-libapreq2
  14. perl-Locale-Maketext-Lexicon
  15. perl-Mail-Sender
  16. perl-PHP-Serialization
  17. perl-PadWalker
  18. perl-SOAP-Lite
  19. perl-SQL-Abstract
  20. perl-String-ShellQuote
  21. perl-Tie-IxHash
  22. perl-TimeDate
  23. subversion
  24. system-config-services
  25. tex-preview
  26. uuid-perl

Now close the Add/Remove Software window by selecting System Quit.

That completes the set up of your base CentOS system.

Add packages using yum

If you would prefer to install all of these packages in one fell swoop, run the following command as root ( $ su <Enter> ; Password: <root password> ):

# yum install dvipng gcc libapreq2 make mod_perl mysql-server perl-DateTime perl-Email-Address perl-CPAN perl-GD perl-GDGraph perl-LDAP perl-libapreq2 perl-Locale-Maketext-Lexicon perl-Mail-Sender perl-PHP-Serialization perl-PadWalker perl-SOAP-Lite perl-SQL-Abstract perl-String-ShellQuote perl-Tie-IxHash perl-TimeDate subversion system-config-services tex-preview uuid-perl

At the prompts, enter y for yes. When the process finishes, enter

# exit

to return to a regular user.

Installing Perl Modules

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

Testing Perl Modules

To test if a Perl module is installed and working on your system, issue the following command in a terminal window, 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 (@INC contains: 
/etc/perl /usr/local/lib/perl/5.8.8 /usr/local/share/perl/5.8.8
...

Installing Additional Perl Modules from CPAN

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

$ su
<root 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.

$ su
<root password>
# perl -MCPAN -e shell

Since this is the first time you are using CPAN it will ask you Are you ready for manual configuration? Respond yes and that should be it.

Now we update CPAN.

cpan> install Bundle::CPAN

and always hit <Enter> to accept the defaults when prompted. This can be a long process with many long pauses. 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 Net::IP Pod::WSDL UUID::Tiny

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
#

Installing Additional Perl Modules from Source

At one point in time (August 2006), the installation of DateTime using CPAN was broken. Currently DateTime can be installed using CPAN. However it is useful to show you how to install perl modules from source in case one of the perl modules we installed above gets updated and its installation from CPAN becomes broken. If that happens you can follow the procedures outlined here to install the module from source.

IMPORTANT: With CentOS we have already installed DateTime so you don't have to install it as outlined below. We are just using this as an example of installing a module from source which hopefully you will never have to do. You can skip this section and go directly to the Apache 2 and mod_perl section.

Now we give the example of installing DateTime from source. As we said you can skip this part.

Goto [[1]], search for DateTime and click on DateTime. Then near the top right download DateTime-0.36.tar.gz and save it to disk. Move it to your Downloads directory. Then

$ cd 
$ cd Downloads
$ tar -zvxf DateTime-0.36.tar.gz
$ cd DateTime-0.36/


$ perl Makefile.PL
$ make
$ make test

If make test indicates something is missing you will have to install that. In fact in the case of DateTime, you would see that quite a few things are missing.

DateTime requires the additional modules version , Module::Build , Class::Singleton , DateTime::TimeZone and DateTime::Locale . We could install these using CPAN
# perl -MCPAN -e shell
cpan> install version Module::Build Class::Singleton DateTime::TimeZone DateTime::Locale
cpan> exit
# exit
$

If you see anything that looks suspicious during this process, you can always test to see if the perl module in question was in fact installed. If it was not installed try CPAN first and if CPAN fails then install it from source. The great thing about CPAN (if it works) is that it will trace down and automatically install all required components. Note that if you get a message indicating that package/file.pm was not found, you should search for and install package::file since perl modules use a double colon (::) as a directory separator.

Assuming all is OK

$su
<root password>
# make install
# exit
$

Finally you should definitely test that the module (e.g. DateTime) was installed sucessfully

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

If you see

installed!

you can celebrate.

Apache 2 and mod_perl

Next we make a copy of the apache configuration file for safekeeping.

$su
<root password>  
# cd /etc/httpd/conf
# cp httpd.conf httpd.conf.bak1
# exit
$

Next we will edit the apache configuration file httpd.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 httpd.conf.

$ cd /etc/httpd/conf
$ sudo gedit httpd.conf

First search for #ExtendedStatus On and uncomment it, i.e. remove the #

In the gedit edit window near the end of the file uncomment the operational lines below. Leave the obvious comment lines (# Allow server status reports ... domain to enable. and # Allow remote server configuration reports... domain to enable.) commented.

The original lines are

#
# Allow server status reports generated by mod_status,
# with the URL of http://servername/server-status
# Change the ".example.com" to match your domain to enable.
#
#<Location /server-status>
#    SetHandler server-status
#    Order deny,allow
#    Deny from all
#    Allow from .example.com
#</Location>

#
# Allow remote server configuration reports, with the URL of
#  http://servername/server-info (requires that mod_info.c be loaded).
# Change the ".example.com" to match your domain to enable.
#
#<Location /server-info>
#    SetHandler server-info
#    Order deny,allow
#    Deny from all
#    Allow from .example.com
#</Location>

Now in both places replace Allow from .example.com by Allow from 127.0.0.1. If in addition you want to allow access to server information from e.g. your department domain, add new lines Allow from .math.yourschool.edu below the two Allow from lines where of course you should edit .math.yourschool.edu appropriately. The code (except for yourschool) should look like

#
# Allow server status reports generated by mod_status,
# with the URL of http://servername/server-status
# Change the ".example.com" to match your domain to enable.
#
<Location /server-status>
    SetHandler server-status
    Order deny,allow
    Deny from all
    Allow from 127.0.0.1
    Allow from .math.yourschool.edu
</Location>

#
# Allow remote server configuration reports, with the URL of
#  http://servername/server-info (requires that mod_info.c be loaded).
# Change the ".example.com" to match your domain to enable.
#
<Location /server-info>
    SetHandler server-info
    Order deny,allow
    Deny from all
    Allow from 127.0.0.1
    Allow from .math.yourschool.edu
</Location>

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

Just to be sure you changed what you wanted do run

$ diff httpd.conf httpd.conf.bak1

diff should report the changes you made and only those.

Now we both start and enable Apache so that it will start when the system boots

  1. Select System, Administration and then Services
  2. Scroll down until you find httpd
  3. Select the httpd line and click Enable; this will start Apache automatically at bootup
  4. Enter the <root password> when requested
  5. Now select the httpd line again and click Start; this will start Apache right now
  6. The http service should start and you will see a green dot.
  7. Then Quit

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 page Apache 2 Test Page indicating that apache is running. Connecting to "http://yourserver.yourdepartment.yourschool.edu/" on your server where yourserver.yourdepartment.yourschool.edu is the fully qualified hostname for your server gives the same page.

You can check Apache's status by connecting to "http://127.0.01/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://127.0.0.1/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/2.2.15 (Unix) DAV/2 mod_apreq2-20090110/2.8.0 mod_perl/2.0.4 Perl/v5.10.1

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

Now we edit httpd.conf one more time.

$ sudo gedit httpd.conf

By default a ton of modules are loaded many which we don't require. We will comment out the ones we don't need

These modules are loaded by default

LoadModule auth_basic_module modules/mod_auth_basic.so
LoadModule auth_digest_module modules/mod_auth_digest.so
LoadModule authn_file_module modules/mod_authn_file.so
LoadModule authn_alias_module modules/mod_authn_alias.so
LoadModule authn_anon_module modules/mod_authn_anon.so
LoadModule authn_dbm_module modules/mod_authn_dbm.so
LoadModule authn_default_module modules/mod_authn_default.so
LoadModule authz_host_module modules/mod_authz_host.so
LoadModule authz_user_module modules/mod_authz_user.so
LoadModule authz_owner_module modules/mod_authz_owner.so
LoadModule authz_groupfile_module modules/mod_authz_groupfile.so
LoadModule authz_dbm_module modules/mod_authz_dbm.so
LoadModule authz_default_module modules/mod_authz_default.so
LoadModule ldap_module modules/mod_ldap.so
LoadModule authnz_ldap_module modules/mod_authnz_ldap.so
LoadModule include_module modules/mod_include.so
LoadModule log_config_module modules/mod_log_config.so
LoadModule logio_module modules/mod_logio.so
LoadModule env_module modules/mod_env.so
LoadModule ext_filter_module modules/mod_ext_filter.so
LoadModule mime_magic_module modules/mod_mime_magic.so
LoadModule expires_module modules/mod_expires.so
LoadModule deflate_module modules/mod_deflate.so
LoadModule headers_module modules/mod_headers.so
LoadModule usertrack_module modules/mod_usertrack.so
LoadModule setenvif_module modules/mod_setenvif.so
LoadModule mime_module modules/mod_mime.so
LoadModule dav_module modules/mod_dav.so
LoadModule status_module modules/mod_status.so
LoadModule autoindex_module modules/mod_autoindex.so
LoadModule info_module modules/mod_info.so
LoadModule dav_fs_module modules/mod_dav_fs.so
LoadModule vhost_alias_module modules/mod_vhost_alias.so
LoadModule negotiation_module modules/mod_negotiation.so
LoadModule dir_module modules/mod_dir.so
LoadModule actions_module modules/mod_actions.so
LoadModule speling_module modules/mod_speling.so
LoadModule userdir_module modules/mod_userdir.so
LoadModule alias_module modules/mod_alias.so
LoadModule substitute_module modules/mod_substitute.so
LoadModule rewrite_module modules/mod_rewrite.so
LoadModule proxy_module modules/mod_proxy.so
LoadModule proxy_balancer_module modules/mod_proxy_balancer.so
LoadModule proxy_ftp_module modules/mod_proxy_ftp.so
LoadModule proxy_http_module modules/mod_proxy_http.so
LoadModule proxy_ajp_module modules/mod_proxy_ajp.so
LoadModule proxy_connect_module modules/mod_proxy_connect.so
LoadModule cache_module modules/mod_cache.so
LoadModule suexec_module modules/mod_suexec.so
LoadModule disk_cache_module modules/mod_disk_cache.so
LoadModule cgi_module modules/mod_cgi.so
LoadModule version_module modules/mod_version.so

Replace this list by the following Loadmodule list. I am certainly not an expert on this. There may be some modules commented out below that you need and others that are loaded that are not needed. The following works for me but your set up and needs may be different.

LoadModule auth_basic_module modules/mod_auth_basic.so
#LoadModule auth_digest_module modules/mod_auth_digest.so
LoadModule authn_file_module modules/mod_authn_file.so
#LoadModule authn_alias_module modules/mod_authn_alias.so
#LoadModule authn_anon_module modules/mod_authn_anon.so
#LoadModule authn_dbm_module modules/mod_authn_dbm.so
#LoadModule authn_default_module modules/mod_authn_default.so
LoadModule authz_host_module modules/mod_authz_host.so
LoadModule authz_user_module modules/mod_authz_user.so
#LoadModule authz_owner_module modules/mod_authz_owner.so
LoadModule authz_groupfile_module modules/mod_authz_groupfile.so
#LoadModule authz_dbm_module modules/mod_authz_dbm.so
LoadModule authz_default_module modules/mod_authz_default.so
LoadModule ldap_module modules/mod_ldap.so
LoadModule authnz_ldap_module modules/mod_authnz_ldap.so
#LoadModule include_module modules/mod_include.so
LoadModule log_config_module modules/mod_log_config.so
LoadModule logio_module modules/mod_logio.so
LoadModule env_module modules/mod_env.so
#LoadModule ext_filter_module modules/mod_ext_filter.so
LoadModule mime_magic_module modules/mod_mime_magic.so
#LoadModule expires_module modules/mod_expires.so
#LoadModule deflate_module modules/mod_deflate.so
#LoadModule headers_module modules/mod_headers.so
#LoadModule usertrack_module modules/mod_usertrack.so
LoadModule setenvif_module modules/mod_setenvif.so
LoadModule mime_module modules/mod_mime.so
LoadModule dav_module modules/mod_dav.so
LoadModule status_module modules/mod_status.so
LoadModule autoindex_module modules/mod_autoindex.so
LoadModule info_module modules/mod_info.so
#LoadModule dav_fs_module modules/mod_dav_fs.so
#LoadModule vhost_alias_module modules/mod_vhost_alias.so
LoadModule negotiation_module modules/mod_negotiation.so
LoadModule dir_module modules/mod_dir.so
#LoadModule actions_module modules/mod_actions.so
#LoadModule speling_module modules/mod_speling.so
#LoadModule userdir_module modules/mod_userdir.so
LoadModule alias_module modules/mod_alias.so
LoadModule substitute_module modules/mod_substitute.so
#LoadModule rewrite_module modules/mod_rewrite.so
LoadModule proxy_module modules/mod_proxy.so
LoadModule proxy_balancer_module modules/mod_proxy_balancer.so
LoadModule proxy_ftp_module modules/mod_proxy_ftp.so
LoadModule proxy_http_module modules/mod_proxy_http.so
LoadModule proxy_ajp_module modules/mod_proxy_ajp.so
LoadModule proxy_connect_module modules/mod_proxy_connect.so
LoadModule cache_module modules/mod_cache.so
#LoadModule suexec_module modules/mod_suexec.so
#LoadModule disk_cache_module modules/mod_disk_cache.so
LoadModule cgi_module modules/mod_cgi.so
LoadModule version_module modules/mod_version.so

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

$ sudo /etc/init.d/httpd graceful
Password: <wwadmin password>

Configuring MySQL

Start the MySQL service and configure it so that it starts at bootup.

  1. Select System, Administration and then Services
  2. Scroll down until you find mysqld
  3. Select it and click Enable; this will start MySQL automatically at bootup
  4. Enter the <root password> when requested
  5. Now select the mysqld line again and click Start; this will start MySQL right now
  6. Quit the Service Configuration window

Reboot and Test

Now reboot the system (select "WeBWorK Admin" , Quit, then Log Out ..., select the power button icon, then Restart) and then login again.

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 page Apache 2 Test 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 (non secure telnet and FTP are not allowed but secure SSH and SFTP are). If you are using "SSH Secure Shell" (now called "SSH Tectia"), a popular SSH client for PC's, you will have to add Keyboard Interactive to the list of "Authentication methods" under "Authentication" if it's not already there.

Finally test that MySQL is running.

$ mysql -u root
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 2
Server version: 5.1.61 Source distribution
Copyright (c) 2000, 2011, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its
affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective
owners.
Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.
mysql> 

Now type exit to quit

mysql> exit
Bye
$

Currently the MySQL password is empty so we didn't need a password. We will take care of that now.

MySQL Security Issuses

As initially set up, MySQL is a very open system. There are anonymous accounts with full privileges for some databases and the root accounts are not password protected. See e.g. http://dev.mysql.com/doc/refman/5.0/en/default-privileges.html for information on this. We recommend removing the anonymous accounts and giving passwords to the root accounts. There are two root accounts, one is root@localhost and the other is root@host_name where host_name is the name of your server. To find this name, do the following

$ mysql -u root
mysql> SELECT Host, User, Password FROM mysql.user;

You will see a table with five entries. For localhost you will see two Users, root and one with an empty name (the anonymous user). The other listed Host (with the same two users) is the name of your server which we will denote by host_name. Finally you will see the host 127.0.0.1 with the root user.

We will exit MSQL and run a script to make it more secure.

mysql> exit
Bye
$ su
<root password>
# /usr/bin/mysql_secure_installation

The current MYSQL root password is empty so just hit <Enter> for the password. Now answer Yes (Y) to all prompts. When prompted 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 CentOS linux system root user. Below we refer to this as <mysql root password>.

Finally we secure the MySQL server by disallowing access via TCP/IP and setting a high limit on connections. To do this we have to edit the MySQL configuration file my.cnf .

# cd /etc
# cp my.cnf my.cnf.bak1
# exit
$ sudo gedit my.cnf
<wwadmin password>

Under the line symbolic-links=0 add the new lines

skip-networking
max_connections=5000

Then save the file and Quit.

That's it. Now the only access to the MySQL server is via the mysql.sock file. Test that all is well:

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

You should see

Welcome to the MySQL monitor ...
mysql>

Enter again

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

You will now see a table with two entries all for the root user and all with encrypted passwords. Now quit

mysql> exit
Bye
$

and 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 Subversion to download WeBWorK. 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

$ svn co http://svn.webwork.maa.org/system/trunk/webwork2
$ svn co http://svn.webwork.maa.org/system/trunk/pg
$ svn co http://svn.webwork.maa.org/npl/trunk/NationalProblemLibrary

The first and second download gives you the latest released version. The third download contains the WeBWorK National Problem Library. This now includes the Rochester and Union Libraries along with others as sub libraries. Your system will be loaded with many thousands of WeBWorK problems (over 25,000 currently)

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

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

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.

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

Now create the courses and libraries directories under webwork and copy and move content there being careful not to copy the .svn directories

$ mkdir /opt/webwork/courses
$ mkdir /opt/webwork/libraries
$ mv NationalProblemLibrary /opt/webwork/libraries/
$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/courses.dist
$ cp *.lst /opt/webwork/courses/
$ rsync -a --exclude '.svn' 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.

  1. Select System, Administration and then Users and Groups
  2. Enter the <root password>
  3. Click Add Group
  4. For Group name enter wwdata and click OK
  5. Click Groups and select wwdata
  6. Click Properties and then click Group Users
  7. Check apache and wwadmin and then click OK
  8. Close the User Manager

If there are other users who will also be administering WeBWorK files, now is a good time to add them. And remember to add them to the wwdata group as above.

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 apache

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.

$ su
Password: <root password>
# cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/
# chgrp -R wwdata DATA ../courses htdocs/tmp logs tmp
# chmod -R g+w DATA ../courses htdocs/tmp logs tmp
# find DATA/ ../courses/ htdocs/tmp logs/ tmp/ -type d -a ! \( -name .svn -prune \) -exec chmod g+s {} \;
# exit
$

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 Dependancies

WeBWorK includes a script called check_modules.pl 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 except tth which is a deprecated display mode. If something is missing (flagged by **), look back through these instructions and/or look at to find where it should have been installed and install it. Note you may have to search in Installation Manual for 2.4 to find out what package it is contained in.

Configuring WeBWorK

Making Copies of the Distribution Configuration Files

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

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ cp global.conf.dist global.conf
$ cp database.conf.dist database.conf

Global Configuration

Most WeBWorK configuration is done in the file /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/global.conf. This file provides system-wide configuration settings, and defaults for course settings. Any setting in this file 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 global.conf) in the course.conf file.

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

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

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.

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

Since we have installed MathJax we need to add it as a possible display mode.

  1. Search for render TeX math expressions on the client side using MathJax and uncomment whole line

so it becomes

    "MathJax",       # render TeX math expressions on the client side using MathJax --- we strongly recommend people install and use MathJax

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.

  1. Search for $database_password = ""; and replace this 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 configue 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}            = 'mail.yourschool.edu'; 
$mail{smtpSender}            = 'webwork@yourserver.yourschool.edu';

entering the appropriate information.

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), edit the lines

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

appropriately 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 global.conf, so if in addition you want e.g. the WeBWorK administrators to receive copies, you have to add them as well.

Finally we have to add information about the Apache2 server setup.

  1. Search for $server_root_url and edit the three lines so that they read:
$server_root_url   = "http://yourserver.yourschool.edu";
$server_userID     = "www-data";
$server_groupID    = "wwdata";

where of course you should edit yourserver.yourschool.edu appropriately maybe entering localhost.

Then save the file and Quit.

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

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 global.conf above):

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

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

jsMath Settings

Version 2.0 of jsMath introduced a new fallback method for when the TeX fonts are not available on the student's computer. This uses images of the individual TeX characters in place of the TeX fonts. These are distributed in webwork2/htdocs/jsMath/jsMath-fonts.tar.gz, and you need to unpack this tarball before jsMath will work properly. Use the command

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/jsMath
$ tar vfxz jsMath-fonts.tar.gz

This will unpack the archive. Since there are 20,000 tiny files, it can take a little while, so the v option is used to show you the names as they are unpacked so that you know the command is actually doing something. Once the images are unpacked, jsMath's image mode fallback (the default fallback method) will work properly.

MathJax

General information on MathJax can be found at http://www.mathjax.org/ and general installation instructions are at http://www.mathjax.org/resources/docs/?installation.html . MathJax is already installed in the location /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/mathjax

Configuring Apache

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

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

and now link it into your Apache configuration process

$ su
<root password>
# cd /etc/httpd/conf.d
# ln -s /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/webwork.apache2-config webwork.conf

Next we will make a few changes to Apache's default configuration.

# cd /etc/httpd/conf
# gedit httpd.conf

Search for the line

Timeout 60

and replace it by

Timeout 1200

Next seach for the lines

    MaxClients          256
    MaxRequestsPerChild   4000

which occur under <IfModule prefork.c> and replace them by

# For WeBWorK a rough rule of thumb is 20 MaxClients per 1 GB of memory
    MaxClients           20
    MaxRequestsPerChild  100

where you should set MaxClients depending on the amount of memory your server has using the above rule of thumb.

NOTE: If you are using Apache version 2.4 or higher you should use MaxRequestWorkers instead of MaxClients and MaxConnectionsPerChild instead of MaxRequestsPerChild.

Then save the file and quit.

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

# cp /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/favicon.ico /var/www/html

Now restart Apache

# /etc/init.d/httpd graceful
# exit
$

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 global.conf caused me problems). 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 /etc/httpd/logs/error.log.

# exit
$
$ cd /etc/httpd/conf
$ diff httpd.conf httpd.conf.bak1
$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/
$ diff global.conf global.conf.dist
$ diff database.conf database.conf.dist
$ diff webwork.apache2-config webwork.apache2-config.dist 

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

$ su
Password: <root password>
# /etc/init.d/httpd graceful
# exit
$

---

Create the admin Course

Course Administration gives information about creating courses. Here we will give explicit instructions for doing this.


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

Now goto http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2 and should see the WeBWorK home page with Course Adninistration 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 Password/Email and change admin 's password to something more secure than admin.

Unless you choose oherwise, users with professor privilges in the admin course (i.e. WeBWorK administrators) will automatically be added to new courses with professor privilges 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. Check Add 1 student(s) and click Take Action!
  3. Enter the appropiate information (you can leave the last three items blank) and click Add Students
  4. Click on Classlist Editor in the left panel again
  1. When you enter a new student, by default their Student ID is used as their password. We'll change this now.
  2. Select yourself with a check mark and then check Give new password to Selected users or just check Give new password to All users (as a safely mechanism you can not change the password for the user you are logged in as, currently admin, this way) and then click Take Action!
  3. Enter the password, check Save changes and then click Take Action!
  4. Finally give yourself professor privilges by selecting yourself with a check mark, checking Edit Selected users 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)
  5. Now at the far right change Permission Level from student to professor
  6. Check Save changes and 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 a course place a file named hide_directory in the course directory and it 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 . Let's hide the admin course.

$ cp /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/hide_directory /opt/webwork/courses/admin

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

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 ocassions 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 /etc/init.d/httpd graceful
password:<wwadmin password>

You can also start apache2 by

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

and restart it with

$ sudo /etc/init.d/httpd restart
password:<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 /etc/init.d/httpd stop
password:<wwadmin password> 

You can also start, stop or restart apache2 by using Services

  1. Select System, Administration and then Services
  2. Scroll down until you find httpd
  3. Select the httpd line and click Start, Stop or Restart as appropriate

Starting and Stopping MySQL

You have to run these commands as root.

To start the MySQL server run the command

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

To stop the MySQL server run the command

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysqld stop
password:<wwadmin password>

To restart the MySQL server run the command

$ sudo /etc/init.d/mysqld restart
password:<wwadmin password>

You can also start, stop or restart mysql by using Services

  1. Select System, Administration and then Services
  2. Scroll down until you find mysql
  3. Select the mysql line and click Start, Stop or Restart as appropriate

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 do the following

<Ctrl> <Alt> <F3>

which will bring up a text console. Login and then run

$ sudo init 3
password:<wwadmin password>

If you stopped GNOME and want to restart it run the following

$ sudo init 5
password:<wwadmin password>

and GNOME should restart.

Install the WeBWorK Problem Libraries

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

Install the National Problem Library

The National 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 tell WeBWork where to find it.

Edit global.conf.

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

Search for problemLibrary and replace $problemLibrary{root} = ""; by
$problemLibrary{root} = "/opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary";

Then save the file and quit.

Run the NPL-update script making sure you are in the /opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary directory. This directory contains the files loadDB2 and create_tables2.sql.

$ cd /opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary
$ NPL-update

This has to convert a lot of data for over 25,000 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 simpler. Optionally remove the previous copy of the library, unpack the new copy in the same place, and run NPL-update.

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

$ cd /opt/webwork/courses/modelCourse/templates/
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary Library

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 NPL Directory button.

First we need to edit global.conf one last time

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit global.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 National Problem Library. Note that the Rochester, Union and other libraries are contained in the National Problem Library and are accessible from there under the NPL 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/NationalProblemLibrary/Union unionLibrary
$ ln -s /opt/webwork/libraries/NationalProblemLibrary/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/NationalProblemLibrary/ 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.

First we download the CAPA Library including required macros.

$ cd
$ cd Downloads
$ svn co http://svn.webwork.maa.org/rochester/trunk/rochester_physics_problib


Create a CAPA directory under /opt/webwork and move the CAPA macros there. Then move the CAPA graphics and library files to the required locations and set the group.

$ mkdir /opt/webwork/libraries/CAPA
$ cd rochester_physics_problib/macros/                   
$ mv CAPA_Tools /opt/webwork/libraries/CAPA/                       
$ mv CAPA_MCTools /opt/webwork/libraries/CAPA/                     
$ cd ..                                                                          
$ mv CAPA_Graphics /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/
$ sudo chgrp -R wwdata /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/CAPA_Graphics
  password: <wwadmin password>
$ sudo chmod -R g+w /opt/webwork/webwork2/htdocs/CAPA_Graphics        
$ cd ..                                                  
$ mv rochester_physics_problib /opt/webwork/libraries/

We need to edit global.conf again

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ gedit global.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",

Next search for Locations of CAPA resources and, if necessary, edit the four following lines so that they read as follows (cut and paste is the best way to do this)

$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_Tools}             = "/opt/webwork/libraries/CAPA/CAPA_Tools/",        
$pg{specialPGEnvironmentVars}{CAPA_MCTools}           = "/opt/webwork/libraries/CAPA/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. Note that we are setting up the CAPA macros and graphics so that they can be used by any WeBWorK course on the server.

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/rochester_physics_problib/ 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/rochester_physics_problib/ capaLibrary
password: <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 global.conf a lot and this is a very critical file, it would be a good idea to run

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf
$ diff global.conf global.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 global.conf, you must restart the Apache webserver in order for these changes to take effect.

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

$ sudo /etc/init.d/httpd graceful
password:<wwadmin password>

Now log into the admin course ( http://yourserver.yourschool.edu/webwork2/admin ) 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 action)
  9. Click on Add Course
  10. Click Log into myTestCourse

and log in either as admin or yourself.

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 /etc/httpd/logs/error.log.

Click on Hmwk Sets Editor on the Main Menu. Then select (by clicking the circle button) 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. I they are, but you see a pink screen, look at the next paragraph. If they are not typeset, 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.

When you continue looking at problems you will get an error when you try to look at Problem 6 because we have not configured the CAPA macros which are required to display CAPA problems. Unless you are teaching physics you probably don't need them. Also in Problem 9 the Java applet will not load. Problem 9 was written in the 90's and used an applet on a server at The Johns Hopkins University. The server went away a long time ago but have retained this problem for historical reasons and also because it is a example of several things (e.g. WeBWorK problems can include applets running on remote servers but this can lead to other problems).

Next click on Prob. List to bring back the Problem List Page and click on Download a hardcopy of this homework set. The page is a little complicated because you are a professor but you can just scroll to the bottom and click on Generate hardcopy for selected users and selected sets. You will get an error (because of the bad Problem 6) but 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).

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 Problem Library 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 (by clicking the circle button) 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 (by clicking the circle button) Add 1 student(s)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

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 if you wish just a separate directory) in 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 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.

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 so that access to WeBWorK will be through an encrypted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) with an https: URL.

Directions for implementing these optimizations and security enhancements are contained in the Ubuntu instructions Installation Manual for 2.5 on Ubuntu 10.04. You can follow those instructions.

Updating WeBWorK files

If you want to update a single WeBWorK file, e.g. /opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK/Utils/FilterRecords.pm you can just do

$ cd /opt/webwork/webwork2/lib/WeBWorK/Utils

First do

$ svn status -u

This gives you the status of all files in the directory. For an explanation of the output see http://svnbook.red-bean.com/nightly/en/svn.ref.svn.c.status.html.

To update the file use

svn update FilterRecords.pm

If you want to update all files in a directory and in all its subdirectories, run the command

$ svn update 

from the directory.

If you want to upgrade the whole WeBWorK system, see Upgrading WeBWorK.


Where to go From Here

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

Look at [[2]]

Read the CourseAdministrationManual for more information about creating courses.

Consult the WeBWorKDocs topic for other WeBWorK documentation.

-- Main.ArnoldPizer - 02 February 29 2012

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