Installing WeBWorK from Live DVD

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These instructions cover the installation of the Ubuntu Linux 8.04 operating system and WeBWorK 2.4 using the WeBWorK live DVD

Installing WeBWorK from the WeBWorK Live DVD


After installing from the WeBWorK Live DVD which only requires a few steps, you will have a full fledged Ubuntu 8.04 system with WeBWorK, Apache2, MySQL, etc. installed and configured. If your network uses DHCP, networking will be automatically configured for your system . If it uses static IP addresses, you will have to configure networking (see below). Also it is imperative that you CHANGE THE PASSWORDS for the OS users root and ubuntu (which has sudo privileges) and also for the WeBWorK users admin and ubuntu which have professor privileges (see below).

If you try this, I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, bug reports, etc.

There are more detailed instructions for Ubuntu 8.04 and WeBWorK 2.4 at Installation_Manual_for_2.4_on_Ubuntu_8.04


  1. Go to and download WW2.4_Ubuntu8.04_LiveDVD.iso (it is a 916 MB file).
  2. gives 5565f186e1f66b11c036d0c398dba1a0 /home/remastersys/remastersys/WW2.4_Ubuntu8.04_LiveDVD.iso
  3. Verify the MD5 checksum of your downloaded file and then burn it to a DVD (the file is too large to be burned to a CD).

Install WeBWorK from the WeBWorK Live DVD

Place the installation DVD in your DVD/CD drive and reboot 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.

First select Install WeBWorK_DVD, the third option, and then hit <Enter>. After the system loads you will be presented with a series of 7 steps. .

  1. On the first install panel hit Forward to proceed with English as the selected language
  2. Select a city in your time zone and hit Forward
  3. Hit Forward to accept the default keyboard layout
  4. Next comes the Partition disks pages. You should be able to accept the defaults unless you want separate partitions for various directories. You might want to look at the Partition disks section in

Installation_Manual_for_2.4_on_Ubuntu_8.04 which gives more information on this

  1. The next panel asks "Who are you?". We will fill in this information but actually it will not be used. The real information is contained in the WeBWorK Live DVD. We will just repeat it here so you don't get confused
  • Enter Ubuntu for "What is your name?"
  • Enter ubuntu for "What name do you want to use to log in?"
  • Enter admin twice for the password
  • Enter WeBWorK-DVD for the name of the computer
  • You can change all of these things after the installation takes place. Especially you should change the password
  • Then hit Forward to continue
  1. On the Migrate Documents and Settings page just hit Forward to continue without importing anything
  2. Finally hit Forward on the Ready to install page to begin the installation. The Advanced... button on this page gives you options on installing the boot loader but you almost certainly want to use the defaults

Now select your time zone and wait for the clock to be configured

Boot from USB drive

  1. With the USD drive plugged in reboot your system and boot from USB. You will probably have to hold down a certain key (e.g. F12 or F11) to bring up a boot menu. Or possibly you may have to edit your BIOS to allow booting from USB. Select USB Storage Device as the boot device and boot. You should almost immediately see a Fedora screen with a 10 second countdown to booting. If you are impatient hit Enter twice.
  2. Note that a few times when doing this I experienced errors such as the USD drive not being recognized, hung, etc. I just rebooted and never had a problem twice in a row.
  3. Hit Enter to do the automatic login. This logs you into the "fedora" account which has password "admin" (more on accounts and passwords below). "fedora" has sudo privileges. The "root" account also has password "admin".
  4. If you do not want to connect your server to the internet, you can just open firefox and access the URL: http://localhost/webwork2 . The admin course has two users "admin" and "fedora" as professors with passwords "admin" and "admin". myTestCourse has the same two users as professors and in addition practice (guest) users and one student user "jsmith" with password "jsmith". With the exception of jsmith, every password on the system is set to "admin"

Internet access


If you connect to the internet it is imperative that you CHANGE THE PASSWORDS for the OS users root and fedora (which has sudo privileges) and also for the WeBWorK users admin and fedora which have professor privileges. Otherwise anyone can connect to your server and pretty easily gain root access.

To change the root password goto System, Administration, Root Password. Enter the current password (admin) and change it. Or in a terminal window (Applications, System Tools, Terminal) enter su to become root and then passwd to change the password. To change the password for fedora login to fedora and run passwd (or use System, Administration, Users and Groups or sudo passwd fedora).

To change the passwords for the WeBWorK users admin and fedora, log into the WeBWorK courses admin (http://localhost/webwork2/admin) and myTestCourse (http://localhost/webwork2/myTestCourse) and change the passwords from admin to something more secure.

Internet access into and out of your server

The server's firewall is set to accept only www (http), secure www (https) and secure telnet and file transfer (ssh) connections. Here we give directions for setting up an ethernet connection. You can try setting up wireless using the procedure below but in my experience with Dell equipment and linux, wireless requires you to download and configure special drivers and is beyond the scope of these directions (do a Google search for help).

  1. I'll assume (the worst case) that you are switching between various networks some using DHCP and some using static IP addresses. Once you setup networking, you don't have to do anything if you reboot the computer onto the same network.
  2. Goto System, Administration, Network. Under the Devices tag uncheck currently configured devices and delete them (this is not absolutely necessary but is the cleanest way). Under the DNS tag remove any DNS's and the DNS search paths. Now go back to the Devices tag and hit New, select Ethernet connection and hit Forward, select your card and hit Forward. If you have DHCP you can just hit forward and ignore the rest of this paragraph. For a static IP address select Statically set IP addresses and fill in the required information. Then hit the DNS tag and fill in your servername and the IP address(es) of your name servers. Hit the Hosts tag and check show loopback. Edit the IP information replacing servername and serverdomain with your info. Also click New and add your IP address and your fqdn (fully qualified domain name, i.e. servername.serverdomain) as hostname.
  3. Then save the changes (File, Save) and Quit.
  4. Finally goto System, Administration, Services scroll down to ssh and check that ssh is Enabled. If not Enable it.
  5. Once you make the changes reboot your computer (you need to do this so that the changes to the servername, ssh, etc. take place).
  6. Try firefox and see if you are connected to the world. Login to your computer from a remote site using ssh and try to connect to webwork from a remote browser (URL: http://ipaddress/webwork2 or http://servername.serverdomian/webwork2 if the nameservers know about you).
  7. Note that with Fedora (and Ubuntu, etc) if the server can not find it's fqdn (in a terminal window try hostname -f ) certain GUI applications like Network and the Package Manager will not work. That's one reason we had to reboot above. If things get messed up replace the files /etc/hosts and /etc/sysconfig/network with backups and reboot. There are two sets of backups: hosts.dist and network.dist are the original files on my USB distribution and hosts.bak1 and network.bak1 are the original files on the Fedora distribution. Either work but use either both .dist files or both .bak1 files. The backup files are found in the same directories the original files are in.
  8. Also note that I have disabled the network manager and enabled network because of a known bug in Fedora 9 with (at least) static IP addresses whereby Firefox always starts off line which is very annoying.
  9. In order to get a fully functioning WeBWorK server pretty much all you have to do is to edit /opt/webwork/webwork2/conf/global.conf and set $mail{smtpServer} to your email server. This USB system could function as an smtpServer but it is not set up to do so.