Installing from WW2.12 Ubuntu16.04 Vanilla Virtual Machine Image

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These instructions cover the installation of the Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS 64 bit operating system and WeBWorK 2.12 using the WeBWorK Virtual Machine Image.

The WeBWorK Virtual Machine Image is an .ova file which is an "open, secure, portable, efficient and extensible format for the packaging and distribution of software to be run in virtual machines" (see and is supported by VMware, VirtualBox, etc. This image file has been tested on VMware Workstation 12 Player and VirtualBox 5 .

This "vanilla" version of the server should work fine for smaller installations (say a 1000 users or less). There will be a "production" version that adds things like lighttpd, log rotations, etc that are useful for larger installations and/or slower servers. Note that you can always start with the vanilla version and make additions or changes after setting up your server.

Installing from WW2.12 Ubuntu16.04 Vanilla Virtual Machine Image


After installing from the WeBWorK Virtual Machine Image, you will have a full fledged Ubuntu 16.04 LTS 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. Also it is imperative that you CHANGE THE PASSWORDS for the OS user wwadmin (which has sudo privileges), for the MySQL users root and webworkWrite, and for the WeBWorK user admin which has professor privileges (see below).

There are more detailed instructions for Ubuntu 14.04 and WeBWorK 2.10 at Installation_Manual_for_2.12_on_Ubuntu_16.04

Download the ova image

There is only a 64 bit distribution. The 64 bit distribution should work with most modern cpu's. Download the md5 check sum and .ova file from either of the sites below. Download WW2.10_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla.ova.md5 and WW2.12_Ubuntu16.04_Vanilla.ova . The ova is a 3.6 GB file.

  • Rochester
  • MAA

Installing the WeBWorK Virtual Machine Image

Import the file WW2.12_Ubuntu16.04_Vanilla.ova into your virtualization software package (e.g. VMware, VirtualBox). The ova file was created on VirtualBox and has been tested on VirtualBox and VMware Player. Note on VMware Player you will get a warning message but on retry it will work. After importing, your virtual WeBWorK server will be identical to a system created from the WW2.12 Ubuntu16.04 Vanilla LiveDVD.

Note that on other virtual environments, you may need to take additional actions. See the section Other Virtual Environments below.

Continue the installation

You are exactly at the stage in the installation described in Installing_from_WW2.12_Ubuntu16.04_Vanilla_LiveDVD#Boot_your_server. Follow the instructions there. Note that if your server will be accessible from the internet, it is imperative that you follow the instructions for changing passwords.

Other Virtual Environments

Below you will find additional information about installing the ova on other virtual environments.

VMware's ESXi 5.5 Server

Jay A. Hightman <>, Systems Administrator at Mary Baldwin College, reports that it is not possible to directly import the "WW2.9_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla.ova" virtual machine directly in to VMware's ESXi 5.5 Server. There may be a similar problem with "WW2.12_Ubuntu16.04_Vanilla.ova". He sent us the following work around. Thanks Jay.

One gets the following error:
There are three offending sections in the OVA file, which I have highlighted
in red:
       <vssd:ElementName>Virtual Hardware Family</vssd:ElementName>
<vssd:VirtualSystemIdentifier>WW2.9_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla</vssd:VirtualSystemI dentifier>
       <rasd:Description>SATA Controller</rasd:Description>
       <rasd:Description>Sound Card</rasd:Description>

A work around is to use the VMware OVF tool to convert the OVA to an VMX image.
Download VMware Open Virtualization Format Tool 3.5.2 < =353#product_downloads> &productId=353#product_downloads
C:\Program Files\VMware\VMware OVF Tool>ovftool.exe --lax "C:\Setup\MAA WeBWorK 2.9\WW2.9_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla.ova" "C:\Setup\MAA WeBWorK 2.10\WW2.10_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla.vmx"
Opening OVA source: C:\Setup\MAA WeBWorK 2.9\WW2.9_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla.ova
Opening VMX target: C:\Setup\MAA WeBWorK 2.9\WW2.9_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla.vmx
- Line 25: Unsupported hardware family 'virtualbox-2.2'.
- Line 66: OVF hardware element 'ResourceType' with instance ID '5': No support
for the virtual hardware device type '20'.
- Line 83: OVF hardware element 'ResourceType' with instance ID '7': No support
for the virtual hardware device type '35'
Writing VMX file: C:\Setup\MAA WeBWorK 2.0\WW2.9_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla.vmx
Transfer Completed
- No manifest entry found for: 'WW2.9_Ubuntu14.04_Vanilla-disk1.vmdk'.
- No manifest file found.
Completed successfully

After doing this, I was able to upload the VMX and VMDK files which were
created to storage on a VMware ESXi 5.5 Server, import the system, and
continue the configuration of Ubantu as well as other installed applications
used by WeBWorK.
My hope is this information will be useful to you as well as other users of
WeBWorK virtual machine.

-- Main.ArnoldPizer - 21 June 2016