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Installing AOLserver 3.1

ACS Documentation : ACS Installation Guide : Installing AOLserver 3.1

AOLserver is a fast, reliable, and scalable web server, and the server of choice for the ArsDigita Community System. For more information on AOLserver, you can read Philip Greenspun's introduction part 1 and part 2.

Table of Contents

  1. Setup User Accounts and Paths
  2. Download the Distribution
  3. Compile AOLserver
  4. Compile the Oracle Driver
  5. Install AOLserver
  6. Troubleshooting the AOLserver Install
  7. Appendix: Defaults

Setup User Accounts and Paths.

You will need a special user account for running the ACS. We recommend that you call this user nsadmin. This user will have a special home directory for storing AOLserver, /home/aol31 and a special group for the server files, web as well. You will also need to create directories for AOLserver, /usr/local/aolserver, and for web services, /web to reside in. You must execute this step as root.

  • Open up a terminal and run these commands:
    $ su -
    ; Enter ROOT password when prompted
    # groupadd nsadmin
    # groupadd web
    # mkdir /home/aol31
    # useradd -g nsadmin -G dba,web -d /home/aol31 nsadmin
    # passwd nsadmin
    ; Set password for nsadmin
    # mkdir /web
    # mkdir /usr/local/aolserver
    # chown nsadmin.web /home/aol31 
    # chown nsadmin.web /web
    # chown nsadmin.web /usr/local/aolserver
    # chmod 775 /home/aol31
    # chmod 775 /web
    # chmod 775 /usr/local/aolserver
    # exit   
  • At this point, you should customize the nsadmin login scripts. Login as nsadmin and add the following lines to your ~nsadmin/.bash_profile
    export ORACLE_BASE=/ora8/m01/app/oracle
    export ORACLE_HOME=$ORACLE_BASE/product/8.1.6
    export PATH=$PATH:$ORACLE_HOME/bin
    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$ORACLE_HOME/lib:/lib:/usr/lib
    export ORACLE_SID=ora8
    export ORACLE_TERM=vt100
    export ORA_NLS33=$ORACLE_HOME/ocommon/nls/admin/data

    Be absolutely certain that you have entered these lines correctly and that you have saved the file - a slight error in these lines can lead to many inscrutable error messages. Logout and log back in so these settings will take effect.


Download the Distribution

Login as nsadmin and save files to the /tmp directory.

  • Download the AOLserver distribution and the Oracle driver (needed for db connectivity and the ACS). You must download the source distribution of AOLserver in order to compile the Oracle driver.

    We recommend saving these archives in the /tmp directory on your server.

  • Uncompress the downloaded components; you may need to substitute different files names and account for directory names different from the ones below -- these were the files as of 9/2000 :

    $ cd /tmp    {or wherever the archives are}
    $ tar -xzf aolserver-src-3.1ad8.tar.gz
    $ tar -xzf oracle-driver-2.3.tar.gz
  • You should now have two directory trees in the current directory: aolserver/ and oracle-driver-2.3/. Move the oracle directory under the aolserver directory to make compiling the Oracle driver easier:
    $ mv oracle-driver-2.3 aolserver


Compile AOLserver

This step should be completed as the nsadmin user. You will compile the AOLserver distribution and prepare for installation.

  • Login as nsadmin and cd into the aolserver/ directory where you untarred the source. You should be able to compile directly from that location:
    $ su - nsadmin
    ; Enter nsadmin password
    $ cd /tmp/aolserver
    $ make all


Compile the Oracle Driver

Now you need to compile the Oracle driver to enable database connectivity.

  • Change directories to the aolserver/oracle-driver-2.3 directory and start the compilation:

    $ cd /tmp/aolserver/oracle-driver-2.3
    $ make all

    The following compiler warning may be ignored:

    ld: warning: type and size of dynamic symbol `sskgslgf' are not defined

    If the compilation failed, make sure the environment variables above actually point to where you installed the AOLserver source code. If you followed our instructions, this should not be a problem. You can check the directories by doing:

    $ ls /tmp/aolserver/include

    If you don't see any files, then you have the wrong directories. Verify your installation of Oracle and AOLserver and try again.

    If compilation was successful, you should now have two new files in /tmp/aolserver/oracle-driver-2.3, and


Install AOLserver 3.1

You are now ready to install AOLserver.

  • Change directories to your AOLserver source distribution and run make install to install the files:
    $ cd /tmp/aolserver
    $ make install
    The above will copy the compiled AOLserver files to /usr/local/aolserver

  • You should now have a /usr/local/aolserver/bin directory. Copy the previously compiled Oracle drivers into it:
    $ cp /tmp/aolserver/oracle-driver-2.3/ /usr/local/aolserver/bin
    $ cp /tmp/aolserver/oracle-driver-2.3/ /usr/local/aolserver/bin
  • The latest version of the ArsDigita Community System requires Tcl 8.3. Although this version of Tcl is included with AOLserver 3.1, it is not activated by default. There is a symbolic link pointing from nsd to nsd76 in /tmp/aolserver/bin. Change this to point to nsd8x:
    $ cd /usr/local/aolserver/bin
    $ rm nsd
    $ ln -s ./nsd8x ./nsd
  • You will now test to ensure AOLserver is running correctly. You should be able to cd into your aolserver directory and simply start the server:
    Login as nsadmin. (it helps to be in X at this point)
    $ cd /usr/local/aolserver
    $ ./bin/nsd -t nsd.tcl

    As the AOLserver daemon starts up, you should see a few normal warnings (listed below), which are safe to ignore. The first warning means that the server is missing files for running ssl, a necessary module for encrypted HTTPS. The second warning means that the AOLserver control panel, a special module for administering AOLserver, could not be loaded. If you're interested in configuring and using either of these modules, please see the AOLserver documentation.

    Warning: nsd.tcl: nsssl not loaded -- key/cert files do not exist.
    Warning: nsd.tcl: nscp not loaded -- user/password is not set. 
  • Test to see if AOLserver is working by starting Netscape or Lynx, and surfing over to your web page:
    $ lynx localhost:8000

    You should see a Welcome to AOLserver page. If this doesn't work, try going to

  • Shutdown the test server:
    $ killall nsd

    The killall command will kill all processes with the name nsd, but clearly this is not a good tool to use for managing your services in general. We cover this topic in the ACS documentation.

On to installing the ArsDigita Community System!


Troubleshooting the AOLserver Install

If you can't view the welcome page, it's likely there's a problem with your server configuration. Start by viewing your AOLserver log, which is in /usr/local/aolserver/log/server.log. You should also try to find lines of the form:

[01/Jun/2000:12:11:20][5914.2051][-nssock-] Notice: nssock: listening on http://localhost.localdomain:8000 (
[01/Jun/2000:12:11:20][5914.2051][-nssock-] Notice: accepting connections

If you can find these lines, try entering the URL the server is listening on. If you cannot find these lines, there must be an error somewhere in the file. Search for lines beginning with the word Error instead of Notice.


Appendix: Defaults

We used the following defaults while installing AOLserver:

AOLserver UsernamensadminAOLserver used to be NaviServer and this was the standard username for the server.
AOLserver Directory/usr/local/aolserverWhen you use "make install" AOLserver 3.1 will be installed here. Note that this is different from previous versions of AOLserver; the change conforms to Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) specifications.
nsadmin Home Directory/home/aol31The various files needed and generated by running AOLserver 3.1 processes should be located here, such as server .ini and log files. This is described in depth in the next page of the install guide.
AOLserver Groupsnsadmin,web,dbaYou should have a UNIX group for the server files, nsadmin, and a group for the web content, web. Note that in order to connect to Oracle using svrmgrl, your user must be part of the dba group and this capability is needed to install the ACS.
AOLserver Source Directory/tmp/aolserverThis is simply a convenient place to uncompress the source.
ORACLE_HOME/ora8/m01/app/oracle/product/8.1.6This is the default Oracle installation directory.

Previous: Installing Oracle 8.1.6 Installing AOLserver 3.1
part of the ACS Installation Guide
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