Guidelines for deploying Sakai from source (on Linux)

The Democratic Alliance has deployed Sakai for use as a Learning Environment and for its potential use for intra-organisational collaboration. Our deployment runs Debian Lenny in a KVM environment and is built from source.

During the course of this deployment, assisted by members of the Sakai community, especially UCT, a few lessons worth sharing, which assume Debian as they deployment platform, were learned:

  1. Java can be deployed using the Debian packages:
    1. Add “non-free” to /etc/apt/sources.list:

      deb lenny main
      deb lenny non-free
      deb lenny/updates main
      deb lenny/updates non-free

    2. Update aptitude and install Java 6 (more):

      aptitude update
      aptitude install sun-java6-jdk

  2. Do NOT deploy Apache’s Tomcat and Maven from packages, use the source packages:
    1. Install Tomcat from Apache package:

      cd /opt
      tar xzf apache-tomcat-5.5.28.tar.gz
      mv apache-tomcat-5.5.28 tomcat
    2. Install Maven from Apache package, Debian package (2.0.9) is too old:

      cd /opt
      tar xjf apache-maven-2.2.1-bin.tar.bz2
      mv apache-maven-2.2.1 maven2

  3. Create a deployment script which does the following:
    1. Deploys a fresh Tomcat install
    2. (Optional) Patches the source tree with any changes
    3. Builds Sakai with Maven
    4. Copies Sakai configuration
    5. (Optional) Deploys the MySQL connector to Tomcat
    6. Replaces the running Tomcat instance with the new deployment
    7. Copies the skin and other post deployment templates
  4. A sample of our deployment script is available here. The string “SakaiLocalName” should be replaced with the name for your organisation’s Sakai deployment.

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