[Koha] Red Hat 8, installing dependencies

dcook at prosentient.com.au dcook at prosentient.com.au
Mon Dec 14 12:15:49 NZDT 2020

Hi Tasha,

It's great to hear that you're trying to install Koha! However, if I were you, I wouldn't bother with that old wiki page, as it's probably going to confuse more than help.

Typically, the Koha community supports Koha installations on Debian and Ubuntu operating systems, but there are some of us who run Koha on openSUSE, Red Hat, Fedora, etc. We are rare though. Wherever possible, it's best to use Debian/Ubuntu as you'll get the best, supported experience that way, but I know in a corporate environment that you're often limited to only using Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Part of the reason your email stood out to me is that I am in the process of migrating a non-Koha Perl application from RHEL 6 to RHEL 8, so I'm already in this headspace.

In all honesty, if I were you, I'd try to find a vendor that is willing - for a fee - to install Koha on your local RHEL 8 system. You can find more information at https://koha-community.org/support/paid-support/. We have installed Koha on RHEL for libraries with restricted corporate environments like you describe. I am sure there are vendors in Canada and the USA who have done it too who could help you out. Feel free to email me separately about that if you want to discuss that further.


If you are committed to doing it yourself without paid help, then it's important to think about Koha as a multi-component system: Linux OS, Apache httpd web server, MySQL database, Perl application, Zebra indexing engine. 

You've already got your Linux OS (RHEL 8), and you'll be able to use the Apache httpd web server and MySQL database from the Red Hat repositories. The difficulty will be with the Perl application (Koha proper) and Zebra. 

Looking at https://www.indexdata.com/resources/software/zebra/, there is a "Redhat" download option, but it does not look like the RHEL packages have been maintained. You could contact Indexdata to get them to publish new packages for RHEL 8. Alternatively, it looks like they do provide some for CentOS 8, which is *currently*  compatible with RHEL 8: http://ftp.indexdata.dk/pub/zebra/redhat/centos/8/README. I haven't used that but that would be my first step *before* trying to build Zebra from source. 

As for the Perl application (Koha proper), it's easier than ever to install dependencies thanks to the "cpanfile" provided with Koha. It provides a list of ~180 Perl dependencies, which you can install using a tool called "cpanminus" (https://metacpan.org/pod/App::cpanminus). Unfortunately for you, these dependencies need to be fetched over the Internet from the "CPAN" (Comprehensive Perl Archive Network). However, perhaps you'd be able to talk to your IT about setting up a local offline mirror of CPAN. You can use the "minicpan" tool for that: https://metacpan.org/pod/distribution/CPAN-Mini/bin/minicpan. I have used that tool before in restricted corporate environments for Perl applications. 

Now that sounds easier than it actually is. You mentioned that you had some trouble installing some packages like "ImageMagick-devel". You need "*-devel" packages when you're building code from course (like you'd be doing using "cpanminus" and the "cpanfile" via "minicpan"), as they provide interfaces to lower level software tools (e.g. "ImageMagic" without the -devel). Typically, you discover which "-devel" packages you need when particular Perl dependencies fail to install. 

If you're successful with all of this, then there is the task of setting up a Zebra "service" and Koha "cronjobs". 

This also all assumes that you're not use SELinux security on RHEL 8 as well. That is a layer of complexity that is too difficult to explain in this space.


Alternatively, you could try running Docker containers - since Docker should be available in RHEL 8, or Virtual Machines on your RHEL 8 machine, and have those containers or virtual machines run Koha on Debian/Ubuntu. But that adds a different layer of complexity.


Hopefully that was helpfully comprehensive rather than terrifyingly comprehensive ; ). For years, I have been thinking of putting together RPM packages that could be installed on Red Hat or openSUSE, but it would require more resources than I have available, so I've been in the gradual process of switching to only using Debian/Ubuntu for Koha wherever possible. 

But I appreciate that you might not have that option. Due to your limitations, I think your best bet is to get a paid support vendor to help you, but you can also try what I've suggested and try working through it here. You probably won't be able to receive much more than general assistance, since the majority of people use Debian/Ubuntu, but you can always try.

Bon courage!

David Cook
Software Engineer
Prosentient Systems
Suite 7.03
6a Glen St
Milsons Point NSW 2061

Office: 02 9212 0899
Online: 02 8005 0595

-----Original Message-----
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2020 21:37:08 +0000
From: "Bales (US), Tasha R" <tasha.r.bales at boeing.com>
To: "koha at lists.katipo.co.nz" <koha at lists.katipo.co.nz>
Subject: [Koha] Red Hat 8, installing dependencies
Message-ID: <6d2acf16030d48a4b6f3885b47ae8b17 at boeing.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Good afternoon,

I'm trying to install the latest version of Koha on Red Hat 8.1, using the Koha Wiki instructions<https://wiki.koha-community.org/wiki/Koha_on_Redhat_Enterprise_6> for Red Hat 6.  Perhaps you can help with a couple questions.

First, the Wiki contains a list of about 70 dependencies that should be installed before Koha. Since the Wiki article is dated, is there a method for determining whether this list is still accurate for Red Hat 8 and current Koha?  Or, would one just need to be on the lookout for inevitable errors and complaints about missing dependencies?

Next, I'm limited to working with a corporate repository-I cannot connect to the internet--but I was able to install all but 11 of the recommended packages, see below.  I don't necessarily know that all of these are critical requirements, but some of them seem significant when I Googled them for more info.  They are as follows:

*              cloog-ppl

*              ghostscript-devel (I have the non-devel package)

*              gnome-utils-libs (I don't think we need this)

*              ImageMagick

*              ImageMagick-devel

*              Imake (May not need this)

*              jasper-devel (We have jasper-libs)

*              lcms-devel

*              libXdmcp-devel

*              libxml2-python

*              ppl

If you can advise where I ought to look to gain an understanding of whether these missing packages are 1) true requirements for Koha 20.x, given I obtained them from an older Wiki article; 2) show-stoppers that will prevent using Koha, or certain features of Koha, if they are not present.

I appreciate and thank you in advance for any advice you may have.  I am doing a good amount of research on the web to try to answer my own questions, but I'm a bit out of my league.  Thanks for your time and consideration,

Tasha R. Bales

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