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Getting Started

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LR Install on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS

The following is a series of instructions designed to assist in the configuration of the Learning Registry Node software.


While we try to keep documentation up-to-date. Some dependencies update more frequently than these instructions. The following are some commonly known stumbling blocks:

  • CouchDB with BrowserID plugin
    • the BrowserID integrates with Mozilla’s Persona whose protocol is still developmental, however relatively stable. Revisions to the protocol have often required configuration changes to the updated plugin. Please refer to the developer’s site for more information


1. (optional) Install SSH server so we can remote ssh into server so copy/paste works.

sudo apt-get install openssh-server

2. Update and Upgrade system

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo reboot

3. Install system dependencies

sudo apt-get install flex dctrl-tools libsctp-dev ed zlib1g-dev
sudo apt-get install libxslt1-dev automake make ruby libtool g++
sudo apt-get install zip libcap2-bin
sudo apt-get install python-dev python-setuptools python-virtualenv
sudo apt-get install nginx libyajl1 git-core curl rake swig vim

4. Make Users for CouchDB and Learning Registry

sudo adduser couchdb
sudo adduser learnreg


You may set passwords for these accounts, OR they can be left blank as service accounts.

5. Build CouchDB 1.2.2 with some additional plugins

sudo mkdir /opt/couchdb
sudo chown couchdb:couchdb /opt/couchdb
sudo su - couchdb
git clone git://        ## TODO move to LearningRegistry
cd build-couchdb
git submodule init
git submodule update
rake install=/opt/couchdb/1.2.2 git="git:// tags/1.2.2" plugins="git:// origin/master,git:// origin/couchdb1.2.x"
exit           ## exit out of couchdb account


  1. Ensure that the rake command uses the correct git path and branch/tag for the plugins parameter.
  2. At the time of this writing, git:// had reliability issues for Ubuntu 12.04, which may be fixed. If the listed location in the source does not work, try the original.
  3. You may omit the geocouch plugin as it not currently utilized, but may have planned future use. It may be added in the future when needed. If you wish to omit, remove git:// origin/couchdb1.2.x from the rake command

While CouchDB builds (it takes a long time), you can log into a separate session and begin installing Learning Registry at Step 6

6. Install Learning Registry code

Clone from GitHub:

sudo su - learnreg
git clone git://


If you require a different branch other than head, please refer to the git documentation for checking out an alternate version

Create the Python virtualenv and install uwsgi and the node software:

virtualenv --no-site-packages env
. env/bin/activate
pip install uwsgi
pip install -e ./LearningRegistry/LR/
exit           ## exit out of learnreg account

7. Configure CouchDB

cd /opt/couchdb/
ln -s ./1.2.2 current
cd 1.2.2

Within the main() function, after the last dir_to_path line (about line 40) add the following by using arrow keys to navigate, then press “<ESC> o” and type:

export ERL_FLAGS="-pa /opt/couchdb/1.2.2/lib/couchdb/plugins/geocouch/ebin /opt/couchdb/1.2.2/lib/couchdb/plugins/browserid_couchdb/ebin"

Save and exit by pressing “<ESC> :wq”

vim etc/init.d/couchdb

Navigate using the arrow keys after the line with LSB_LIBRARY=... (around line 35), add the following line by pressing “<ESC> o” and type:

export ERL_FLAGS="-pa /opt/couchdb/1.2.2/lib/couchdb/plugins/geocouch/ebin /opt/couchdb/1.2.2/lib/couchdb/plugins/browserid_couchdb/ebin"

Save and exit by pressing “<ESC> :wq”

vim etc/couchdb/local.ini

Navigate to the end of the file and locate the [admins] section. Create an admin user (equivalent to a DBA) by pressing “<ESC> o” and type below [admins]:

admin = password

Substituting the password of your choice. The password will be hashed after startup. Save and exit by pressing “<ESC> :wq”.

vim etc/couchdb/default.d/browserid.ini

For browser-based setup of OAuth accounts, you will need to update the browserid plugin’s audience parameter to the domain name of your node. Navigate using the arrow keys after the line with audience = and then enter replacement mode by pressing “R” and update the parameter with your domain, for example:

audience =

Save and exit by pressing “<ESC> :wq”

Try starting couchdb:

/opt/couchdb/current/etc/init.d/couchdb start
curl http://localhost:5984

You should see:


Next let’s make sure we can authenticate:

curl 'http://admin:password@localhost:5984/_session'

We should get a response like this:


Next we want to make sure our plugin got installed correctly:

curl http://localhost:5984/_browserid/main.js

You should see the contents of a Javascript code returned. If you see a single line that indicates an error, read on. A common problem is to use the wrong plugin url which produces a plugin directories that end in ”.git”. Check in /opt/couchdb/1.2.2/lib/couchdb/plugins, and if you see any directories that end in ”.git” (ie browserid_couchdb.git or geocouch.git) this is incorrect and plugins will need to be rebuilt. Recheck the ‘rake’ command you used and try rebuilding. Ensure that the git URI’s for the plugins parameters do NOT end in ”.git” (however they should begin with “git://”).

Stop couchdb for now and exit couchdb user shell:

/opt/couchdb/current/etc/init.d/couchdb stop

Next configure couchdb basic management and start couchdb again:

sudo ln -s /opt/couchdb/current/etc/init.d/couchdb /etc/init.d/couchdb
sudo ln -s /opt/couchdb/current/etc/logrotate.d/couchdb /etc/logrotate.d/couchdb
sudo update-rc.d couchdb defaults
sudo service couchdb start

We are done with configuration of CouchDB for now, you can refer to /opt/couchdb/current/etc/couchdb/local.ini and /opt/couchdb/current/etc/couchdb/default.ini for further configurations options as well as the CouchDB wiki:

8. Configure GPG, NGINX, and LR

Switch to the learnreg account, and if you do not have an existing GPG Keypair for the node, create a new one via:

sudo su - learnreg
gpg --gen-key

After doing this, take note of the key id, which is the last 16 characters of the key fingerprint. You can get this by doing:

gpg --list-secret-keys --fingerprint

sec   2048R/017491D1 2012-06-15
      Key fingerprint = B418 70F5 A781 24F2 5AE5  243D E33C DDFF 0174 91D1
uid                  Jim Klo (Resource Data Signing Key) <>

“E33CDDFF017491D1” is the key ID from the example above.

Switch back to the virtual environment (while still logged in as learnreg):

cd /home/learnreg
. env/bin/activate
cd /home/learnreg/LearningRegistry/config
python ./

Follow the prompts. Be sure to enable OAuth and Node Signing. Tip: Login a separate shell if you need to investigate some of the questions (path to NGINX, certs, etc)

In a separate shell (one that has sudo privleges) do the following to configure nginx:

sudo rm /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/default
sudo cp /home/learnreg/LearningRegistry/config/learningregistry.conf /etc/nginx/sites-available/
sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-available/learningregistry.conf  /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/learningregistry.conf
sudo cp -r /home/learnreg/LearningRegistry/etc/nginx/conf.d/* /etc/nginx/conf.d/
sudo cp -r /home/learnreg/LearningRegistry/etc/nginx/learningregistry_cgi /etc/nginx/learningregistry_cgi
sudo service nginx restart

9. Start LR for the first time

Switch back to the learnreg user account (sudo su - learnreg) and start the LR:

cd /home/learnreg
. env/bin/activate
uwsgi --ini-paste ./LearningRegistry/LR/development.ini -H ./env

In a browser, you should be able to load the ‘home page’ of the node by going to the URL. I used the external IP as my node address so:

You should also try the following:

Since your node is empty, don’t expect any data, but there shouldn’t be any errors.

You should also verify that you can reach the user registration for node signing, this should redirect to the login interface.


If you have problems with accessing the registration page, check the NGINX configuration file to ensure it is appropriate for your environment. The configuration should be located /etc/nginx/sites-enabled/learningregistry.conf.

Switch back to the shell that’s running uwsgi, and type “<control> c”, to stop the process

10. Configure LR As a service

sudo su - learnreg
cd /home/learnreg/LearningRegistry/config
. ../../env/bin/activate
python ./
sudo cp /home/learnreg/LearningRegistry/config/ /etc/init.d/learningregistry
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/learningregistry
sudo update-rc.d learningregistry defaults
sudo service learningregistry start
sudo cp /home/learnreg/LearningRegistry/etc/logrotate.d/learningregistry /etc/logrotate.d/

11. Learning Registry Node Should be up and running