Archive for March, 2008

Ruby on Rails 2.02 / Ubu7.10 Now Available!

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Railsters,

We have launched an interim release of the latest Ruby on Rails 2.02 platform on Ubuntu Gutsy 7.10.

Although our longer-term plan is to provide Rails 2.02 on the more recent Ubuntu Hardy 8.04 LTS / Debian-based platform, this release supports the latest Rails with the usual plugins and support you’ve come to expect from Libre Hosting.

We follow the recommended installation procedure for Ubuntu with Rails, found here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RubyOnRails

We also include many defaults and well-chosen packages by us as well as favorites within the community, such as Mongrel, MySQL, OpenSSL, and so forth.

Here’s the way we installed it – let’s start with a few useful utilities, ssh, mysql, lighty, followed by basic ruby and gems only:

apt-get update
apt-get -y install wget mc ssh curl lynx zip unzip arj rar unrar rsync rzip build-essential
apt-get -y install mysql-server libmysqlclient15-dev lighttpd
apt-get -y install ruby rdoc irb libyaml-ruby libzlib-ruby ri libopenssl-ruby ruby1.8-dev
apt-get -y install rubygems

Note that we only want the basic ruby language install – everything else will be maintained by gems, including rails, so we install only rubygems itself from Debian/Ubuntu, and install Rails (and any/all other Ruby dependencies) directly via gems. Be sure you don’t step on gems by using apt-get to install ruby packages! Always use gems.

Also, note that the update –system updates the libraries to gems’ dependency needs, not Ubuntu’s – so now further ruby (and Rails-related) packages will install consistently with gems.

Here we go:

gem update –system
gem install rails -y –include-dependencies
gem install mongrel

apt-get -y install libmysql-ruby
gem install mysql

apt-get -y install imagemagick libmagick9-dev
gem install rmagick

gem install capistrano
gem install puppet

NOTE: RMagick does not install due to version conflicts with the older version of ImageMagick found in Ubuntu7.10. We will address this issue shortly.

PostgreSQL and/or SQLite3 can also be installed on request – as well as GeoKit, and the Rails examples.

Thanks,
LH Staff

Launching RDP & VNC, NX

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

The Libre Hosting vPanel offers links to launch various viewer programs automatically, including the universally available VNC (Virtual Network Computing, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VNC).

Although there is a Java-based VNC viewer available in the vPanel as well, which you can simply launch from within your browser, we also offer the ability to launch your local, native viewer of choice, and offer support for VNC, RDP (both the Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection, or RDC, as well as the Linux-based RDesktop and TSClient programs), and even No-Machine NX and FreeNX.

To simply connect to your vMachine with your existing VNC client manually, just point your vnc client to librehost.com, and connect to your vnc port number, which can be found on your vPanel Status page, right at the top, in the General Information section, under Ports.

We are also listening to any suggestions you, the reader, might make with respect to new protocols and viewers to support – we are aware of the new Vinaigre client for Linux, and are looking forward to some more technical information on supporting the SPICE protocol from Qumranet, the authors of KVM, which we use for our virtualization. We will also be happy to implement and support Citrix – Contact us today to discuss your Citrix-based VM access needs.

We also may choose to enhance the NX protocol, and incorporate it natively into our infrastructure – this is a pet project of management – let us know if this is something that you’d like to see happen in the near future.

Now, on to the cookbook-style HOWTO:

1) The “Launch” links work much like “media” links – they merely launch your viewer and contain the information you need to pass to it to find your vMachine and display it properly, and the file type / file extension (and MIME type) are used in order for your browser to determine the correct viewer program to launch on your local computer, in order to work and properly view your vMachine. So some clients can be launched directly from the link, and for certain other clients and platforms we need to use a small script to then launch the actual viewer, with the correct configuration and file.

2) Your viewer program (such as your client and platform’s flavor of VNC, RDP, NX, etc) must be installed on your client system that you’re browsing from.

3) When you click on the launch link, it must correctly launch your viewer. This is why you need to associate it properly when you click on it for the first time.

4) We have helper scripts for some/most OSes and clients, here:

Windows

Click on the ‘rdp’ link next to your vMachine Thumbnail –

This will open a dialog box in Windows which shows it is a “Remote Desktop Connection” and will ask you if you want to open it (possibly “with RDP File”). Click OK. and the built-in Windows RDP client will open and allow you to access your vMachine (be it a Windows, Linux, or any other vMachine which has been RDP-enabled!).

Tested with Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT4. Add your experiences as comments or forum postings and and we will update this list.

Linux

5) For VNC, cut/paste this into /usr/local/bin/launchvnc.sh :

#!/bin/sh
echo `cat $1` >/tmp/launchvnc.log # create log if desired
vncviewer `cat $1`

And associate clicking on .vnc files (or the application/x-vnc mime-type) with the above script, by clicking on one of the ‘vnc’ links in the vPanel, and following your dialogs to associate it with the script, above.

6) For RDesktop, cut/paste this into /usr/local/bin/launchrdesktop.sh :

#!/bin/sh
echo `cat $1` >/tmp/launchrdt.log # create log if desired
rdesktop `cat $1`

Then, associate clicking on .rdt files (or the application/x-rdt mime-type) with the above script, by clicking on one of the ‘rdt’ links in the vPanel, and follow the dialogs to associate it with the script, above.

Apple Mac

TBD.

Please don’t hesitate to add your questions, comments, or experiences as blog comments or forum postings and and we will update this list.

Cheers,
Joe