Building, Installing, and Configuring AOLserver
$Header: /cvsroot/aolserver/aolserver/doc/install.html,v 1.2 2000/10/10 22:56:42 kriston Exp $
AOLserver is distributed in source form. Pre-built binary kits for many
platforms are available at http://aolserver.com/.
AOLserver 3 is reasonably portable and
known to compile and run on the following
- Linux 2.2 and better (x86 and others)
- FreeBSD 3.4 and better (x86 and others)
- OpenBSD 2.5 and better (x86 and others)
- Solaris 2.x and better (SPARC and x86)
- IRIX 6.x (mips)
- HP/UX 10 and 11 (hppa)
- DEC Tru64 &OSF/1 4.0 and better (alpha)
- UnixWare 7.x and better (x86)
- Apple OS/X "Darwin" (first consumer beta release only) (ppc)
It's likely AOLserver can compile on other systems and/or higher or lower
numbered versions but this has not been extensively tested. The primary
development platforms for AOLserver at AOL are IRIX 6.4 and Solaris 7.
We also use HP/UX 10.20/11.0, Solaris 2.6, and VA Linux 6.2.1 (Linux 2.2).
You will need a C compiler. The best one to use is GNU GCC from
http://www.gnu.org/and its mirrors. The versions
we use are 2.95.2. AOLserver (and the included Tcl libraries) are written
in ANSI standard C.
GNU makeis also required. It is also available from the GNU web
We've tried to make building AOLserver as simple as possible. On the supported
platforms, simply typing "gmake" will build the server and its standard
Some modules use third-party libraries. If the library is missing, the AOLserver
build will continue without error -- it just will not build the offending
module. The only module in the base server installation that requires an
external library is "nsssl" (in the nssock/ directory) which requires BSAFE
from http://www.rsasecurity.com/. You can download
a binary version of nsssl at http://aolserver.com/if
you don't have BSAFE.
- Check the include/Makefile.global file for platform-specific options.
Most platforms use gcc.
- Enable optional modules. The default Makefile builds nssock, nsssl,
nscp, nslog, nsperm, and nsext.
- Type "gmake", ensuring the make which is executed is GNU make.
You might want to call your GNU Make "gmake" instead of "make".
- Watch for any warnings. The warning for a missing third-party library
in nsssl can be safely ignored.
Note: If you have any problems building, the two files include/Makefile.globaland
include/Makefile.modulehave all the information you need to change
settings throughout the AOLserver environment.
Type "gmake install" to make a production server. This
will create an installation directory at /usr/local/aolserver/, populate
the directories with various startup files and configuration files, copy
the binaries to the /usr/local/aolsever/bin directory, and finish. To install
confidence tests, type "make install-tests" and they will appear in the
tests/ directory of your server's pageroot. The default location for installations
can be overridden by typing "gmake install PREFIX=/your/directory/".
Note: AOLserver requires the modified versions of Tcl included with
distribution. The 7.6 library is heavily modified, mostly for thread
and ns_share support. The 8.x library is modified slightly to
thread support through AOLserver's nsthread library and to
patch a few
The installation directory contains a file named "sample-config.tcl" which
represents a complete configuration of AOLserver. This configuration will:
- Listen for http connections on your
computer's primary interface at
port 8000. To use another port and/or
select interfaces, you can set
the "host" and "httpport" variables.
- Check security settings for nscp (Control Port module) and listen on
localhost:9999 if they are set.
- Check for the existence of ssl keys (nsssl module) and listen with
https on port 8443 if they exist.
Note: Some modules have been disabled in the sample nsd.tcl for security
They are nscp and nsperm. They aren't required to run a
unless you want to use the Control Port and/or the Permissions
respectively. Before using them, change the passwords and
by following the instructions in the AOLserver
Although you must be root to start AOLserver, the server itself must
to a regular user shortly after initialization. You either
need to start
the server as a non-root user (in which case you will
not be able to listen
for connections on privileged ports such as port
80) or you must include
a -u user command line flag to which the
server will setuid(2) after startup.
You may either specify a Unix
username or numeric uid, e.g.: ./bin/nsd76
-t ./config.tcl -u user -g group
AOLserver can be started by executing the nsd76 or nsd8x binary.
choice of nsd76 or nsd8x depends on whether you need compatibility
Tcl7.6 (closer to the 7.4 of previous releases) or special
Tcl8.x (e.g., internationalizaton). For the mode of
are three choices: Foreground, Background, and Inittab.
In Foreground mode , the server starts and emits diagnostic log messages
directly to the terminal window. This is useful for testing, configuration
or debugging a server. To start the server in foreground mode use:
/bin/nsd -ft ./config.tcl -u user -g group
To stop a server running the foreground simply press interrupt on your keyboard
(e.g., ctrl-c or the DEL key) which will send a SIGINT to the server and
In Background mode, the server forks and disassociates from the terminal.
Diagnostic messages are appended to log/server.log. This is a typical
daemon-style mode of operation. To start the server in background mode
use: ./bin/nsd -t ./config.tcl -u user -g group. To stop a server
running the background you may either use the kill(2) command to send
a SIGTERM to the background process id(*) or the special -K flag of the
nsd binary. This flag will determine the process id from a special marker
file, send the signal and wait for shutdown, e.g.:
./bin/nsd8x -Kt ./config.tcl -u user -g group
You may also use the -k flag to kill and restart a background server.
In Inittab mode, the server runs in the foreground but opens the
log file as with background mode. This mode is used when the server is
started from an entry in the /etc/inittab file. The benefit of this mode
is that init will restart the server if it happens to crash. Production
servers at AOL normally run in this mode. To run the server from /etc/inittab,
add an entry similar to the following, substituting the proper id, run levels,
and full pathnames:
w1:23:respawn:/usr/local/as3/bin/nsd -it /usr/local/as3/nsd.tcl -u user
To restart a server you can simply kill the current server with the -K flag
as with the background mode; init will then restart the server for you.
To stop a server running in inittab mode you must comment out or remove
the entry from the /etc/inittab file and signal the init process to re-read
inittab with the "init q" command.
Note: While running AOLserver on some Unix platforms (e.g., Linux, SGI),
you'll notice multiple nsd processes. This is
normal and represents the
individual threads. The main process id can
be determined by checking
the log/nspid.server1 file or looking at the
last few entries of the server
log, each of which will include the
process id and thread id in the form
[pid.tid]. You can also telnet to the control port and type "ns_info pid".
For more detailed configuration information refer to the online
at http://aolserver.com/. Enjoy!