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Installation of Centre on SLES 10

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By James Tremblay

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Posted: 16 Nov 2006


We here at the Newmarket, NH School District are doing our best to be both innovative and cost efficient while providing our students with the best possible technology environment for their school work. Therefor, we have endeavored to maintain our Novell Infrastructure which provides us with world class Identity management and network services (at less than $5,000 a year for 18 servers , GroupWise and the ZENworks suite.) while trying to incorporate Open source solutions from places like and To further expand that effort, I have been working with Centre/SIS as a replacement for our aging student information system.


The need to accommodate NCLB and many other federal standards designed to help us insure an "equatable education" for all, requires us to consider "Data Driven Decision Making" a top priority.

Data mining has been around for a long time, corporations use it to make lots of decisions, although no industry has ever had to combine data sources with out spending huge amounts of capitol. Education is no different. Many schools have several key data repositories that need to be combined, grade books, health records, assessment scores and the list goes on.

The most popular versions of these have no way to speak to one another, and therefor a standard was created to add "Agents" to these programs that would allow the solution providers to export data to a third party forwarder\interpreter called a ZIS(zone integration server). This standard is SIF, the Student Information Frameworks, it tells us about the data to share and in what format. Linux has a built in data sharing protocol known as LDAP and it is my belief that by expanding the schema(objects LDAP can interpret, a common practice) in LDAP we can use Linux in a much more effective and less costly way than purchasing more hardware and software simply to host these agents and the ZIS.

Installation of Centre on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10


After completing the default installation of Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and configuring it to have a static address in your network, you can begin to install Centre.

  1. Add the WEB and LAMP service by opening YAST and choosing software management> patterns> WEB and LAMP
  2. Because Centre runs on PostgreSQL and PHP we need to add these items. We do this by changing the filter of our page to "search", searching for and choosing these items: PHP5 corefiles, PHP5-psql and Postgres-server.

    When we have found these packages, click finish and accept the automatic changes.
  3. Next we need to configure the Apache2 server. We do this by returning to YAST ,selecting Network services and choosing HTTP.

  4. Apache2 sees that we have installed PHP5 and will make the necessary adjustments to accommodate us.Then we must tell Apache2 that we would like it to start automatically.
  5. Next we test our Apache2 installation.
  6. Download the Centre packages and set them up. You will have to register with the Miller Group in order to access the download site.
  7. Create a backup of the "default" website in a new folder called "default".
  8. Copy the contents of /srv/www/htdocs to /srv/www/htdocs/default.
  9. Now extract Centre and copy it's contents to /srv/www/htdocs.
  10. Now to get Centre started, we need to edit the file to reflect our environment.
  11. First modify the database server address.
  12. Modify the database password, since SUSE automatically creates the "postgres" user with a locked password that only the psql service and "root" can access we leave this blank.
  13. Cleared password.
  14. Next we need to modify the installation location.
  15. Modify the "CentrePath" with /srv/www/htdocs
  16. Save and test our modifications.
  17. To get the database running we have a few more steps; first we modify the Postgres startup by going back into YAST >system> sysconfig editor > applications>Postgres>POSTGRES_OPTIONS and in the options field add "-i ", this allows IP connections.
  18. Click finish and accept the changes.
  19. Next we start Postgres at boot up. YAST> system services > click on postgresql.
  20. Choose enable. Click ok on the success screen and click finish.
  21. Now to create and verify the database. we need to open a terminal window as root and enter a few commands. first, verify root status with "whoami", second, change to the postgres user with "su ? postgres" then create the database with the command "createdb centre" and last verify what we just did with "psql -l".
  22. We must now populate the database with its tables and fields with this command "psql centre </srv/www/htdocs/centre.sql ".
  23. This is what will appear when this is done. (1 row)
  24. The next to the last step is to modify the /usr/lib/psql/data/pg_hba.conf to reflect this servers ipaddress and Centre's internal authentication method to the database.
  25. Last thing on the list. Restart the postgres server. Open a terminal as root , verify your status with "whoami" and issue the command " rcpostgresql restart".

Open a browser and point it to the localhost.

Welcome to Centre.

This article is also available as a pdf at


SLES 10 Centre SIS software

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