Install Koha on Ubuntu — Part 1: Introduction


Warning: this tutorial was developed in 2008, and is for versions of Koha and Ubuntu that are now considered quite old. If you want to install the current version of Koha on Ubuntu, please visit Koha on Ubuntu at the Koha Community wiki.

This six-part series will help you to install Koha.

Specifically, this guide is for installing Koha 3.0 on Ubuntu 8.10, but it might help you with other versions of Linux and Koha too.

These articles will begin at the ground level, walking you through the installation and configuration of an Ubuntu Linux system from scratch. By the end of the series you should have a Koha system that you can use for evaluation purposes. It’ll be a basic installation using Koha’s internal search engine rather than the more scalable (and more complex) Zebra search engine.

If you plan to put Koha into production for real-world Library use there are many other things you need to consider. The final article in the series, Going Live, discusses this further.

Who this article is for.
  • People who want to try Koha.
  • People who aren’t necessarily Linux experts, but…
  • Who are very comfortable with computers and not afraid of using a command-line interface.
What to expect.

Caveats (Or “Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Me”)

Oh, there are so very many reasons. Here are a few:

  • I’ve never configured a production Koha system.
  • I’m relatively new to Linux and have never administered a production Linux system.
  • Though I’m enrolled in an MLS program I haven’t worked significantly in a library.

Why This Might Help You Anyway

Just one reason:

  • I can probably spare you some time-consuming learning.

In preparing this guide I’ve installed Koha over a dozen times, carefully documenting problems and solutions. I have significant experience in information technology and education, and I’ve tried to use my background to understand and explain what’s happening.


Commands you’ll type at a the command line (aka a terminal prompt) look like this:

sudo su
mkdir /build
cd /build

Normally Linux guides precede each command with a “shell prompt” character: a $ for commands executed as an ordinary user and a # for commands executed as a superuser (root).

Unfortunately following this convention would prevent you from easily copying and pasting commands into the terminal window, and copy-paste will spare you much time and many errors during this installation. So this guide disregards convention to make your life a little easier.


I’ve gotten great help from the Koha mailing list and you can too. If you’re installing Koha I recommend signing up for the list.

I also got help from two other installation guides, both of which appear to have been removed.I very much appreciated the help they gave me beyond Koha’s included installation files.

  • Installing Koha 3 Beta on Ubuntu Gutsy (Koha Wiki)
  • Installing Koha 3 on openSUSE 11 (Koha Wiki)

Learning More

You’ll find much more information about Koha at and the Koha Library Software Community website.

Next Section…

Part 2: Preparing Linux

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