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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