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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