Evergreen: Trials and Tribulations

Evergreen.  This integrated library system started as a way for Georgia to be able to administer the collections of the entire state.  The state’s license with Sirsi was expiring, and rather than pay Sirsi to house the catalog, the state just said, “Screw it, let’s do it ourselves”.  This system was created to make up for all of the inadequacies of their past and current systems.  When asking librarians for input in development, the developers said, “Pretend its magic”.  That’s what I wanted to use to catalog my house.

Turns out, “magic” is a pain in the neck to set up.  Oh, I should have figured as much.  Superman stays away from that stuff.  Not everybody is a Harry Potter-like savant with the mystical arts.  I certainly am not.  Look at this. And look at this. This is how to set up Evergreen.  I don’t know about you, but I am no linux terminal whiz.  That doesn’t make too much sense to me.

But onward I go.

Now we get into the geeky tech stuff that led to my downfall.

First I downloaded the evergreen and OpenSRF tarballs from here. Evergreen is built upon the OpenSRF framework, so that’s required before Evergreen can get going.  So I began by building OpenSRF.  I pretty much tried to follow the instructions verbatim, because I don’t have enough of an understanding of Linux to deviate in the slightest.  Frankly, I don’t even know what OpenSRF is supposed to do.  But I tried to install it anyway.

The instructions are surprisingly easy to follow.  It’s a very nice step by step manual.  Installing most stuff on linux is an absolute pain because nobody decides to do it step by step for random idiots like me who don’t know chmod from mkdir.  “First compile the…” “Wait a sec, guys.  Slow down. What’s a compile?”

Of course, my staggering ignorance was a problem.  I got hung up on step 9.  I was trying to figure out for the life of me how to register these users.  I think the wording of that step messed me up.  I thought I had to register the users and then the next step was to paste the code there into the opensrf_core.xml file.  Nope.  I was just supposed to type that stuff into the terminal.  It took me about 2 hours to figure out that I was an idiot.

My next pitfall was actually starting the opensrf services.  Memcached wasn’t starting.  I googled for the answer, but nobody had my exact question.  It turns out, I needed to go into the memcached conf file and enable it.  Can’t remember how I figured that much out.

So it seems I’m all set.  I start up the services… Success!  Now, it’s just a matter of passing a simple test to see… what?  What do you mean you can’t communicate with jabber?!  WTF!?  ARGH!

I was like that for about 2 days.  I tried to figure out how to configure jabber without borking what I had already done with OpenSRF.  I never figured it out.  Not until just right now when I noticed that the installation instructions actually say at the top that OpenSRF won’t work with Ubuntu 9.10 (which I’m running) because OpenSRF doesn’t work with the newest version of jabber.  Oops

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