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Mahara Virtual Appliances

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 4

04 December 2010, 9:49 AM

Students at Chelsea School in Silver Spring are endeavoring to produce a Mahara patch for TurnKey Linux that will produce a Mahara appliance at a fully configured state. They've accomplished the first two steps toward this: the prototype appliance is built and the build notes have been transcribed. By Wednesday the 8th, we should have a patch to submit. The hope is that ultimately TKL will adopt the appliance and incorporate it with the upcoming release cycle.

Now for the details:

The initial thread at TKL:

The build notes and plans are posted to TKL here:

The appliances built on TKL's LAMP and LAPP stacks (based on Lucid) are available at the project's website:

We're fairly new at this and would welcome and certainly encourage feedback, especially as we begin scripting the patches.

The students responsible for this are Jerel Moses (sr), Maurice Quarles (sr), and Steven Robinson (soph).

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3632

06 December 2010, 5:18 PM

Hello Rik,

That sounds awesome! If I understand correctly, you are making it easier for people to install Mahara on TurnKey Linux?

If you like, you can update the SysAdmin Guide with that information once you are done: W

We already have instructions on how to install Mahara on Ubuntu, so TurnKey would be a good addition.

All the best for the last stages of this project


anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 4

07 December 2010, 7:22 AM

Thanks Kristina!

The goal ultimately is to provide a patch for Turkey Linux's LAMP stack and LAPP stack appliances to produce a Mahara appliance. If they choose to adopt it, here's what it would mean practically:

  • Free virtual appliances for download with Mahara preconfigured (VMware and VirtualBox)
  • Free ISO that installs Lucid with Mahara preconfigured (hopefully one for each - LAPP and LAMP.

We'll know within the next two weeks where we are in relation to that goal. (We're currently having difficulty with the LAPP patch, but LAMP is gonna be good to go by Wednesday).

While we're waiting for word and ultimately the release from TKL, our website will provide the VMs for VMware (currently available) and VirtualBox (today in all likelyhood). The build notes for the VMs are posted, and ultimately the patches will be there as well.

We'd really like to build a patch for Mahoodle, but it looks like to do it right it'll take more PHP than we are able to grapple with for the time being. However, if someone in the community can work with us to produce a script to establish the link between the two apps that we can call from bash, we'd love to realize the power of Mahoodle as a preconfigured appliance. We'd welcome that partnership.

In the meantime, are progress is being recorded at - the kids thrive on feedback, and I'll be sharing your encouragement with them, Kristina.

Kristina Hoeppner's profile picture
Posts: 3632

07 December 2010, 1:03 PM

Hello Rik,

Thanks a lot for the further information. I'll be looking out for the downloads and get them into my VirtualBox. Having it running on LAPP would be awesome as well because PostgreSQL is our preferred database.



anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 4

08 December 2010, 3:38 PM

Barring bugs, students have completed and posted a Mahara (LAPP) virtual appliance for VirtualBox, as well as an ISO that installs Lucid (LAPP) with Mahara preconfigured. We have also submitted a patch to TurnKey Linux and are looking forward to learning whether they will adopt the appliance and include it with their upcoming releases (coming very soon).

Since we don't use Mahara yet in a production environment, we don't know how put the system under pressure and see how it does under normal use.

Given that situation, and the recognition that we're just learning to contribute to the open-source community, any feedback is very welcome and encouraged; all three students really respond well to feedback and take suggestions for improvement and run with them.

Getting the stuff: navigate to - look for the Mahara Appliance link on the left.

The post & ensuing discussion at TurnKey Linux are at

anonymous profile picture
Deleted user
Posts: 4

20 December 2010, 5:43 AM

The Mahara Appliance information is now as fully developed as I think it will get at Per the suggestion, I'll get on documentation for ASAP.

Dirk Meyer's profile picture
Posts: 424

09 April 2011, 8:52 PM

I am also cross posting in 'Pedagogy'

I just wanted to provide a brief write up of my experience with the Mahara Virtual Appliance Chelsea School has developed.

A little bit about myself: I am a 15 year plus experience educator in a medium sized school division in Canada. We have about 20000 students. About 1000 Mahara accounts are active. In my leisure time, I have installed Mahara on shared hosting, VPS and a designated server. Professionally, an experienced sys admin Linux expert takes care off all my computer needs and wishes.

 Rik Goldman and his team of high school students are providing an exceptional service to the Mahara community. They have developed and released  a number of virtual machine appliances, amongst them Mahara. They have won international recognition and are actively developing more appliances. Their URL is

Now, what does this all mean? Essentially, they are a team that is willing and capable of providing first class installation services of the Mahara system so that others may get started trouble free.

Let me explain: After my initial request was responded to within 24 hours, we quickly agreed on a path of action. Rick and his students developed the steps involved. I had an account at Amazon EC2. Rick communicated the exact commands they were going to run on the instance to me ahead of time. I agreed to them.  I handed root access over to Rick and his team.

When they were done, all I had to do with the Mahara install was pick up the step in which I had to agree to the license agreement and configure the admin account (please note the level of professionalism here). For piece of mind, I also changed root password for the server and the Postgres database as was suggested by the team.

Within 3 days I believe, I was in possession of a fully functional Mahara instance. Because it is an amazon deployed instance, I can scale it up to 20 servers at a time if I wanted to. How cool is that?

Who would benefit from this service Chelsea School is providing? It would be great for a department who wants to get started with eportfolios but does not want to wait for their IT to make the decision. It could be a group of teachers who want to run their own eportfolios. Maybe a school wants to try it out. The opportunities are endless. In my country, a comparable service starts at $3000. I was more then happy to contribute some financial support to Chelsea School’s scholarship fund.

In closing, what I got was a fully functional Mahara instance using postgres and it did not require extra work whatsoever. The setup was handled proofessionally. I received a scalable instance that I could increase to 20 simultaneous servers. That is more processing power then most school divisons I know have at their disposal. I also got complete piece of mind.

Most importantly perhaps, it gave me great pleasure knowing that students would have a chance to do authentic, real world work and that they gained a sense of accomplishment.  I can highly recommend the ISO-matic Appliances  and services Rik and his student team offers.

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