Installing the Greenstone Digital Library Software on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx)

Greenstone is a suite of software for building and distributing digital library collections. It is not a digital library but a tool for building digital libraries. It provides a new way of organizing information and publishing it on the Internet in the form of a fully-searchable, metadata-driven digital library. It has been developed and distributed in cooperation with UNESCO and the Human Info NGO in Belgium. It is open-source, multilingual software, issued under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

Installing Greenstone is really rather simple, though the online tutorials can be somewhat confusing given the different configurations for servers, etc. These instructions are for a local, non-networked, installation on a computer running Ubuntu 10.04, though they will work for other recent Ubuntu versions as well.

  1. Download the most recent release for GNU/Linux at For me, the most recent release is Greenstone-2.83-linux.
  2. Open a terminal and navigate to your downloads folder. If you are new to Linux, typing pwd will tell you your current directory. li will tell you the contents of your current folder. For me, I entered the following to move from my home directory to the Downloads subdirectory:

    cd Downloads

  3. Next, double-check to ensure that your downloaded file is in this directory using the li command. Then, make that file executable with the following command (be sure to use the correct filename if you downloaded a different version):

    chmod a+x Greenstone-2.83-linux

  4. Leave this terminal window open, but now open your desktop file browser and go to the Downloads folder. For me, that is “Places” then “Home Folder” then “Downloads”. Then double-click on Greenstone-2.83-linux to launch the installer. Alternatively, you could launch it from within the terminal window if you are comfortable with that.
  5. Follow the installation instructions by clicking “Next” throughout the dialogue, but be sure NOT to install the “admin” pages when asked since we are only installing this for local, non-networked use.
  6. Once Greenstone is installed, these last two steps are what will be necessary for launching the program each time. Greenstone does not install into the Applications menu and must be started from the terminal in Linux. First, launch the Greenstone Server from the command line within the Greenstone directory.

    Navigate to the Greenstone directory from the Downloads directory:
    cd ..
    cd Greenstone

    Launch the Greenstone Server:

    Greenstone will then also try to open a web browser and take you to the default page. If this encounters an error, click “File” on the little server window, then “Settings” and change to one of the other options like “/localhost” or “” until you find the right setting.

  7. Now open a new tab in the terminal window and launch the Greenstone Librarian Interface (also from within the Greenstone directory):

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jean-Pierre Schmit says:

    Hi !
    I have to install Greenstone in a research lab from University of Kinshasa, R.D.Congo.
    I wish to do that on Linux Ubuntu.

    The installation works well. I can open a collection (demo), but when its time to «create» the collection, everything goes well till the end where I got the message :
    connexion failed http://localhost:8080/greenstone304 (which is mine).

    In other words, the appropriate URL for apache doesn’t exist.

    I know how to change it, but for what ?

    Its not a problem of version, I have exactly the same problem with versions 3.04 or 2.83.

    Moreover, it works perfectly well under Windows XP, where the URL is http://localhost:80/gsdl for the 2.83 version . It doesn’t work on Windows on version 3.04 where I got the same message than above asking to verify that a Greenstone server is working at http://localhost:8080/greenstone3.

    What can I do ?


  2. Paul Roberts says:

    You shouldn’t have to use apache for the local, non-networked, installation. It is a stand-along app that contains its own web-server. The Greenstone wiki indicates that “The major difference between the two is that the local library contains it’s own built-in webserver. The web library however, requires an external webserver like Apache or Microsoft IIS. This makes the local library much easier to install and configure than the web library. ” Check the Greenstone installer’s guide for more help:

  3. Adewole Adewumi says:

    Thanks for this straight forward guide. This guide also works for Fedora Core 14.

  4. Tanimu Balarabe says:

    Thanks for the guide,
    It works for me too I’m using gsdl 2.84 but i discover that after installation it can only work on the system i installed the software i.e. it works only on the local machine not in the other networked clients. My environment should be for web server. being that the school require the local client to be able to have access to the content of the Library when ever they log onto the local area network,
    Please can you guide me with a step by step instruction how to do that in windows.

    Thanks again for the guide.

  5. gaticaz says:

    muy bueno! Gracias a vos lo hice andar.
    Igual no era lo que buscaba.

    Saludos desde Argentina

Leave a Reply