When “sex” prevents a Koha ILS installation

This is a true story from a recently concluded Koha workshop. There were roughly ~30+ participants and about 15 – 18 computers for their “hands-on” sessions. The instructor-led “how to install Koha 16.11 on Ubuntu 14.04.5” was going along smoothly. However, suddenly all hell broke loose! Everyone, including the instructor were stumped right at nearly the last leg of ‘sudo apt-get install koha-common‘. The install would not complete due to three missing files. First the repos were changed and re-tried. Well… no go! That’s when I noticed that the error was 403 forbidden. Woah! I tried to manually download the files off the repos using a browser and all it said was an “Access denied!” error coming from the Squid proxy.

A closer look at the files gave the game away. The university’s content filtering rules on the Squid proxy was the cause. Apparently the files: (a) libmoosex-markasmethods-perl (b) libmoosex-nonmoose-perl and (c) libwww-youtube-download-perl were being blocked from being fetched. The first two were triggering a false positive on the pornographic filter (the “sex” in libmoosex) and the third was hitting the keyword filter “youtube”, since Youtube was blocked on campus!!!

With no easy way to work around the proxy for connectivity, I manually downloaded the three files using a standby unfiltered link on a single computer. Next I transferred the files on to a pen drive and manually copied them over into each system’s /var/cache/apt/archives and thus fooling apt-get into thinking the files were already downloaded by it. And that is how we saved the day! 😉

Lesson

If you are planning a Koha installfest at an educational institution, please ensure that their content filtering proxy rules are tweaked before actually going ahead with the workshop.

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