This guide will walk you through installing the Apache Roller Blog Software, version 4.1(-dev). The installation I did, resides on a Debian based distribution (Ubuntu works too, just prefix the commands with sudo).


This was implemented/tested with Roller Weblogger 4.1 and Glassfish v2UR2

Quick install

This is for the impatient, you need to have jar and wget in your $PATH

If you just want to have roller to be set up for you to do e.g. some work on roller templates, or just to basically play with it a bit, here is the real quick deal for you (This will install everything into /opt/roller).

Download the automated installer script, save it to e.g. your home directory. Then call the script like ./ realLongKey1 realLongKey2 run-as-username run-as-groupname.


You can get those long keys easily from GRC.

Manual installation

The following text basically describes what the script is automatically doing for you. This way you can change the according parameters which will affect your installation. Most probably you will just have to change the following variables inside the install script.


You have to install a few things before you can actually start installing roller on your system. At first you need to be sure that the jar command is installed on your system, since this is required for the build you will be doing on your system. On a Debian based system you can do that with the following command:

root@sigusr1:$ aptitude install sun-java5-jdk

After the JDK installation you basically have everything ready to go, but wait if you want to use my automated installer script you need to have the wget command installed too, since the script tries to download the Glassfish application server and the given Apache Roller version by itself in order to be able to install it for you.

root@sigusr1:$ #


Choose install location

As a last prerequisite step you need to choose an install location. I chose /opt/roller to be the install location of my choice.

Setup user and group

As you probably won’t be running roller as root, you’ll have to setup a user and a group for your roller installation. This, again on Debian based systems, is done using the following commands:

        mkdir /opt/roller
        addgroup --system roller
        adduser --home /opt/roller \
        --shell /bin/bash \
        --no-create-home \
        --ingroup roller \
        --disabled-password \
        --system roller

Setup Glassfish

I assume you downloaded roller and glassfish into /opt/roller/tmp. In order to get the Glassfish installation working, you need to have JAVA_HOME exported into your environment. Then you can start running the Glassfish installer. On a bourne shell do (inside the directory where you saved the Glassfish installer):

        cd /opt/roller/tmp
        export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-1.5.0-sun
        java -Xmx256m -jar glassfish-installer-v2ur2-b04-linux.jar

The installer will ask you if you are willing to accept the license agreement. If you are running this on a remote machine, it will ask you on the command line, whether or not you are willing to accept; on your local machine it will show a nice graphical dialog for you to accept. After that setup is completed, do (machine name is included, so you’re able to see in which directory I’m operating)

j@sigusr1:/opt/roller/tmp$ mv glassfish ..
j@sigusr1:/opt/roller/tmp$ cd ../glassfish/
j@sigusr1:/opt/roller/glassfish$ chmod -R +x lib/ant/bin

As a next step you have to setup a domain for roller within Glassfish, this is a rather easy task to do:

j@sigusr1:/opt/roller/glassfish$ lib/ant/bin/ant -f setup.xml

Now start Glassfish, so we can do with it …

j@sigusr1:/opt/roller/glassfish$ ./bin/asadmin start-domain roller

Setup built in database

The following series of command all takes place inside the /opt/roller/glassfish directory.

root@sigusr1:$ ./bin/asadmin create-jdbc-connection-pool \
        --datasourceclassname org.apache.derby.jdbc.EmbeddedDataSource \
        --property databaseName=\$\{com.sun.aas.instanceRoot\}/databases/rollerdb:\
        connectionAttributes=\;create\\=true rollerpool
        ./bin/asadmin ping-connection-pool rollerpool
        ./bin/asadmin create-jdbc-resource --connectionpoolid=rollerpool jdbc/rollerdb

Setup JNDI mail resource

If that would work in roller 4.1(-dev) with Glassfish, you would do:

root@sigusr1:$ ./bin/asadmin create-javamail-resource --mailhost localhost --mailuser rollermail --fromaddress roller\@blogs\.coffeecrew\.org mail/Session

Securing Glassfish

Some of you might be thinking about running Glassfish behind an Apache reverse proxy. This is exactly what I am thinking about. So if you plan to do that, it might come in handy that Glassfish would only accept connections from the local machine and therefore not let anyone easily bypass your secured apache instance. First we delete both HTTP listener instances that are listening on ports 8080 and 8443 and then recreate the 8080 one. As we are proxying with apache, we do not need the SSL listener (port 8443) anyway.

And while we’re just doing it, let’s rebind those IIOP services to.

        ./bin/asadmin delete-http-listener http-listener-1
        ./bin/asadmin delete-http-listener http-listener-2
        ./bin/asadmin create-http-listener --listeneraddress --listenerport 8080 --acceptorthreads 32 --enabled=true --defaultvs server --securityenabled=false roller-listener

        # Configure admin page to listen locally too
        ./bin/asadmin set server.http-service.http-listener.admin-listener.address=

        # Disable IIOP stuff to listen globally, we do not need that right now.
        ./bin/asadmin set server.iiop-service.iiop-listener.SSL.address=
        ./bin/asadmin set server.iiop-service.iiop-listener.SSL_MUTUALAUTH.address=
        ./bin/asadmin set server.iiop-service.iiop-listener.orb-listener-1.address=

        # Disable JMX connector for remote access
        ./bin/asadmin set server.admin-service.jmx-connector.system.enabled=false

        # JMS
        ./bin/asadmin set

        # Require client authentication, just to be sure ...
        ./bin/asadmin set server.iiop-service.client-authentication-required=true

Now, to make changes effective we have to restart Glassfish. But before that we want to make sure everything has correct permissions for our newly created user, won’t we?

root@sigusr1:$ # Fix permissions
        chown -R roller:roller /opt/roller

        # Restart gf to make changes effective
        ./bin/asadmin stop-domain roller

        # Start as roller user
        su -c "./bin/asadmin start-domain roller" roller

Setup and configure Roller

Setting up Roller 4.1(-dev) is pretty easy. We start by extracting the tarball we downloaded earlier. Since we have set our theme directory to be /opt/roller/themes we do have to copy the themes we want to use there. As a next step we really want to have security keys **changed**. This is done by either editing the security.xml file manually or using a sed expression. After we have changed the keys, we can pack us a nice roller.war file. The few commands below execute the described actions.

root@sigusr1:$ #Roller setup
        cd /opt/roller/tmp
        tar zxvf apache-roller-4.1-snapshot-m1.tar.gz

        #Copy themes
        cd apache-roller*/webapp/roller/themes
        cp -vR * /opt/roller/themes

        cd ../WEB-INF
        cp security.xml /tmp

        # actually change keys
        cat /tmp/security.xml | \
        sed "s/name=\"key\" value=\"anonymous\"/name=\"key\" value=\"myOwnLongKey\"/" | \
        sed "s/name=\"key\" value=\"rollerlovesacegi\"/name=\"key\" value=\"myOwnLongKey2\"/" \
        > security.xml

        #Pack war file
        cd ..
        jar cvf ../../../roller.war *

Now we’re nearly finished … just a few seconds away from experimenting with your own roller instance now :). As a next necessary step we need to create a custom configuration file for Roller. That configuration file has to be saved in /opt/roller/glassfish/domains/roller/lib/classes/ to take effect. The configuration file can be built as follows:

root@sigusr1:$ #Build
cat <<EOF > $TARGET/glassfish/domains/roller/lib/classes/


#Should work with JNDI but maybe not with glassfish


Now that the configuration is in place, we are finally ready to deploy the Roller application. With the deployment we are able to specify a context root, which is the (URL) location where your application can be reached later on. So if you specify blogs then your application can later be accessed at

root@sigusr1:$ #Deploy application
        cd $TARGET/glassfish
        ./bin/asadmin deploy --contextroot blogs ../tmp/roller.war

Just to be sure everything you’ve installed so far has correct permission, you might want to run the following commands again. It fixes your permissions and runs Glassfish as roller user.

root@sigusr1:$ # Fix permissions
        chown -R roller:roller /opt/roller

        #Restart gf to make changes effective
        ./bin/asadmin stop-domain roller

        # Start as roller user
        su -c "./bin/asadmin start-domain roller" roller

After you’ve done all that you now should have a ready to go roller installation. Now go visit http://localhost:8080/blogs and configure your shiny new roller installation. It is pretty much self explanatory, but if you need further assistance, you might want to have a look into the installation guide, which you can get here (see chapter 8ff).

Now after you’ve set up everything exactly as you like, you should change /opt/roller/glassfish/domains/roller/lib/classes/ to read installation.type=manual

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Jens Frey Avatar Jens Frey is the creator of the datapile blog.

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