[Server-devel] Browsing school server

David Leeming leeming at pipolfastaem.gov.sb
Sat Jan 17 17:05:55 EST 2009

Hi Martin,

I am aware of what Moodle can do but disagree that file access should always
be through it. It's much easy to go straight to the folders of content
rather than having to log on and enrol on courses etc. Much of the time in
the way I see teachers using the server they won't be working from a
"courses" point of view. Perhaps they should, but we don't have that
approach figured out yet. We need maximum flexibility in accessing content.

The who.php page is the first page that comes up and that's where one makes
the decision about what one wants to do - use Moodle or not. So that's where
I need to add the link, or otherwise change the page that comes up when one
clicks on "Local School Server" on the Xo browser. 

As I said, I have reinstalled 0.5-1 twice and same result. I haven't tried
to revert to 0.5-0 to re-confirm that I don't have the same issue, will try
and do so later this week.

David Leeming
Technical Advisor, People First Network, Honiara, Solomon Islands
Alternative email address: leemingdavid at yahoo.com.au 

-----Original Message-----
From: Martin Langhoff [mailto:martin.langhoff at gmail.com] 
Sent: Saturday, 17 January 2009 4:21 a.m.
To: David Leeming; XS Devel
Subject: Re: Browsing school server

On Tue, Jan 13, 2009 at 2:00 AM, David Leeming
<leeming at pipolfastaem.gov.sb> wrote:
> With version 0.4 and 0.5.0 I was able to browse the server html folders,
> i.e. the default for the link on the XO browser to "Local School Server"
> with 0.4 took you to
> /var/www/html
> With version 0.5, the default page is
> /var/www/moodle/web/auth/olpcxs/who.php

That's because it's taking you to Moodle, and you're getting
authenticated there. The actual "default page" is
/var/www/moodle/web/index.php ... which re-directs you to the
authentication facility. Once we have the single-sign-on stuff sorted,
it will be transparent, and you won't see the 'who.php' page.

> With version 0.5-0 I was able to add this link to the who.php page:
> href="/var/www/html/content/index.html"
> and get to the folders of browse-able content as before.

hmm - there is a better place to put the link - that 'who.php' page is
not really the right place...

> With 0.5-1 it does not seem to work; unless I have made some stupid
> I have reinstalled it twice but it reports on the XO browser:
> Not found: The requested URL /var/www/html/content/index.html was not
> on this server.

That is very weird. Maybe moodle didn't get installed correctly? Which
0.5.1 candidate did you install?

> I suppose one could create up a "course" on Moodle for each of those
> but it's not always the most convenient way to do it.

There is an moodle-based way to do it... it will be easy once Moodle
is better configured, for now it's a bit awkward...

1 - Log in as the 'admin' user to moodle - you will find the password
in /etc/moodle/ . The actions you need to do should be doable by any
account with "course creator" rights but I haven't set this correctly
up yet. So using the 'admin' account is a workaround during the 0.5
series :-/

2 - We are going to put the files under the 'site files' -- that is,
they will be managed just like files belonging to a course, but they
are available to any user because they belong to the "site course", a
magical "course" within moodle. In simple terms, evertything you see
in Moodle's homepage 'belongs to a course'... this special 'site

3 - If you have lots of files, you get the unenviable task of
uploading them all - not fun. If you can use SSH / SCP or put the CD
on the actual school server, you can use the commandline to put them
in /var/lib/moodle/ , in the directory that belongs to the site course
- usually named "1". Again, this is a temporary - and ugly -
workaround. Moodle *can* do WebDAV, which makes life _so_ much

So that's the workflow. Ugly and kludgy.

There is an alternative you can also use - less moodle-centric, and
may be unsupported going forward

1 - create a new directory: /var/www/mylocalcontent , put your files there

2 - add a new apache config file in /etc/httpd/conf.d - in that file,
you need an Alias line, and a <Directory> section. I think it needsto
be something like

   Alias /mylocalcontent /var/www/mylocalcontent
   <Directory /var/www/mylocalcontent>
   order allow,deny
   allow all

3 - Edit the moodle header include to add a link to that content -
look in /var/www/moodle/web/themes/xo/header.html

4 - Optional: enable the apache-based webdav extension, so you can
manage this content via WebDAV. This will require quite a bit of
configuration... but if you add/remove/edit content frequently, can be


 martin.langhoff at gmail.com
 martin at laptop.org -- School Server Architect
 - ask interesting questions
 - don't get distracted with shiny stuff  - working code first
 - http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Martinlanghoff

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