7th June, 2017 | Tutorials |

How to Install Gibbon on Ubuntu 14.04

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Gibbon is an open source platform for schools. Founded in 2010 in response to lack of a powerful, usable and open source school platform.

Designed to be flexible, extensible and themable from the beginning which aims to help teachers do their jobs in all schools no matter their size or resources.

Several main features of Gibbon are:

You can learn more about Gibbon features from Gibbon features page.


In this tutorial we'll learn how to install Gibbon on Ubuntu 14.04. We will also install and configure its prerequisites.


We will install Gibbon in fresh installation of Ubuntu Server 14.04. We also need these applications to be able to run Gibbon:

Update Base System

Before we install Gibbon, let's update the system to the latest update.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get -y upgrade

Install Apache 2

After applying latest update to our base system, lets's start installing Apache 2 and required libraries.

$ sudo apt-get -y install apache2 apache2-bin apache2-data apache2-mpm-prefork libaio1 libapache2-mod-php5 libapr1 libaprutil1 libdbd-mysql-perl libdbi-perl libhtml-template-perl libmysqlclient18 libterm-readkey-perl libwrap0 ssl-cert tcpd

We can check the Apache 2 service status using command below:

sudo service apache2 status
 * apache2 is running

We can also check which port Apache 2 is listening on using the command below.

 sudo netstat -naptu | grep apache
tcp6       0      0 :::80                   :::*                    LISTEN      14873/apache2

Install MySQL 5.6

We will install and use the MySQL 5.6 as database for Gibbon.

We will use a MySQL Server 5.6 since MySQL 5.6 is the most up to date version of MySQL shipped with Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr.

$ sudo apt-get -y install mysql-server-5.6

We need to setup MySQL root password. Please input password for MySQL root user.

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Verify root password.

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Securing MySQL Installation.

We will secure the MySQL installation by running mysql_secure_installation.

Enter root password that we set on installation:

$ mysql_secure_installation 

In order to log into MySQL to secure it, we'll need the current password for the root user. If you've just installed MySQL, and you haven't set the root password yet, the password will be blank, so you should just press enter here.

Enter current password for root (enter for none): OK, successfully used password, moving on...

Since we already have root password set, answer this part with n.

Setting the root password ensures that nobody can log into the MySQL
root user without the proper authorisation.

You already have a root password set, so you can safely answer 'n'.

Change the root password? [Y/n] n ... skipping.

Remove the anonymous user to improve security. This will make sure people or application have correct username and password to login to MySQL. Answer with Y.

By default, a MySQL installation has an anonymous user, allowing anyone
to log into MySQL without having to have a user account created for
them.  This is intended only for testing, and to make the installation
go a bit smoother.  You should remove them before moving into a
production environment.

Remove anonymous users? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

We also want remove the root login from remote machine. Answer with Y.

Normally, root should only be allowed to connect from 'localhost'.  This
ensures that someone cannot guess at the root password from the network.

Disallow root login remotely? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

Previously the test database created automatically by MySQL installation, but MySQL 5.6 does not create a test database. We can still choose Y, it will throw error but that's fine.

By default, MySQL comes with a database named 'test' that anyone can
access.  This is also intended only for testing, and should be removed
before moving into a production environment.

Remove test database and access to it? [Y/n] Y - Dropping test database... ERROR 1008 (HY000) at line 1: Can't drop database 'test'; database doesn't exist ... Failed! Not critical, keep moving... - Removing privileges on test database... ... Success!

The last step is to reload MySQL privilege table.

Reloading the privilege tables will ensure that all changes made so far
will take effect immediately.

Reload privilege tables now? [Y/n] Y ... Success!

All done! If you've completed all of the above steps, your MySQL installation should now be secure.

Thanks for using MySQL!

Cleaning up...

Create Database for Gibbon

Now we have a secure MySQL installation, time to create database and user for gibbon itself.

Login to MySQL using root credential.

$ mysql -u root -p
Enter password: 
Welcome to the MySQL monitor.  Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 58
Server version: 5.6.30-0ubuntu0.14.04.1 (Ubuntu)

Copyright (c) 2000, 2016, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Oracle is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Type 'help;' or '\h' for help. Type '\c' to clear the current input statement.


Create new database named gibbon using command below:

mysql> CREATE DATABASE gibbon;
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.00 sec)

Create a User for Gibbon

The database for gibbon is ready, let's create a username, password and grant privileges to gibbon database.

Don't forget to change the password gibbon123secret below with better password.

mysql> GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES ON `gibbon`.* TO 'gibbon'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'gibbon123secret';
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

We need to run FLUSH PRIVILEGES command so that the privileges table will be reloaded by MySQL and we can use new credential.

Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.00 sec)

Exit from MySQL console by typing \q

mysql> \q

Install PHP 5

The last component that we have to install before we can install gibbon is PHP 5. We will install PHP 5 and several common PHP libraries.

$ sudo apt-get -y install php5-cli php5-common php5-json php5-mysql php5-readline

Install additional php libraries:

$ sudo apt-get -y install php5-curl php5-gd

Restart the Apache 2 process so the changes will be applied

$ sudo service apache2 restart

Install gibbon

All prerequisites is already installed. We're ready to install gibbon. The latest stable version of gibbon is available Gibbon download page.

At the time of this writing, the latest stable version is version 13.0.01, let's download the gibbon compressed file using wget.

$ wget -c

Extract the downloaded file using unzip. If your system don't have unzip yet, you can install unzip using command below:

$ sudo apt-get -y install unzip

Extract gibbon using unzip

$ unzip

Move extracted directory to Apache directory.

$ sudo mv core-13.0.01 /var/www/gibbon

Change ownership of gibbon directory to www-data user and group.

$ sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/gibbon

The gibbon files are ready, now let's create Apache Virtual Host configuration to serve gibbon.

Configure Apache Virtual Host for http Only

Create a new apache configuration file on /etc/apache2/sites-available/gibbon.conf with contents below.

<VirtualHost *:80>

DocumentRoot /var/www/gibbon

<Directory /var/www/gibbon> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks +MultiViews AllowOverride All Require all granted </Directory>

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/ CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/ combined


Don't forget to change above with the domain name that you use for your gibbon installation.

Enable the site using a2ensite command.

$ sudo a2ensite gibbon

Reload apache2 process so it read the new virtualhost configuration:

$ sudo service apache2 reload

Gibbon Setup Wizard

Open theGibbon URL, we will be redirected to the Gibbon setup wizard.

Step 1 is requirement checking and language settings. We should already pass all requirements now and we will use English as system language.

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Step 2 is database configuration, enter database name and credentials that we created before.

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Step 3 is account configuration, system settings and organization settings. You can input the data based on your requirements.

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Step 4. Installation finished we can click the link to go to Gibbon homepage.

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From Gibbon homepage we can login using admin credential that we create on setup wizard.

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After a successful login we will go to Gibbon dashboard where we can manage class and also administrative settings.

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Configure https only site for gibbon

Secure connection is now a requirement for web application. Last step that we will do in this tutorial is changing the connection to only use https.

We assume that you already have SSL certificate and private key.

Let's create new apache virtual host configuration on /etc/apache2/sites-available/gibbon-ssl.conf with contents below. Don't forget to change:

<VirtualHost *:80>
   Redirect permanent /

<VirtualHost *:443>


DocumentRoot /var/www/gibbon

<Directory /var/www/gibbon> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks +MultiViews AllowOverride All Require all granted </Directory>

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/ CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/ combined

SSLEngine on SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/ SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/apache2/ssl/ SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/

Header always set Strict-Transport-Security "max-age=15768000"



We will also disable gibbon http only virtual host and enable the new virtual host config.

$ sudo a2dissite gibbon
$ sudo a2ensite gibbon-ssl

The new virtual host configuration need Apache mod_ssl and mod_headers modules. We need to enable those modules.

$ sudo a2enmod ssl
$ sudo a2enmod headers

Now, restart Apache 2 service so it will reload its configuration. We need to restart instead of reload since we enable new module.

$ sudo service apache2 restart


In this tutorial we learned how-to install gibbon on Ubuntu 14.04.

We installed all the prerequisites, create user and database on MySQL for Gibbon and also configure Apache 2 virtual hosts to be able to serve gibbon.

We also configured https settings for gibbon so we run Gibbon securely.

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