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Why is Fedora 14 64 bit Tomcat from yum install superior to the Tomcat from Apache's website?

linda price
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 3
Hi,
I just completed configuration of a Jasperserver using Tomcat 64 bit Linux binary downloaded from Apache's website. I was having trouble getting the one on Fedora 14 to work and did not care for the way file system was distributed all over. My Jasperserver is up and running now.
The sysadmin informed me that my approach was less than desirable but I followed advice that seemed to be pretty common on the web. I installed and unpacked Tomcat under the /opt directory.
Now that the work is complete, are there any modifications / improvements I can make to the install without scrapping all of my effort? The only major issue I ran into was when I tried to run a million+ row report on the Jasperserver and it took up 8 gb under /opt. One other question, is there a path I can change to a virtual work area somewhere? I want the Jasperserver webapp output temp files to NOT be under /opt.

Thanks!
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15629
    
  15

Welcome to the JavaRanch, Linda!

I'm a very big believer in OS packaging. Using the package manager makes it a lot easier to track the inventory of installed applications and resources on the server. Plus, the RPM package manager has the added bonus of being able to scan for damaged files (integrity verification) and to list the files that were installed - useful stuff that the Windows installers can't do.

However, package management for Java system resources is where I tend to diverge. While I routinely do RPM-package my webapps (since webapps often have needs above and beyond what is in the WAR/EAR), I generally install Tomcat straight from the Apache Foundation ZIPfile.

Tomcat system packages are often antiquated. In fact, for a while, Sun's Solaris package manager was installing Tomcat 4.1 long after Tomcat 4 had passed End of Life. The Red Hat Java RPMs are so fine-grained that they'll nickle and dime you to death.

So, I RPM-install the JDK (using the Sun/Oracle RPM)
I UNZIP-install Tomcat (using the Apache ZIPfile)
I RPM-install most webapps. (I build the RPMs with Maven or Ant)

Anything else is up for grabs.

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linda price
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 3
Thank you,
This is very helpful. I was also wondering whether any given Fedora Tomcat 6.n distribution is seperate code branch from the Apache Foundation website Tomcat 6.n code branch? I'm guessing that it is but its just a guess. On the other hand, maybe Fedora developers just grab the source code from Apache (6.18 for example), then don't touch the source code but just compile it for the Fedora 14 platform. I know that Fedora Tomcat has an entirely different outer wrapper as I found out. I greatly appreciate insight into this.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15629
    
  15

The usual way to build an RPM is to pull the original source code for the app being "RPM"ed, apply distro-specific patches to it, compile it, and then gather the results up as a list of files to deploy. The process was designed primarily for programs written in languages like C, so it gets a little strange in a Java environment, but the same basic principles still apply.

So yes, the RPM creators are pulling the Apache source as their basis, not maintaining a separate fork. They may or not get creative with it.

For example, Tomcat is designed so that all of its resources are defined in one of 2 directory trees: CATALINA_HOME and CATALINA_BASE. However, in a Linux environment, it's usually more convenient to locate resources in the Linux-specific areas. So, for example, the conf stuff would go under something like "/etc/tomcat", the work stuff would go under "/tmp". other mutable resources would be someplace like "/var/lib/tomcat". Thanks to the magic of softlinks, both Tomcat can the OS can be happy, providing that the RPM does its magic properly.

A Tomcat RPM will often include an init script so that Tomcat can be managed as a standard system service. Or as standard as any Java app can be. Running under a JVM does things to how you track processes. The Apache Tomcat project doesn't include any Linux/Solaris/BSD/HP-UX/Apple system init scripts, so the RPM providers must include their own.
linda price
Greenhorn

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 3
Does anyone have a sample script that will provide all services (besides just start and stop) for Fedora? I used the supplied catalina.sh from Apache's site which only has start and stop services. I added this script via the chkconfig but it only works for system startup and shutdown.

# chkconfig: 2345 64 36
# description: Deamon to start and stop Tomcat.
# Setup the environment.
#
export JAVA_HOME=/usr/java/jdk1.6.0_23/bin
export CATALINA_HOME=/opt/tomcat/current
. ${CATALINA_HOME}/bin/catalina.sh $1
 
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