Introducing the OERu Tech Blog

The Open Education Resource universitas (OERu) is an open organisation from top to bottom. Our entire technological infrastructure (with a couple exceptions) is built with and on Free and Open Source Software to which I normally refer as "FOSS". This introductory post outlines our technological motivations and some of our key choices. Future blog posts will go into more depth on some of these choices, and provide more insight in to specific implementations.

Upgrading a Docker-based Discourse Forum instance

Discourse is the world-leading online web-based forum. It's a superb, extremely mature-and-yet-cutting edge platform. It also happens to be Free and Open Source Software, which is why we, at the OER Foundation, use it.

Like all good software, it's undergoing continuous improvement by its developer community who release fairly frequent - perhaps every couple weeks - updates. Luckily, keeping your Discourse forum up-to-date isn't particularly onerous.

Creating Linux shell users with sudo and SSH access

With Linux servers, both local and in "the Cloud" (aka a Virtual Private Server or VPS), access is generally remote via a command line interface. This tutorial covers the process of creating normal shell (command line) users who have the ability to perform administrative tasks (via the 'sudo' - Super User DO - mechanism), as well as configuring that user to be able to log in from their workstation via SecureShell (SSH) without needing to enter a password (i.e. using public-private key pairs).

Installing MariaDB on Ubuntu 20.04

At the OER Foundation, we have the convention of using Docker to deploy most components of the web services we offer. One notable exception to that is the way we deploy our most widely used database. Rather than deploying a separate MySQL/MariaDB container for every service on a given host, we instead deploy a single instance running on the host. We do this for a couple reasons:

Creating strong random passwords

Throughout our Free and Open Source Software tutorials, we need to specify passwords for things. Creating random passwords is surprisingly hard, but we've found a method that's very serviceable and makes it easy to do as we all should: ensure every separate identity or service has a strong password that is unique to that identity and application (i.e. never use the same password in more than one place). We also strongly encourage you all to track your passwords using a password manager!