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.

2020 OERu Open Technology Overview

As a matter of principle, the OER Foundation makes use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) wherever possible.Partnering with the Foundation provides a distinctive perspective to learn from an organisation with hands-on experience in hosting all its technology infrastructure using FOSS.

The foundation has implemented a component-based approach selecting “best-of-breed” open technologies for assembling the OERu’s Digital Learning Environment (DLE) rather than providing learning materials through a single application like a Learning Management System (LMS).

Configuring a Linux server to send email via the Postfix SMTP server using an external authenticating SMTP host

Just about any and every server needs to be able to send email - whether it's end-user-email, like password recovery services for a website to emails to system administrators reporting on the status of system backups and errors. The problem is that it's non trivial (understatement) to set up a mail server properly.

Hourly versioned MongoDB backup

Because the collaboration of an open community is its real history, I place a high value on backing up the Rocket.Chat servers I'm responsible for, and especially the data they generate, held in MongoDB files (on the host) managed by a MongoDB container.

To do that reliably, I have set up a bash script which does an hourly backup of all MongoDB "databases" and automatically maintains 24 hourly, 7 daily, 4 weekly, 12 monthly, and 7 yearly snapshots of the databases.

Upgrading RocketChat to 1.0.x and MongoDB to 4.0

With the recent release of Rocket.Chat 1.0.x (after a couple years undergoing development at a fairly blistering pace), it's time for many of us to upgrade!

Previously, I showed how to install Rocket.Chat via Docker Compose but that was a much earlier version of Rocket.Chat and version 3.4 of MongoDB, which is now quite old (by FOSS standards at least). And it turns out upgrading everything has a few gotchas, so here's how I managed to do it.

Setting up your own BitWarden password keeper and sync server

One of the key requirements of pursuing Good Digital Hygiene is using strong passwords, and a different strong password for every application. This is relatively easy to do in theory, with the aid of clever software, but it's something desperately few people do well in practice. I'm going to explain how I've addressed this issue of digital hygiene for myself, and how you can do it for yourself, and your entire family, social circle, or community.

Democratising Higher Education with OERs & FOSS

Rather than write a slide-based presentation for the Open Education miniconf at Linux.Conf.AU 2019, I thought I'd try an approach that seemed to work quite well recently: write my presentation as a blog post and make it available for posterity, before and after. You can find this post quickly by going to oer.nz/lca if you want to look at it on your own device.