In the intervening 17 months since my last update the OER Foundation (OERF) has continued to develop new online services for its global community of learners and educators. All of these services are themselves built with - and hosted on - Free and Open Source Software or FOSS. Each application is the work and responsibility of its own global developer community.
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.
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).
This post is a companion to our video tutorial on installing Rocket.Chat 4.x on an Ubuntu 20.04 server via Docker Compose.
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:
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!
Here at the OER Foundation, where we build and maintain the computer services used by the OERu, its learners, and its educators around the globe, we've come up with a tech process that seems to work very nicely, with minimal cost and maintenance overhead. It involves setting up hosting infrastructure to adhere to some conventions that have emerged over time (and are subject to change if we identify better ones).