Switching my Server to Ubuntu

Arnab Naha
  • Arnab Naha

    Arnab Naha - 2014-04-22

    Hello all...
    I am seriously planning to switch my server from windows to Ubuntu 14.04. I need help as i only have minimal ideal about ubuntu.

    1. Which version of Ubuntu should I download? Server or the regular desktop one for Openemr.

    2. In my windows server, i used the development version of openemr and it was very easy to modify files like anything in windows, but in ubuntu to go to root folder u need special commands (as far as i remember). Can anybody give me a detailed step by step approach to do it as in windows?

    3. In windows I used to change or edit php files very easily. How to do it in Ubuntu? I mean because of all those permission issues.

    4. I have read the wiki instructions about installation manuals of openemr. I want to do more than that as i used to do in windows.So Please help!

    • Jack Cahn MD

      Jack Cahn MD - 2014-04-22

      Ahoy Dr Naha,

      Using linux will be like your first beer - you will wonder how people love such a flavor. Persevere and it will quench your thirst.

      One. Server vs desktop. In my humble opinion, after the original installation, a server should not have a monitor or keyboard (or mouse) attached to it - only the power cord and an ethernet cable. You will access the server only via a secure tunnel "ssh" or the web interface via browser. You will need to do some command line work to define your IP address and network settings. Here is an example (a bit of overkill):


      Using desktop software for a server compromises security and encourages dangerous experimentation from well meaning know-it-alls like myself. It also wastes RAM on video graphics that could be used in caches etc that would improve server performance. Use a lightweight linux like Mint for the workstations. If you must view your file structure from a Windows machine, installing Samba on the server will allow you to see shared directories just like you are used to doing with Windows. You will also learn when you need to change to the super-user "root" and when you can operate as a less dangerous regular user. The switch back and forth is simple to learn.

      Two. With a linux server, I encourage you to learn to talk to the server with the command line interface. It means learning a new language but is more powerful and faster than graphic programs. I sometime browse my server files with a simple graphic program midnight commander.

      user@myserver:~$ sudo apt-get install mc

      then typing "mc" will give a handy view of the file system. Use "sudo mc" when you want to run this as the superuser root and are ready to do some real damage :>)

      Three. My favorite command line editor for php files is nano. When accessing by graphical interface I like bluefish. You will likely get several more opinions here - like religion.

      Four. When you choose the ubuntu 14.04 server iso and boot from disk, it will promt you for most setup information that is needed to set up your LAMP ssh and samba server out of the box. Write down your passwords for the user and for mysql. Then you are ready for a flawless OpenEMR installation. The wiki instructions work (even for doctors like me).

      When you are ready to be very dangerous, put webmin on your server.

      Check back here often prn. Pimm and fsgl will find many helpful wiki entries from those who have gone before you. Bon voyage! Jack

      Last edit: Jack Cahn MD 2014-04-22
  • Gary Schiltz

    Gary Schiltz - 2014-04-22

    I am not yet an OpenEMR user (more of a lurker), but as a general systems question, my answer would be predicated on your answers a number of questions. If you are an experienced engineer, then moving from one platform to another will be easier than if you are not. The tone of your questions lead me to believe that you don't have much Linux experience. Linux and Windows are two completely different beasts, the techies who advocate one tend not to mingle much with those who advocate the other. I doubt the OpenEMR community has that strong of preference for one platform vs. another, as both run the LAMP (minus the "L" for Windows obviously) stack admirably.

  • Stephen Waite

    Stephen Waite - 2014-04-23

    i agree with Gary Schlitz, if you've got it running on Windows (hopefully not xp) then why not leave well enough alone and spend the time learning with a test system running ubuntu? so easy to install on an old pc or even dual boot something

    if you're on xp then it's probably a good time to set sail, bon voyage indeed!

  • Brady Miller

    Brady Miller - 2014-04-23


    Something to consider is to migrate/trial a linux desktop to learn things, such as Mint, which made it very easy for me to migrate my desktop from windows to linux (note Mint 17 that will be released in a month or two will likely be based on ubuntu 14.04 LTS). On a linux desktop, you'll then do the above number 2 and 3 items just like in Windows. After mastering the desktop, you'll begin to grasp command line tools (for example, I prefer command line vim over any gui; in addition to prefering git command line); then dealing with a server that only has command line becomes feasible (and even easy).

    If a user were proficiency on both windows/linux, I think all the OpenEMR developers (including myself) would recommend linux over windows for a multitude of reasons.


  • Gary Schiltz

    Gary Schiltz - 2014-04-24

    I forgot to mention something that I consider to be very valuable - virtualization. Even on a very low-end laptop, you can install the open source software VirtualBox (virtualbox.org) and install Linux on that. I use VirtualBox (or VMWare Fusion on my Mac) for essentially everything I do. Before installing anything on my real server, I give it a test on a similarly configured virtual machine. For example, I have a VM running Ubuntu Server 12.04.4 LTS, OpenEMR, and all the software that gets installed to support OpenEMR (Apache httpd server, MySQL, etc) and the whole VM is only a couple of GB. And even with only giving the VM 1 GB of RAM, OpenEMR runs very well. I set it to use bridged networking, so my router assigns it an IP address that I can access from a browser on the real machine.

    Last edit: Gary Schiltz 2014-04-24
  • Arnab Naha

    Arnab Naha - 2014-04-29

    Thank you all for the wonderful info and tips...i am bookmarking this topic so that i can refer to it as soon as i shift..Thank u all....


Log in to post a comment.

Get latest updates about Open Source Projects, Conferences and News.

Sign up for the SourceForge newsletter:

No, thanks