Installing Go on Ubuntu

When Google announced their newly developed system programming language Go, I decided to give it a try on my Ubuntu machine, the Mac would have to wait. The installation was supposed to be a walk in the park, but it wasn’t. I realized I didn’t have some other essential tools installed, and encountered one problem after another, frantically googling for solutions. So in this post I’ll detail the step by step process to install and run Go on your Ubuntu machine.

Step 1: Setting Up Environment Variables

Prior to installation you need to have these environment variables set up:

$GOROOT – The root of the Go tree. Typically this is $HOME/go but it can be any directory.

$GOOS – Name of the target operating system. Since this is Ubuntu the value would be ‘linux’

$GOARCH – Name of the target compilation architecture.  If you’re on a 32 bit x86 machine this would be ‘386’. Check out this section in Go online docs for other options.

$GOBIN – The location where binaries will be installed. You can set this to $HOME/bin or whatever path of your choice. Then you have to add this to your $PATH so that newly built Go-specific command such as the compiler can be found during the build.

Fire up the terminal and type the following command

sudo vi /etc/profile

This’ll open up the system-wide bash profile file in vi editor. You need to add the following lines at the end of the file.

export GOROOT=$HOME/go
export GOOS=linux
export GOARCH=386
export GOBIN=$HOME/bin

Now add $GOBIN to your $PATH. Open .bashrc in your $HOME directory

sudo vi $HOME/.bashrc

and add the line

export PATH=${PATH}:$GOBIN

Restart the machine for these changes to take effect.
Reload the files for the changes to take effect(thanks peter vahlu)

source /etc/profile
source ~/.bashrc

Step 2: Install Mercurial and clone Go repository

Google uses Mercurial to store Go source code, so you have to install it and fetch the repository.

Since 1.0, Mercurial has been installable by easy-install. So you need to get the python setuptools, header files and other essential  tools installed  first.

sudo apt-get install python-setuptools python-dev build-essential

Now install Mecurial

sudo easy_install -U mercurial

This part was quite confusing. Mercurial was throwing up some errors when I tried to clone Go’s repo.

*** failed to import extension hgext.hbisect: No module named hbisect

The extension bisect is a built-in command since version 1.0 and so should not be used. If you get this error, open the configuration file(/etc/mercurial/hgrc.d/hgext) and remove/comment out the line hbisect=

Make sure the $GOROOT directory does not exist or is empty. Then check out the repository:

hg clone -r release $GOROOT

Step 3: Build Go from source

The Go tool chain is written in C. To build it, you need to have GCC, the standard C libraries, the parser generator Bison, make and the text editor ed installed.

sudo apt-get install bison gcc libc6-dev ed make

Next, build Go from source

cd $GOROOT/src


If all.bash runs without trouble, it’ll finish by printing

--- cd ../test

N known bugs; 0 unexpected bugs

Where N is the number of bugs, changes from release to release.

You now have GO installed on your Ubuntu. Happy coding!

Further Reading

  1. The installation page at Go website.
  2. Article on installing Mercurial on Ubuntu and dealing with its tantrums.

Deploying Rails Application on Apache with Phusion Passenger


This morning I put on my system admin hat at work once again. The challenge was to setup a Rails development environment on our production server at the cloud and then deploy a Rails application on Apache.

This article is not really a tutorial, although it’s posted under How-to category. It’s more like a log of my actions in carrying out this task; the problems I faced and what I did to get around them, so that I can trace them back if I ever partake a similar task in future.

Rails have several deployment options and Phusion Passenger a.k.a. Mod Rails is the principle of them. It supports both Apache and the lightweight Nginx Server. Check out there documentation page.

Here’s how it went

Logged into the remote server(CentOS 5.0) using ssh

Installed Rails

gem install -v=2.2.2 rails

Installed MySQL gem

gem install mysql — –with-mysql-include=/usr/include/mysql –with-mysql-lib=/usr/lib/mysql/

Installed Phusion Passenger

gem install passenger

Warning received. Required Software missing

Apache 2 development headers… not found

Installed Apache 2 Development Headers

yum install httpd-devel

Installed Apache module for Passenger


Configured Apache 2 to load the mod_passenger module by adding these lines in /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

LoadModule passenger_module /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/passenger-2.0.6/ext/apache2/
PassengerRoot /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/passenger-2.0.6
PassengerRuby /usr/bin/ruby

Uploaded a sample Rails App(myrailsapp) to /home

Added following lines in /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf to create a new virtual host

<VirtualHost *:80>
DocumentRoot /home/myrailsapp/public
RailsEnv    development

Restart Apache

service httpd restart

Went to

Standard Error page for Phusion Passenger displayed. Instructed to consult Apache error log

Checked out the Apache Error Log

cat /etc/httpd/logs/error_log

The last error was

Rails requires RubyGems >= 1.3.1 (you have 1.2.0). Please `gem update –system` and try again.

Updated RubyGems

gem install rubygems-update

Restarted Apache and went to again. The following error was showing on the page

no such file to load — sqlite3

Reason: SQLite3-Ruby Gem missing. Tried to install it

gem install sqlite3-ruby

Failed. The system doesn’t have SQLite3 installed

checking for sqlite3.h… no

Installed SQLite3 by building in from source

tar xvzf sqlite-amalgamation-3.6.17.tar.gz
cd sqlite-3.6.17
make install

Installed SQLite3-Ruby Gem

gem install sqlite3-ruby

Restarted Apache and visited


WinDirStat gives the real picture of the hard drive, literally.

If you are trying to find out what’s eating up your precious hard disk space in Windows XP/Vista, WinDirStat is your weapon of choice. A much helpful tool than the brain dead Explorer, WinDirStat analyzes the usage statistics of your hard drive/partition/directory and outputs(along with other data) a treemap, which is a visual representation of how blocks of data are organized on the disk.


Clicking on a block shows you the file/directory physically taking up the space in the directory list(shown in the picture). Comes quite in handy. I just cleaned 1 Gigabytes worth of data cached by Safari 4. If it wasn’t for WinDirStat, I would’ve never known that Safari thinks your hard drive space is infinte! Who knows, may be Steve’s is really is?

Download WinDirStat from SourceForge.

Deploying Django application on mod_python and Mini Mac

Server  : Apache 2.2
OS      : Mac OS X 10.5.4 
Python  : Version 2.5.1
Django  : Version 1.0.2 final
Machine : Mac Mini

mac finder

Mod_python is a loadable Apache module which embeds the Python interpreter, so Python code can be run in-process by Apache. To deploy and run your Django application in an Apache web server you have to

  1. Download and install mod_python
  2. Load it in Apache
  3. Configure Apache to run the Django app.

In this post I’m going to share my experience on how to do all that on a Mac Mini that runs on OS X 10.5.

The Software & Hardware

Here was my system configuration

  • Server  : Apache 2.2
  • OS      : Mac OS X 10.5.4 
  • Python  : Version 2.5.1
  • Django  : Version 1.0.2 final
  • Machine : Mac Mini running on 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 2GB RAM

1. Get the mod_python source

Check out the mod_python source code from the remote SVN repository*

$ svn co mod_python_src/

*The reason I’m downloading the source from an SVN trunk and not from the Apache website, is because the source available at the later one isn’t properly patched for Mac Mini’s architecture. In my earlier attempts, when I downloaded and built mod_python from stable releases, Apache was failing to start whenever the mod_python module was being loaded using the LoadModule Directive.

2. Build the source

$ cd mod_python_src

$ ./configure --with-apxs=/usr/sbin/apxs

$ make

$ sudo make install

3. Configure Apache to load mod_python when it starts

Open the Apache configuration file

$ sudo vi /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Add the following line to the file 

LoadModule python_module libexec/apache2/

Now restart Apache

$ sudo /usr/sbin/apachectl restart

4. Configure Apache for Django 

Let’s suppose you have a Django app callled “mysite”. Copy you the directory to the Apache DocumentRoot

$ cp -r /path/to/mysite /Library/WebServer/Document/

Add the following lines to the httpd.conf file

<Location "/mysite">

    SetHandler python-program

PythonPath "['/Library/WebServer/Documents'] + sys.path"

     PythonHandler django.core.handlers.modpython

     SetEnv DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE mysite.settings

PythonAutoReload On

PythonDebug On


This’ll make Apache to route any requests under URL “/mysite” to the mod_python handler. It passes the value of DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE so mod_python knows which settings to use.

Now restart Apache and go to the site http://localhost/mysite

If it works then congratulations! You’ve just deployed your app on Apache!

Troubleshooting tip(s)

If Apache fails to launch after you’ve installed and loaded mod_python, run it in debugging mode

$ sudo /usr/sbin/httpd -X

Look for any error message printed in the terminal, copy it and google it. You may find a solution online.

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