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  • Install Tomcat 8

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  • Apache Tomcat -
  • Note: Always do a fresh install of Tomcat 8
  • Note: For Sakai versions prior to 11.4 please use Tomcat 8.0.34 or earlier. Later versions of Tomcat may cause problems. example:
  • Note: Windows users should ensure that there are no spaces in the complete tomcat path as this causes errors with JSF tools in Sakai
    GOOD: C:\opt\tomcat\, C:\sakaistuff\installs\tomcat\
    BAD: C:\program files\tomcat\, C:\opt\apache tomcat 8.0.43\
  1. Download Tomcat 8 -

    • Windows users should get the zip file instead of installing a service
      It makes viewing the tomcat logs easier and it is easier to configure


  2. Extract to /opt (symlink the apache-tomcat-8.0.x directory to tomcat after extracting)
    • Example (assuming you have saved the file as /opt/apache-tomcat-8.0.x.tar.gz)

      Code Block
      cd /opt
      tar xzvf apache-tomcat-8.0.x.tar.gz
      ln -nsf apache-tomcat-8.0.x tomcat
    • Windows users should


      either rename the directory

      since they cannot symlink

      or, if comfortable, create a directory junction using an elevated cmd prompt:

      Code Block
      mklink /J C:\apache-tomcat-8.0.x C:\tomcat
  3. Modify conf/server.xml for international character support
    1. Add URIEncoding="UTF-8" to the Connector element
      • <Connector port="8080" URIEncoding="UTF-8" ...
  4. Set environment variable: CATALINA_HOME=/opt/tomcat
  5. Add $CATALINA_HOME/bin to PATH
  6. Setup the SETENV file in the tomcat/bin directory with JAVA_OPTS (from Install Java 1.8).

    titlePopulate Database With Demo Data

    Instead of starting with an empty database you can add the flag -Dsakai.demo=true in addition to the others shown here. During your first Tomcat launch it will populate your database with test data (students, courses, etc). Once the data has been created remove this flag for subsequent Tomcat launches. Be advised that this flag will not trigger on a database with data already in it so you must make this choice during the initial setup. It should also be noted that without this flag one will not be able to create any course sites in Sakai unless Academic Term, Subject, Course, and Section data is manually added to the "cm_" tables in the database.


    We recommend using -Djava.util.Arrays.useLegacyMergeSort=true until this issue can be resolved - 



    1. Mac/Linux: Create a file called with the following (alternately, you can put this into your .bashrc file so they're automatically executed):

      Code Block
      titleTomcat 8 Mac/Linux
      export JAVA_OPTS="-server -Xmx1028m -XX:MaxMetaspaceSize=512m -Dorg.apache.jasper.compiler.Parser.STRICT_QUOTE_ESCAPING=false -Djava.awt.headless=true -Dhttp.agent=Sakai -Djava.util.Arrays.useLegacyMergeSort=true"
    2. Windows(PC): Create a file called setenv.bat with the following:

      Code Block
      titleTomcat 8 Windows
      set JAVA_OPTS=-server -Xmx1028m -XX:MaxMetaspaceSize=512m -Dorg.apache.jasper.compiler.Parser.STRICT_QUOTE_ESCAPING=false -Djava.awt.headless=true -Dhttp.agent=Sakai -Djava.util.Arrays.useLegacyMergeSort=true -Dfile.encoding=UTF8
  7. [OPTIONAL] Delete the default webapps from the webapps dir

    No Format
    rm -rf webapps/*
Improve startup speed

You can improve startup speed under Tomcat 8 significantly.

Edit the file conf/context.xml and add this JarScanFilter block to the <Context>

Code Block
        <!-- This is to speedup startup so that tomcat doesn't scan as much -->
        <JarScanFilter defaultPluggabilityScan="false"