Install EZproxy 5.7.44 GA [Athens] for Linux

This document describes how to install EZproxy 5.7.44 GA [Athens] for Linux. If you are updating from an older version of EZproxy, please refer to the update instructions.

The only functional differences between the Linux, Solaris, and Windows versions of EZproxy are:

  1. support in the Windows version to authenticate users against a Windows domain.
  2. support in the Windows version to authenticate users against ODBC data sources.
  3. lack of support in the Solaris 10 (x86) version for Athens authentication.

The link to download this program can be found within the installation instructions.

Overview

EZproxy is an easy to setup and easy to maintain program for providing your users with remote access to web-based licensed databases. It operates as an intermediary server between your users and your licensed databases. Your users connect to EZproxy, then it connects on their behalf to your licensed databases to obtain web pages and send them back to your users. Since EZproxy runs on a machine on your network, your database vendor sees the requests as coming from an IP address on your network, so it permits access.

Let's assume that ezproxy.yourlib.org is your EZproxy server and that you subscribe to somedb.com. To make this database available, you need only edit config.txt/ezproxy.cfg and add these lines:

Title Some Database

URL http://somedb.com/search/

Domain somedb.com

With these lines in place, you could makes this database available from any web server with a URL like this:

<a href="http://ezproxy.yourlib.org:2048/login?url=http://somedb.com/search">Some Database</a>

If on-site users click on such a link, they are sent straight to the database. Off-site users are required to authenticate before proceeding. Once authenticated, the off-site user accesses the database through a "virtual web server."

When one of your users remotely accesses ezproxy.yourlib.org and requests access to somedb.com, EZproxy automatically creates a virtual web server for somedb.com. In this example, http://somedb.com might be assigned to a virtual web server named http://ezproxy.yourlib.org:2050. All virtual web servers use the same naming convention, with different ports (e.g., 2050) distinguishing them.

When this user requests documents from this virtual web server, EZproxy makes the same request to the somedb.com then sends the response back to this user. During this transaction, the request to somedb.com comes from your own server, so somedb.com views it as one of your IP addresses and allows the access.

Ability versus right

EZproxy allows you to extend your databases to remote users. However, your licensing agreement with database vendors may not authorize you to provide remote access. As an implementer of remote access, it is your responsibility to verify licensing agreements and only permit remote access as authorized.

System requirements

EZproxy for Linux requires an x86 or x86_64 distribution of Linux running a 2.2 or later kernel. To verify the version of your Linux kernel, use the command:

uname -a

If you encounter problems running EZproxy on a specific distribution of Linux, please contact to support@oclc.org for further assistance.

The minimum recommended configuration for an EZproxy for Linux server is a Pentium II 400 with 256 MB of RAM. 10 MB of disk space is required for installation. Additional disk space is required to accommodate user authentication files and server log files.

This program can be executed from a non-privileged account, so please consider running it from an account other than root. See RunAs for additional information.

If your site employs a proxy server for all outgoing connections to the Internet, you will need to enter the host and port information for this proxy server into the config.txt/ezproxy.cfg file using the Proxy directive.

If your site is protected by a firewall, external users may be unable to connect to EZproxy unless your firewall administrator allows incoming traffic to ports 2048 and above.

User authentication

EZproxy provides a variety of methods for authenticating users. For more information on these options, see User Authentication.

EZproxy files

EZproxy uses the following files:

Filename Purpose
ezproxy-athens-linux.bin This binary file is the download version of the EZproxy program for Linux. It must be renamed to ezproxy.
ezproxy This binary file is the actual EZproxy program.
config.txt This user editable text file contains configuration directives, including information on your licensed databases. In EZproxy 5.0 and earlier, this file was named ezproxy.cfg.
user.txt This user editable text file contains user authentication information. At its simplest, this file contains usernames and passwords. In EZproxy 5.0 and earlier, this file was named ezproxy.usr.
ezproxy.log This text file is a record of proxy server usage in the NCSA web server log file format. If used with standard web log analysis software, this file can provide information on the volume of remote use.
messages.txt     This text file is a record of certain informational and error conditions that occurred when EZproxy was running. In EZproxy 5.0 and earlier, this file was named ezproxy.msg.
ezproxy.hst This text file contains information on active users and virtual web server proxies.
license.txt This text file is the licensing agreement for this program.
*** The following user editable HTML files are located in the docs subdirectory. ***
cookie.htm EZproxy uses a domain-based cookie as its ongoing verification that a user has authenticated. If the remote user disallows the cookie, the contents of this file are sent to explain the reason why the cookie is required.
login.htm When the built-in user validation feature is used, this web page is sent to the remote user to prompt for authentication.
loginbu.htm If the user does not successfully authenticate to the login.htm page, the user is sent this page.
logout.htm When the user logs out from EZproxy, this web page is sent to confirm the logout.
menu.htm This web page provides a basic menu of databases. In most instances, this file is only used for testing purposes. For production use, you are more likely to create URLs in remote documents that look like http://ezproxy.yourlib.org:2048/login?url=http://somedb.com which users will then use to connect to remote databases. See also LoginMenu.

You will only download ezproxy-athens-linux.bin. All of the other files are created automatically during the installation process.

EZproxy installation instructions for Linux

EZproxy is a completely stand-alone application. It does not require nor use any existing web server that is already installed on your server.

If you are already running a web server on the system where EZproxy is running, do not attempt to install EZproxy within directories that are used by that web server.

  1. Create a directory for EZproxy and make it your current directory with command such as:
    mkdir /usr/local/ezproxy

    cd /usr/local/ezproxy
  2. Download ezproxy-athens-linux.bin into this directory. If you download this file on a different system and use FTP to move it to your EZproxy server, be sure to perform the transfer using binary.
  3. Rename the download file from ezproxy-athens-linux.bin to ezproxy and make it executable with the commands:
    mv ezproxy-athens-linux.bin ezproxy

    chmod 755 ezproxy
  4. To create the default version of most of the files mentioned above, issue the command:
    ./ezproxy -m

    The "-m" stands for "missing file replacement" and this command can be used at any time to reconstruct any missing files without overwriting existing files that you have changed.

    If you are installing EZproxy on a 64-bit Linux distribution, you may receive a file not found error. If this occurs, you need to install ia32-libs to resolve the issue.

    If you receive any errors during this step, please contact support@oclc.org.

  5. To verify whether EZproxy can automatically detect your host name correctly, as well as to check whether firewalls may interfere with your ability to use EZproxy, issue the command:
    ./ezproxy -c

    This command will make your server connect to an OCLC server. Your server will provide its name and IP address, then the OCLC server will attempt to verify this information. Your server will then display various messages to let you know what changes may be required for EZproxy to function properly.

    If you do not like the idea of your server connecting to an OCLC server, you may omit this step.

    If your network requires the use of a standard proxy server to connect out to the Internet, this test will fail. In this case, you will need to configure EZproxy to use your outgoing proxy server using the Proxy directive, and then you can complete the network connectivity test by finishing the installation of EZproxy and using a browser installed either on the same server or within your network to log in to the EZproxy Administration page, where you can use the Test network connectivity option. This performs a more thorough network test, including offering the option to incorporate your outgoing proxy server in the test.

  6. Use a text editor to edit the file config.txt. If suggested from the previous step, manually specify your host name in this file. The file also contains suggestions for other changes.
  7. Use a text editor to edit the file user.txt. To this file, add a line similar to this:
    someuser: somepass:admin

    changing someuser to the username you want to use for testing and somepass to the password you want to use for testing. In this example, admin should appear literally as shown.
  8. Start the server with the command:
    ./ezproxy
  9. Using your web browser, connect to your server on port 2048. If your EZproxy server was named ezproxy.yourlib.org, you would use this URL:
    http://ezproxy.yourlib.org:2048/admin
  10. Enter the username and password that you created when you edited the user.txt file. This should bring you to the main server administration page.

    If, instead of the menu page, you end up at a page indicating that the EZproxy cookie was blocked, see EZproxy Cookie Blocked for information on why this happened and how to address it.

The options presented and how effectively they work will depend on how well you customized config.txt. As you make additional changes to config.txt, you will need to stop and restart ezproxy to make the changes take effect.

Resetting all files

If you want to reset all of the files to their original distributed contents, you can use the command:

./ezproxy -r

If you want to restore just one or two of the original files, rename or delete the existing file that you want replaced, then issue the command:

./ezproxy -m

Startup script

To install the system startup script, issue the following command as root:

./ezproxy -si

If you later want to remove the startup script, issue the following command as root:

./ezproxy -sr

Next step

Now that EZproxy is working, you should continue on to User Authentication to learn how to create URLs that link to specific databases on the EZproxy server and how to set up user authentication for your environment.

Technical details

Those who are curious about the technical details behind EZproxy should take a look at EZproxy Technical Details.