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How To Install OpenERP 6 On Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server

(This tutorial was originally written by Alan Lord. You can find the original tutorial here: )

Recently at, we’ve been setting up several new instances of OpenERP for customers. Our server operating system of choice is Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. Installing OpenERP isn’t really that hard, but having seen several other “How Tos” online describing various methods where none seemed to do the whole thing in what I consider to be “the right way”, I thought I’d explain how we do it. There are a few forum posts that I’ve come across where the advice is just plain wrong too, so do be careful.

As we tend to host OpenERP on servers that are connected to the big wide Internet, our objective is to end up with a system that is:

  • A: Accessible only via encrypted (SSL) services from the GTK client, Web browser, WebDAV and CalDAV
  • B: Readily upgradeable and customisable

One of my friends said to me recently, “surely it’s just sudo apt-get install openerp-server isn’t it?” Fair enough; this would actually work. But there are several problems I have with using a packaged implementation in this instance:

  • Out-of-date. The latest packaged version I could see, in either the Ubuntu or Debian repositories, was 5.0.15. OpenERP is now at 6.0.2 and is a major upgrade from the 5.x series.
  • Lack of control. Being a business application, with many configuration choices, it can be harder to tweak your way when the packager determined that one particular way was the “true path”.
  • Upgrades and patches. Knowing how, where and why your OpenERP instance is installed the way it is, means you can decide when and how to update it and patch it, or add custom modifications.

So although the way I’m installing OpenERP below is manual, it gives us a much more fine-grained level of control. Without further ado then here is my way as it stands currently (“currently” because you can almost always improve things. HINT: suggestions for improvement gratefully accepted).


Step 1. Build your server

I install just the bare minimum from the install routine (you can install the openssh-server during the install procedure or install subsequently depending on your preference).

After the server has restarted for the first time I install the openssh-server package (so we can connect to it remotely) and denyhosts to add a degree of brute-force attack protection. There are other protection applications available: I’m not saying this one is the best, but it’s one that works and is easy to configure and manage. If you don’t already, it’s also worth looking at setting up key-based ssh access, rather than relying on passwords. This can also help to limit the potential of brute-force attacks. [NB: This isn’t a How To on securing your server…]

sudo apt-get install openssh-server denyhosts

Now make sure you are running all the latest patches by doing an update:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Although not always essential it’s probably a good idea to reboot your server now and make sure it all comes back up and you can still login via ssh.

Now we’re ready to start the OpenERP install.


Step 2. Create the OpenERP user that will own and run the application

sudo adduser –system –home=/opt/openerp –group openerp

This is a “system” user. It is there to own and run the application, it isn’t supposed to be a person type user with a login etc. In Ubuntu, a system user gets a UID below 1000, has no shell (well it’s actually /bin/false) and has logins disabled. Note that I’ve specified a “home” of /opt/openerp, this is where the OpenERP server, and optional web client, code will reside and is created automatically by the command above. The location of the server code is your choice of course, but be aware that some of the instructions and configuration files below may need to be altered if you decide to install to a different location.


Step 3. Install and configure the database server, PostgreSQL

sudo apt-get install postgresql

Then configure the OpenERP user on postgres:

First change to the postgres user so we have the necessary privileges to configure the database.

sudo su – postgres

Now create a new database user. This is so OpenERP has access rights to connect to PostgreSQL and to create and drop databases. Remember what your choice of password is here; you will need it later on:

createuser –createdb –username postgres –no-createrole –pwprompt openerp

Enter password for new role: <– ********
Enter it again: <– ********
Shall the new role be a superuser? (y/n) <– y

Finally exit from the postgres user account:



Step 4. Install the necessary Python libraries for the server

sudo apt-get install python python-psycopg2 python-reportlab \
python-egenix-mxdatetime python-tz python-pychart python-mako \
python-pydot python-lxml python-vobject python-yaml python-dateutil \
python-pychart python-pydot python-webdav

And if you plan to use the Web client install the following:

sudo apt-get install python-cherrypy3 python-formencode python-pybabel \
python-simplejson python-pyparsing


Step 5. Install the OpenERP server, and optional web client, code

I tend to use wget for this sort of thing and I download the files to my home directory.

Make sure you get the latest version of the application files. At the time of writing this it was 6.0.2; I got the download links from their download page.


And if you want the web client:


Now install the code where we need it: cd to the /opt/openerp/ directory and extract the tarball(s) there.

cd /opt/openerp
sudo tar xvf ~/openerp-server-6.0.2.tar.gz
sudo tar xvf ~/openerp-web-6.0.2.tar.gz

Next we need to change the ownership of all the the files to the openerp user and group.

sudo chown -R openerp: *

And finally, the way I have done this is to copy the server and web client directories to something with a simpler name so that the configuration files and boot scripts don’t need constant editing (I call them, rather unimaginatively, server and web). I started out using a symlink solution, but I found that when it comes to upgrading, it seems to make more sense to me to just keep a copy of the files in place and then overwrite them with the new code. This way you keep any custom or user-installed modules and reports etc. all in the right place.

sudo cp -a openerp-server-6.0.2 server
sudo cp -a openerp-web-6.0.2 web

As an example, should OpenERP 6.0.3 come out next, I can extract the tarballs into /opt/openerp/ as above. I can do any testing I need, then repeat the copy command (replacing 6.0.2 obviously) so that the modified files will overwrite as needed and any custom modules, report templates and such will be retained. Once satisfied the upgrade is stable, the older 6.0.2 directories can be removed if wanted.

That’s the OpenERP server and web client software installed. The last steps to a working system are to set up the two (server and web client) configuration files and associated init scripts so it all starts and stops automatically when the server boots and shuts down.


Step 6. Configuring the OpenERP application

The default configuration file for the server (in /opt/openerp/server/doc/) could really do with laying out a little better and a few more comments in my opinion. I’ve started to tidy up this config file a bit and here is to the one I’m using at the moment (with the obvious bits changed).

; This is the password that allows database operations
; Will be written to by the server when password is changed
; !! Keep this file secure !!
; admin_passwd = admin
root_path = /opt/openerp/server/bin
without_demo = False
verbose = False
; Database settings
db_user = openerp
db_password = ********
; Please uncomment the following line *after* you have created the
; database. It activates the auto module check on startup.
; db_name = False
db_port = False
db_host = False
db_maxconn = 64
; Networking Settings
xmlrpc = True
xmlrpc_interface =
xmlrpc_port = 8069
netrpc = True
netrpc_interface =
netrpc_port = 8070
; Uncomment these for xml-rpc over SSL
;xmlrpcs = True
;xmlrpcs_interface =
;xmlrpcs_port = 8071
;secure_pkey_file = /etc/ssl/openerp/server.pkey
;secure_cert_file = /etc/ssl/openerp/server.crt
; Log settings
logfile = /var/log/openerp/openerp-server.log
syslog = False
logrotate = True
log_level = info
; False prevents the client displaying the list of databases
list_db = True
addons_path = /opt/openerp/server/bin/addons
demo = {}
soap = False
reportgz = False
translate_modules = ['all']
; Static http parameters
static_http_enable = False
static_http_document_root = /var/www/html
static_http_url_prefix = /
; Outbound email configuration
;smtp_user =
;email_from = "OpenERP Support" <>
;smtp_port = 25
;smtp_password = ********
;smtp_ssl = True
;smtp_server =

You need to copy or paste the contents of this file into /etc/ and call the file openerp-server.conf. Then you should secure it by changing ownership and access as follows:

sudo chown openerp:root /etc/openerp-server.conf
sudo chmod 640 /etc/openerp-server.conf

The above commands make the file owned and writeable only by the openerp user and only readable by openerp and root.

To allow the OpenERP server to run initially, you should only need to change one line in this file. Toward to the top of the file change the line db_password = ******** to have the same password you used way back in step 3. Use your favourite text editor here. I tend to use nano, e.g.

sudo nano /etc/openerp-server.conf

Once the config file is edited, you can start the server if you like just to check if it actually runs.

/opt/openerp/server/bin/ –config=/etc/openerp-server.conf

It won’t really work just yet as it isn’t running as the openerp user. It’s running as your normal user so it won’t be able to talk to the PostgreSQL database. Just type CTL+C to stop the server.

Step 7. Installing the boot script

For the final step we need to install a script which will be used to start-up and shut down the server automatically and also run the application as the correct user. Here’s the one I’m using currently.


# Provides:             openerp-server
# Required-Start:       $remote_fs $syslog
# Required-Stop:        $remote_fs $syslog
# Should-Start:         $network
# Should-Stop:          $network
# Default-Start:        2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:         0 1 6
# Short-Description:    Enterprise Resource Management software
# Description:          Open ERP is a complete ERP and CRM software.


# Specify the user name (Default: openerp).

# Specify an alternate config file (Default: /etc/openerp-server.conf).

# pidfile

# Additional options that are passed to the Daemon.

[ -x $DAEMON ] || exit 0
[ -f $CONFIGFILE ] || exit 0

checkpid() {
    [ -f $PIDFILE ] || return 1
    pid=`cat $PIDFILE`
    [ -d /proc/$pid ] && return 0
    return 1

case "${1}" in
                echo -n "Starting ${DESC}: "

                start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile ${PIDFILE} \
                        --chuid ${USER} --background --make-pidfile \
                        --exec ${DAEMON} -- ${DAEMON_OPTS}

                echo "${NAME}."

                echo -n "Stopping ${DESC}: "

                start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile ${PIDFILE} \

                echo "${NAME}."

                echo -n "Restarting ${DESC}: "

                start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile ${PIDFILE} \

                sleep 1

                start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile ${PIDFILE} \
                        --chuid ${USER} --background --make-pidfile \
                        --exec ${DAEMON} -- ${DAEMON_OPTS}

                echo "${NAME}."

                echo "Usage: ${NAME} {start|stop|restart|force-reload}" >&2
                exit 1

exit 0

Similar to the config file, you need to either copy it or paste the contents of this script to a file in /etc/init.d/ and call it openerp-server. Once it is in the right place you will need to make it executable and owned by root:

sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/openerp-server
sudo chown root: /etc/init.d/openerp-server

In the config file there’s an entry for the server’s log file. We need to create that directory first so that the server has somewhere to log to and also we must make it writeable by the openerp user:

sudo mkdir /var/log/openerp
sudo chown openerp:root /var/log/openerp


Step 8. Testing the server

To start the OpenERP server type:

sudo /etc/init.d/openerp-server start

You should now be able to view the logfile and see that the server has started.

less /var/log/openerp/openerp-server.log

If there are any problems starting the server now you need to go back and check. There’s really no point ploughing on if the server doesn’t start…

If you now start up the GTK client and point it at your new server you should see a message like this:


OpenERP – First Login

Which is a good thing. It means the server is accepting connections and you do not have a database configured yet. I will leave configuring and setting up OpenERP as an exercise for the reader. This is a how to for installing the server. Not a how to on using and configuring OpenERP itself…

What I do recommend you do at this point is to change the super admin password to something nice and strong. By default it is “admin” and with that a user can create, backup, restore and drop databases (in the GTK client, go to the file menu and choose the Databases -> Administrator Password option to change it).

This password is written as plain text into the /etc/openerp-server.conf file. Hence why we restricted access to just openerp and root.

One rather strange thing I’ve just realised is that when you change the super admin password and save it, OpenERP completely re-writes the config file. It removes all comments and scatters the configuration entries randomly throughout the file. I’m not sure as of now if this is by design or not.

Now it’s time to make sure the server stops properly too:

sudo /etc/init.d/openerp-server stop

Check the logfile again to make sure it has stopped and/or look at your server’s process list.


Step 9. Automating OpenERP startup and shutdown

If everything above seems to be working OK, the final step is make the script start and stop automatically with the Ubuntu Server. To do this type:

sudo update-rc.d openerp-server defaults

You can now try rebooting you server if you like. OpenERP should be running by the time you log back in.

If you type

ps aux | grep openerp

you should see a line similar to this:

openerp 708 3.8 5.8 181716 29668 ? Sl 21:05 0:00 python /opt/openerp/server/bin/ -c /etc/openerp-server.conf

Which shows that the server is running. And of course you can check the logfile or use the GTK client too.


Step 10. Configure and automate the Web Client

Although it’s called the web client, it’s really another server-type application which [ahem] serves OpenERP to users via a web browser instead of the GTK desktop client.

If you want to use the web client too, it’s basically just a repeat of steps 6, 7, 8 and 9.

The default configuration file for the web client (can also be found in /opt/openerp/web/doc/openerp-web.cfg)…

server.environment = "development"

# Some server parameters that you may want to tweak
server.socket_host = ""
server.socket_port = 8080

# Sets the number of threads the server uses
server.thread_pool = 10

tools.sessions.on = True
tools.sessions.persistent = False

# Simple code profiling
server.profile_on = False
server.profile_dir = "profile"

# if this is part of a larger site, you can set the path
# to the TurboGears instance here
#server.webpath = ""

# Set to True if you are deploying your App behind a proxy
# e.g. Apache using mod_proxy
#tools.proxy.on = True

# If your proxy does not add the X-Forwarded-Host header, set
# the following to the *public* host url.
#tools.proxy.base = ''

# logging
#log.access_file = "/var/log/openerp-web/access.log"
log.error_file = "/var/log/openerp/openerp-web-error.log"
log.access_level = "INFO"
log.error_level = "INFO"

# Set to false to disable CSRF checks
tools.csrf.on = True

# replace builtin traceback tools by cgitb
tools.log_tracebacks.on: False
tools.cgitb.on: True
# a default install can probably avoid logging those via cgitb as they're
# available in the server log

# OpenERP Server = 'localhost'
openerp.server.port = '8070'
openerp.server.protocol = 'socket'
openerp.server.timeout = 450

# Web client settings
# filter dblists based on url pattern?
# NONE: No Filter
# EXACT: Exact Hostname
# UNDERSCORE: Hostname_
# BOTH: Exact Hostname or Hostname_

dblist.filter = 'NONE'

# whether to show Databases button on Login screen or not
dbbutton.visible = True

# will be applied on company logo
company.url = ''

… is laid out more nicely than the server one and should work as is when both the server and web client are installed on the same machine as we are doing here. I have changed one line to turn on error logging and point the file at our /var/log/openerp/ directory. For our installation, the file should reside in /etc/, be called openerp-web.conf and have it’s owner and access rights set as with the server configuration file:

sudo chown openerp:root /etc/openerp-web.conf
sudo chmod 640 /etc/openerp-web.conf

Here is a web client boot script.


# Provides:             openerp-web
# Required-Start:       $remote_fs $syslog
# Required-Stop:        $remote_fs $syslog
# Should-Start:         $network
# Should-Stop:          $network
# Default-Start:        2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop:         0 1 6
# Short-Description:    OpenERP Web - the Web Client of the OpenERP
# Description:          Open ERP is a complete ERP and CRM software.


# Specify the user name (Default: openerp).

# Specify an alternate config file (Default: /etc/openerp-web.conf).

# pidfile

# Additional options that are passed to the Daemon.

[ -x $DAEMON ] || exit 0
[ -f $CONFIGFILE ] || exit 0

checkpid() {
    [ -f $PIDFILE ] || return 1
    pid=`cat $PIDFILE`
    [ -d /proc/$pid ] && return 0
    return 1

case "${1}" in
                echo -n "Starting ${DESC}: "

                start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile ${PIDFILE} \
                        --chuid ${USER} --background --make-pidfile \
                        --exec ${DAEMON} -- ${DAEMON_OPTS}

                echo "${NAME}."

                echo -n "Stopping ${DESC}: "

                start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile ${PIDFILE} \

                echo "${NAME}."

                echo -n "Restarting ${DESC}: "

                start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile ${PIDFILE} \

                sleep 1

                start-stop-daemon --start --quiet --pidfile ${PIDFILE} \
                        --chuid ${USER} --background --make-pidfile \
                        --exec ${DAEMON} -- ${DAEMON_OPTS}

                echo "${NAME}."

                echo "Usage: ${NAME} {start|stop|restart|force-reload}" >&2
                exit 1

exit 0

This needs to go into /etc/init.d/, be called openerp-web and be owned by root and executable.

sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/openerp-web
sudo chown root: /etc/init.d/openerp-web

You should now be able to start the web server by entering the following command:

sudo /etc/init.d/openerp-web start

Check the web client is running by looking in the log file, looking at the process log and, of course, connecting to your OpenERP server with a web browser. The web client by default runs on port 8080 so the URL to use is something like this: http://my-ip-or-domain:8080

Make sure the web client stops properly:

sudo /etc/init.d/openerp-web stop

And then configure it to start and stop automatically.

sudo update-rc.d openerp-web defaults

You should now be able to reboot your server and have the OpenERP server and web client start and stop automatically.

Step 11. SSL

In this post I’ll describe our current way of providing SSL encrypted access to a shiny new OpenERP server running on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server.

We’re using the Apache webserver to act as a proxy and do SSL termination for web client access and for WebDAV/CalDAV access. The GTK client will also be running over an encrypted XMLRPC link directly to the OpenERP Server. Apache is the most widely used webserver in the world and there is oodles of documentation about it so I do not plan to go into any great detail about the configuration choices. One document that is worth pointing out however is the information about how to configure and administer Apache specifically under Debian/Ubuntu. The way Apache is packaged and set up is quite different from most other Linux distributions. A very useful document can be found here /usr/share/doc/apache2.2-common/README.Debian.gz on your server.

NB: For the purposes of this how to, we’ll be using self-signed certificates. A discussion of the pros and cons of this choice is beyond the scope of this article.


Step 11.1. Install Apache and required modules

On your server install apache2 by typing

sudo apt-get install apache2

Now we’ll tell apache that we want to use a few modules (mod_ssl, mod_proxy, mod_proxy_http, mod_headers and mod_rewrite [optional]) that are not enabled by default:

sudo a2enmod ssl proxy_http headers rewrite

Next, we need to generate a SSL certificate and key.


Step 11.2. Create your cert and key

I create the files in a temporary directory then move them to their final resting place once they have been built (the first cd is just to make sure we are in our home directory to start with):

mkdir temp
cd temp

Then we generate a new key, you will be asked to enter a passphrase and confirm:

openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.pkey 1024

We don’t really want to have to enter a passphrase every time the server starts up so we remove the passphrase by doing this:

openssl rsa -in server.pkey -out server.key

Next we need to create a signing request which will hold the data that will be visible in your final certificate:

openssl req -new -key server.key -out server.csr

This will generate a series of prompts like this:

Enter the information as requested:

You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated into your certificate request. What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN. There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank For some fields there will be a default value, If you enter ‘.’, the field will be left blank.
Country Name (2 letter code) [AU]:
State or Province Name (full name) [Some-State]:
Locality Name (eg, city) []:
Organization Name (eg, company) [Internet Widgits Pty Ltd]:
Organizational Unit Name (eg, section) []:
Common Name (eg, YOUR name) []:
Email Address []:
Please enter the following ‘extra’ attributes
to be sent with your certificate request
A challenge password []:
An optional company name []: <– The Client’s Company

And finally we self-sign our certificate.

openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server.csr -signkey server.key -out server.crt

We only need two of the files in the working directory, the key and the certificate. But before we can use them they need to have their ownership and access rights altered:

sudo chown openerp:root server.crt server.key
sudo chmod 640 server.crt server.key

And then we put them in a sensible place:

sudo mkdir /etc/ssl/openerp
sudo chown openerp:root /etc/ssl/openerp
sudo chmod 710 /etc/ssl/openerp
sudo mv server.crt server.key /etc/ssl/openerp/

Now the key and certificate are safely stored away, we can tell Apache where they are:


Step 11.3. Create the Apache site configuration file

We create a new Virtual Host configuration file…

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/openerp-ssl

… with the following content:

<VirtualHost *:443>
   SSLEngine on
   SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/openerp/server.crt
   SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/openerp/server.key
   ProxyRequests Off
 <Proxy *>
   Order deny,allow
   Allow from all
   ProxyVia On
   ProxyPass /webdav/
 <Location /webdav/ >
   ProxyPassReverse /webdav/
   Order Deny,Allow
   Allow from all
   Satisfy Any
   ProxyPass /
 <location / >
   ProxyPassReverse /
   RequestHeader set "X-Forwarded-Proto" "https"
   # Fix IE problem (httpapache proxy dav error 408/409)
   SetEnv proxy-nokeepalive 1

Note there are two Proxy configurations. One for /webdav/ and one for /. If you do not intend to use WebDAV or CalDAV then you can remove that section. But essentially, we are telling apache that WebDAV traffic needs to go to the XMLRPC port on the OpenERP server, and normal web traffic needs to go to the web client that is listening on port 8080. The order is also important. If / came before /webdav/ then it wouldn’t work.

And then we can enable the new site configuration.

sudo a2ensite openerp-ssl

Optionally, you can use mod_rewrite to redirect any normal (non-encrypted) web browser traffic to the SSL port (443).

To do this, add the following lines (outside of the <directory> config blocks) into the file /etc/apache2/sites-available/default:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} ^80$
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://%{SERVER_NAME}$1 [L,R]


Step 11.4. Change the OpenERP server and web-client configuration files

The next step is to re-configure the OpenERP server and Web client so that the non-encrypted services are not accessible from the outside world.

In /etc/openerp-server.conf the two non-encrypted services will only listen on localhost, i.e. not from external connections so in effect only traffic from Apache will be accepted. We also tell the XMLRPC-SSL service where to find the necessary key and certificate.

Make the following changes:

sudo nano /etc/openerp-server.conf

xmlrpc = True
xmlrpc_interface =
xmlrpc_port = 8069
netrpc = True
netrpc_interface =
netrpc_port = 8070
xmlrpcs = True
xmlrpcs_interface =
xmlrpcs_port = 8071
secure_pkey_file = /etc/ssl/openerp/server.key
secure_cert_file = /etc/ssl/openerp/server.crt

If you want to have WebDAV/CalDAV access add the following at the bottom of the config file.

enable = True
vdir = webdav

Then in the web client config file /etc/openerp-web.conf make the following changes so that it also only accepts traffic from localhost:

sudo nano /etc/openerp-web.conf

# Some server parameters that you may want to tweak
server.socket_host = “
# Set to True if you are deploying your App behind a proxy
# e.g. Apache using mod_proxy
tools.proxy.on = True
# If your proxy does not add the X-Forwarded-Host header, set
# the following to the *public* host url.
tools.proxy.base = ‘https://your-ip-or-domain’
# Set to false to disable CSRF checks
tools.csrf.on = False

That’s it.


Step 11.5. Try it out

Restart the services to load the new configurations:

sudo service openerp-server restart
sudo service openerp-web restart
sudo service apache2 restart

You should not be able to connect to the web client on port 8080 and the GTK client should not connect on either the NetRPC (8070) or XMLRPC (8069) services. For the web access you just need to visit https://your-ip-or-domain and in the GTK client you will need to use port 8071 and choose the XMLRPC (Secure) protocol.

For CalDAV access the URL to a calendar will be something like this:


I hope that is helpful and obviously we’d love to hear comments and suggestions for improvements.