How to install Ubuntu server on a Dell thin client to host Kanboard

Well your first question might be “Why install Ubuntu server on a Dell thin client to host Kanboard?”. Good question, the answer is I wanted to trial kanboard and this was the only hardware resource made available to me by the IT infrastructure department, but hey it’s working. So if you’ve ever wondered can Ubuntu Server be installed on a thin client the answer is yes, but there won’t be enough space left to install a GUI so you might want to brush up on your terminal commands prior. And using a thin client isn’t as mad as it sounds because they’re designed to run 24/7 too unlike laptops or conventional desktops.

What is kanboard?

Kanboard is an opensource web hosted project management software. So far I think it’s pretty damn cool. It has all the features of the top paid project management solutions out there with the little added bonus of it being free.

But there’s no such thing as a free meal I hear you cry and you’re right.

The “cost” for me has been the setup time. If you’ve tried this before, or are working you’re way through it now, you likely encountered the same stumbling blocks I did so below are the solutions I used to get the installation up and running. Hopefully this will reduce the “cost” for you.

The hardware I’m using is a OptiPlex FX170 Thin Client. That comes with a measly atom processor, 2 Gb of ram and 4 Gb of flash memory. Shockingly though that’s enough to run 32 bit Ubuntu Server 16.04 but like I said you won’t have enough space left to install a GUI. I’m not going to walk through the installation process because it’s pretty standard. The only thing to remember is you’ll need to choose the LAMP option in the Software Selection screen. Tab to that option and hit space to select it and then hit return to continue on with the installation.

SoftwareSelection

To check if the LAMP installed correctly on the server you can jump onto another machine on the network and try log onto the server’s host IP via the web browser. To get the IP address to use type the below into the server’s linux terminal.

ifconfig -a

If LAMP is up and running on the server you should see the screen below from your web browser.

DefaultPage

Once you’ve confirmed you have LAMP installed successfully head over to the Kanboard site and follow the latest installation instructions for the OS on your server. The instructions I used are below:

Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 LTS

Install Apache and PHP:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install -y apache2 libapache2-mod-php7.0 php7.0-cli php7.0-mbstring php7.0-sqlite3 \
    php7.0-opcache php7.0-json php7.0-mysql php7.0-pgsql php7.0-ldap php7.0-gd

Install Kanboard:

cd /var/www/html
sudo wget https://kanboard.net/kanboard-latest.zip
sudo unzip kanboard-latest.zip
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data kanboard/data
sudo rm kanboard-latest.zip

Now downloading and installing using the script above just wouldn’t work for me. If it worked for you skip down to Internal Errors encountered.

I don’t know whether it was down to web access firewalls or the download link and file names not corresponding but I couldn’t get the script working. Instead I downloaded the latest kanboard zip file to a usb key using my laptop, unzipped it, and then mounted the key on the server. Without a GUI that was a pain. I was able to mount the file using the steps below:

Enter sudo mkdir /media/usb to create a mount point called usb.

Enter sudo fdisk -l to look for the USB drive already plugged in, let’s say the drive you want to mount is /dev/sdb1.

To mount a USB drive formatted with FAT16 or FAT32 system, enter:

sudo mount -t vfat /dev/sdb1 /media/usb -o uid=1000,gid=100,utf8,dmask=027,fmask=137

OR, To mount a USB drive formatted with NTFS system, enter:

sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/usb

To unmount it, just enter sudo umount /media/usb in the Terminal.

Next I copied the files from the key across with the following command:

cp -r /media/usb/kanboard /var/www/html/kanboard

When the folder was across I could then run:

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data kanboard/data

So at that point it was up and running right, Yay!

Hah! Only joking!

After installing I ran into three errors the fixes for which are below.

Internal Errors encountered:

Internal Error: PHP extension required: “pdo_sqlite”

Solution: Run the following in the terminal window

sudo apt-get install php7.0-sqlite

Internal Error: PHP extension required: “gd”

Solution: Run the following in the terminal window

sudo apt-get install -y php7.0 php7.0-sqlite php7.0-gd unzip

Internal Error: PHP extension required: “mbstring”

Solution: Run the following in the terminal window

sudo apt-get install php7.0-mbstring

If you’ve read this article with an eagle eye you’ll have noticed that I ran two of those scripts at the start of the installation, for some reason they just needed to be run again for me, maybe that won’t be the case for you.

For the first interal error, PHP extension required: “pdo_sqlite” you may also need to run through the process below.

Review and edit the PHP Configuration

First we create a file which will display the PHP configuration.

To create a file first change into the directory that contains your website files. For example, the default directory for webpage files for Apache on Ubuntu is /var/www/html/.

Change Directory:

cd /var/www/html

Create File:

sudo nano /var/www/html/info.php

Enter the following text and then save it (Press Crtl+o to save the file)

<?php
phpinfo();
?>

Find where the php.ini file is locationed:

Use you web browser to open the file you just created for example,

http://www.example.com/info.php

This will bring up a page like below.
You are looking for the “Loaded Configuration File” entry.

Loadedfile

Warning: Since the info.php file displays version details of the OS, Web Server, and PHP, this file should be removed when it is not needed to keep the server as secure as possible.

Modifying the PHP Configuration:

sudo nano /etc/php7.0/apache2/php.ini

You want to remove the leading semi-colons from the following line

;extension=php_pdo_sqlite.dll

Hint: Press Ctrl+w and enter the string “extension=php_pdo_sqlite.dll” to find the line in the file.

Press Crtl+o to save the file.

Restart Apache server:

sudo service apache2 restart

That’s it, if you’re as mad as me to run servers on thin clients so you can host Kanboard it should be up and running for you now.

Update:

If anyone is trying to get email working via smtp and a microsoft exchange server Kanboard has provided instructions for this.  LINK

I had to comment out the two bottom lines to make it work.

// Credentials for authentication on the SMTP server (not mandatory)
define('MAIL_SMTP_USERNAME', 'username');
define('MAIL_SMTP_PASSWORD', 'super password');

 

 

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