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How to install Diaspora* POD on CentOS 6.4

I initially followed the instructions for Fedora 18, located on this page here as a starting point.

But there were many differences and dependencies required to get Diaspora* up and running on a CentOS 6.4 box.   So, here are the steps I followed to get it up and running for CentOS 6.4.  This is an entirely fresh/clean install of CentOS 6.4.  Nothing else is running on this box, and this tutorial covers all that needs to be installed.

First step is to install CentOS 6.4 with the base/minimal install.  Please follow other instructions to do this if you don’t know how.

Perform an update to ensure you’ve got the latest of everything in the base package.
# yum update

Install wget so you can download a few things.
# yum install wget

Allow yum to locate/install redis
    per this page here.
# wget
# wget
# rpm -Uvh remi-release-6*.rpm epel-release-6*.rpm”

Now, install all the prerequisites
# yum install tar make automake gcc gcc-c++ git net-tools libcurl-devel libxml2-devel libffi-devel libxslt-devel tcl redis ImageMagick npm mysql-server mysql-devel nginx libyaml libyaml-devel patch readline-devel libtool bison

Enable and start MySQL
# chkconfig –level 3 mysqld on
# service mysqld start

Secure your MySQL installation by setting a password. replace ‘new-password’ with your secure password.
# mysqladmin -u root password ‘new-password’
# mysqladmin -u root -h password ‘new-password’

Open up the necessary firewall ports
# vi /etc/sysconfig/iptables
  copy this line.
    -A INPUT -m state –state NEW -m tcp -p tcp –dport 22 -j ACCEPT
  and add two more with port 80 & 443 as well
    -A INPUT -m state –state NEW -m tcp -p tcp –dport 80 -j ACCEPT
    -A INPUT -m state –state NEW -m tcp -p tcp –dport 443 -j ACCEPT

Restart the firewall
# service iptables restart

Next, modify the nginx configuration based on this advice I found on here.
Be sure to follow all the FIXME instructions, including replacing “” with your domain name.  You may also need to create a key and csr to obtain a signed SSL certificate.  That part is not covered here.
# vi /etc/nginx/nginx.conf
— contents of nginx.conf —

worker_processes 1;
user diaspora;

events {
worker_connections 1024;

# FIXME: You may wish to modify the value of the `log_format` directive
# below if you are not using Splunk
http {

include mime.types;
default_type application/octet-stream;
sendfile on;
keepalive_timeout 65;
gzip on;
gzip_http_version 1.0;
gzip_comp_level 2;
gzip_proxied any;
gzip_buffers 16 8k;
gzip_types text/plain text/css application/x-javascript text/xml application/xml application/xml+rss text/javascript;
gzip_disable “MSIE [1-6]\.(?!.*SV1)”;

# FIXME: If using thin app server, specify correct number of thin servers
# below, otherwise comment out and replace with your own solution
# In case of unicorn – master opens a unix domain socket
#upstream unicorn {
# server unix:/var/run/sockets/unicorn.sock;

upstream thin_cluster {
server localhost:3000;

# FIXME: specify correct value(s) for `server_name` directive and
# correct domain name in the `rewrite` directive below
server {
listen 80;
rewrite ^(.*)$1 permanent;

# FIXME: specify correct value(s) for `server_name` directive and
# `ssl_certificate` + `ssl_certificate_key` directives below
server {
listen 443;
## make sure you change location if you did clone into /usr/local/app
root /usr/local/app/diaspora/public;

ssl on;
ssl_certificate /path/to/cert_location;
ssl_certificate_key /path/to/key_location;
# enable better ssl security if you like to mitigate BEAST and other exploits
#ssl_session_cache shared:SSL:10m;
#ssl_session_timeout 5m;
#ssl_protocols TLSv1;
#ssl_ciphers ECDHE-RSA-AES256-SHA384:AES256-SHA256:RC4:HIGH:!MD5:!aNULL:!EDH:!AESGCM;
#ssl_prefer_server_ciphers on;
#add_header Strict-Transport-Security max-age=500;
#ssl_ecdh_curve secp521r1;

location /uploads/images {
expires 1d;
add_header Cache-Control public;
location /assets {
expires 1d;
add_header Cache-Control public;

# FIXME: modify the `rewrite` directive below to point to proper S3 bucket
# and path or comment out if you will store images on local file system
location / {
proxy_set_header X-Real-IP $remote_addr;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-For $proxy_add_x_forwarded_for;
proxy_set_header Host $http_host;
proxy_set_header X-Forwarded-Proto https;
proxy_redirect off;
client_max_body_size 4M;
client_body_buffer_size 128K;

if (-f $request_filename/index.html) {
rewrite (.*) $1/index.html break;
if (-f $request_filename.html) {
rewrite (.*) $1.html break;
if (!-f $request_filename) {
proxy_pass http://thin_cluster;
#if you switch to a s3 bucket you can redirect old links to the s3
#rewrite ^/uploads/images/(.*)$$1 permanent;

error_page 500 502 503 504 /50x.html;
location = /50x.html {
root html;

— end of contents of nginx.conf —

 Enable and activate nginx web server.
# chkconfig –level 3 nginx on
# service nginx start

Enable and activate redis service.
# chkconfig –level 3 redis on
# service redis start

Create the diaspora user
# useradd diaspora
# passwd diaspora

Run all future commands as diaspora user
# su -l diaspora

Install RVM – Per instructions here.
# curl -L | bash -s stable

# vi .bashrc
— begin add to .bashrc —
[[ -s “~/.rvm/scripts/rvm” ]] && source “~/.rvm/scripts/rvm”
— end add to .bashrc —
:wq <- to save and exit

Logout and back into the diaspora user account
# exit
# su -l diaspora

$ rvm autolibs read-only
Install the version of ruby wanted by Diaspora (installing latest version will not work)
$ rvm install 1.9.3-p448

Install Diaspora*
# git clone -b master git://
# cd diaspora
Answer y[es] to the prompt about switching to ‘.ruby-version’

Copy the base configuration files.
# cp config/database.yml.example config/database.yml
# cp config/diaspora.yml.example config/diaspora.yml

Now open config/database.yml and config/diaspora.yml in your favorite text editor and carefully review them, they are extensively commented.

Important values in config/diaspora.yml

  • environment.url: Set the public facing URL to your pod here, for example for this would be
  • environment.certificate_authorities: You have to set this, one of the examples should fit. If the file in the example doesn’t exist you’re missing a package, in most cases it’s named ca-certificates.
  • server.rails_environment: You must set this to production. The server section is read by ./script/server and most alternative startup methods to setup the correct environment.
  • environment.require_ssl: If for some reason you can’t run your pod on HTTPS (we highly encourage you to do it!), set this to false to prevent a redirect from http:// to https://

It’s time to install the Ruby libraries required by Diaspora:
# RAILS_ENV=production bundle install –without test development

Double check your config/database.yml looks right and run:
# RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake db:create db:schema:load

Precompile assets
# RAILS_ENV=production bundle exec rake assets:precompile

It’s time to start Diaspora:
# ./script/server


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