Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Installing WebSphere 6.1 on CentOS 5.3

My colleagues and I have had a very difficult time trying to get IBM WebSphere 6.1 installed in CentOS 5.3. Thanks to the help of Matt White, we finally believe we have figured out a work around.

The Issue
The swing installer does not load after clicking on the Install link within the HTML Launch page. This issue is best documented in the Redhat and IBM communities.
Basically, we would perform a netinstall of CentOS 5.3, unpack was.cd.6100.wasdev.nocharge.linux.ia32.tar.gz into a subdirectory, and run ./launchpad.sh. Firefox would load the install page which contains a link to install WebSphere that brings up a Java Swing Application that performs the actual install. Problem is the Java Swing app never appears. After closing the browser, launchpad complains saying, "No supported Web browser was detected". Also we discovered an error in the following log file /tmp/niflogs/log.txt:

"Process, com.installshield.wizard.StandardWizardListener, err, could not initialize interface swing"

The Solution(s)
We actually never figured out how to solve this issue. We tried different JDKs, different browsers, 64 bit versions, etc. Nothing fixed the problem. Thanks to Matt White though, we did figure out a possible work around.

Open a new terminal and go to the websphere directory were you unpacked the installer. cd into the WAS directory and run: sudo java -jar setup.jar. The Java Swing install app appears and you are now able to install WebSphere. We have had mixed results with it automatically creating a default profile (AppSvr01), so if it does not create a default profile, you can manually create it by running the /opt/IBM/WebSphere/AppServer/bin/ProfileManagement/pmt.sh script.

The other possible solution is to install an older version of CentOS such as 5.1, install WebSphere 6.1, and then upgrade CentOS to 5.3. I tried doing this with 5.2 and the launchpad still failed, but we know of others that we think used 5.1 and it worked.