Guest's picture

I was wondering if any consideration has been given to the idea of developing a LimeSurvey Appliance based upon the standard Turnkey LAMP Appliance. LimeSurvey is an Open Source PHP web application that can be used to develop, publish and collect responses to online & offline surveys. Features include  open/closed surveys, branching, participant administration, quotas, WYSIWYG HTML editor, email invitations & reminders, assessments, and basic statistics. As of 18 August 2009 LimeSurvey ranked number 121 on SourceForge with over 339,978 downloads.

Alon Swartz's picture

Great idea! I was suprised to notice that limesurvey has not made its way into debian/ubuntu considering its popularity, so any help from the community who can document the installation and configuration would push this appliance forward.

Those interested in helping out on this appliance should refer to the development notes.

I have created a blueprint which you can subscribe to (and get updated on progress).

sbscherer's picture

Turnkey could probably bring in some donations if someone commits to completing a VM.  There are a lot of us hoping for a survey tool right now.

sbscherer's picture

Through some guesswork and Google searches, I was able to get the LimeSurvey 2.0 Beta installed on a Turnkey LAMP appliance.  I thought I would share the steps since there don't appear to be directions for novices like myself anywhere on the web.  However, until a professional documents the process, I suggest ONLY to follow these steps to configure an experimental appliance.

Download, Unpack, and Remove

Set Permissions

  • sudo chmod -R 777 /var/www/limesurvey/app/config
  • cd /var/www/limesurvey/app/
  • chmod -R 777 tmp
  • OPTIONAL: Make .htaccess files writable and install mod_rewrite (No idea how to do this)

Configure Web Application and Create/Link Database

  • Browser (new tab): http://IP_Address_Of_Appliance/limesurvey - Follow LimeSurvey setup instructions until reaching "Configure Database"
  • Browser (new tab): http://IP_Address_Of_Appliance:12322 - Log in to PHPMyAdmin, select "database" and create a new database called "limesurvey" with utf8_unicode_ci collator
  • Browser: Return to the LimeSurvey setup tab and complete "Configure Database" [type: MySQL, host: localhost, scheme: limesurvey] and use the MySQL credentials selected during Turnkey LAMP (root/your_password)
  • Browser: Set up Admin account and select "Finish" 

Secure and Complete Web Installer

  • Browser: Return to WebShell
  • cd
  • chmod 755 /var/www/limesurvey/app/config/
  • Browser: Return to LimeSurvey setup and select "Rename Installer," then choose "Create Survey" or "Dashboard"

To the best of my very limited knowledge, that should get you up and running.  I did my best to follow the directions at the link below:

Liraz Siri's picture

We are in the middle of a development cycle for the next release, which will focus on expanding the appliance library. One of the things we're factoring in our decision regarding which new appliances to develop is input from the community.

Unfortunately we have our hands full and LimeSurvey specifically isn't slated for inclusion in the next release at the moment, but this could change if the community steps in to shoulder the burden in a significant way. Donations are a good way to do that. You can attach a note to those. Another is to develop a prototype appliance and document the process. See our page on community development for details.

Bottom line, speaking for the Core team, we're listening. Feedback from the community is always appreciated. Feedback from contributing community members even more so.

Depending on feedback based on our previous contribution, I have a team that's interested in pursuing this. When I know more, I'll be in a better place to make a firm commitment.

Alon Swartz's picture

I should have a little spare time over the weekend and have planned to take a look at the Ampache tklpatch. I'll post feedback then...

My post wasn't to signal there's a rush. It was to signal the students enthusiasm with having made a contribution. They're asking to make another. We chose this one because it looks like it could be put to use in schools. We just don't want to start another until we know how we're doing on the first one.

Thanks Alon,


Jeremy Davis's picture

What a great thing it is that you're doing! Utilising class time to provide a meaningful learning environment, but also providing labour to the opensource community! I think it is a model for educators everywhere, and a shining example of the value that opensource brings to the world.

Rather than have the students doing mickey mouse projects that have little or no real world relevance (or value) you and your students are providing valuable man hours to the opensource community, learning real-world skills and I'm sure; getting a sense of actually acomplishing something, not just useful for your own school community by the world at large!

Liraz Siri's picture

JedMeister took the words right out of my mouth. Rik's work getting students involved with open source is not only a win-win, it's an inspiration. I wish we could get more classes on board. Kudos!

Thanks JedMeister. I really appreciate it. I'm heavily invested, find it very rewarding and appreciate your taking the time to write. I really do appreciate it. Thanks as well to Liraz. I'm know I'm not the first to crusade for FOSS in education, but I think, as an independent school, we have an audience of other independent schools who will find themselves captive audiences at conferences and colloquia.

And just for a glimpse of how TKL is impacting me: my students are learning collaborative writing, revision, and editing using the Mediawiki appliance. (Yeah, we have a Moodle server that provides wiki capabilities, but I want to have them work with all the features of Mediawiki.) Use of the TKL Core had been central to my technology instruction; we then moved to the LAMP appliance to use the TKLPatch tool. Having the TurnKey Linux community means my students authentically feel the interaction between a technology, an innovation, and a community.

Outside of school, I use the Joomla appliance to prototype and organize sites before making them live.

My commitment to FOSS community and values is strong; however, TurnKey Linux is the first opportunity my students and I have had to feel like we're actually a part of that community.

Based on feedback from our first contribution, my understanding of our workflow should be something like this:

-Build virtual appliance and make extensive build notes

-Direct downloads of the virtual appliances are not that important - in contrast to...

-Use the build notes to create a TKLPatch bundle to apply to Core, LAMP, or another appropriate Appliance.

The emphasis is on the patch (and notes); not on downloadable virtual appliances or ISOs.

Do I understand the priorities right? I think we can have this one ready to go next week, assuming I'm understanding the priorities.

Liraz Siri's picture

As JedMeister said, the approach you outlined makes perfect sense. You're good to go. By focusing on the TKLPatch you don't need to worry about hosting virtual appliance images which can get bandwidth intensive (why we use sourceforge's mirror network). Also, for development/communication purposes a lightweight TKLPatch is easier to work with.
Jeremy Davis's picture

Your workflow suggeston makes lots of sense.

At the end of the day a downloadable ISO/VM image is still a good thing, but you are right the TKLPatch (and build documentation) would be the priority.

The patch especially will make it much easier for Alon & Liraz to consider them for release as TKL supported appliances. And the documentation makes it really easy for others to build on, customise and offer suggestions and feedback. While an ISO may have more appeal for some end users, TKLPatch is pretty easy to use (for those not scared of the CLI).

PS I wish I could build TKL appliances with students as a job, I'm jealous Rik! :)

Our plan was to develop a Limesurvey patch for the LAMP appliance. I realize this has been discussed before - it's not in the repos. Should we proceed with our plan in spite of that, or is Limesurvey not a good candidate for TKL at the moment?

Liraz Siri's picture

Since the 2009.10 release batch, TurnKey includes non-natively packaged applications in the appliance library. I wrote about the rational behind this here:

"Unfortunately there is still quite a bit of excellent open source software that is not yet officially supported by Debian / Ubuntu.

Packaging these applications into a virtual appliance is technically more difficult, and worse - not all components would receive automatic security updates. We decided not to let that limit us. Striving for perfection is great, but an imperfect appliance is better than no appliance."

In other words, we still usually prefer to use Ubuntu/Debian packages when available, but when that's not an option installing from the upstream source will have to do...

Jeremy Davis's picture

Arggh! I just wrote a whole heap and lost it because I accidentally closed the wrong tab! I hate that! I'm annoyed that I hadn't already installed the Lazurus Form Recovery Firefox Addon on this computer (its a winner), just off to do that now...

Unfortunately I haven't got time to reconstruct my writings now but I will endeavour to get back to this tonight and edit this post with my thoughts...

Sorry to tease you!

Liraz Siri's picture

Ugh, I too find it difficult to motivate myself to rewrite a post from memory when something like that happens.

I just installed the Lazarus Form Recovery module myself. Great find!

Update: 5 minutes later it already saved me from losing a post when I accidentally dragged a link to the wrong location in CKeditor.

Students built a Limesurvey appliance using TKL LAMP and Limesurvey187plus-build8518. I made build notes:

Intall LAMP to VM in VirtualBox or VMWare.

Start appliance.

Extract Limesurvey software.

(WebShell) Delete the contents of /var/www

cd /var/www

rm *

(sftp) Transfer contents of extracted Limesurvey folder (the contents of Limesurvey/) to /var/www on the LAMP appliance.

(Webshell) Edit /var/www/config.php

-set root url

-set db root username and password

-set default admin username and password

nano /var/www/config.php

(Webshell) Change permissions on three directories

chmod 777 /var/www/tmp

chmod 777 /var/www/templates

chmod 777 /var/www/upload

Browse to http://$ipaddr/admin/install. Follow prompt to create database and populate database. Click the button to be taken to the main admin screen.

Move or delete /var/www/limesurveyadmin/install

mv /var/www/admin/install /var/www/admin/install-done

Browse to http://$ipaddr/admin/admin.php

Login with default credentials (as defined in /var/www/config.php)

Students followed the documentation [1].

We questioned the need to MySQL root credentials in config.php. We ultimately created a new database user and granted all on limesurvey.*. We then changed config.php to reflect the new db user's credentials.

Based on this I think we have a clear vision of what the TKLPatch for Limesurvey would like. Plans are to commit the whole school day on 6th to this patch; in that case, we should post a patch at the end of the day on the 6th.


Update: Students have finished a LimeSurvey patch for the LAMP appliance. However, I don't see a way to attach it to this post or to the original post. Should I start I new forum topic, or is there a better way to share it?

Liraz Siri's picture

Great news! Unfortunately, you can't attach files to comments on the web site (at least not yet). So you'll have to start a new forum topic. To make this thread easy to find you should link to it. Note that you can even link to individual comments.
Liraz Siri's picture

To anyone who's looking for it, Rik submitted the LimeSurvey TKLPatch to a new forum topic here.

dmtelf's picture

Many thanks to Chelsea School for creating the Limesurvey v1.87 ISO!


I had some problems updating it to the latest version, and was told I needed to replace updater.php which can be got from here:


After I did that, all worked fine & I'm now running the latest version.

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