Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ALEKS on Linux - It works.

ALEKS is a math homework and exercises web site, that is used at colleges, high schools, and some middle schools. And Tatjana's teacher is using it, too.

ALEKS uses a Java "plugin", i.e. a jar file that gets loaded into the jre lib/ext directory, in the browser to speed up various pieces of their functionality. And, as is not uncommon for commercial entities, they only support Macintosh and Windows with their software. For Linux they at least provide short instructions on their Web site, "for experts only". Unfortunately, the instructions are plain outdated.

Furthermore, ALEKS only works with the Sun/Oracle Java Environment. Using OpenJDK leads to endless frustration while trying to use the software. Controls don't show up. It's dog slow. Javascript-Java integration doesn't work, etc. etc. etc.
Here's what I ended up doing on an Ubuntu 10.04 LucidLynx system:

- Uninstall OpenJDK:
$ sudo apt-get delete openjdk-6-jre
- Add the Ubuntu partner repository to the configuration (see Lucid release notes):
$ sudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ lucid partner"

$ sudo apt-get update
- Install the Sun Jave Runtime environment
$ sudo apt-get install sun-java6-jre sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-fonts
- Find the location of the extensions directory
$ find / -path '*lib/ext'
This yielded /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun- for me.

- Copy the downloaded Aleks jar file to the right extensions directory:
$ sudo cp aleksPack10.jar /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun-
- Restart Firefox, go to http://www.aleks.com, login, and voila ... it works.


Patzi said...

oh, das wird sicher recht oft gesucht und angeklickt, bin mal gespannt, ob das mehr hits bekommt als dein zugzeugs :-)

CHRistIAN said...

Zugzeugs nennt die Dame das!
Aleks ist ja schon vom Angucken "impossible!"
Selbst mit Tunnelblick nicht zu ertragen und gesetzt den Fall, ich würde die Anweisungen ausführen - der Computer würde sich weigern!
Arme Jugend, die das erleiden muß!? und glaubt, das ist normal.