Installing OpenGrok and Tomcat 7 on Ubuntu 13.04 quickly

If you are a developer you need a good source code navigator. I have used cscope to navigate and edit code directly from my terminal dismissing any graphical user interface but some people like to use the sourcenav or net beans ecosystem. However both are graphically nice but are “heavy” apps and also, if you want to share a way with your co-workers how to browser your code you will need to install the apps in different desktops.

But what about to have a fast way to navigate in your code, have fast crossed references  and share your source code with your co-workers dismissing the installation of source navigators on different desktops using your web browser ?

If you need something like this or if you wants a fast and easy installation of a good source navigation, I recommend OpenGrok. To be honest, even if I do not need to share my code with anyone, I use in my machine only for my personal code browsing.

OpenGrok runs as a webapp that means you and your co-workers can use your favorite browser navigator. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, whatever! you only need your preferable one to enjoy the code.

Considering OpenGrok is web based you will need to install a web server to be used as servlet server. OpenGroks supports Tomcat or Glassfish.

I am personally using tomcat 7 in my ubuntu 13.04. Let’s see the 3 basic steps:

Step 1) Installing Tomcat 7 quickly

To install the tomcat 7 you need to run:

sudo apt-get install default-jdk tomcat7

Let’s discover the tomcat base dir and set the CATALINA var in your bashrc. To discover the base dir to the following:

cd /usr/share/tomcat7/bin/


You will see something like this as output:

Using CATALINA_BASE: /usr/share/tomcat7
Using CATALINA_HOME: /usr/share/tomcat7
Using CATALINA_TMPDIR: /usr/share/tomcat7/temp
Using JRE_HOME: /usr
Using CLASSPATH: /usr/share/tomcat7/bin/bootstrap.jar:/usr/share/tomcat7/bin/tomcat-juli.jar

Then edit your ~/.bashrc and include using the directory pointed by CATALINA_BASE include the following var:

export CATALINA_HOME=/usr/share/tomcat7/


Run the tomcat and check if it is working:

. /etc/init.d/tomcat7

Done!!! installed!!!! Check if it is running now!!! Using your favorite browser type in the web address: http://localhost:8080/

If ok you should see a web page with message “It works!”


Step 2) Installing OpenGrok

2.1) Install the exuberant C tags:

sudo apt-get install exuberant-ctags

2.2) Then goto and download the last binaries available on this page for example opengrok-0.11.1.tar.gz.

2.3) Unzip and untar in some directory.


tar -zxvf opengrok-0.11.1.tar.gz

2.4) Create and prepare the directories with source code link and OpenGrok data. Here you need to create a directory called “src” and another one “data” in same dir level.

After that, in the src directory you can create a soft link to your real code directory that can be in your local machine or a mapped driver in the network.


mkdir local_src
cd local_src/
mkdir data src
cd src/
ln -s ~/code/base/mir/ mir

On the example above the real code is in the ~/code/base/mir/ but I just created a soft link called “mir” in the local_src dir.

2.5) Set the env variable to point to your code.

Edit you ~/.bashrc again and include:

export OPENGROK_INSTANCE_BASE=/home/mcramon/local_src

if you do not set this variable, the OpenGrok will search for directories in the /var/opengrok directory. If you prefer on this way you can create the following dirs:

sudo mkdir -p /var/opengrok/src

sudo mkdir -p /var/opengrok/data

sudo mkdir -p /var/opengrok/etc

and then you create your soft link to your code in the /var/opengrok/src directory.

Step 3) Deploying, indexing and running the OpenGrok

Step 3.1) Make a fast test deploying the OpenGrok webapp running the following line in your shell:

~/tools/opengrok/opengrok-0.11.1/bin$ sudo ./OpenGrok deploy
Loading the default instance configuration ...
Installing /home/mcramon/tools/opengrok/opengrok-0.11.1/bin/../lib/source.war to /var/lib/tomcat7/webapps ...

Start your application server (Tomcat), if it is not already
running, or wait until it loads the just installed web application.

OpenGrok should be available on <HOST>:<PORT>/source
where HOST and PORT are configured in Tomcat.

Now using your web browser type the following address: http://localhost:8080/source/

You should be able to see the OpenGrok deployed to your tomcat but not code added to be navigated.


If you have some problems executing the deployment, make sure the script is updated with your tomcat version. In my case, I installed the tomcat7 and my opengrok version did not support this version 7. So I changed the OpenGrok script including my version as the pic below:


Step 3.2) Index your code

If the deployment work fine, and if you already created your source code link, then you should index the database typing in your terminal.

mcramon@ubuntu:~/tools/opengrok/opengrok-0.11.1/bin$ sudo ./OpenGrok index

Depending how big is your code it can take several minutes to finish. It is common to have messages saying “there is no history” in the source… to now worry about those messages because it is searching for some control version history provided by git or other cm tools.

Step 3.3) Run!!!!

When the index finish, only refresh your browser screen again (F5) and check if you can see the project listed in a combo-box in the right side of your window. This project will have the same directory name you have to your soft link.


Step 3.4) Share with your friends

Your friends/co-workers can see the code accessing the following addresses: <IP>:<PORT>/source or <hostname>:<PORT>/source

Simple like that!

Of course, OpenGrok and Tomcat are must powerful and this post is only a fast way to start the code browsing… check the OpenGrok and Tomcat sites for advanced topics.


4 thoughts on “Installing OpenGrok and Tomcat 7 on Ubuntu 13.04 quickly

  1. Hi, I followed the steps and installed version opengrok-0.12.1 on Ubuntu 14.04 64 bit as the mentioned version is not available on the specified download directory.

    I can see the source directories listed under the In Projects section. But when I click on the source code I get error.

    Error: File not found!

    The requested resource is not available. The source root specified in your configuration does not point to a valid directory! Please configure your webapp.

    Any suggestions ?

    • Hi Niranjan

      This post is a little bit old and the versions used are outdated now. I will need to update my machines on this week and I will update this post. Send me an email to and it will be my please to keep you informed with the most new procedure!!!

  2. Hi @manoelramon,

    I am facing same problem. We were installed java 8 and tomcat 8 on Centos 7 OS

    You may contact me on

    Error: File not found!

    The requested resource is not available. The source root specified in your configuration does not point to a valid directory! Please configure your webapp.

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