Getting WebSphere Portal to install on Ubuntu

Ok, ok, I know Ubuntu isn’t supported by IBM, but if you’re a developer, and you run Ubuntu on your laptop and would like to run Portal on there too, here’s how you do it. This should work for Debian too . I guess this isn’t really a Portal only problem, rather it’s a general Application Server + Ubuntu issue. I’ve only tried this with 6.1, but it is probably an issue with 6.0 as well, since it uses similar profile creation code.

For some reason Ubuntu, ships a shell called ‘dash’ as their default, rather than good old bash. (Well, they have their reasons.) This presents a problem for App Server, as all the scripts in AppServer/bin use #!/bin/sh (the Bourne shell) as their command interpreter, which on a Redhat machine is symlinked to /bin/bash . The reason why AppServer uses the Bourne shell is that it needs to work on AIX and Solaris too, and you can’t be sure that you have bash on one of those machines.

If you try to call on an Ubuntu system you get this error :

/opt/WebSphere/AppServer/bin/ 116: Bad substitution

Now, when you’re installing Portal, it installs AppServer, and then calls the script to create the default profile for Portal “wp_profile” . calls a bunch of ant scripts that needs to use (you can see where I’m going here….) . You might notice in AppServer/log/wp_profile_create.log messages like this :

<message>Checking for wsadmin listener initialization</message>
<message>Is wsadmin listener available? ? false</message>
<message>Returning with returnCode=-1</message>
<message>Failure detected in fatal config action.</message>
<message>wsadmin failed with exception = wsadmin task failed with return code :-1</message>

It actually hangs for 20 minutes waiting for wsadmin to start!

So how do you fix it? Simply, before you install it, unlink /bin/sh -> /bin/dash , and relink so it reads /bin/sh -> /bin/bash


cd /bin
unlink sh
ln -s /bin/bash sh

Now the install should run properly.

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28 Responses to Getting WebSphere Portal to install on Ubuntu

  1. Nice one thanks! Scratched my head for a couple of hours before finding your page.

  2. PS – this worked for me to get WAS 7.0 working on an Ubuntu-based distro.

  3. Sascha says:

    Tx a lot for that info! I already went mad with installing fixpack by fixpack.
    Had a different return code, but it helped also with profile setup for WAS7.0 including RAD test environment.

    Thank you, Graham, again!

  4. Pingback: Getting WebSphere Application 7 Installed on Ubuntu 9.04 by

  5. Jefferson says:

    I could install WAS 7 on Ubuntu 9.10 but the installation of Portal 6.1 hangs on step 5 of 5. The log (/opt/IBM/WebSphere/Portal/PortalServer/log/wpinstalllog.txt) does not show any error. Can anybody help me?

  6. Graham says:

    Hi Jefferson,

    I’m doing an install of Portal 615 on Ubuntu 9.10 at the moment, and will post back solutions as I find them.



  7. Pingback: 5 Steps to installing Portal 6.1.5 on Ubuntu 9.10 | Tork Wrench

  8. Frans says:

    Awesome… works like a charm

  9. Graham says:

    Sweet, glad it worked – thanks for the feedback.

  10. peter greaves says:


    got thru the install but WCM doesnt appear in the admin (for libraries) or UI. can you confirm you can see the WCM stuff in yr portal? and maybe share wpinstalllog.txt with me?

  11. Pingback: Why doesn’t the WCM authoring portlet come up after installing Portal?Tork Wrench | Tork Wrench

  12. Graham says:

    Hey Peter,

    I’ve responded to your question here .



  13. Wilson M. Penha Jr. says:

    Hi guys,

    I am trying to install WAS6.1 and WAS7.0 on my ubuntu 10.04 64bits with Installation Manager.

    But I am getting “Ubuntu is not a supported OS”

    I have tried many things, the version of my IBMIM is 1.4.1, any help would be nice.

    Best regards,


  14. Graham says:

    Hi Wilson,

    Great question! I have installed the Installation Manager on my Ubuntu 10.04 64 bit machine here, but didn’t get to try installing WAS yet. I’ll see if I can try it out tomorrow.

  15. Raymundo says:

    Thanks man, you saved my day.

    Best regards.

  16. G.C. Chen says:

    Many Thanks to you!!

  17. Tavo says:

    Thank you!
    It is very helpful


  18. Michele says:

    Thanks, you saved my day

  19. ibmwasadm says:

    Thanks for this helpful document. I was able to get WAS7 installed on ubuntu after using your solution.

  20. Gouri says:

    Thank you for this doc & fix. Works like a charm.

  21. Sajith S says:

    Thanks buddy, helped me stop tearing my hair during profile creation. The same applies there also…

  22. Francisco says:

    It works like a charm, Ubuntu 12.04 WAS ND 8.0

  23. s reddy says:

    After scratching my head and pulling my hairs for 3 days, came across this.. worked wonderfully… Thanks a lot… WAS ND 8.5 on Ubuntu 12.04

  24. ernest says:

    thanks for alleviating my headaches. it’s ver helpfully

  25. Kamil says:

    Thanks a lot.

    It fixes the problem on WAS 8.5, ubuntu 14.04

  26. Myrt says:

    Worked for WAS 8.5.5 on Mint 17. Truly awesome because I am just learning Linux.

  27. Nick says:

    Thanks man! God bless you!
    It fixes the problem on WAS ND 8.5, ubuntu 16.04

  28. charly says:

    Thanks bro.

    It fixes the problem on WAS 8.5, ubuntu 18.04

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